Monday, February 21, 2011

Greek Antisemitism

Worldwide, hatred of Jews is indisputably on the rise.

Sometimes this sad trend is disguised as criticism of Israel or integrated with anti-Israeli sentiment, but alas, it's often just the same old Jew hatred that's been with us since the ancient Greeks. Now the modern Greeks are indulging, writes the L.A.Times:

"... Athens, one of the last European capitals to commemorate those who perished at the hands of Nazi forces, finally has a Holocaust memorial.

"But since its dedication in May, synagogues have been targeted, Jewish cemeteries desecrated, Holocaust monuments elsewhere in Greece vandalized and the Jewish Museum of Greece, in the capital, defaced with swastikas. What's more, an alarming chunk of Athenians in November supported the election of a neo-Nazi candidate to the capital's city council."

The article, Anti-Semitism flares in Greece details a frightening number of nakedly antisemitic statements by prominent politicians, honors going to perpetrators of formerly unacceptable anti-Jewish books, and tolerated acts of violence against Jews. Needless to say, I recall that the Greeks persecuted the large and longlasting Greek Jewish communities beginning in the 1920s, and then stood by as Kurt Waldheim sent them all to the camps. The article explains: "Such beliefs aren't new. Nor are they just Greek. What's different in Greece is the level of tolerance for anti-Semitism."

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