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Russian-speaking Israeli figures have expressed dismay at a statement made by the chairman of the World Congress of Russian Jewry, Russian Senator Boris Spiegel, calling for the establishment of a tribunal that would investigate Georgia's "war crimes" during the past week's round of fighting.

Spiegel, a prominent Jewish oligarch boasting close ties with the Kremlin, accused Georgia of genocide and ethnic cleansing.

"We, as historic victims of genocide, cannot stand aloof," the statement said on behalf of the umbrella organization of the worldwide Russian-speaking Jewish community.

In the statement, which was widely published in Russia, Spiegel also accused the Georgian Army of inhumane behavior towards the citizens of South Ossettia, mass killings, and the destruction of the enclave's capital Tskhinvali, which he called "The capital of the republic."

In a conversation with Haaretz, MK Ze'ev Elkin (Kadima), who serves as the deputy head of the Congress, criticized Spiegel's statements, saying the organization's role is to worry about well-being of Jews worldwide and not get involved in "geo-political conflicts."

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