Israeli Embassy slams Lithuanian MP's comments on demolished Palestinian school

  • 2023-05-08
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS - Israeli Ambassador to Lithuania Hadas Wittenberg Silverstein has condemned Lithuanian MP Remigijus Zemaitaitis recent statement after the demolition of a Palestinian school in the occupied West Bank, saying that he's goal is to "legitimize anti-Semitic attitudes".

"While we respect the freedom of expression, we stress that criticism of Israel's actions and policies is one thing, but clearly anti-Semitic comments are a total different matter," the Israeli diplomat said in a statement on Monday.

"Using this opportunity, MP Zemaitaitis is seeking to legitimize anti-Semitic attitudes and the crackdown on Jews. We strongly condemn this comment by the member of the Seimas and all forms of anti-Semitism and hatred," she said.

Her statement came in response to Zemaitaitis' Facebook post on the demolition of a Palestinian primary school by Israeli forces on Sunday.

"It turns out that we have other animals in the world besides Putin, and it's ISRAEL. One is destroying schools with tanks, and the other one is using tractors," the Lithuanian politician posted on his Facebook account, adding that it was no wonder after such events that there are several anti-Semitic sayings in Lithuanian.

He argued that such actions only "increase the anger and, at the same time, the hatred towards Jews and their nation".

For its part, the Israeli Embassy pointed out that the Nazis and their local collaborators killed 95 percent of Lithuania's Jews that during the Holocaust on the basis of such anti-Semitic attitudes.

"As we remember this brutal and tragic chapter of history and realize that government representatives' statements inevitably influence public attitudes, we call on the member of the Seimas to apologize for his words that hurt the Jewish survivors of the Holocaust catastrophe and demean the memory of victims of this brutal period," the ambassador said.

Having funded the construction of the demolished school, the European Union has also criticized Israel's decision to demolish the school. Meanwhile, Israel maintained that the school was built illegally and also cited safety issues.