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AFTER GREEK OFFICIAL'S RESIGNATION, WJC HEAD URGES EUROPE TO ISOLATE EXTREMIST PARTIES
NEW YORK/LONDON – The resignation of a top adviser to the Greek prime minister, after he was caught on videotape discussing an investigation of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn Party with an official of the same party, underscores that Europeans “need to establish a common policy against dealings with neo-Nazi, racist, and anti-Semitic elements, and a clear 'cordon sanitaire' vis-à-vis these parties,” World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder declared on Tuesday.

“It is outrageous that an aide to Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras spoke to a known anti-Semite and Holocaust denier, and it is only fitting that the aide resigned,” Lauder said. “But this egregious episode points to a larger problem – that legitimate European parties need to isolate racists and anti-Semites like Golden Dawn. Such a policy becomes even more important before the European elections in May, when such disgusting parties stand to gain in Greece and elsewhere.”
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EJC PRESIDENT KANTOR CALLS JOBBIK ELECTORAL GAINS “A DARK DAY FOR EUROPE”
European Jewish Congress President Dr. Moshe Kantor said the electoral gains made by the neo-Nazi party Jobbik in the Hungarian parliamentary elections should be a source of grave concern for Europe. 
“The gains made by Jobbik, an unashamedly neo-Nazi political party, should serve as a wake-up call for the whole of Europe,” Kantor said. “Once again in Europe we are witnessing democracy being appropriated by those who are the enemies of democracy.”
“This is truly a dark day for Hungary.”
Four years ago, Jobbik received 16.7% of the national votes in Hungary, becoming the third largest party. Today, they have consolidated and even increased that strength to an alarming almost one in five of all Hungarian voters.
“This is a party that feeds on hate” Kantor continued. “The new Hungarian government must ensure now that this hate is not tolerated, not by the government, not in parliament and not on the streets of Hungary.”
“These results have given the far-Right a strong tailwind going into next month’s European Parliament elections. It is the duty of both European leaders and voters to ensure that a strong message is delivered by supporters of democracy throughout Europe to show these racists and xenophobes that hate has no place on our continent.”

 
ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE GREEK JEWRY FOR THE CONVERSATION BETWEEN BALTAKOS AND KASIDIARIS
The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece issued the following announcement after the political turmoil that burst out in relation to the video released by Golden Dawn MP Ilias Kasidiaris in which Greek Government’s secretary and top aide of Greek PM Samaras, Takis Baltakos, accuses the PM of influencing the criminal investigation against the Golden Dawn. In the video Baltakos, who was forced to resign immediately after the release of the video, during what appears to be a friendly conversation with Kasidiaris, inter alia, refers to the statement made by PM Samaras at the “American Zionist Conference” on the crackdown of Golden Dawn. With these disparaging words Baltakos referred to the speech delivered by PM Samaras to the American Jewish Committee during his visit in the USA, on September 30, 2013.

“With regard to the conversation between Baltakos and Kasidiaris the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece expresses its strong resentment that a former government official was in consultation with a declared anti-Semite and Holocaust denier.
We repeat our firm position and once more call upon the democratic political parties to join forces and combat the morphemes of Nazism in our country always within the context of the Constitution and the Rule of Law.
Seventy years after Hitler’s barbarity was revealed, Greece and Europe have the duty to isolate those who seek the return of Nazism, and those who disseminate racist, xenophobic and anti-Semitic ideas, in order to safeguard Democracy as well as our civilization”.
 
Athens April 4, 2014 
Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece
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GREECE’S ROMANIOTE JEWS REMEMBER A CATASTROPHE AND GRAPPLE WITH DISAPPEARING Print E-mail
Thursday, 03 April 2014 08:16
  
photo: The members of the Ioannina Jewish community, foreign diplomats and local dignitaries take part in a memorial service inside Ioannina’s Kahal Kadosh Yashan synagogue to mark 70 years since the Nazi deportations. (Gavin Rabinowitz)
 
IOANNINA, Greece — When the Jews of Ioannina gathered in their whitewashed-stone synagogue over the weekend, it was to commemorate 70 years since the Nazis destroyed their community.
But the March 30 gathering also served to highlight a source of present-day sadness: the withering of the unique 2,300 year-old Romaniote Jewish tradition.
Ioannina, a postcard-pretty town in northwestern Greece with a medieval fortress perched by a bright blue lake and surrounded by snow-capped mountains, once was the center of Romaniote Jewish life. Today, however, the community in Ioannina numbers fewer than 50 members, most of them elderly. The last time the community celebrated a bar mitzvah was in 2000.
The community’s leaders fear for its future. “It is very difficult,” said Moses Elisaf, the community’s president. “We try to do our best to keep the traditions, but the numbers are very hard.”
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JEWISH GROUPS DECRY NATIONAL FRONT ELECTION SUCCESSES IN FRANCE Print E-mail
Wednesday, 02 April 2014 09:32
Jewish groups in France and Europe blamed voters’ indifference for the success of the far-right National Front party in French local elections.
National Front candidates were elected mayors in 11 municipalities in the vote on Sunday — a dramatic increase over the party’s previous record of four mayors in 1997, the news site europe1.fr reported. A record number of French voters did not cast ballots.
“The message is loud and clear that the French electorate is either not taking the threat from the far right seriously or they do not care,” Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, president of the European Conference of Rabbis, said in a statement Monday.
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AJC's VISIT TO ATHENS Print E-mail
Tuesday, 11 March 2014 12:16
On 5th and 6th March 2014 a large delegation of the American Jewish Committee, led by its president Mr. Stanley Bergman and executive director Mr. David Harris, visited Athens and attended high-level meetings. The president of the “Coordinated Effort of Hellenes” Mr. Andrew Manatos was also a member of the delegation, once more sealing the close cooperation between AJC and the Hellenic-American community in the USA.
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WJC EXECUTIVE BACKS RESTRICTIONS ON ANTI-SEMITIC HATE SPEECH, DISCUSSES SITUATION OF UKRAINIAN JEWS Print E-mail
Wednesday, 02 April 2014 09:04
PARIS - The situation of Jews in Ukraine, and in France; growing anti-Semitism in Europe; the boycott campaign against Israel; and the upcoming 20th anniversary of the AMIA center bombing in Argentina were among the topics discussed by the members of the Executive Committee of the World Jewish Congress (WJC) on Monday and Tuesday in the French capital Paris.

The Jewish leaders praised new French Prime Minister Manuel Valls for acting with determination against the anti-Semitic comedian Dieudonné and backed as “entirely legitimate” measures to restrict free speech where it is deemed necessary by the local Jewish community to protect “citizens from the spread of anti-Semitic and racist incitement.” The meeting was chaired by WJC President Ronald S. Lauder.
 
WJC backs Manuel Valls over action against Dieudonné
The Executive heard a presentation from Vice-President Roger Cukierman, the head of the French Jewish umbrella body CRIF, who expressed grave concern at the recent growth of anti-Semitism in the country, which has the third largest Jewish community in the world and the largest in Europe. In a resolution, the members of the WJC Executive expressed “great appreciation to President François Hollande and his government for their strong fight against anti-Semitism.”
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THE CENTRAL BOARD OF JEWISH COMMUNITIES IN GREECE ISSUED THE FOLLOWING PRESS RELEASE AFTER SYRIZA'S DECISION REGARDING THE CANDIDACY OF THEODOROS KARYPIDIS Print E-mail
Sunday, 09 February 2014 17:26

 The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece, in a press announcement of 5/2/2014, had expressed the Greek Jewry’s concern and astonishment for the decision made by the political party of SYRIZA to appoint as candidate for Regional Governor of Western Macedonia Mr. Theodoros Karypidis, who in the past had made offensive statements for the Jews and the Jewish religion.

The Greek Jewry had also expressed the hope that SYRIZA, as a significant democratic party would strictly follow the policy against racism and anti-Semitism which is adopted by all democratic parties in Greece and in Europe.

The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece expresses its satisfaction for the most recent decision taken by the leadership of SYRIZA, which actually places on the margins of Greek society those who disseminate views that incite racism, intolerance and anti-Semitism. With this decision, SYRIZA launches a strong and clear message towards the Greek society that anti-Semitism is to be condemned as a phenomenon of racism and bigotry that breeds hatred against Jews and in the same time constitutes a threat against democracy itself as well as against the principles and values of a free society.

As we stated, ιt is our common duty to safeguard the principles of democracy, freedom and religious tolerance in the 2014 Greece, against those who serve the forces of darkness and anti-Semitic stereotypes.

 

Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece

Athens, February 9, 2014

 

 
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