(JTA) — Finnish lawmaker Pertti Salolainen reportedly dismissed criticism of his references to “Jewish control” over U.S. politics as “a pure analysis of foreign policy.”
According to YLE, Finland’s national broadcaster, Salolainen in an email sent to the broadcaster on Saturday denied that he had made anti-Semitic statements when he said a day earlier in a television interview with YLE that the U.S. had ”a large Jewish population who have a significant control of the money and the media. The U.S. for internal political reasons is afraid to become adequately involved. This is a sad truth about U.S. politics.”
Salolainen, of the ruling National Coalition Party, in his YLE interview offered his analysis as to why the United States had voted against upgrading Palestine to non-member state observer status at the United Nations General Assembly.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center on Friday urged the Finnish government to officially condemn Salolainen’s remarks. His statement “parroted the anti-Semitic canard that an evil cabal of Jews controls the media and the U.S. government,” the center said in a statement.
Mark Weitzman, the Wiesenthal Center’s director of government affairs, wrote to Ritva Koukku-Ronde, the Finnish ambassador to the U.S., and said “that such remarks can come from a pillar of the political elite in Finland is dismaying and astonishing; but that this remark was unchallenged makes it appear that such ideas are part of acceptable discourse in Finland.”