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KIS - English Version
THE GHOSTS OF THESSALONIKI ARE STILL HERE Print E-mail
Wednesday, 06 December 2017 11:56

LEON SALTIEL*

Seventy-five years ago today, during the German occupation of Greece, began the destruction of the historic Jewish cemetery of Thessaloniki, Greece’s second largest city. The cemetery was established in ancient times and on the eve of the Second World War counted approximately 500,000 graves in an area of 350,000 square meters, making it probably the largest Jewish cemetery in Europe and maybe the world. Within a few weeks, wrote an eyewitness, “the vast necropolis, scattered with fragments of stone and rubble, resembled a city that had been bombed, or destroyed by a volcanic eruption.” According to a report by the US consul in Istanbul, “recently buried dead were thrown to the dogs.”

This act was not a purely German initiative. Besides, one can visit Jewish cemeteries today in the center of Berlin. The initiative came from the local authorities, which for a long time had tried to remove the cemetery from its location, close to the city center. “And this damned German occupation had to come, when, with the collaboration of an ironic fate, this old unsolvable problem of Thessaloniki found its dramatic solution,” in the words of Thessaloniki intellectual Georgios Vafopoulos. In its place today is the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.

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INTERNATIONAL JEWISH ORGANIZATIONS CONDEMN THE ATTACK AT THE PITTSBURGH SYNAGOGUE Print E-mail
Monday, 29 October 2018 12:28
  • WJC President Lauder in aftermath of Pittsburgh attack: We must work together to ensure that our Jewish communities are secure and protected

WJC, NEW YORK - In the aftermath of the deadly shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder is sounding the alarm on the very real threats facing Jewish communities worldwide and urging government authorities to ramp up security efforts to prevent such an attack from happening again.

“The horrific act of terror that took place on Saturday at the Tree of Life Congregation Synagogue in Pittsburgh has left all Jewish communities, both in the US and abroad, in a state of absolute shock. We have long warned about the sharp rise in antisemitism, on both the far-right and the far-left and have prayed that the many incidences that we have witnessed of late, of vandalism and desecration of property, would never end in loss of life.
“This Shabbat, our worst nightmares came true. Innocent people were killed and wounded for the simple crime of being Jewish. This was an attack specifically targeting the Jewish community, in a deliberate and callous manifestation of antisemitism and hatred, and it should serve as a wake-up call to all Americans that such horror can and has happened here. We must be vigilant in making sure that this never happens again.

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SPEECH OF THE SPECIAL SECRETARY FOR RELIGIOUS AND CULTURAL DIPLOMACY AND HEAD OF THE GREEK DELEGATION TO THE IHRA, DR EFSTATHIOS LIANOS LIANTIS, AT THE CONFERENCE ON COMBATING ANTI-SEMITISM IN THE OSCE REGION (BRATISLAVA, 5-6 FEBRUARY 2019) Print E-mail
Thursday, 07 February 2019 10:30

“Those of us who have been involved in studying the phenomenon of anti-Semitism, we witness that not only does such social virus keep spreading and contaminating more and more people regardless of social status and age group, but is unfailingly transmuting into milder or more aggressive forms, depending on the social environment, the education level, the national, political or religious groups where the phenomenon grows. Yet, it is fed by sources of misinformation and propaganda, which may be either cognate or contrary to each other, such as political extremes and religious fundamentalism, be it Islamic or Christian.

As a political stand, a religious perception or an ideological trend, anti-Semitism is a major social issue, plaguing Europe for a number of centuries and calling into question the moral status of the Western Civilization. The irrationality of this phenomenon can be easily perceived if we consider the doubts cast on the Holocaust, the most vividly documented and thoroughly recorded massive crime in human history. The anti-Semites who endorse any freakish pamphleteering of conspiracy theorists, either reject or doubt the Holocaust, which has been actually recorded by its ruthless perpetrators themselves.

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Next to the "Fence" by Victor Is. Eliezer*, a conversation with Danny Tirza, Commander of the unit that built the "Fence" which separates Israel from the Palestinian Authority territories Print E-mail
Monday, 17 December 2018 11:51
From the neighborhood of Gilo, built on a hill, one of the first districts the Israelis have built in Eastern Jerusalem after the six day war in 1967, one can easily spot the imposing church of Saint Nicholas, just some meters away from the refugee camps of Beit Jalla and El Aydah, which seem to have been built like real cities. Just there, together with 25 journalists from Europe, North and South America we met Danny Tirza, a retired Israeli Army colonel, who was the Commander of the unit that built the "Fence" which separates Israel from the Palestinian Authority territories.

The way to the "Fence"

Colonel Tirza has served in the army for thirty years and was part of the negotiations with the Palestinians for the transformation of the refugee camps into dwellings. Consequently, in the aftermath of Oslo Accords, he participated in the technical negotiations during the Camp David summit, in summer 2000, convened by Bill Clinton for the signature of the final agreement between Israeli PM Ehud Barak and the Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

It was there when I met Yasser Arafat at first. He came to embrace me, as he usually did: “No kissing, but working together”, I told him and we started to chart maps. Ever since the Palestinians called me by a nickname, "Abu Harita" which means "the father of the maps", colonel Tirza assured. He described how these negotiations were blown to pieces: "We had concluded with the mapping. Barak conceded to Arafat 94% of the lands on the West bank, on the Jordan river, the whole of Gaza strip and gave him sovereignty on the Holly Mosques of Jerusalem. That was to say the totality of the lands Israel occupied during the 1967 war and were previously ruled by Jordan and Egypt. Clinton asked Arafat to sign. Arafat left for consultations and came back three hours later declaring that he could not sign without the approval of the other Arab states. Clinton blasted him and the big chance for peace was lost. In September 2000, everything changed as the intifada started". 

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KIS ANNOUNCEMENT FOR THE ADOPTION OF THE WORKING DEFINTION OF ANTISEMITISM BY THE MINISTRY OF EDUCATION Print E-mail
Tuesday, 12 February 2019 14:24
The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece welcomes the announcement of the Minister of Education Kostas Gavroglou for the adoption of the working definition of anti-Semitism by the General Secretariat for Religious Affairs of the Ministry of Education.

The Minister of Education, Research and Religious Affairs, during his speech at the ceremony for the presentation of the Yad Vashem awards which was held on 11.2.2019 in Athens, announced that in the context of covering the needs for planning and implementing actions and initiatives on combating anti-Semitism, the General Secretariat for Religious Affairs has adopted the working definition of anti-Semitism as it was set out at the Plenary meeting of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) on May 26, 2016 with the active participation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Hellenic Republic.

It is to be recalled that by Resolution B8-0383/2017 on combating anti-Semitism (2017/2692 (RSP)), the European Parliament, inter alia, “[…] calls on the Member States and the Union institutions and agencies to adopt and apply the working definition of anti-Semitism employed by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA)”.

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