'Cherish the Jews!'

By Farhad Akhmedov

Armenian people should reconcile with their neighbors and abandon anti-Semitism, as states the former member of the Russian Federation Council Farhad Akhmedov.

No one would consider a pedophile a decent person, nor should anyone consider a racist or anti-Semite person as someone respectable. If you justify such people and their actions, then you are a racist and an anti-Semite yourself.

It can't be otherwise in the 21st century. For me at least. By the will of fate, after leaving home, for all my life since the age of fifteen I am in close contact with Jewish people. A big part of my closest friends are Jews. I learn much from them, and I'm sure they do the same. After all, all of us are related through Abraham and his sons Ishmael and Isaac. I am firm in my rejection of anti-Semitism. Precisely such an attitude towards anti-Semitism or racism is nowdays the only acceptable one in all the advanced countries.

Racism was perfectly acceptable in the United States until the 60s of the twentieth century. Moreover, anti-Semitism was even encouraged at the beginning of the last century, for example, in France or in Russia. This kind of windset unwittingly changed the German Nazism which eventually created the Holocaust. Millions of innocent victims were herded into a soulless extermination factory in the name of the "final solution of the Jewish question". This cruel destruction of all Jews around the globe horrified the world. Since then, anti-Semitism and its creation, the Holocaust, have forever been ranked among the most serious crimes against humanity.

This happened almost everywhere after WWII. The Soviet Union was a relative exception. Remarkably, this embryo of the world revolution was created on the ruins of the former empire, including by the Jews. But after Trotsky lost the leadership to Stalin, latent and sometimes open anti-Semitism became de facto state policy in the USSR. Jews were kicked out of the government bodies, scientific and cultural institutions and, as a result, from the country. It does not matter how this was justified, in the end all this became one of the factors that was weakening the USSR.

Let's take a look at the Spanish case that comes to mind. At the end of the 15th century, they tried to expel all Jews. This also only weakened the country. Even the total robbery of America did not make the situation better. 300 tons of gold, which Spain had been taking annually from there, were wasted on wars and intrigues. Inside Spain, no gold was even seen. The kings pledged it in advance to the Italian bankers under subsidies to continue the wars. As a result, Spain lost all of these wars.

The USSR has been gone for 30 years. Its collapse, by the way, proved that there was no actual "people's anti-Semitism" in the USSR - no Jewish pogroms, which someone was afraid of and someone expected did not happen during the collapse of the country.

Now let's take a look on the anti-Semitism works out on post-Soviet space today.

Overall, not bad. And we are not talking about Azerbaijan which has never developed anti-Semitism. Mountain Jews have lived alongside Muslims for hundreds of years. European Jews have been living quietly in Baku for 150 years already. In other countries the situation is generally fine as well. Russia became one of Israel's closest partners, and a Jew has been elected to be president of Ukraine, while ukrainians have been reproached for being anti-Semitists. There are many Jews among the leaders of the highest rank in many other states.

I don't recall any bright examples of open or state level anti-Semitism in almost none of the republics of the former USSR. Though there is one exception. Recently the Ministry of Diaspora Affairs of Israel has published a report. The authors of this report state that the pandemic has increased anti-Semitism around the world. It is especially noted that the war in Nagorno-Karabakh "led to an alarming increase in the level of anti-Semitism on the Armenian side amid criticism of political and defense cooperation between Israel and Azerbaijan."

Where does this anti-Semitism come from now? I would divide the answer into three components. Firstly, for centuries Armenians have been competing with Jews, they've been fighting for the so-called "ecological niche". So they always had anti-Semitism. This is partly the basis for the close interaction of Armenia with Iran, the most anti-Semitic country in the region. Secondly, Armenia has lost the competition to Israel for the title of the most successful country created by a diaspora. Thirdly, resentment and jealousy towards Jews and Israel have floated to the surface and became an important component of Yerevan's propaganda when the time of defeat came.

After all, from the point of view of the Armenian authorities, who is to blame? They name anyone - Turks, Syrian militants, Russia and, more and more often, Israel. For what? Formally, for selling weapons to Baku. As if the Armenian's side request of the same kind was denied. But in fact, the above-mentioned report clearly states that the main reason for this is the same enduring anti-Semitism. It's just that now they may not even try to hide this anti-Semitism.

The answer is very clear - the people of Azerbaijan won, they expelled the occupants from their land. I have been at the front more than once, delivering humanitarian supplies to the front line, and I know that the victory was not won by drones, weapons, money: those were people who made the victory. I saw them, I spoke to them, I remember the sparkle in their eyes, the readiness to die for the right thing. I can testify: not a single Azerbaijani could endure waiting anymore.

That's where I come back to the beginning. Any decent person in the 21st century clearly understands that blaming Jews for your own problems is not only a sign of weakness, but also evidence of adherence to unacceptable concepts and approaches. Moreover, the attitude towards Jews and the Jewish state has changed significantly in recent years and even months. The mutual steps of Israel and the Arab countries towards each other confirm this fact.

It is time for the Armenians to understand: people who claim to be exclusive, who oppose themselves to the whole world, have no chance! You cannot build happiness for your own country on the basis of hatred towards other people. It's time to make peace in the whole world, make up with Azerbaijani and the same with Jews. It's time to understand that anti-Semitism and the absence of Jews in the country is not a strength, but a weakness, a path to nowhere. We must take an example from Germany. They abandoned fascism, anti-Semitism, territorial claims to their neighbors, so they became the leading power on the continent.

Take good care of the Jews! Cherish them!

Farhad Akhmedov, ex-senator of the Russian Federation, businessman, philanthropist