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Belarusian propaganda resorts to anti-Semitism
But we are still fascists for them
Dusseldorf-based historian Alexander Friedman has noted that the Belarusian state propaganda cultivates anti-Semitism. It looks like it's hard to disagree with this. The state media and pro-government telegram channels use tried-and-true Soviet techniques from the era of the "fight against cosmopolitanism" and Stalin's "doctor's case."
State propaganda, while mentioning certain opponents of Lukashenka, emphasizes their "improper" Jewishness. Here, for example, is what Andrei Mukavozchyk writes about blogger Yauhen Lipkovich:
"Jews around the world have recognized Lipkovich as an anti-Semite. Having finally realized that his entire life for those around him is a clear call for anti-Semitism. And hygiene. But the first is more important, though the second is stronger."
Mukavozchyk also openly hints at the roots of businessman Arkadz Israelievich, saying that he is "shrewdly arranging his eggs in different baskets.”
Designer Uladzimir Tsesler also gets it from Mukavozchyk
"...the very birth of Vova Tsesler might not have happened if one button [ it is about the play's poster, which shows an overcoat with three buttons: a Polish, a German, and a Soviet one. - Euroradio] didn't beat the other one. The one he (and a great many of us) owes, by and large, his life. The other, on the contrary, had as its life goal to obliterate us. Should we compare them? Hang them in a row on the same overcoat?"
Pro-Kremlin telegraph channels, behind which, to all appearances, are employees of the state-run media, allow themselves more explicit statements. Here is an example from a channel named after yellow fruit.
"Overall, with the last name of Shraibman, it is more than strange to root for such symbols [the white-red-white flag - Euroradio]. Apparently, green money is dearer to him than gray ash. The same ash that still lies one meter thick underneath former concentration camps."
Another similar channel, named after a Japanese ritual suicide, also mentions Artsyom Shraibman. The allusion to the wrong letters in the "fifth column" here is unambiguous:
"We, in fact, never stopped following the work of a man with true Belarusian roots, and he recently pleased us once again."
The apogee of anti-Semitism in the "fruit" channel happened in honor of Maksim Katz: "This putz is broken, bring in another one."
The propagandists also allow themselves attacks in the vein of "collective Sheilack" (Azaronak) and "deep state" -- only with allusions not to the deep state but the hints at the "Zionist conspiracy.”
Another striking example of hidden (not much) extremism was Alyaksei Holikau's speech on STV. In his remarks, the blogger praised the Third Reich for its harsh measures and called on the Belarusian authorities to "put things in order" just as actively. That is, to finally resolve the issue.
All this content can be considered in the frame of Article 130 of the Criminal Code -- "Incitement to racial, national, religious or other social hatred or discord. Committed by a group of people, such a crime can be punishable by up to 12 years in prison. But, as one longtime political resident said, sometimes the law can wait.
Gesheft as a symbol of evil
Both the official propagandists and the supposedly anonymous telegraph channels have a special "love" for the word "gesheft. It is a word from Yiddish that means a lucrative deal. Award winners and medalists from the state media imply the benefit supposedly received by "unscrupulous oppositionists."
"Today, we will find out what was behind the turmoil surrounding the death of Raman Bandarenka, and who, for the sake of political gesheft, did not allow his mother to bury her son in a Christian manner," says Ryhor Azaronak.
Here is a preview of Ihar Tura's program "Lies of the Fugitive" from the same "fruit" channel.
"Lies of the Fugitive" is a particular segment about crooks and deceivers who promised a mountain of gold for betrayal but abandoned their flock when the hedge didn't work out.
But let's go back to Azaronak. Here is how he commented on another flash mob with "protest" dances:
"It's a shame that these poor deluded people here are spinning for free. Some have their gesheft from their dances. At the same time, some media outlets have gone completely nuts because of the grant money."
But those are propagandists. Lukashenka's aide Valery Belski used this word with obvious implications: "Telegram channels, after growing on provocative, anti-state content, now have an excellent gesheft."
Rabbi: Belarus has one of the lowest levels of anti-Semitism
Speaking to Euroradio, rabbi Grigory Abramovich at once stressed that, as a rabbi, he could not talk about politics. But he agreed to discuss whether the level of anti-Semitism in Belarus is high. He has many states to compare: in addition to our country, he has lived in Great Britain, Israel, and Russia.
"Usually, our anti-Semitism stays at the household level. On the whole, it is much lower in Belarus than in many other countries. There is a role of state control to prevent aggression and historical experience," says Abramovich. "I would say that it is our national treasure."
As a plus, he cited his ability to write to the "Narodnaya Gazeta" once a month.
"It's unique for a rabbi to be able to publish in a state newspaper with a large circulation. It's an opportunity to talk about our traditions, culture, to educate about something. It is vital."
Abramovich says he has repeatedly had conversations with those who have made anti-Semitic statements in public or on social feeds.
"In a personal conversation, the vast majority say they did not mean to say so and have nothing against," he notes.
At the same time, according to the rabbi, different people may be offended by different words.
"They say you can't offend a person, but they may be offended. Yes, for example, the word "putz" does not have a perfect translation, but someone may not react to it. Just like the word "dick": some people will take it well, but others will be offended."
At the end of the conversation, Abramovich returned to its beginning. Indeed, according to him, the level of anti-Semitism in Belarus is low. But that does not mean we should relax.
"Today, it is like that, and tomorrow it may be different. And the question will arise: what have we done to keep it at least at today's level? It's important. We still have to work on ourselves."