FRIEND OF THE JEWS: Putin initiates law AGAINSTt anti-Semitic Biblical commentary used to spur hatred against the Jewish people
At the initiative of Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Duma (Russian Parliament) has legislated a law outlawing “distorted and/or extremist” commentary of Scriptures.
The purpose of the unusual law, it is widely understood, is the prevention of cynical advantage being taken of Biblical verses for anti-Semitic purposes.
Russian history has seen many instances in which anti-Semitic elements announced “shocking new revelations” from the Bible and Rabbinic writings to encourage violent anti-Semitism.
Putin, a former KGB agent, has long been known to oppose anti-Semitism, and violent attacks against Jews in his country have in fact been on the decline in recent years. He also conducts warm relations with Israel – even as he does the same with Iran.
Rabbi Berel Lazar, Chief Rabbi of Russia, said that the law is truly important in the fight against Russian anti-Semitism. He publicly thanked “my friend President Putin who bodily blocks all anti-Semitic phenomena” and the members of the Duma for “proving that Russia respects the beliefs of all its citizens.”
Putin’s warm relations with the Jewish community in his country have long been a matter of curiosity. Some say it is because of his many Jewish friends and neighbors when he was a child. One story even has it that a Jewish family befriended him when he was a poor child in St Petersburg whose parents were barely ever home. Another story relates that years later, as Vice-Mayor of that city, Putin stuck his neck out to give permission for the opening of a Jewish school in the city, even though it was not in his authority to do so.
In 2012, Putin arrived in Israel to take