Vilnius – Remigijus Žemaitaitis, a member of the Freedom and Justice party who sits in the parliament with a mixed group of MPs, shared a news article about the demolition of a Palestinian school by Israel in the West Bank. Alongside the article, he made a controversial statement, saying, “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.”
In addition to his initial comment, Žemaitaitis further asserted that Israel’s actions not only fuel anger but also contribute to increased hatred towards Jews and their nation. Shockingly, he included an antisemitic rhyme in his post, loosely translating to, “A Jew was climbing a ladder and accidentally fell off. Take a stick, kids, and kill that little Jew.”
The repercussions of Žemaitaitis’ remarks were swift. Israeli Ambassador to Lithuania, Hadas Wittenberg Silverstein, expressed strong disapproval on Monday, stating that such statements could potentially “legitimize antisemitic attitudes.” While acknowledging the importance of freedom of expression, she emphasized that criticism of Israel’s actions and policies should not be conflated with clear anti-Semitism.
Silverstein further criticized Žemaitaitis, accusing him of attempting to legitimize anti-Semitic views and promote hostility towards Jews. She condemned the MP’s comment and all forms of anti-Semitism and hatred.