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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

 
WJC PRESIDENT’S OP-ED IN DIE ZEIT ON THE UN VOTE Print E-mail
Thursday, 20 October 2016 10:33

Under the title “An Affront” the Op-Ed of the WJC President Ronald S. Lauder was published on the German newspaper DIE ZEIT (issue of October 20, 2016). Here under we publish the English translation:

The United Nations cannot erase Jewish history.

But last week, UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization whose task it is to protect world heritage sites, tried to do just that.
UNESCO’s Executive Board adopted a text which completely ignores the Jewish link to Judaism’s holiest site, the Temple Mount. Instead, it is referred to as “Al-Aqṣa Mosque/Al-Ḥaram Al-Sharif and its surroundings.”

The square in front of the Western Wall, where thousands of Jews pray every day, is referred to as the “Al-Buraq Plaza”. The resolution also blames Israel, which it calls “the occupying power”, for a number of alleged “aggressions” in the Old City of Jerusalem and at other Islamic holy sites.

For the Jewish people, the Temple Mount is a sacred site where memory, tradition, and faith are sown in the very soil. It was King David who established Jerusalem as the first capital of the Jewish people three thousand years ago.
In other words, Temple Mount was already the holiest place of Judaism long before the advent of Christianity or Islam. To deny the Jewish link to this site is therefore akin to denying the Holocaust. It is an act of anti-Semitism.
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GREEK JEWRY ADDRESSES LETTER OF PROTEST TO UNESCO OVER NEW VOTE ON JERUSALEM Print E-mail
Friday, 14 October 2016 12:48

In the aftermath of the new decision of the Executive Board of UNESCO, which ignores Jewish and Christian historical presence on the holy sites in Jerusalem, the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece addressed the following letter of protest to the UNESCO Director General Mrs. Irina Bokova, as well as to the President of the Greek National Committee to UNESCO Mrs Ekaterini Tzitzikosta:

Honorable General Director Bokova,
The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece and all the Greek Jews strongly protest and express their repugnance and sorrow for the latest UNESCO decision that ignores the historical bonds of the Jews with the Western Wall on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, as well as the bonds of the Christians with
the Holy sites. This decision is an insult to the Jewish people and the Jews all over the world to whom this site represents a sacred religious birthplace.

The Western Wall, also called the Wailing Wall, is the only remaining part of the Temple of Solomon, which was destroyed for the first time in 586 BC by the Babylonians and for the second time in 70 AD by the Romans. It symbolizes the cradle of the Jewish faith and its undoubted connection with its identity and historic course. Since then the Jews all over the world we pray with our heads facing towards Jerusalem. This will never change regardless of your Organization’s shameful decision. History cannot be either distorted or manufactured.

The new decision of the Executive Board of UNESCO reveals the manipulated political expediencies that encourage intolerance and anti-Semitism and diverge all efforts for peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

UNESCO should protect the city of Jerusalem as a holy place for Jews, Christians and Muslims alike, instead of giving in to political pressure exercised by countries that aim at turning the Holy city from a place of affection and reconciliation to a place of hatred and bloodshed.

The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece asks for the revocation of this shameful decision that distorts world history.

Sincerely Yours,

The President DAVID SALTIEL

The Secretary General MOSES ELISAF

 

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THE GREEK JEWRY MOURNS THE LOSS OF SHIMON PERES Print E-mail
Wednesday, 28 September 2016 12:50
The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece and the entire Greek Jewry join the mourning for the loss of the ninth President of the State of Israel and convey their deepest condolences to his family and the people of Israel.

Shimon Peres has been a great political and academic figure who has identified his name and activity with the history of the State of Israel for seven decades.
From the office of the President of Israel, as Prime Minister –a position which he was elected in three times- as well as from all public offices he hold, Shimon Peres worked for the security, the achievement of peace and the progress of Israel. He pioneered the Oslo agreement. His tireless work for peace was recognized at international level and in 1994 he was awarded with the Nobel Prize for Peace, together with Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat.

“Shimon Peres’s bond with Greece has been special and has deep roots”, said the President of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece Mr. David Saltiel. As stressed in his condolences message: “Shimon Peres has been a friend of Greece and of the Greek Jewish Community. He grew up with his father’s memories of his passing through Greece when during 1941 Yitzhak Persky fought with the Jewish Brigade against the Nazis. In 2003 the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki proclaimed Shimon Peres an honorary member of the Community. Last June he visited Greece and the characteristic statement of the Greek President Pavlopoulos was that “Peres represents a source of inspiration for peace in the Middle East”.

Shimon Peres has also been an admirer of the Greek-Jewish cultural heritage. I am profoundly touched to recall the meeting that he had with the leadership of the Greek Jewry during his state visit to Greece in August 2012. I vividly remember his address to the Youth: “The scientists represent the true wealth of a country, thus, arm yourselves with knowledge and invest in research”. I quote these words as I believe they reflect his wisdom, his character and his innovative thought. Let those words be his legacy to the people of Israel and the entire world for the benefit of progress and development”.

Shimon Peres didn’t simply speak about peace. He worked throughout his whole life with persistence in order to accomplish it. He believed in turning the impossible into possible. He knew well that Israel could not survive depending either on military force, or on diplomacy or on economic power alone, but on the commitment and continuous development of all three parameters together.  

Shimon Peres carried on his shoulders for 70 years the visions and the hopes of an entire people and through his continuous participation in its fights, identified the history of the State of Israel with his own personal history which is a source of inspiration to future generations.

In 2005 Shimon Peres stated: “My vision is to have a State as old as the Ten Commandments and as new as the internet”.

Athens, September 28, 2016

Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece

 
ANNOUNCEMENT FOR THE NEW TERROR ATTACK IN JERUSALEM ON THE EVE OF YOM KIPPUR Print E-mail
Tuesday, 11 October 2016 09:43

Another terror attack in Jerusalem –this time the victims were two people dead and five injured- perpetrates the circle of blood, fanaticism and hatred in the Middle East and undermines peace.

It is not a random coincidence that this repulsive criminal act took place just a few days before the great festivity of Judaism, Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, and while a positive climate has just started to be developed for the re-approaching and the re-opening of peace negotiations, as a result of the symbolic move of Palestinian Authority President M. Abbas to attend the funeral of Israeli leader and pioneer of Peace Shimon Peres.

This particular time was chosen by the terrorists to strike -once more- against the peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians, by spreading fear and death among innocent people, unsuspected citizens who were standing at a railway station in Jerusalem.  

The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece, along with the Greek Jewry’s solidarity and condolences towards the Israeli people and the families of the victims, expresses the wish that logic and prudence prevail, in order to reopen the way to the accomplishment of the much-desired Peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians, in honesty and determination, and stop the bloodshed of innocent people, victims of the ruthless terrorism of the extremists.

Athens, October 10, 2016

Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece

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AJC HONORS CYPRUS PRESIDENT ANASTASIADES Print E-mail
Tuesday, 27 September 2016 08:07

September 23, 2016 – New York – AJC honored Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades with the global advocacy organization’s prestigious Light Unto the Nations Award for his steadfast defense of democratic values, relentless pursuit of peace, and unwavering commitment to friendship with the United States and Israel.

David Harris, AJC’s Chief Executive Officer, who has met with President Anastasiades many times in Cyprus and New York, presented the award. Honorary AJC President Stanley Bergman welcomed the nearly 100 guests to his home, where the event took place. John Shapiro, AJC President, concluded the session.

“As the Prophet Isaiah said, the highest calling in life is peace or “eirini” in Greek, but to have peace requires courage (‘tharros’) and wisdom (‘sofia’). President Anastasiades has shown these qualities in his determination to reunite his island nation peacefully, and in his genuine friendship to the United States and Jewish people,” said Harris.

Anastasiades said he is “immensely proud” to receive AJC’s Light Unto the Nations Award. Saluting the close, cooperative partnership developed over the years between his country and AJC, the president said the award is “a testament to our joint belief in advancing closer Cypriot-Israeli cooperation and strengthening regional synergies and transatlantic relations.”

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