ADL calls on Greece to pass new anti-racism law

In response to Holocaust denial comments made by lawmaker from neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party, lobby urges PM to fulfill pledge.

By JPOST.COM STAFF, JTA
June 8, 2013 13:28
2 minute read.
Golden Dawn party activist waves flag with logo

Golden Dawn party activist waves flag with party logo 370. (photo credit: REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis)

 
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In response to Holocaust denial comments made by a prominent lawmaker from the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Saturday urged the Greek government to resolve differences within its coalition and swiftly pass new anti-racism legislation currently under consideration.

In a statement to the press, Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director urged the Prime Minster Antonis Samaras to fulfill his pledge he made in his March 19 speech at the Monastiriotes Synagogue, to enact new and stringent anti-racism legislation.

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“[Golden Dawn MP Ilias] Kasidiaris was clearly referring to himself as the Holocaust denier in his hateful rhetoric since he is the only Golden Dawn member of the committee,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director.

“We expect Greek leaders to condemn such appalling statements made in parliament," he added.

Speaking to parliament on Thursday, Golden Dawn MP Ilias Kasidiaris said that a Greek-Israeli businessman caught up in a massive tax evasion scandal refuses to testify before an investigative committee because of the presence of Holocaust deniers.

“The Jew Sabby Mionis is key to this case,” Kasidiaris said. “He won’t come to this committee because there are Holocaust deniers on it. And indeed there are Holocaust deniers on it.”

Kasidiaris was apparently referring to himself, the only Golden Dawn lawmaker on the committee.



The committee is investigating possible tax avoidance by the so-called “Lagarde list” of about 2,000 prominent Greeks who had money stashed in Swiss bank accounts.

Greek authorities want to question Mionis about an account containing some 550 million Euros ($725 million). Greek media have alleged that the account was linked to the mother of former Prime Pinister George Papandreou.

Mionis has denied this, saying the account belonged to a mutual find that he managed.

Kasidiaris said they could not question Mionis because he was in Israel, to which he emigrated in 2006.

“We don’t want to go to the murderous Zionist state. If he sets foot in this country, he’ll face justice,” said Kasidiaris, who rose to international prominence during last year’s election campaign when he slapped a woman from the Communist Party in the face during a live TV broadcast.

Kasidiaris has also read from the anti-Semitic forgery The Protocols of the Elders of Zion in the Greek Parliament.

The remarks reportedly drew strong protest from Deputy Interior Minister Haralambos Athanassiou. According to the Eleftherotypia newspaper, Athanassiou told told Kasidiaris that he could be punished for Holocaust denial under a proposed new law Greece is currently debating a new law, aimed at combating Golden Dawn, which would impose stiff penalties for racist attacks and criminalize Holocaust denial.

Golden Dawn emerged on the political scene last year, winning 7 percent of the vote, or 18 seats, in the 300-member parliament. Recent polls have indicated the party, which runs on a fierce anti-immigrant platform, now has about 10 percent of the population’s support.

Golden Dawn has been frequently condemned by Jewish and international groups as racist and anti-Semitic.

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