Azerbaijan, Baku, Nov.4 / Trend, A.Gasimova /
On the night of October 20, 2010, an unidentified group of people desecrated the Holocaust memorial in the capital of Armenia, Yerevan. The memorial erected in 1999 was spray-painted with swastika and "Death to Jews" inscriptions in Armenian, the Azerbaijani-American Council said.
This is not a first time when the Holocaust memorial in Armenia was vandalized, similar acts were committed against the monument in 2005 and 2007.
Yet this new act of vandalism against the Holocaust memorial reveals the disturbing persistence of anti-Semitism in Armenian society. The anti-Jewish feelings are also blossoming amidst the general atmosphere of Turcophobia and anti-Azerbaijani sentiment often fueled for political purposes in now mono-ethnic Armenia. To justify country's ongoing occupation and ethnic cleansing of Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding territories of neighboring Azerbaijan, Armenian authorities and media resort to various forms of propaganda of intolerance.
In contrast, the neighboring predominantly-Muslim secular Azerbaijan has demonstrated a remarkable history of tolerance towards Jewish communities and other ethnic and religious congregations in the country. Just today, on November 3, 2010, public officials, representatives of Jewish community, and diplomats from different countries joined a groundbreaking ceremony of a new synagogue in the historic Jewish quarter of Azerbaijani capital, Baku. The ceremony came a month after the grand opening of the Chabad Ohr Avner Educational Complex in Baku on October 4.
"Only in Azerbaijan within just one month could such a landmark event have occurred in the life of the Jewish community," Israeli ambassador to Azerbaijan, Michael Lavon-Lotem said speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony for a new synagogue.
"Azerbaijani-American Council (AAC) applauds the groundbreaking of a new synagogue in Azerbaijan as another sign of tolerance and intercultural synergy practiced in Azerbaijani society. AAC also expresses its indignation about the acts of anti-Semitism and intolerance in Armenia or any other part of South Caucasus. We appeal to Armenian authorities and media to put an end to the propaganda of irredentism, ethnocentrism, and phobia against neighboring nations. Such policies have already isolated Armenia and threaten to further deprive Armenian people from regional integration and economic development opportunities," the Council's report says.