Monday, September 21, 2009

Antisemitism and the Greek Election

Unless one has been living under a rock for the past few weeks, the parliamentary elections that will take place on October 4 have grabbed the attention of every Greek, regardless of how politicized he or she may be. Greece faces serious financial problems along with a crisis of confidence in the country's institutions, brought about, at least in part, by civic unrest, significant legal and, especially, illegal immigration and a series of financial and political scandals. And as the parliamentary election is coming only months after the election for the European Parliament, there is great interest to see whether the trends discerned in the results of the June election will be confirmed in the October one.

Greek Jews have not been elected members of Parliament since before the second World War (interestingly, one of the Jews who was elected to the Greek Parliament in the 1920s was a distant relative of French President Nicolas Sarkozy). Clearly the great reduction in the number of Greek Jews as a result of their mass deportation to the German concentration camps where the great majority of them perished has affected their involvement in Greek politics. However, numbers alone can not explain the almost complete absence of Greek Jews among the candidates in parliamentary elections or in the middle and upper echelons of Greek political parties. Antisemitism has also played a major role in discouraging members of the generally reticent Greek Jewish community in seeking greater involvement in the political process.

Many, no doubt, recall the 1996 attacks by the current president of LAOS (and at the time New Democracy MP) Georgios Karatzaferis on professor Christos Rozakis, solely on the basis of the professor's alleged Jewish Ancestry which, according to his accusers, made Rozakis unsuitable to represent Greek interests as deputy foreign minister. Greek antisemites apparently have long memories. Even thirteen years after the Karatzaferis episode and eleven years since Christos Rozakis was appointed to the European Court of Human Rights, where he has been serving for more than a decade as one of the the Court's two vice-presidents, Greek antisemitic blogs (see here and here) are still harping at professor Rozakis' "anti Greek" and "traitorous" behavior, while pointing out his Jewish ancestry as an explanation for his alleged misdeeds.

Needless to say, Rozakis is not the first or only politician to be painted with the "Jewish ancestry" brush, which in Greece is tantamount to disqualification from holding public office, at least in the eyes of the country's many antisemites. Former PASOK prime minister Kostas Simitis has also been accused(!) of Jewish ancestry (for example, here and here), as has the late Andreas Papandreou and, of course, his son and current PASOK leader, Giorgos Papandreou. The alleged involvement (I have no idea if it's real or not) in PASOK's present electoral campaign of the American PR firm founded by David Axelrod, who worked for the election of U.S. president Barack Obama, has been mentioned as yet another example of Jewish (Note: not American or even foreign) involvement in Greek politics. In fact, even being identified as a (non-Jewish) Greek politician who has spoken against antisemitism is a disqualifier in the eyes of national socialist antisemites. It appears that this is all part of some nefarious Jewish plot for world domination. Which really explains the lack of involvement of Greek Jews in Greek politics: After all, why get your hands dirty in seeking world domination when the gentiles (or, in Greece's case, crypto-Jews, like Rozakis, Simitis and the Papandreous) will do it for them.


  1. To be honest, I have not heard of any person of Jewish religion wishing to run for office, but we have several professionals with what I suppose are Jewish last names were I work. It may be part of the stereotype but they are in sales (not finance or accounting).

    Karatzaferis is a bizarre individual, I wouldn't say he is a fascist, he does have a couple of indiviuals masquerading as quasi fascists, but in Greece, as you may know, appearances are misleading and I may declare myself a ultraconservative while being a bleeding heart liberal.

    I have seen the "news" about Axelrod's firm, as well as the bigoted comments that you may find in such circumstances. I am not suggesting you should trust me on the matter, I would not take it too seriously. Some Greeks, following European trends are on anti immigrant, anti minority trip, and, as the recession sets in, I would expect it to get worse. I would be more concerned about Pakistanis and ethnic Albanians however. Pasok has cought some flack on its pro immigrant or non discriminatory stance.

    Simitis Jewish? I very much doubt it... his name is of turkish origin having something to do with wheat or flour...

    These are difficult times, and I am not opitmistic for the future if the recession gets serious. However, should it get ugly, the Moslem minorities are more visible and vulnerable, not that would give you or me any comfort.

  2. That was also my point (albeit obliquely), why would Jews want to subject themselves and their families to the slander and defamation that comes with being (or suspected of being or rumored to be) Jewish in modern Greece. As for Karatzaferis, no, I wouldn't call him fascist either. I think he is a right-wing amoral opportunist who has wanted a senior cabinet post which he would not have gotten as a New Democracy MP but may get as leader of a party in a coalition government. However many of his followers are fascists (of a peculiar Greek type, admittedly, more operetta than opera) and he certainly throws enough morsels their way to keep them in line behind him. As for Axelrod, my point was that the accusers did not complain that he is foreigner or even American, both true and both favorite targets of many Greeks, but that he is Jewish, as if that makes the difference.

    Finally, I don't disagree with you with regard to the immigration issue. I am no bleeding heart liberal myself and I can appreciate the great difficulty that a small country has with illegals approaching 15%, 20%, 25% (nobody knows) of its population. This is an explosive situation and I also believe that it is the right of every sovereign country to control its borders. Having said all this, there is no reason or excuse to "translate" legitimate concerns about social stability and the country's ability to cope with waves of illegals to racism. But what greatly puzzles me is why Greek Jews, many of whom have lived in Greece longer than many Christian Greeks, are roped into this immigration discussion. Actually, this is a rhetorical question; I know why, this is because many Christian Greeks consider Jewish Greeks alien. By the way, there have been plenty of anti-Jewish episodes lately (desecration of Jewish cemeteries, graffiti on synagogues, destruction of Jewish monuments) but nothing similar (thankfully, I hasten to add) against the Muslim (Turkish) minority in Thrace, in spite of the tensions between Greece and Turkey and the (real or alleged, I am not sure) involvement of Greek Muslims in spying for Turkey. Clearly then some Greeks perceive Jews a greater threat to "Hellenism" than Muslims.

  3. Και συ και οι άλλοι ανθέληνες ήσαστε υπεύθυνοι για την πυρπόληση του Ρεσάλτο και θα πληρώσετε. Ξέρουμε ποιος είσε.

  4. Κοίταξε, δεν θα χύσω δάκρυα γιά τις υλικές φθορές σε μιά εθνικοσοσιαλιστική πατσαβούρα. Απλά λυπάμαι που σαν κοινωνία έχουμε καταντήσει έτσι ώστε καθένας να το θεωρεί δικαίωμά του να παραβαίνει τους νόμους κατάφωρα και να βάζει σε κίνδυνο τη ζωή και την περιουσία αθώων ατόμων που είχαν την ατυχία να μένουν δίπλα. Γιά το Ρεσάλτο αυτό καθ' εαυτό καρφί δεν μου καίγεται, είναι η Νεοελληνική (πρόσεξε, δύο "λ" κ. Ανώνυμε) εκδοχή του Der Stürmer.

  5. Καλησπέρα φίλε {Έλληνα} ρεπόρτερ.
    Έχω μία απορία , γιά αυτά πού καταθέτεις στό μπλογκ, σού.
    Θέλω , αν έχεις τη δυνατότητα , να μού πείς , αν, όλα αυτά πού γράφουν τα μπλογκ , είναι ψευδή.
    καί αν είναι αντισημιτικό , να λές μιά είδηση ,η οποία είναι αληθινή..
    Όπως , γιά τίς τόσες απόψεις {ΑΝΘΕΛΛΗΝΙΚΕΣ}πού λένε κάποιοι ηγέτες , πού είναι Εβραικής καταγωγής..
    Καί τυγχάνει νά είναι όλες εναντίον τών Ελλήνων , καί της Ελλαδας...
    Αυτά γιά τήν ώρα ...
    Μετά τιμής: ΚΡΙΣΑΙΟΝ

  6. Αν κατάλαβα καλά, γιατί τα λες λίγο μπερδεμένα, θέλεις αποδείξεις ότι όντως οι συγκεκριμένοι Έλληνες πολιτικοί δεν είναι Εβραίοι. Πράγμα που έχει συζητηθεί εκτενώς. Αλλά το κύριο ζήτημα είναι ότι και να ήταν Εβραϊκής καταγωγής τι σημασία θα είχε. Εφ΄όσον είναι Έλληνες πολίτες το θρήσκευμά τους, σύμφωνα με το σύνταγμα και τους νόμους της χώρας, δεν επηρεάζει ουδόλως την καταλληλότητά τους η μη γιά κυβερνητικά αξιώματα. Αλλά οι αντισημίτες θεωρούν ότι και μόνο που είναι κάποιος Εβαίος, ή ακόμα που να φημολογείται ότι έιναι Εβραίος, είναι αρκετό γιά να θεωρείται ύποπτος γιά ανθελληνική συμπεριφορά, ξεχνώντας, επιπλέον, πόσοι βέροι Ορθόδοξοι Έλληνες πολιτικοί έφεραν καταστροφές στη χώρα.

  7. Μιλώ μόνο γιά θέσεις πού εκφράζουν αρκετοί πολίτες ,Εβραικής καταγωγής..Όσο γιά τούς ορθόδοξους Χριστιανούς ,Έλληνες απανταχού είναι θύματα ,{ θέλω να πιστεύω }αυτού τού θεού ...
    Καί τών Ιδρυτών αυτής της θρησκείας...Καί επίσης να ξεκαθαρίσω , ότι δέν τούς κρίνω με την καταγωγή , η τη θρησκεία , αλλα με το τη πράττουν στη θητεία τούς,στα κυβερνητικα αξιώματα..Δηλαδή τα ΑΝΘΕΛΛΗΝΙΚΑ πράγματα , πού κατά κανόνα είναι πάρα πολλά...
    Συμφωνείς,αλήθεια, με τη δήλωση τού κ. Παπανδρέου ; Με λιγότερα στρέμματα γής θα κοιμόμαστε πιό ήσυχη !!!

  8. Αγαπητέ, το θέμα δεν είναι αν διαφωνούμε ή αν συμφωνούμε με τον α' ή β' πολιτικό αλλά αν οι οποιεσδήποτε διαφωνίες μας έχουν να κάνουν με τις πραγματικές ή μη θρησκευτικές πεποιθήσεις των πολιτικών ηγετών ή με την φημολογούμενη, χωρίς οπιαδήποτε στοιχεία, Εβραϊκή καταγωγή τους. Δυστυχώς στην σύγχρονη Ελλάδα, το να σε αποκαλούν Εβραίο είναι ύβρις ενώ κανονικά θα έπρεπε να μην είναι τίποτα διαφορετικό από το να σε λένε Κορίνθιο, ή Σερραίο ή Σμυρνιό. Οι οποίοι χαρακτηρισμοί κουβαλάνε βέβαια μιά ιστορία, διαφορετική σε κάθε περίπτωση αλλά χωρίς κανένα ανθελληνικό υπονοούμενο.