J’lem mum on far-Right party in Greek government

Israel remains quiet about inclusion of extreme-right-wing party led by Holocaust denier in new provisional Greek government.

Incoming Greek PM Papademos 311 R (photo credit: REUTERS/Eric Vidal)
Incoming Greek PM Papademos 311 R
(photo credit: REUTERS/Eric Vidal)
Israel remains mum about the inclusion of an extreme-right-wing party headed by a Holocaust denier in the new provisional Greek government, even as key Jewish organizations abroad are publicly speaking out about the matter.
The Anti-Defamation League issued a statement Tuesday calling on new Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papaedemos “to firmly and unequivocally condemn anti-Semitism,” after the far-right Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party whose leaders have a record of anti-Semitic statements was brought into the ruling coalition as a junior partner.
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A similar statement was issued by the American Jewish Committee last week.
According to sources in Jerusalem, Israel is not publicly commenting on the matter so as not to create problems for the small Greek Jewish community of 5,000, which since 2010 has seen the torching of two synagogues – one in Corfu and the other in Crete – and the desecration of a Holocaust memorial in Salonika. The sources pointed out that the Greek Jewish community itself has not related to the LAOS issue, preferring to keep a low profile on the matter.
According to the ADL, LAOS leader Georgios Karatzaferis has said “the Jews have no legitimacy to speak in Greece and provoke the political world,” and has referred to the Holocaust, Auschwitz and Dachau as “myths.” He also claimed Jews and Israel were involved in planning and executing the 9/11 terror attacks against America.
Karatzaferis played an important role in the formation of the government, which was set up last week to extricate the country from its debt crisis.
“At a time when the new government is seeking to set a new tone in Greece, they have included a party whose leaders have openly engaged in old-fashioned anti-Semitic hatred,” said Abraham Foxman, ADL’s national director. “Given the unmistakable anti-Semitism of the LAOS leadership, the prime minister should clearly and publicly state that his government will not tolerate any expressions of anti-Semitism by public officials and will condemn any manifestations of anti- Semitism in Greece.”
The ADL said the party’s newly appointed minister of infrastructure, transport and networks, Makis Voridis, has questioned whether the forgery The Protocols of the Elders of Zion was in fact an authentic document about a global Jewish conspiracy.
The ADL statement also stated that Adonis Georgiadis – the newly appointed deputy minister for development – is reported to have said that “all major banks belong to the Jews” and that “the Jewish Lobby” would determine the fate of Greece’s foreign debt.
The party has only 16 seats in Greece’s 300-seat parliament. It now has one minister, as well as two alternative ministers and two deputy ministers in the new government. It is one of only three parties in the coalition, the others being George Papandreou’s socialist PASOK party and the conservative New Democracy party of Antonis Samaras, which together control 237 seats. While LAOS was not needed to build the coalition, its inclusion is widely believed to be an attempt to garner as much support as possible for the painful austerity steps Greece is expected to take in the coming months.