Golden Dawn supporters in Athens 370 (R).
(photo credit: Yorgos Karahalis / Reuters)
Jewish groups condemned Greece’s Golden Dawn party on Wednesday, after it
submitted a draft bill in parliament “to combat racism against Greeks” by
Golden Dawn, which had been described as a neo-Nazi
organization by the Anti- Defamation League, presented its bill after parliament
failed to pass a measure that would have imposed prison terms and fines for
racist attacks and outlaw the use of Nazi symbols and denying the
According to Enet English, a Greek news website, the new bill
came in response to the failed measure, which Golden Dawn believes would have
made “Greeks a minority in their own country.”
The new bill would provide
protection against the those who would deny “genocides of Greeks,” Enet English
reported, with harsh penalties imposed on migrants who engaged in violence
“Golden Dawn has invented yet another new way to promote
its anti-democratic racist ideology,” ADL National Director Abraham H. Foxman
told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday. “Their bill is a classic example of the
perpetrator claiming to be the victim.
“Golden Dawn continues to use its
role in the Greek parliament to spew hatefilled poison, undermine democratic
principles and sow fear and division in Greek society.”
upon “the other political parties in Greece to come together to defend Greek
democracy by adopting effective legislation to combat racism and anti- Semitism
Moshe Kantor, president of the European Jewish Congress,
said, “This is a classic example of why Golden Dawn is so dangerous, because it
is using the democratic process to further its racist agenda while attempting to
suppress real human rights.
“Democratic tools must not be used to further
hate and racism and used as political battering rams against minorities. We call
on the Greek government to immediately and unequivocally reject this attempt and
move forward on the real law that would curtail and contain racism as utilized
by the Golden Dawn,” Kantor said.
A spokesman for the World Jewish
Congress also expressed concern, saying he was worried about the “failure of
mainstream political parties in Greece to reach a compromise on the muchneeded
new legislation against racism and hate speech.
“It seems that extremists
of Golden Dawn are taking advantage of the divisions within the governing
coalition and the democratic political parties represented in the Greek
parliament,” he said. “A large part of that hate speech comes from members of
the Golden Dawn party, and it must be fought vigorously because it poses a
threat not just to religious or ethnic minorities but to
Golden Dawn emerged on the political scene last year, winning
7 percent of the vote, or 18 seats, in the 300- member Greek
Recent polls have indicated the party, which runs on a fierce
anti-immigrant platform, now has about 10 percent support.
The Council of
Europe said Greece could legally ban the party, but Deputy Minister of Justice
Konstantinos Karagounis told the Post last week that such a move would be
Last week, Judith Sunderland, senior Western Europe
researcher at Human Rights Watch, issued a warning: “With people being attacked
on the streets, Greece urgently needs to beef up its criminal justice response
to hate crimes.”
JTA contributed to this report.