Russian court legalizes textbook critical of Jews

A Russian court decided Monday there's nothing illegal in a government-endorsed textbook that describes Jews as power-hungry and greedy, a rights group said.

The Moscow-based Movement for Human Rights wanted prosecutors to open a criminal investigation into "The Fundamentals of Orthodox Culture," a public school textbook endorsed by the Education Ministry and Russian Orthodox Church.

The book says Jews forced Pontius Pilate to crucify Jesus because "they thought only about power over other peoples and earthly wealth." It also accuses non-Orthodox groups in Russia of "not always behaving nobly in the traditionally Orthodox state."

The textbook is intended for school classes on Russian Orthodoxy, which are increasingly common though opponents say they violate separation of church and state.

Last year, the Movement for Human Rights sought criminal prosecution for the book under laws against inciting ethnic hatred. Federal prosecutors referred the issue to local Moscow prosecutors who refused to pursue a case. The Meshchansky district court has now upheld their refusal.