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White House compares ‘chilling’ Russian airport storming to anti-Jewish pogroms of 19th and 20th centuries


The White House on Friday compared the Israeli-targeted storming of a Dagestan, Russia airport over the weekend to the anti-Jewish pogroms perpetrated throughout Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries.

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby made the comparison during the White House press briefing after press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre condemned the antisemitic protests taking places on college campuses across the U.S.

“I just want to add just one little thought here on top of Karine’s excellent comments on anti-Semitism. I think you all saw what happened in Dagestan, Russia yesterday in what can only be described as a chilling demonstration of hate, bigotry, intimidation. Some people have compared it to the pogroms of the late 19th and early 20th century, and I think that’s probably an apt description given that video that we’ve seen out there,” Kirby said.

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NSC spokesman John Kirby and Karine Jean-Pierre

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre And National Security Council Coordinator For Strategic Communications John Kirby talk to reporters at the White House on October 30, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

He ripped Russia’s federal government for staying silent on the Makhachkala airport’s storming, which was perpetrated by a group of pro-Palestinian rioters who were reportedly searching for passengers arriving on a flight from Tel Aviv, Israel in the largely Muslim region of south Russia bordering the Caspian Sea to the east and Azerbaijan to the south.

“I think that speaks volumes. And the same goes for here in the country. Karine talked about what’s going on college campuses, but same goes for Islamophobia. There’s no place for that in the country. It must be condemned equally as strong, and we all need to work with might and main to stop that kind of hate as well,” he added.

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Makhachkala temple and skyline

General view of Makhachkala city on February 7, 2011, Makhachkala, Dagestan Republic, Russia. (Oleg Nikishin/Epsilon/Getty Images)

The pogroms referenced by Kirby referred to numerous instances of mob-led violence targeting Jews during the later years of the Russian Empire and the transition years following the Russian Revolution that led to the formation of the Soviet Union. Others occurred across other parts of Eastern Europe around the same time, and in Nazi Germany in the 1930s.

On Sunday, the White House said it “vigorously condemns” the group of rioters who shouted antisemitic chants as they searched for passengers.

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Anti-Jewish Pogrom

A picture taken in Berlin shows a Jewish-run shop inscripted with nazi antisemitic graffitis during the June 1938 antisemitic campaign. (PIGISTE/FRANCE PRESSE VOIR/AFP via Getty Images)

The actions led to the airport’s closure, and all other flights headed toward Makhachkala were diverted.

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Fox News’ Landon Mion contributed to this report.



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