06MOSCOW387, RABBI LAZAR ON SYNAGOGUE ATTACK, IMPORTANCE OF

WikiLeaks Link

To understand the justification used for the classification of each cable, please use this WikiSource article as reference.
Discussing cables
If you find meaningful or important information in a cable, please link directly to its unique reference number. Linking to a specific paragraph in the body of a cable is also possible by copying the appropriate link (to be found at theparagraph symbol).Please mark messages for social networking services like Twitter with the hash tags #cablegate and a hash containing the reference ID e.g. #06MOSCOW387.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MOSCOW387 2006-01-18 13:08 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO4707
RR RUEHDBU
DE RUEHMO #0387/01 0181308
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 181308Z JAN 06
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9277
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV 2119

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MOSCOW 000387 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/17/2016 
TAGS: PGOV SOCI PREL PINR RS
SUBJECT: RABBI LAZAR ON SYNAGOGUE ATTACK, IMPORTANCE OF 
TOLERANCE PROGRAMS 
 
REF: MOSCOW 00262 
 
Classified By: Ambassador William J. Burns.  Reason:  1.4 (B/D). 
 
1. (C) SUMMARY:  In a January 17 meeting with the Ambassador, 
Berl Lazar, one of the leaders of Russia's Jewish community, 
said that though concerns about extremism in the country had 
been mounting, the January 11 synagogue attack had been a 
"wake-up call."  He said the incident offered opportunities 
for the U.S. to offer the Russians cooperation and thus 
strengthen U.S.-Russian ties.  Above all, he described plans 
for the Jewish community to build a museum in Moscow 
dedicated to promoting tolerance and suggested the USG could 
help in that effort.  Though the details of Lazar's proposals 
remain unclear, his push for bilateral cooperation in 
fighting extremism warrants our attention.  END SUMMARY. 
. 
WAKE-UP CALL 
------------ 
 
2. (C) Rabbi Berl Lazar, one of two claimants to the title of 
Chief Rabbi of Russia, began the January 17 meeting by 
expressing appreciation for the Ambassador's January 13 visit 
to the synagogue where the attack had occurred, saying that 
that visit had sent a strong message to the GOR, Russia's 
Jewish community and others.  Noting that he would continue 
to stress to senior GOR officials the importance of combating 
extremism in Russia, the Ambassador praised Lazar's public 
comments, made in the aftermath of the attack, about the 
growing extremist threat in the country. 
 
3. (C) Although he had long been aware that extremism was a 
growing threat in Russia, Lazar said that the synagogue 
attack had nonetheless been a wake-up call.  While he had 
condemned extremist attacks in the past, Lazar said that the 
extent of the problem had only now become apparent to him. 
The Jewish community was also scared, Lazar continued, noting 
that many of its members had told psychiatrists of their 
fears in meetings arranged by his synagogue following the 
attack.  He also had spoken to Russia's chief Mufti, who 
reported that the Muslim community was also deeply worried. 
In addition to his public statements, Lazar had met over the 
past days with State Duma Speaker Boris Gryzlov and others to 
underscore his concern.  His interlocutors had gotten the 
message, Lazar insisted. 
 
4. (C) President Putin was also concerned, Lazar said.  Putin 
favored tolerance and religious freedom, although his ability 
to promote it was limited by the political influence of the 
Russian Orthodox Church (ROC).  In Lazar's view, Putin was 
frustrated by excessive ROC influence and would be willing to 
do more. 
. 
OPPORTUNITY FOR COOPERATION 
--------------------------- 
 
5. (C) The synagogue attack had created an opportunity to 
foster U.S.-Russian cooperation in the fight against 
extremism, a non-political issue where the GOR might be 
responsive, Lazar continued.  Saying that he would meet with 
President Putin within the next two weeks, Lazar said he 
would focus on two proposals: 
 
-- Given that the synagogue attacker had reportedly been 
influenced in part by extremist Internet sites, Lazar said 
that dealing with promoting hatred over the Internet was an 
area of potential cooperation.  The U.S. was grappling with 
similar problems, and offering to share experiences might be 
welcomed by the GOR. 
 
-- Lazar also said he was developing a museum or center 
designed to combat extremism, along the lines of the 
Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C.  The Moscow city 
government had already provided a site in Moscow worth some 
USD 15 million for the project, and Putin had expressed 
support.  The Jewish community would lead in this effort, but 
the museum would address all forms of extremism, not just 
anti-Semitism, Lazar said.  German Chancellor Merkel had 
reacted positively when Lazar had met her during her recent 
visit, he reported.  Lazar asked the Ambassador for support 
in the effort. 
 
6. (C) Emphasizing the importance of seizing the moment, the 
Ambassador praised Lazar's desire to foster new initiatives. 
Extremism was an international phenomenon, the Ambassador 
stressed, and the Kremlin should not feel threatened by the 
possibility of cooperating in combating it.  The Ambassador 
noted that the USG already had tolerance programs in Russia, 
and added that new initiatives were likely to be most well 
received if the Kremlin saw itself as playing a leading role. 
 
MOSCOW 00000387  002 OF 002 
 
 
 Reiterating his interest in pursuing the effort, the 
Ambassador asked that Lazar keep him posted about progress on 
the initiatives, including Putin's reactions to them. 
. 
COMMENT 
------- 
 
7. (C) Lazar has long been criticized as downplaying the 
extent of xenophobia in Russia.  Judging by his public 
statements, as well as his remarks to the Ambassador, Lazar 
now sees the issue differently and will be more outspoken. 
Despite his recent comments, Lazar will likely retain the 
good contacts
 he has long enjoyed in the Kremlin, and he 
appears well placed to pursue his initiatives.  We believe 
they may be worth supporting, at least to some extent, in 
order both to help combat Russia's growing extremism and 
potentially to expand USG cooperation with the Russians. 
BURNS

Wikileaks

Advertisements
Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: