A group of 50 senior leading European Rabbis have signed a joint letter condemning the leaders of Armenia for using holocaust rhetoric in its campaign against its neighbor, Azerbaijan. “Expressions such as ‘ghetto’, ‘genocide’, ‘holocaust’ and others are (…) inappropriate to be part of the jargon used in any kind of political disagreement”, say the rabbis in the letter, addressed to Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and President Vahagn Garniki Khachaturyan. The Rabbis are also expressing their concern over Armenia’s close ties with Iran, “a country which incessantly openly and publicly calls for its destruction of the only Jewish country in the world”, according to the letter.
The letter comes following recent interviews and statements given by Armenian leaders on the subject of the conflict with Azerbaijan over the contested region of Nagorno-Karabakh. In a recent interview by Prime Minister Pashinyan to AFP, the Armenian leader drew comparisons between the holocaust and the ghettos the Nazis have created in Europe for Jews, and what Azerbaijan is currently doing in the conflicted region.
“Let’s go back to the Holocaust (…) Did Hitler come to power and the next morning pulled out the sword and started chasing the Jews in the streets? It lasted years, it was a process (…) Now in Nagorno Karabakh they have created a Ghetto, in the most literal meaning of the word” said Pashinyan in the interview. In another statement by an Armenian official on social media a few days ago the official has compared the Azeris to Hitler, saying that “Azerbaijan’s blockade of Artsakh (The Armenian name for Nagorno-Karabakh) echoes Hitler’s Hunger Plan – both imposed suffering on innocent populations”.
In their letter, the rabbis call upon the Armenian leadership to “explicitly and unequivocally clarify that the Armenian people recognizes and honors the terrible human suffering undergone by the Jewish people” and to stop “belittling the extent of the Jewish people’s suffering to further any political interest through incessantly using phrases associated with the holocaust suffered by the Jewish people”.
The letter was signed by 50 leading rabbis from 20 European countries including, France, England, Germany, Austria, Italy, Norway, Holland, Belgium, Croatia, Spain, Gibraltar, Bulgaria, Montenegro, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, Malta, Cyprus, Estonia, and Ukraine. It was organized by the Rabbinical Center of Europe, a Brussels-based Jewish umbrella organization representing over 800 rabbis and Jewish communities in the continent.