Bigots In The New Greek Government

The JC has a piece on Georgios Karatzaferis, leader of the Far Right, Popular Orthodox Rally in Greece:

“The new Greek coalition, formed after the resignation of Prime Minister George Papandreou, held its first session on Friday, but concerns have been raised by organisations worldwide over the presence of the fast-rising, ultra – right LAOS party, the Popular Orthodox Rally, in the coalition government.

During Operation Cast Lead in 2008, LAOS leader Georgios Karatzaferis said in a newspaper editorial, that the Israel Defence Forces were acting “with savage brutality only seen in Hitler’s time towards helpless people.” He has also publicly questioned why Jews did not “come to work on 9/11″ in 2001 and accused the then-Greek prime minister during a parliamentary session in 2002, of having a daughter who “secretly married a Jew”.

The party has been condemned by the American Jewish Committee, after it joined the unity government together with the Socialist PASOK party of Mr Papandreou and the Conservative New Democracy party. At least one LAOS member is expected to gain a ministerial post.”

Observers have long noted that Greece has a serious problem with antisemitism.

The Stephen Roth Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism and Racism has documented problems in Greece for years, particularly concerning LAOS:

“In May 2009, MP Elias Polatidis (LAOS) cast doubt on the uniqueness of the Holocaust when he submitted a question to the culture minister regarding the erection of the Holocaust monument in Athens (inaugurated in May 2010), asking why the state has not demonstrated similar sensitivity towards genocides of other groups of people.

On March 27, the five-member Athens Appeals Court, a second level court, found well-known Greek antisemite and Holocaust denier and former LAOS member Kostas Plevris not guilty of “incitement to racial hatred and violence against the Jews” for his 1,400 page racist and virulently antisemitic book Jews – The Whole Truth. A “cassation in favor of the law [antiracist Greek Law 927/1979]” (which does not revoke or annul the Appeals Court verdict, but is aimed at protecting the public interest by preventing a wrongful judgment from acquiring the status of res judicata and from constituting a precedent for adjudication of similar cases in the future), submitted by the Supreme Court (Arios Pagos) prosecutor in July was dismissed in April 2010.

In the general elections of October 2009, the nationalist and xenophobic LAOS significantly increased its strength, gaining 5.63 percent of the vote (15 seats), compared to 3.8 percent (10 seats) in 2007. In the European Parliament elections of June 2009 LAOS (which is a part of the far right EFD [Europe of Freedom and Democracy] grouping) doubled its power from 4.1 percent in 2004 to 7.1 percent and from one to two MEPs.”

Marko Attila Hoare flags up ‘Abravanel, the Blog’, a Greek blogger with a superb post on the issue, Antisemitic Ministers and Holocaust deniers enter the new Greek government.

Update 1: I had forgotten Searchlight covered LOAS and the Greek Far Right in 2004:

“The widespread acceptance of these ideas was illustrated by the results for Giorgos Karatzaferis’ right-wing extremist LAOS party, which expresses similar ideas but has not been labelled as a nazi party. LAOS received 252,429 votes (4.12%) and its leader won a seat in the European Parliament as a member of the Independent Democrats group.

Karatzaferis does not want to be called a far-right leader but has a long history of cooperation with the nazis. In 1998, as an opposition New Democracy (ND) member of parliament, he called on members of Golden Dawn to join forces with ND and promised them the secretariat of a ministry in a future government. When the Greek Prime Mimister and ND leader, Kostas Karamanlis, was asked by journalists to comment on this by one of his MPs, he merely answered that “on historical issues there are different approaches”.

In 2001, having formed his own party, Karatzaferis made a speech in parliament claiming that there was a Jewish conspiracy behind the September 11th terrorist attacks. A Greek Communist Party MP, Giorgos Hourmouziadis publicly supported these comments.

In 2002, Karatzaferis included four nazis in his election list for the prefecture elections. Protests by the Antinazi Initiative wrecked the cooperation between LAOS and the nazis but LAOS still received 14% of the vote.

In the 2004 European election, LAOS included the notorious national socialist, Konstantinos Plevris, on its candidates’ list. Plevris is founder of a party called The Fourth of August (the anniversary date of the Metaxas dictatorship established in 1936) and was a councillor in the 1967-74 military junta.

He has also written a book about Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels’ diary in which he claims that Hitler’s troops “admired the Greeks” and that it was the English forces sent to Greece that caused the German invasion in 1941. In another book Let’s talk about Jews, he denies the Holocaust and the existence of the Nazi gas chambers.

The main ingredients of LAOS’ propaganda are antisemitism, xenophobia, nationalism and ranting against globalisation, the “New World Order”, the “Europe of the capitalists” and the so-called “global domination of Zionism”. These distasteful ideas are disseminated in the party’s weekly newspaper A1 and by its TV channel Tele-Asty which transmits all over Greece. “

6 comments

  1. Thank you for dealing with with ; perhaps more distressing is not the LàOS party itself but the spectacular apathy which surrounds such blatant antisemitism, (of the pure good old type: Holocaust denial, pro-nazi, Jewish conspiracies, Christ-Killers etc).

    Since the Searchlight article LàOS has acquired a steady presence in the EuroParliament and the Greek Parliament, 1 minister and 3 undersecretaries as part of the new government. The nazis mentioned in the article eventually have won one seat in the municipal council where they have executed nazi salutes to spike fellow members.

  2. Indeed.

    I have been following (from afar) events in Greece for some years and the obvious inertia in the face of rising antisemitism was always so troubling.

    Are there any good antifacist groupings there? Or is it just left to individuals and concerned communities?

  3. Antifascist yes although I have personally witnessed the fact that the european antifa organizations consider the greek ones sorely lacking in solidarity.

    But even these groups do not deal at all with antisemitism; currently there is one small NGO and one small anarchic group who talk about antisemitism – there was also a newspaper column but it has been let off. Still one can easily find antisemitic articles about “american-jewish capitalism” in newspapers like the mainstream, centre-left Eleftherotypia. Plus there is the problem that the lack of any solidarity has made the jewish communities phobic and indicative is the fact that american, french, german organizations have commented but the greek Central Board of Jewish Communities (KIS) is reluctant to say anything.

  4. Depressing isn’t it?

    I wonder how it came about? The past Dictatorships? Political influence of Stalinist parties? The Church?

  5. Qualitatively and origin-wise Greek antisemitism is no different from the european one; I could even claim it was mild. The problem is that after WW2 Europe has evolved while Greece has remained the same: nowadays we still have high-profiled Bishops claiming that Zionism is an Apocalypse-bringer monster and Harry Potter is the work of Jews and Masons. We still have extreme-Right politicians. And to add insult to injury since the ’70s a soviet-driven antisemitism of the Left has created situations where the supposedly atheist communists speak about “30 pieces of silver” when speaking about Israel evoking the Christ-killing accusation. Coupled with Spain, Greece is probably the worst offender in Europe with the notable difference that Spain expelled the Jews in 1492 while in Greece you still find looted tombstones* in every church of Salonica.

    * from the Salonican cemetary, the biggest Jewish cemetery in the world with 350.000 tombs from the 3rd century CE until 1942 and destroyed by the greek authorities.

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