Signatures collected in Lithuania for MP Zemaitaitis' impeachment for anti-Semitic remarks

  • 2023-09-15
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – Lithuania's ruling block has collected signatures for the impeachment of MP Remigijus Zemaitaitis for his anti-Semitic statements.

"Judging from the content of MP Zemaitaitis' statements and their systematic repetition, it can be concluded that these statements are characterized by constant incitement to hatred, the promotion of anti-Semitic attitudes and the creation of hostility, which is directed against a single minority nationality – the Jewish people and the State of Israel," the impeachment text reads.

The impeachment motion has been signed by 36 MPs, including Speaker of the Seimas Viktorija Cmilyte-Nielsen, who leads the Liberal Movement, as ell as the elders of the ruling political groups.

According to the ruling block, such systematically repeated statements are aimed at inciting violence and hostility, justifying hatred against the Jewish people as a whole, and provoking social and national discord, which runs counter to the Constitution and the country's interests in the area of international relations.

The impeachment text also contains examples of Zemaitaitis' remarks, like "It turns out that, besides Putin, another animal has emerged in the world – ISRAEL" as well as "We, the Lithuanian nation, must never forget the Jews and the Russians who very actively contributed to the DESTRUCTION OF OUR PEOPLE!" and others.

The coalition council of the ruling conservative Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats, the Liberal Movement and the Freedom Party decided to initiate impeachment proceedings against Zemaitaitis in late August.

At lest 36 signatures are needed to put forwards a proposal to the Seimas to launch impeachment proceedings.

The move comes in response to the MP's several anti-Semitic Facebook posts in June when he expressed anger over Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte's visit to Israel and accused Jews of deporting and killing Lithuanians. The Lithuanian lawmaker was triggered by the news of Israel's demolition of a Palestinian school. He likened Israel to Russian President Vladimir Putin's war in Ukraine and also quoted an anti-Semitic nursery rhyme.

In response to Zemaitaitis' statements, the Prosecutor General's Office opened pre-trial investigations in late June into public contempt and incitement to hatred against any national, racial, ethnic, religious or other group of people. Prosecutors plan to take further decisions after receiving experts' opinions.

Zemaitaitis' statements have received condemnation from Lithuanian leaders and diplomats. And his statement about the demolition of a Palestinian school led to the suspension of his membership of the Freedom and Justice Party.

Zemaitaitis says his statements about Jews are based on archival materials.