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WHO WILL STAND UP FOR THE CHRISTIANS?

The following opinion article authored by World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder was published in the “New York Times” on August 19, 2014

WHY is the world silent while Christians are being slaughtered in the Middle East and Africa? In Europe and in the United States, we have witnessed demonstrations over the tragic deaths of Palestinians who have been used as human shields by Hamas, the terrorist organization that controls Gaza. The United Nations has held inquiries and focuses its anger on Israel for defending itself against that same terrorist organization. But the barbarous slaughter of thousands upon thousands of Christians is met with relative indifference.

The Middle East and parts of central Africa are losing entire Christian communities that have lived in peace for centuries. The terrorist group Boko Haram has kidnapped and killed hundreds of Christians this year — ravaging the predominantly Christian town of Gwoza, in Borno State in northeastern Nigeria, two weeks ago. Half a million Christian Arabs have been driven out of Syria during the three-plus years of civil war there. Christians have been persecuted and killed in countries from Lebanon to Sudan.

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THE UNVEILING OF INSCRIBED MARBLE PLAQUES ON ZAKYNTHOS

Zakynthian Jews from Athens, Israel and America met on the island of their birth at a moving event of tribute and remembrance organised by the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece (KISE) in conjunction Jewish people originally from  Zakynthos (Zante). The event was the unveiling of two inscribed marble plaques and it took place at the island's Jewish Cemetery on 13th July 2014.

One of the plaques is dedicated to the seventy or so Zakynthian Jews who were living on Kerkyra (Corfu) and in Chania (on Crete) at the time of the occupation; a fact which resulted in their being among the six million victims of the Holocaust. It is also an indirect reference to the rescue of 275 Jews of Zakynthos from German savagery, made possible by the solidarity of other residents of Zakynthos with Metropolitan Bishop Chrysostome and Mayor Loukas Karrer at the helm − the only rescue of its kind in the whole of occupied Europe.

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KIS ANNOUNCEMENT FOR THE RISE OF ANTISEMITIC ARTICLES AND ATTITUDES IN GREECE IN RELATION TO THE GAZA CONFLICT
It is a fact that the war in Gaza has caused pain and grief for the loss of many innocent lives that –in most of the cases- were used as human shields by the terrorist groups of Hamas in order to trigger international condemnation against Israel. The larger the number of victims, the bigger the operation to demonize the very existence of the State of Israel. This campaign is undertaken by several Greek ‘journalists’ who do not hesitate to compare Gaza to Auschwitz and the Israelis to the Nazis. They choose to incriminate Israel for a war that Hamas has declared and for the crime against the Palestinian people that the same Hamas is being committing. Yet, they forget that shouldn’t Israel have the means to protect its own citizens (shelters, Israeli made anti-missile systems etc), there would have been thousands of victims caused by the nearly 4.000 rockets launched by Hamas against civilians. Thus, Hamas is untouchable to these writers. Alongside with the fanatic Jihadists who are immune to criticism while they spread terror and death (among Muslim and Christian polulations) in Iraq, Syria, Sudan and elsewhere. Hypocrisy unfold in all its magnitude which, nevertheless, reveals their anti-Semitic rage.

Criticism of the policy of a government can be strongly condemning. Nevertheless, distortion of historical truth, unacceptable comparisons and the strategy of the ‘one and only guilty part’ (the State of Israel) constitute an orchestrated operation to delegitimize the right of the Israeli people to exist on the land of Israel, which consequently leads to the delegitimization of the right of the Jews to exist as equal members of the society and the country chosen to live in. This is anti-Semitism.
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ANNOUNCEMENT ON THE SITUATION IN THE MIDDLE EAST Print E-mail
Thursday, 17 July 2014 11:09
The Middle East is on fire. Over 1.000 rockets have been launched from the Gaza Strip targeting Israeli civilians in Jerusalem, in Tel Aviv, in the port of Ashdod, and in Haifa in northern Israel. Six million Israelis live under the threat of the rockets launched by Hamas, which has a long history of terrorist attacks against civilians and the destruction of Israel as its main declared goal.
The fact that the Israelis do not mourn thousands  of victims from this ruthless attack is to be accredited to the protection measures undertaken form Israel for the security of its population and specifically to the use of the “Iron Dome” anti-missile system, as well as to the timely warning of its citizens to rush into shelters.
The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece, representing all the Jewish Communities in our country, expresses its solidarity towards the citizens and the State of Israel that once more are forced to defend the obvious right to their existence in safety.

Unlike Israel, Hamas -which for many years does not hesitate to send the children of Palestine into suicide attacks, to kidnap and murder Israeli children- most inhumanly, uses today the Palestinian citizens of the Gaza Strip as a human shield to protect the launchers of rockets against Israel. Thus, apartment buildings, homes for the elders, schools, even kindergartners, have been turned into facilities for manufacturing of rockets and launching devices.
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WORLD JEWRY CONDEMNS MURDER OF PALESTINIAN TEEN Print E-mail
Tuesday, 08 July 2014 11:24
World Jewry unanimously condemned the brutal revenge murder of the 16 year old Palestinian boy from Jerusalem, Muhammad Hussein Abu Khdeir, in the aftermath of the murder of the three abducted Israeli teenagers on June 12, 2014.
In Athens, Secretary General of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece Victor Eliezer, speaking at the memorial service for the Israeli teens held at the Athens Synagogue on July 5, 2014, condemned the murder of the Israelis, together with the murder of the Palestinian boy and urged people in the region not to give up on Peace, not to give another chance to hatred and fanaticism to cause such pain and bloodshed again”.
Here are the most characteristic statements of condemnation of the world Jewry:
 
DESECRATION OF THE ATHENS HOLOCAUST MONUMENT Print E-mail
Monday, 30 June 2014 12:16
On Friday June 27, 2014, vandals desecrated with anti-Semitic and threatening graffiti the Holocaust Monument in Athens. The police immediately reached the site and started investigation.

The Athens Holocaust Monument is dedicated to the memory of the tens of thousands of Greek Jews who suffered a tragic death in the Nazi concentration camps. 
The Athens Jewish Community sponsored the erection of the Monument and in 2010 donated it to the municipality of Athens, in order to make it a landmark in the capital city and a reminder to its citizens and visitors of the most heinous mass crime in contemporary history.

Regretfully, 70 years after the end of World War II, which left millions of victims of bigotry, racism, Nazism and anti-Semitism behind, there are people beyond redemption aiming at terrorizing us by molesting the memory of our brothers, victims of the Holocaust. They will not succeed in intimidating us. Quite the opposite. Along with the citizens of Athens we will enhance efforts to keep memory alive so as to prevent their profane and insulting attempt to violate history and disseminate hatred and fanaticism again.

We trust the State authorities will trace down the perpetrators and will bring them to justice. We trust the society of our city, and the society of our country will not allow the perpetuation of such phenomena and will effectively confront them. Any form of racism, regardless who it targets, is a threat to Democracy and our Civilization.

Athens June 30, 2014
The Jewish Community of Athens
The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece
 
ANNOUNCEMENT: The Greek Jewry mourns for the three Israeli teens murdered by terrorists Print E-mail
Tuesday, 01 July 2014 12:52
The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece expresses the devastation of the Greek Jewry by the heinous murder of the three Israeli teenagers kidnapped while they were on their way home, 18 days ago, by terrorists of Hamas.  The Greek Jewry joins the families of the victims, the people of Israel and the Jews all over the world in mourning.

Naphtali Fraenkel, 16, Gilad Sha’ar, 16, and Eyal Yifrach, 16, were murdered by unscrupulous terrorists on the day of their abduction.  Yesterday, their dead bodies were found near Hebron.

Once more the supporters of terrorism have struck against the heart of the Israeli society, its children.

At last, the international community has to work together with the State of Israel in the battle against terrorism and fanaticism, that keep spreading while implementing the most hideous methods of violence.

Even in these times of mourning, the Greek Jewry keeps on believing in and supporting the efforts for the peace making process in the Middle East so that clarity of mind prevails over hatred and fanaticism. 

Athens, July 1st,  2014

Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece

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ANNOUNCEMENT REGARDING THE ABDUCTION OF THREE ISRAELI TEENAGERS Print E-mail
Friday, 20 June 2014 12:29

The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece issued the following statement regarding the abduction of three Israeli teenagers by terrorists:

"We share the anxiety of the Israeli citizens, as well as of the families of the children Gilad Sha’ar, 16, Eyal Yifrach, 19, and Naftali Frankel, 16 years old, who have been kidnapped by terrorists while returning to their homes.

We unite our voice with all the people who think freely and we ask for the immediate release of the three Israeli children, who were abducted in the name of fanaticism and hatred.

Such terrorist actions lead to regression of the peace process, and encourage those who want the continuation of bloodshed in order to undermine the peace process in the region of the Middle East.

We pray for the immediate and safe return of the children to their families".

June 20, 2014
Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece
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