Statement by Public Defender and Tolerance Center of Public Defender on Anti-Semitic Remarks
The Public Defender of Georgia is responding to the events developed around the preaching of Ioane Gamrekeli, Metropolitan of Kutaisi and Gaenati Diocese of the Georgian Orthodox Church, and Ilia Karkadze, Deacon of the Kutaisi-Gaenati Diocese, which creates the risk of strengthening anti-Semitism in the country.
Initially, the only person to respond to the above from the Georgian side was Lasha Zhvania, Georgia's Ambassador to Israel, who, instead of criticizing the preaching, called the criticism against the Metropolitan a slander. Later, Georgian Foreign Minister Davit Zalkaliani noted that even the slightest manifestation of anti-Semitism would never find a place in the heart and consciousness of Georgians.
According to the Public Defender, the spread of anti-Semitic views in the country threatens the equality of the ethnic Jewish people and, at the same time, shows that one of the most horrible crimes in the history of mankind - the Holocaust and its preconditions - have not been properly understood. Any manifestation of anti-Semitism is dangerous for every citizen, as well as for society as a whole.
It is necessary that the recent anti-Semitic rhetoric be not only the matter of discussion of certain individuals, but that the Georgian authorities, in order to avoid the development of anti-Semitic sentiments, immediately condemn any kind of anti-Semitic attitude by clear and public statements and express support for the Jewish people, which, inter alia, will raise public awareness of anti-Semitism.
It should be noted that January 27 is the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which has been annually celebrated by the Public Defender of Georgia since 2013.