|ANTI-SEMITISM IN GREECE
by Shimon Samuels and Panayote Dimitras
Wall Street Journal - European Edition, Nov. 7, 2003
|Sunday marks the 65th anniversary of the Nazi "Night of Broken Glass," Kristalnacht, the prelude to the Holocaust. The slogan
after that carnage was "never again," but in Greece anti-semitism has reared the head "again." Therefore, we in the Wiesenthal
Center see it as our sad duty to issue hereby a travel advisory for Greece, suggesting that those visiting use extreme caution until
authorities take appropriate measures to contain antisemitism and other expressions of hate.
At the same time the Greek Helsinki Monitor, the Greek branch of the OSCE's International Helsinki Federation, is launching litigation in the hope that the Greek courts and the Greek state will process those breaking laws against incitement to hatred.
Why are we collectively taking such action? Antisemitism is a praradigm for all forms of xenophobia and a barometric measure
of an atmosphere that can menace the very fabric of society for all its citizens. Incitement of it violates EU provisions and threatens to extinguish the ideals of the Olympic flame which, next August, will return to the birthplace of the games.
The Jewish community has been present in Greece since Biblical times. It reached almost 80,000 before the war, but most of
them perished at Auschwitz. Today only 5,000 remain. Over the past 20 months we have monitored a pattern of attacks
against this ancient community. One of the latest was the desecration last month of the Holocaust memorial in the Jewish
cemetery of Ioannina. It was the sixth incident against Jewish monuments in Ioannina, Salonika and Rhodes.
Construction began on a Holocaust memorial on the island of Rhodes in May, 2002. On June 10, the Rhodes local daily Drasis reprinted a March cartoon from the pro-government paper Eleftherotypia equating the Nazi destruction of Warsaw Ghetto
with Israeli attack on Ramallah. In it a Nazi ghost soldier mused: "Finally things are complete! Just as we killed the Jews
then, so now are the Jews killing the memory of those who were killed." Stathis added its own flair by adorning the cartoon
with "Warsaw Ghetto = Ramallah."
|Freeman Center for Strategic Studies
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