MOSCOW - A Russian court ruled
Monday that there was nothing illegal in a government-endorsed
textbook that describes Jews as power-hungry and greedy, a rights
The Moscow-based Movement for Human Rights had
asked the Meshchansky district court to force prosecutors to open a
criminal investigation into the textbook, "The Fundamentals of
The book, endorsed by the Education
Ministry and the Russian Orthodox Church for use in public schools,
says the Jews forced Pontius Pilate to crucify Jesus because "they
thought only about power over other peoples and earthly wealth."
In addition to attacking Jews, the textbook accuses Russia's
non-Orthodox "guests" of "not always behaving nobly in the
traditionally Orthodox state."
The Movement for Human Rights
appealed to the Prosecutor General's Office to open a criminal case
in June on the grounds that the book incites ethnic hatred, a crime
under Russian law. Federal prosecutors passed the issue on to local
Moscow prosecutors, who refused to open a case.
the Meshchansky district court ruled that the prosecutors' refusal
was illegal. The prosecutors then issued a second refusal, which was
upheld by the court Monday, the Movement for Human Rights said.
The textbook was intended for use in public schools, where
classes on Russian Orthodox traditions are becoming increasingly
common. Human rights campaigners say the courses violate the
constitutional separation of church and state.