A Finnish lawmaker reportedly has dismissed criticism of his references to "Jewish control" over U.S. politics as "a pure analysis of foreign policy."
According to the Finnish broadcaster YLE, lawmaker Pertti Salolainen sent the broadcaster an email on Saturday in which he denied he had made anti-Semitic statements when he said Friday that the United States had "a large Jewish population who have a significant control of the money and the media. The U.S. for internal political reasons is afraid to become adequately involved. This is a sad truth about U.S. politics."
Salolainen - a lawmaker for the ruling National Coalition Party - made the statements during a televised interview for YLE, in which he offered his analysis as to why the United States had voted against upgrading the Palestinian Authority to nonmember state observer status at the UN General Assembly.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center on Friday urged the Finnish government to officially condemn Salolainen's remarks. His statement "parroted the anti-Semitic canard that an evil cabal of Jews controls the media and the U.S. government," the center said in a statement.
Mark Weitzman, the Wiesenthal Center's director of Government Affairs, wrote to Ritva Koukku-Ronde, the Finnish ambassador to the United States, "that such remarks can come from a pillar of the political elite in Finland is dismaying and astonishing; but that this remark was unchallenged makes it appear that such ideas are part of acceptable discourse in Finland."
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