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 Communist Party calls Israel a “state-killer”

KKE against US-lead strikes 2018

Demonstrators protesting “the imperialist attack on Syria” in Athens. Screenshot via

The Greek Communist Party (KKE) organized a rally in central Athens to protest the US-led airstrikes against Syria on Saturday. The protesters chanted anti-U.S., anti-Nato and anti-EU slogans and even set an American flag on fire right in front of the American Embassy.

The Greek Communist Party issued a statement in which it blasted the SYRIZA-ANEL coalition government for “implicating” Greece “deeper in this massacre, on the account of the Greek capital, that is claiming its participation in the distribution of the loot and of the market shares.” It also accused the Greek government of cooperating militarily “with states-killers such as Israel.”

Communist Party chief Dimitris Koutsoumbas has accused Israel of engaging in “genocide” against Palestinians.

“Despite the problems facing our people, we must not underestimate the fact that a genocide is taking place in our neighborhood. Innocent children, women, families are being killed,” Koutsoumbas said during a meeting with former Greek President Karolos Papoulias in Athens four years ago.



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

Holocaust memorial in Thessaloniki desecrated with “Golden Dawn” graffiti

Only days after the desecration with “Free Palestine” graffiti, the Thessaloniki Holocaust memorial was vandalized by Greek nazis with “Golden Dawn” graffiti (see photo of the new vandalism below).

Tens of thousands of Greeks protested today in Thessaloniki the use of the name “Macedonia” in a solution to a dispute between Greece and Republic of Macedonia.

The rally drew around 90,000 people, according to police estimates. It was attended by politicians, members of Greek diaspora groups and some hard-line clerics. MPs of the extreme-right Golden Dawn also joined the protest. (via)

Earlier today, Greek news outlet detected antisemitic leaflets at the White Tower square targeting the Mayor of Thessaloniki, Yiannis Boutaris, and calling him “a slave of the Jews”.


Through the lens of Nissim Levis


Press Release

The Jewish Museum of Greece would like to invite you to the opening of its periodic exhibition “Through the lens of Nissim Levis: a family, an era”, which will take place on Monday, January 22, 2018.

The exhibition will be realised within the framework of a three-year programme of the JMG with the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Athens, which continuously, consistently and successfully supports the Museum’s work.

The exhibition focuses on Dr. Nissim Levis’ artistic photography, which covers the time period from the last years of the Ottoman rule (1898 – 1913) and the following years of upheaval and change, until 1930. It allows the visitor a glimpse into the life of a prominent family, within a community belonging to the beautiful northern Greek town of Ioannina, just moments before the War ravaged it and changed the fabric of its society forever, through the murder of the great majority of its Jewish inhabitants.

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More information about Nissim Levis (in Greek)

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


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]

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

Dimitri Kravvaris, Against Antisemitism blog, dimkrav [at]

אומנים דו פרצופיים (או דר’ ג’קיל ומר הייד) מאת ז’אן כהן*

For English version, click here.

אך הדבר מקבל זווית שונה, היות וכנראה מר קוציראס אינו ידידה של ישראל במיוחד. הייתי אפילו מעז לומר שהוא ככל הנראה נגד ישראל אם אקח בחשבון את התנהגותו בחודש נובמבר 2015.

אז מר קוציראס יחד עם הזמרת גב’ הלני צליגופולו הוזמנו על השגרירות ישראל ביוון להופיע בקונצרט שהיא ארגנה, יחד עם הזמר והיותר הישראלי עידן רייכל.

שעות ספורות לפני תחילת ההופעה שני האומנים היוונים ביטלו את הופעתם. הסיבה לא נודעה מעולם, לפחות רשמית, היות ולא פורסמה שום הודעה.

מפרסומים שונים באותה תקופה בבלוגים ואתרים אנטי ישראליים נבעו שתי גרסאות לגבי החלטתם: ביטול הופעתם הייתה קשורה באי הסכמתם למדיניות ישראל, הקשורה בעזה ובפלסטינאים בכלל או כי האומן הישראלי פיאר את צה”ל כמה ימים קודם, עובדה שלגבי שני האומים היוותה חטא בל יעבור.

ההתייחסות שלי אינה לא למר קוציראס ולא גב’ צליגופולו, ובטח לא בהתנהגותם הבלתי מקצועית לבטל את הופעתם שעות ספורות לפני תחילת הקונצרט. עובדה אחרונה זו מהווה נושא למחשבה עבור בעלי המועדונים שהם ירצו להחתימם להופעות.

הנושא שלי הם האומנים הדופרצופיים.

אותה התנהגות הראו בעבר ,רק צורכי אזכור, אומנים היוונים נוספים. מיקיס תאודוראקיס, המחזאי והסופר יעקובוס קמפנליס (הבלדה של מאוטהואזן) אשר ביקש שלא יועלו יצירותיו מעולם בישראל עד שהוא שמע על השכר והסכים.

נזכיר את “בנו של עם” סטליום קזנד’גיס אשר בפני בית משפט יווני ולאחר הדיון בראיון טלוויזיה אמר ” רק אני וערפאת נלחמים ביהודים”….

ויורגוס דאלארס שכל כך הרגיז את הקהל הישראלי בהשתתפותו הכמעט קבועה בקונצרטים נגד ישראל. עובדה זו גרמה לרבים בישראל לשבור את תקליטיו ברחובות.

כולן הם מוכנים לנסוע לישראל כדי להגדיל את חשבון הבנק שלהם, אך אינם ששים לומר ולו מילה טובה אחת על ישראל עם שובם, אך הם חשוקים להשתתף בכל פעילות אנטי ישראלית נגד “המדינה רוצח”. כנראה מישהו צריך להזכיר להם שאת “החבל אי אפשר לתפוס בשתי קצותיו” ….

למען הצדק ההיסטורי אני חייב להזכיר כאן את הזמרת האהובה לקהל הישראלי בשנות ה – 80 של המאה הקודמת, אלפידה. מהיודע לי, יתכן שיש גם אחרים, הייתה זו היחידה שאם שובה ליוון ספרה ופיארה את ישראל ועוד התקופה שביוון גם “האבנים” היו נגד ישראל.

אני שואל את עצמי האם כל האומנים הדופרצופיים הנ”ל, ואני בטוח שקיימים רבים אחרים פחות ידועים, איך בעמדם מול המראה בבוקר מתרצים את מעשיהם?

מה מצפונם אומר? על מי הם “עובדים” על הישראלים או על הפלסטינאים? כנראה על שניהם ואולי הם חושבים שתפסו “פראיירים” את שניהם בטרם מעיפים מבט חטוף בחשבון הבנק שלהם, מלאי סיפוק.

אני מכבד יותר את האנטי ישראלים האמתיים אשר נלחמים במדינת ישראל ישירות וללא הערות ביניים והסתייגויות, מאשר סוג כזה של אומנים אשר רוצים “הן את כלב שבע והן את אוכל שלם”…

ואם כבר, מדובר בעניין של אתיקה גם אם “הבוכטות הן עבות”.

*ז’אן כהן הוא עיתונאי וכתב קול ישראל ביוון