Russia Irate Over U.S. Judge's Order On Disputed Jewish Texts

By Reuters

Published January 18, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Russia has criticised a U.S. judge’s ruling in a longstanding dispute over a collection of Jewish writings, warning of potential retaliation in an irate statement that reflected strained ties with the United States.

A judge in Washington on Wednesday ordered Russia to pay $50,000 a day in fines for failure to adhere to a 2010 ruling requiring it to return books and documents to the New York-based Chabad-Lubavitch group.

The ruling raised hackles in Russia at a time when relations are strained by differences over the conflict in Syria and by a law signed by President Vladimir Putin last month barring Americans from adopting Russian orphans.

Putin, who began a six-year third term as president last May, has frequently assailed the United States for what he sees as interference in the affairs of other countries, and accuses Washington of seeking to impose its will and laws abroad.

In a Foreign Ministry statement on Thursday, Russia called the initial ruling ordering the return of the texts “odious” and made clear it had no intention of paying fines.

“We have said more than once that this verdict is of an extraterritorial nature, contradicts international law and is legally void,” it said of the 2010 ruling.

It dismissed the new ruling as “absolutely unlawful and provocative” and threatened harsh but unspecified retaliation if Russian property is seized by the United States in the dispute, though there was no immediate indication that would occur.

The Schneerson Collection texts are held in Russian state libraries and archives and have been the subject of a legal and diplomatic tug-of-war since before the 1991 Soviet collapse.

Some of them had been seized by Hitler’s forces as they pushed eastward during World War Two and then confiscated by the Soviet Union as it drove the Germans back.

“The American authorities, we hope, understand that if Russian state property not protected by diplomatic immunity is seized by the United States … we will be forced to take tough measures in response,” the Russian statement said.

The language was similar to that Russia used in threats last year to retaliate if the United States adopted a law to punish alleged Russian human rights violators by denying them U.S. visas and seizing their assets in the United States.

President Barack Obama signed that law, known as the Magnitsky Act, in December. The Kremlin-controlled Russian parliament swiftly responded with a law imposing similar measures on Americans and banning adoptions. (Writing by Steve Gutterman; Editing by Xavier Briand)


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • A grumpy Jewish grandfather is wary of his granddaughter's celebrating Easter with the in-laws. But the Seesaw says it might just make her appreciate Judaism more. What do you think?
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • What can we learn from tragedies like the rampage in suburban Kansas City? For one thing, we must keep our eyes on the real threats that we as Jews face.
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
  • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach! http://jd.fo/q3LO2
  • "We are not so far removed from the tragedies of the past, and as Jews sit down to the Seder meal, this event is a teachable moment of how the hatred of Jews-as-Other is still alive and well. It is not realistic to be complacent."
  • Aperitif Cocktail, Tequila Shot, Tom Collins or Vodka Soda — Which son do you relate to?
  • Elvis craved bacon on tour. Michael Jackson craved matzo ball soup. We've got the recipe.
  • This is the face of hatred.
  • What could be wrong with a bunch of guys kicking back with a steak and a couple of beers and talking about the Seder? Try everything. #ManSeder
  • BREAKING: Smirking killer singled out Jews for death in suburban Kansas City rampage. 3 die in bloody rampage at JCC and retirement home.
  • Real exodus? For Mimi Minsky, it's screaming kids and demanding hubby on way down to Miami, not matzo in the desert.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.