The leader of the right-wing anti-austerity party “Independent Greeks”, Panos Kammenos, claimed during an interview on Monday on the Antenna television channel that only the Orthodox Church pays taxes in Greece but not the Buddhists, the Jews and the Muslims (see video in Greek below, 6’-7’). The rumor that the Greek Jews do not pay taxes is widespread in the Greek internet since many years.
The Central Board of the Jewish Communities in Greece (KISE) published a statement condemning the allegations of Panos Kammenos concerning the Greek Jews. “It is a disgrace that a leader of a party in Parliament does not know that Greek Jews are equal citizens and subject to the all the rights and obligations of every citizen,” the statement added, noting that Jewish institutions were governed by the same tax obligations as the Church. (English translation of the statement via JTA)
The “Independent Greeks” responsed with a statement in which they denied any antisemitism towards the Greek Jews. They argued that the remark of Panos Kammenos only concerned the exemptions foreseen by the new Consolidated Tax on Property Ownership (called in Greek “ENFIA”). The Central Board of the Jewish Communities in Greece responded again that the ENFIA tax does exempt religious buildings defined as places of worship but this exemption concerns not only synagogues but also churches. Therefore there is no difference between Greek Jews and Greek Christians. Also the Central Board accused the “Independent Greeks” of reproducing antisemitic rumors in their statement.
Past November, the daily “To Ethnos” revealed that another MP of the “Independent Greeks”, Stavroula Xoulidou, has written an essay in which she more or less attributes the blame for all hardships of Greece and the Greeks in contemporary history to the World Zionist Movement.
Blog Against antisemitism-Ενάντια στον αντισημιτισμό