Hate blogger link to Czech President

By Nissan Tzur, March 1, 2012

The emergence of a photo of antisemitic Czech journalist Adam Bartos standing alongside Czech President Vaclav Klaus has caused an outrage among the European Jewish community and Czech politicians.

Mr Klaus has failed to explain how he came to appear in the photo, which Bartos published on his personal blog. Deputy Head of the President's Office Petr Hajek, and members of far-right group the Young Right, were also in the photo.

The European Shoah Legacy Institute (ESLI), the Federation of Jewish Communities in the Czech Republic, the Jewish Museum in Prague and the Terezin Initiative issued a statement calling on Mr Klaus to distance himself from Bartos, adding: "Adam Bartos has posted arguments from the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the Hilsner trial, and manic conspiracy theories." In December 2010, Mr Klaus described one of Bartos's articles as "brilliant".

An ESLI spokesperson said: "It should be at least somewhat disconcerting that the public officials who appear with him in the photographs have thus far not distanced themselves from Bartos's antisemitism. This includes President Klaus and Mr Hajek."

In mid-February, Ondrzej Liska, chairman of the Green Party, sought to bring criminal charges against Bartos after he wrote an apparently antisemitic review of a new Czech magazine, describing it as "full of Jewish propaganda against Czech Republic".

Mr Liska said: "Bartos… made it clear that, in his opinion, Jews shouldn't say anything about corruption and thievery in the Czech Republic because they are much worse at it. I found it extremely antisemitic." Mr Liska added: "this is not the first time President Klaus has revealed his connections with extreme right groups".

Mr Hajek said: "It is possible that Mr Klaus and I appear in a photo with Mr Bartos, but we have such photos with thousands of people in the Czech Republic. We are not responsible for Mr Bartos's opinions."

Last updated: 3:25pm, March 1 2012