Yiannis Boutaris .
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
The mayor of the Greek city of Thessaloniki was sworn in wearing a yellow Star of David, according to a report in Ekathimerini daily newspaper.
According to the paper, Yiannis Boutaris started his second term last Thursday in the middle of protests by left-wingers against the inclusion of recently elected city councilors representing the far-right Golden Dawn party. The Jewish community, scholars and the media consider the party neo-Nazi.
Protesters on both sides of the political divide yelled at each other across the municipal council room, according to reports.
Boutaris’s move was seen as a gesture of solidarity with Thessaloniki’s Jewish community, which was devastated in the Holocaust, and now numbers about 1,000 members.
Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece congratulated Boutaris in a letter, praising his “highly symbolic initiative to swear in as mayor of Thessaloniki wearing the Star of David with the word ‘Jude’ on it, which reminds of the most dark and sad page in the contemporary history of your city, of our country and of the entire Europe[an continent] as well.”
“Yet, beyond remembrance, your gesture sends a strong and clear message to those nostalgic for Nazism and fascism that under your leadership your city will continue to fight against any phenomena of racism, intolerance and anti-Semitism.”JTA contributed to this report.