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Thursday, 20 December 2018 08:48
 Israel and Greece join forces in combating Racism, Xenophobia and anti-Semitism

The first bilateral dialogue between Israel and Greece on combating racism, xenophobia and anti-Semitism was held in Athens on Wednesday, December 19th, 2018. Participants included high-ranking government, judicial and law enforcement officials from both countries as well as a human rights group specializing in combating anti-Semitism and racist hate crimes.

The dialogue was organized by the General Secretariat for Human Rights of the Ministry of Justice, Transparency and Human Rights of the Hellenic Republic in collaboration with the Embassy of Israel.  Ms. Maria Giannakaki, the Secretary General for Human Rights, opened the proceedings.

Discussions between the Israeli and Greek experts focused on ways to combat racism, xenophobia and anti-Semitism in the social media and the internet, the criminal investigation of hate crimes, the training of prosecutors and judges in detecting and prosecuting racist hate crimes, law enforcement procedures in tackling anti-Semitism as well as analyzing ways to combat anti-Semitic incidents in Greece.

The bilateral dialogue gains a special importance in light of the rise in anti-Semitic incidents in Greece, including repeated desecrations of the Holocaust Memorials in Athens and Thessaloniki, vandalism against Jewish cemeteries and sites in various parts of Greece, along with expressions of anti-Semitism in the extremist media and online.  The Greek Government as well as the Central Board of Greek Jewish Communities (KISE) and the Embassy of Israel have unequivocally condemned incidents of vandalism against Jewish sites.

Such dialogues are paramount to the growing bilateral relations between Israel and Greece in extended topics of mutual interest.

The timing of the dialogue in Athens coincides with decisions taken by some European countries, as well as one taken last week by the European Commission, to adopt the definition of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) on anti-Semitism.

Source: Press Release 19.12.2018 of the Embassy of Israel in Greece

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