Members of an ultra-nationalist group accused of murdering 27 members of ethnic minorities as they stand in court in Moscow, on July 11, 2011. The group chanted neo-Nazi and anti-Semitic slogans and jeered at the judge on several occasions on July 11 as he started reading out his verdict.(DMITRY KOSTYUKOV/AFP/Getty Images)

A day after five neo-Nazis were convicted of murdering twenty-seven migrants, four masked men firebombed a Moscow Chabad Synagogue. Nobody was harmed as the bombs failed to detonate and only did light damage to the walls.

Moscow police believe that the attack on Darkei Shalom synagogue were retaliation for the previous days verdict. The five gang members were found guilty in the murder of twenty-seven migrants from southern Muslim republics and the Central Asian states, but entering the courtroom, they shouted anti-Semitic and neo-Nazi slogans.

There isn’t much doubt that since the bad old days, Russia’s Jews are flourishing. As U.S. Ambassador John Beyre wrote in a 2009 cable (subsequently released by Wikileaks), Russia has shown “clear signs of throwing off its long and tragic history of anti-Semitism.” But that progress, which Beyre cautioned could be fragile, and the progress of the Russian Jewish community since the fall of the Soviet Union, was partly possible because, as Julia Ioffe explained in Tablet Magazine, “the target of nationalist discrimination shifted from the Jews—most of whom had left—to migrants from the Caucasus and Central Asia.”

Somehow, though, Jews keep getting hit, shifts or not. After all, in European countries like the Netherlands, which just passed an anti-ritual slaughter bill, far-right parties keep managing to harm smaller Jewish populations with legislation targeted at Muslim immigrants. Most likely many of the proponents see Jews as acceptable “collateral damage” in their mission, but it’s hard to imagine that there aren’t a few, like the Russian neo-Nazis would, who see it as a happy accident.

“Antisemitism has been a part of Russian culture for such a long time,” noted Beyre in 2009. “It would be unrealistic to expect it to disappear overnight.”

Synagogue Attacked After Neo-Nazi Verdict [Australia Broadcasting Corporation]
Six Firebombs Thrown At Moscow Synagogue In Suspected Anti-Semitic Act [Haaretz]
Neo-Nazi Gets Life For 27 Murders [Australia Broadcasting Corporation]
Dutch Anti-Ritual Slaughter Ban Passes [JPost]
In Dutch Schehitah Ban, Jews See A Sign They Are Unwanted [JTA]

Earlier: Cable Reports Lower Russian Anti-Semitism
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