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LATEST NEWS

KIS ANNOUNCEMENT FOR THE DEADLY TERRORIST ATTACK IN TEL AVIV

On June 8, 2016 Israel was hit by a new terrorist attack. Specifically, two Palestinians opened fire in the center of Tel-Aviv, at the Sarona complex, a symbol of modern lifestyle.  The death toll is heavy: four Israelis were killed and many more were injured. This bloody event is the worst since the beginning of the year. Overall, 32 Israelis were murdered in terrorists attacks since last October. Hamas welcomed the murderous act and announced that the two perpetrators are members of the organization, without however taking official responsibility for the attack. As long as the Palestinian political organizations praise such abominable events and describe them as ‘heroic operations’, it is certain that peace and stability in the area would be constantly postponed. The same is true for the Palestinian residents, who also welcomed the attacks. Unfortunately, while Israeli medical staff is working hard to save the life of one of the perpetrators, the Palestinian authorities gloat about these crimes and encourage citizens to take similar action in the future.

The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece considers that the strong condemnation of such hideous events has to be self-evident for any political organization and every democratic citizen. Finally, our thoughts are with the victims’ families, to which we express our deepest condolences.

Athens, June 10, 2016

CENTRAL BOARD OF JEWISH COMMUNITIES IN GREECE

 
KIS ANNOUNCEMENT ON ANTISEMITIC STATEMENT LAUNCHED BY GOLDEN DAWN MP

The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece issued the following announcement with regard to the anti-Semitic statements launched by ‘Golden Dawn’ MP Christos Pappas, during a parliamentary session:

On May 31st, 2016, anti-Semitic statements were once again heard inside the Greek Parliament. More specifically, during a conference of the Standing Committee on National Defence and Foreign Affairs,Golden Dawn’ MP Christos Pappas, fulminated against Israel, claiming that Israel constitutes «the eternal enemy of Greece and Orthodoxy».

It is not surprising that such a statement was made by a member of the ‘Golden Dawn’. The anti-Semitism of ‘Golden Dawn’ is so profound that they even deny the existence of the extermination camps. However, it is still infuriating the fact that this kind of statements are heard in the Parliament of the Hellenic Republic.

For our part, as the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece, we would never get tired of denouncing every anti-Semitic statement, every stereotypical characterization against the Jews and the State of Israel. However, we will always demand from the State to undertake any necessary action, in order to condemn immediately, officially and, above all, unequivocally any similar anti-Semitic statements. The fight against anti-Semitism and bigotry is a daily struggle. We therefore have to fight with dedication and perseverance.


Athens, June 3, 2016

Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece
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ATHENS MAYOR KAMINIS TAKES A STAND AGAINST ANTISEMITISM

Athens Mayor Georgios Kaminis in an exclusive interview to Victor Eliezer for “Alef” magazine, edited by the Athens Jewish Community, (issue no 60), spoke about his clear stance against anti-Semitism and referred to pressing issues as the rise of neonazism. Some characteristic excerpts from the interview:  

Q: You recently signed the declaration of Mayors against anti-Semitism. Why did you decide to sign this petition? What made you think that Athens should join the network of cities that are against anti-Semitism?

A: It was self-evident that I should sign the Mayors’ declaration. Athens is a city of tolerance, a capital that shines at the fight against discriminations based on color, religious beliefs, or sexual orientation. This is our Municipality’s main principle. We have built a permanent front against intolerance, fanaticism and violence.

Q: Which do you think is the reason why ideas that adopt racism and xenophobia have been strengthened and spread among our society, nearly 70 years after Europe was done with Nazism?

A: Throughout modern history the main reasons for the strengthening of extreme tendencies are always poverty and misery, as well as the marginalization of several social groups, which are most affected by the financial and social crisis. For this reason, it is the duty of every public institution, such as Municipalities, to embrace the people that are most affected by the crisis, in order to avoid their embracement –for selfish reasons – by other organizations. The social structures of Athens supply with food and essentials more than 25.000 people in the city.

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THE GREEK FLAG HEADED THE 2016 MARCH OF THE LIVING Print E-mail
Friday, 13 May 2016 13:33

Τhe March of the Living, a march in memoriam of the victims of the Holocaust, took place on May 5th, 2016, in Auschwitz, Poland. The march follows a route of 3 km from Auschwitz to Birkenau concentration camp.

Following the initiative of  chief rabbi Israel Meir Lau, the Greek flag was put at head of this year’s march, along with a banner reading “Anti-Semitism equals antichristianism”, a slogan inspired by the Bishop of Dimitrias and Almyros, Mr. Ignatios. The Greek flag, in this honourable position in front of all the world flags and official guests, was carried by the General Secretary of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece and President of the Jewish Community of Volos, Mr. Marcel Solomon.

People were marching alongside the rails of the trains that used to unload families so that it would be decided who was to put to death in gas chambers  and who was going to “live” in the concentration camp. In front of the Greek flag, the parade was led by a survival of the Holocaust, Mr. Edward Mosberg, who was born in Krakow on 1926 and has the number 85454 on his arm.

In his speech, chief rabbi Lau underlined that anti-Semitism is hatred against humanity. “Anti-Semitism did not die in Auschwitz. It just changed its words, its slogans, so we must be careful in order to avoid repetition of the crimes of the past”, he said.

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ANNOUNCEMENT FOR THE PROMOTION OF THE CUSTOM OF THE BURNING OF JUDAS IN THE WEBSITE OF THE GREEK TOURISM ORGANIZATION Print E-mail
Monday, 09 May 2016 09:20

KIS addressed a letter of protest to the Greek Tourism National Organization asking for the removal from the Organization’s website of a reference to the custom of the burning of an effigy of Judas (practiced during Christian Easter holidays), as a folkloristic attraction. On the issue KIS issued the following announcement:

Among the various traditions in Greece during the Easter holidays, the custom of the “burning of Judas” is still attested in many different areas on Holy Saturday. This custom perpetuates anti-Semitic feelings and it is characteristic that in other European countries it has almost vanished.

For our part, as the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece, we have repeatedly turned to the authorities, demanding that, in our country too, this custom be abolished. It is worth to mention that, with its synodical circulars of the years 1891, 1910 and 1918, the Holy Synod of the Greek Orthodox Church has explicitly demanded that this custom be abolished.

Thus, we were greatly surprised when we found out that the anti-Semitic tradition of “the burning of Judas” is currently being displayed by the Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) in its official website, which aims at promoting Greek culture and attracting foreign visitors. Moreover, the relevant article from the GNTO website was recently distributed in a newsletter by the Embassy of Greece in Washington, DC. We strongly believe that this custom does not only offend the Jewish community in Greece but also casts discredit on the Greek society as a whole.                                                    

For these reasons, we have written to the President of the GNTO, with further notification to the Deputy Minister of Tourism and the Greek Emabassy in Washington, asking for the immediate withdrawal of any material regarding this custom from the official website of the organization. 

Athens, May 6, 2016

The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece

 

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GREEK PARLIAMENT UNVEILS MONUMENT TO LAWMAKERS KILLED IN HOLOCAUST Print E-mail
Tuesday, 26 April 2016 07:42

ATHENS (JTA) — The Greek Parliament has erected a monument to eight Greek Jewish lawmakers who were killed by the Nazis during the Second World War.

The white marble tablet engraved with the eight names was unveiled on Wednesday by Speaker of the Hellenic Parliament Nikos Voutsis.

Six of the parliament members were among the tens of thousands of Greek Jews who were murdered in Auschwitz, while two others were killed fighting with the Greek resistance. Some 60,000 Greek Jews died in the Holocaust, according to the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum in Jerusalem.

Voutsis apologized for the decades-long delay in commemorating the Jewish parliament members.

“For 75 years this has been on the conscience of this house. Seventy-five is too long for us to honor our colleagues who were killed by the Nazis,” Voutsis said at the ceremony, which was attended by representatives of all the Greek political parties except the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn.

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EUROPE: DO THE RIGHT THING ON HEZBOLLAH Print E-mail
Tuesday, 10 May 2016 10:15

- Article by David Harris, CEO of the AJC, published on The World Post  (April 27, 2016) and on the Greek Huffington Post (May 9, 2016), on the EU policy on Hezbollah.

Nearly three years ago, the European Union finally overcame its longstanding resistance and addressed the issue of adding Hezbollah to its terrorism list.

The good news is that the 28 member states, prompted by the determination of Bulgaria, which experienced a deadly Hezbollah attack the year before, and Cyprus, which arrested a Hezbollah operative scouting out sites, took action.

The bad news is that the EU opted to bifurcate Hezbollah and place the "military wing" on the terrorism list, while leaving its "political wing" off it.

If ever there was a distinction without a difference, this was it. Don't take my word for it. None other than Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah's Lebanon-based chief, said as much, stressing that no one could divide his organization.

Mocking the EU's decision, Nasrallah asserted: "A government [of Lebanon] without Hezbollah will never be formed. Just as a joke, I propose that our ministers in the next government be from the military wing of Hezbollah."

It's not often that I agree with Nasrallah, but on this occasion -give him his due - he was right about the EU illusion that there are two Hezbollahs.

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ANNOUNCEMENT FOR THE RHETORIC OF HATE LAUNCHED BY A RELIGIOUS REPRESENTATIVE IN XANTHI Print E-mail
Tuesday, 29 March 2016 08:51

We were informed by a recent press article of the newspaper “Parapolitica” (March 19, 2016) that Ahmet Mete, a religious figure in Xanthi, during his speech delivered in August 2014, at the village of Glafki, stated inter alia: “Curse against Israel! For these are the ones turned into soap by the Germans. But Hitler was right when he said: now you will be angry with me but one day I will be proved right about the Jews. Now our curse goes upon them, and our prayers upon our brothers”. 

A ministrant of a religious minority, the muslim minority, instead of being a preacher of religious peace, tolerance and reconciliation, becomes a preacher of hatred. It is not his right to do so. Even if he does not feel the moral obligation to teach reconciliation among people, he certainly does not have the right to preach hatred.

It is well known that anti-Semitism –that often reaches the point of praising Nazism and Hitler- flourishes in Islamist regimes. Nevertheless, the religious figure of Xanthi should know that such attitude is not tolerated in Greece. And if he does not know that himself, we–as a society and as a state- should mind letting him know.

On our end, the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece, will always be in alert against any case of anti-Semitic rhetoric regardless of origins.

Athens, March 28, 2016

Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece

 
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