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Exiled Chief Rabbi Warns Russia’s Jews to Leave Before Too Late

Pinchas Goldschmidt also said that while Russia’s Jews faced an uncertain future, antisemitism was on the rise across Europe and the US. Photograph: Matthias Schräder/AP

Moscow’s exiled chief rabbi says Jews should leave Russia while they still can, before they are made scapegoats for the hardship caused by the war in Ukraine.

“When we look back over Russian history, whenever the political system was in danger you saw the government trying to redirect the anger and discontent of the masses towards the Jewish community,” Pinchas Goldschmidt told the Guardian. “We saw this in tsarist times and at the end of the Stalinist regime.”

“We’re seeing rising antisemitism while Russia is going back to a new kind of Soviet Union, and step by step the iron curtain is coming down again. This is why I believe the best option for Russian Jews is to leave,” he added.

Goldschmidt resigned from his post and left Russia in July after refusing to back the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“Pressure was put on community leaders to support the war and I refused to do so. I resigned because to continue as chief rabbi of Moscow would be a problem for the community because of the repressive measures taken against dissidents,” he said.

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