Staunton, August 16 – At a meeting with 150 Jordanian Chechens broadcast on Grozny state television, republic head Ramzan Kadyrov said that “the Prophet had killed Jews more than any other people” because they are “the main enemy of Islam,” the latest display of Kadyrov’s increasing anti-Semitism, something that may cause trouble for his Kremlin patron.
In reporting this, Israeli specialist on the North Caucasus Avraam Shmulyevich notes that Kadyrov’s words have already brought sharp rejoinder from a leading Chechen opposition blogger but not yet from the Israeli government (afterempire.info/2019/08/16/kadirov-hochet-stravit-evreev-i-chechencev/).
Blogger Tumsu Abdurkhamanov points out that Muhammed fought only one battle with the Jews but struggled constantly with pagan Arab tribes, a matter of historical fact (youtu.be/kSm-g-l8HJo?t=3615). Instead, the Chechen leader is using anti-Semitic propaganda to set Chechens and Jews at odds even though historically they’ve not had problems.
But the Israeli government so far, Shmulyevich says, has not reacted and may in fact not do so. “In recent years, the Netanyahu government has preferred to close its eyes at the manifestation of official anti-Semitism by the powers that be of the Russian Federation,” including statements by Kadyrov.
This is hardly the first time Kadyrov has used anti-Semitic and anti-Israel rhetoric. In July, he called Israel “a terrorist organization” (youtu.be/cTMt1TvUwPY) ; and in 2017, he threatened reprisals on Israel for what he said was its failure to follow the provisions of international law (youtu.be/HnB6EjqKeos?t=383).
Earlier, to be sure, the Chechen leader adopted a more philosemitic line as in 2013 when he declared that “the Prophet Muhammed was very well disposed to Jews,” an apparent reflection of his hopes at that time for assistance from the Israelis, Shmulyevich says (youtu.be/BqurVDezaYk).
The big question is whether Kadyrov’s current line will get him in trouble with Vladimir Putin and become the occasion for his removal or downgrading – or whether in fact the Kremlin leader views such Kadyrov statements as useful to him and his regime, even if at some level he may not fully subscribe to them.