Exhausting legal arguments for over a year now regarding standards for representation within the Lithuanian Jewish Community have now ended, but the destructive efforts continue by the Vilnius, Klaipėda, Ukmergė and Šiauliai Regional Jewish Communities to prove that equality before the law and the rule of law are not the principles which should guide the LJC, which includes 27 organizations as members.
Disputes arose at the LJC conference held back in May of 2017 over the representation of members, disputes which, despite the LJC’s efforts to find consensus, grew into open conflict. The newly-elected leadership of the Vilnius Jewish Community wanted proportional representation at the conference, so that every associated member would have a number of votes proportional to their number of physical members, thus giving their organization a monopoly on decision-making at the LJC conference.
This sort of representation is out of line with the Lithuanian law on associations, whose article 8, part 4 says each association member has one vote at a general meeting of the association; this insures the equal rights of members of the association and their equal participation in decision-making. This is the law, the rule providing for equal voting rights among members, which the Board of Directors of the LJC followed before convening the LJC reporting and election conference.
On November 22, 2017, the Vilnius district court found LJC statute point 7.1 on proportional representation of regional communities at LJC conferences null and void for failing to adhere to Lithuanian law. LJC associate members the Vilnius Jewish Community, Klaipėda Jewish Community, Ukmergė Jewish Community and Šiauliai Regional Jewish Community sought to appeal this decision and renew hearings, but on June 12, 2018, this appeal was rejected by court decree.
The Vilnius Jewish Community, Klaipėda Jewish Community, Ukmergė Jewish Community and Šiauliai Regional Jewish Community have entered a cassation case with the Lithuanian Supreme Court to review the finding by the Vilnius district court on June 12, 2018. The Lithuanian Supreme Court, the only venue which hears cassation complaints, ruling on the application of law rather than the facts of the case, issued a finding on September 19, 2018, declining to accept the cassation complaint for a hearing, and thus again confirming the necessity of applying the rule for equality among members of an association. This finding by the court is final and cannot be appealed.
The LJC encourages members, the public and interested parties to ignore information of a mendacious nature appearing in the media and social media about the allegedly illegitimately elected leadership of the LJC and we are making every effort to insure maximum transparency in our actions. At the same time, we regret the disagreements which have taken root, which divide the community and which are dissonant with the fundamental values of our people. Despite ongoing disagreements, the LJC is open to a further search for compromise with members questioning the legitimacy of the leadership of the association.