European Jewish Congress (EJC) president Moshe Kantor referred to the alarming rise of anti-Semitism and racism in Europe, noting during an interview with ANA on Tuesday that such phenomena have found a “powerful political home in the Golden Dawn party” in Greece.
The EJC president will be in Thessaloniki at the end of the week to attend the annual World Jewish Congress and memorial events for the WWII Holocaust victims.
Speaking to ANA, he noted that: “almost everywhere in Europe, anti-Semitism is on the rise. This is deeply disturbing to me and the Jewish community. In some places, like Malmo, Sweden, the Jewish community feels that the authorities have abandoned them or are not doing enough.
“These phenomena must be combated with greater education, tougher legislation and law enforcement.”
Referring to Greece, Kantor pointed out that “anti-Semitism and racism in Greece have a powerful political home in the Golden Dawn party” and underlined that “for the first time in well over six decades, a party which requires members to be of ‘Aryan descent’, has a full armed and open-fisted salute and has a logo which distinctly resembles a Swastika has attained significant power in a European Parliament.
“Let us not be mistaken, the Golden Dawn party in Greece is not a far-right party…it represents a neo-Nazi vision that many assumed was isolated in basement parlor meetings or remote countryside retreats.”
He said that “this is a party which read the anti-Semitic forgery, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, in Parliament, denies the Holocaust and most recently threatened to turn immigrants into soap and put them in ovens.
“All lines have been crossed and we are returning to a very dark time where minorities are openly beaten up in the streets and late-night torch marches take place in city centers.
“Golden Dawn has evoked almost every Nazi emblem, strategy and policy. At the moment it is mostly rhetoric, but how long can we tolerate such things.
“They need to be censured immediately by the Greek government and the European Union.”
The EJC president said that the economic crisis demands vigilance and noted that it should not be used as an excuse for the rise of violence and racism.
“We cannot only deal with issues of racism and tolerance when our economies are good. While economies will always be repaired, our national souls may not,” he said.
Commenting on recent statements by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Zionism, he said that “while before Erdogan’s statements used to be confined to criticizing a particular Israeli policy, which is legitimate, now they have crossed a red line into assaulting the very basis for the State of Israel, which is absolutely illegitimate.
“This type of rhetoric is pushing Turkey further away from the West and Europe and closer to Iran.”
The EJC president also said that Turkey should return to serving as “a bridge for peace in the Middle East, a role they can regain only by changing their rhetoric.”
As regards the issue of Hezbollah, he said that “the European Jewish Congress once again calls for the European Union to immediately and unequivocally add Hezbollah to the list of proscribed terrorist organizations.”