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LATEST NEWS

KIS ANNOUNCEMENT FOR MANCHESTER TERRORIST ATTACK

The recent deadly terrorist attack that occurred yesterday, the 22nd of May 2017, in the foyer of the “Manchester Arena” of the city of ​​Manchester, shocked Great Britain. The attacker detonated an improvised explosive device killing 22 people, including children, and injuring at least 59 others. It is the deadliest terrorist attack in Great Britain since July 2005, when four British Muslims killed 52 people in a series of coordinated terrorist suicide bomb attacks in London which targeted civilians using the public transport system.

Once again, this blind terrorist attack targets young people in places where they go for entertainment, and its terrible symbolism is more than clear.

The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece expresses the abhorrence and deep sorrow of Greek Jewry for this hideous terrorist attack and expresses once more its concern about the almost mimetic spread of terrorism and blind violence.

Our thoughts are with the victims and their families in these difficult moments. We express the wholeheartedly solidarity of Greek Jewry to the British people and the British Government.

May 23, 2017

Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece
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KIS CONDEMNS “NEW ANTI-SEMITISM”

In an article published on the news site enikos.gr (May 10, 2017), entitled “In bloody ink”, journalist and cartoonist Stathis (Stavropoulos) denounces attempts to incriminate criticism against Israel that present it as anti-Semitism in order to annul such political criticism. The article is accompanied by a cartoon which pictures free opinion killed by Israel. The article and cartoon were Stathis response to the publication of a survey on Anti-Semitism in Greece which shows high rates of anti-Semitic feelings in Greece. The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece issued the following announcement on New Anti-Semitism:  
Certain anti-Semitic articles and cartoons in the press and on the internet contribute to the building up of a stereotype based on drawing parallels among “Jews”, “Zionists” and “Nazis”, equalizing the first with the latter, within a context of a frenetic trend to demonize the Sate of Israel and its people, present them as “Nazis” and as the incarnation of absolute evil. This is the fundamental principle of the so-called “New Anti-semitism”.

Journalists, cartoonists and media use deliberately the term “agents” of Israel, to avoid being accused of anti-Semitism, giving as a pretext that they do not aim against the Jews but against the Zionists. In this spirit, the Extreme Right coined the term “Jewish Zionist”. This new form of Anti-semitism is in use both by the Extreme Right, as well as by many groups of the Left who wish to delegitimize the very right of existence of the State of Israel. 

We were very disappointed when we read the new anti-Semitic libel of the Greek columnist Stathis, which he accompanied with an outrageous cartoon. He defies Greek and international surveys which underline the rise of anti-Semitic stereotypes among the Greeks; he demonizes the State of Israel (the only democratic state in the wider sensitive area of the Middle East, and a precious ally of our country in very difficult circumstances); and he accuses and incriminates, with disgraceful, pejorative and insulting characterizations all those who disagree with his opinion and fight boldly against racism, xenophobia, and anti-Semitic stereotypes.

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EU COORDINATOR ON COMBATING ANTI-SEMITISM IN THESSALONIKI FOR BOOK PRESENTATION

The research study «Anti-Semitism in Greece today: Expressions, causes and tackling of the phenomenon», which is one of the very few pertinent public opinion polls, has been presented in Thessaloniki during a special event that took place on Wednesday May 3, 2017. The event, which was attended and addressed by European Commission’s Coordinator on combating anti-Semitism in Europe, Katharina von Schnurbein, was organized by the Heinrich Böll Stiftung, Greece, the foundation that published the research in a book with the same title.

The research program, conducted by Giorgos Antoniou, Spyros Kosmidis, Elias Dinas and Leon Saltiel, has been presented by George Antoniou (Associate Professor of Jewish Studies, University of Thessaloniki) and Spyros Kosmidis (Lecturer, University of Oxford).

The important current research looks into the causes and expressions of anti-Semitism in Greece, proposing measures and policies effectively dealing with the phenomenon, based on the assumption that the Holocaust was an unprecedented crime against humanity that cannot be time-barred.

The EU Coordinator on combating anti-Semitism, Katharina von Schnurbein, in her opening remarks stressed that not all EU states have integrated into their law systems the European legislation against Anti-Semitism; she also informed the audience that Europe is in cooperation with the biggest foreign companies in the social media, in order to fight the spread of Anti-Semitic stereotypes through the social media. Maria Giannakaki, General Secretary of Transparency and Human Rights of the Ministry of Justice, stressed that «[Anti-Semitism] is the most time-resistant form of racism and discrimination».

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GREEK JEWS CONDEMN ATTACKS AGAINST CHRISTIAN CHURCHES IN GREECE – KIS LETTER TO THE ARCHBISHOP OF ATHENS Print E-mail
Wednesday, 10 August 2016 12:47

With regard to a series of attacks against Christian churches and following the  arson attack on the Petraki Church in Athens, which also houses the offices of the Holy Synod of the Greek Orthodox Church, the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece strongly condemned this act of vandalism. In a letter to His Holiness the Archbishop of Athens and All Greece, Ieronymos, the Board expressed the Greek Jewry’s solidarity. The letter states the following:


Your Holiness,

It is with dismay that we have been observing in the past days the violent attacks against Christian churches in Greece. The attack on the offices of the Holy Synod of the Greek Orthodox Church, in the Petraki Monastery, is the most recent event in this sad chain of violent acts. Our reaction to these events must be united and firm: We must condemn violence and safeguard all people’s right to worship.

 

We, the Greek Jews, know very well what vandalism of a house of prayer means to a worshiper. We have many times experienced this painful feeling. In a time when religion is constantly targeted, we have the moral obligation to defend with all our strength the right to faith. Hatred and intolerance have no place in a society that means to forge the respect of human rights.

Your Holiness,

 

We share your rightful sorrow for the desecration of holy Christian sites, as such actions are an insult to the core values of our civilization. 

Athens August 9, 2016

Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece

The President Moses Constantinis

The Secretary General Marcel Solomon

 

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ANNOUNCEMENT FOR THE MURDER OF THE CATHOLIC PRIEST IN FRANCE Print E-mail
Thursday, 28 July 2016 07:45

Europe was confronted once again this week with the face of terrorism. It was the turn of Germany and France this time, which now constitutes the most common place of action for radical Islamists in Europe. This last attack took place in Normandy, where the terrorists chose as their target a place of prayer and worship. There, they brutally killed the 86-year-old Jacques Hamel, priest of the small Catholic community of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, close to Rouen.

The meaning of this recent attack is self-evident. The two terrorists of the Islamic State invaded a holy place and violated the right to prayer and hope. They impose their hatred and try to eradicate the feelings of love and brotherhood among people.

We must not respond to the hatred of the fanatics with hate. “The Catholic Church cannot take weapons other than those of prayer and brotherhood among men”, said Archbishop Dominique Lebrun of Rouen. Indeed, these are the true weapons of all religions.  

The attack against the believers in Rouen is an attack not only against the Catholics, but against every believer and every religion. The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece stands next to the Christian Community of France and the French society. We therefore express our full sympathy and grief and we strongly condemn these hideous actions. With the only weapons that we have in our hands, our prayers and faith, we will continuously fight for religious freedom, love and fraternity among people, so as not to let these high values be defeated by the hatred and violence of the Islamic terrorism.

 Athens, July 28, 2016

 CENTRAL BOARD OF JEWISH COMMUNITIES IN GREECE

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ANNOUNCEMENT FOR THE PEW SURVEY ON EUROPEAN FEARS RELEVANT TO REFUGEE INFLUX – GREECE’S SCORES Print E-mail
Wednesday, 20 July 2016 10:52

For the past several years Europe goes through an ongoing crisis. Economic destabilization has inter alia altered to a great extent the nature of relations amongst European citizens. Tolerance of the Europeans towards the refugees, the immigrants and any other minority decreases daily. This fact is also confirmed by the recent survey conducted by Pew Research Center on European scale.

The idea of a multicultural society seems to have collapsed for good. In the face of the immigrant European citizens see the foreign that will be a burden to economy and will endanger national security. The recent terrorist attacks intensify xenophobic and racist feelings as they offer ground for rushed assessments. In this context the rates of Islamophobia have dramatically increased in the recent period.

Regarding our country, the results are highly worrisome. Greece lies steadily among the first countries with the highest scores of negative opinions towards immigrants and refugees. Greece also holds the highest score in Europe regarding society’s negative attitudes towards the Jews. These results must not come as a surprise to us. For a long time diffused anti-Semitism is common in Greece, as this recent survey came to confirm. Anti-Semitic incidents increase more and more. Intolerance seems to have put roots in the very heart of society. The rhetoric of stereotypes and conspiracy theories, as well as prejudice against the Jews, and secondly against the Muslims, is widely tolerated by a major part of Greek society.

Therefore, let this survey be a starting point for reaction. It is time that all competent authorities rise high to the challenge of their responsibilities.

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ANNOUNCEMENT FOR THE CONVICTION OF GREEK JOURNALIST STRATIS BALASKAS Print E-mail
Thursday, 21 July 2016 12:08

The relation and the boundary line between freedom of speech and expression on one hand and defamation on the other provokes always great discussion. Recently Stratis Balaskas, a Greek journalist, was convicted for defamation after characterizing a fellow citizen, who is also an educator and director of a public High School, as “neo-Nazi”. Specifically, the reporter was convicted for publishing libels. The case was brought in front of the Court of Appeals, where the conviction was reaffirmed. The plaintiff, who denied any connection with such ideas and/or organizations, has published in the past several articles in websites and blogs (using also his account at the “Hellenic School Network” www.sch.gr, a web platform of the Ministry of Education that connects educators and schools around Greece) where he argues in favor of the “Aryan race” and calls all the nationalists of the country –and especially the teachers and the parents- to unite in order to fight for the preservation of “racial purity” and spread the truth about the Jews among others. The Court decided that the characterization “neo-Nazi” is defamatory and convicted the defendant to three months jail time. Finally, the case will be considered again by the Supreme Court.

Following articles in the Greek press about this case, the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece issued the following announcement in order to support Mr. Balaska’s claim for justice:

Every well-ordered society has its principles that define what is right and wrong, while the fundamental right of the freedom of speech constitutes the cornerstone every democracy. With these thoughts in mind, we worry about the conviction of the reporter Stratis Balaskas by the Court of Appeals. Mr. Balaskas, according to a press article, was convicted for defamation through the medium of the Press, after calling, in one of his articles, as “national-socialist and neo-Nazi” the Director of a local High School of Lesbos.

Therefore, we deem it appropriate to make some relevant observations: Firstly, to distinguish between the notion of National-Socialism and the notion of Nazism is historically totally incorrect, let alone to consider that the first one implies a mildest characterization than the second. According to the press article, the convicted Mr. Balaskas had rightly denounced the extreme beliefs of the plaintiff, criticizing in that way the work of a public professor and considering that the social role of the plaintiff is not consistent with the expression of extreme nationalist speech. 

Moreover, it is a really discouraging fact that a professor expresses this kind of extreme thoughts without any consequences. A teacher has no right to become a preacher of intolerance. Ideas such as extreme nationalism, fanaticism and anti-Semitism have no place in students’ education. 

We consider it our duty to stand by Mr. Balaskas and support his fight for justice, while our faith to the judiciary system remains strong.

Finally, the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece will always condemn any expression of hate speech and any intolerant behavior.  

Athens, July 14, 2016

Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece

 
KIS ANNOUNCEMENT FOR THE DEADLY TERROR ATTACK IN NICE - FRANCE. Nice was stuck on the National Day of Bastille Print E-mail
Monday, 18 July 2016 08:08

France was meant to be once again the target of a new bloodshed on the 14th of July 2016, the day of national celebration. Bastille Day, the Festivity of the French nation was struck by terror. The date was obviously not a random pick. It is the day that represents Democracy, as well as the civilization of human rights, the modern world at large, thus all those elements despised by phanatic terrorists. This time it was Nice’s time to experience the horror of a blind terror attack. Death toll is again too heavy counting 84 victims so far. The target was selected well in advance. It was the crowd that had joyously joined the celebrations for France’s National Day.

Europe lives in fear. The only question lies in when and where the next strike will take place, as the circle of blood does not seem to come to an end soon.

As long as terrorism is not totally defeated, we are forced to live in fear.

Verbal condemnation of every new terror attack is obviously not enough. Customary announcements tend to become just words empty of meaning.

The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece believes that time has come for all to undertake our responsibilities so as to put an end to this tragedy. The more we remain inert and passive observers the more phanaticism and intolerance will gain ground while Europe shinks in the darkness. The responsibility we bear is historic. Finally, in these difficult moments our thoughts are for the victims and their families to whom we convey our deepest condolences.     

Athens, July 15, 2016

CENTRAL BOARD OF JEWISH COMMUNITIES IN GREECE

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