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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

 
KIS ANNOUNCEMENT FOR MANCHESTER TERRORIST ATTACK Print E-mail
Tuesday, 23 May 2017 12:48

The recent deadly terrorist attack that occurred yesterday, the 22nd of May 2017, in the foyer of the “Manchester Arena” of the city of ​​Manchester, shocked Great Britain. The attacker detonated an improvised explosive device killing 22 people, including children, and injuring at least 59 others. It is the deadliest terrorist attack in Great Britain since July 2005, when four British Muslims killed 52 people in a series of coordinated terrorist suicide bomb attacks in London which targeted civilians using the public transport system.

Once again, this blind terrorist attack targets young people in places where they go for entertainment, and its terrible symbolism is more than clear.

The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece expresses the abhorrence and deep sorrow of Greek Jewry for this hideous terrorist attack and expresses once more its concern about the almost mimetic spread of terrorism and blind violence.

Our thoughts are with the victims and their families in these difficult moments. We express the wholeheartedly solidarity of Greek Jewry to the British people and the British Government.

May 23, 2017

Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece
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EU COORDINATOR ON COMBATING ANTI-SEMITISM IN THESSALONIKI FOR BOOK PRESENTATION Print E-mail
Thursday, 18 May 2017 11:46

The research study «Anti-Semitism in Greece today: Expressions, causes and tackling of the phenomenon», which is one of the very few pertinent public opinion polls, has been presented in Thessaloniki during a special event that took place on Wednesday May 3, 2017. The event, which was attended and addressed by European Commission’s Coordinator on combating anti-Semitism in Europe, Katharina von Schnurbein, was organized by the Heinrich Böll Stiftung, Greece, the foundation that published the research in a book with the same title.

The research program, conducted by Giorgos Antoniou, Spyros Kosmidis, Elias Dinas and Leon Saltiel, has been presented by George Antoniou (Associate Professor of Jewish Studies, University of Thessaloniki) and Spyros Kosmidis (Lecturer, University of Oxford).

The important current research looks into the causes and expressions of anti-Semitism in Greece, proposing measures and policies effectively dealing with the phenomenon, based on the assumption that the Holocaust was an unprecedented crime against humanity that cannot be time-barred.

The EU Coordinator on combating anti-Semitism, Katharina von Schnurbein, in her opening remarks stressed that not all EU states have integrated into their law systems the European legislation against Anti-Semitism; she also informed the audience that Europe is in cooperation with the biggest foreign companies in the social media, in order to fight the spread of Anti-Semitic stereotypes through the social media. Maria Giannakaki, General Secretary of Transparency and Human Rights of the Ministry of Justice, stressed that «[Anti-Semitism] is the most time-resistant form of racism and discrimination».

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THE JEWISH COMMUNITY IN GREECE, THE OLDEST COMMUNITY IN EUROPE Print E-mail
Friday, 05 May 2017 10:26

by VICTOR I. ELIEZER, EJP May 04, 2017

The first Greek Jew known by name was "Moschos, son of Moschion the Jew", a slave identified in an inscription dated approximately 300 - 250 B.C. found in Oropos, a small coastal town 40 klm from  Athens. It could be assumed that as a result of frequent Jewish movement through Greece,  a Jewish Community was eventually established. This community is believed to have grown further after the Hasmonean uprising (142 B.C.) when many Jews were sold into slavery in Greece. 

In the early Christian era, the fact that Paul the Apostle, upon his arrival in Greece, preached in the Jewish Synagogues in Athens, Corinth, Veria, Kavala (Philipus) gives proof of the existence of many Jewish Communities in this Country. These Greek Jews were known as Romaniote and had developed their own customs and language (Judeo-Greek). Remnants of this unique tradition survived to our days.

From the end of the 14th century Jewish refugees emigrated from Spain and Portugal to the Greek mainland and adjacent islands. Mainly in Thessaloniki, the Jews known as the Shephardim introduced their own language (Judeo-Espagnol) and customs. During the 16th-18th centuries, Thessaloniki had one of the largest Jewish communities in the World and a solid rabbinical tradition.

Today, the Jews in Greece are organized in eight active Jewish Communities. In Athens, with almost 3000 Jews, there are two synagogues and the Lauder elementary school. In Thessaloniki (Salonika), with 1000 Jews, there are two synagogues and one elementary school while another 1000 Greek Jews are living in six different cities, having a synagogue which is the center of the Jewish life, in Larissa, Chalkis, Volos, Corfu, Trikala, and Ioannina. There are also synagogues located in Greek cities where no Jewish Communities exist, as in the islands of Rhodes and Crete in Chania, which are open for visitors and special services for Yiamim Noraim and Pessach as well as weddings and Bar Mitsva. There are also two Jewish Museums, one in Athens which preserves the heritage of the Greek Jewry and one in Thessaloniki preserving the history of the local Community. The Holocaust Museum and Research center of Human rights is going to be opened in Thessaloniki in 2017 by the Municipality headed by the Mayor John Boutaris and the local Jewish community headed by David Saltiel. 

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KIS CONDEMNS “NEW ANTI-SEMITISM” Print E-mail
Tuesday, 16 May 2017 08:39

In an article published on the news site enikos.gr (May 10, 2017), entitled “In bloody ink”, journalist and cartoonist Stathis (Stavropoulos) denounces attempts to incriminate criticism against Israel that present it as anti-Semitism in order to annul such political criticism. The article is accompanied by a cartoon which pictures free opinion killed by Israel. The article and cartoon were Stathis response to the publication of a survey on Anti-Semitism in Greece which shows high rates of anti-Semitic feelings in Greece. The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece issued the following announcement on New Anti-Semitism:  
Certain anti-Semitic articles and cartoons in the press and on the internet contribute to the building up of a stereotype based on drawing parallels among “Jews”, “Zionists” and “Nazis”, equalizing the first with the latter, within a context of a frenetic trend to demonize the Sate of Israel and its people, present them as “Nazis” and as the incarnation of absolute evil. This is the fundamental principle of the so-called “New Anti-semitism”.

Journalists, cartoonists and media use deliberately the term “agents” of Israel, to avoid being accused of anti-Semitism, giving as a pretext that they do not aim against the Jews but against the Zionists. In this spirit, the Extreme Right coined the term “Jewish Zionist”. This new form of Anti-semitism is in use both by the Extreme Right, as well as by many groups of the Left who wish to delegitimize the very right of existence of the State of Israel. 

We were very disappointed when we read the new anti-Semitic libel of the Greek columnist Stathis, which he accompanied with an outrageous cartoon. He defies Greek and international surveys which underline the rise of anti-Semitic stereotypes among the Greeks; he demonizes the State of Israel (the only democratic state in the wider sensitive area of the Middle East, and a precious ally of our country in very difficult circumstances); and he accuses and incriminates, with disgraceful, pejorative and insulting characterizations all those who disagree with his opinion and fight boldly against racism, xenophobia, and anti-Semitic stereotypes.

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KIS ANNOUNCEMENT FOR THE STATEMENT OF THE METROPOLITAN OF PIRAEUS Print E-mail
Wednesday, 03 May 2017 13:49

The Metropolitan Bishop of Piraeus Seraphim, repeated his fierce anti-Semitic rhetoric in his announcement of April 28, uploaded on the official website of the Archdiocese of Piraeus. This reaction was triggered after the Holy Synod overturned its initial decision to appoint Seraphim as the Greek Orthodox Church’s representative to the ceremony lighting the Holy Light of Easter (taking place  every year at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem during the Great Saturday). In Seraphim’s place, another Metropolitan, Athinagoras of Ilion, represented the Church in the ceremony.

As a response, in his long anti-Semitic libel announcement, Metropolitan Seraphim claimed that he was replaced because Israel declared him as persona non grata and accused Israel of interfering with the Church’s issues. He also specified that his views are not anti-Semitic but anti-Zionist and that Orthodox Christians stand against Zionism and especially against the wing of Zionism that seeks world domination. Seraphim also quoted the Old Testament and the New Testament, which he interprets through his anti-Semitic and Jew-Hating views, and accused all the other Christian doctrines of being in favor of Jews. He also quoted the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and referred to masonry (and other international organizations) as the arms used by Zionism to secure infiltration and state manipulation.

The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece issued the following announcement, protesting against this new anti-Semitic attack, while NGO Greek Helsinki Monitor filed a lawsuit against Seraphim for anti-Semitism.

KIS ANNOUNCEMENT: Once again we are not surprised with the new delirium of the Orthodox Metropolitan of Piraeus, Seraphim, published in the official webpage of the Archdiocese of Piraeus (here in pdf). Despite his earnest efforts to dismantle the accusations of anti-Semitism, in his lengthy writings he calls anti-Semitism as anti-Zionism, using well known anti-Semitic stereotypes, conspiracy theories and traditional Jew-Hating attitudes, in order to be characterized not as anti-Semite but as anti-Zionist.

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