Lithuania’s ruling block has collected signatures for the impeachment of MP Remigijus Zemaitaitis regarding his antisemitic statements.
The coalition council of the ruling conservative Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats, the Liberal Movement and the Freedom Party decided to initiate impeachment proceedings against Zemaitaitis in late August. The impeachment motion has been signed by 36 MPs, including the elders of the ruling political groups. (At least 36 signatures are needed to put forward a proposal to the Seimas to launch impeachment proceedings.)
The ruling block claims that the systematically repeated antisemitic statements of MP Remigijus Zemaitaitis are aimed at inciting violence and hostility, justifying hatred against the Jewish people as a whole, and provoking social and national discord, which runs counter to the Constitution and the country’s interests in the area of international relations, reports The Baltic Times.
The text reads: „Judging from the content of MP Zemaitaitis’ statements and their systematic repetition, it can be concluded that these statements are characterised by constant incitement to hatred, the promotion of antisemitic attitudes and the creation of hostility, which is directed against a single minority nationality – the Jewish people and the State of Israel.”
The impeachment text also contains examples of Zemaitaitis’ remarks, like „It turns out that, besides Putin, another animal has emerged in the world – ISRAEL” as well as „We, the Lithuanian nation, must never forget the Jews and the Russians who very actively contributed to the DESTRUCTION OF OUR PEOPLE! „.
The move comes in response to the MP’s several antisemitic Facebook posts in June when he expressed anger over Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte’s visit to Israel and accused Jews of deporting and killing Lithuanians. Zemaitaitis likened Israel to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine and also quoted an antisemitic nursery rhyme.
Following Zemaitaitis’ statements, the Prosecutor General’s Office opened pre-trial investigations into public contempt and incitement to hatred against any national, racial, ethnic, religious or other group of people. Further decisions are to be made after receiving experts’ opinions.
Zemaitaitis’ statements are condemned by Lithuanian leaders and diplomats, and his membership of the Freedom and Justice Party has been suspended.
Photo credit: J. Stacevičius/LRT