Last week the leader of the greek conservative party Nea Dimokratia welcomed former prominent members of viciously antisemitic party LàOS into his party. Poised to become the next Prime-Minister his turn to the antisemitic Far-Right sparks fear for more antisemitism, international isolation and damaging of greek-israeli relations.
A. An introduction
Until recently the greek mainstream conservative party Nea Dimokratia was in the improbable position of housing both extremely antisemitic elements within the party but at the same time being labeled as the least-offensive towards the Greek Jewish community. This was made possible by the antisemitism of rival mainstream socialist party of PASOK which under Andreas Papandreou in the 80′s actively supported antisemitic terrorism under the guise of pro-Palestinian politics, (google Osama al Zomar for more information). Despite a strong leftist/communist current within the greek Jewish community, Nea Dimokratia’s leaders like the son of a Righteous Among Nations Miltiadis Evert or Konstantinos Mitsotakis who established diplomatic relations with Israel in the early 90s, managed to gain the massive support of the Jewish community despite the fact that known antisemites were still housed within the party.
In 2004 Nea Dimokratia splits and the antisemitic/nationalistic segment forms the LàOS party led by Yorgos Karatzaferis further confirming the turn of Nea Dimokratia towards a moderate, european conservative party. In 2009 Antonis Samaras is elected party leader raising concerns whether his nationalistic past would bring back antisemitism and xenophobia, (Samaras had led a short-lived political party in the mid-90′s where he denied having as candidates non-Orthodox Christians).
Β. First signs: Nea Dimokratia’s viciously antisemitic teachers
The Jews are cursed, Hitler did a great service by exterminating them although he was financed by them, Jews control Greece and Greek Jews suck the last drops of blood of honest Christian Greeks etc
This is what the Nea Dimokratia faction of the Teaching Association of the Messinia province regularly published on their website when they were exposed by anti-nazi activists. The greek norm in this case would be a swift, albeit moderate, disassociation and within a month or two a return to business as usual. This time Nea Dimokratia refused to adamantly condemn the blatant racism despite the fact that a Jewish Nea Dimokratia’s politician contacted the top cadres, (namely Yorgo Manolis responsible for the Trade-Unions) of the party asking for immediate action; only when the Central Board of Jewish Communities officialy asked for explanations an extremely subdued letter by a minor functionary returned. Needless to add that the authors did not even get a party slap on the hand.
The fact that Messinia-born Antonis Samaras accepted that the children of his home being taught that Jews are two-horned beasts only enhanced the suspicion within the Jewish Community that he was the same Samaras who wished for a white, Christian Orthodox antisemitic Greece.
C. A return to Holocaust denial: Nea Dimokratia acquires prominent antisemitic politicians
On November 2011 a new government was formed including the nationalistic/antisemitic party of LàOS; the two prominent ministers by LàOS being Mavroudis (Makis) Voridis and Adonis Georgiadis. Both were widely known for their antisemitic views which included Holocaust denial and calls against the global Jewish domination; specific statements can be found in the section “Antisemitism by new LàOS ministers” here. This development spread fear among the Greek-Jewish community and prompted worldwide indignation and letters of protest by international jewish organizations like the American Jewish Committee, the World Jewish Congress, Anti Defamation League and many more.
Still, the leader of Nea Dimokratia evidently more preoccupied about winning the next elections, caving to the nationalistic tide swiping through Greece, chose to ignore the danger of becoming an international pariah and last week welcomed these two prominent politicians into the Nea Dimokratia party.
D. Consequences and why should Jews be concerned
Another thing is tolerating extremist and antisemitic elements who are already within the party and another thing is actively including the modern faces of greek antisemitism which are held in international quarantine. Nea Dimokratia by Antonis Samaras is not a european conservative party but is devolving into an aggregation of nationalistic and antisemitic politicians who express the worst in conservative history; their endorsement of politicians questioning the murder of 60.000 Greek Jews during the Holocaust cannot but aid a climate of legitimization of antisemitism. A legitimization which has translated in an increase of antisemitic violence which we have witnessed the past decade and I have documented, worryingly of both leftist and rightist extraction.
Even worse one cannot but question their integrity and openly suspect the damage they can create in greek foreign policy. Adonis Georgiadis believes that Jews are out to get the Greek Christians and has promoted through his bookshops the works of the Pope of modern genocidal antisemitism: Konstantinos “Jews need a firing squad within 24hours” Plevris. If he sees a Jew in an international organization will he cry out “Vindication!” and try and work with him while he considers him part of venomous global web of Jewish cooperation? How can this man cooperate with the Israeli government in sight of the enhanced greek-israeli relations?
Antonis Samaras recently visited Israel and was warmly welcomed by Benjamin Netanyahu and Simon Peres in a visit aiming to appease his critics. He spoke of a “longterm and not circumstantial strategic alliance” but can he be trusted? I can positively assert that if he had neither the will or the power to disassociate from the tiny Teacher’s Union aforementioned, then Antonis Samaras double-speak will backfire the first moment jewish interests will be targeted. Whether this being another synagogue getting torched or greek-israeli cooperation I doubt whether anyone can claim that the new Nea Dimokratia has the moral integrity to abandon its hypocritical double-talk.
And if personal opinions like the one here are to be discarded, one cannot but ponder at the fact that these developments prompted a protest by the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece famous for it’s cautiousness. The “surprise and concern” it expressed is only the 3rd statement in the past 40 years which voices an opinion over a strictly political issue; the first one being the PASOK endorsement of a palestinian terrorist aiming to kill Greek Jews after killing an Italian-Jewish baby, the second one being the inclusion of pro-Nazi candidates in the Nea Dimokratia/LàOS list for the municipality of Athens and the third one being this one.