U.S. Congressman
Mark Steven Kirk - Proudly serving the people of the 10th district of Illinois
  For Immediate Release  
October 29, 2007

Kirk-Hastings Letter Calls on Belarusian President to Apologize for Blatantly Anti-Semitic Remarks

 

WASHINGTON – U.S. Reps. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Alcee L. Hastings (D-Fla.), along with more than a dozen Republicans and Democrats today sent a letter to Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenka demanding an apology to Belarusian Jews for his blatantly anti-Semitic remarks.
 
The letter comes in response to statements made by President Lukashenka during a live national broadcast on Oct. 12.

"If you were in Babruysk, you saw in what condition the city was. Entering it was a fearful experience! It was a pigsty! This was mainly a Jewish city. Well, you know how Jews treat the place where they're living. Look at Israel," said President Lukashenka during the broadcast.

“We join with other international voices in condemning your remarks and call on you to issue an apology to the Jewish community of Belarus,” the lawmakers wrote.

According to the 2007 State Department International Religious Freedom Report, anti-Semitic acts are only sporadically investigated and the Government allows state enterprises to freely print and distribute anti-Semitic material.  Anti-Semitic acts of vandalism, intimidation and violence are on the rise.

“Amid a growing climate of anti-Semitism in Belarus, Lukashenka’s statements are dangerous and must be condemned in the strongest terms,” said Congressman Kirk, former co-chair of the House Task Force on Anti-Semitism.

“Belarus claims to be a modern European country, but these statements are reminiscent of a much darker chapter of European history and must not be tolerated,” said Congressman Hastings, Chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe.

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October 29, 2007

President Alexander Lukashenka
c/o H.E. Mikhail Khvostov
1619 New Hampshire Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20009

Dear Mr. President:

We are writing today with deep concern over your recent anti-Semitic remarks made during a live broadcast on state radio.

Your government’s tolerance of state-sponsored anti-Semitism is well documented.  Anti-Semitic acts are only sporadically investigated and the Government allows state enterprises to freely print and distribute anti-Semitic material.  Anti-Semitic acts of vandalism, intimidation and violence are on the rise.

Amid this climate of anti-Semitism, your public statements are particularly dangerous.

Relations between Belarus and the European Union and United States are already poor due to your deteriorating record with respect to human rights and democracy.  While you express a desire for Belarus to be a modern European country, your anti-Semitic statements are reminiscent of a much darker chapter of European history.

We join with other international voices in condemning your remarks and call on you to issue an apology to the Jewish community of Belarus.


Sincerely,


Mark Steven Kirk  
Alcee L. Hastings  
Brad Sherman
Howard Berman  
Jerrold Nadler   
Jon Porter
Raul Grijalva   
Dana Rohrabacher  
John Shimkus
Shelley Berkley
Jim Ramstad   
Steve Cohen
Ron Klein

   
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