The Heinrich Böll Stiftung has published an executive summary of the antisemitism report authored by Giorgos Antoniou, Spyros Kosmidis, Elias Dinas and Leon Saltiel.
Antisemitism in Greece today: Aspects, causes and tackling the phenomenon
Anti-Semitism is one of the most common manifestations of social prejudice in Europe and elsewhere. Greece is not an exception to this rule; in fact, Greece, according to the 2015/2017 Anti-Defamation League Global Survey has the highest proportion of people who harbour anti-Semitic sentiments in Europe. The study at hand was commissioned by Heinrich Boell Stiftung Greece to report the main findings of an original analysis of Greek public opinion that aimed to delve deeper into the causes of the phenomenon. The report was divided into three themes; 1) discussing the socio-political framework of anti-Semitism in modern Greece, 2) the full presentation of the empirical work conducted using public opinion surveys and 3) a set of policy recommendations to tackle the phenomenon. The executive summary at hand will briefly present the main aspects of each of the three themes.
Although the numbers of Greeks of Jewish religion is, according to the Greek Census, very low (5000, i.e. 0.05% of the Greek population) the incidents of anti-Semitic rhetoric and the recorded attacks against Jewish monuments or synagogues are disproportionately high. The report embarks on a thorough analysis of the role that political actors, the Greek Church and the mass media play in perpetuating anti-Semitic prejudice and behaviour. Golden Dawn, a neo-Nazi party with parliamentary representation, is the most important advocate of anti-Semitic views in contemporary Greece, but there are some disconcerting incidents that vary across all levels of government and across different ideological persuasions. One of the key concerns regarding the relationship between politics and anti-Semitism is that there are many incidents of anti-Jewish rhetoric, and those incidents have the ideological left and right as the perpetrators. In many of those incidents, the role of the Greek Church is pivotal. Stemming from Christian anti-Judaism, it often takes other forms such as anti-Zionism or Jewish Conspiracies. In the report, we lay out some of key examples showing how one of the most respected institutions in Greece is not keen to stop anti-Semitism.
The mass media play a big role as well. The way anti-Semitism is reported or, more often, not reported helps the phenomenon to expand and become an everyday theme that should not carry any consequences for the politician or any other figure harbouring similar views in public. In fairness, this was less of an issue when Golden Dawn started gaining influence in the Greek public sphere. On occasions when Golden Dawn denied the Holocaust, the mass media where keen to attack the party and consider “Holocaust conspiracy” allegations as absurd. As expected, newspapers of extreme-right persuasion were keen to recycle similar conspiracies and embellish them with narratives of “Jewish world domination” and “Jewish economic interests in Greece“. Sadly, some mainstream newspapers also put forward subtle and not so subtle opinions against the Jews (especially when the Arab-Israeli conflict is on the agenda).
Read more on gr.boell.org
See the full report here (in Greek), as well as a panel discussion on the results of the report:
Moderation: Sofia Christoforidou
Speakers: Katharina von Schnurbein, Spyros Kosmidis, Giorgos Antoniou, Viktor Isaac Eliezer, Maria Yannakaki, Grigorios Stamkopoulos, Eleni Hontolidou, Andreas Takis
In the evening of Monday July 17, 2017, an individual dressed as a monk who calls himself ‘father Kleomenis’ – a cult figure, popular for his bigot ideas and You tube posts – attacked and vandalized the Holocaust Monument in Larissa, situated in the central Jewish Martyrs Square of the city. In his video posted on You Tube, the alleged monk curses the Jews, denies the Holocaust and calls on the local patriots of Larissa to intervene and demolish the Monument. “Father” Kleomenis spits, kicks and throws eggs at the Monument. Some of his characteristic quotes: “Here, we read 6 million! Fairy tails… Shit on their faces, merely 600.000 Hitler wiped out!”. Kleomenis spits the Monument and says: “Satanic Jews”. He kicks the Monument and says: “Curse on your dirty Monuments” and continues: “Worms, Jewish bitches, this has to fall. The stinking Jewishness has to be taken down from Larissa. Rise up! Patriotic organizations of Larissa take it down, bring the bulldozer on!”. Local police was notified and legal procedure was enacted. Investigation is ongoing. The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece (KIS) and the Jewish Community of Larissa issued press releases. The Holy Synod of the Greek Orthodox Church issued an announcement disassociating itself from the “monk” and condemning his actions.
The Municipality of Larissa issued an Announcement condemning the attack. The General Secretary of Religious Affairs George Kalantzis, as well as the General Secretary for Transparency and Human Rights Maria Giannakaki reacted swiftly by providing the Public Prosecutor of Larissa, the Racist Crimes Department of the Police, and the Cyber Crime Police Department with the relevant evidence. The President of the Jewish Community of Larissa pressed charges against the perpetrator. The Greek Helsinki Monitor also pressed charges against the “so called ‘father Kleomenis’ for a series of racist crimes”.
- Another video posted on July 21, 2017, shows the self-proclaimed “Father Kleomenis” vandalizing the Holocaust monument in Thessaloniki – once again with a raw egg (11′-11’50”). In the same video, he threatens with new vandalisms.
Police say they have arrested four men who used hammers to smash the marble veneer on the Holocaust memorial in Kavala three months ago.
All four men are Greek citizens, aged 40, 29, 22 and 20 years, local media have reported.
The Kavala Holocaust Memorial was dedicated on June 7, 2015 after city officials postponed its original dedication, saying they opposed the Star of David on the memorial.
The Holocaust memorial in Athens was defaced with graffiti probably on Friday. The graffiti reads: “Hello, my name is thanatos [death].” Photos of the vandalism were posted on the Facebook Group The Jewish Heritage in Greece (see photo below).
In recent years, the monument has suffered repeated vandalisms.
Erected in 2010, the monument commemorates the 59,000 Greek Jews who were murdered in the Holocaust. It represents a broken Magen David, with each of the broken pieces representing the lost Greek Jewish communities. The names of the communities are engraved in the marble piece pointing in the direction where they once existed (via).
By Viktor Eliezer
A well-known anti-Semitic comedian in Greece, Tzimis Panousis, will have the role of Trigaios, a peace maker in Ancient Athens, in the theatrical play ‘’Eirene’’ (Peace) by Aristophanes that will be staged in the ancient theater of Epidaurus.
Tzimis Panousis was quoted as saying last week in an interview to the daily “To Vima”, that “we the Greeks are the new Jews of the season. Then the Nazis choose the Jews, now the Neo-Nazis, the blue family of Shoible, have chosen us, the Greeks”.
Panousis used to call the Jews as “jewdeonazis” and in 2013 issued a poster to promote his performances, in which the Star of David was identified with the Nazi swastika.
Read the rest on EJP
Tzimis Panousis and antisemitism:
- Panousis: There are no good Jews (Abravanel, 23/6/2009)
- Satirist Tzimis Panousis under fire over poster (Kathimerini, 25/02/2013)
- Greece: Jewish community upset about comic’s poster (World Jewish Congress, 26/02/2013)
In an article published on the news site enikos.gr (May 10, 2017), entitled “In bloody ink”, journalist and cartoonist Stathis (Stavropoulos) denounces attempts to incriminate criticism against Israel that present it as anti-Semitism in order to annul such political criticism. The article is accompanied by a cartoon which pictures free opinion killed by Israel. The article and cartoon were Stathis response to the publication of a survey on Anti-Semitism in Greece which shows high rates of anti-Semitic feelings in Greece.
In a statement, the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece expressed the outrage of the Greek Jewry at Stathis’ antisemitic libel:
[…] And it is obvious for us that even the sharpest criticism against the policy of the Israeli Government has nothing to do with Anti-Semitism. However, when -according to a recent research, 65% of the Greeks agree with the opinion that “Israel treats the Palestinian exactly as the Nazis treated the Jews”, then all –politicians and journalists alike- need to take responsibility for reproducing the industrialized propaganda of delegitimization of the State of Israel.
“Traditional Anti-Semitism” defies and demonizes the personal right of every Jew to live as an equal member of the society. “New anti-Semitism” defies and demonizes the collective right of the Jews to live as an equal nation in the land of Israel, among the society of Nations.
Stathis’ writing and the accompanying cartoon qualify him as a genuine representative of both traditional and new anti-Semitism. It is a pity!
The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece reports:
The Metropolitan Bishop of Piraeus Seraphim, repeated his fierce anti-Semitic rhetoric in his announcement of April 28, uploaded on the official website of the Archdiocese of Piraeus. This reaction was triggered after the Holy Synod overturned its initial decision to appoint Seraphim as the Greek Orthodox Church’s representative to the ceremony lighting the Holy Light of Easter (taking place every year at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem during the Great Saturday). In Seraphim’s place, another Metropolitan, Athinagoras of Ilion, represented the Church in the ceremony.
As a response, in his long anti-Semitic libel announcement, Metropolitan Seraphim claimed that he was replaced because Israel declared him as persona non grata and accused Israel of interfering with the Church’s issues. He also specified that his views are not anti-Semitic but anti-Zionist and that Orthodox Christians stand against Zionism and especially against the wing of Zionism that seeks world domination. Seraphim also quoted the Old Testament and the New Testament, which he interprets through his anti-Semitic and Jew-Hating views, and accused all the other Christian doctrines of being in favor of Jews. He also quoted the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and referred to masonry (and other international organizations) as the arms used by Zionism to secure infiltration and state manipulation.
The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece issued the following announcement, protesting against this new anti-Semitic attack, while NGO Greek Helsinki Monitor filed a lawsuit against Seraphim for anti-Semitism.
Cantor Haim Ischakis performs El Maleh Rachamim at the Kahal Kadosh Yashan Synagogue in Ioannina, Greece. The video was recorded on Sunday, March 30, 2014 during the Holocaust Memorial Ceremony for the remembrance of the 70 years since the Nazi deportations of Greek Jews. More than 500 people from all over the world, including foreign Diplomats and local dignitaries, attended this moving ceremony organized by the IHRA (International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance) and the historical Romaniote local Jewish Community.
Articles about the ceremony: