Press Release

ADL Urges Latvia to Respond to Anti-Semitic Incitement of Right-Wing Leader

New York, NY, March 23, 2011 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today urged the Latvian government to bring to justice a right-wing leader for his televised incitement to violence against the Jewish community, including comments that the Jews of Latvia "need to be hung from a pole" and "should all be killed."

Uldis Freimanis, a prominent leader of the extreme right in Latvia, made the comments during a March 16 appearance on a popular Latvian television program known as "Without Censorship." He also made numerous anti-Semitic references, calling Jews "clowns" and blaming them for having "bankrupted everyone."

"Uldis Freimanis said on live TV that Jews should be shot and hanged," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "His call for bloodshed should be publicly denounced and Latvia's leadership must use all available legal means to bring him to justice. They must send a clear signal that Latvia does not tolerate incitement to ethnic hatred."

According to the Latvian Criminal Code, it is illegal to instigate national, ethnic and racial hatred, and illegal to incite religious hatred.

During the television appearance, Freimanis said: "We live here, and these Jews are making noise and monkeying around and strutting … And right then they should have been shot point blank ... They're all clowns, those Jews."

He later blamed Jews for causing problems "so then they can profit from it. That's it, they just need to be hung from a pole … They should be shot, all these provocateurs." Freimanis also invoked anti-Jewish stereotypes about Jews and money, saying "Jews everywhere know how to make money … They came here from Odess or from Gomel to do banking, yeah, banking, and they bankrupted everyone."

In a letter to Latvian Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis, ADL noted that his government previously spoke out against actions by Freimanis and said its reaction to this latest incitement is critically important.

"The reaction of your government and your law enforcement officials to this incident will be the benchmark against which Latvia's commitment to combating anti-Semitism and protecting its Jewish community will be judged," the letter stated.

In June 2010, Prime Minister Dombrovskis spoke out against Freimanis's provocations after a court decision allowed Freimanis to proceed with a march to celebrate the Nazi invasion of Riga.