Tuesday, 24 July 2012 06:14
AJC Executive Director David Harris, accompanied by Daniel Schwammenthal the Director of the AJC Transatlantic Institute in Brussels, and Ellisa Sagor, Chief of Staff of the office of the AJC Executive Director, visited Athens on Friday July 20, 2012, following visits in Jerusalem and Baku. David Harris was also accompanied by the President of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece David Saltiel and the President of the Athens Jewish Community Benjamin Albalas.  Among the highlights of the AJC program in Athens were meetings with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras; Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos; Defense Minister Panos Panagiotopoulos; Interior Minister Evripidis Stylianidis; Education Minister Konstantinos Arvanitopoulos; PASOK President Evangelos Venizelos; and Israeli Ambassador Arye Mekel.
In addition, Foreign Minister Avramopolous hosted a two-hour luncheon for the AJC delegation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which was attended by the Prime Minister and Defense Minister, along with other senior government officials.  
Greece’s relations with Israel and the USA, anti-Semitism and the reaction of the state, co-operation between Greek and Jewish organizations in the USA and around the world were among the issues discussed in the various meetings. D. Harris expressed the support of the AJC to Greece’s efforts to overcome the financial crisis. On this issue, D. Harris pointed out the following:   "AJC has long conducted its global diplomacy according to a core principle: Put simply, to have a friend, you have to be a friend.  Greece, the cradle of democracy, is an important friend of the United States, the Jewish people, and the State of Israel. But Greece today is also a friend in need. That's why AJC has made two humanitarian contributions to the Greek Jewish community, it's why we have sent Greek energy experts on AJC Project Interchange seminars to connect with their Israeli counterparts, and its why we returned to the country again this year, just after the elections, in a demonstration of solidarity”, and concluded: "This wasn't our first visit -- we've been coming to Greece for decades -- and it most assuredly won't be our last. And the work doesn't end as we return to the U.S. It's incumbent upon all friends of Greece, and friends of Greek-American and Greek-Israeli ties, to stand up now, be heard, and make their support felt."

In addition, AJC Executive Director David Harris announced enthusiastically that Prime Minister Samaras had accepted an invitation to address the AJC 2013 Global Forum in Washington, D.C. This prestigious venue has welcomed such distinguished speakers as Presidents Clinton and Bush, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

* Photos: Foreign Minister Avramopoulos with David Harris (up) and Defense Minister Panagiotopoulos with the AJC delegation and the Greek Jewish leadership (down).


- To VIMA, Sunday July 29, 2012 "
Greece shouldn't feel alone" 
Read the article in English, from the AJC website  - & - The original article in Greek

- KATHIMERINH, Sunday July 29, 2012 "Strategic relations between Greece and Israel", interview to Athanasios Ellis
Read the original article in Greek, here