UMD Condemns Anti-Semitic Tirade by Government, Party Officials, Journalists Toward Macedonian Labor Minister Mizrahi

The United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) condemns the anti-Semitic attacks on Macedonia’s first Jewish minister, Rashela Mizrahi. The attacks and insults waged against Mizrahi took the form of a very concentrated campaign, which culminated in her removal from the post of minister for labor and social policy.

Mizrahi held press conferences before a sign that referred to the country as “Republic of Macedonia.” Labor Minister Mizrahi, standing in front of the ministry’s banner was, in effect, quietly protesting the injustice of the process pursued to change Macedonia’s official name.

Enraged by her action, members of the governing coalition swiftly initiated a parliamentary motion to remove her from office. Oliver Spasovski, who led the effort, accused Mizrahi of disrespecting the constitution of the country. Many observers, including UMD, consider the process by which the prevailing government of Macedonia conducted the re-naming vote was itself a violation of constitutional principles. The targeted political campaign against Mizrahi demonstrates a sad reality of Macedonian politics.

Compounding this political attack was a vicious, unconscionable and unprecedented trope of insults and anti-Semitic statements. In the most blatant instance, journalist Branko Trickovski, tweeted out against Mizrahi that she “ate hummus from dead Jews again.” Another journalist publically stated he was surprised she was so “dumb for a Jew.” SDSM party activists called for Mizrahi to display the “Star of David” at her office. These despicable statements were echoed by others, who found displeasure in Mizrahi’s quiet resistance to the hijacking of Macedonia’s name and identity. This terrible anti-Semitic tirade occurred at the same time as Jews and nations across Europe and the West commemorated the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp.

The scandal surrounding the removal of Mizrahi gained negative international attention for Macedonia, with newspapers, such as the New York Times and other prominent outlets, reporting on the anti-Semitic behavior at Mizrahi’s expense.

UMD fears that the treatment of Mizrahi by the social democrats and their supporters in the media will undoubtedly worsen the general situation with Jews in Macedonia, and will push many Macedonian Jews away from assuming valuable public roles.