Foreign Minister, on eve of Jerusalem visit, explains his view of ‘red and brown’

In a wide-ranging interview (English here), Lithuania’s foreign minister remarked before his visit to Jerusalem that Nazi and Soviet crimes were indeed different, but in this sense: ‘Lithuania suffered from both, but civilized humanity universally condemned the crimes of the Nazis a long time ago, whereas the memory of the Soviet victims was neither morally nor legally assessed for a long time’.
There is no retreat from the implicit equation of the unequatable, no comment on the unique scale of Holocaust genocide which has left Litvak Jewry on the brink of extinction; on his country’s legacy of massive collaboration; on his state agencies’ continuing defamation of elderly Holocaust survivors who joined the anti-Nazi resistance; on his ministry’s investment in the Prague Declaration and other red-brown initiatives; on the attempts to forge a single ‘state truth’ history for Europe. Hopefully, the minister, who has forcefully condemned racist, antisemitic and homophobic outbursts in the media, will now announce removal of the ‘red-equals-brown movement’ from his ministry’s agenda. Text of a public letter addressed to the foreign minister follows.

‘Mr Foreign Minister, the unspeakable pain inflicted on the tiny remnant Jewish communities of Eastern Europe by the unconscionable defamation of Holocaust survivors by your prosecutors (in Lithuania alone among the nations of Europe); by the Prague Declaration and red-brown commissions; by all the state sponsored efforts to obfuscate the Holocaust — these are even more hurtful and damaging than those crude outbursts in the media that you have boldly condemned. There is little to be gained by condemning primitive antisemitism with one hand while espousing its sophisticated new incarnation with the other. The Prague Declaration is the new antisemitism par excellence (see. e.g. Heni 2009, Katz 2009, Katz and Heni 2009, Samuels 2009). Jerusalem’s Global Forum for Combating Antisemitism presents a splendid opportunity for your government to abandon the red-equals-brown movement and the dictation of ‘truth in history’ by politicians (see Milne 2009Steele 2009). Leave history to the competing ideas of historians.’

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