This report documents anti-Semitism in Greece from January 2001 through June 2002, partially updated through October 2002, primarily on the basis of material published in the mainstream Greek press. Although some background and references to incidents prior to January 2001 are included, the aim of this report is to portray the current picture of anti-Semitism, rather than chart its history or analyze its roots. It is important to note, however, that, specific events aside, the picture and trends have remained essentially unchanged for at least the past two decades. GHM and MRG-G have published material on this topic available at http://www.greekhelsinki.gr/special-issues-antisemitism.html (English) and http://www.greekhelsinki.gr/bhr/greek/special_issues/antisemitism.html (Greek).[i]
A fundamental obstacle to counteracting anti-Semitism in Greece is that its existence is systematically denied or ignored. Efforts to expose it are met with resistance, sometimes even from the Jewish community itself. Intellectuals and progressives routinely justify and disavow anti-Semitic discourse as political or scholarly “anti-Zionist” analysis. Jews are not perceived as a “vulnerable” or “minority” group, per se – just the opposite, in fact. Elaborate conspiracy theories involving Jewish or “Zionist Lobbies” with designs on Greece are promulgated as proof of Jewish omnipotence and an ongoing threat to the territorial, spiritual and cultural integrity of the Greek nation. The identification of all Jews with Israelis is further facilitated by the fact that in the Greek language, the words “Israeli” (Israelinos) and “Israelite” (Israelitis) are often – and often conveniently – confused.
The Greek government has yet to take a strong and consistent stand against anti-Semitism. Even extreme anti-Semitic views openly expressed by Orthodox clergy members, politicians, factions, cultural icons, and journalists pass without comment. Attacks on Jewish monuments and property receive little if any attention in the media and faint condemnation by the political and spiritual leadership. Of course, many members of Greek society find these acts disturbing. Yet the prevailing tendency is to compare them to the larger-scale anti-Semitic violence elsewhere in Europe, and judge them to be inconsequential or at least not a serious threat. There is no public discussion of the broader implications of these incidents and the culprits are never named, apprehended or brought to justice. Because anti-Semitism is a non-issue, no internal or external pressure is exerted to modify media portrayals or alter public opinion, as is the case with other forms of racism. Deeply entrenched, anti-Semitism continues to be tolerated if not condoned by all facets of Greece society.
Traditional negative Jewish stereotypes abound in Greek culture. An EU-funded Lambrakis Research Foundation 1993 survey showed that 57% of Greeks have an aversion to Jews.[ii] Anti-Semitic remarks or “observations” are voiced in causal conversations on all levels of society and in the mainstream press and electronic media. Often visitors to Greece, including those of Greek origin, are shocked by what they hear.
Characteristically, a woman writes to the weekly Athens News (16/3/01), “I am Jewish and I have never encountered so much racism as I have in Greece. In Mykonos last year, a taxi driver – on discovering that my husband was in the shampoo business in Eastern Europe (and of course not realizing that we were Jewish) – said ‘if they have Jews there, you could kill them and make them into soap for your shampoo business’. (…) We have found the same, be it with a taxi driver, dentist, businessmen etc.”[iii]
In his essay titled “Why Not a Greek ‘Mala’?” George Gedeon, a Canadian news and current affairs video editor of Greek (non-Jewish) descent, describes a spectrum of chance anti-Semitic encounters he had during one brief stay in Greece: “In my hotel room, I was astounded to witness three separate channels passionately discuss the perennial “Judeo-Masonic conspiracy”! I watched in horror as a politician, historians, hosts and viewers joined in orgiastic anti-Jewish discussions and promotion of literature worthy of Joseph Goebbels. This apparently they do regularly and without much opposition!”[iv]
Overt anti-Semitic forums are provided in ultra-nationalist, and/or religious, and/or xenophobic newspapers usually on the right. They include newspapers with small circulation like Chryssi Avghi (weekly published by the neo-Nazi organization of the same name), Stochos (traditional extreme right weekly), Orthodoxos Typos (fundamentalist Orthodox Christian weekly), Eleftheri Ora and Neoi Anthropoi (daily and weekly owned by Gregory Michalopoulos, leader of the extreme-right and military junta apologist National Alliance party, and also host of a program in TV Polis, successor of Tele Tora owned by him and sold to the owner of the country’s third in audience TV channel Alpha). They also include newspapers with large circulations like Hora (pro-conservative opposition daily, with average sales of 11,000 in August 2002 with the largest daily selling 92,000), and Alpha Ena (weekly owned by highly vocal anti-Semite George Karatzaferis, elected member of parliament in the conservative opposition New Democracy ticket and now leader of the ultra-nationalist People’s Orthodox Rally –LAOS- party, with average sales of 20,000 in August 2002). Finally, they include a plethora of magazines. Anti-Semitic propaganda is also regularly broadcast on radio programs, and on the TV channels TeleAsty (national channel also owned by George Karatzaferis) as well as inter alia in local TV channels in Thessaloniki –some of the latter’s programs are also broadcast by a local Patras channel.
Under the most benign conditions media tend to point out Jewishness. For instance, a movie reviewer for Athinorama (23/1/01), the weekly culture and entertainment guide to Athens, writes about “a multinational film, with Jewish-American producers,” but doesn’t mention the religions of the film’s other Swedish, French and American participants.[v] Similarly, an article by a major intellectual about Henry Kissinger, in what is considered as one of the country’s most authoritative newspapers, the largest selling (206,000 in August 2002) centrist To Vima on Sunday (V, 25/2/01), comments that “the British author is preparing to publish a book on his German-Jewish-American ‘mentor’.”[vi]
There are also more alarming examples. An article about the Middle East, which appeared in the country’s second largest daily (80,000 in August 2002) centrist Ta Nea, contained the phrase, “the caricature of a Jewish small-time merchant who breaks his promises and goes back on his signature.” The Central Board of Jewish Communities (KIS) took umbrage in a letter to the editor, reminding him that “the same ‘caricature’ was used by Hitler.” The paper responded with an apology for the oversight and a denial of racist intent (N, 17-18/2/01).[vii]
However, the real depth of anti-Semitism in Greek consciousness is evidenced by the ease with which it manifests itself in mainstream expression, unimpeded and seemingly unnoticed, during times of crisis. The Greek press has played a major role in this area. Since September 11th (2001) and with the increasing violence in the Middle East, the blatant anti-Semitism regularly heard on the fringe has been voiced in the print (especially) and electronic media by a spectrum of influential personalities in politics, labor, education, and culture. So widely discussed was the rumor that 4,000 Jews working in the Word Trade Center were forewarned and thus escaped death, that a poll taken for state TV NET showed 43% of Greeks as believing the rumor, as opposed to 30% who did not.[viii]
Moreover, on 2 April 2002, the country’s two largest dailies, Ta Nea and center-left Eleftherotypia (92,000 in August 2002) and the large rightwing daily (23,000 in August 2002) Apogevmatini (as its front-page headline) readily printed as unquestionable reality a heinous libel – supplied to the state Athens News Agency by a Palestinian organization in Greece and not as an April fools day story…– that Israelis were trafficking the organs of dead Palestinian fighters and performing medical experiments on Arab prisoners. In criticism, columnist Paschos Mandravelis wrote in one of them, Apogevmatini, (Ap, 3/4/02), “The biggest problem this rumor points out is the deficit of rational thinking in this country. We are ready to believe everything, except what makes sense.”[ix] He may have added, “especially when it comes to the Jews.”
The current Jewish population of Greece is estimated (as the Greek census does not count minorities) at approximately 5,000, 3,000 of whom live in Athens. Eight-six percent of Greek Jewry (pre-1943 total 77,377 persons), most of whom lived in the large northeastern city of Thessaloniki, lost their lives during the Nazi Occupation of Greece. There presently are approximately 160 Holocaust survivors living in Greece. The Kentriko Israilitiko Symvoulio (Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece or KIS)[x] is the governing body of the Jewish Communities; there are eight active communities and four defunct ones. KIS (President Moses Constantinis) is formally affiliated with the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs but is autonomously administrated and funded. It operates as a legal entity of public law with a cultural and philanthropic role. Rabbis are selected and paid by the Community; they do not receive stipends from the government. Because of the prevailing climate in Greece, KIS had in the past tended to choose its battles with caution, and often downplayed the existence or extent of anti-Semitism in Greece, particularly in the international arena. Although members of the Jewish community occasionally disagreed with KIS’s conservative policy, they appeared to be reluctant to take individual action.[xi] Moses Elisaf, professor of internal medicine at the University of Ioannina and President of the Jewish Community of Ioannina, told Greek Helsinki Monitor (GHM), “You have to realize, we are tiny communities fighting for our survival.”[xii] Things appeared to be changing in recent years.
The same Ministry administers both education and religious matters, and the government rigorously controls the school curriculum. In a recent poll of 1,962 adults, aged 18-65+, 53% claimed to support the separation of church and state, in contrast to 40% who are opposed.[xiii] However, according to this same poll, 64% of Greeks support the compulsory course in religion that is taught in 10 of the 12 grades of school.[xiv] All textbooks are identical for public and private schools and are published by the state-owned Organization of Textbook Publications (OEDV),[xv] which is slow to remove objectionable material or make revisions that project more contemporary, tolerant attitudes. The religion textbooks currently in use contain discriminatory portrayals of non-Greek Orthodox religions.[xvi] Although non-Christian Orthodox pupils are exempt from these classes and from the daily morning prayer, this, in and of itself, establishes a “them” versus “us” situation.
The Jewish presence in Greece is a “taboo subject” in school history.[xvii] The Greek school system continues to produce generations that are under- or misinformed about the history of Jews in their own country and in the rest of the world. Anna Frangoudaki, a professor of pedagogy at the University of Athens, wrote in 1997 about the “inexplicable…nearly complete absence of Jews in Greek schoolbooks.”[xviii] She recently confirmed to GHM that this situation has not changed.[xix] Her article in Ta Nea points out that “There are no Jews in history, either in Greece or in other countries, and there is no reference whatsoever to the creation or the existence of the state of Israel. (…) In the 3rd year high school history book, Jews appear in only three sentences… from their expulsion from Catholic Spain in the 15th century to the fall of Constantinople (pp. 46, 11, 112). (…) Even more inexplicable is that the book contains no mention of Jewish communities in Greece, no reference to their extensive presence in the economic flourishing of the country or to their cultural and political significance.”[xx]
Ms. Frangoudaki also notes the book’s dyshistorical approach to Hitlerism. “The book mentions that the rise of Hitler in Germany brought about ‘the extermination of the opponents of Nazism, mostly the Jews’ (334). It also mentions that among the misfortunes caused by this war was the enormous number of victims, including millions among the civilian population, for various reasons, and through the ‘systematic persecution and extermination of the Jews’ (348).” Missing from these two phrases, she emphasizes, is the key fact that the Nazis’ quintessential crime was the extermination of the Jews. “No mention is made of Germany’s policy of ‘racial cleansing,’ of the ‘final solution,’ or of genocide.”
Among the many pages relating the horrors of the German Occupation of Greece, there is only one phrase mentioning the “tens of thousands of civilians, mostly Jews (who) met with a horrible death in German concentration camps” (361). “But in Greece,” Ms. Frangoudaki emphasizes, “the Nazi regime didn’t only exterminate ‘tens’ of thousands of civilians, ‘mostly’ Jews. Besides the tens of thousands of civilians, the Nazis exterminated hundreds of thousands of Jews and the problem isn’t simply arithmetical, because they exterminated almost the entire Jewish population of the country. The absence of Jews from all of history is truly inexcusable, as is the total lack of mention … of any Greek Jewish citizens. However, the absence of the Holocaust is not only inexcusable, it is highly problematic politically.”[xxi]
The cycle of this educational deficit is perpetuated at the university level where some members of the university community advance various forms of revisionist history, Zionist conspiracy theories, and traditional anti-Semitism, examples of which are documented in various sections of this report. Their students in turn become the educators and molders of the opinions of the next generation. An incident in the late 1990s testifies to extent of anti-Semitic bias at the university level. In 1998, the Foreign Ministry published a book on the history of Greek Jewry coincidentally with the publication of a newly discovered (in Moscow) archive from the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki. These publications prompted a debate in academia over the “national purity” of Greek Jews. The Board of Directors of the Association of Graduate Students of the Department of History and Archeology of the University of Athens wrote letters to centrist daily (49,000 copies in August 2002) To Vima and Ta Nea, claiming to “know for a fact that Greek Jews did not play any role the national struggles.” This would mean, as historian Vangelis Kehriotis criticizes, “Jews are included in the ‘national’ history to the extent that they are seen as having contributed to the ‘national’ struggles. According to this line of reason, the rest of the Jews, i.e. the tens of thousands exterminated by the Nazis, are excluded from Greek history.”[xxii]
Although there is a legal separation of Church and State in Greece, Orthodox Christianity is enshrined in the Constitution as the dominant faith of the land. The country’s traditional population –ie excluding the one million recent immigrants- is formally approximately 98% Christian Orthodox and religion is an integral part of Greek life, so much so that many Greeks find it difficult to conceive that someone can be Greek without being of Greek Orthodox faith.
The Greek Orthodox Church remains a major source of inherent anti-Semitism. While it formally condemns anti-Semitism, many of its clergy are openly anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist, and have published literature on the subject. Furthermore, individual priests are free to preach whatever they like to their congregations.
Anti-Semitism in Religious Customs
Unlike the Roman Catholic Church, the Orthodox Church has not yet absolved the Jews for the death of Christ or removed such references from its liturgy. Easter is by far the most popular holiday in Greece, a time for families and friends to celebrate with secular festivities and participate in religious devotions. The Holy Thursday and Good Friday liturgies at the culmination of Holy Week contain numerous references to the “Jewish nation,” the nation responsible for the crucifixion of Jesus. The Jews are repeatedly called “Theoktoni” (Killers of God), “despised-by-God,” “an impious and illegitimate people,” and their punishment is entreated.
Anti-Semitism is also retained in popular Easter customs, which, like the liturgy, are repeated every year. On Holy Saturday (4/4/02) state National Hellenic Television (NET) featured “Traditional Easter Customs” on its midday newscast (15.00-15.15), including the Holy Thursday custom of the “Kapsimo tou Youda” (the burning of Judas’s effigy). According to Professor Frangiski Abatzopoulou of the University of Thessaloniki, the Burning of Judas is the “most familiar and widespread manifestation of traditional anti-Semitism in Greece.”[xxiii] She notes that “the accusation [against the Jews] for ‘theoktonia,’ reactivated through liturgy, cannot be examined in the framework of rationalism given that it is inscribed in religious experience.” But, she stresses, “it can be examined in relation to the mechanism of scapegoating, which constructs the ‘Jew’ as guilty not only for ‘theoktonia’ but for all the other suffering in the world as well.”[xxiv]
Although the official Greek Church has repeatedly formally condemned the custom of the “Burning of Judas” in the past, this year, NET chose to cover the custom, without commenting on its ant-Semitic content.
The Greek government’s decision in the spring of 2000 to remove the reference to “religion” from the national identity card was vehemently opposed by the Orthodox Church. At the time, the immensely popular Archbishop (of Athens and All Greece) Christodoulos waged a campaign against the reforms and mobilized thousands of Greek citizens in mass protest rallies in Athens and Thessaloniki. These were followed by a spate of anti-Semitic attacks motivated by notions of a “Jewish Plot,” including the extensive desecration of Jewish cemeteries and the Athens synagogue, and the defacement of Jewish monuments and private properties with slogans as swastikas.[xxv]
The Archbishop’s anti-Semitic insinuations continued into 2001. In an interview in To Vima (15/3/01) he directly accused “the Jews” of instigating the reforms on the basis of supposed proof published on the Internet: “Do you know who is behind the matter of the identity cards? The Jews, and for the first time we have the evidence.”[xxvi] The Archbishop claimed that the request to remove the religious designation, as well as and to erect a “memorial to the Jews of Thessaloniki who were sent to the crematoriums,” was initially presented to Prime Minister Costas Simitis in 1996 by the “Jewish lobby” (Avghi, 3/4/01).[xxvii] While Jewish organizations had indeed lobbied for years for such action, so had many Catholic and secular organizations, human rights groups, etc. while the reference to religion was a violation of the data protection standards applicable in EU countries.
In 20/3/01,[xxviii] KIS sent a letter to the center-right daily (44,000 in August 2002) Kathimerini, denouncing the Archbishop for making incendiary and false claims. “Our position was clearly and publicly stated so as to prevent any misinterpretation concerning supposed clandestine or other activities. (…) You confuse…the matter of the identity cards with that of the Monument to the 60,000 Greek Jews of Thessaloniki who died in the Nazi concentration camps… a belated debt of the state to its wrongfully lost citizens.” KIS also reminded the Archbishop that such rhetoric “helps create an indiscriminate climate of anti-Semitism, the results [of which] is the eventual vandalism of Jewish cemeteries and institutions, which You yourself have been obliged to condemn.”[xxix]
However, instead a retraction or apology, Archbishop Christodoulos wrote a letter of rebuttal (26/3/01) in which he cited theological grounds for (his and all) anti-Semitism. “I have every reason to believe that you, the Jews, should be heralds of the historical truth that anti-Semitism is a phenomenon described even in the Bible, a phenomenon that has a purely theological explanation and is clearly pre-Christian. The Jews’ eternal enemies did not wait for identity cards to be issued in order to set up the mechanisms for their extermination.” The Archbishop then clarified that he “never accused the Jews of ‘clandestine acts’ against Christians. Just the opposite: I mentioned that months ago the U.S. Jews published on the Internet, informing the international public of what they had requested from their official Greek interlocutor. It is not the Jews,” he explains, “but the Greek politicians who acted clandestinely by concealing from the [Greek] people [the identity of those] whom this demand serves and for what reasons. Besides, you will surely recall, my dear Mr. Moses Constantinis, that you accompanied members of the World Jewish Congress from New York to my office in March 1999, to discuss our Church relaxing its reservations about removing religion from Greek identity cards. Please note that in Israel, identity cards record religion.”[xxx]
Nicholas Stavroulakis, Director of the Etz Hayyim Synagogue in Hania, Crete, expressed outrage (English Kathimerini/International Herald Tribune (EK/IHT), 2/4/01) at what he called the Archbishop’s “demeaning” reply and only slightly veiled anti-Semitism. “It is a pity that a contemporary Christian and a person of authority and supposed responsibility as Archbishop Christodoulos…has been saying [such things] with so little sense of either history or responsibility. (…) To find our own scriptures called in as support for his own twisted form of ‘theological’ explanation and implied justification for anti-Semitism is demeaning.”[xxxi]
The government’s official rejoinder to the Archbishop’s blatant and inflammatory anti-Semitic accusations could be described as laconic and lukewarm, at best. Moreover, statement made by Dimitris Reppas, the then Government Spokesperson, received very little attention in the press. A few dailies published brief excerpts, mostly buried in the fine print.[xxxii]
The English Kathimerini/International Herald Tribune (20/3/01) gave the government’s response the most emphasis with the front-page headline: “Archbishop’s ‘Jews’ claim a ‘harmful lie’.”[xxxiii] The largest of the articles in the Greek language press (in the small but influential leftist daily –2,000 copies in August 2002- Avghi, 20/3/01) reports Mr. Reppas as characterizing “false” and “outlandish” the Archbishop’s claim that “so-called ‘global Judaism’ is to blame for the identity card issue. (…) A claim such as this, besides being totally false, also causes problems for the country’s international image given that, among other things, it casts doubt on the democratic conscience of Greek citizens.”[xxxiv]
Many members of the Greek Orthodox clergy openly promulgate anti-Semitism in articles and treatises.[xxxv] Secular and nationalistic (right and leftwing) conspiracy theories concerning the omnipotent “Jewish Lobby” in the United States and the Jewish-American-Israeli collusion with Turkey - Turkey being the quintessential enemy of Greece and all things Greek - gain currency when fused to traditional religious bias.
A characteristic recent example was published in the “religion and the nation” section of the conservative rightwing weekly (59,000 copies in August 2002) Typos on Sunday (25/2/01), where the Bishop of Pisidia Methodios Foughias propounds the need for a “think-tank for Hellenism.”[xxxvi] His organization, Palintropos Armonia (loosely= “Back to Harmony”), he claims, would counteract the influence of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, which he calls a Turkish institution operating under a “Jewish mantle.” [The Institute for Near East Policy is] “an omnipotent think-tank funded by Turkey, founded several years ago by the Australian of Jewish origin, the internationalist Aizik [sic], who is US assistant secretary of state for Israeli affairs.” Bishop Foughias elaborates: “The Institute…does not include Turks in its classes, but only American former officers of the CIA, the State Department and the Pentagon, who with Turkish funds and usually under a ‘Jewish mantle’ promote the interests of Ankara.”[xxxvii]
In 2000, his monks formed a pop music group called “Eleftheri” (“Free”), affectionately known as the Rocking Monks. They immediately received extensive media coverage, and their first CD sold 60,000 – platinum sales in Greece – only a few weeks after its release.[xxxviii] “By Your Side,” the group’s third CD in just three years, with English language remixes of some of their biggest hits, was launched on 11/3/2002 at an Athens concert attended by more than 700 youngsters.[xxxix] The group sings out against technology and globalization and now hopes to break into a wider market and spread their message abroad.[xl] Father Moulatsiotis, their mentor, manager and spiritual leader, emphasizes that “the group wants to save young people from the temptations of modern life and bring them closer to God – by using the same tools as the devil.” On the sleeve of the new album he claims, “We must propose alternatives and suggest the right things for people to do.”[xli] Initially, Father Moulatsiotis’ musical enterprise engendered the requisite official Church disapproval of its progressive methods of communication. However, in a recent interview in Apogevmatini (5/4/02) the cleric attributes the Archbishop’s now “neutral stand” to the fact that he, Moulatsiotis, has been more successful in “winning back the youth to the Church.”[xlii]
All this looks like good, clean, spiritual fun until one examines what it is that is actually behind this “message.” In a three-page color expose in the center-left weekly (188,000 copies in August 2002) Eleftherotypia on Sunday (25/2/01), the “Ios tis Kyriakis” [Virus on Sunday] team of investigative journalists describes their visit to the monastery and their impressions of Father Moulatsiotis: “Everyone knows him as the ‘manager of the rocking monks.’ They are slighting him.”[xliii] One only needs to glance at any of the 250 pages of Father Moulatsiotis’ self-proclaimed best seller, “When will the Second Coming of our Lord occur?”,[xliv] to read all manner of vicious anti-Semitism combined with all the paranoid conspiracy theories of the day. The book, which has reportedly circulated in 17 editions and 200,000 copies since 1984, argues from every position and with illustrations that Zionism/Judaism/the Jews is the dark force surrounding technology and globalization, the source of all evil, and the primary threat to all that Greece holds dear.[xlv] He even offers a clue to what motivated his entry into the music business: “In Greece, as Mikis Theodorakis has charged, Zionism controls [recording labels] MINOS MATSAS and SONS, COLUMBIA and PHILIPS, and that’s how they give our people the sounds that serve their long-term interests.”[xlvi]
The Ios team writes that Father Moulatsiotis’ “Second Coming” book “is characterized by extreme anti-Semitism and espouses all the familiar conspiracy theories: ‘Hitler was a Jew’, ‘Mohammed was a Jew’, ‘the nation of the Jews is cursed by God’, ‘Since Hitler didn’t achieve what the Jews wanted so they could rule the East and the West, they came up with the idea of creating a new empire, the EU.’ (p. 225). The Antichrist is the European Union: ‘It is rumored that the bearer of number 666 may make his appearance from the EU building. He will of Jewish origin, he will rule as president of the EU and will switch over to Israel.’ (p. 318).”[xlvii]
Father Nektarios also exposes the plot to annex parts of Greece, warning that “large tracts of land in Crete, our Greek islands, and Cyprus are already being purchased by actual representatives of Judaic interests.”[xlviii] He claims to have found the proof in a report on the Israeli election campaign allegedly published in the German newspaper “Die Welt.” “The political candidates and parties kept repeating to voters: ‘Keep in mind. Our [Israel’s] fundamental enemy is Hellenism!’” Undeniable evidence, he tells us, that “the Jews are working insidiously and diabolically against the Greek Nation and our Orthodoxy. (…) The one-time chosen people of God have unfortunately become a Theoktonos [Killer of God] and Prophetoktonos [Killer of Prophets] people, as our Church very rightly calls them.”[xlix]
Then he turns his attack on the Jews of Greece: “Why, Jews, is Hellenism your enemy? What did the Greeks do to you? (…) We read your prophecies and saw them come to pass in the figure of Jesus Christ. (…) Why, Jews, have you forgotten that during your persecution by your fellow countryman Hitler, we Greeks hid you and protected you so they wouldn’t turn you into soap? So that’s the thanks you give Greece? Our Church and the Holy Scriptures are right to call you UNGRATEFUL people.” He calls upon Greek politicians and clergymen “to take a stand against the unacceptable declarations of the Jews and enlighten our people about the dark role the Jews are playing.”[l]
And to settle any disputes over the origins of the blood libel, Father Nektarios enriches his own thesis with the views of 18th century venerated missionary Saint Cosmas the Etolian on the Jews. “God lifted his kingdom from the old Rome and besieged the Jews in Jerusalem, and fathers and mothers slaughtered their children and ate them.” And a more accessible, contemporary concept: “If a Jew gives you wine or raki, he surely has first cast a spell on it; and if he doesn’t have time to pee in it, he’ll spit in it.”[li]
Father Nektarios is also responsible for another widely circulated anti-Semitic publication that is distributed free outside churches and in other public places. A local resident of Hania, Crete, recently informed GHM that this pamphlet is being openly handed out at the town’s public market.[lii] (The documented anti-Semitism of the Prefect of Hania and some clerics in that district is cited elsewhere in this report.[liii]) According to the Ios team, “‘7 Anonymous Orthodox Christians’ is yet another example of the anti-Semitic claptrap and inane conspiracy theories that supposedly reveal the designs against Orthodoxy and the Nation. The emphasis, naturally, is on the condemnation of the ‘Jew-serving’ government, which suppresses religion from identity cards in order to pave the way for a thousand-and-one other anti-Hellenic and satanic designs. This platform could be included in equivalent neo-Nazi platforms that circulate among the lines devout super-patriots, if most of the references didn’t bear the name of a popular cleric who characterizes himself as progressive. The source of many wild tales in this slick brochure is Father Nektarios Moulatsiotis.”[liv]
In addition to his music and publishing enterprises, Father Moulatsiotis’ monastery is a major pilgrimage site. On their visit in February 2001, the Ios team reported as many as 100 people attending his Sunday services.[lv] They also observed that the monastery’s “souvenir shop” contained “dozens of Mr. Moulatsiotis’ publications, prominently displayed alongside that bible of anti-Semitism, ‘The Protocols of the Elders of Zion’.”[lvi]
However, one very significant point missing from the extensive Ios article and worthy of further investigation is that Father Moulatisotis’ monastery operates a free summer camp for youths, hosting 200 boys annually.[lvii] Furthermore, this camp is funded by proceeds from record sales,[lviii] and from sales of his “Second Coming” book (clearly stated on cover and back page) and other anti-Semitic publications of his.[lix]
The September 11th Libel
A new anti-Semitic libel implicating the Jews in the September 11th terror attacks, which originated in the Muslim world and made its way around the globe via the Internet, found wide acceptance in Greece. In a statement issued (8/11/01) honoring the anniversary of the Kristallnacht pogrom in Germany (9/11/1938), now designated the International Day Against Racism, the collaborating NGOs, Greek Helsinki Monitor (GHM) and Minority Rights Group-Greece (MRG-G) cited “an outbreak of anti-Semitism in Greece exceeding even that of last year. Thus, anti-Semitism seems diffused throughout, and tolerated by, Greek society. This year’s most characteristic example was the widespread espousal as truth of the preposterous rumor that 4000 Jews had been warned and did not go to their offices on September 11th, the day of the terror attack in New York.”[lx]
This was substantiated by a television poll conducted for state TV NET on 17-18/10/2001, which showed that 42% of Greeks subscribe to this rumor, as opposed to 30% who do not.[lxi] In another poll, published in Eleftherotypia, the Greeks who believed that the September 11 attacks were the work of Bin Landen (30%) or of some Arab terrorists (9%) were fewer than those who believed that they were perpetrated by the secret services of America (28%) or Israel (8%), or by Americans of the extreme right (4%) or the extreme left (2%).[lxii] These numbers were not surprising, given that the “news” about the alleged Jewish plot was widely published in Greek newspapers, aired on television, adopted by at least one politician from each of the country’s three major parties (governing socialist PASOK, opposition conservative New Democracy, and communist KKE), and repeated by academics and popular personalities.[lxiii] It even appeared in the “Informational Bulletin” of the Technical Chamber of Greece (T.E.E.), an organization representing 80,000 engineers and licensed by the state. On the other hand, no condemnations of the rumor have been made by the government, political parties or journalists’ unions. This silence can be interpreted as complicity or legitimization.
The September 11th libel even reached the Greek Parliament in a parliamentary question put by George Karatzaferis, the founder and deputy of the ultra-rightwing LAOS party and a notorious anti-Semite. (George Karatzaferis was initially elected to Parliament with the main opposition party New Democracy; he was expelled from the party not for his racist views, but for his slandering attacks against the party’s leader and spokesperson in 2000. His views and activities are discussed at length elsewhere in the report.) On 21/9/2001, George Karatzaferis asked Foreign Minister George Papandreou to inform him as to whether he was aware of the articles published in two Israeli newspapers (Ha’aretz and Yedioth Ahronot), and if he had brought them to the attention of his European counterparts. According to George Karatzaferis, these publications “reveal” that the “4000 Jews working in the Twin Towers did not go to work on the day of the attack”; that “Ariel Sharon canceled his trip to New York that day where he was to speak at a celebration of Zionism”; and that “5 Jews were arrested while videotaping the destruction 4 hours after the event [and] are being held by the FBI for suspicious behavior interpreted as ridiculing the tragic event.” [lxiv] The parliamentary question was subsequently published in full in the weekly newspaper Alpha Ena (22/9/01), owned by George Karatzaferis, and aired as “news” on the TV station TeleAsty – also owned by him – on which he provides a regular forum for extreme anti-Semitic and other racist propaganda.
The Embassy of Israel in Athens (EoI, 24/9/01) categorically rejected as “simply preposterous” all these allegations. “It is really shameful that these absurd accusations are being propagated by certain personalities and even politicians in Greece.”[lxv] When the Embassy statement was made public, the Ios team describes George Karatzaferis’ reaction: “Karatzaferis showed up in a frenzied state on his daily TV program ‘TeleAsty’ to literally declare war on Greek Jewry. (…) In a delirium of hatred that the most fanatic national socialist would envy, the parliamentarian did more than ascribe the terrorist attack and every evil in the world to the Jews.”[lxvi]
The deeper impact of this defamation, as emphasized by the Ios journalists, has to do with “understanding how this new anti-Semitic rumor is used within the Greek context. [George Karatzaferis] openly threatened Greek citizens of Jewish origin, regarding them as an a-priori fifth column and excluding them once and for all from the ‘national body’. (…) ‘These people who have committed outrages throughout this land have no right to protest,’ the parliamentarian maintained. ‘The Jews are not justified to a voice and to challenge politicians in Greece. This shows great impudence on their part’.” They point out, “by manipulating the anti-Semitic substratum of a society that otherwise boasts of its ecumenical and anti-racist sentiments, this repulsive rumor seems to have fertile ground at a juncture where the ‘invisible danger’ is easily detected in the figure of the eternal scapegoat... Unfortunately, it seems that George Karatzaferis is not alone on this matter.” Indeed his “outrageous frenzy wouldn’t have mattered so much if the rumor, of which he was the basic linchpin in Greece, had not appeared virtually uncommented upon in many newspapers (“Adesmeftos Typos” 22/9, “Vradyni” 22/9, “Paron” 23/9, “Espresso” 24/9, etc) and on numerous TV channels. If it had not been supported by politicians such as New Democracy deputy Eugene Haitidis and professors such as Maria Tzani and George Hourmouziadis [KKE-communist party].” [lxvii] A few days later, on a minor Athens-centered channel Seven TV discussion (3/10/01), “when the debate was led to the anti-Semitic paths prevailing these days, Stelios Papathemelis [PASOK deputy and former Minister of Public Order] was wondering, with feigned innocence, why the names of the Jews who were killed in the twin towers were not released."[lxviii]
There was also the KKE official organ, daily Rizospastis (9,000 copies in August 2002), that carried articles repeating the libel on 15/9/01 as well as as late as 13/12/01. Just like Eleftherotypia columnist Andreas Roumeliotis (25/9/01) seemed to giver credit to that libel quoting Arab newspapers…[lxix]
Finally, it is important to mention that all extreme-right newspapers reprinted the libel -Chrysi Agvhi, Stohos and Eleftehri Ora- mainly because the latter’s style of journalism was being supported if not praised in October 2001 by almost the whole conservative opposition parliamentary group. In fact 101 New Democracy (ND) (Euro-)parliamentarians condemned with individual statements (in the October pages of “Eleftheri Ora”) the suspension of broadcasting of the TV station Teletora, owned by Yorgos Michalopoulos, the ultra-rightwing politician and publisher of Eleftheri Ora with anti-Semitic and racist views corresponding to those of Karatzaferis. Some of these politicians protested in the name of media freedom and polyphony. Others affixed laudatory attributes to the station, such as “national,” “objective,” “serious,” “authoritative,” “free voice,” “fighter, forum for democracy,” etc. Meanwhile, everyone had read and knew that, in 2000, Teletora sold its frequency for big money to the new station Polis – where Michalopoulos has a weekly program – and, in 2001, decided to illegally broadcast on the VHF 3 frequency exclusively reserved for armed forces use. This is the reason that the E.E.T.T. (National Commission for Telecommunications and Postal Services) suspended the station’s operation, along with a host of others for which the N.D. (Euro-)parliamentarians did not demonstrate comparable “sensitivity.”
The Technical Chamber of Greece (T.E.E.), a professional organization representing 80,000 engineers and business people, enabled a mainstream forum for the September 11th libel. In early October, 2001, two consecutive issues of the T.E.E. weekly Informational Bulletin, a glossy magazine mailed to all its members, carried two vehemently anti-Semitic articles claiming that “Zionist conspiracies” orchestrated the September 11th terrorist attacks. A faction calling itself “The Engineers (TEE) of Order” signed the articles. The first essay titled “Who are the Terrorists?” (1/10/01) concludes with the warning (punctuation theirs): “So BEWARE the Zionist-Type conspiracies and today’s organs of Globalization… that control the World with Money and the Veto and scheme to subjugate us. Enough is enough…the strike on Manhattan was audacious…we won’t take any more. PROPOSAL: Let us once again study the 24 protocols of the ‘elders’ of Zion…to see the scheme and the outcome.”[lxx] This same text was also published in the ultra-right daily Eleftheri Ora.[lxxi]
The following week (8/10/01), the same column carried a more incendiary editorial. Titled “We Ask. What is Going On?”, the article reiterates the grounds of the Word Trade Center rumor, which, according to the article, were also covered in the press (Eleftherotypia, Alpha Ena, Eleftheri Ora, Estia, et. al.), supported by “facts” in misspelled English allegedly quoted from the “Yadiot Ahranot” [sic] Web page.[lxxii] “The Engineers of (TEE) Order” calls for resistance to the forces of “Zionism, the foremost satanic conspirator and global terrorist” and concludes with (punctuation theirs): “The Organs of Zionism have the information, and they say so. AND WE SAY, and NOT JUST US …RULERS of the world, do not let them force you to wear the kippa…Note [theirs]: Kippa = Jewish cap (or sign of subjugation of the goim). Goim = infidel Christian or beast for…slaughter.”[lxxiii]
In response, the Ambassador of Israel to Greece, David Sasson, wrote an official letter of protest to Costas Liaskas, the President of T.E.E., warning of the dangers of giving a podium to “a malicious mixture of prejudice, racism and anti-Semitism supposedly expressed in the framework of a free exchange of ‘views’.”[lxxiv] Mr. Liaskas replied, however, that T.E.E. has no authority over the many political and unionist factions that operate within its framework, and that its bulletin reserves certain pages in which “the opinions of these factions can be published exactly as is, without any prior inspection of their contents.”[lxxv]
Rebuking the Ambassador’s remark that such discourse is inappropriate in a forum of educated individuals, Mr. Liaskas assured him that for that very reason, the article will be “critically received” by the bulletin’s readership.[lxxvi] In a rejoinder, Ambassador Sasson pointed to editorial responsibility and discretion when it comes to publishing racially incendiary material. “In this particular instance we are not talking about a scientific or technical article but about racist propaganda. Once it was published in your bulletin, this propaganda was disseminated, read and made accessible to all T.E.E. members. (…) The fact is, no political criterion justifies presenting [such opinions] in a technical bulletin for Greek businessmen. It is the responsibility of us all, Mr. President, to unequivocally condemn such incidents of racism no matter what their origins.”[lxxvii]
The correspondence did not stop there. George Karatzaferis’ newspaper Alpha Ena (27-28/10/01) devoted an entire page (complete with a photo captioned “Mister Sasson”) to a rebuttal dated 23/10/2001 and signed by the secretary and spokesperson of the Faction “The Engineers (TEE) of Order.”[lxxviii] Written in the same style as the T.E.E. articles (bold face, underlining, capitalization), the content of this letter – which is simply more of the same – is venomous, its tone contemptuous, and its delivery hysterical. The author attacks Ambassador Sasson for, inter alia, his audacity to voice any protest whatsoever: “My dear Mr. Sasson, I don’t see any ‘malicious mixture of prejudice, racism and anti-Semitism’ in our articles. We are neither anti-Semites nor racists. We are Greeks, anti-racists, i.e. anti-Zionists…Don’t confuse Semitism with Zionism, dear otherwise Mr. Sasson, because, if you do, you are damaging your country. The Jews are our friends, as you know. The Zionists are not. (…) Besides, it’s wrong for Jews to almost always characterize as so-called racist anything written about the works and doings of Zionists and Jewish-Zionists anywhere in the world.”[lxxix]
Eleftherotypia also published (26/10/01) excerpts of this text, prefacing it with the Faction’s spokesperson Mr. Sfakianakis’ outraged reaction that the Ambassador had directed his protest to a third party (Mr. Liaskas), rather than to the Faction itself.[lxxx]
Several journalists in the Greek and foreign press noted and condemned the attention and credibility given to the September 11th rumor.
Takis Michas, in his critical article, “Is Greece a Western Nation?” (Wall Street Journal, 23/10/01) points out that “allegations that the Jews were responsible for the September 11th terrorist attacks were so prominent in sections of the Greek media that the Israeli Embassy took the unprecedented step of denouncing those allegations as amounting to ‘criminal, racist, anti-Semitic propaganda resembling that of the Nazis’.”[lxxxi]
Richardos Someritis records the prevailing opinion trends of that period in his article “The Greek Paradox” (To Vima, 25/9/01). One of these is that “September 11th is generally a work of the Jews (who previously organized their own Holocaust) and the American ‘hawks.’ The aspiration of the former is to be able to slaughter, unimpaired, all Arabs (?); the aspiration of the latter is the imposition of a ‘global junta’.” He points out the ideological confluence on this issue: “This ‘viewpoint’ is expressed by our own ultra-rightists, while members of the far left have written about the ‘global junta’ in order to access the Greek conservative arena.”[lxxxii] However, the really “dangerous ‘Greek Paradox’,” Someritis stresses, “is the blanket acceptance and support of these views by so many public officials.”[lxxxiii]
John Sitilides writes in Odyssey (11-12/01), the English language magazine out of Greece, that the “palpably absurd theory – which originated in the Arab world – that Jews in the World Trade Center were given advance warning of the attacks was given credence by a number of Greek newspapers and politicians.”[lxxxiv]
Anthee Carassava, the Athens correspondent for Time magazine (12/11/01) points out that “another issue the Greeks might want to address is anti-Semitism,” She cites the T.E.E. episode as proof that “some [in Greece] believe there’s a hidden agenda.”[lxxxv]
Despite international criticism, there are mainstream efforts to keep the September 11th conspiracy myth alive in the context of the Middle East conflict. In the following spring, Eleftherotypia on Sunday (14/4/2002) devoted a full, densely printed page to “The speech Mikis Theodorakis didn’t give at the concert for Palestinian solidarity” (which he spearheaded).[lxxxvi] In several thousand words, the world famous composer and Greece’s 2001 Nobel Peace candidate essentially maintained that one people’s terrorists are another’s freedom fighters. Returning to the events of September 11th, he concludes that the strike was “characterized by an incredibly high degree of organization and technological means – higher I’d say than that possessed by the current superpower, the US. (…) As far as physical perpetrators are concerned there is still no tangible evidence and that’s why no arrests have been made. There were only moral perpetrators, who have been sought in Afghanistan…but it would be hard to convince anyone of their level of technological and organizational capabilities.”[lxxxvii] The implication being, who else (but the Israelis/Jews) has such capability?
In the wake of the September 11th tragedy, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) asked its member-unions for a report on national media coverage. GHM, in its press release of 11/11/2001,[lxxxviii] noted that the Union of Athens Daily Newspaper Journalists (ESIEA) misinformed the IFJ on Greek media coverage of the terrorist attacks on the United States and the air strikes on Afghanistan.[lxxxix] In its report, ESIEA claimed that the only incidence of anti-Semitism were the TV broadcasts of TeleCity ([sic] – the channel changed its name to TeleAsty in 2000), while neglecting to mention that this channel is owned by George Karatzaferis, a member of the Greek Parliament, and that the anti-Semitic propaganda has spread beyond that channel.
ESIEA also failed to report the widespread “racial insults and attacks against the American people” made on television, as described by Professor Anna Frangoudaki of Athens University in her critical article “Greek Society’s Attitude Towards the World Political Nightmare” in Ta Nea (20/10/01).[xc] Nor did ESIEA note the other prevailing trends mentioned by Richardos Someritis and Takis Michas in the articles quoted above. In fact, one could have read in (Ios team in) Eleftherotypia,[xci] Greece’s largest daily, that these anti-Semitic stories had spread to many other media, and were reiterated by politicians from the three major parties.[xcii]
It could be rationalized that ESIEA might have some in difficulty being totally impartial when policing its members. However, the independent media watchdog, the Greek Information Centre for Racism, Ecology, Peace and Non-Violence (Infocenter),[xciii] supplied the official EU European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) -of which it is the licensed and funded NGO correspondent in Greece- with a matching, equally inaccurate picture of the Greek public reaction to the September 11th attacks. Infocenter was asked to provide EUMC with a month-by-month report (12/9-31/12/2001) addressing the following:
- acts of violence or aggression and changes in the attitude of the EU population towards ethnic, cultural or religious minorities (especially Muslim/Islamic communities but also other vulnerable groups or new types of victims) related to the recent terrorist attacks in the USA;
- good practices and positive case studies established in order to reduce prejudice and violence;
- reactions of politicians and other opinion leaders including initiatives to reduce polarization and counteract negative national trends.
Infocenter made only one mention of anti-Semitism in Greece in its entire report – in the October section – that it assessed as fringe and inconsequential. All the noise around the alleged Jewish involvement in September 11th was summed up in the following two sentences: “Also, it should be noted that a small section of the press published anti-Semitic articles concerning the rumor that there were no Jews among the victims of the New York terrorist attacks (for instance, the leading article in the newspaper ‘Hora’ [18/09/2001]). The ultra-nationalist party LAOS launched a campaign through its TV station (TV-Asty) that was echoed by the newspaper ‘Hora’. The effect of this campaign cannot be considered politically significant.”[xciv]
Infocenter, like ESIEA, neglects to mention that the owner of “TV-Asty” (a.k.a. TeleAsty), LAOS party deputy George Karatzaferis, took this campaign to the Greek Parliament. The report mentions anti-Americanism and an attempt to burn the American flag (at a football match), but omits the Israeli flag-burnings.[xcv] Infocenter mentions the publicly expressed anti-American sentiments of composer Mikis Theodorakis, but not his Zionist conspiracy insinuations. Nor does it mention that the extremely influential Archbishop Christodoulos made statements to the effect that the September 11th attacks were the “wrath of God.”[xcvi]
The Organ Trafficking Libel
A particularly glaring example of media bias and irresponsibility was the promulgation of a second Arab-born libel that Israelis were trafficking the organs of dead Palestinians and performing medical experiments on captured Arabs. This story appeared simultaneously in three major Greek papers, Ta Nea, Eleftherotypia, and Apogevmatini (the latter as its front-page headline), as “news,” with no questions asked. The papers quoted as their source the state Athens News Agency (Athinaiko Praktoreio Eideision), which received the text, translated from the Arabic by an organization calling itself the Greek Union of Palestinian Doctors and Pharmacists, and, equally uncritically and irresponsibly for a state news agency, distributed it on 2 April 2002. Allegedly, the original article comes from the February 2002 issue of a Palestinian magazine “An-Nasra”, published in Gaza.
The front-page headline of Apogevmatini (2/4/02) blares: “They’ve surpassed Nazi atrocity: THEY’RE SELLING ORGANS of dead Palestinians. Incredible accusation by doctors and pharmacists.” Alongside is a photo of a tiny child wearing Intifada gear with the caption: “Little Palestinian girl mourns the death of her father while holding a grenade in her tender hands,” [note: grenade is pinned to her collar] and another photo of a pair of feet standing on a banner with the Star of David = Swastika. The full-page story inside, complete with a color photo of kneeling Palestinian police captives and one of the Arabic magazine page (as proof of authenticity), carries the headline: “Incredible charges through Athens News Agency: Organ Trafficking by Israelis. They are using Arabs as guinea pigs, says Greek Union of Palestinian Doctors.” The opening line reads: “Athens News Agency reports the incredible charges that Israeli authorities are stealing and selling the organs of dead Palestinians, charges that were made by the Greek Union of Palestinian Doctors and Pharmacists.”[xcvii]
Eleftherotypia (2/4/02) reported, “Charges of theft and sale of human organs of dead Palestinians and the use of Arabs as guinea pigs by Israel occupation forces are made by the Greek Union of Palestinian Doctors and Pharmacists, according to the Athens News Agency.”[xcviii]
Ta Nea (2/4/02), under the title, “They steal organs from the dead,” reported accusations of trafficked organs “from dead Palestinians, who fall dead from the fire of Israeli forces during conflicts, as well as other criminal acts such as using Arab detainees as guinea pigs.”[xcix]
The Embassy of Israel immediately issued (2/4/02) an urgent statement in which the Ambassador called the story a “horrible lie,” and blames “the propaganda machine of the Palestinians [for] exploiting the hospitality of the Greeks in order to spread baseless lies…without any real evidence.”[c]
Apogevmatini (3/4/02) published the Embassy disclaimer, following it with a lengthy interview with the President of the Greek Palestinian Doctors Union, Hassan Koutsi, who rejoined: “We knew what their reaction would be…What Israel is doing is called terrorism. (…) Everything I said is true. There isn’t a single lie. There is considerable evidence, and when we are ready we will release it to the media to raise the public consciousness of the world to put a stop this atrocity. (…) They are fanatic Zionists, dreaming of the ‘Great Israel’. They are the ‘Zionist…Taliban!’.”[ci]
In a critical article printed directly beneath on the same page, Paschos Mandravelis compares the willingness of the Greek public to accept this libel to their belief of the “World Trade Center Jews” rumor: “The biggest problem that rumor revealed was the deficit of rational thought in this country. We are ready to believe everything except what is logical…We followed virtually the same path again with the unbelievable charge from the ‘Greek Union of Palestinian Doctors and Pharmacists’.”[cii]
Several days later, in an interview in Eleftherotypia (6/4/02), Israeli author Amos Oz, who is highly regarded in Greece, gave his opinion on the Greek media’s reports. “Oh come on, now! That’s simply a revival of the anti-Semitic myths of the 19th century that claimed that Jews used the flesh of Christians for their cannibalistic rituals.”[ciii]
However, the glaring headline had reverberated from every one of the ubiquitous news kiosks in the country.
It is significant to contrast the Greek media’s willing acceptance as fact of the heinous organ trafficking libel against their in-depth questioning of an Israeli “planespotting” incident on Crete. Many Greek conspiracy theories focus on Zionism as a threat to Greek territorial integrity. Several sections of this report document members of the Church as well as nationalistic elements on both the right and left who support conspiracy theories concerning the alliance among Israel, Turkey and the United States and their designs on the annexation of Cyprus and the island of Crete. The anti-Semitic sentiments of the Prefect of the Cretan district of Hania, George Katsenevakis and some of the clergy of this region are also documented in this report.[civ]
In the fall of 2001, what should have been an insignificant incident took on the trappings of an espionage thriller, not only in the fringe press where such stories abound, but also in the country’s major dailies. On 18 October 2001, four Israeli tourists, part of a group of 150, were arrested for photographing and/or videotaping in an unmarked but nevertheless restricted area of the Souda Bay American military base near Hania, Crete. They were acquitted of all charges by the local court on the following day.
Although several major papers reported the story objectively and/or buried it in the fine print,[cv] or emphasized the complete acquittal of those involved,[cvi] they still considered this tempest in a teapot newsworthy enough to warrant two days of coverage. It is notable that similar suspicions and insinuations were expressed across the spectrum of the Greek press.
Kathimerini called the incident “mysterious,” and put the item on its front page (19/10/01), explaining on page 5 that “the event raises legitimate questions in the current context, since the suspects’ activities involved the American base at Souda, which is used for US operations against the Taliban in Afghanistan.”[cvii] In a follow-up the next day (20/10/01), it warned against “the relaxing of vigilance.” The paper printed the Embassy of Israel’s disclaimer,[cviii] only to note the fact that it “contains the prediction that ‘they [the 4 Israelis] are certain to be acquitted…’, which clearly was issued prior to the judicial decision.”[cix]
Rightwing and nationalist daily (5,000 copies in August 2002) Vradyni also gave the story a front page headline and a full page article (19/10/01), titled “WAR of Spies in Souda!” with bulleted subheadings: “Three Israelis arrested after wild manhunt; Clandestine interrogations by Greek Secret Service; The game Mossad is playing.”[cx] Written by the paper’s Hania correspondent Lefteris Vardakis, the article emphasizes the involvement of the Greek Secret Service and other diplomatic and military authorities. In an extensive follow-up (20/10/01), titled “Four Israelis are spies…by mistake,” the same correspondent emphasizes all the “unanswered questions” surrounding the case.[cxi]
The matter was the subject of the front page headline and main article in the rightwing, nationalist daily (10,000 copies in August 2002) Adesmeftos Typos (19/10/2001): “WAR GAMES: Shock over Spy Case. Four Israelis arrested photographing Souda” with bulleted subheadings: “Secret Service keeps mum over case; [The 4] secretly photographed American base, airstrips and equipment.” Correspondent Kostas Korelis touches every sensitive anti-Zionist nerve: “according to sources, the authorities ascertained that the foreign nationals were carrying false passports” and “the motives of those arrested have not, at least as of yesterday, been made public, but there is conjecture that they might have been spying for Turkey.” [cxii] In his follow-up the next day (20/10/2001) Mr. Korelis attributes the true significance of the incident to “a recently signed military agreement between Israel and Turkey…concerning the exchange of intelligence between the secret services of both countries, a matter that should be of particular concern to Greece!”[cxiii] Beneath this article is a separate item reporting the acquittal of the four individuals.[cxiv]
The political and financial weekly (37,000 copies in August 2002) Ependytis (27-28/10/01) devoted a full page with the headline “Mossand [sic] Combing Nicosia and Crete,” in which Manos Iliadis claims that “what happened on 18 October in Crete also occurred on 7 November 1998 in Cyprus.” He traces other incidents of alleged Israeli espionage of Greek and Cypriot military operations back to 1975, also claiming that the woman of the group “was born and studied in Turkey,” as further proof that Israel is collecting intelligence for its ally Turkey.[cxv]
The front page headline of the ultra-rightwing daily Hora (20/10/01) reads: “Thriller at Souda: Mossad agents with video-cameras and false passports are acquitted.” The article stressed the “false identities,” noting that “this particular ‘detail’ of course went uncommented upon by the embassy [of Israel in its statement], since some probably considered it superfluous.”[cxvi]
And, finally, in the tabloid daily (5,000 copies in August 2002) Traffic (“‘Mossad’ spies combing Greece” 30/10/01) Dinos Efstratiou reports that “former Deputy Defense Minister Dimitris Apostolakis” provided information that “two of the four ‘tourists’ had been arrested in Cyprus a few days earlier, involved in the very same ‘sport’ of videotaping military installations!”[cxvii]
The conservative New Democracy party, the socialist PASOK party, and the communist KKE party have dominated the Greek political arena since 1980.
Leftists see Israel as an agent of the imperialist Americans, and PASOK, which is currently in power, has been staunchly pro-Palestinian since its inception in 1980. On many occasions in the past, anti-Israel or anti-Zionist remarks have evolved into anti-Jewish attacks and contributed to the creation of a strongly anti-Semitic climate.[cxviii] In the early 1980s, the party’s founder, the late Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou, compared the Israelis to the Nazis.[cxix] And, in 1988, Greek Justice Minister V. Rotis overruled court decisions to extradite to Italy Abdel Osama Al-Zomar, an alleged Palestinian terrorist charged with bombing the Synagogue of Rome. Mr. Rotis claimed that Osama’s acts were part of the “Palestinian people’s struggle for the liberation of their homeland, and therefore cannot be considered as acts of terrorism.”[cxx]
The wholesale appropriation of all of the language of the Holocaust as a means of presenting the crisis in the Middle East is seen by world Jewry as the most worrisome part of what is being called the “new anti-Semitism” in Europe.[cxxi] This trend has been widely adopted in Greece by the press and taken up by a number of individual politicians. Major human rights groups (Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, etc.) have well documented that Israel has been committing multiple human rights violations including war crimes, but not genocide nor any holocaust. So, to now claim that the Jews are no longer the victims but the perpetrators of a Holocaust is a grave distortion of history. It is also a denigration of the unique horror, scope and substance of the Holocaust, and constitutes an insult to the memory of the many Greek Jewish victims, survivors and their families. Prime Minister Costas Simitis and Foreign Minister George Papandreou have not expressed such views, but other members of their party and cabinet have. Significantly, the political leadership of Greece has yet to strongly condemn either the blatant anti-Semitism or the prevalent use of Holocaust rhetoric, even when such remarks have compromised the state.
The Speaker of the Greek Parliament, Apostolos Kaklamanis, spoke of “genocide” of the Palestinians when asked about the events in the Middle East, provoking the state of Israel to launch a demarche against the Greek government.[cxxii] Then, the Government Spokesperson, Christos Protopapas, refused to comment on Mr. Kaklamanis’ remarks, but added insult to injury by claiming that the Speaker of Parliament had responded to a particularly serious question “with sensitivity and responsibility …[and was] expressing the sentiments of both the Parliament and the Greek people.”[cxxiii] This appears to be so.
Moreover, the Greek press chose to all but ignore the entire incident, with no discussion regarding its significance or possible repercussions. For example, Eleftherotypia (3/4/02) tacked the episode on as a kind of postscript to a list of contemporaneous peacemaking statements and activities of Prime Minister Simitis and Foreign Minister Papandreou.[cxxiv] The center-left Ethnos (Eth, 3/4/02) gave the item more space, but in both cases the story was buried in fine print.[cxxv]
Also, the former PASOK Public Order Minister, Stelios Papathemelis, has repeatedly spoken out about Israel’s “neo-Nazi” practices in television interviews.[cxxvi] And the former Justice Minister, Professor Georgios-Alexandros Mangakis, is quoted as saying (Eleftherotypia, 2/4/02), “The victims of Nazism have now become the perpetrators of the crime of genocide. (…) All Greeks of conscience should stand up for the Palestinians, the new victims of racism and Nazi atrocity.”[cxxvii]
In late March 2002, the prominent PASOK deputy and former Foreign Minister, Theodoros Pangalos, launched what amounted to a siege on the Embassy of Israel to protest military incursions into Palestinian territory. This enterprise rapidly degenerated into an assault on Greek Jewry.
First, Theodore Pangalos chose the Sabbath of Passover, 30 March 2002, to assemble an extempore group of seventeen MPs from various parties for an unannounced show of protest at the Israeli Embassy. Naturally, the Embassy was closed. Unable to deliver their petition, the Parliamentarians criticized the Ambassador’s absence, with an irate Theodore Pangalos declaring, “but it isn’t the Sabbath of Passover in Greece and they should respect the country they’re living in.”[cxxviii]
The Israeli Ambassador responded (in.gr news, 30/3/02) that “the Sabbath is a sacred day of rest for Jews and this is the period of Passover.” He also noted that there was “no show of sensitivity at all over the murderous terrorist attack in Netanya that cost the lives of 21 Israelis during Passover,” wondering if “these individuals are simply looking to make headlines in the media or do they truly desire a just peace?”[cxxix]
Ambassador Sasson’s statement prompted snide retorts from members of the press. Roussos Vranas, in his regular column “Roads” (Ta Nea, 1/4/02), wrote: “Passover Jewish Pascha. The Israeli diplomatic mission used the pretext of the Passover holiday to hide from the Greek parliamentary delegation …[but] the holiday didn’t keep the Israeli forces from killing unarmed people and reporters.”[cxxx]
The following Monday morning, in an interview on Flash 96 radio (1/4/02), Theodore Pangalos further clarified his anti-Jewish sentiments as well as his geopolitical bias and ignorance. Confusing the Sabbath of Passover with Catholic Easter, he called the Ambassador of Israel “arrogant” for using the “silly argument that it was, he says, the Saturday of Catholic Pascha [Passover/Easter]. Now, why he, a Jew, should consider it proper to claim Catholic Easter as a day of absolute rest to us Orthodox Christians needs to be explained to the people who are giving him hospitality here, i.e. to the people of Athens, the people of Greece. And I feel we must make an example of this kind of arrogance… of this gentleman who dared to curse and scorn in such a fashion the Greek Parliament, the expression of the Greek people. (…) This is outrageous and unacceptable from a moral and political standpoint. It brings back memories of Hitlerist ethnic cleansing, and if this isn’t ethnic cleansing then what is? (…) Because it’s very well-known that… there were no Israelis in Palestine.”[cxxxi]
Two weeks later (14/4/2002), To Vima on Sunday, Greece’s largest selling Sunday paper, published a full-page article by Theodore Pangalos, in which he shifted his attack the Greek Jewish Community.[cxxxii] He opens with a reference to “the Spanish heritage of the Greek Jewish Community,”[cxxxiii] whom he criticizes for “their glaring absence from all the demonstrations against the massacre of the Palestinians.” This he sees as an insult to Greek Christians and a personal affront to himself. “I am certain that some of the [Israeli] tanks contain the grandchildren of people saved from the Holocaust as a result of the solidarity of their Greek Christian compatriots. (…) I have the right to say that the silence and apathy or, even worse, the solidarity of the Greek Jews with the Sharon Government is a heavy weight on my soul precisely because I have always stood at the side of the Jewish Community of Greece. Theodore Pangalos also takes sole credit for the realization of the Holocaust Memorial in Thessaloniki.
He demands that Greek Jews “follow the example of hundreds of Jewish intellectuals in France” and unequivocally condemn the Sharon Government. “Then, we who love and admire the history and civilization of this extraordinary people will be able to stand by them, without reservation, against all forms of prejudice and attempts at discrimination.” [cxxxiv]
Theodore Pangalos’ rhetoric was so contemptuous and insulting that it triggered a rare angry retort from the normally cautious KIS. The organization addressed a vehement rebuttal to Theodore Pangalos and sent it to the editor of To Vima (16/4/02). The editor published it in full in the following Sunday edition (21/4/02), noting that he received many letters about the Pangalos article but chose to print only this one, “believing that it expressed the views of the Greek Jews.”[cxxxv] However strong and thorough this letter may be, it would have been interesting to see some others. We quote in full:
There was little public comment on Theodore Pangalos’ statements. However, Richardos Someritis, in his critical column also in To Vima (16/4/02), strongly condemned Theodore Pangalos’ rhetoric as dictatorial. “Some of our compatriots, who don’t seem to have properly understood the meaning of democracy and human rights, have taken to the streets, demanding that all those Greeks who happen to be Jewish condemn Sharon and current Israeli policy… Besides the phrase, ‘national sentiment’ – always chilling when used in this fashion – they obviously do not know that the new anti-Semitic trend also began somewhat like this elsewhere in Europe. While reading ‘To Vima on Sunday,’ I discovered to my distress that one of these individuals was Mr. Theodoros Pangalos. (…) What gives the former Foreign Minster the right to make a faction of our Jewish compatriots … of those few, that is, who have survived? Why doesn’t he demand the same from those non-Jewish citizens of this county who have a view different from his own?”[cxxxviii]
The strong pro-Palestinian sympathies of the Greek people are typically explained as an emotional identification with the occupied “underdog” (anywhere in the world) and a strong democratic reaction against injustice. However, this argument is inconsistent with the country’s position on other conflicts in the region. Greece overwhelmingly supported Serbia, both in the Bosnian war and in Kosovo/a, a major reason for which was Greece’s religious ties to the Orthodox Christian Serbia. There was no such sympathy for the militarily disadvantaged Bosnian Muslims or the displaced, persecuted Kosovo/a Albanians, and no national outcry against the Srbrenica massacre. Many Greeks in fact continue to believe that Slobodan Milosevic has been wrongfully charged.[cxxxix] Greece has also maintained a general silence with regard to the Russia-Chechnya conflict, an area where both religious and political affinities come into play. What is consistent to almost all the rhetoric around the Middle East is a deep resentment towards the United States, which is alternately seen as the puppet or puppeteer of Israel, and an insistence on the collective responsibility of “the Jews.”
Theodore Pangalos reveals these attitudes in his article (V, 14/4/02) when he moves on to other issues. After expressing his sympathies for the Palestinian “suicide warriors,” his outrage at Sharon “the beast,” and his contempt for “the ‘anti-terrorism’ climate that developed after September 11th,” he compares America’s tacit acceptance of Israel’s action with its military initiative against Serbia. “But how can we ever forget what happened when a bomb – of unknown origin – landed in the Sarajevo marketplace or when some Albanian peasants took to the streets – organized, as it was proven. The American eagle immediately spread its wings to protect human rights and admonish the evil Serbs manu militari.”[cxl]
Richardos Someritis (V, 16/4/02) accused Theodore Pangalos of being “irresponsible” and “fanatical.” He points out the selectivity of Greek political opinions, which are often founded on misinformation and prejudice.[cxli] “Thus of the 44 months of siege on Sarajevo by the Serbs and the 12,000 dead citizens, the former – fortunately not current – Foreign Minister remembers only the ‘marketplace bomb’ of unknown origin. He modifies the tragic exodus of 700,000 people from Kosovo (because, Mr. Minister, Albanians are people and you should know that personally) into an ‘organized, it was proven’ march ‘of some Albanian peasants who took to the streets.’ Just like that! I suppose that the person who got us embroiled in the Ocalan affair and has said all manner of things about all those foreign and semi-foreign leaders, must consider this ‘it was proven’ akin to the vague ‘it is known’ that supports every form of stupidity and misinformation.”[cxlii]
The Prefect of Hania, Crete, George Katsenevakis, who is supported by the small leftwing Synaspismos party,[cxliii] has a history of anti-Semitism. In October 1999, Mr. Katsenevakis, along with members of the local clergy, strongly opposed the re-opening of the 15th century Etz Hayyim Synagogue in Hania, the only remaining Jewish site on the island of Crete.[cxliv] He was quoted at the time as saying that monument could be maintained and promoted for its historic value, but he proposed “eliminating the religious services… since there is not a sufficient number of faithful to participate. (…) The services and ceremonies of the synagogue are directed at whom? … An empty monument, idle tourists or those transported from another congregation?”[cxlv] The insinuation being that the synagogue may serve Zionist purposes.
The conflict in the Middle East provided George Katsenevakis with another opportunity to express his views. After participating in a large pro-Palestinian rally in Hania on 4 April 2002, he stated to the local press that: “Peace is being terrorized and civilization is being murdered. Christ is being re-crucified by the contemporary Caiaphas, the high priest of Zionism, Sharon… The only thing that the leader of the murder of the Palestinian people, big brother Bush, and his accomplice, the professional murderer since 1953, Ariel Sharon, learned from the Holocaust of the Jews during the German occupation was Hitlerist hatred and the inhuman atrocity of Nazism.”[cxlvi]
No one is known to have condemned these statements. George Katsenevakis was re-elected in October 2002 with the support of the same party, and, more importantly, the majority of the voters.
Ultra-Nationalism and the Extreme Right: George Karazaferis
In a year (2002) marked by an avalanche of anti-Semitic manifestations, the most disturbing is the recent electoral success of George Karatzaferis, the leader of the ultra-nationalist LAOS party. George Karatzaferis, whose name appears many times in this report, is by far the most outspoken promoter of anti-Semitism (and other racism) in Greek public life. He was originally elected to Parliament with the conservative New Democracy party, from which he was expelled for a personal conflict – not for his views. He is now an independent.
In Greece, after 13 years of legal non-state television, there are still no official television licenses granted. But among the channels selected to receive one is that of George Karatzaferis, TeleAsty, from which he and like-minded guests regularly voice anti-Semitic, racist and nationalist propaganda. He also owns the weekly newspaper Alpha Ena, both of which, along with the LAOS party, were singled out by ESIEA and Infocenter[cxlvii] as the major (or sole) disseminators of the September 11th libel in Greece.
In the past, the Jewish community chose to officially ignore George Karatzaferis and his anti-Semitic parliamentary questions[cxlviii] on the grounds that such acknowledgment would give him the dimension and publicity he desires.[cxlix] However, he remains a sharp thorn in the side of the Jewish community. In the most causal encounters, the first thing individual Jews ask, without solicitation, is “can’t you [GHM] do anything about Karatzaferis?”[cl]
It was most dangerous to dismiss George Karatzaferis as simply a “crackpot” or “extremist,” as many do, especially at a time when the mainstream right is gaining political power all over Europe, even as it is forging alliances with the more violent factions of the extreme-right. The elections for Greater Athens “super-prefect,” on 13 October 2002, where George Karatzaferis came third with 14% of the vote, proved how dangerous the tolerance of the intolerance of the extreme right can be. This performance finally opened a debate on the extreme right:[cli] many intellectuals, journalists and politicians acknowledged that extreme right views are spread throughout the political spectrum in Greece and that Karatzaferis’ performance was alarming. The Ios team in Eleftherotypia (one of the rare journalists who had for year systematically highlighted the extreme right’s actions) dedicated a dossier on the racist discourse of Karatzaferis, including an array of anti-Semitic statements, partly in reply to his threat that he would file charges against anyone who would call him fascist, nazi, racist and extreme-rightwinger.[clii] In a future version of this report the issue will be covered more extensively.
As this report documents, George Karatzaferis is highly effective in getting his ideas heard. Most ominously, he is being systematically legitimized by members of the mainstream political arena. Recently, two important leftwing cadres, KKE deputy Nikos Gatzis and former Coalition (Syn) deputy Stella Alfieri, gave interviews “on all the issues” to Alpha Ena (29-30/6/02, p. 28), which praised them as “courageous politicians.”[cliii] Then, a corresponding interview was published in the following issue (6-7/7/02), this time of elder statesman and former Foreign Minister Michalis Papakonstantinou, known for his moderate views and his participation in the “Rational Front against Nationalism.” Michalis Papakonstantinou was juxtaposed with Panteion University professor and tiny centrist party EDIK President Neoklis Sarris, whose views parallel those of George Karatzaferis and are regularly extolled in Alpha Ena.[cliv]
As for George Karatzaferis’ possible involvement with the more violent extreme-right faction, the local daily Proodos (4/7/02) strongly implied his connection to the partial destruction of the newly unveiled Holocaust Monument on the island of Rhodes.[clv] The paper reports, “it should be noted that the Mayor of Rhodes, George Yannopoulos, recently received a letter from [Karatzaferis] expressing his opposition to erection of the monument to the Jews in our city,” pointing out that the systematic vandalism began a few days prior to George Karatzaferis scheduled visit to the island.[clvi]
Anti-Semitism and Prominent Figures
The escalation of Israeli military actions in Palestinian territory, starting in late March 2002, was vehemently denounced by a number of respected national figures whose reputations as leftist thinkers and activists gave credence to their views, and whose position ensured substantial media exposure. These highly publicized protests helped set the precedent for the strident Holocaust equations, anti-Semitic rhetoric, and a fanatic pro-Palestinian/anti-Israeli bias that virtually prohibited any legitimate discourse on the Middle East.
The “Glezos Eight”
The former Resistance fighter and revered national symbol, Manolis Glezos, launched one such incident.[clvii] On 20 March 2002, Manolis Glezos led an eight-member delegation, including a former MP and representatives from the Athens Labor Center, the “Genoa 2001 Initiative,” the NGO Greek Committee for International Democratic Solidarity, the Trotskyite “Labor Solidarity,” the Greek Union of Palestinian Workers, and the Palestinian Community of Athens, to the Embassy of Israel to lodge a letter of complaint. They did not notify the Embassy beforehand; the Ambassador was out at the time and no diplomatic official was available to receive the group. The delegation and members of the press saw this as an act of supreme arrogance and a reprehensible slap in the face to the Greek people.
In a story on the event, titled “Like Neo-Nazis” (Eleftherotypia, 21/3/02), Manolis Glezos is quoted as saying, “It is insupportable that these people, whom we protected against Nazi persecution, should be making a Holocaust…” Columnist George Votsis writes, “This is not the first time in history that victims have turned victimizers. But such a carbon copy?”[clviii] Two days later, George Votsis responds to the Embassy’s official explanation of the Ambassador’s absence and its protest of the use of Holocaust rhetoric by insisting that “systematic genocide” is being carried out by Israel. But he clarifies that Greeks are not anti-Semitic. “Fortunately, anti-Semitism does not germinate in this land. The Greek people, who sheltered the Jews against Hitlerist persecution … are pained and outraged when they see the descendents of Holocaust victims copying their victimizers, in a hideous fashion, ignorant of history.”[clix]
The Glezos group also responded to the Embassy with statement titled “The Diplomacy of Genocide and the Solidarity with the Intifada” (Eleftherotypia 27/3/02). The group accuses Israel of “the genocide of the Palestinian people, a complete Holocaust like the one Hitler committed” and declares that the “Intifada is a righteous uprising against a racist state that serves the imperialistic interests of a handful of oil multinationals...”[clx]
A major cultural icon who has taken up the banner of Holocaust rhetoric is the world-renowned composer and Greece’s 2001 Nobel Peace Prize candidate, Mikis Theodorakis.
In early April 2002, Mikis Theodorakis wrote an article declaring that “the people of Israel will one day regret allowing Sharon to drag them into campaign of shame that recalls the crimes of the Nazis.” The text was widely published; the three major dailies Eleftherotypia,[clxi] Ta Nea,[clxii] and To Vima[clxiii] all ran it on the same day (2/4/02) – the last on its front page. Mikis Theodorakis accuses “the Jews” of “imitating Nazi barbarity,” of becoming “more and more enamored with Nazi methods,” and of carrying out “the final solution against the Palestinians.” The Jews, he writes, implement “even the horrible ‘detail’ of putting indelible numbers on their prisoners’ arms.” (It is worth noting here that two of these papers (El, N) also carried on the same day the alleged Israeli organ-trafficking story –see above-, the former on the preceding page). Mikis Theodorakis subscribes to the conspiracy theories of the day, as well, and his rhetoric reaches cosmogonist proportions with portents of “biblical disaster. (…) If we leave Palestine alone at the mercy of the modern conquerors, then we are leaving the door open for the darkest forces known to mankind to pass through tomorrow.”
In addition, Mikis Theodorakis spearheaded massive pro-Palestinian concert/rallies in Syntagma Square in central Athens (10/4/02) and in Thessaloniki (14/4/02), at which the Star of David was paraded in the form of a swastika. As keynote speaker at the rally, Mikis Theodorakis opened by declaring Ariel Sharon “a little Hitler” and reiterating what he wrote in his newspaper essay of several days earlier. Alpha TV, a major commercial channel, broadcast the entire Athens rally live, with the caption: “We are all Palestinians.” Once again the Greek public heard (and read in Eleftherotypia the next day) that “the former victims, the Jews, are becoming more and more enamored by the methods of their former victimizers, the Nazis,” who are conducting “their final solution against the Palestinians.”[clxiv] Alongside its report on the rally, To Vima printed a statement by the writer Iakovos Kambanellis, Theodorakis’ collaborator on “Mauthausen,” a hymn to the victims of the Holocaust. “The songs we wrote about the then-suffering Jews in Mauthausen have nothing to do with the current “Hitlerists” in Israel.”[clxv]
Several days later, Mikis Theodorakis wrote a lengthy follow-up to his speech (Eleftherotypia, 14/4/02), in which he suggested that a power greater than that of the United States was behind the September 11th terror attacks.[clxvi]
It is significant to note that on the day following the rally in Thessaloniki, the Holocaust Monument in that city was defaced and several graves in the Jewish cemetery of the northern city of Ioannina were desecrated.[clxvii]
“The Letter to the Jews”
The “letter” is addressed to Mavrommatis’ “Jewish personal friends, Greek Jewish friendly acquaintances and Diaspora Jews” he knows, “and those with their characteristics.” His concern is over the “neo-Nazi Israel” and the “Jewish Lobbies [who] have privileged access to play their cassettes in the electronic brain of the substitute Yahweh, the leader of the planet.” His grievance is with the “silence of the Jews, the Greek Jews in particular” in the face of “the Hitlerist Sharon who, with his alliances with the neo-Fascist phalanges, has created a Mauthausen, if not an Auschwitz or a Dachau, in 10 days and a genocide that scared even the American butchers.” He claims that his “will-nilly participation in your Jewish education,” which he learned “even better than you did,” citing his knowledge of a variety of spiritual and intellectual sources, gives him the “right to speak out” and condemn his friends. “Yet now, Elias, you are silent. Don’t ever call me again.”[clxix]
Both KIS and the Embassy of Israel objected strongly to Dimos Mavrommatis’ text. KIS President Moses Constantinis told GHM that they sent the same letter of protest (22/3/02) to the editors of both papers; Apogevmatini chose to publish it (24/3/02), but not Eleftherotypia, “even though,” he quipped, “it calls itself ‘Eleftherotypia’ [=Press Freedom].” He went on to state that “no comparison can be made between the Holocaust with its 6 million victims and the response to terrorist activities in Israel. Every war has its innocent victims. But, sadly, the Greek press counts only the Palestinian casualties, and not the Israelis.”[clxx]
In response to Dimos Mavrommatis, KIS wrote that it wished to “establish the truth… and not deal with your racist comments, such as ‘those who have the characteristics [punctuation theirs] of Jews,’ or your phraseology.”
“We are not among [the Jewish friends, etc.] you refer to in your letter. We are, however, Greeks, Jews by religion, with many more personal friends than your 10-12 and even more Christian fellow-citizen friendly acquaintances. But, unfortunately, we do not have the opportunity to disseminate messages through the Press as easily as you do. (…) Certainly, all free, democratic citizens – including Greek Jews – oppose and condemn violence, whatever its source, however it manifests itself. We did not, however, read a single reference in your letter to the Palestinians who, strapped with explosives, spread death among innocent citizens. (…) Perhaps you consider this violence good? Perhaps this violence is permissible because does not come from Israelis? (…) You have a right not to be friends with Elias…But you do not have a right to present the facts one-sidedly. Since we want to be friends as always with Antonis, Panayotis and Eleni, and since we wish from the bottom of our hearts for peace-making and moderating views to reign in the Middle East, we request that you do not disseminate messages that lead to hatred, that divide friends, that incite enmity and that distort historic reality.”[clxxi]
Ambassador Sasson (21/3/02) criticized the essay as “blatant anti-Semitic propaganda” and Holocaust revisionism, calling its views “extremist.” “These new campaigns to demonize Jews by distorting the actual situation between Israel and the Palestinians are nothing more than a new form of neo-Nazi racism directed against Jews. It seems that Mr. Mavrommatis’ hatred and anti-Semitism have blinded him. But at least as far as his sentiments for the Jews are concerned, he and those who provided a podium for his extremist views have ceased pretending to hide their true feelings.”[clxxii]
Yannis Triantis published the Ambassador’s letter in its entirety in his column in Eleftherotypia (23/3/02), with the following rejoinder: “I provided a podium to a stirring text by a learned, daring and progressive writer. It takes audacity – and presupposes suicidal blindness – to characterize this text as extremist and anti-Semitic.”[clxxiii]
The correspondence did not stop there. Although Mavrommatis wrote the essay on his deathbed, he managed to answer both KIS and Ambassador Sasson (Apogevmatini , 24/3/02), beginning, “I do not intend to comment in any way on these letters.” Instead, he paraphrased Hannah Arendt’s words as his own: “After the Holocaust the German language, the language of poetry, couldn’t find the words to compose ten verses. It was bankrupt. And whoever believes he can kill a child and then embrace his own, is deceiving himself in a most pitiful way.”[clxxiv]
When the author died several days later, he was all but canonized for his integrity by his colleagues, who appear to have seized the opportunity to exploit their own anti-Semitic views. The “Letter to the Jews” was taken up as a manifesto, and Mavromattis’ plagiarized reply to his critics extolled throughout the press for its sensitivity and originality. KIS and Ambassador Sasson, who was ridiculed for his objections, stood alone in their protest.
George Votsis (Eleftherotypia, 2/4/02), reprinted Mavrommatis’ “response to the revilers … To our Jewish friends, acquaintances and comrades, who haven’t the right to look us in the eyes as long as they observe this crime with callowness. For they are accomplices.” The text itself he calls “The conscience of humanity in one thousand words. A hymn to mankind …[that] should be studied in school … forever inscribed in the textbooks. For our good children.”[clxxv] In the same edition, Yannis Triantis writes that Dimos Mavrommatis was an “eminent figure of – scholarly – journalism.”[clxxvi] But alongside this, he has put schematic map of Israel superimposed with a reprint in boldface from Roussos Vranas’ column in Ta Nea – allegedly quoting an Israeli officer instructing his troops. “We must analyze and implement the lessons of the battles of the past, even analyzing how the German army set up the Warsaw ghetto, as abhorrent as that seems.”[clxxvii]
Then, on the same day (2/4/02), in case its readers missed it the first time around, Apogevmatini reprinted the entire article on a full page, proclaiming it “Dimos’s Legacy” – “a text, whose power and truth provokes a myriad of reactions … deserves to be read yet another time. Especially these days.”[clxxviii]
More tempered eulogies referred to Mavrommatis as “consistent in his social convictions [who] served Greek journalism with ethics and an incomparable fighting spirit” (nationalist rightwing daily –41,000 copies in August 2002- Eleftheros Typos, 2/4/02);[clxxix] “a cultured man” (Kathimerini, 2/4/02), “who taught writing and ethics” (the Journalists’ Union ESIEA);[clxxx] and that “his last article proved to be prophetic” (Avghi, 2/4/02).[clxxxi]
On the other hand, Pontiki, the center-left satirical weekly with 25,000 copies in August 2002, (4/4/02), also reprinted the entire “Letter,” adding boldface for emphasis. It is prefaced by a eulogy in which Mavrommatis is praised as “a great man [who wrote] keen, penetrating articles, but always displayed ethics and modesty,” followed by a chronicle of the article and a remark that it provoked “lengthy letters” of protest from Ambassador Sasson and KIS.[clxxxii] Similarly, in an emotional accolade, Petros Mantaios (Eleftherotypia, 4/4/02) called the “Letter” “an example of profound humanity and profuse courage. For it takes great daring, bravery and fearlessness to transcend [yourself], to call upon Greek Jews – and, indeed, with such anguish – to face their responsibilities. (…) writing, moreover, in his last hours when he could barely speak … he bids goodnight to life with a text that is a raison d’etre.”[clxxxiii] Again in Eleftherotypia (6/4/02), Olga Bakomarou, in her regular column, reprints Mavrommatis’ reply to his critics with the preface: “Beautiful and moving words have been written about the humanity and ethics of Dimos Mavrommatis, who passed away as he signed his name for the last time to the stirring text, ‘Letter to the Jews’.”[clxxxiv]
The only, albeit oblique, reference in the Greek press to the anti-Semitic views of Mavrommatis (and many others) came from Alexis Papahelas (To Vima, 4/4/02). “Some people insist on thoughtlessly using the terms ‘genocide’ or ‘Holocaust’ because they think it sells, without actually thinking about what they are saying. Still others do not wish to conceal their anti-Semitism and use clumsy excuses such as ‘I, too, had a Jewish friend’ to hurl the most insulting stereotypes against Jews. We as individuals must battle such phenomena, because legitimate, harsh, impassioned criticism of the current barbarity in Israel is one thing; lightly veiled racism is another.”[clxxxv]
contrast, videographer George Gedeon, a Canadian of Greek extraction
who knew nothing about the author, made the following comments (MGSA-L,
28/3/02). “If one reads between the
lines, the disdain and innuendo are deafening. (…) Mr. Mavrommatis’ ‘Letter to Jews’ is not ‘a cry for humanity and
against its extirpation’ but a self praising, patronizing, pompous, ‘holier
than thou’ anti-Jewish rhetoric often in the Greek media. (…) I can not help but see a self-righteous accusation of an
alleged complicity of silence by Greek Jews and the author’s ‘Although I am
more ‘Jewish’ than you, I have the moral right to speak up against Israeli
injustice’ ... an attitude I find presumptuous and unfair.”[clxxxvi]
Without question the media and in particular the press has played a key role in disseminating the “new anti-Semitism” in Greece. During spring 2002, mainstream newspapers were deluged with anti-Semitic editorial, cartoons, comments, and even letters to the editor equating the – certainly condemnable and probably criminal – activity of the Israeli army in Palestinian cities with the Holocaust, and Sharon with Hitler. The majority of the rhetoric and imagery contained direct references to religion and “the Jews,” with some attacks on Greek Jews, specifically, for their collective responsibility. The sweeping anti-Israeli/anti-Zionist bias of the Greek media, which occasionally slipped into blatant propaganda, thwarted any legitimate criticism of Israeli policy, any serious debate of the Middle East crisis, as well as any condemnation whatsoever of Palestinian terrorist actions. The words “terrorist” and “terrorism” in reference to Palestinians consistently appear in quotation marks.
The unilateral view of the Arab-Israeli conflict created an unlikely union comprising the extreme right, the ultra-nationalists, and the Church together with the intellectual left and the Communists. Especially in April 2002, the convergence was so complete that it was difficult to distinguish political leanings or even between the fringe and mainstream press. Tangible evidence of this are the numerous ideas, texts, cartoons, and even writers themselves that trafficked freely across the lines.
One ironic example of this fringe-mainstream alliance is the front-page headline, “Zionists Control the Media,” in the large-circulation rightwing Apogevmatini (16/3/02), supporting an interview with an advisor to Iran’s President Hatami. The page with the article was reprinted in the newspaper of the white-supremacist neo-Nazi group Chryssi Avghi (22/3/02), with the exclamation that the “especially important interview…says out loud for the first time what CHRYSSI AVGHI has always maintained and reiterated!”[clxxxvii]
Another example of the convergence of the marginal and mainstream press, on the opposite side of the spectrum, appeared in the splinter communist weekly (2,000 copies in August 2002) Prin (7/4/02), whose entire front page was a graphic color photo of a Palestinian funeral procession emblazoned with the word “Genocide!”[clxxxviii] The centerfold article, with the headline “Uprising against the Neo-Nazis,” speaks of “Israel’s Nazi practices” and declares: “We are with the Intifada without being anti-Semites.”[clxxxix] Included in this same issue are two articles on the same subject by George Delastik and Petros Papakonstantinou, both regular contributors to the center-right Kathimerini. Delastik writes of “the genocide of the Palestinians” and the “Israeli humanoid beasts [who] will pay for their crimes that they now think they’ll get away with. That’s what the Nazis thought.” In the center of the article is a white swastika on a black square.[cxc] Papakonstantou calls for the end of “genocide” under the headline “Bush gives green light for Holocaust in Palestine.”[cxci]
Holocaust analogies and distinctions between anti-Semitism and “anti-Zionism” are used to legitimize racism. When KIS, the Israeli Embassy, NGOs, or individual citizens contest these positions, they are ridiculed, scorned or ignored.
Columnist Takis Fotopoulos, in an essay (Eleftherotypia, 7/4/02) titled “Anti-Semitism, Anti-Zionism and ‘Terrorism’,” writes that the “recent attacks on synagogues and other related targets in Europe and elsewhere … have led some to conclude that we are facing a new rise in anti-Semitism.” He goes on to clarify that he is “not talking, of course, about Zionist propaganda and its mouthpieces in non-governmental organizations who have characterized even my own views as anti-Semitic because I dared criticize the atrocities of Zionism in its efforts to carry out the ethnic cleansing of Palestine.”[cxcii]
This remark carries the footnote: “see dialogue with the spokesperson for Amnesty International and GHM [sic], P. Dimitras.”[cxciii] GHM spokesperson Panayote Dimitras responded in a letter to the editor (El, 9/4/02), clarifying that he is neither the spokesperson for Amnesty International, nor has he ever held a dialogue with Mr. Fotopoulos. The latter, he states, could not take place “as a matter of principle [since] a dialogue with individuals who express anti-Semitic stereotypes is unacceptable.” In his letter, Panayote Dimitras also takes the opportunity to express his “distress over the anti-Semitic stereotypes that have been used in Eleftherotypia in articles and cartoons” during this period. “Israel is currently leading in contempt for human rights, humanitarian justice and international legal standards. The international community should stringently and systematically condemn it and should (but unfortunately won’t) bring it to justice for all this. Nevertheless, those who resort to inappropriate analogies to the Holocaust and Nazi atrocity, to adopting the concept of collective responsibility, or to propagating traditional anti-Semitic stereotypes essentially nullify efforts to rigorously condemn Israel, and give the impression that they are not motivated by justice but by intolerance.”[cxciv]
To this, Fotopoulos replied that Dimitras “verifies beyond a shadow of doubt that he is a mouthpiece for Zionist propaganda given that he has the gall to again characterize me for ‘expressing anti-Semitic stereotypes’ when the objective of my article was precisely to categorize the fundamental difference between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism, which Mr. Dimitras intentionally blurs.” He also asks for Dimitras “to prove that the position of the NGO he represents is not the familiar position of Western propaganda. (…) And if he cannot, then the dialogue with mouthpieces of Zionist and Western propaganda is impossible.”[cxcv]
Here, it should be noted that Takis Fotopoulos has a history of voicing anti-Semitic ideas in the guise of scholarly research. One such recent example appeared in the same column several months earlier (Eleftherotypia, 15/12/01), titled “The next target: the destruction of the Palestinian [state].” In this essay, he presents “documentation” that the “Zionists currently comprise the component parts of the transnational elite because of their economic, political, as well as general social power.” He goes on to “cite three indicative examples,” two of which have to do with the number of “Zionists” in the Clinton, Bush and Blair cabinets. The third and most preposterous is based on the alleged suppression of genetic findings from “an important scientific journal (Human Immunology) …Because it disputed the biblical dogma that forms the basis for the Zionist state, and in particular the myth of the chosen and genetically superior Jewish people, by proving that Palestinians and Jews are genetically identical!” [punctuation his][cxcvi]
There are other instances when those protesting the excesses of the press and the use of Holocaust rhetoric were similarly squelched or disparaged, such as in the exchange of letters published in Eleftherotypia. A Holocaust survivor writes (6/4/02), “I am a Greek Jew who unfortunately survived the Holocaust only to now see the media using this event, unique in history in scale and atrocity, in order to create false impressions. I lost my family then, 33 immediate relatives, Greece lost 57,000 of its citizens (including those who fought and were injured in the war of 1940) and Europe lost 6 million people, solely because they were Jewish. They had no territorial disputes, nor did they use terrorist actions. I therefore forbid the frivolous use of this tragedy for any other purpose.”[cxcvii] Another reader answers her (13/4/02) by first telling her that he respects and honors the victims and survivors of the Holocaust and admitting that the current appropriation of the term is “to some extent, frivolous.” But, he informs her, “since you have chosen to live in a democratic nation, and not a totalitarian regime, you have no right to ‘forbid,’ albeit rhetorically, the use of any term. If, finally…[you] don’t ascribe the term ‘terrorist’ to Israeli national ‘policy,’ then I fear you haven’t learned anything from the brutal experience of the Holocaust. I regret that you are my fellow citizen!”[cxcviii]
Also in April, the Israeli Embassy privately protested to some journalists about the way events were being portrayed in the media. Several of them then complained to ESIEA, the union organization responsible for defending the working rights of journalists and maintaining ethical standards in the Greek press, that the Embassy was attempting “political interference” in their work. In response, the Union’s President, Aristidis Manolakos, sent a letter of condemnation to the Ambassador, which he publicized, in which he stated: “You will understand, I assume, that the Greek press and electronic media cannot keep silent in the face of a genocide.”[cxcix]
The following sampling of headlines, statements, and passages appearing across the spectrum of the Greek press and media in March and April 2002 demonstrate the pervasiveness of Nazi imagery and Holocaust degradation.
The center-left Eleftherotypia used a postage-stamp sized logo to label the upper corners of some its pages during the period 2-14 April. The first version, which ran from 2/4-4/4, was a miniaturized color photo of a dead Palestinian superimposed with the words “Holocaust II.”[cc] The second version, a larger photo of Palestinians sitting in the ruins of Ramallah, superimposed with the words “The Holocaust of the Palestinians,” ran for at least a week from 7/4-14/4.[cci] Articles branded with this rubric include one by Mikis Theodorakis (discussed elsewhere in this report),[ccii] a human-interest feature about a Greek-Israeli girl and a Palestinian boy collaborating for peace,[cciii] an Israeli peace demonstration,[cciv] and one covering U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powel’s visit to the region.[ccv]
However, one of the most extreme examples of Holocaust debasement was published in the center-right Kathimerini (17/3/02), in an essay by Christos Yannaras, a professor of philosophy at Panteion University and prominent neo-Orthodox theologian (and published subscriber to the “Kissinger Declaration” conspiracy theory[ccvi]) titled “Desecration of the [Religious] Dialogue.” Yannaras writes, “No ‘religious leader’ has distinguished himself… by raising his voice in behalf of all the Palestinians who were burned with phosphorous bombs (death in the Nazi crematoria was a pleasure in comparison to this horror…)….”[ccvii] This “fact,” he claims, is “documented by a Westerner Robert Fisk,” in his book. The fact is, British journalist Robert Fisk wrote exactly the opposite in his 1992 book, “Pity the Nation. Lebanon at War”.[ccviii]
A condemnation of Christos Yannaras by Angelos Elefantis was published in the monthly Politis magazine he publishes (March 2002) and reprinted in the progressive-left Avghi (13/4/02). Elefantis notes: “Whoever condemns the brutal actions of the current Israeli government against the Palestinians is not necessarily an anti-Semite, nor is someone who supports the Palestinians in their quest for a homeland…nor is anyone an anti-Semite for condemning the atrocities of the Israeli army in the occupied territories… But, if anyone thinks that death in the Nazi crematoria was a pleasure in comparison to what the Israelis are doing today – is or is he not an anti-Semite? This thought never crossed the mind of Christos Yannaras, the theologian professor of philosophy at the Panteion University. And no one accuses him of anti-Semitism. Simply, a similar thought or comparison of entirely dissimilar things led him to ‘forget’ that six million Jews died in the Nazi extermination camps. Enjoying themselves. Yannaras was not concerned about the utter uniqueness of the Holocaust, nor about maintaining even the most rudimentary good terms with rationality and history.”[ccix]
On 1 April 2002, Roussos Vranas gave the title “Hypocrites” to his regular column in the centrist Ta Nea. He begins with a remark about the Embassy of Israel being closed on Passover[ccx] and ends with the “news” he’s heard about Israeli soldiers studying Nazi methods.[ccxi] His conclusion: “The Israelis are showing that they have finally gotten over the Holocaust. Now that the former victims have become victimizers, maybe it’s time for us to get over it too.”[ccxii] Four days later, Vranas (5/402) takes umbrage with the Israelis for objecting to Holocaust analogies: “So Ramallah was forgotten immediately. Only Auschwitz has remained. (…) [Israel] doesn’t have concentration camps and hasn’t exterminated one third of the Palestinian population in gas chambers. Therefore whatever Israel does is OK. (…) As long as these atrocities fall short, if only a little, of the atrocities once committed in Nazi Germany…Let no one dare draw parallels.”[ccxiii]
The front page of the center-left daily (50,000 copies in August 2002) Ethnos (2/4/02) carried the headline “Israel is undaunted: Step-by-Step they proceed in a new Holocaust,” with a two-page color spread titled “Israelis take battle positions for a Holocaust.”[ccxiv] Inside the same issue was a brief article on the synagogue attacks in France: “French President Jacques Chirac called upon the French police authorities to take strong measures to protect places of religious worship throughout the country.” It then goes on to say, “The actions of the Israelite lobby in France did not thwart demonstrations protesting Israeli military interventions,” which it describes.[ccxv] Also in the same issue, Anna Panayotarea, a prominent journalist and professor at the Media Studies Department of the University of Macedonia[ccxvi] with a daily program on the most popular TV channel Mega titled her column: “Holocaust without end.”[ccxvii]
Eleftherotypia’s contributing editor Victor Netas remembers (2/4/02) witnessing the series of Nazi prohibitions on the Jews of Thessaloniki preceding their eventual deportation, in 1943, to death camps in Europe. He then states, “I would never have imagined that the descendents of the victims of the Nazi atrocity and barbarity would repeat, after about 60 years with memories of the ‘holocaust’ still fresh, the same things against another people, the Palestinians.” He then quotes (as do a number of journalists during this time) the Portuguese writer Jose Saramago on Ramallah: “We can compare this crime to everything that happened in Auschwitz.”[ccxviii]
Karolos Brousalis, a regular columnist in Ethnos (“Anti-thesis”), authored two anti-Semitic essays, two days apart. The first, titled “The Hour of Judgment” (2/4/02), begins: “A half-century of a free state is already too much for the Israelites. The Zionist residents of the state of Israel, whom I, at least, distinguish from the Jews, because religion cannot compromise with the neo-Nazis of the Middle East no matter how much Zionist and American propaganda tries to turn the victimizers into ‘victims of terrorism’.” He goes on: “Both the first teacher, Adolph Hitler, and his shining pupil were ‘voted in by the people.’ The Germans had the alibi that ‘they didn’t know about the crematoria,’ but the Israelis don’t have this excuse, since TV channels around the world are showing the gas chamber in which they have isolated Yasser Arafat.” He claims that if the Israelis don’t overthrow their warmongering prime minister “they will lose, just as they have so many times in the past, the victims of their intemperate belief in their own ‘superiority.’”[ccxix] His next essay (4/4/02) appears alongside the “Ramalauswitz” cartoon described below.[ccxx] Under the titled “Parallel Lives,” Brousalis relates the events leading up to the Holocaust, which he claims “could be” what is going on in Sharon’s Israel, beginning, “just as Daladier and Chamberlain “watched the rise of fascism in Germany in the secret hope that Hitler would be a deterrent to communism, so we watch the rise of fascism in Israel, which Chirac and Blair justify as a ‘deterrent to terrorism’.” [ccxxi] He calls Sharon “Hitler’s counterpart” who shows “the same unmitigated gall as Hitler [when he unilaterally abrogated the Treaty of Versailles [when he, Sharon] ‘protested’ because the Speaker of the Greek Parliament called a spade a spade and genocide, genocide.” He also says that the swastika, adopted at Nuremberg, “could be the ‘Star of David’.” That the “the ban on the participation of Jews in the political life of the country could be the ban on Palestinians to elect their leadership.” The Nazi “ban on marriage as well as all sexual relations between Jewish and non-Jewish Germans, and even the ban on ‘true Germans’ entering Jewish homes…could be the ban on the physical movements of Palestinians and their leaders in [what is their legitimately autonomous land].” That the “obligatory surrendering of Jewish-owned businesses could be cutting off of electric power, water and food to the Palestinians who live under a regime of foreign occupation.” The next steps, Brousalis writes, such as “stripping Jews of their right to vote, could be the extermination or elimination of the elected Palestinian leadership.” That Jews serving in the civil service or army were put on indefinite leave “could be the removal of the right of Palestinians to work because of the blockade conditions under which they are trying to survive. And of course, Jewish pensions were halted. In Palestine there are no pensions. Veterans are sent directly to cemeteries by the bullets of the armed cowards of contemporary ‘anti-terrorist’ fascism.” He continues: “In 1939 Hitler retook the Rhineland and abrogated the Pact of Locarno. In 2002 Sharon sent his tanks into Bethlehem and abrogated the Oslo Accord. (…) The French and English gave away Czechoslovakia in exchange for their peace of mind [in the Munich Pact]. Hitler’s Israeli counterpart has gone much further: In 2002, hiding behind the power of Bush, he disregards the UN referendum.”[ccxxii]
The editorial column in Eleftherotypia (2/4/02) titled “Barbed Wire” begins with the declaration that “by building a prison of barbed wire and earth around Yasser Arafat’s office, Ariel Sharon is simultaneously building a global anti-Jewish climate.” And goes on to say, “the Israeli army is conducting a genocide when it shoots kids and bulldozes wretched settlements, driving Palestinians to desperation and suicide operations.”[ccxxiii]
The editorial of the fortnightly left magazine Anti (5/4/2002) states, “the practices of the state of Israel are daily reminders of the Nazi genocide against the Gypsies and the Jews.” [ccxxiv]
George Stamatopoulos (Eleftherotypia, 6/4/2002) begins an article remarking that, “There are many who won’t tolerate the concepts ‘fascism’, ‘Holocaust’, and ‘Nazi’ in reference to Israel. How is it possible – they say – to compare Sharon to Hitler?” And concludes that, “Evil has no gradations; therefore Israel is a fascist state, there is a Holocaust, they are employing Nazi war methods; nothing more, nothing less.”[ccxxv]
Vassilis Moulopoulos, the domestic affairs editor of the centrist To Vima writes (7/4/02) that our leaders are helplessly watching “the greatest genocide in modern history,” and that “Sharon…is not a Nazi, but he is using Nazi methods of annihilating populations.”[ccxxvi]
In leftist weekly Epochi (7/4/02), the group “Space for Dialogue and Joint Action of the Left,” (around the Synaspismos party) condemned “the genocide of the Palestinian people….”[ccxxvii] One week later (14/4/02), the paper published an article drawing parallels between April 1933 and April 2002. The article begins: “History goes in cycles and very often repeats itself in reverse: Former victims turn into victimizers, as though they have never been taught.”[ccxxviii]
Kostis Papayiorgis comments in the financial weekly Ependytis (6-7/4-2002) that “CNN (…) continued its pro-Zionist chant” even when “Arafat was hanging from the gallows.”[ccxxix]
Television viewers also heard similar rhetoric. For instance, on the evening news on Passover Wednesday (27/3/02), Alpha TV correspondent Eleni Kaloyeropoulou broadcast shrilly from the Middle East, “They’re attacking us! (…) Israelis are exterminating the young generation of Palestinians; they [the Jews] have forgotten what the Greeks did for them.” Several days later, in an interview on the same channel, she claimed, “Israelis are cutting the fingers off of Palestinian children.”[ccxxx] Similarly, George Filipakis reported on the news broadcast of the fourth in audience Star Channel (27/3/02) that “Israelis are implementing a new fascist policy.”
Also on Alpha (26/5/02), the official envoy of the Palestinian Authority in Greece, Abdullah Abdullah, declared, “Of course, what the Israelis are doing to the Palestinians is far worse than anything the Germans did to the Jews.” His interviewer and program host, Andreas Andrianopoulos, only response was a simple, congenial grin.[ccxxxi]
In some cases, leftist and mainstream forums made no pretence of their traditional anti-Semitic sentiments.
An article in the left weekly (6,000 copies in August 2002) Paron (7/4/2002) begins: “The genocide of the Palestinian people…”[ccxxxii] Below this is a anti-Semitic “poem” by George Papayannopoulos, highlighted in a colored box, with verses such as: “jew, jew, jew – jew, jew, jew. Hebrew, Jew. Widely scattered / zionist, zionist, Zionist. God’s Chosen Executioner… Jewish Zionist in Israel. In the Land of ancestors, the real estate of the settler descendents…”[ccxxxiii]
On Eleftherotypia’s TV page (3/4/02), Andreas Roumeliotis titles his column with “Outside the Synagogue.” What begins as praise of the Israeli peace movement – i.e. the positive, non-Zionist side of the Jews – shifts midway through into a medieval analysis of the Jewish character, with the author priding himself on his insight and tolerance (See addendum 3). He tells us, inter alia, that “the Jews are a nation apart…they buy you and sell you… they pull the strings everywhere and are behind everything important.” Hitler recognized these “virtues and sent them to become soap. (…) They move from country to country with a stuffed purse…many concealing their ethnic identities.” But, these days, he informs us, “Jewish girls are really cute” and willing to intermarry. So, Roumeliotis is “not anti-Jewish…so what if wealth is [a Jew’s] life’s dream, that’s his problem. I don’t envy him; I don’t hate him. I am against Zionism. Against the insane hierarchy that believes that they represent God, that their people are God’s ‘chosen people’ who must prevail.” [ccxxxiv]
Eleftherotypia even chose to publish a number of blatantly anti-Semitic letters-to-the-editor. In addition to the readers’ correspondence quoted above,[ccxxxv] on 4/4/02, the editor chose to print a nationalistic “poem” contributed by a reader, comparing Messolonghi (the site of a famous massacre of Greeks by Turks in the War for Independence) to Ramallah: “Yaweh! How the Jews forgot those years…when their tormenters dragged them to the furnaces / made them into fertilizer, toilet paper and soap! (…) / Gigantic trusts, ‘Market’ diplomacy, Jews, World leaders and big interests….”[ccxxxvi]
significantly, the following reader’s letter, published on 15/4/02, prompted
Greek Helsinki Monitor to first react with a letter to the newspaper’s
director, and then press charges against Eleftherotypia for violating
A reader from Patras writes: “The Jews today are lucky that no one intends to deprive them of the right to be called human beings, when they aren’t, if we consider their united, heartfelt desire to applaud Israel’s murderous incursions against the civilian population of the Palestinian people, whom they themselves have victimized. Americans support Jews, not because they love them but because they fear them. Since America is now a colony of Israel, the big Jewish bankers of America and a lot of Jewish millionaires think nothing of provoking a financial crash, and one, in fact, much bigger than what happened in 1929. Besides, it’s a proven fact that Jews are untrustworthy and fickle. They infiltrate societies, first playing the poor souls to generate pity and, when the time comes, they’ll grab you by the throat. Besides the fact that their country, Israel, has always cast negative votes on the Cyprus issue in the UN, the Jews sustain an unaccountable hatred for us Greeks. And the explanation one might surmise is that they envy us because our country gave the light of civilization to all other peoples, for which they are grateful.”[ccxxxviii]
GHM promptly (15/4/2002) sent an urgent letter to Eleftherotypia director Seraphim Fyntanidis requesting that he immediately publish a denouncement of the contents of the above letter and “an apology to the Jews, whom this letter profoundly offends.”[ccxxxix] As there was no reaction, GHM pressed charges against Eleftherotypia (unfortunately many of the eminent Greek Jews who were asked to co-submit the complaint refused) on 1/8/2002 for violation of articles 1 (prohibiting racial discrimination or hatred) and 2 (prohibiting public expressions through the press of ideas offensive to persons due to their origin). Athens Prosecutor Georgios Gerakis immediately indicted the newspaper and a court hearing is expected in the end of 2002 or the beginning of 2003.
One picture is worth 1000 words. And a deluge of anti-Semitic cartoons appeared in the mainstream press during March and, especially, April 2002, inspired by the escalating violence in Israel. Particular offenders were Eleftherotypia, Ta Nea and Ethnos. Besides traditional caricatures of Jews, Holocaust equations became increasingly strident. Ramallah is routinely depicted as a Nazi concentration camp or the Warsaw Ghetto, Ariel Sharon as a Jewish Hitler, and Israeli soldiers as Nazi militia or demonic forces. Israeli soldiers prominently display the emblems of Judaism: Star of David, yarmulke; or of Nazism: the swastika; or both. Yasser Arafat is portrayed as Christ and the Palestinians are always wretched victims: persecuted wartime Jews, concentration camp inmates, Christian prophets, Greek revolutionaries, or even ancient Greek heroes. The standoff at the Church of the Nativity and the Greek Orthodox Easter season generated many analogies between the role of Jews (Israelis) in the Crucifixions of Christ (Arafat) and the Prophets (Palestinians). U.S. President George W. Bush very often appears as Ariel Sharon’s sidekick or counsel.
An example of Jewish stereotyping with a nationalistic/anti-globalism/American twist was published in financial section of Eleftherotypia (23-3-02). A Greek revolutionary, circa 1821, is borrowing money from an (English-speaking) greedy banker. The caption reads: “Ibrahim is leaving, Shylock is coming!”[ccxl]
By the end of March, however, the Arab/Israeli theme took over.
The most striking Holocaust caricature was the one that occupied the entire front page of the April 1st edition of Eleftherotypia. The eye-catching image was clearly designed to create a sensation, first, because it was the work of Greece’s distinguished political cartoonist KYR and, second, because of its bold, graphic style. It must also be noted that newspapers are traditionally hung outside the kiosks and newsstands; as the Greece’s largest paper, Eleftherotypia has the prominent position. In the picture, two white figures are contrasted against a solid black ground on which is written “HOLOCAUST II” in blood-red. The larger of the two figures is wearing S.S. garb with a blue Star of David dominating his helmet. He is leading at gunpoint a terrified, emaciated figure with his hands up over his head, who is wearing a kaffiyeh and a blue striped concentration camp uniform on which is a large yellow five-pointed star. The caption reads: “Sharon’s war machine is attempting to carry out a new Holocaust, a new genocide.” And, to support the claim, superimposed on the drawing is an archival photo of a Nazi soldier similarly terrorizing a young Jewish boy.[ccxli]
In a letter to the paper expressing her distress over this publication, Greek author Eva Omiroli wrote (3/4/02), “Tabloid headlines and sensationalist images are in no way conducive to providing information. Rather, they constitute time-bombs of prejudice, discrimination, fanaticism and inevitable racism.”[ccxlii] The editor saw fit to publish Ms. Omiroli’s plea, but not to heed it. The deluge of anti-Semitic caricatures and texts in Eleftherotypia only intensified as the days went by.
A cartoon in Ta Nea (30/3/02) shows the smoldering ruins of a city labeled “Ramallah.” Ariel Sharon is depicted on the left, dressed in military fatigues and holding a gun. A traditional European Jewish man, wearing a yarmulke, is standing behind him, holding a suitcase labeled “Israel.” The Sharon figure says, “We exterminated them and we can relax.” The Jew replies, “That’s what Hitler thought about us, Sharon!”[ccxliii] Besides perpetuating traditional anti-Semitic stereotypes (long nose, beard, yarmulke, stooped shoulders, a wanderer with a bag [of money]) and denigrating the Holocaust, the cartoon also portrays Jews as foreign colonizers of Israel.
Also on 30/3/02, Eleftherotypia published a color cartoon by their resident cartoonist, Stathis, equating the Nazi destruction of the Warsaw Ghetto with the Israeli attack on Ramallah. A cadaver-like German soldier stands in the foreground, his arm resting on a sign reading “Warsaw Ghetto 1944.” Behind him are the smoldering ruins of a town labeled “Ramallah 2002.” The soldier is musing: “Finally things are complete! Just as we killed the Jews then, so now are the Jews killing the memory of those who were killed.”[ccxliv]
The day following the “tabloid” cover, and before Eva Omiroli’s letter was printed, Eleftherotypia (2/4/02) carried a cartoon showing a wooden boat labeled “Arc II” with two disembodied voices in balloon captions. One says, “Sharon, which species will be saved?” The other says, “The two of us President Bush.” The boat is floating on a sea labeled “blood” filled with the waving arms of drowning people.[ccxlv]
A cartoon by Dimitris Hantzopoulos (Ta Nea, 1/4/02) shows an Israeli soldier (Star of David on his sleeve) holding a machine gun to the head of a kneeling, ragged Palestinian. In the background are the smoking ruins of a town. The Israeli says, “I’m not sorry for doing to you what the Nazis did to us. I am sorry for those to whom you’ll do what we are doing to you!”[ccxlvi]
Ethnos (4/4/02) published a cartoon of Ariel Sharon and George Bush goose stepping in front of a concentration camp (gun turret, barbed wire, kneeling prisoners) labeled “Ramalauswitz” [sic]. Sharon says, “World-leader, they hate us!” Bush replies, “Therefore we are, Sharon.”[ccxlvii]
The weekly (142,000 copies in August 2002) Ethnos on Sunday (7/4/02) carried two cartoons. One (p. 16) shows two husky soldiers in S.S. uniforms with Stars of David on their helmets. The soldier on the right is threatening a kneeling, terrified Palestinian with a knife. The other, holding a diminutive Palestinian over his knee and stabbing him in the back, is saying to his buddy, “Don’t feel guilty, brother! We weren’t in Auschwitz and Dachau to suffer, but to learn!”[ccxlviii] The second (p. 42), titled “David & Goliath 2002 AD”, hits all the bases. The contemporary dark force, a hi-tech, heavily armed robot-giant with a Star of David on its helmet is blasting holes in a kneeling, naked Palestinian, who is armed only with a slingshot. A laser beam issues from the Star. The accompanying rhyming text, a take-off on the Greek National Anthem, substitutes “Sharon” for “Psarron” (an island), “horror” for “glory,” “blood drenched helmet” for “laurel wreath” and “Zion” for “barren land.” There is also a sidebar about Sharon being an “executioner” but unlike Milosevic won’t be tried for his crimes, a reference to Shatilla and Sabra, and a couplet about the Bethlehem standoff and the “newly crucified” Palestinian rebels.[ccxlix]
The weekly Epochi (7/4/02) published a full-page discussion between Yannis Banias –leader of a small leftist party- and Panayotis Lafazanis, MP from Synaspismos, two members of the Greek delegation that visited the occupied territories in early April. The title of the text is a reference to Golgotha, the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. It is illustrated with a drawing of a soldier with a Star of David on his helmet, standing on a mound of skulls and holding one skull, Hamlet-like, in his hand, saying, “To massacre or to kill? That is the question.” In the text itself, Yannis Banias wonders: “How can these people, who suffered so much from the Germans, be training a new generation to think the same way as the Nazis?”[ccl]
A cartoon in To Vima on Sunday (7/4/02) shows President Bush off to the left, speaking to Ariel Sharon, who is wearing army fatigues and a yarmulke, and holding a machine gun. The Sharon figure is propelling at gunpoint a beleaguered woman (who could either be Palestinian or European Jewish) with her head covered. She is carrying a purse that says “peace in the Middle East” on it. Bush is telling Sharon, “Take it easy, Ariel!” Sharon replies, “I got it George. No crematoria! No gas chambers! Just exiles!”[ccli]
Eleftherotypia cartoonist Stathis reappears (11/4/02) with a Crucifixion/Auschwitz reference. His – by now trademark – Nazi soldier-cadaver is standing between two rows of Palestinians on their way to Golgotha, which is seen in the distance. He is shouting, “Those killed by the bad Ariel Sharon and the bad George Bush to the left. Those killed by the good Shimon Perez and the good Colin Powel to the right.”[cclii]
The front page of Epochi (14/4/02) contains a report by the Greek delegation on the Palestinian condition, with an illustration of Ariel Sharon saying, “Everyone’s pressuring me to stop the slaughter.” A spectral, devil-winged Hitler is patting him on the shoulder, saying, “Don’t listen to them, Sharon. They were doing the same to me.”[ccliii]
Stathis (in Eleftherotypia, 14/4/02) also targeted nationalistic sentiments by casting heroes from ancient Greek tragedy as Nazi-era Jewish victims. The ribbon at the top of the cartoon reads, “Jenin: Apartheid Even After Death”. In the center is an Israeli soldier who this time not only has a Star of David on his helmet but a swastika on his chest as well. He is saying, “Not only do we kill them, but we decide who, when and where and why we bury them or not!” Lying at dead at his feet are Heteocles and Polynikis, heroes from Sophocles’ “Antigone,” the two brothers who killed each other in battle and were denied burial, a great dishonor in ancient Greece.[ccliv]
And with preparations underway for Greek Orthodox Holy Week, Ta Nea (18/4/02) published Dimitris Hantzopoulos’ blatantly anti-Semitic cartoon that shows Yasser Arafat struggling up Golgotha bearing a cross. Arafat says, “Well, I know that history repeats itself as a farce!” The Israeli soldier behind him replies, “Atta boy! And now you’ll learn that religion repeats itself, too!”[cclv]
Holocaust Remembrance Day
On Sunday, 14 April 2002, Greek Jewish survivors and the families and friends of the dead observed Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Several days earlier, Yannis Liapis wrote an essay titled “Never again!” (Eleftherotypia, 9/4/02), purporting to describe – but actually parodying – the memorial service for the 50,000 Thessaloniki Jews who perished in the Holocaust, to which he is invited every year. He gives the statistics of the Greek Jewish losses (96.5%) in order to point out that there is no such census of Palestinian losses. “Still,” he writes, “on Sunday, April 14th, everything will go according to plan. Only that the hymns and motions and all that is symbolic will contain an intangible sarcasm.” The irony, he insinuates, is contained in the formal invitation from the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki: “Most will prick up their ears at the parenthetical phrase: ‘Today, when the nightmare of Nazism appears to be reawakening, we hope that our innocent brethren are the last victims of racial hatred…’.”[cclvi]
The Jewish Community of Thessaloniki (JCT) expressed its “profound resentment”[cclvii] towards the article, which “insulted the sacred memory of the 50,000 Greek Jews of Thessaloniki.” The Community noted its distress over events in the Middle East, its ardent wishes for a just peace in the region, and its regret that “today, too, just as with any resurgence of the Arab-Israeli crisis, our Holocaust is degraded with unjust and thoughtless comparisons such those you attempt to make.” [cclviii]
The JCT statement was printed in Eleftherotypia (12/4/02) followed by Mr. Liapis’s reply. Undaunted, Mr. Liapis wrote, “once again, my fellow-citizens, the descendants of the Sephardim acted like they didn’t understand … what so enraged them was not that there was, as they write, an ‘appraisal of the victims’ [but that] there was an appraisal of the victimizers. And they all know who the victimizers are.”[cclix]
Here too, there is a discernable difference between the tone and rhetoric used to cover this event in the English language press and that of the mainstream papers. Spyros Payiatakis (EK/IHT, 4/15/02) describes the Holocaust memorial service, noting that the gathered mourners were “shielded by heavy security for fear of attacks motivated by the violence in the Middle East. (…) Poor Jews! Greek passport-holding Jews continue to face abominable challenges. Daily they have to affront barrages of criticism, while” as one Thessaloniki Jew admitted to the author, “‘inside us we feel on the defensive and are uncomfortable with the events that are taking place in the Middle East’.” He quotes Helena Smith from The Guardian as “rightly detecting ‘a whiff of anti-Semitism in some Greeks’ support for the Palestinians’.”[cclx]
From time to time, articles and statements have appeared – most often in the foreign language press and in the small-circulation, progressive left Avghi – criticizing the inappropriateness of Holocaust rhetoric and other anti-Semitic expressions. The anti-Israeli climate in Greece was so pervasive, however, that it left little room for anything but pleas for moderation and objectivity. Moreover, these texts were frequently presented in ways that diluted their impact, questioned their validity, and/or trivialized their message, either printed in inferior positions, on the same page with more eye-catching features supporting the objectionable material, or buried in the small print.
Prophetically, in February 2001, the Sunday edition of Avghi ran a full-page article, translated from the French, with archival photographs of concentration camp victims, analyzing the phenomenon of Holocaust denial or negation and its dangerous ramifications. The author explains the phenomenon of “denegationism” as “a continuation of totalitarianism by other means: (…) Indeed, the existence of anti-Semitism is so mentally enteric in the afflicted person that the acceptance of the Jewish enemy in the state of victim is an unbearable image. (…) Thus the crime is shifted: the ruins of Dresden and Hiroshima are raised order to cover up the ovens of Auschwitz and Treblinka.”[cclxi]
On 2 April 2002, provoked by the escalating crisis in the Middle East, KIS issued a statement reiterating “its firm position for the need to restart negotiations that will lead to a permanent and lasting peace in the region.” In the same statement, it expressed its “deep resentment towards part of the Press – and not only the Press – for the unjust and unacceptable comparison of the Holocaust … with Palestinian losses.” Condemning the “blind terrorist attacks,” KIS declared its hope and expectation that “prudence and moderation will prevail so that the peoples of the region can coexist in peace and security.”[cclxii]
The already brief KIS statement appeared in synopsized form in Ta Nea (4/4/02)[cclxiii] on page 50, alongside an article by Roussos Vranas (the author of anti-Semitic articles quoted elsewhere in this report) about Israeli persecution of journalists.[cclxiv] To Vima (3/4/02) quoted both the KIS and Israeli Embassy objections to the Holocaust equations in a single, larger text on page 4.[cclxv] Apogevmatini (3/4/02) published the entire statement on page 12, beneath which was a small note on a synagogue attack in France.[cclxvi] Finally, Avghi published the KIS statement intact (5/4/2002) on page 6.[cclxvii]
Despite KIS’s and Ambassador Sasson’s repeated public and private entreaties to public figures and members of the press, the Holocaust equations and anti-Semitic rhetoric continued unabated.
Even still, in addition to several articles quoted elsewhere in this report, a handful of Greek journalists have criticized the trends in the press and the lack of objectivity when presenting the Arab/Israeli conflict.
Paschos Mandravelis was among the first. In an article in Apogevmatini (3/4/02), Mandravelis criticizes the reaction of Greek society to the Middle East crisis and the inappropriate use of Holocaust rhetoric. “Right now crimes are occurring in Palestine, but they don’t constitute either a Holocaust or genocide. The latter is systematic, mass murder designed to completely obliterate a population. (…) For this (if no other reason) it is inappropriate to equate the Star of David with the swastika. The second thing we must distinguish is that all Jews are not Israelis and all Israelis are not accomplices in the crime currently being committed in Palestine. (…) There are those Jews and those Israelites [sic] who are opposed. They are many. It’s just that the voices of conscience are always eclipsed by the cries of the warmongers. Therefore, it demeans the Greek protest when demonstrators show up outside the Israeli Embassy wearing T-shirts that say ‘Fuck Israel’. (…) Our opposition is political and must remain so.” [cclxviii]
A note in Avghi (5/4/02) exposes the information deficit in the Greek media, questioning rhetorically if it was simply an “oversight” that television coverage of a large anti-war demonstration in Jerusalem neglected to show the Israeli protesters. “We waited eagerly to hear the views, especially of the Israeli citizens who… at the risk of being called ‘traitors’ by their fanatic compatriots had come out to declare their indignation at the fascist policies of their government and their desire to live in peace with the Palestinian people. Instead, we heard only some hurried statements from certain members of the Greek parliamentary delegation and some activists from other countries, which we already knew very well, anyway. Could this have been an intentional ‘oversight’ that serves a selective informing? Or perhaps they didn’t have any more time to waste, being pressed to begin, once again, as they do every evening, the heated debates over the current reality shows.”[cclxix] (The same peace march motivated A. Romeliotis’ anti-Semitic article, “Outside the Synagogue” (Eth, 3/4/02).[cclxx])
Dionyssis Gousetis (Avghi, 6/4/02) repeatedly stresses (punctuation his) that “SHARON IS BAD” and that “his policy is criminal.” But he emphasizes that “it is a far cry from genocide, Misters Kaklamanis, Pangalos, Ecevit. (…) Until yesterday, genocide meant the policy of physically annihilating a nation. (…) ELEFTHEROTYPIA’s permanent rubric with the word HOLOCAUST II is at the very least inappropriate. (…) APOGEVMATINI ’s front-page attestation that Israelis are selling the organs of dead Palestinians is inflammatory. (…) The claim that Arab detainees are being used for medical experiments similar to Mengele’s is not invoked even by the Palestinians….”[cclxxi]
Another libel, disseminated in the spring of 2002 by the Greek media, was that Israeli soldiers had orders to shoot members of the press. The tabloid Traffic, on its front page (6/4/02), quotes Synaspismos Euro-MP Alekos Alavanos (“who managed to sneak into Ramallah”) as saying, “Israelis have orders to shoot to kill on the slightest provocation, even when it comes politicians and reporters.”[cclxxii] In condemnation of this libel and Greek media bias in general, Yannis Tzannetakos writes that same day (Eleftherotypia, 6/4/02) that “objectivity on the Palestinian issue does not exist.” He notes, “A few days ago a correspondent (I won’t reveal which paper) reported that Israeli soldiers have orders to shoot reporters! As if that was possible! Nevertheless, the claim remained undisputed. I do not accept the “innocence” of the error. And I do categorize the dissemination of this so-called information that is part of the commitment [to present the facts in a biased way].”[cclxxiii]
Israeli author Amos Oz, in an interview by Takis Michas (Eleftherotypia, 6/4/02),[cclxxiv] says, “The comparison [of the Holocaust with Sharon’s policies] is an insult to humanity and to common sense. I don’t recall any humanitarian missions visiting the victims of Auschwitz to express their support. Nor do I recall any victims of Auschwitz carrying out bombing attacks on daycare centers and schools in Germany. We should always distinguish between different levels of evil. Those who cannot distinguish varying levels or degrees of evil, in effect, become the servants of that evil.” About “conceptual genocide,” Oz responds, “One can dispute the borders or size of the state of Israel – but to call a border dispute between two neighboring nations a form of ‘Holocaust’ is an abuse of the term. Using this same rationale, I could claim that the opinions Greek-Cypriots have of Turkish-Cypriots or vice versa are forms of ‘Holocaust.’ They aren’t, of course.”[cclxxv]
On the front page of Sunday’s Avghi (14/4/02) Dimitris Raftopoulos writes, “Politicians, intellectuals, artists, and hosts of others have become ensnared in a self-feeding bidding war of Sharon-hating that has turned into prejudice and blindness. (…) Those who currently support the entire line and the unilateral anti-Zionist view ought to reflect on whether they are siding with the idea of Israel’s disappearance. If this is what they want and hope for, let them say so. Peace is not served by peace polemics.”[cclxxvi]
In Sunday’s Kathimerini (14/4/2002), in a critique of Israeli military policies, Pantelis Boukalas speaks about the “time-honored antipathy towards Jews” that exists in Greece. “No one has the right to claim that anti-Semitism was eradicated along with the Nazis and their atrocity. Nor can any respectable person help but recognize that, in Greece, there are fanatic enemies of the Israelites en masse (and not just of the Israeli military and political leaders), who are exploiting the time-honored antipathy towards the Jews. [This antipathy] has wormed its way into our proverbs, fairy tales, and even our respectable literature (science fiction has even been published in which Zeus finally annihilates Jehovah in outer space and the Greeks become rulers of the Galaxy). (…) To date, no [new] anti-Semitic attacks have been reported. (But some were reported in the past, during ‘neutral’ times, against graves, against politicians of Jewish origin and against the home of Jules Dassin [husband of the late Melina Mercouri].)[cclxxvii] However, there are still bigots and ‘Jew-baiters’ (including G. Karatzaferis, who happens to be an MP, the leader of a nationalistic political party and the owner of a television channel on which he blatantly attacks Jews).”[cclxxviii] As for anti-Semitic attacks, unfortunately Boukalas spoke too soon. The following day, serious incidents of vandalism took place in two Greek cities.[cclxxix]
To properly evaluate the significance of anti-Semitic incidents in this country, one must examine them in the context of the Greek reality. The tendency in Greece is to compare its anti-Semitic manifestations to those elsewhere, particularly in France, and complacently conclude: “Greece is not so bad.”[cclxxx] Indeed, in light of the extremely violent recent attacks in other parts of Europe, corresponding incidents in Greece may seem mild. But their seriousness must not be underrated, which is generally the case. Worse, hardly anyone hears about them and condemnations are usually absent.
Most of the country’s 5,000 Jews now live in Greater Athens (c. 3,000). Greek Jews do not publicly wear yarmulkes or other religious attire; there are no orthodox groups (Hassidim, etc), no yeshivas, no Jewish “quarters,” and no immigrant or refugee Jewish population. In other words, the Jewish Community of Greece presents few targets.
The capital’s synagogue is located in downtown Athens, in a secluded cul-de-sac that is closed to traffic. Due to past incidents of vandalism, the synagogue is now guarded 24 hours, as are most other Jewish monuments and community buildings – something not required at any of the city’s other minority places of worship or social clubs. Police guard the entrance to the Jewish Museum in Athens, as well as the lobby of building housing the social club when it holds events. When Jewish sites and properties are left unguarded they are subject to vandalism.
Numerous anti-Semitic incidents, from graffiti on buildings to more destructive attacks on public and private property, have been recorded in recent years. The most violent and widespread took place in 2000, following the mass protests led by Archbishop Christodoulos over the removal of the religion category from the official identity card.[cclxxxi]
In small local communities, minor bureaucratic and personal harassment such as “weird phone calls”[cclxxxii] is considered part of life.
On 15 May 2001, during much quieter times, the Jewish cemetery in Stavroupoli (Thessaloniki) was vandalized. The Macedonian News Agency (MPA) reported that “given the type of vandalism committed, the Thessaloniki police conclude that the unknown persons, who forced the front gate and broke six grave markers, were not members of neo-Nazi organizations but probably petty thieves.” Andreas Sefihas, President of the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki, corroborated the police findings.[cclxxxiii] Ta Nea also reported the incident, adding, “neo-Nazi elements are usually behind such attacks.”[cclxxxiv]
Mr. Iosafat, speaking for the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki, confirmed to GHM that this was, indeed, the work of petty thieves. There was no neo-Nazi graffiti; the cemetery office was broken into and a wireless phone and some petty cash taken. Moreover, he told GHM that “the grave markers had been carefully lifted up, not broken.”[cclxxxv]
In spring 2002, during more difficult times, Nicholas Stavroulakis, Director of Etz Hayyim Synagogue in Hania, Crete, was “pleased to report” to GHM that “they have had no incidents save that the announcement panel of the synagogue was smashed on the first day of the Israeli-Palestinian confrontation.” He clarified that “the police have been very good and have a person watching over the site in the evenings.”[cclxxxvi]
the other hand,
“To make matters
worse,” she said, the
opening of a parallel exhibition at the Archeological Museum of
Rhodes was announced on the cultural page of the local leftist local daily Drasis (10/6/02),[cclxxxix]
illustrated with a reprint of Stathis’ “Warsaw Ghetto = Ramallah”
cartoon from Eleftherotypia (30/3/02).[ccxc]
Despite the 24-hour police protection that they’d had since the harassment
The festivities went off smoothly. But things did not stay that way. On 4 July 2002, just ten days after the ceremony, the local daily Proodos reported an incident of “unprecedented vandalism” when, the previous Tuesday night (2/7/02), “unknown vandals all but destroyed the monument that was erected in the Square of the Jewish Martyrs!” The article reports that the perpetrators cut the decorative wire encasing the monument and “significantly damaged the inscriptions, which they scraped away in an attempt to erase what was written!” According to the paper, this incident, which was “foreign to the history and culture of Rhodes,” provoked a strong reaction in the local inhabitants. It also pointed out that the Mayor of Rhodes, George Yannopoulos “recently received a letter form MP and LAOS party leader George Karatzaferis, expressing his opposition to the erection of the monument to the Jews in that city,” emphasizing that George Karatzaferis was scheduled to visit Rhodes that Saturday.[ccxcii]
Cohen confirmed the Proodos report to GHM, but added that from the beginning, the monument was disrespected by local residents in general. “People were sitting on it and eating their sandwiches and throwing the wrappings there.” In addition, she informed GHM that the desecration had taken place over several days. The removal of the letters of the inscription, a process requiring tools and effort, began on Sunday night (30/6) with the wire finally found pushed down around the monument’s base on Wednesday morning (3/7). The Community has applied to the Archeological Service for permission to install a bulletproof glass enclosure for the inscription and a tall protective railing around the entire monument, and hoped that the state would defray the cost. She said she believed “anti-Semitism is the worst in Rhodes; such desecration hasn't happened anywhere else in Greece. We are beautifying the city [with the monument], and not doing anything to disrupt anyone’s life or work. This,” she said “is pure anti-Semitism at its worst.” [ccxciii]
The months of March and April were marked by numerous, boisterous pro-Palestinian-pro-Intifada/anti-Israeli demonstrations throughout the city and at the Israeli Embassy. Posters and paraphernalia were everywhere, including the public schools.[ccxciv] The Embassy of Israel told GHM that members of the Jewish community were reporting they were fearful of the anti-Semitic climate being created in the media and on the streets. In conversations with GHM and in a confidential report that subsequently reached the public, official Embassy sources maintained that, during April, a large number of Greek Jews telephoned the Embassy and/or met with Ambassador Sasson, strongly urging him to take action “to try to stop the outrage in the press, which they felt was beginning to affect them.”[ccxcv]
Given the patterns of the past[ccxcvi] and in light of the attacks on Jewish targets elsewhere in Europe (and covered in the Greek media), it was predictable that Jewish sites would be vandalized if left unprotected during these difficult times. Despite this, the Holocaust Monument in Thessaloniki was defaced on 15 April, just one day after the Holocaust Memorial service (which was attended by senior government officials) and one day, too, after a large pro-Palestinian demonstration (led by Mikis Theodorakis) in that city. A large quantity of red paint (to indicate bloodshed) was dripped on and around the monument and the word “Palestinians” was written in red paint on the marble pavement in front.
That same night, at least four headstones in the 13th century Jewish cemetery of the northwestern city of Ioannina were desecrated. (See below.) One of the graves belonged to Joseph Ganis, whose entire estate, over 1 billion Greek drachmas, was recently bequeathed to the University of Ioannina.
KIS spoke of a “revival of racial hatred” provoked by politicians and the media. In a press release, distributed to the media, Prime Minister Costas Simitis, members of the PASOK government, and political party leaders,[ccxcvii] KIS expressed its “deep regret” at the incident, warning that “the irresponsible and careless conduct of some political figures and part of the mass media towards the Jews of Greece, conduct indicating a lack of awareness of historical reality, has led to the revival of racial hatred.” KIS blamed the vandalism on “marginal groups and individuals, hidden behind the propaganda related to the tragic events and the anti-Semitic ideas, which have been unscrupulously disseminated by the parties mentioned above. (…) As for those who preach anti-Semitism, they can now admire the actual results of their efforts.”[ccxcviii]
Not surprisingly, Eleftherotypia (17/4/02) gave the story another slant, calling the desecration of the Holocaust Monument “a red protest, symbolic of blood, over the extermination of the Palestinians by the Israeli troops.” It specifically points out that no paint was put on the monument itself – there was only writing on the marble pavement and drops of paint on the wreath that had been laid the previous day – implying that the reports (and Jewish reaction) had been exaggerated. The article goes on to say that the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki “spoke of the ‘desecration’ of the Monument,” with the word “desecration” in quotes, hence disclaiming the term. It also quotes JCT on the negative role of the media and others in the vandalism. “This sacrilege is the result of the charged atmosphere created by the recent crisis in the Middle East. Because a portion of the media, and not only the media, used this as an opportunity to once again degrade the Holocaust. And this is the result.”[ccci]
Certainly, the Greek authorities should have anticipated these and possibly worse incidents. The logical question therefore is, why the monument was not guarded, unless it guarded and the guards did not react.
While the Thessaloniki vandalism has been written off as the work of the usual “unknown vandals,” the Ioannina cemetery desecration (15-16 April 2002) shows evidence of being a murkier affair. The Jewish Community of Ioannina is one of the oldest in Greece. Moses Elisaf, Professor of Internal Medicine at the University of Ioannina and President of the city’s Jewish Community told GHM that the community has good relations with the local authorities and that there have been no other anti-Semitic incidents there in recent years. However, he also noted, “there is an ongoing anti-Semitism that finds cover behind the Israel-Palestinian conflict.”[cccii]
In its only coverage of the incident, Eleftherotypia (17/4/02) reported that the vandalism “occurred sometime during the previous fortnight… and was discovered by citizens visiting the cemetery.” [ccciii] However, this was not the case. Several local papers published conflicting versions, none of which support the above, and neither Eleftherotypia nor any other national paper followed up on the story. On 23/4/02, Associated Press reported that Moses Elisaf had submitted an official request to the public prosecutor for a formal investigation into reports that police officers may have been involved in the desecration.[ccciv] “These incidents have shaken the members of Ioannina’s Jewish community and other Jewish communities around Greece,” Professor Elisaf said. “For this reason we ask that abundant light be shed on the case and that every facet of the accusation made in the published report be investigated so that those responsible for these illegal and criminal acts are punished.”[cccv]
Mr. Elisaf’s concerns, it turns out, were prompted by an article, published the previous day on the front page of the regional daily Erevna (22/4/02), alleging police participation in the desecration and their subsequent cover-up of the incident.[cccvi] The article, titled “What were they doing in the Jewish cemetery…?”, reported that members of the police department, responding to a call that “something was going on and noises were heard in the Jewish cemetery,” found “ four men ‘doing something’ in the dark and went to apprehend them. To their surprise they were confronted with Mr. Dekoumes, Head of Security and Narcotics [of the local police department] and three of their fellow officers! They saw the cemetery smashed up … a chase followed with guns drawn, and Mr. Dekoumes and his three colleagues successfully evading arrest!” The paper notes that Dekoumes immediately went on sick leave, leaving his companions to assert that they were “at the cemetery on a narcotics stakeout.” If this indeed was so, the article questions, why didn’t the police immediately report the incident to the Prosecutor, instead of “allowing the act to be attributed to unknown persons who hate Jews.”[cccvii]
A second version of the story, provided by the pro-PASOK local papers, Iperotikos Agon and Neoi Agones (Chief Dekoumes is a PASOK appointee), maintains that PASOK Deputy Agriculture Minister Vangelis Argyris and his family, whose home borders the cemetery, heard noises coming from the place in question. Concerned, they called the Chief of Security, who, even though he was off duty at the time, allegedly took it upon himself to call three of his colleagues and rush to the scene. According to this version, Dekoumes’ hasty action was justified because he recalled “the recent break-in by Albanians at the Minister’s home.” Both papers cite friction within the police department and bipartisan animosities for the charges that they consider preposterous.[cccviii]
On the opposite side, a regular columnist for local daily Proinos Logos (24/4/02), Mr. Yannakis, satirized the story, spoofing the Police defense and insinuating that the PASOK party machine was responsible for the cover-up. However, Yannakis consistently calls the Jewish residents as Israelis and refers to “their struggle with the Palestinians.” He, too, insists that the incident had nothing to do with the shame of anti-Semitism. “Nothing will make us swallow the story that all this happened by chance and that nobody is responsible for anything. (…) But the matter has another dimension. When did the vandalism in the Jewish cemetery occur? When did the police confirm it? When did the Jewish Community find out about it? Why, on the day after the incident, did the Israelis [sic] pay a visit with their security guards to ascertain what their colleagues had ascertained during the night? All this caused the Israeli [sic] Community to speak of racist manifestations in our city and associate these events with their [sic] struggle with the Palestinians. Now, I believe that these same people see the matter from another angle and will not rush to castigate Ioannina society, which has never made an issue of racism.”[cccix]
That same day (24/4/02) Proinos Logos also published a statement by the University of Ioannina denouncing the desecration of the grave of University benefactor Joseph Ganis. “The Israeli [sic] Community has contributed to the advancement of the country and to its democratic expression. The vandalism against it and its sacred symbols are acts that have no association with our people’s tradition. (…) The entire University Community denounces such acts and asserts that the Israeli [sic] Community has always supported the academic institution and the ideology of benefaction.”[cccx]
It is significant to note that every one of these articles, regardless of the scenario and politics it supports, in one way or another disclaim anti-Semitism as the motive behind the cemetery desecration. In a twisted form of logic, the Jewish Community is faulted for shaming its community. In reaction to this, Mr. Elisaf writes, (Proinos Logos, 1/5/02) “Mr. Yannakis denounces the Jewish Community for believing this heinous act to be an extreme expression of the anti-Semitism that has emerged in the past weeks on the pretext of the tragic events in the Middle East. Mr. Yannakis, moreover, puts forth the view that racist and anti-Semitic phenomena do not exist in our city.” Refraining from directly commenting on the allegations against the police, Mr. Elisaf stressed in no uncertain terms that the desecration of the graves should be seen solely as a manifestation of the “revived anti-Semitic climate… It is difficult to attribute this barbaric act to other motives.” [cccxi]
In the same letter Elisaf also thanked Mayor Papastavrou of Ioannina and Prefect Pantoulas and the University of Ioannina for publicly condemning the incident and for fully supporting reparations of the damage. However, he sternly warned, “it should not escape your attention that racism, xenophobia, the demonizing of the other, and anti-Semitism continue to survive and poison contemporary societies. Thus, the one-sided presentation of the events in the Middle East, which intentionally confuses the government of Israel with Jews throughout the world, the demonizing of the Jew, who is held responsible for all the evils of humanity, the barbaric contempt and degradation of the Holocaust, which constitutes the apex of human tragedies and which with great ease is compared to the violence and excesses seen between warring factions in the Middle East, provides the ammunition to those who chronically long to hate, and leads to abominable acts of violence [such as this one].” Mr. Elisaf also corrects the terminology used: “The Israelites of Ioannina are Greeks of Jewish religion and not Israelis (which means citizens of the state of Israel, regardless of religion).”[cccxii]
In all such incidents, the state usually conducts a routine investigation, called a Sworn Administrative Inquiry (E.D.E). But the culprits are never found.[cccxiii] However, after Moses Elisaf filed a second action, the local Prosecutor of the Court of First Instance, Mr. Loutas, launched a further Urgent Preliminary Investigation. Hopefully, the seriousness of these incriminations (Erevna published a lengthy follow-up analysis of local reaction[cccxiv]) will produce more conclusive results. Elisaf told GHM that he paid a visit to the Chief of the local Police and the local authorities, requesting a thorough investigation and their complete support.[cccxv] The case is currently under investigation.[cccxvi]
It should be stressed that, even given the newsworthiness of this story, hardly anything was reported in the national press. Mr. Elisaf told GHM that the AP article (23/4/02),[cccxvii] which GHM sent to him, was the first he had seen of the matter outside the local press. He reiterated his firm conviction that the desecration was an act of pure anti-Semitism and nothing else.[cccxviii]
This report was completed, in a first draft, in the summer of 2002. Additional material that has become available since then is appended in this section. GHM and MRG-G hope to produce a second version of the report that would cover more systematically the second half of 2002.
In the spring of 2002, the Embassy of Israel in Athens submitted a five-page confidential report on the “sharp rise in anti-Semitic expressions in Greece since the end of March” to the major Jewish and Israeli organizations in the United States (American Jewish Committee, Simon Wiesenthal Foundation, American Jewish Congress, Ant-Defamation League, World Jewish Congress, et al). The Embassy report, based in part on material documented by GHM in the present report, cites “the main vehicles of this anti-Semitism have been the Greek press, a number of Greek politicians and cultural figures and social organizations.” Moreover, the report claims that “the rhetoric was malicious enough to cause a feeling of imminent threat or danger among the members of the Greek-Jewish Community,” who, it stated, contacted the Embassy with their fears.[cccxx]
Both the Simon Wiesenthal Foundation and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) found the material troubling enough to use it in their publications and entreat the Greek government to take a stronger stand against anti-Semitic expression.
The Simon Wiesenthal Foundation reported that, on 8 July 2002, during an OSCE parliamentary discussion of current European anti-Semitism, it urged Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis and other Greek leaders to publicly condemn the use of anti-Semitic stereotypes and Nazi imagery that have characterized much of the public and media criticism of Israel during the current Middle East conflict. With the Center’s release of its 15-page dossier, Dr. Shimon Samuels, the Jewish NGO’s Director for International Liaison, charged that, “anti-Israeli fanaticism has degenerated into anti-Jewish hate mongering by leading intellectuals and politicians, which has gone unchallenged by the leadership of Greece.” Dr. Samuels, along with Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the Center’s Associate Dean, indicated that the Wiesenthal Center is “launching a campaign to convince the Greek authorities, NGOs and public opinion that criticism of Israel must be decoupled from Nazi and racist imagery. Failure to do so could jeopardize Jews in Greece and poison the environment leading up to the 2004 Olympic Games.”[cccxxi]
Also on the basis of the Embassy report, on 22 July 2002, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) called upon the Government of Greece to condemn a recent rise of anti-Semitic depictions and articles in the Greek press. The organization’s National Chairman, Glen A. Tobias, and National Director, Abraham H. Foxman, expressed their growing concern in a letter to Prime Minister Simitis: “Even in nations like Greece where the press is free, it is essential that the government take responsibility to set a tone of tolerance and speak out strongly against these anti-Semitic, hateful sentiments. Unfortunately, such articles and depictions in the media create an environment of hostility toward Israel and Jews in Greece, similar to other European nations that have experienced a rise in anti-Semitism.”[cccxxii] As examples, ADL published cartoons from Eleftherotypia (1/4/02), Ta Nea (1/4/02), and Ethnos (7/4/02)[cccxxiii] on its website. ADL also reportedly addressed these issues in a meeting with Dimitris Platis, Consul General of Greece in New York.[cccxxiv]
The Embassy of Israel report was leaked to the Jerusalem Press, and was finally covered by Takis Michas in Eleftherotypia (2/7/02), with the heading: “Report says Jews here in danger because the public, politicians and press condemn the slaughter of Palestinians.” Michas writes of a “new period of intense crisis in the “never particularly warm relations between the Greek government and the Jewish element in the U.S.” Among the key incidents he cites from the report, he also noted that the “Israeli Embassy in Athens was deluged by telephone calls from members of the Jewish Community declaring that the anti-Semitic rhetoric made them feel that they were ‘in direct danger and threat’.” [cccxxv]
The Jewish community strongly objected to the fact that the Embassy went over its head and distributed such a report abroad. A commentary on Mr. Michas’ article (Eleftherotypia on Sunday, 7/7/02), quotes prominent members of the Jewish Community disclaiming previous knowledge of the report’s contents and denying their distress over the recent rise of anti-Semitism in Greece. The article makes a point that these particular Jews had (even) been targets of anti-Semitic attacks in the past.[cccxxvi]
KIS President Moses Constantinis is quoted as being “surprised” by the report. Although he, too, has observed “a rise in anti-Semitism,” he reportedly is not troubled by it – quite different from KIS’s statement on the vandalism in Ioannina and Thessaloniki.[cccxxvii] “I don’t see this rise as worrisome. I can personally tell you that I am not getting any threatening phone calls, nor is anyone threatening me.”[cccxxviii]
In the same article, Rena Molcho, a professor of political science and history at the Panteion University in Athens, also claims she is “not troubled by the ‘sharp rise in anti-Semitism’.” This, despite the fact, as the article points out, that she had been a target in the past of the anti-Semitic publication Stochos. Although she refused to comment on the report itself, she reportedly questioned whether, indeed, the Embassy has received phone calls from worried Greek Jews: “let them provide their names.”[cccxxix]
Nicolas Hannan Stavroulakis, Director of Etz Hayyim Synagogue in Hania, Crete, is quoted as sharing the same opinion. The article notes his previous conflict with the Prefect of Hania, who was opposed to the reconstruction of the synagogue, but goes on to say that Stavroulakis “does not feel that the relationship between Greek Christians and Greek Jews has been shaken.” He went on to mention that the “the ordinary person usually does not make the distinction between Israelites and Israelis.”[cccxxx] However, when speaking to GHM on 2/8/2002, Nicolas Stavroulakis amended his statement to include that “Yes, anti-Semitism is virulent and endemic in Greece, but it is the prerogative of Greek Jews to do something about it. This [EoI report] is not the way to do it.” While he admitted, “There have been some rather chilling anti-Semitic demonstrations in front of Israeli interests in Thessaloniki and in front of the Embassy in Athens, but people don’t actually feel a threat.”[cccxxxi]
According to the article, “upon hearing of the existence of such a report, many Greek Jews recalled the events of 1965 in Morocco, when a similar ‘firman’ was made public.”[cccxxxii] As a result, many Jews were frightened for no reason whatsoever into leaving that region. This same historical concern was expressed to GHM.[cccxxxiii]
In the far-left Prin (28/7/02), George Delastik[cccxxxiv] calls the Embassy report part of a global “ideological terrorism of the Jews” to silence vehement criticism of Israel by denouncing it as anti-Semitism. “On the pretext of the supposed anti-Semitism of the Europeans, the Jewish lobby throughout the world has been mobilized to exercise ideological terrorism to cover up the brutal policy of genocide implemented by the murderous terrorist state of Israel against the Palestinians.” Delastik describes an elaborate Jewish Diaspora conspiracy and propaganda machine that encompasses world politics and culture, extending its reach even to the Cannes Film Festival and the Miss Universe Contest. But these he sees as minor incidents to be dealt with individually. According to him: “The enormous issue, which absolutely must be rebuffed in a decisive, organized fashion, is the program of ideological terrorism that the Jews have launched on a global scale against anyone who condemns the policies of the abominable terrorist state of Israel.” He concludes by rallying his compatriots, who have no need to worry about being racist. “The Germans, who during the Nazi era burned the Jews in ovens, may have a guilt complex today and yield to Jewish pressures about ‘anti-Semitism’. The Greeks, however, and especially the Left must be relentless foes of the policies of Israel. We do not possess any anti-Semitism, nor do we have to apologize for any dark past.”[cccxxxv]
On 11 July 2002, Amnesty International made public its 40-page report, “Without distinction: attacks on civilians by Palestinian armed groups,”[cccxxxvi] a summary of which was immediately translated into Greek by the Greek Section of Amnesty International.[cccxxxvii] The report, which documents 128 attacks by Palestinian armed groups and Palestinian individuals since September 2000, causing the death of at least 350 civilians, denounces these acts. “Whatever the cause for the which the people are fighting, there can never be a justification for direct attacks on civilians. (…) Targeting civilians is contrary to fundamental principles of humanity enshrined in international law…Civilians should never be the focus of attack, not in the name of security and not in the name of liberty. We call on the leadership of all Palestinian armed groups to cease attacking civilians, immediately and unconditionally.”[cccxxxviii]
On the occasion of the AI report, Sabby Mionis, a member of the Jewish community, wrote a letter to the editor of Kathimerini (20/7/02) in which he suggests that “many ‘democratic’ Greeks who justify and excuse such tactics [Palestinian attacks on civilians] ought to consider Amnesty International’s position. (…) Politicians and other prominent figures should finally stop compromising Greece and the majority of Greek citizens with their unbridled anti-Semitism.”[cccxxxix]
UN Report on Jenin
Following the publication of the UN report on Jenin, on 1 August 2002, Eleftherotypia published on 8 August 2002 very short excerpts from three letters to the editor by Sabby Mionis, Katerina Psomiadi, and G. B. asking Greek media in general and Eleftherotypia in particular to apologize for their previous disinformation at the expense of Israel (about 500 dead and 6,000 injured Palestinians during the operations in Jenin) and “its anti-Israeli attitude that feeds the worst form of anti-Jewish racism in Greece.” The newspaper’s lengthier answer stated that it “condemns any criminal – terrorist action … But there is an asymmetry between the Palestinian terrorist actions and Sharon’s state terrorism. The first are carried out by desperate kamikaze, … while Sharon responds with a declaration of war which is the worst form of terrorism… The number of dead from the Israeli invasion was indeed smaller than initially reported. But we cannot ask for apologies from those who condemned the homicides, instead from those who committed them. Otherwise, anti-Semitism and Semitism are both forms of racism that “E” fights against always and everywhere.”[cccxl]
ADL Calls On Greek Government To Condemn Anti-Semitism In The Press
The answer by cartoonist Stathis was published in Eleftherotypia on 22 October 2002 (http://www.enet.gr/online/online_p1_fpage_text.jsp?dt=22/10/2002&id=3533024).
A week later (29 October 2002) Eleftherotypia published a letter from the First Secretary of the Israeli Embassy in Athens, Mrs. Sylvia Berladski Barouch, and a rejoinder by Stathis (http://www.enet.gr/online/online_p1_text.jsp?dt=29/10/2002&c=112&id=53205136).
This was followed by a protest letter by the Ambassador of Israel in Greece, David Sasson, to the Union of Athens Dailies’ Journalists (ESHEA).
Simon Wiesenthal Centre Calls for Closing Down of Karatzaferis’ TV Station
Two days after the electoral success of extreme right and anti-Semite George Karatzaferis, the Simon Wiesenthal Center issued the following release.
George Karatzaferis reacted with a strongly-worded request to the Minister of Interior (18/10/02) to give him a copy of the “slandering” letter so that he takes legal action against its authors, whom he attacked in the letter, as well as in his speech at a public rally in Thessaloniki the previous day. The texts are not available in English.[cccxli] At the same time, a columnist in Eleftherotypia, Yannis Triantis wrote on the issue (18/10/2002):
The ‘Havra Ioudaion’ Issue
The newspapers’ contributors were probably not impressed. On 24 October 2002, Marine Petroutsou used again the term, in her column “Zap Zap” to comment the disarray in a televised debate (http://www.enet.gr/online/online_p1_text.jsp?dt=24/10/2002&c=113&id=100392864).
This letter is written to my 10-12 personal friends. And to 30-40 Greek Jewish friendly acquaintances, as well as the 15 Diaspora Jews I know (and those who have their characteristics, whom I don’t know personally). It concerns the silence they have chosen, and it creates a gap between them and us.
The issue is the existence of the neo-Nazi Israel. The factors: a “chosen” people and another “degenerate” people (Abraham is the root of both according to their holy scriptures). A state, which was militaristically constructed and whose today is hooked on the absolute myths of yesterday and the absolutist missions of tomorrow, is eliminating – with the help of Diaspora Jews – all possibility for the existence and functioning of [another] people. The Jewish Lobbies have privileged access to play their cassettes in the electronic brain of the substitute Yahweh, the leader of the planet. The Hitlerist Sharon who, with his alliances to the neo-Fascist phalanges, has created a Mauthausen, if not an Auschwitz or a Dachau in 10 days and a genocide that scared even the American butchers. He ghettoized all of Palestine (what differences did the ghettos of Warsaw, etc. have?) and his thugs (his S.S.?) wrote numbers on the Palestinians’ hands and foreheads. Yet you are silent? There is a weight on your tongues and hands. Why? And what is that weight?
My right to speak out? I partook, willy-nilly, in your Jewish education. When I finished elementary school along with 12 years of church-going, I knew the Old Testament – not the Christian stuff but the pre-Christian Old Testament that was translated by Jews for Jews – even better than you did, as you admitted. Better than I knew Greek mythology and history. In three more years of high school learning I was initiated into literature (Psalms, Song of Songs, the Wisdom of Ben Sirah and Solomon, Ecclesiastes, Maccabees).
Marx and Freud haunted my teens and some years following – as they did yours. Einstein, the saint without a halo, and Wiener, the father of cybernetics, who refused to direct Israel’s military industry, guided us to maturity. Finally, you yourselves introduced me to the Greek Jew [poet and scholar] Joseph Eligia as well as your own then-untranslated Hannah Arendt. A cursory reading of her work convinces one why Israel is the special heir to the Nazism that she theoretically ought to have hated. And you, as I well know, are not cursory readers. Yet you are silent.
Hannah Arendt directly described how the entire German people became accomplices of Nazism and its crimes. Indirectly – and she died before she could see it – she condemns you as neo-Nazi accomplices of the Hitlerist Sharon. To rise again, Germany had a Thomas Mann, a Brecht, an Adenauer, a Willy Brandt, anti-Nazis all of them. Haven’t you gotten wind of the fact that, since the founding of Israel, Jewish geniuses are spicing up less and less the table of world intellect? With whom will you return? With a Shimon Perez? Who, he himself a colleague of the Hitlerist, claims that we must not humiliate human beings with numbers, evidently their extermination suffices.
Finally, I remember going with a mixed group of friends to see “The Balcony,” by the brilliant, marginal Genet. (At that time, a Greek Jew was something like a friend from Kalamata or Crete to us.) And, I recall discussing the scene when the leader of the revolution took over the brothel and the wise “madam” had prepared a police chief’s uniform for him so that he could satisfy his dark, repressed desires.
And then you, in an almost Sephardic voice that I had never heard before, said prophetically, for the play had shades of your own Freud: Imagine a prime minister in the Brothel of Israel with Hitler’s repressed desires? And the group froze. I stammered some accusation of exaggeration (30-40 years have gone by since) then. Yet now, Elias, you are silent. Don’t ever call me again.
P.S. It is not customary for a Greek to write a letter to the Jews. However, the Jews, in a letter to the Spartans call them second cousins to Abraham. This “kinship” is the second factor that legitimizes me. And, subsequently, your ancestors discovered God, and mine, man and Logos. Both sides bear both burdens. Yet despite this, I no longer want any relation to your guilty Vidal Naquet-type silence.”
2. Excerpts from the Thessaloniki Jewish Community statement.
“Certainly, we are aware that we are holding this year’s memorial under the weight of recent developments in the Middle East. Certainly, we believe that the conditions still exist for a permanent solution that enables all the peoples in the region to coexist in peace and security. Certainly, we are profoundly saddened by the fact that today, too, just as with any resurgence of the Arab-Israeli crisis, our Holocaust is degraded with unjust and thoughtless comparisons such those you attempt to make. (…) We, too, legitimately hope that our innocent brethren are the last victims of the racial hatred, which, unfortunately, we feel is touching us again. Because the present crisis will pass. The repercussions, however, of implicating the Holocaust, as you have attempted, will, unfortunately, remain and we fear that they will feed this hatred. (…) As for us, we will hold our memorial service again, not only to honor the memory of the dead, but also to awaken the conscience of the living. That is the only justice for those we have lost. And that justice we will forever owe them.”
3. “Outside the Synagogue” by Andreas Roumeliotis (excerpts)
“Yes, this has soul and I like it. (…) I don’t believe that the Zionist fanatics express the majority. The nation of Israel has produced hundreds of Leftwing intellectuals, communist leaders, and skeptics. I’m not one of those who believe that all these people were and are pawns of Zionism, hired reapers who serve the choices of an obscurantist, mystical religious hierarchy.
Anyway you have it, the Jews are a nation apart. Amazing merchants, they buy you and sell you; they manage to dominate everywhere and control the decision-making centers all over the world.
A capable race, a handful of people pull the strings everywhere and are behind everything important; they can take mud and turn it into gold. These were the virtues that Hitler recognized, and saw them as a threat to the ‘superior Aryan race,’ and sent them to become soap. (…)
They move from country to county with a stuffed purse… Many of them concealing their ethnic identity, they regard you with suspicion, they are afraid of their shadows. (…)
But let’s not be excessive. Gone are the days when they married among themselves and were a closed caste. Things have changed. Jewish girls are really cute and if they like you they’ll be with you; they don’t demand that you change your faith or attend synagogue.
I am not anti-Jewish. I acknowledge a person’s abilities to earn money. And so what if wealth is his life’s dream, that’s his problem. I don’t envy him; I don’t hate him. I am against Zionism. Against the insane hierarchy that believes that they represent God, that their people are God’s ‘chosen people’ who must prevail. With violence. The same violence that they themselves experienced in the flesh from Hitler. With a new Holocaust, this time with Palestinians as their victims. I’m against that.”
[i] Some comprehensive analyses of anti-Semitism in Greece may be found in:
Daniel Perdurant: “Antisemitism in Contemporary Greek Society”, 1995, documents anti-Semitism from 1980-1995 and provides some background information http://www.greekhelsinki.gr/english/reports/perdurant-on-greek-antisemitism.html.
Hannah Goldberg “On Anti-Semitism In Greece” AIM, 07/12/2000
Comments on Hannah Goldberg's Article, "On Anti-Semitism in Greece",
Hannah Goldberg “Debate On Anti-Semitism in Greece” AIM, 17/03/2001
“Why not a Greek ‘Mala’? (Reflections on a Greek play on a Polish Jewess)”
[ii] Survey by Opinion (1,200 interviews, 20/1-20/2/1993), for the Lambrakis Research Foundation: prepared by a team of academics under C. Tsoukalas and El. Nikolakopoulos and financed by the European Union; the survey was ‘buried’ by its sponsors and revealed in the Greek press by GHM on International Human Rights day, 10/12/1995 http://www.greekhelsinki.gr/bhr/english/articles/nationalism_intolerance.doc.
[iii] “Media racism”, Letter to editor, Georgette Gelbard, Athens News, 16/3/2001.
[iv] George Gedeon: “Why not a Greek ‘Mala’?” (Reflections on a Greek play on a Polish Jewess), 15/03/2002, http://www.greekhelsinki.gr/bhr/english/countries/greece/gedeon_15_03_02.doc
[v] Babis Aktsoglou: Review of the movie “Chocolate”, Athinorama 23/1-2/2/2001.
[vi] Marios Ploritis: “The disastrous ‘wizard’”, V, 25/2/2001.
[vii] Central Board of Jewish Communities (KIS), N, 17-18/3/2001.
[viii] Poll conducted by KAPA Research among 622 households in the Greater Athens area for the program “Protagonistes” aired 18/10/2001 on NET (New Hellenic Television).
[ix] Paschos Mandravelis: “Truth and War (when war breaks out, truth is the first victim)”, Ap, 3/4/2002, p. 13.
[xi] Based on conversations and email correspondence between GHM and numerous Greek Jewish citizens and community leaders.
[xii] Telephone conversation with GHM, 3/7/2002, on the occasion of the Ioannina Jewish cemetery desecration.
[xiii] “Panhellenic Socio-Political Study” of adults 18-65+, conducted April 2002 by ALCO for the program “Protagonistes” broadcast on state TV NET.
[xiv] In response to the question “Should teaching of religions [plural] be optional in schools: 30.1% agree, 63.9% disagree.
[xv] See op. cit. Perdurant for
discussion of anti-Semitism in schoolbooks and efforts by KIS to make revisions
in the 1980s, including unsuccessful attempts to implement
[xvi] GHM Parallel Report on Greece’s Compliance with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, August 2001, available at http://www.greekhelsinki.gr/bhr/english/organizations/ghm_crc.doc.
[xvii] According to Paul Isaac Hagouel, V, 17/1/1999, article code B12523B081.
[xviii] Anna Frangoudaki: “Jews and School History”, N, 10/5/1997, p. 13. Also available at http://ta-nea.dolnet.gr/neaweb/nsearch.print_unique?entypo=A&f=15832&m+P13&=1.
[xix] Telephone conversation, fall 2001.
[xx] Frangoudaki op. cit.
[xxii] This event was published and discussed in articles in N, the leftist Avghi, and at length in Vangelis Kehriotis: “National Struggles and University Neo-Conservatism”, V, 17/1/1999, article code B12523B081.
[xxiii] Fragiski Abatzopoulou is a professor of modern Greek language at the University of Thessaloniki. The article, “Folk Anti-Semitism: The Burning of Judas” (El, 26/4/2001) contains quotes from her book “The Other under persecution” (The image of the Jew in literature – Questions of History and Mythmaking), Themelio, 1998. It is available at http://www.enet.gr/online/online_p1_text.jsp?dt=26/04/2001&c=113&id=87821404.
[xxv] Greek Helsinki Monitor (GHM) Report 2000, section 5.5, available at www.greekhelsinki.gr; World Jewish Congress Report, September/October 2000, p. 29-30; GREECE: Debate On Anti-Semitism in Greece, AIM, 17/03/2001 available at http://www.aimpress.org/dyn/trae/archive/data/200103/10317-005-trae-ath.htm.
[xxvi] Report and commentary: “How he responds to the Israelite Council [KIS]: Christodoulos persists with Anti-Semitic Statements”, A, 3/4/2001, p. 5.
[xxviii] Both the KIS letter and the Archbishop’s reply were printed in full in Sunday’s K, 8/4/2001, Antonis Karakayannis: “Does God want eternal punishment for the Jews?” p. 14. Excerpts of correspondence also published in El, 2/4/200, and A, 3/4/2001.
[xxix] The identity card issue sparked more that a week of vandalism of Jewish monuments and private property in May 2000. On 29-5-2000, 100 graves in Greece’s largest Jewish cemetery in Nikaia (Greater Athens) were desecrated with swastikas and neo-Nazi slogans, an act condemned by the government and Archbishop Christodoulos (GHM report 2000, pp. 27-28).
[xxx] Archbishop Christodoulos’ reply to KIS (26/3/2001) op. cit. K, 8/3/2001.
[xxxi] Letters to the Editor: Nicholas Hanann Stavroulakis: “History and responsibility.” EK/IHT, 2/4/2001.
[xxxii] “D. Reppas on Christodoulos: Groundless lies concerning ‘global Judaism’”, A, 20/3/2001; briefer coverage in V (20/3/2001) and (fine print) E (20/3/2001).
[xxxiii] Front page and news: K/IHT, 20/3/2001).
[xxxiv] Ibid. A.
[xxxv] Op. cit. Perdurant.
[xxxvi] “A think-tank for Hellenism” E.T. 25/2/2001, p. 14.
[xxxvii] According to NIRA’s World Directory of Think Tanks (http://www.nira.go.jp/ice/tt-info/nwdtt99/c1279.html) The Washington Institute for Near East Policy (http://www.washingtoninstitute.org) is an “independent institute” founded in 1985 by Martin Indyk, currently  US assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs. It is “dedicated to scholarly research and informed debate on U.S. interests in the Middle East.” It is 90% funded by private donations and its geographic scope is the Middle East, including North Africa. There are many Turkish fellows in its Turkish Research Program.
[xxxviii]BBC News website “Greece is the word for pop monks” 21/20/2000 at http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/entertainment/newsid_1871000/1871276.stm and also “Rocking monks strike platinum” at http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/entertainment/newsid_1182000/1182690.stm
also “Rocking Monks of Greece Eye Charts” by George Karahalis (Reuters) at http://rd.yahoo.com/alerts/email/news/*http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=nm/20020312/music_nm/people_greece_monks_dc_1
[xxxix] Ibid. “Rocking Monks of Greece Eye Charts”
[xlii] Interview by Kostas Papapetrou: “And if I am a rocker do not fear me”, Ap, 5/4/2002, front page headline and 2-page color spread, pp. 18-19.
[xliii] Ios [Virus] Group: “A Miraculous Disneyland”, “The ‘beliefs’ of Father Nektarios”, El. 25/2/01, pp. 45-47. Also available at www.iospress.gr.
[xliv] Father Nektarios Moulatsiotis: When will the Second Coming of our Lord occur?, Christian Missionary Press, Trikoforos Fokida. 2000.
[xlvi] Ibid. p. 164.
[xlvii] Op. cit. Ios.
[xlviii] Ibid. p. 164.
[xlix] Ibid. pp. 188, 190.
[l] Ibid. pp. 190-192.
[li] Ibid. p. 194.
[lii] Conversation with local resident.
[liii] See section on anti-Semitic politicians: George Katsenevakis.
[liv] Op. cit. Ios.
[lv] Op. cit. Ios group
[lvii] Op. cit. Moulatsiotis, “Second Coming”, endpage.
[lviii] Op. cit. “Rocking monks strike platinum”.
[lix] Op. cit. Moulatsiotis.
[lx] GHM – MRG-G press release, 8-11-2001, Topic: Commemoration of “Kristallnacht”. Anti-Semitism is Diffused and Tolerated in Greece available in English at http://www.greekhelsinki.gr/bhr/english/organizations/ghm/ghm_09_11_01.rtf.
[lxi] Conducted by KAPA Research among 622 households in greater Athens area for the program “Protagonistes” aired 18/10/2001 on NET (National Hellenic Television).
[lxii] Nationwide poll carried out between 26/10-6/11 by “Opinion,” published in “Eleftherotypia” 10/11/01, and available at
[lxiii] Ios Group: “A lie transforms into anti-Semitic hysteria and reaches Greek parliament”, published in El, and available at http://www.enet.gr/online/online_pl_fpage_text.jsp?dt=29/09/2001&id=56459; excerpts in English available at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/balkanhr/message/2978. See also Manolis Vasilakis “Kala na pathoun!: I elliniki koini gnomi meta tin 11i Septemvriou” (They deserved it! Greek public opinion after September 11) “Gnoseis” publishers, (Athens: 2002), pp. 100-105 on “To ‘Neo evraiko eglima’” (The ‘new Jewish crime’).
[lxiv] English translation of complete parliamentary question is available at GHM website
[lxv] EoI Press Release 24/9/2001.
[lxvi] Op. cit. Ios: “A lie transforms.”
[lxix] Vasilakis, op.cit.
[lxx] “Informational Bulletin” of the Technical Chamber of Greece (T.E.E.) issue 2168, 1/10/2001.
[lxxi] As stated in Alpha Ena, 27-28/10/2001, p. 9.
[lxxii] Op cit. T.E.E. Bulletin issue 2169, 8-10-2001. Note: Kippa = Yarmulke, the skullcap worn by Jewish men when in the sight of God; Goim (Hebrew, pl.) = non-Jew.
[lxxiv] EoI Press Release, 23/10/2001; and Letter to the President of T.E.E., 22/10/2001.
[lxxv] Letter signed Costas Liaskas, President of T.E.E., to Ambassador Sasson, protocol no. 32513. 2/11/2001.
[lxxvii] Letter signed David Sasson, Ambassador of Israel, to Costas Liaskas, 7/11/2001.
[lxxviii] “A Regime of Censorship”, Alpha Ena, 27-28/10/2001, p. 9.
[lxxxi] Takis Michas is the author of “The Unholy Alliance: Greece and Milosevic’s Serbia during the 1990s”, Texas A & M University Press, Spring 2002. The WSJ text also available at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/balkanhr/message/2954.
[lxxxii] Published in V and also available in English at http://www.greekhelsinki.gr/bhr/english/countries/greece/vima_25_09_01.doc.
[lxxxiv] John Sitilides: “A Certain Loss of Innocence” published in Odyssey, 11-12/2001 and available at http://www.odyssey.gr/templates/features.asp?issuno=’200106’&iss=’2001’&categA=2&categB=0&ThemNo=1&window=November/December2001.
[lxxxv] Anthee Carassava: “Greece’s Mixed Feelings”, Time, 12/11/ 2001, p. 31.
[lxxxvi] “Everything Mikis didn’t say”. Entire text in quotes. El, 16/4/2002, p. 16.
[lxxxviii] GHM Press Release, 11 November 2001, Topic: Greek Journalists’ Union (ESIEA) Misinforms International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) on Greek Media Coverage of Terrorist Attacks on the US and of Air Strikes on Afghanistan.
[lxxxix] Complete ESIEA report was published in Avghi on 17/10/2001 (“Greek Journalists Side with Peace”) and is available at http://220.127.116.11/cgi-bin/hwebpressrem.exe?-V=hpress_int&-A=267733&-P and in English at http://www.greekhelsinki.gr/bhr/english/organizations/ghm/ghm_11_11_01.rtf
[xci] Op. cit.
[xcii] Op. cit.
[xciii] Infocenter is part of the RAXEN network of National Focal Points (NFPs), which make reports to the EUMC.
[xciv] Reports on Greece, 12 September – 31 December 2001: B. Report No. 2 – 19 October 2001, section 1.2. Entire report available at http://www.eumc.eu.int/publications/terror-report/collection/Greece.pdf
[xcv] Op. cit. Carassava.
[xcvi] Op. cit. Stilides.
[xcvii] Also available at http://www.in.gr/innews/kiosk/nkiosk.asp?ord=6&date=2/4/2002&nid=7
[xcviii] “Charges of trafficking dead Palestinians’ organs”, El, 2/4/2002, p.13.
[xcix] N, 2/2/2002, p. 16.
[c] Provided to GHM by the press office of the Embassy of Israel in Athens.
[ci] Nikos Demisiotis: “Contra over organ trafficking”, Ap, 3/4/2002, p. 13.
[cii] Op. cit. Mandraveli: “Truth and war”.
[ciii] “Arafat is waging two wars”, Amos Oz interviewed by Takis Michas, El, 6/4/2002, p. 17.
[civ] See section on anti-Semitic politicians.
[cv] “Four Israelis Caught Videotaping the base at Souda”, El, 19/10/2001, p. 45; “4 Souda Israelis Unanimously Innocent”, El, 20/10/2001, p. 49; “National Information Service investigates curious case”, V, 19/10/2001, p. A21; “Acquittal of ‘spies’ who videotaped Souda”, V, 20/10/2001, p. A20.
[cvi] “Four Israelis arrested in Crete were acquitted”, A, 20/10/2001, p 6.
[cvii] “’Videographers’ at Souda”, K, 19/10/2001, pp. 1,5.
[cviii] EoI press release, 19/10/2001. The Consular Department of the Embassy of Israel immediately disavowed the incident, asserting that these were “simple tourists on an organized company vacation in Crete,” and that it was “absolutely certain that they will be found innocent…since there is absolutely no basis for any charges against them.”
[cix] “Contractor took down the sign, the four Israelis are innocent”, K, 20/10/2001, p. 5.
[cx] Lefteris Vardakis: “Three [sic] Israelis were videotaping Souda installations”, Vr, 19/10/2001, pp. 1,9.
[cxi] Lefteris Vardakis: “The four Israelis are Spies…by mistake”, Vr, 20/10/2001, p. 17.
[cxii] Kostas Korelis: “Suspect aliens arrested in Souda”, AT, 19/10/2001, pp. 1-2.
[cxiii] Kostas Korelis: “Unanswered questions on the Souda case”, AT, 20/10/2001, p. 9
[cxiv] “Israelis are Innocent”, AT, 20/10/2001, p. 9.
[cxv] Manos Iliadis: “Mossand [sic] Combing Nicosia and Crete”, Ependytis, 27-28/10/2001, p. 55.
[cxvi] “Israelis who photographed Souda base are innocent”, Hora, 20/10/2001, pp. 1, 19.
[cxvii] “‘Mossad’ spies combing Greece”, Traffic, 30/10/2001, p. 7.
[cxviii] Op. cit Perdurant gives detailed account of anti-Semitism in Greek politics, 1980-1995.
[cxxi] According to Britain’s Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Newsweek, April 1, 2002, p. 16.
[cxxii] “Simitis: Violence breeds violence”, El, 3/4/2002, p. 15; “‘Genocide’: Protopapas’ Cover-up of Kaklamanis’ Statements”, Eth, 3/4/2002, p. 16. This remark provoked Israel to launch a demarche against the Greek government. (Also, Perdurant documents that in 1988, as Minister of Education and Religion, Mr. Kaklamanis demonstrated a lack of sensitivity to the Jews of Greece when he declined to override the Pedagogical Institute’s decision to retain anti-Semitic texts in schoolbooks, claiming that the Institute was outside his control.)
[cxxiv] Ibid. El, 3/4/2002, p. 15.
[cxxv] Op.cit. Eth, 3/4/2002, p. 16.
[cxxvi] EoI sources.
[cxxvii] “Mangakis: Let’s Condemn Them All”, El, 2/4/2002, p. 15.
[cxxix] “Reactions in Greece. Protest Demonstration at the embassy of Israel in Athens by Greek MPs”, 30/3/2002, available at http://www.in.gr/news/article.asp?IngEntityID=369739.
[cxxx] Roussos Vranas: “Hypocrites - Dromi,” N, 1/4/2002, p. 60.
[cxxxi] Theodoros Pangalos interviewed by Pavlos Tsimas on the program “Imerologio”, FLASH radio 96.0, Monday, 1/4/2002, 09:00-10:00.
[cxxxii] Theodoros Pangalos: “Tragedy, Confusion and Deplorable Incidents”, V, Sunday, 14/4/2002, p. A12.
[cxxxiii] The implication is that Greek Jews are not true Greeks.
[cxxxiv] Op. cit. Pangalos.
[cxxxv] “The other side of the events in the Middle East”, V, 21/4/2002.
[cxxxvi] Emphasized in literature distributed by the Jewish Museum of Greece and in their guided tours; Of the exhibition “The Jews of Greece, Persecuted and Rescuers” in Strasbourg (2001) organized by the Jewish Museum and the Hellenic Ministry of the Press, J.M.G. curator Zanet Batinou told GHM that “there was no deviation from the historical angle, but we do not mention traitors because there is no lesson to be learned there.”; also, on 8/4/2002, the Ambassador of Israel and the President of KIS bestowed the “Righteous among the Nations” award, the highest honor that can be bestowed by the State of Israel, on “13 Greek citizens who risked their lives to save their persecuted Jewish compatriots during the Nazi occupation of Greece.” Approx. 215 Greeks have already received the award. (Embassy of Israel press release, 8/4/2002).
[cxxxviii] Richardos Someritis: “Theodoros Pangalos, Positions and Oppositions”, V, Tuesday, 16/4/2002, p.5
[cxxxix] An analysis of the Greek government’s support of the Milosevic regime is presented by Takis Michas in his book “The Unholy Alliance: Greece and Milosevic’s Serbia during the 1990s”, Texas A & M University Press, Spring 2002. Also, many articles and cartoons quoted in this report compare the criminality of Sharon with that of Milosevic, pointing out that although Sharon is worse he will not share the same fate.
[cxl] Op. cit. Pangalos.
[cxli] Op. cit. Someritis. See also op. cit Michas.
[cxlii] Ibid. Someritis.
[cxliii] Progressive Left Coalition party.
[cxliv] “Reopening of Jewish Synagogue Revives Prejudices”, GHM / MRG-G press release, 13/10/1999, available at http://www.greekhelsinki.gr/special-issues-antisemitism.html. The incident prompted Synaspismos Party activist and local resident, Manolis Gazis, to protest (A, 7/10/99) “the ridiculous fear of the ‘Priests of Sfakia’” and the“similar (though slightly veiled) fears” of the Prefect,“that after the Synagogue’s inauguration Hania will be swamped by Jewish agents who will settle in our city to alter its character and eventually annex Crete to Israel!” (GHM / MRG-G press release 13/10/1999 op. cit.)
[cxlv] Ibid; also op. cit. AP 1999.
[cxlvi] “Last Night in Hania: Impressive rally for the Palestinian people”, Haniotika Nea, 5/4/2002.
[cxlvii] See section on September 11th.
[cxlviii] Op. cit. Goldberg: “Anti-Semitism in Greece”; GHM press release “We Declare Ourselves Jews…” 9/11/00; also see section on September 11th.
[cxlix] Benjamin Albalas in an interview with Hannah Goldberg, 11/2000.
[cl] Conversations with various members of the Jewish community
[cli] See web page with scores of related articles at http://www.greekhelsinki.gr/bhr/greek/special_issues/akrodexia.html
[clii] “His Struggle!” Ios Eleftherotypia 20/10/02. We reprint here in Greek the excerpts on Karatzaferis’ anti-Semitism.
[cliii] GHM press release 5/7/2002, “Leftwing (Former) Deputies Legitimize Karatzaferis’ Extreme Rightwing”.
[cliv] GHM press release 8/7/2002, “Michalis Papakonstantinou also – following the Leftwing (former) MPs – Legitimizes Karatzaferis’ Extreme Rightwing”.
[clv] See section on Anti-Semitic Incidents: Rhodes.
[clvi] “Monument to Jews in Rhodes is Smashed”, Proodos, 4/7/2002.
[clvii] During the Nazi occupation, the then teenaged Glezos climbed the Acropolis and replaced the Nazi flag with the Greek one. This act of bravery and defiance and a lifetime of leftwing advocacy have earned him a respected place in Greek culture. Despite this, in the first round of the Athens-Piraeus super-prefecture elections of 13/10/02, Glezos came fourth (11%) to Karataferis (14%).
[clviii] George Votsis: “Like Neo-Nazis”, El, 21/03/2002, also available at http://www.enet.gr/online/online_pl_text.jsp?c=110&id=64277172 and in English at GHM website
[clix] Y. Votsis: “Barrage of Letters: Embassy of Israel on the Palestinian protest”, El, 23/03/2002, also available at http://www.enet.gr/online/online_pl_text.jsp?dt=23/03/2002&c=110&id=9920980.
[clx] Published in El, 27/03/2002 and also available, abridged, at http://www.enet.gr/online/online_pl_text.jsp?dt=23/03/2002&c=110&id=5877252.
[clxi] Under “Holocaust II” logo, “Mikis Theodorakis: Where are the people?” El, 2/4/2002, p. 14.
[clxii] “The Jews are imitating the crimes of the Nazis: The former victims are enchanted with the methods of their former victims”, N, 2/4/2002, p. 45.
[clxiii] “The Israelis will someday regret”, V, 2/4/2002, pp. 1, 5.
[clxiv] Georgia Dama: “Notes of Rage”, El, 11/4/2002, p. 16.
[clxv] Iakovos Kambanellis: “Mauthausen and the ‘Hitlerists’”, V, 11/4/2002, p. 5.
[clxvi] See section on September 11th.
[clxvii] See section on anti-Semitic incidents.
[clxviii] Dimos Mavrommatis: “A letter to the Jews”, Ap, 17/03/2002; also Yannis Triantis: “The guilty silence (and the Inaction)…”), El, 19/03/2002, also available, abridged, at http://www.enet.gr/online/online_pl_text.jsp?dt=19/03/2002&c=112&id=2640036
[clxix] See addendum 1 for complete English translation by GHM of the Greek original.
[clxx] Telephone conversation with GHM, 1/4/02.
[clxxi] KIS letter dated 22/3/2002, signed by Moses Konstantinis, President, and Avraam Reitan, Secretary.
[clxxii] Full EoI response available in El, see following note.
[clxxiii] Yannis Triantis: “And the Ambassador of Israel on the ‘Letter to the Jews’”, El, 23/3/2002, p. 12, also available at http://www.enet.gr/online/online_pl_text.jsp?dt=23/03/2002&c=110&id=17823572.
[clxxiv] KIS and EoI letters and reply were published in Ap, 24/3/2002.
[clxxv] George Votsis: The Very Name of Humanity”, El, 2/4/2002, p. 5.
[clxxvi] Yannis Triantis: “Rampaging tanks and words”, El, 2/4/2002, p. 63.
[clxxvii] From Roussos Vranas’ column “Hypocrites”, N, 1/4/2002, p. 60.
[clxxviii] “Dimos’ Legacy”, Ap, 2/4/2002, p. 10.
[clxxix] “Last Goodbye to Dimos Mavrommatis”, E.T., 2/4/2002, p. 13.
[clxxx] “In brief”, K, 2/4/2002, p. 4.
[clxxxi] “Without Dimos Mavrommatis”, A, 2/4/2002, p. 28.
[clxxxii] “A Journalist-Paragon Passed Away”, Pontiki, 4/4/2002, p. 42.
[clxxxiii] Petros Mantaios: “Ashen silent stones”, El, 4/4/02, p. 2.
[clxxxiv] Olga Bakomarou: “Close-ups”, El, 6/4/2002.
[clxxxv] Alexis Papahelas: “American obessions – European absence”, V, 4/4/2002, p. 5.
[clxxxvi] MGSA-L digest, 28 March 2002.
[clxxxvii] Front page headline, Apogevmatini , 16/3/2002; Chryssi Avghi, 22/3/2002, p. 13.
[clxxxviii] Prin, issue 561, Sunday 7/4/2002, front page.
[clxxxix] Ibid. pp. 12-13.
[cxc] Ibid. George Delastik: “Iraq is also dying in Ramallah”, p. 3.
[cxci] Ibid. Petros Papakonstantinou, p. 24.
[cxcii] Takis Fotopoulos: “Anti-Semitism, Anti-Zionism and ‘Terrorism’”, El, 7/4/2002, p. 9, and also available at http://www.enet.gr/online/online_pl_fpage_text.jsp?id=68098260.
[cxciii] The website Mr. Fotopoulos gives for this dialogue is http://www.inclusivedemocracy.org/fotopoulos/grmisc/amnestydialogue.htm.
[cxciv] Published in El, 9/4/2002 and also available at http://www.enet.gr/online/online_pl_fpage_text.jsp?c=112&id=62813956.
[cxcvii] Yvet-Beza Leon, Attica: “On the Holocaust”, El, 6/4/2002, p. 70.
[cxcviii] Yannis Kontos, Athens: “On the meaning of ‘Holocaust’”, El, 13/4/2002.
[cxcix] Letter from ESIEA, protocol number 820/10-04-02, 10/4/2002, supplied by EoI.
[cc] El, 2/4/2002 p. 14; 4/4/2002, p. 11.
[cci] Ibid. 7/4/2002, p. 10; 14/4/2002, p. 20.
[ccii] “Mikis Theodorakis: Where are the people?”, El, 2/4/2002.
[cciii] Dimitris Nanouris, Nadia Vassiliadou: “Two ‘enemies’ side-by-side”, El, 7/4/2002.
[cciv] Dina Vagena: “Naziim!!!” “(means Nazi in Hebrew)”: El, 4/4/2002.
[ccv] Nikola Vouleli: “Powel Walking the Tightrope”, El, 14/4/2002.
[ccvi] See Ios team: “Conspiracy Theories a la Hellenika: Part 1, A diachronic ‘declaration’”, El. 1/4/2001, www.iospress.gr. Kissinger is despised in Greece for his role in the Cyprus issue. His being American Jewish only adds to the brew. According to the Ios article, the unverified source of the “Kissinger Declaration” – the foundation for Greek contemporary conspiracy theories – was the English language “Turkish Daily News” of 17/2/1997, in which Kissinger is reported to have said, “The Greek nation is difficult to govern, so we must strike deeply at its roots. I.e. we must strike at its language, religion, its intellectual and historical consciousness, in order to neutralize any possibility for it to grow, distinguish itself, and prevail, for it to not harass us in the Balkans, in the Eastern Mediterranean, in the Middle East, in that entire weak region that is so strategically important to us, for US policy.”
[ccvii] Christos Yannaras: “The Desecration of the Dialogue”, K, 17/3/2002.
[ccviii] British journalist Robert Fisk is indeed highly critical of Israeli policies as well as what he sees as the Israel’s exploitation of the Holocaust for its own ends. On the other hand, he is a staunch opponent of Holocaust denial and revisionism. The July-August 2002 issue of the KIS bimonthly bulletin, “Chronika”, “When Malice is the Driving Force”, pp. 24-25, disproves Mr. Yannaras with research into Mr. Fisk’s book “Pity the Nation. Lebanon at War”, 1992.
[ccix] Angelos Elefantis: “About Enjoyment”, Avghi, 13/4/2002, originally published in Politis magazine, March 2002, also available at http://18.104.22.168/cgi-bin/hwebpressrem.exe?-A=284816&-w=&-V=hpress_int&-P.
[ccx] Op. cit. Section on Pangalos and Triantis on Mavrommatis.
[ccxii] Roussos Vranas: “Dromoi: Hypocrites”, N, 1/4/2002, p. 60.
[ccxiii] Roussos Vrana: “Dromi”, N, 5/4/2002, p. 42.
[ccxiv] Maria Kralli: Israelis take battle positions for a new Holocaust”, Eth, 2/4/2002. Front page and pp. 16-17.
[ccxv] “Three Synagogues Struck”, Eth, 2/4/2002, p. 16.
[ccxvi] The Ios group also cites Anna Panayotarea as a subscriber to popular conspiracy theories. Op cit. Ios: “Conspiracy Theories a la Hellenika” part 1, El. 1/4/2001.
[ccxvii] Anna Panayotarea: “Anna in Wonderland”, Eth, 2/4/2002, p. 6.
[ccxviii] Victoras Netas: “With Blessings the Return to Barbarity”, El, 2/4/2002, p. 9.
[ccxix] Karolos Brousalis: “The Hour of Judgment”, Eth, 2/4/2002, p. 11.
[ccxx] Op. cit. Eth 4/4/02, p. 11. See section on anti-Semitic cartoons.
[ccxxiii] “Apopseis: Barbed Wire”, El, 2/4/2002, p. 8.
[ccxxiv] “We are all Palestinians”, editorial, anti, 5/4/2002.
[ccxxv] George Stamatopoulos: “Apo-stasis”: “Fascism and Holocaust”, El, 6/4/2002, p. 2.
[ccxxvi] Vassilis Moulopoulos: “The Triumph of Terrorism”, V, 7/4/2002, p. A11.
[ccxxvii] Space for Dialogue and Joint Action of the Left: “The hearts of all peoples in the world is in Palestine”, Epochi, 7/4/2002, p. 11.
[ccxxviii] Eleni Syrigou-Rigou: “Voices of resistance then and now”, Epochi, 14/4/2002, p. 2.
[ccxxix] Kostis Papayiorgis: “The Level Crossing”, Ependytis, 6-7/4/2002, p. 4.
[ccxxx] Interview with George Eikonomeas, “Panorama”, Alpha TV, Friday 5/4/2002.
[ccxxxi] “Proklises”, Alpha TV, Sunday, 26/5/2002, 11.00-12.00.
[ccxxxii] “They are deserting the Palestinians to the mercy of Sharon”, Paron, 7/4/2002, p. 12.
[ccxxxiii] George Papayannopoulos: “A Kind of Prose (Dedicated to the Palestinian People Who are Martyrs”, Paron, 7/4/2002.
[ccxxxiv] Andreas Roumeliotis: “Outside the Synagogue”, El, 3/4/2002.
[ccxxxv] See beginning of section for exchange of letters in which a Holocaust survivor is put in her place.
[ccxxxvi] Letter to the editor signed by Athanasios Gotovos, Ioannina: “The Messolonghi of Ramallah”, El, 4/4/2002, p. 60.
[ccxxxvii] Laws 927/1979 and 1419/1984 specifically state that:
“Whoever intentionally and publicly instigates, either orally or in the press or through written texts and illustrations or through any other means, acts or activities capable of provoking discrimination, hatred or violence against persons or a group of persons, solely because of their racial, religious or national origin, may be punished with imprisonment of up to two years or a fine or both.”
[ccxxxviii] Letter to the editor signed by Konstantinos Papandreou, Fares-Patras: “About Jews”, El, 15/4/2002, also available at http://www.enet.gr/online/online_pl_text.jsp?c=112&id=21903572.
[ccxxxix] Letter to Seraphim Fyntanidis, Editor of Eleftherotypia, signed Panayote Dimitras, GHM Spokesperson, 15/4/2002: “Urgent letter about today’s anti-Semitic publication”
[ccxl] Diogenes Kamenos, El, Financial section, Saturday, 23/3/2002, p. 27.
[ccxli] KYR, El, Monday, 1/4/2002, Front page. http://www.enet.gr/online/online_p1.jsp?dt=01/04/2002
[ccxlii] Eva Omiroli: “On ‘Holocaust II’”, letter to the editor, El, 3/4/2002. P. 6, http://www.enet.gr/online/online_p1_text.jsp?dt=03/04/2002&c=110&id=70589460
[ccxliii] Kostas Mitropoulos, N, Opinions section, Weekend edition, 30-31/3/2002, p. 4. http://ta-nea.dolnet.gr/neaweb/neafile.print_unique?e=A&f=17300&m=N04&aa=1
[ccxliv] Stathis, El, 30/3/2002, not uploaded by Eleftherotypia; available at
[ccxlv] Yannis Kalaitzis, El, Tuesday, 2/4/2002, p. 8.
[ccxlvi] Dimitris Hantzopoulos, N, Mikropoliticos section, Monday, 1/4/2002, p. 5. http://ta-nea.dolnet.gr/neaweb/neafile.print_unique?e=A&f=17301&m=N05&aa=1
[ccxlvii] Yannis Ioannou, 3/4/02: Eth, Thursday, 4/4/2002, p. 11.
[ccxlviii] Toliadis, Eth, Sunday, 7/4/2002, p. 16.
[ccxlix] Theo, Eth, Sunday, 7/4/2002, p. 42.
[ccl] Edited by Nikos Servetas: “Kraniou Topos [literally, a barren place, but also the term for the site of the Crucifixion; the skulls in the cartoon play on the Greek word kranio (=skull/helmet) with the skulls in the cartoon] and the hope of resurrection”, Epochi, 7/4/2002, p. 3.
[ccli] Kostas Mitropoulos, V, 7/4/2002, p. A10. http://tovima.dolnet.gr/demo/owa/tobhma.print_unique?e=B&f=13531&m=A10&aa=1&cookie=
[cclii] Stathis, El, Thursday, 11/4/2002. http://www.enet.gr/online/online_p1_fpage_text.jsp?dt=11/04/2002&id=33538132,
[ccliii] Kostas Koufovorgos, illustrating “A caravan for Palestine”, Epochi, 14/4/2002. Front page.
[ccliv] Stathis, El. Monday, 15/4/2002, p. 6. http://www.enet.gr/online/online_p1_fpage_text.jsp?dt=15/04/2002&id=29123764
[cclv] Dimitris Hantzopoulos, N, Thursday, 18/4/2002. http://ta-nea.dolnet.gr/neaweb/neafile.print_unique?e=A&f=17316&m=N16&aa=1
[cclvi] Yannis Liapis: “Never again!”, El, 9/4/2002, p. 47.
[cclvii] Note: the phrase in the Greek press release, “vathitati lipi”, appeared in the JTC English translation as “profound resentment”. Another translation could be “profound regret”.
[cclviii] “Dialogue with the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki” El, 12/4/2002, p. 17.
[cclix] Reply of Yannis Liapis. Ibid.
[cclx] Spyros Payiatakis: “Letter from Thessaloniki: Blessed are the Peacemakers”, EK/IHT, 15/4/2002, also available at ekathimerini.com.
[cclxi] Presented by Andreas Pantazopoulos: Christian Goden?: “Denial and Totalitarianism”, Avghi, 11/2/2001, p. 30. http://22.214.171.124/cgi-bin/hwebpressrem.exe?-A=243612&-w=&-V=hpress_int&-P
[cclxii] KIS press release, 2/4/2002, official English translation.
[cclxiii] “Moderation Demanded”, N, 4/4/2002, p. 50.
[cclxiv] Roussos Vranas: “They are also striking journalists”, N, 4/4/2002, p. 50.
[cclxv] “Unjust and unacceptable is comparison to the Holocaust”, V, 3/4/2002, p. 4.
[cclxvi] “The Central Jewish Board” and “Attack on synagogue”, Ap, 3/4/2002, p. 12.
[cclxvii] “Negotiations again, not comparisons with the Holocaust”, A, 5/4/2002, p. 6.
[cclxviii] See op. cit. Mandravelis: “Truth and War”, Ap, 3/4/02.
[cclxix] H.M.: “Oversight?” A, 5/4/2002, p. 23.
[cclxx] Op. cit., see Roumeliotis, addendum 3.
[cclxxi] Dionyssis Gousetis: “Ungrateful voice” Avghi, 6/4/2002, p. 20.
[cclxxii] “How I experienced the horror of Ramallah” Alekos Alvanos interviewed by Dimitris Konstantaras, traffic, 6/4/2002, pp. 1, 3.
[cclxxiii] Yannis Tzannetakos: “Since objectivity on the Palestinian issue does not exist”, Eleftherotypia, 6/4/2002, p 10.
[cclxxiv] See also op. cit. for Mr. Oz’s comment on the organ trafficking libel in the same interview.
[cclxxv] “Arafat is waging two wars”, Amos Oz interviewed by Takis Michas, El, 6/4/2002, p. 17.
[cclxxvi] Dimitris Raftopoulos: “More Peace Battles”, A, 14/4/2002, pp. 1-2.
[cclxxvii] Pantelis Boukalas is referring to anti-Semitic outbreaks in the wake of the ID card controversy, and George Karatzaferis’ attacks against former deputy foreign minister Christos Rozakis in 1996, for his Jewish origins. There was also a similar attack on current Prime Minister Costas Simitis for an alleged Jewish wedding of his daughter. On the latter two incidents, that took the form of parliamentary questions see http://www.greekhelsinki.gr/english/pressrelease/9-11-00.html. Karatzaferis has also claimed Simitis himself is of Jewish origins.
[cclxxviii] Pantelis Boukalas: “The ‘chosen peoples’ and their obsessions”, K, 14/4/2002, p. 4.
[cclxxix] One day after the article was published, the Holocaust Monument in Thessaloniki and the Jewish cemetery in Ioannina were vandalized. See relevant section in report.
[cclxxx] See note 1.
[cclxxxi] See sections on Religious anti-Semitism and Archbishop Christodoulos.
[cclxxxii] Mentioned to GHM in April/May by Carmen Cohen from Rhodes and Nicholas Stavroulakis from Hania, Crete.
[cclxxxiv] “Break-in at Jewish Cemetery in Stavroupoli”, N, 15/5/2001.
[cclxxxv] Telephone conversation, 17/5/2001.
[cclxxxvi] Email correspondence, 25/5/2002. Hania has an official Jewish population of one.
[cclxxxvii] Telephone conversation, 12/5/2002.
[cclxxxviii] In conversation with a GHM member in early June, she mentioned, for instance, that for the past ten years she had been routinely granted the necessary permit to drive her car into the old town, where the Community has its offices. This year, however, her permit was refused.
[cclxxxix] “Exhibition on the Jewish Community of Rhodes”, Drasis, 10/6/2002, Cultural events page.
[ccxc] See section on anti-Semitic cartoons
[ccxci] Op. cit. telephone conversation, 12/5/2002
[ccxcii] “Monument to Jews in Rhodes Damaged: Unprecedented Vandalism”, Proodos, 4/7/2002.
[ccxciii] Telephone conversation with GHM 8/7/2002.
[ccxciv] A high school teacher in the Peristeri district of Athens told GHM that Palestinian solidarity posters were taped to the walls of in the hallway of her school.
[ccxcv] Official EoI spokesperson in conversation with GHM, April.
[ccxcvi] Op. cit. GHM report 2000, pp. 27-28. WJC report Sept/Oct. 2000. These incidents were the repercussions of Archbishop Christodoulos’ campaign to retain the religion designation on Greek ID cards. He and other members of the clergy directly blamed the Jews as part of an international conspiracy to destroy Hellenism.
[ccxcvii] KIS sources.
[ccxcviii] KIS press release, 16/4/2002, English translation by them.
[ccxcix] KIS president Moses Constantinis is quoted in the World Jewish Council Report (op. cit. 2000) as regretting that “the Greek government did not react to the other vandalism,” and as calling on the state to take a firm public stand in defiance of anti-Semitism.
[ccc] Op. cit. KIS press release 16/4.
[ccci] “Red paint on the Holocaust Monument”, El, 17/4/2002, also available at http://www.enet.gr/online/online_p1_text.jsp?c=111&id=28665284.
[cccii] Conversation and email statement to GHM from Moses Elisaf, 4/7/2002.
[ccciii] Op. cit. El, “Red paint”.
[ccciv] “Jewish leader asks prosecutor to investigate alleged police involvement in vandalism” AP, 23/4/2002, available at http://rd.yahoo.com/alerts/email/news/*http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20020423/ap_wo_en_ge/greece_jews_6.
[cccv] Coversation with GHM 2/7/2002.
[cccvi] “What were they doing in the Jewish cemetery the night of the desecration?” I Erevna, 22/4/2002.
[cccviii] Vangelis Mastoras: “Police: The Questions”, Neoi Agones, 23/4/2002; G.K.: “When will they come to their senses?” Epirotikos Agon, 23/4/2002.
[cccix] From Yannakis’ column “Daring Comments” Proinos Logos, 24/4/2002.
[cccx] “University condemns vandalism of Ganis’ grave”, Proinos Logos, 24/4/2002.
[cccxi] “Desecration of the graves due to anti-Semitism”, Letter to the editor, Moses Elisaf, Proinos Logos, 1/5/2002.
[cccxiii] According KIS press officer Efie Edrati, in conversation with GHM, 2/7/2002.
[cccxiv] “Police swallowed its tongue: Prosecutor ordered Urgent Investigation on Police”, I Erevna, 29/4/2002, Front page and pp. 8, 9. Article also explores the discrepancies in how various local dailies presented the incident.
[cccxv] Conversation with GHM, 2/7/2002.
[cccxvii] Op. cit. AP, 23/4/2002.
[cccxviii] Conversation with GHM 2/7/2002.
[cccxx] See section on anti-Semitic incidents.
[cccxxi] “Wiesenthal Center: Unanswered Antisemitism in Greece’s Mainstream Could Open the Door to Violence and Poison the Environment Leading up to Olympic Games,” 8/7/2002, available at http://www.wiesenthal.com/social/press/pr_item.cfm?ItemID=6006.
[cccxxiii] See section on anti-Semitic cartoons.
[cccxxiv] Op. cit. “ADL calls on Greek Government.”
[cccxxv] Takis Michas: “Embassy of Israel speaks of danger in Greece”, El, 2/7/2002, also available at http://www.enet.gr/online/online_pl_text.jsp?dt=02/07/2002&c=110&id=82254400.
[cccxxvi] Georgia Linardou: “The Expose that Exposes: Anti-Semitic climate seen in Greece”, El, 7/7/2002, also available at http://www.enet.gr/online/online_pl_text.jsp?c=111&id=4818144.
[cccxxvii] Op. cit. section on anti-Semitic incidents, and other KIS statements elsewhere in report.
[cccxxviii] Op. cit. Linardou.
[cccxxxi] Conversation with GHM, 2/8/2002.
[cccxxxii] Op. cit. note 12.
[cccxxxiii] Conversations with members of the Jewish community.
[cccxxxiv] Mr. Delastik is best known for his writing in Kathimerini, quoted elsewhere in this report.
[cccxxxv] George Delastik: “Ideological terrorism of the Jews”, Prin, 28/7/2002, p. 3.
[cccxxxvi] AI INDEX: MDE 15/104/2002, more information available at http://web.amnesty.org/ai.nsf/Index/MDE020032002?OpenDocument&of=COUNTRIES\ISRAEL/OCCUPIED+TERRITORIES.
[cccxxxix] Sabby Mionis: “International Amnesty condemns Palestinians” letter to editor, K, 20/7/2002.
[cccxl] “Forms of racism” Eleftherotypia 8/8/02
[cccxli] At http://groups.yahoo.com/group/greekhr/message/2866 one can read the full text of the speech, the letter to the Minister and the letter replying to an Independent article on him (available with GHM factual corrections at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/balkanhr/message/4671) that probably triggered the Simon Wiesenthal Center letter.