MP Gobzems will have to answer for pinning the Star of David on his chest

Meeting the Chairman of the Council of Jewish Communities of Latvia Arkādijs Suharenko did not save MP Aldis Gobzems from a case being initiated regarding violations of the Code of Ethics of a Saeima member. The majority of the responsible committee saw signs of a violation of the code in the way A. Gobzems used the Star of David in his communication on the freedoms of unvaccinated people.
06.07.2021. Jānis Lasmanis
©Gatis Gierts/F64

The use of this symbolism was not acceptable to most of the political forces represented in the Saeima, which resulted in a submission to the Saeima Mandates, Ethics and Submissions Committee.

The signatories, who represent both the coalition and the opposition, point out that A. Gobzems' pictures on social media where he can be seen with a yellow six-pointed star pinned on his shirt, a symbol the Nazi German regime ordered Jewish people to wear as a mark of identification during the Second World War, to publicly identify them as a group and then kill them en masse. In the text attached to the photo, A. Gobzems called to wear this sign "as a symbol of freedom" for those who do not want to be vaccinated against Covid-19. The MPs believe that such actions grossly violate the norms of the Code of Ethics of the Saeima members. It insults the memory of the six million Jewish people who were killed in the genocide during World War II and expresses contempt for the victims of the Holocaust.

Meanwhile, A. Gobzems began his address to the committee with the question of whether the authors of the submission are Jewish themselves. He needs to know that in order to apologize. "If Baumane [one of the authors of the submission, MP Krista Baumane] is not a Jew, I will not apologize to her," Gobzems said. K. Baumane, on the other hand, pointed out that she would not answer this question, because the application was not made because she was personally insulted, but to defend a part of Latvian society - the Jewish community - and the memory of the Holocaust victims.

In turn, A. Gobzems pointed out that "Latvians always want to pretend to be bigger Jews, Americans, Germans or Belarusians". On Friday, he said he had met with a representative of the Jewish community, Arkādijs Suharenko, and they parted as friends. The deputy called on his colleagues to "not pretend to be bigger Jews", adding that he was not aware that any of the signatories of the application, or "Latvians", would be authorized to make any statements on behalf of the Jews.

Despite this view of A. Gobzems, six members of the responsible committee voted to initiate the case.

MP Ieva Krapāne, a representative of the KPV LV that was just expelled from the coalition, voted against, but MP Jānis Vucāns (ZZS) abstained because A. Gobzems claimed that he had spoken to the Jewish community.

The members agreed to consider the case at another sitting, and the Rules of Procedure of the Saeima stipulate that it must be convened within a week.

A.Suharenko assured Neatkarīgā that A. Gobzems wanted to meet him and that a meeting had taken place. During the meeting, the MP apologized for his actions and emphasized that he was well informed about the tragic fate of the Jewish people.

"There was no point in telling him that, but I said there was a big difference between unvaccinated people not being allowed to sit in a restaurant and people being sewn with yellow stars, which was the start of the road to Rumbula," says Suharenko, who accepted Gobzems' apology because he sees no point of increasing the enemies of the community.


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