WASHINGTON, DC, March 28, 2018 - NCSEJ expresses its deepest condolences to the Russian people in the wake of the tragic fire in Kemerovo that claimed 64 lives, many of them children.
We are disturbed, however, by reports of individuals using social media to spread anti-Semitic conspiracy theories about the fire, including blood libel. Some claim that Jews are responsible for the fire and committed ritual murder in the days before Passover.
NCSEJ urges the Russian government to condemn these claims of blood libel.
Rumors of blood libel and ritual murder have existed in Russia and around the world for centuries. In the past, government authorities and others have used blood libel as pretense for persecuting and committing violence against Jews. NCSEJ last spoke out about blood libel rumors in Russia in November 2017 when a Ministry of Justice official opened an inquiry into the murder of Tsar Nicholas II and his family, claiming Jews may have killed them in a ritual murder.
NCSEJ Chairman Daniel Rubin said, "It is deeply troubling that some in Russia are using the timing of the Kemerovo tragedy, days before the start of Passover, as an excuse to defame the Jewish people." The coming of Passover and Easter marks a time of renewal and togetherness. NCSEJ is hopeful that the Russian government will disavow those who seek to divide us in the wake of this tragedy.