MINELRES: Report "Anti-Semitism in Greece - A Current Picture: 2001-2002."

MINELRES moderator minelres@lists.delfi.lv
Fri Nov 29 15:41:21 2002


GREEK HELSINKI MONITOR (GHM)
MINORITY RIGHTS GROUP – GREECE (MRG-G)
Address: P.O. Box 60820, GR-15304 Glyka Nera
Telephone: (+30) 210.347.22.59. Fax: (+30) 210.601.87.60.

PRESS RELEASE

8 November 2002

TOPIC: COMMEMORATION OF “KRISTALLNACHT”. RELEASE OF THE REPORT
“ANTI-SEMITISM IN GREECE - A CURRENT PICTURE: 2001-2002.”

November 9, the anniversary of the “Kristallnacht” pogrom in Germany
(9/11/1938) has been designated as an international day against racism.
On the occasion of tomorrow’s 64th commemoration of this event, the
collaborating organizations Greek Helsinki Monitor (GHM) and Minority
Rights Group-Greece (MRG-G) release their joint report “Anti-Semitism in
Greece - A Current Picture: 2001-2002” (November 2002, 64 p.) available
at:
http://www.greekhelsinki.gr/bhr/english/organizations/ghm_mrgg_antisemitism_2002.rtf
and
http://www.greekhelsinki.gr/bhr/english/organizations/ghm_mrgg_antisemitism_2002.zip 
The foreword, introduction and contents of the report follow. 


ANTI-SEMITISM IN GREECE - A CURRENT PICTURE: 2001-2002

The sorrowful events that have occurred during the last months in the
Middle East region … created the opportunity (or the pretext) for the
resurfacing of feelings and attitudes (if not doctrines) that some
people had managed to keep well covered in the depths of their souls.
The outrageous anti-Semitism of some people, even if few, has been
manifested today under the pretext of the condemnation of the defensive
military operations of the State of Israel...

We focus on all the anti-Semitic expressions, the inadmissible
vilification of the -unique in the history of the Mankind- Holocaust of
6 million Jews, in an attempt to equate this with the “genocides” or
other expressions –without realizing the seriousness of their meaning–
that have been used as counter-balance to the Holocaust… 

In this climate of, to say the least, hysteria and anti-Semitism,
directed by various political and other propagandas, which prevailed in
Greece, there were individual consciences that were opposed to it:
persons who made use of their reason, the objectivity of historical
facts, their memory and judgment. Voices that dared (because it took
indeed courage when the unwise propaganda monologue prevailed) express a
different opinion, to point out the dangerous effects of an extreme
anti-Semitism and where this could lead... 

Excerpts from “The ‘other reason’ for self-consciousness”, editorial in
the July-August 2002 issue of “Hronika”, Organ of the Central Board of
Jewish Communities in Greece (KIS)


Introduction

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). 

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.


Contents of the Report:

Introduction
Everyday Manifestations 
The Jewish Community in Greece
The Education Deficit
Religious Anti-Semitism
The September 11th Libel
The Organ Trafficking Libel
“Zionist Espionage” in Crete
Political Anti-Semitism
Anti-Semitism in the Press
Moderating Voices
Anti-Semitic Incidents
Partial and Incomplete Update, July-October 2002
Addenda
Endnotes (with extensive references)


E-mail: office@greekhelsinki.gr
Internet Addresses: Balkan Human Rights Web Pages:
http://www.greekhelsinki.gr
The Balkan Human Rights List:  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/balkanhr
The Greek Human Rights List: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/greekhr
Center of Documentation and Information on Minorities in Europe –
Southeast Europe: http://www.cedime.net
GHM Board: Panayote Dimitras, Orestis Georgiadis, Dimitrina Petrova,
Alan Phillips, Gregory Vallianatos. 
MRG-G Spokesperson: Nafsika Papanikolatos.
International Advisory Committee: Savvas Agouridis, Teuta Arifi, Ivo
Banac, Vladimir Bilandzic, Marcel Courthiade, Loring Danforth, Fernand
de Varennes, Victor-Yves Ghebali, Henri Giordan, Krassimir Kanev, Will
Kymlicka, Magda Opalski, Theodore S. Orlin, Dimitrina Petrova, Alan
Phillips, Aaron Rhodes, Vladimir Solonari, Patrick Thornberry, Stefan
Troebst, Boris Tsilevich, Tibor Varady, Marc Weller. 
Affiliation to International Organizations: Consortium of Minority
Resources (COMIR), Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN),
European Roma Rights Center (ERRC), International Freedom of Expression
Exchange (IFEX), International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights
(IHF), Minority Rights Group International (MRGI), One World Net, South
East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), World Organization Against
Torture (OMCT).

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