New Battleground for Antisemitism in Yerushalayim: Armenians’ Support for Palestinians

Dec 7 2023

The war that Israel is waging against the Hamas terror group gradually exposes its enemies, who until now have been sitting on the sidelines. However, as war goes on, it seems that those hostile countries are projecting poison and hatred towards Israel and the Jews.

One of those countries is Armenia, which in recent years has been involved in conflict with Azerbaijan, a country that has Israel’s support and maintains warm and staunch relations with Israel.

The story has no apparent connection to the war.

Several years ago, a 99-year lease agreement was signed for the development of a new luxury hotel in the Armenian quarter in Yerushalayim. A court hearing was recently held regarding the land and parking lot in the Yerushalayim court. The total area is approximately 11.5 dunams [1.15 hectares], which includes a parking lot.

The land was in possession of the Armenian Patriarchate and it was claimed to be a trust for the whole Armenian community. Several members of the community who were angry about this development filed a lawsuit, claiming that they would have to pay hundreds of shekels a month for parking. At the same time, according to a report by Al Jazeera, several Armenians claimed that the property offered for real estate development was allegedly stolen from them by a group of “settlers,” and that the State of Israel wants to expropriate the land in order to expel the Armenians from Yerushalayim. They even called it the State of Israel’s “ethnic cleansing” of non-Jews.

If that is not enough, it seems as though there were several members of the Armenian community under pressure from the Palestinians, who began initiating incitement in the global media, echoing pro-Palestinian claims against Israel, and presenting the real estate matter as proof, alleging that Israel wants to appropriate from them and dispossess Israeli land from non-Jews, even though anyone with a little common sense and who is not rabidly antisemitic, understands that there is no connection between this transaction and the current war.

There may be a financial dispute involving the plot, but there is definitely no place to turn the story into an attempt to ethnically cleanse Israel of other nationalities, and whoever makes such a connection, as has been done in several media outlets around the world, is making unsubstantiated claims to incite antisemitism.

The background to the Armenian unrest is probably due to the close, friendly relations between Israel and Azerbaijan, and Israel’s support for the Azerbaijanis in the context of the dispute over Karabakh, which has just recently returned to Azerbaijani control. The anger in the Arab world towards what Israel is doing in Gaza also gives license to aggressively attack Israel, so that everyone can make false claims that have nothing to do with the reality.

Proof that Armenia has recently come out against Israel and the Jewish world, does not only stem from the current story, but also from reports over the past month of the two attacks on the last synagogue in Armenia, where the perpetrators openly admitted that their actions were due to Israel’s support for Azerbaijan. To cover up for their actions, they claimed that they also acted in solidarity with and support for the Palestinians and the Lebanese.

Either way, the Palestinian pressure and desire to avenge Israel has resulted in savage incitement against Israel in several international media outlets, where the ludicrous claims of stealing land and ethnic cleansing are broadcast without any denial or offering an Israeli response.

Deputy Minster of Transport and Road Safety Rabbi Uri Maklev responded by saying, “We are sorry that a property dispute and the development of Yerushalayim is being used during these difficult times for Israel and the Jewish nation as a whole, as fuel to kindle fire in Yerushalayim and, chalilah, for and struggle between countries. Unfortunately we see over and over again that the pro-Palestinians attempt to light the fire with baseless antisemitic accusations. This is a danger to Yerushalayim and gives rise to disastrous consequences for the fabric of interreligious relations. We expect the Armenian leadership to come to their senses and to protect the local Jewish community exactly as Israel allows freedom of religion for all religions across the country.”