I swear I would have blogged about this earlier but I thought it was an elaborate joke. Yesterday Russian prosecutors dropped an inquiry into whether or not a Russian translation of an ancient Jewish text incites national and religious hatred. The text in question, the Shulchan Aruch was written in the mid 1500s by Sephardic Rabbi Joseph Caro and is considered Judaism’s standard legal code. The prosecutors dropped the inquiry after determining that the text does not in fact encourage Jews to kill non-Jews. They probably also felt that the international furor accompanying their investigation may have made them look like assholes. Which it did.
The inquiry began when 19 deputies in the Russian Duma signed a letter in January calling for a ban on Jewish organizations. The letter complained that Jewish groups were distributing an abridged version of the Shulhan Arukh, and alleged that the text prejudices readers against non-Jews.
Nikolai Kondratenko, a Communist Party member and Duma deputy who signed the letter compared the Shulchan Aruch to pornography and equated it with Mein Kampf. In dropping the inquiry, the prosecutors also stated that the lawmakers and others who signed the letter of complaint could not be held criminally responsible for using phrases such as “Jewish fascism,” and “Jewish aggressiveness as a form of Satanism.” Because that also does not incite national and religious hatred.