100 Neo-Nazi party voters for every Jew in Greece
It's ironic and a bit strange that as Israel has developed closer relations with Greece (perhaps to replace its relations with Turkey), Greece has a rapidly growing neo-Nazi party. Granted that the story comes from the Forward, which is a left-leaning (at best) publication, and was written by JTA, which is also left-leaning. And granted too that the emphasis doesn't appear to be on Jews, but rather on those seen as destroying the Greek economy
. But there is a lot here to make Greek Jews nervous. And let's keep in mind that the German Nazi party also arose in the middle of a crashing economy.
For every Jew who lives in Greece, there are about 100 Greeks who
voted for the country’s neo-Nazi party, Golden Dawn, last spring.
The party now controls 18 seats in Greece’s 300-member
parliament, and its popularity is rising rapidly: A poll taken in
October showed that if elections were held again today, Golden Dawn
would capture 14 percent of the vote, making it Greece’s third-largest
party. A September poll showed that 22 percent of Greeks have positive
views of Golden Dawn, up from 12 percent in May.
With its swastika-like flag, gangs of black-shirted thugs attacking
immigrants and its ideology of Greek racial superiority, Golden Dawn’s
sudden and significant rise has prompted condemnations from around the
It also has put many of Greece’s 5,000 Jews on edge.
Community leaders already have begun a campaign to educate Greeks about
the dangers of allowing a neo-Nazi party to flourish, and Greek Jews are
trying to figure out what more they can do to arrest Golden Dawn’s
“We definitely think that a very basic tool to
promoting social equality and combating the rise of extremists like
Golden Dawn is educating schoolchildren,” said Zanet Battinou, director
the Jewish Museum of Greece.
The museum and its programs teach visiting
schoolchildren about Greece’s Jewish community, its heritage and, in
particular, about the Holocaust, in which more than 80 percent of Greek
Jews were murdered.
While Golden Dawn mostly has targeted those it holds responsible for
Greece’s dire economic plight and its international humiliation –
immigrants from Asia and Africa, politicians and the Communist
opposition – the party also has a clear anti-Semitic streak.
Golden Dawn’s leader, Nikolaos Michaloliakos, denies
there were gas chambers or ovens at Nazi death camps and has a penchant
for giving the Nazi salute. Statements from the party refer to Israel as
a “Zionist terror state.” Party spokesman Ilias Kasidiaris, who made
international headlines when he punched a female Communist Party member
in the face during a live television debate, recently read out a passage
from the anti-Semitic forgery “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” in
Labels: anti-Semitism, Greece, Nazis