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Chabad-Lubavitch Slams Silence of Lithuanian Jews

The Chabad-Lubavitch movement has issued a rare condemnation for the silence of Jewish leadership in the face of media anti-Semitism.
By Hana Levi Julian
First Publish: 1/5/2012, 2:34 PM

770 Eastern Pkwy World Lubavitch HQ
770 Eastern Pkwy World Lubavitch HQ
Shneur Beshaari

The Chabad-Lubavitch movement has issued a rare condemnation, slamming the Jewish leadership of Lithuania for its silence in the face of media anti-Semitism.

The fiery statement came in the wake of a report published by a  Lithuanian tabloid newspaper targeting the country's Chabad-Lubavitch emissary in a misleading attack article on paying one's taxes.

The newspaper, Vakaro Zionios, ran a front page photo of Rabbi Sholom Ber Krinsky in its December 21, 2011 edition with the headline "The Jews," adding in a subhead, in smaller letters, "see no need to pay their social security taxes."

Placed for maximum effect, the image and headline conveyed the impression that a visibly religious Jew -- Rabbi Krinsky -- is the worst offender in this regard, noted the Brooklyn, New York-based Lubavitch World Headquarters in a pointed statement about the article.

Readers who actually read the article, however, discovered that ten companies, including Western Union, were the most delinquent in their tax payments to the Lithuanian government.

"We condemn this news item as a vicious, transparent act of anti-Semitism," wrote the Lubavitch World Headquarters. "We implore readers and watchdog agencies to vigorously protest this dangerous provocation."

In its statement, Lubavitch World Headquarters slammed the lack of any response by the country's Jewish community and its leadership. "They have made themselves conspicuous in their stunning silence," the movement noted.

Then in one of the rarest recommendations ever made in a public statement by the Lubavitch World Headquarters, the statement continued: "The indifference of individuals who sit at the helm of the well-funded Jewish community of Lithuania, meant to serve the Jewish people, begs scrutiny by the media, the broader Jewish community and the government of Lithuania."

Chabad-Lubavitch is known for its intense emphasis on underscoring the positive things in Judaism and in life, and avoiding the contribution of energy or resources to anything negative, as much as is possible. The movement rarely criticizes any public official or community leader in public, preferring to discuss such matters in private if needed.