A response to a new blood plot
By Mordechai Tzivin, Adv.
I’m sad. I was born into a family of immigrants from the USSR, with all the nostalgic memories and sentiments inherent in such families. Today’s Russia, with its undeniable Jewish revival, dozens of rebuilt synagogues, community centers and schools, and the continued support of this renaissance by the authorities of the Russian Federation, makes me grateful and deeply sympathetic. For over twenty years I have been working with colleagues in Russia, invariably meeting respect, understanding and openness to cooperation. The stronger my chagrin is now.
The reason is a new version of the blood libel that appeared recently in the newspaper “Arguments and Facts” (“Argumenti I facti”, AIF). No, this time the blood libel appeared not in its usual primitive form, but in the form of accusing the world’s largest Hasidic movement of Satanism. You heard that right, the traditional religion in the Russian Federation, Judaism, in its Hasidic version, has been publicly declared to be a satanic cult. To put it bluntly, the existence of haters is not a novelty to the Jewish people, and I would not have responded to such illiterate statements, since their absurdity is more than obvious to any knowledgeable person, for every sneeze you would not be congratulated, had it not been for the high rank of the state official who bursted out with this speech,
Let me remind you that Alexey Anatolyevich Pavlov, Assistant Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation published an article in the AIF under the title “What are they cooking in the ‘witch’s cauldron’. Neo-pagan cults have gained strength in Ukraine”. Denouncing forces who seized power in Ukraine, the article contains accusations of Judaism in the service of Satanism. Although I am not well versed in the organizations and forms of Satanism, a unique cult that disgusts any normal human being, nevertheless I cannot remain silent, not in the face of the accusations against Judaism, the most ancient Abrahamic religion, in serving Satan, nor about those specific examples given by Mr. Pavlov, examples that nullify all the pathos of his accusatory speeches.
The first person mentioned in the AiF article was the Ukrainian politician Turchaninov. I do not know his religious beliefs, so I will not comment on what is said about him. Equally, I do not know about the religious views of Yatsenyuk, the second person mentioned in Mr. Pavlov’s article. I am even willing to assume that everything said about them is true.
However, with regard of Mr. Kolomoisky and Mr. Pinchuk mentioned in the same article, I certainly have something to say. I will not evaluate the personal qualities of these gentlemen. What I know about them does not inspire much sympathy towards them. But, in all honesty, the careless illiteracy of the statements made by Mr. Pavlov, in relation to them, does not allow one to treat any of his words with confidence. “If you lie once, who will believe you?” – used to say the unforgettable Kozma Prutkov.
Aleksey Anatolyevich branded these Ukrainian oligarchs as representatives of the “ultra-orthodox religious movement” Chabad. Well, the Chabad movement really belongs to Orthodox Judaism, being one of the leading directions of Hasidism in the world. Moreover, since the time of the founder of this Hasidic direction, Rabbi Shneur-Zalman Schneiorson from Lyadן, it was this branch that was most loyal to the authorities of the Russian Empire, on whose territory it was established. In fact, During the War of 1812, rabbi Schneiorson supported the Russian army and the Russian Tsar Alexander I, despite Napoleon’s more liberal attitude towards Jews. “If Bonaparte wins, the position of the Jews will improve and their wealth will increase, but their hearts will move away from God,” said the head of Chabad.
Particularly interesting, in light of Mr. Pavlov’s insulting attack, is the fact that the vast majority of rabbis in the Russian Federation belong to this branch of Judaism. By the way, most of the practicing Jews on its territory also consider themselves followers of Lubavitch Hasidism, otherwise called Chabad. This mass movement, numbering more than four thousand envoyes in dozens of countries on all continents, deservedly enjoys the reputation of being tolerant and friendly to all people, without exception, regardless of who they are. And in the Russian Federation, the Lubavitch Hasidim have always fruitfully cooperated in good deeds at all levels of the general public and not necessarily with the Jews only. In fact, such a level of mutual understanding could be envied by Jews in other European countries.
Here it is necessary to make some clarification: Judaism in general, and Hasidism in particular, requires its followers to have an extremely regulated lifestyle and the strictest observance of the religious norms. Indeed, at all times the Hasidim were known as the most scrupulously fulfilling all the requirements of Orthodox Judaism. And here is Mr. Kolomoisky, certainly a Jew by origin, never led a religious lifestyle at all, and, moreover, he never made claim to the behavior and outlook of a Hasid. Nevertheless, he is referred to, I quote: “Lubavitch Hasid, Chabadnik.” To call a Jew who does not observe the norms of Judaism a Hasid, and even a Lubavitcher, sounds like a bad joke. While such a level of misunderstanding may be forgivable to a small shopkeeper, it is unacceptable for a government official of this rank who is expected to be informed of elementary things at the very least.
On the same level is the mention of Pinchuk, the second Jewish character in Pavlov’s article. This Ukrainian oligarch did not deny his Jewish origin either, but the level of his observance of the commandments of Judaism can already be judged by a brief note in the same notorious text, reminding that “Pinchuk is the son-in-law of the second president of Ukraine, Kuchma.” Intermarriage in itself removes from Mr. Pinchuk any suspicion of belonging to Orthodox Judaism, which categorically does not accept such a thing. Hence, it does not make sense to even talk here about the Hasidic movement, which is the most strict in observance of the laws of Judaism.
It is not possible to find any basis for the remark casually thrown by Mr Pavlov that “the main life principle of the Lubavitcher Hasidim is the superiority of the supporters of the sect over all nations and peoples”. Only those who are not aware of what has been said can admit the thought of such a feeling of their own superiority over all of humanity, which obviously does not belong to the Lubavitcher Hasidim. I can testify that their “main life principle” is serving the Almighty, the Creator of heaven and earth, in the fulfillment of commandments and good deeds. No wonder that Israeli poet Natan Alterman, in one of his poems, praised the Chabad Hasidim for their loyalty to Russia and their heroism in World War II.
I believe that Aleksey Anatolyevich Pavlov, Assistant Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, is sincerely rooting for Russia and wishes it all the best. But few things can discredit one’s native country more than this kind of collection of absurdities. There are friends that are more dangerous than an enemy. As one intelligent Frenchman said: “This is worse than a crime – this is a mistake.”
Maybe someone misled him, and he thoughtlessly quoted other people’s words.
It is no coincidence that the Secretary of the Security Council, Nikolai Petrushev, apologized for his assistant’s words about the Lubavitcher Chassidim. According to Petrushev, Pavlov’s views on the Hasidic do not reflect the positions of the Russian Federation in general and the Security Council in particular. Strange, however, that even after these immediate words of the superior, Mr. Pavlov did not bother to apologize!