Silent protest to be held at the Jewish Cemetery of Athens

Nikaia_2018Vandals desecrated the Jewish section of an Athens cemetery on Friday night, destroying nine marbre memorial stones. The headstones appear to have been kicked over and then smashed to pieces.

The President of the Jewish Community of Athens, Minos Moissis, described the scene as “repulsive”.

[…] This is not the first time we see the result of a degrading act at our Cemetery but it is the first time we see such act was organized and planned in part of the Cemetery that is not visible from the neighboring houses and with incredible fury. The view of the results of this abominable act causes us deep sorrow and anger.

The Jewish Community of Athens will exercise all the legal means at its disposal, the first steps have already been taken by the police authorities that immediately came to the collection of clues.

But besides the Law, we call upon all the institutions of the State and the City, the Justice, the Religious and Spiritual Authorities of the country and the Civil Society, to condemn unambiguously and without reservation this desecration and to stand with absolutely zero tolerance against such phenomena of violence and intolerance. There is no worse sign of a society’s moral decline than desecration of a Cemetery and disrespect for the dead.

It is not just an act that concerns only our Community and is recorded as one of the most violent and significant anti-Semitic events of recent years in Greece. It is about an act that brutally affects the whole of society, the values and principles of a favored state.

For these reason, we ask everybody to exhaust every effort to never allow such acts against anyone.

(announcement by the Jewish Community of Athens)

The Jewish Community of Athens is organizing a silent protest at the cemetery this Sunday, May 13th, at noon.

 

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Greece: Leftist newspaper publishes cartoons demonizing Israel

Via Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Two sketches by Michalis Kountouris, with strong messages of demonisation of Israel and unacceptable parallelism with the Holocaust, were published in the “Efimerida Syntakton” (EFSYN. – “Editors’ Journal”) on 10th and 11th April 2018. The sketches were commented on with the following article entitled “Bloody Handprints” – published in the issue of the EFSYN of 16.4.18 – by the journalist and General Secretary of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece, Victor Is. Eliezer.

The sketches also stirred a reaction from Israel’s Ambassador to Greece, Ms. Irit Ben-Abba (letter to the EFSYN 11/4/2018), and journalist Dimitris Psarras (through his article “We do not Forget the Holocaust” EFSYN  16/4/2018).

  • Victor Is. Eliezer: “Bloody Handprints” EFIMERIDA SYNTAKTON  16/4/2018

Yom Hashoah. Holocaust Day, 11th April 2018. The Jews mourn for their 6,000,000 fellow Jews who were unjustly and brutally killed in the gas chambers of the Nazi camps! On the same day, in Greece, the “EFSYN”, known for its merciless struggle against anti-Semitism and neo-Nazism, hosted a sketch in which an Israeli soldier leaves the prints of his bloodied hands on the Wailing Wall, next to many other bloody handprints of other people who apparently prayed before him. You know, all the Jews have visited the Wailing Wall, many of us pray and touch the Wall that is what is left of the Temple of Solomon. The bloody handprints, according to the cartoonist, could be the bloody handprints of every Jew who has visited the Wailing Wall!  One day earlier, another sketch (by the same cartoonist) appeared in the newspaper, where the Gaza Strip was identified with a prisoner of Nazi concentration camps.

[…]

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Greek Jews call for the abolition of the “burning of the Judas”

Burning of Judas Tolo 2018

The ‘burning of the Judas’ in the village of Tolo, on the Peloponnese peninsula (Easter 2018). Screenshot via YouTube.

Announcement by the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece

During the Easter holidays, various customs take place in our country. One of these is the “burning of the effigy of Judas”, which takes place in some areas of the country. This custom perpetuates stereotyped perceptions against the Jews. It is significant that the custom has almost been eliminated in the rest of Europe.

In the past, we, the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece, have repeatedly proceeded with representations to competent bodies in order to stop the custom in our country. The fact that the Church of Greece, with its Synodic Circulars of 1891, 1910 and 1918, demanded that “these customs are expressly forbidden” is of particular significance.

We believe that this custom not only offends the Greek Jewish community but also affects every effort towards the understanding and respect of common values ​​that characterise Judaism and Christianity. We hope that everyone will eventually contribute to the abolition of this custom that does not serve the spirit of love and reconciliation which is conveyed during the days of Easter.

Athens, 11 April  2018

Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece

Greek Police arrest members of Nazi group “C18 Hellas”

vandalism_jewish_cemetery_athens_2015

Credit: The Jewish Community of Athens (athjcom.gr)

Greek Counter Terrorism Police arrested 11 suspected members of violent Nazi group “C18 Hellas” last week, during an operation in greater Athens and two provincial towns.

The suspects are allegedly members of the Greek branch of the extreme right wing group “Combat 18” also known as “C18”, which operates in various countries.

A 35-year-old gas station employee from Ioannina, northwestern Greece, is believed to have led the group, ekathimerini.com reports.

“C18” is responsible for bombing attacks against anarchist and migrant related targets and has ties with another violent Greek Nazi group named “Unaligned Meander Nationalists” (Greek abbreviation: AME). Many Greek news outlets failed to mention that both organisations have signed numerous desecrations of Jewish Monuments and Cemeteries in Greece:

  • Oktober 2015: The entrance of the Jewish Cemetery in Nikaia (an area outside Athens) was vandalized with threatening graffiti featuring nazi symbols. “C18 Hellas” posted pictures of the vandalism online, claiming responsibility for the action.
  • December 2014: AME members scrawled swastikas and threats on the wall of the Jewish Cemetery of Larissa, posting photos of their action online.
  • Oktober 2014: AME left its signature on the Athens Holocaust Monument.
  • Oktober 2012: Desecration of the Holocaust Memorial of the Jews of Rhodes. The monument is located in the Old City and the perpetrators painted with paint all six sides, while they painted the swastika, adding the initials AME.

The case (that led to the Greek police counter-terrorism unit acts) was filed after complaints by Greek Helsinki Monitor, based also on articles by XYZ Contagion blog.

For more information: Greece: Violent fringe Nazi groups dismantled, by Panayote Dimitras (14/3/2018, hopenothate.org.uk).

Komotini Holocaust memorial vandalized three times in matter of months

The Komotini Holocaust memorial (northeastern Greece) has been vandalized three times in a span of four months’ time, Deputy Mayor Ioannis Mourtidis recently admitted on Facebook.

The Holocaust memorial was defaced for the fourth time on 5th of January 2018 or before, as unknown vandals threw red color on top the monument (see photo below).

The Municipality of Komotini erected the Holocaust memorial in the municipal park of Agia Paraskevi in 2004.

Komotini_Memorial_January_2018b

Source: Facebook

 

Protesters display antisemitic signs outside parliament in Athens

Hundreds of thousands of Greeks rallied outside parliament in Athens on Sunday to protest against the use of the term Macedonia in any settlement the government pursues with the ex-Yugoslav Republic to end a decades-old name row, Reuters reports.

A sea of people waved blue and white Greek flags. A photographer captured protesters outside parliament holding a banner promoting antisemitism and conspiracy theories. The banner reads “Against New World Order” and features the Star of David and a Freemason symbol in prohibition signs.

Kleanthis_Dimitris_Rally_Macedonia_2018

Photo credits: Dimitris Kleanthis / Source: Athens Voice

Antisemitic banner displayed in Larissa

Convention of Greeks Larissa 2018

Supporters of Artemis Sorras, a convicted embezzler, notorious antisemite and conspiracy theorist, rallied last week in the streets of Larissa, capital and largest city of the Thessaly region, displaying a huge antisemitic banner. The banner reads: The Convention of Greeks [the organization founded by Sorras] opposes fascism, Zionist ideology and anything being against Greek values.

Here is footage from the rally including the antisemitic banner:

 

Holocaust memorial in Thessaloniki desecrated with “Free Palestine” graffiti

Vandals desecrated the Thessaloniki Holocaust memorial with “Free Palestine” graffiti.

Back in 2014, the monument in commemoration of the old Jewish cemetery of Thessaloniki was desecrated with the same graffiti, just weeks after it was dedicated.

BDS and hypocrisy: letter on Greek musicians Kotsiras and Tsaligopoulou

To

Mr. Naftali Bennett, Minister of Education and Diaspora Affairs
Mrs. Miri Regev, Minister of Culture and Sport
Mr. Yariv Levin, Minister of Tourism

Mrs. Bracha Cohen, The Jerusalem Centre for the Performing Arts
Mrs. Yasmine Levy, artist
Mr. Hichal Tarbut, Rishon le Zion
Mr. Idan Raichel, artist

Your Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

We the undersigned wish to inform you about a matter concerning the Greek musicians, Mr. Yiannis Kotsiras and Mrs. Eleni Tsaligopoulou, who have been invited to participate in concerts organized in Israel.

We strongly believe that cultural exchange is a positive mission as are the ties that it builds between the peoples of our two countries. This cooperation has perhaps the greatest potential to foster Israeli-Greek friendship.

However, for this to be so, the cooperation and friendship must also be mutual. And this is precisely the point of our concern.

In November 2015, Mr. Kotsiras and Ms. Tsaligopoulou were invited by the Embassy of Israel in Greece to perform in a concert together with the Israeli singer Idan Raichel. They accepted the invitation at first, only to change their minds and withdraw only a few hours before the concert, and with no explanation. As a result Mr. Raichel performed alone.

It turns out that they were approached by BDS activists in the interim. Given the silence of the two artists, there are two possible explanations for their decision, but speculation is not really required. The first, according to the media and blogs, is they withdrew to protest Israeli policy in Gaza (hardly a new issue); the second was they were informed of some pro-IDF statement made by Mr. Raichel (also irrelevant).

Greek antisemitism is pervasive and serious. It manifests itself in religious, political and media discourse. Antisemitic attitudes were rated at 67% by the 2015 ADL Global Survey. Antisemitism is the norm for most Greeks, regardless of their political convictions. Desecrations of Jewish sacred and cultural sites are common occurrences.

Greek music and culture is very popular in Israel. Greeks visiting Israel are impressed by the warmth of Israelis and their familiarity with Greek performers. Unfortunately, however, the reverse is not the case; few Israeli artists or, for that matter aspects of Jewish culture, are known in Greece. The reasons are obvious – but not pleasant.

Mr. Kotsiras and Mrs. Tsaligopoulou are not the most militant anti-Semites in Greece. Therefore, their selective and contradictory decision to perform in Israel after refusing to perform with an Israeli at home can be seen as 1) hypocritical, 2) purely financially motivated, and 3) cowardly.

Of course, the choice of artists who perform at those events is of the organizers solely. However, we strongly believe that any cooperation between Greeks and Israelis should be based on mutual respect and sincere appreciation. Greek antisemitism is too powerful to be defeated solely by good intentions.

Sincerely yours,

Andrea Gilbert, Jewish Expert, Greek Helsinki Monitor, andrea.gilbert [at] otenet.gr

Vassilis Tsarnas, Racist Crimes Watch administrator, Greek Helsinki Monitor, vasilistsarnas [at] gmail.com

Dimitri Kravvaris, Against Antisemitism blog, dimkrav [at] web.de