European rabbis massively oppose ‘Armenian propaganda and demonisation of Azerbaijan’

Between August 27 and September 7, eighty-six spiritual Jewish authorities from Europe, America and Muslim countries, as well as dozens of Jewish religious media around the world, spoke out against the use of the Holocaust theme by Armenian political figures, including Prime Minister Pashinyan, as part of a campaign to demonise Azerbaijan.

On September 6, fifty leading rabbis, representing the largest association of Jewish religious leaders (Rabbinical Center of Europe), signed an official joint letter addressed to the Prime Minister and the President of Armenia. They demanded to “immediately and completely” seize the use of the Holocaust theme by Armenian propaganda “for the sake of achieving any political goals.”

As the letter emphasises, “this message should be taken into account by all relevant government bodies representing the Armenian people.” The European rabbis also expressed their deep disappointment regarding cooperation of the Armenian government with the leadership of the Islamic Republic of Iran, “a country which incessantly openly and publicly calls for its destruction of the only Jewish country in the world”.

The official website of the Rabbinical Center of Europe sustains that it condemns “the Armenian leaders for using Holocaust rhetoric in a campaign against their neighbor, Azerbaijan.”

Furthermore, Israel Heritage Foundation, the American association created by the Holocaust survivors, emphasised in its statement, that they “reject the loose usage of the word ‘Holocaust’ by officials in the Armenian government to discuss the situation in the Karabakh region, and firmly contend that any comparisons to the Holocaust are unwarranted and unjustified.”

Chabadinfo website, one of the main online platforms of the most influential movement of Judaism in the United States, Chabad, called the accusations against official Baku regarding the “genocide” of the Armenians in Azerbaijani Karabakh a “smear campaign.”

Pan-European Jewish magazine Jüdisches Europa noted that drawing analogies between the Nazi policy of the “final solution to the Jewish question” and Azerbaijan’s attitude towards Armenians in Karabakh, as the Prime Minister of Armenia does, is completely unfounded. Jüdisches Europa further emphasized that “regarding Azerbaijan’s accusations of the “genocide” of Armenians, “there is no tangible evidence, such as cell phone records.”

“Iran-dependent Armenian leaders are already declaring “genocide by famine” at the UN, and social media replete with photos of bustling restaurants and lavish weddings in the enclave with piles of roasted meat and cakes the size of man… there is no tangible evidence yet to support the claims of “starving population” “which should be quite an easy task in this age of global electronic media,” Jüdisches Europa stated.

“I am shocked by the comments made by the Armenian political leader comparing the current situation with the extermination of Jews during the Shoah (Holocaust),” Bruno Fischzon, who is the Chief Rabbi of the Moselle department in northeastern France and the city of Metz, wrote on his personal Facebook page. Viennese Rabbi Arie Folger accused French municipal officials of politicizing humanitarian aid, who at the end of August tried to travel from Armenia to Azerbaijani Karabakh without the consent of official Baku.

As Baku Rabbi Zamir Isaev noted, “The US and the EU are making efforts to conclude a peace agreement between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Exerting psychological pressure (on Azerbaijan) by bringing in the issue of “genocide” can only harm the negotiation process.”

Leading rabbis from countries such as France, Germany, Spain, Italy and the United Kingdom signed the appeal among nearly a hundred European Jewish spiritual authorities who spoke out against the methods of Armenian propaganda and demonisation of Azerbaijan. They were also supported by Bulgaria’s Chief Rabbi Yosef Salamon.

Alongside fellow believers from the largest European centers, spoke the clergy of Judaism from a number of cities in Ukraine, which have been suffering from rocket fire and attacks by Iranian drones for more than a year and a half, among them the chief rabbis of Lvov, Zhitomir, Uzhgorod, as well as the head of the Jewish religious community of Odesa.

Igor Chalenko

Igor Chalenko is an Ukrainian political scientist who heads the Centre for Analysis and Strategies, Ukraine.