In response to the article “Greenblatt’s ignorance is just the tip of the iceberg” by Shaul Arieli (Haaretz, August 11)
We carefully read the article “Greenblatt’s ignorance is just the tip of the iceberg” by Shaul Arieli in the Haaretz weekend edition on August 11. We have no intention of commenting on author’s thoughts and views towards the U.S. role in the peace process, the Israeli political campaign and the elections taking place in September, but would like to draw your attention to unsubstantiated allegations regarding President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin. The piece enumerates well-known groundless speculations and clichés. A statement accusing Mr. Putin of “suppressing his political opponents, the Russian media and civil society organizations” holds no water. Russia is a democratic state, which enjoys free a political system and transparent elections for president and parliament members. According to Russia’s laws every election campaign is monitored by numerous international observers.
Regarding the Russian LGBT community it’s important to note that Russian federal law “for the Purpose of Protecting Children from Information Advocating for a Denial of Traditional Family Values” of June 2013 is intended to shield children from explicit LGBT propaganda. Members of the Russian community are not discriminated against in any sphere of life. Allegations about “serious suspicions that Putin was behind the murders of leading opposition figures and journalists” are another imprudent accusation with no facts provided. Any assassination of a Russian political or media figure is carefully investigated. While speaking about “hundreds of people protesting the disqualification of opposition candidates… brutally beaten and arrested” in Russia the author forgot to mention that these activists participated in illegal political rallies. Russian security acted appropriately and professionally, and a few people were lightly injured. Any modern state including Israel and the U.S. take measures to disperse unauthorized gatherings. At authorized demonstrations in Moscow on August 11 in support of banned candidates for municipal elections, attended by 100,000 people, only several violators were arrested for creating a public nuisance.
P.S. We also would like to note that Haaretz printed a sarcastic picture by Amos Biderman on August 15 mocking the deaths of seven Russian scientists and military men in an August 8 accident. Haaretz is one of Israel’s oldest newspapers, and enjoys prominence for its high standards of journalism. We consider it obligatory for its staff to comply with basic moral principles and show restraint in order to avoid gaining cheap profit at the expense of other people’s sorrow.
Press attaché of the Embassy of the Russian Federation in the State of Israel