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HOLOCAUST MONUMENT IN LARISSA VANDALIZED BY ALLEGED CLERGYMAN

In the evening of Monday July 17, 2017, an individual dressed as a monk who calls himself ‘father Kleomenis’ -a cult figure, popular for his bigot ideas and You tube posts- attacked and vandalized the Holocaust Monument in Larissa, situated in the central Jewish Martyrs Square of the city. In his video posted on You Tube, the alleged monk curses the Jews, denies the Holocaust and calls on the local patriots of Larissa to intervene and demolish the Monument. "Father" Kleomenis spits, kicks and throws eggs at the Monument. Some of his characteristic quotes: “Here, we read 6 million! Fairy tails… Shit on their faces, merely 600.000 Hitler wiped out!”. Kleomenis spits the Monument and says: “Satanic Jews”. He kicks the Monument and says: “Curse on your dirty Monuments” and continues: “Worms, Jewish bitches, this has to fall. The stinking Jewishness has to be taken down from Larissa. Rise up! Patriotic organizations of Larissa take it down, bring the bulldozer on!”Local police was notified and legal procedure was enacted. Investigation is ongoing. The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece (KIS) and the Jewish Community of Larissa issued press releases. The Holy Synod of the Greek Orthodox Church issued an announcement disassociating itself from the "monk" and condemning his actions.

The Municipality of Larissa issued an Announcement condemning the attack. The General Secretary of Religious Affairs George Kalantzis, as well as the General Secretary for Transparency and Human Rights Maria Giannakaki reacted swiftly by providing the Public Prosecutor of Larissa, the Racist Crimes Department of the Police, and the Cyber Crime Police Department with the relevant evidence. The President of the Jewish Community of Larissa pressed charges against the perpetrator. The Greek Helsinki Monitor also pressed charges against the “so called ‘father Kleomenis’ for a series of racist crimes”.

* The Announcement of KIS:

Shame and outrage are the feelings that one feels when realizes what happened in Larissa on Monday July 17, 2017: The shameful and upsetting incident of the desecration of the Holocaust Monument of Larissa –the first Holocaust Monument erected in Greece in 1987, in the memory of the Greek Jews deported and exterminated in the Nazi death camps. This highly significant Monument was vulgarly vandalized, with offensive expressions and brutal actions, by a robed clergyman who apparently has no affiliation to the Greek Orthodox Church.  On the same day leaflets of relevant anti-Semitic content were strewn across the Monument and the Square of Jewish Martyrs of Larissa. The case is being handled by the Police and the justice system. The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece asked the competent  Authorities to arrest the perpetrator and bring him to justice.

In addition KIS expresses the Greek Jewry’s belief that the society of Larissa and all local institutions will firmly condemn the incident, will isolate the perpetrators and will treat with respect the Holocaust Monument of Larissa and the Jewish Community which is an integral part of the city, that they will ultimately respect the city’s very cultural heritage and civilization, as the people of Larissa have always done in the course of history.

Athens July 18, 2017

Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece

 

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PRESS RELEASE OF THE JEWISH COMMUNITY OF LARISSA FOR THE VANDALIZATION OF THE HOLOCAUST MONUMENT

In the afternoon of  Monday July 17, 2017, in Larisa, Greece, the so-called Father Cleomenis with his clerical clothing, well-known from the social media for his racist mania, has defiled the Holocaust Monument of the town.

With vulgar insults, kicking and throwing eggs and flyers of anti-Semitic content at the Holocaust Monument of the town of Larisa, “Father Cleomenis” denied the Holocaust and invited all the self-called “patriotic” organizations of Larissa to stand up in order to destroy the Memorial and the “Jewishness” of the city of Larissa. The incident has been filmed by his associates and has been already uploaded to Youtube.

The Jewish Community of Larissa expresses its abhorrence for this violent incident that just took place in a town whose citizens and local authorities show respect and honor to this Monunent; in a town that has never experienced similar incidents in the past. Our Community expresses its satisfaction for the immediate mobilization of the Police Authorities.

We feel confident that in the town of Larissa, fanaticism, intolerance, racist discourse or any other similar phenomenon will be isolated and will be fought at its birth.

Athens, July 18, 2017
JEWISH COMMUNITY OF LARISSA

 
GREEK ARTIST COMPARES ECONOMIC CRISIS TO THE HOLOCAUST

Singer Jimmy Panoussis, in an interview published in “To Vima” on June 25, 2017 (on the occasion of his participation in the theatrical comedy of Aristophanes “Peace”), referred to the “Greeks as the new Jews of our times”. Panoussis said: “As the Nazis chose Jews to be their victims, now the neo-nazis and Schäuble’s people have picked us, the Greeks”. This comparison of the current Greek economic crisis to the Holocaust was criticized Greek Jewish leaders. In an article by Victor Eliezer (EJP, July 4, 2017), the President of the Athens Jewish Community Minos Moissis stressed that Panoussis’ statement “affects me both as a Jew and as a Greek. As a Jew, because once again the mass murder of the Holocaust is wiped out when it is compared to unrelated modern themes. As a Greek because he isolates me as a supposedly victim and target of a Europe in which I want to live”. 
* READ THE WHOLE ARTICLE HERE

 
Decision 2334/23.12.16 of the UN’s Security Council Print E-mail
Friday, 13 January 2017 11:12

The following article by Victor Isaak Eliezer, on the Decision 2334/23.12.16 of the UN’s Security Council, was published on the Greek daily “Kathimerini”, on January 12, 2017  (printed and on line editions): 

Victor Isaak Eliezer*

KATHIMERINI, Jan. 12, 2017: The decision, which was by many simply interpreted as a condemnation of Israel for the settlements on the West Bank of the River Jordan and in Jerusalem, undermines all existing peace plans between Israelis and Palestinians. Why? Because it basically undermines decision 242/11/1967 of the UN’s Security Council, which clearly stated the right of all countries to live in peace "within secure and recognised borders" and called on Israel to abandon "occupied territories". Decision 242 does not include the phrase "from all occupied territories" nor the phrase "from the occupied territories" which fell under Israeli occupation during the six-day war in June 1967. The international community had since recognised the need for "Israeli secure and recognised borders", which had suffered the attack from 4 Arab armies and, for this reason, did not impose total withdrawal to its lines prior to 5th June 1967. Anwar Sadat, the Egyptian President, realised this, and based on this decision signed the peace treaty with Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin; King Hussein of Jordan, who also realised this, signed a peace treaty with Yitzhak Rabin, and Yasser Arafat also realising it signed the agreements of Oslo, which foresee the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on the West coast next to Israel, with secure borders.

Decision 2334/23.12.16 regards "all occupied territories" as "Palestinian territories", including even East Jerusalem. Of course, Israeli settlements beyond the agreed security line as mapped in the Oslo agreements and later in the "Road Map", constitute an obstacle to the promotion and advancement of negotiations for the solution "Two states for two nations." But from this point up to the establishment of East Jerusalem’s Jewish sector and the Wailing Wall (Western Wall) as Palestinian territory, the difference is enormous and the decision was rightfully condemned by both the Netanyahu government and the centrist and leftist opposition in Israel.

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Announcement for the terrorist attack in Istanbul on the 1st of January 2017 Print E-mail
Wednesday, 04 January 2017 10:32

The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece sent the following letter to the Turkish ambassador in Greece, Mr. Yaşar Halit Çevik, regarding the terrorist attack in Istanbul; the letter was also communicated to the Jewish Community of Turkey:

Dear Mr. Ambassador,

The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece firmly condemns the terrorist attack that took place in a nightclub in the center of Istanbul, with at least 39 people killed and 69 wounded, 15 foreigners among them, in the first hours of the New Year 2017.

The choice of both the place and time of the attack clearly demonstrates the profound hatred and paranoia of the ISIS terrorists who claimed responsibility for the attack.

We express our deepest condolences to the families of all the victims and the full support and solidarity of the Greek Jewry to the Turkish people who are struck once again by terrorism.

 

Athens, January 4, 2017

Central Board of Greek Communities in Greece
 
SALONICA – MOTHER OF LOVE AND PAIN Print E-mail
Wednesday, 04 January 2017 13:01

By Yvette Nahmia-Messinas, Jerusalem Post, January 2nd, 2017

Where should I start? I’ll start at the end. On Saturday we went to see the film “Ouzeri Tsitsanis” (Cloudy Sunday) by director Manousos Manousakis in the framework of the Jewish Film Festival at the Jerusalem Cinematheque. “Ouzeri” in Greek is the place where people drink ouzo and eat mezedes. Vassilis Tsitsanis was one of the most important figures in the formation of modern Greek music, a master bouzouki player and among the forces shaping the Rebetiko (urban Greek music) in Salonica before and during WWII. The screening hall was filled with known faces of Greek Jews, Greek music lovers, philhellenes and beyond.

The film was balanced, nuanced and rich, and succeeded in telling the story of the Greek Jews of Salonica, the “madre d’Israel,” from different perspectives. We saw the Sephardi Greek Jews, heard them speak in Greek and Ladino and sing songs in Judeo-Espagnol in their communal choir as well as get involved in the new socialist ideas. We were exposed to the foreign sounding names of the foods they ate, the synagogue they went to, the controversial rabbi they followed. We also saw the inner strife among them, of those who suggested not listening to the rabbi and his directives of going along with the Germans’ requests, and those who felt safer in complying with the Jewish community’s policy rather than straying away from it and going on their own.

We were shown Estrea, the young Sephardi Jewess (Christina Chila Fameli) who is active in the resistance by typewriting its messages in a well-hidden basement. Although she is issued false identity papers as a Greek Orthodox woman, and has the option to escape with her Greek Christian boyfriend Giorgos (Charis Fragkoulis) to Athens, Estrea opts to turn herself in as a Jew and get on the train to be with her family. Estrea knows that the train is headed for Poland, but doesn’t know its ultimate destination is Auschwitz, where 96% of Salonica’s Jews perished.

 

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ANNOUNCEMENT FOR THE STATEMENTS OF THE IMAM OF GLAFKI – Apology of the Imam Print E-mail
Monday, 09 January 2017 11:45

 

A Muslim religious figure of Xanthi, Imam Erkan Azizoglou (of the village of Glafki) posted on his facebook account (December 4, 2016) hate anti-Semitic comments. The Imam wished for the fires that burst out in Israel not to be put out!  In response to the reaction caused by his statement and the comments posted on line (asking not to make parallels between the State and the people who live in it) the Imam debated that “All the Israelis are the same. They are all as a monster that is fed on blood”. With these hate comments, totally inappropriate for a religious leader, Erkan Azizoglou threatens peaceful coexistence among Greek citizens regardless of religion in this sensitive region. The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece is always in alert to fight against anti-Semitic rhetoric expressed by any part.  

  Athens December 19, 2016

Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece

 

Related:

 - The apology of Imam Azizoglou on the website of the Racist Crimes Watch (Jan. 7.2017): On January 7, 2017, Imam Azizoglou posted an apology on the website of the Racist Crimes Watch (of the NGO Greek Helsinki Monitor). The Imam notified that he erased his comments from his facebook account and apologized to those offended. The comment also reads: “The legitimate condemnation of the Israeli policy towards the Palestinians should not include elements that offend the majority of the population of the country based on its ethnic and religious identity”.

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KIS ANNOUNCEMENT CONDEMNING THE TERRORIST ATTACK IN BERLIN Print E-mail
Wednesday, 21 December 2016 13:12

Europe is once again shocked by the horror of terrorist attacks, just before Christmas. This time, the blind terrorist attack hit the Christmas market of Charlottenburg, Berlin, leaving 12 people dead and 48 wounded. Obviously, the choice of these days of Christmas was not a coincidence; unfortunately, it becomes even clearer that fear will keep haunting Europe, which has to be united and determined to the fight against terrorism, in order to ensure security and freedom of its citizens.

The Central Board of Jewish Communities of Greece condemns in the most absolute way this act of fanaticism and intolerance that hit Berlin. We support the fight against terrorism, and at the same time we express our deep concern that such strikes will intensify extreme voices and behaviors all across Europe.

We should all stand together against hatred and terrorism, in order to put an end to this vicious cycle of terror. Finally, we stand by the victims and their families, to which we express our deepest condolences.


Athens, December 20, 2016
CENTRAL BOARD OF JEWISH COMMUNITIES IN GREECE

 
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