Abravanel, the Blog

Jewish life and not only in Greece / Εβραϊκή ζωή και όχι μόνο στην Ελλάδα

Jules Dassin – a «good» Jew

Posted by Abravanel, the Blog στο 30/05/2008

https://i0.wp.com/www1.rizospastis.gr/wwwengine/getImage.doJules Dassin has always been one of the most beloved «foreigners» in Greece. His great love with Melina Merkuri, his unwaivering support for the Communist Party and the hardships he endured in McCarthy’s USA, his great love for Greece helped overcome any diffidence that many would foster towards any foreigner meddling in greek affairs. A diffidence not always unjustified since a great part of how the world viewed Greece was patronizing or folkloristic; on the contrary Dassin loved modern Greece and became part of it.

So it came as a surprise that, during a search for a movie of his, I found out a couple of pages that said that J.Dassin was an anti-greek. I knew that Dassin was Jewish and many did not forgive him this, (in 2000 antisemitic slogans and swastikas were sprayed on the walls of his house). Still, it striked me as odd so I followed the link. What I read was very interesting, though for other reasons that the author might hope for. The author was blatantly antisemitic and linked to Chrissi Avgi’s newspaper, a known neonazi group. He complained that J.Dassin had received a State burial while he was Jewish and how he had managed to be buried next to his wife, M.Merkuri, which is in the christian orthodox part of the cemetery. He complained that the State-run ET3 TV made a 10 minute documentary on him completely «hiding» his jewish origins. He also complained that a traditional black-colored jewish flag was on top of the coffin while the memorial service was held at the Synagogue at the Jewish part of the Cemetery; this flag was removed when transferred to the Christian part as «not to offend the christian viewers who saw the burial in TV». I have no idea if the author was telling the truth and despite some research I did, I did not find anything about it. In any case the guy was a fanatical fan of conspiracy theories and I thought that this was probably another «kook theory». Still he called Dassin an «100% Zionist» and claimed that he had joined the Israeli Army during the 6 Day War of 1967, when he was 56 years old. Amazingly enough we actually posted a source about it and even more amazingly the source appeared genuine. And then I knew I had my post. :)

J.Dassin going to Israel in 1967

Kostantinos Alavanos was a friend of J.Dassin and is a member of the Executive Counsil of the Foundation Melina Merkuri which aims at returning parts of the decoration of the Parthenon that Lord Elgin removed disastrously from Acropolis in the 1800’s. He wrote that:

«http://www.zionism-israel.com/dic/Six_day_war_wall.jpgHe never denied his roots. When the 1967 arab israeli war broke loose Dassin hastened to pack his suitcase for Tel Aviv. Melina, full of anxiety, threatened that if he’d go she would not let him come back. He did not believe her. But even if he believed her, Dassin would go. For he had a sense of Duty. As he had for Justice. And for this he despaired over the violence, the extremisms and intransigence in israeli politics today»

Also in another article T.Timogiannakis states that Julles Dassin went as volunteer in the Israeli Army in 1967, although this didn’t stop him from opposing «Sharon’s policy on the occupied arab territories». Another article on Jules son, Joe Dassin, stated that also he wanted to join Israel during the 6 Day War and only the brevity of the war prevented him; personally I think that this is the Dassin that offered to serve in the Israeli Army, though undoubtedly Dassin immediately went to aid Israel in 1967. (find Dassin in the photo)

J.Dassin opposing «Sharon policies» and his views on communism

I was flabergasted! As far as I knew J.Dassin was supposedly anti-israeli, or at least that’s what was writtenhttps://i0.wp.com/news.bbc.co.uk/nol/shared/spl/hi/picture_gallery/06/middle_east_palestinian_refugee_children/img/1.jpg in the newspapers – as one journalist put it «maybe a Jew but he opposing Sharon», (in Greece opposing Sharon means from opposing military occupation of Palestine to supporting that Israel is an illegal state and the modern nazis). So I searched and indeed the first finds seem to confirm this. For example a Rizospastis, (the official organ of the Greek Communist Party – KKE), article on Dassin pictured him as a fervent communist that suggested that the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall was only a «temporary defeat of socialism» and «…I want to kill Sharon…What can they do to me after that, I’m old» – all true statements confirmed by other sources. Even former minister of Pasok T.Pangalos cited J.Dassin as a prominent Jew who denounced the policies pursued by Sharon’s Israel in a famous letter in which he demanded that Greek Jews should denounce Israel. In another article in Kathimerini newspaper a journalist asks rhetorically if Dassin «killing Sharon makes him a peace loving Jew or a dangerous terrorist«.

In other articles J.Dassin says: «I consider the israeli treatment of the palestinians as unacceptable, defeatist and a tragic mistake. They keep creating more hate and anger in the hearts of the palestinians which shall last for many generations«. I believe that Prime Minister Sharon is a disaster for both sides. His motive is the complete domination of the palestinian people ans the failure of the peace talks. I also believe that the israeli attack has, even if it has not been admitted, the support of american leadership». There are dozens of articles like this.

Rizospastis misses a movie in Dassin’s filmography

http://www1.rizospastis.gr/wwwengine/story.do?id=4500601But then I noticed something strange. In Rizospastis an article on J.Dassin mentioned 24 movies, while I was aware that we had done 25, confirmed by IMDB. Which was the 25th that Rizospastis ommited? It was called «Survivor 1967» or «Hamilchama al hashalom» in hebrew. What was it about? A greek magazine, Lifo, informs that it is «an antiwar movie«; but in that case Rizospastis would be overtly happy to promote it. So I searched a bit more and found this brief review:

«Following the Six-Day War in 1967, this documentary was made to show part of the story of Israel’s existence. There is little actual footage of the war, but much is seen of its aftermath, including the physical remains of war, the human story of the refugees, and Jews returning to the Western Wall. Interviews are held with David Ben-Gurion, Moshe Dayan, and Levi Eshkol. Talks with the faculty and students of Chaim Weizman University are shown. The growth of Israel in the past and its hopes and questions about peace in the future end the film.»

Hmmm, this does not sound as an anti-war film as pictured by Lifo. So I eventually found a review by New York Times which was harsh, as NYT movie critics usually are, but revealing:

https://i0.wp.com/www.poemsbycc.com/images2/Israeli_Soldier_in_Suez_Canal_Life.jpg«The movie, which describes itself as «a paean to Israel,» opened yesterday at the Cinema Rendezvous. What gets lost is the brave, tragic war itself. (There is hardly any documentary war footage at all.) The film, which keeps crossing what little moving footage it has — wounded men, monuments to Babi Yar and Buchenwald — by an inability to shut up, is poor and ineffective propaganda.»

Now I must admit that I didn’t expect Aristoula Ellinoudi, who wrote the article of Rizospastis, to be so thorough but she did. She found the one movie that portrayed Dassin supporting wholeheartedly Israel and omited it. One may claim that it was an accident but it does seem…how should I put it…strange? :D

J.Dassin has also some other views

In any case later I found out some other statements of J.Dassin. While as I mentioned before he considered the treatment of the Palestinians as «unacceptable» he also had other things to say, in that same interview:

«Let me say that i believe that – because of the painful history of the 20th century, when the world had forsaken the jewish people of Europe to the Holocaust – that the State of Israel has a right to exist. I also believe that there are forces who actively oppose this right.» «But I also believe that the suicide bombings against israeli citizens are equally unacceptable and defeatist. There was a powerful movement in Israel geared towards peace and justice for the palestinian people called «Peace now». The suicide bombings have crippled it».


This post began on other premises but soon enough I became intrigued on how people dealt with Dassin being a Jew and maybe not so anti-israeli as they’d wish. J.Dassin was popular in Greece and people loved him. His past as a communist who stood by his ideals and being persecuted by the anti-communist frenzy of 50’s USA made him an idol for greek sympathizers for the Left. His admiration for anything greek, his adoration of the greek spirit and his active support to Merkuri’s struggle for the return of the removed marbles of the Parthenon, made him popular with the greek Right. Only some small, insignificant, groups could not «forgive» him for being Jewish and spoke against him.

With this image, his support for Palestine and Israel didn’t match. It was already decided, by the greek people, that J.Dassin was one of the «good guys»; plus attacking him would mean attacking the extremely popular M.Merkuri. So his active support for the State of Israel was downplayed while his firm opposition against the treatment of the palestinians and support for a Palestinian homeland was emphasized. Rizospastis even arrived at making disappear a movie that didn’t fit the picture.

It is not my will not actually comment on J.Dassin views – this is not about if he was right. What I wanted to show is how for a Jew to appear good by «progressive circles» he must adhere to certain stereotypes, on particular the unconditioned opposition to Israel. Any small deviation appears intolerable and the evidence that the jewish interloculator is just another zionist blinded by his faith. In the case of J.Dassin, where his inherent benevolence towards Greece and comunist «credentials» are indisputable, the answer was to supress his «other» views. This unwillingness to question stereotypes, independently if it regards Left or Right, is one of the key problems in discussing antisemitism today in Greece and this is what this post is all about – not whether J.Dassin was nice guy because he also supported Israel. It is an interesting start on discussing the stereotypes the Greek Left and the Greek Right have today and how these affect their view of Jewish Greeks; but this is another post for another time.

Well, at least thanks to our friend we found the first 100% Zionist that Greece actually adored and the Greek Communist Party sponsored! lol



J. Dassin filmography – 25 films
Dassin’s house sprayed with swastika and antisemitic graffiti.
«He was Greek even before meeting Melina» – an article on his life with details on his burial.
Appreciation of J.Dassin by the greek political world.
Melina Merkuri’s Foundation, Merkuris’s and Dassin’s page in Wikipedia.
Lifo’s article on «Survivor 1967» being an antiwar film
P.Timogiannakis article on Dassin.
M.Katsounaki wonders if wishing to kill Sharon makes Dassin a terrorist or a peace loving jew.
The Central Board of Jewish Communities reply to T.Pangalos letter asking them to denounce Israel and bringing Dassin as an example.
Article where J.Dassin grandson says his father, Joe, was ready to go to Israel in 1967.
TCMDB review and a more detailed in New York Times. The movie’s entry in imdb.
Rizospastis article that talks about his convictions, «marxist» and «I want to kill Sharon».
Rizospastis article by Ellinoudi, omitting Survivor 1967.
Article on which he denounces the treatment of palestinians and supports the right of Israel to exist.

For the photos hover over for the site they came from, mainly BBC,Rizospastis and a blog. Contact me if I violate anything.

10 Σχόλια προς “Jules Dassin – a «good» Jew”

  1. An excellent post! I had no idea about this (not that I would have cared much about Dassin’s views, anyway – but the fact that everybody tries to make him look anti-Israel is very revealing).

  2. Abravanel said

    Thanks for the kind words and welcome to my humble shack! :)

  3. Απο ότι διάβασα πιστεύεις ότι είμαι μέλος της Χρυσής Αυγής ή Νεοναζί.Λάθος.Πρώτον δεν είμαι μόνος.Δεύτερον.Δεν είδες στην ΝΕΤ τη μαύρη σημαία με το άστρο του Δαυίδ στο φέρετρο και στη συνέχεια πρίν ταφεί ότι είχε αφαιρεθεί;Αν είχα το βίντεο θα το είχα βάλει παραπομπή.Και τρίτον να ξέρεις ότι δημοσίευσα το άρθρο «Ο ΜΕΓΑΛΟΣ «ΕΛΛΗΝΑΣ» ΗΤΑΝ ΣΙΩΝΙΣΤΗΣ-ΔΗΛΑΔΗ ΑΝΘΕΛΛΗΝΑΣ.» για τον Ντασσέν γιατί όλα τα ΜΜΕ τον παρουσίασαν σαν ένα μεγάλο «ΕΛΛΗΝΑ» ενώ στην πραγματικότητα όπως και εσύ γράφεις πολέμησε για να γίνει μεγαλύτερο το Ισραήλ.Και καλά έκανε αφού πίστευε στο Έθνος του.Γίνεται όμως ένας ΈΛΛΗΝΑΣ να πολεμάει για να γίνει μεγαλύτερη μια άλλη χώρα;ΟΧΙ ΦΥΣΙΚΑ.Όσον αφορά για το αν ένας Σιωνιστής μπορεί να είναι και Έλληνας η άποψή μου είναι ότι δεν μπορεί αυτό να γίνει γιατί Σιωνισμός και Ελληνισμός είναι δύο αντίθετες ιδεολογίες που ποτέ δεν πρόκειται να ταυτιστούν ποτέ.Βλέπεις η ιστορία των δύο το δείχνει.Το ίδιο βέβαια ισχύει και για το δίδυμο Εβραϊσμός-Ελληνισμός.Δύο αντίθετες ιδεολογίες που σήμερα πολλοί θέλουν να βρούν κοινά σημεία.

  4. Abravanel said

    Οφείλω να είμαι επιφυλακτικός προς το θέμα: την αφαίρεση της σημαίας εσύ την βλέπεις ως μέθοδο αποπλάνησης, ενώ εγώ ως δείγμα αντισημιτισμού. Με άλλα λόγια και οι δύο έχουμε λόγο να είμαστε καχύποπτοι και να θέλουμε να δούμε την αφαίρεση ως όντως προϊόν συνωμοσίας, αφού επιβεβαιώνει τις υποψίες μας. Προσπαθώντας όμως να κοιτάξω ψύχραιμα το ζήτημα σκέφτομαι οτι ίσως η σημαία είχε αφαιρεθεί γιατί ετοιμάζονταν να ταφεί στην γή ο Ντασσέν και ως γνωστόν οι εβραίοι αποθέτουν τον νεκρό με το σάβανο στην γυμνή γη και όχι μέσα στο φέρετρο.

    Οπως μπορείς να φανταστείς διαφωνώ με τις υπόλοιπες απόψεις σου θεωρώντας οτι είναι προϊόν μισαλλοδοξίας – όπως φαντάζομαι και εσύ τις δικές μου ως προϊόν ανθελληνισμού.

  5. from the site http://www.antipliroforisi.tk
    1) i am not an antisemite as the author of this website claims.
    2) i am not a member of chrisi augi as the author of this website claims!
    3) what i write for dassin’s funeral is based on what i saw on National Greek TV(NET).
    4) as the author of this website confirms, Dassin fought for Israel which means that he was not a supporter of peace and an internationalist. This means that he loved and fought for his country, Israel, and that he was not a champion of Greek causes and culture. This is further supported by the fact that Dassin personally volunteered to fight for Israel during the 6 day war.
    5) all the greek media claim that a great Greek died.

    from the above we can see that whatever i wrote i did not write it because i am an antisemit but to prove that dissprove the myth that Dassin was a great Greek when he clearly was not.
    would Israel consider a «Great Jew» someone who, for example fought for another country and never for Israel and was not even born a Jew?

  6. Abravanel said

    1. I’ll have to disagree with you mate – claiming that the Holocaust/Shoah did not take place is a bit antisemitic in my humble opinion.
    2. I never said that you are member of Chrissi Avghi, the known violent antisemitic group. I only said that you link to them and other antisemitic sites because as you find them educating.
    3. Ok.
    4. Well he did give all the royalties to the Foundation for the New Museum of Acropolis which fights for the restitution of the marbles of the Parthenon which Lord Elgin stile and now find themselves in the British Museum.

    Again I would like you to ask to re-read the post carefully. I never said he actually fought for Israel – only that he was ready to do so. Also considered just the existence of the State of Israel as much as the the creation of a Palestinian State.

    He was a champion of greek causes and his struggle again the military dictatorship of 1967-1973 and for the return of the stolen Lord Elgin’s Parthenon marbles is the proof. I’m afraid that your failure to understand this stems from the fact that you consider the greeks who profess another religion as ready to plot against the christian greeks who are the «real greeks».

  7. ΧΑΡΟΥΛΑ said


  8. Αφεντούλης said

    Φαντάσου να ήταν και καλός σκηνοθέτης ε; Το γάβγισμα θα ήταν ατέλειωτο και εκκωφαντικό! Ηρεμήστε λίγο ρε φανατικοί καταδιωκόμενοι. Όλοι σας κυνηγάνε, σας σαπωνοποιούν, σας ψεκάζουν, σας περιορίζουν στους ανθυγιεινούς χώρους των πόλεων παρά τη θέλησή σας, σας αποκλείουν, σας σκοτώνουν εκεί στα [μπορ]γκέτο σας…

    Σκέφτομαι πως όλη αυτή η δήθεν αυτοαμυντική δραστηριότητα των εβραίων έχει τις ρίζες της στο ότι διαθέτουν άπειρο χρόνο. Τον οποίο φυσικά δεν αφιερώνουν στη δημιουργία κατι χρήσιμου ή όμορφου ή κοινωφελούς αλλά στη διαιώνιση του ψυχαναγκασμού τους. Είστε ο παρίας του «πολιτισμένου κόσμου». Βυθίζεστε όλο και πιο βαθειά στην απομόνωση. Κραυγάζετε, χτυπιέστε (και χτυπάτε τον κόσμο για να τραβήξετε την προσοχή του).

    Λίγη σιωπή επιτέλους. Δε θα σας βλάψει· κάποιοι είπαν πως είναι χρυσός.

  9. Β.Δ. Καργούδης said

    @afent: Σ ευχαριστώ για ένα ευχάριστο Σάββατο, τίγκα στο γέλιο.
    Απ την ώρα που διάβασα το σχόλιό σου, ακόμα χτυπιέμαι.
    Καραφασισταριό με ανησυχίες σινεφίλ, πρώτη μου φορά!
    (Που μάλιστα απορρίπτει τον τεράστιο Ντασέν ο καραφασίστας, «εξ επόψεως κινηματογραφικής»!)
    Νάσαι καλά, γλυκό, ανόητο, αλλά εν τέλει συμπαθές » εν τη διανοητική του μικρότητι» καραφασισταριό!
    Νάσαι καλά κι εσύ και οι απόψεις σου, παραγωγοί (εκτός ΟΛΩΝ των άλλων) τόσο κωμικών αντιφάσεων.
    Συνεχίστε την καλή δουλειά!

  10. Β.Δ. Καργούδης said

    @συνέχεια: τώρα μόλις πρόσεξα ΚΑΙ το «ΑΥΤΟ-ΑΜΥΝΤΙΚΗ δραστηριότητα»!. Εσύ πια πας να μας δώσεις και δουλειά για το σπίτι, να μας εξοντώσεις στο γέλιο!
    Εύγε μεγάλε.
    Στο επόμενο νουμεράκι σου, περιμένω κάτι με «ετερο-αμυντική» δραστηριότητα.
    Εκεί πια, με το opus magnum σου, να μας στείλεις κανονικά, τεράστιε καραφασιστούλη….!
    Τόχεις ποτέ ψάξει για καριέρα στο θέαμα;
    ΠΟΤΕ μη λες ΠΟΤΕ.
    Ιδίως στις μέρες μας…

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