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Extremist escapes prosecution for call to boycott Jewish goods

BERN, Feb. 8 (JTA) — A Swiss parliamentary committee has voted not to prosecute an extremist politician for calling last July for a Swiss boycott of Jewish and American products. Swiss Jewish leaders, saying that several Jewish businesses are already suffering from the boycott, criticized the decision not to prosecute Rudolf Keller. Keller had called for the boycott to protest pressure placed in recent years on Switzerland by the world Jewish community and the U.S. administration regarding the Alpine nation’s dealings with Nazi Germany. Switzerland should “hit back” when it is “blackmailed,” Keller wrote at the time. The decision by the committee, which refused to lift Keller s parliamentarian immunity, overturns a December vote by the lower house of the Swiss Parliament to allow Keller’s prosecution. The committee said the decision of the lower house resulted from an overly emotional debate. The president of the Federation of Jewish Communities in Switzerland,
Rolf Bloch, said in a telephone interview with JTA that he is shocked the committee voted not to put an anti-Semite on trial. The legislators’ decision “means that they are supporting the anti-Semitic boycott,” the federation said in a statement.