On the Eve of the 30 Sept. 2015 “Conference on Antisemitism and Radicalism” in Vilnius

From our front page of 29 September 2015:

Wednesday’s Conference in Vilnius on Antisemitism and Radicalism

Will it confront issues or be another de-facto government PR exercise?

Will the conference discuss neo-Nazi marches allowed to take over the center of Kaunas each February 16th and the center of Vilnius each March 11th? Shrines, plaques and street names that honor Holocaust collaborators? Attacks on Holocaust survivors by state commissions? Defamation of Jewish partisan veterans? Absence of state apologies to defamed Jewish partisan heroes? Prosecutorial persecution of Lithuanian Holocaust truth-tellers and other violations of freedom of speech? Whether neo-Nazi PR master “Zeppelinus” is still a high Economy Ministry official? The 2010 legalization of swastikas? 2010 criminalization of Western views of World War II? 2015 project to build a $25,000,000 convention center in the heart of Vilnius’s old Jewish cemetery? A Protestant pastor spoke out; so did Litvak rabbis from around the world, a Holocaust survivor, and the top expert on the cemetery’s history. But when the chief rabbi of 11 years supported the international consensus, he was fired for his opinion. His views on antisemitism in Lithuania could have enlightened this conference — but he was not invited to speak.

The real issues of antisemitism and racism in Lithuania? Discussion of the solutions?

One of the conference organizers, Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas, itself hosts a lecture hall and bas-relief glorifying the same Holocaust collaborator and 1941 Nazi puppet prime minister who was reburied in Kaunas with full honors in 2012. Its top historian had this to say about cancellation of one of the festive events celebrating the collaborator’s glorification at his university. The then editor of the Jewish community’s newspaper replied. As the Jewish paper’s editor for a dozen years, and a seasoned national observer of antisemitism, he could have contributed meaningfully to this week’s conference — but was not invited.

The main conference organizer is the Vilnius-based Human Rights Monitoring Institute (HRMI). During this year’s Nazi march season, an Icelandic friend of Lithuania, Vilhjálmur Örn Vilhjálmsson, asked why the HRMI is silent about antisemitic outrages over a period of many years? Now, he has published a new critique on the eve of the HRMI’s “sudden conference on antisemitism”.

One of the invited speakers is an alleged Israel-baiting activist who makes films about local postwar resistance fighters without mentioning their alleged Holocaust atrocities.


This entry was posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Events, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, September 23rd Commemorations. Bookmark the permalink.
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