State sovereignty is more important than ham, says official

The Russian Jewish community backs Russia's foreign policy, but wants the sanctions war to stop as soon as possible.

The Russian Jewish community backs Russia's foreign policy, but wants the sanctions war to stop as soon as possible.

"It seems to me that the issue of state integrity, the issue of territorial integrity, the issue of state global eternal policy in general is considerable affected by people's tastes," Alexander Boroda, president of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia (FJCR), said in an interview with Interfax-Religion on Friday, commenting on the opinion of some people that Russia should not have imposed an embargo on Western food because it will make it impossible to buy camembert or ham in Russia.

Boroda said he "is not ashamed" of his country.

"At seems to me that Russia has always had the right to have its own understanding of external and internal policies, it had this right 1,000 years ago, and 500 years ago, and 300 years ago. In this respect, Russia stands its ground, it defends its understanding of its role in the world, its understanding of its national interests, its priorities. Can Russia's way be called general European? No. It's unique. And this way has the right to exist. People won this right through generations of suffering," he said.

Boroda said he wants the sanctions to be lifted as soon as possible because "any interstate cooperation is good for everyone."

"Although the West is saying that the sanctions have affected Russia's actions, we see examples of countries that have lived under sanctions for thirty years and still stand their ground, for example, Iran. The sanctions are much tougher there, and what happened to Iran in this time? Iran lives and it has not changed its viewpoint. It's not the best way of putting pressure on a country because talented diplomacy is much more effective than actions," he said.

Responding to a question as to whether the sanctions have affected the market of kosher food in Russia, Boroda said that "surprisingly, it may have a positive effect."

"The Western sanctions and, most importantly, the sanctions imposed by Russia in response have formed a need in Russia for meat, dairy, and vegetable products, which will be actively imported from Israel, and it is already being imported. Contracts are being signed with Israel on the products that Israel has never imported here before, first of all, agricultural products. For this reason, we are optimistic about the increase in business activities between Russia and Israel," Boroda said.

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