EJC President Says We Will Work to Ensure Justice Prevails
(Paris, 6 April 2009) – The European Jewish Congress is expressing outrage in response to the reversal by a Greek appeals court which overturned a 2007 prison conviction of self-proclaimed Holocaust denier Costas Plevris for his book “The Jews – The Whole Truth”.
The EJC, the umbrella organization for Jewish communities in Europe, finds it inconceivable that only sixty years after the Holocaust, and against the backdrop of the worst anti-Semitism and vitriol in Europe since the Holocaust, a Greek appeals court has tacitly endorsed incitement of racial violence and hatred under the guise of freedom of expression.
Plevris had been convicted in December 2007 and condemned to 14 months of imprisonment and probation for three years for “racial insult,” “incitement to hatred and racial violence” on the basis of the 1979 Greek anti-racist law.
EJC President Dr. Moshe Kantor stated, “Tthe decision by the Greek court of appeals to overturn the conviction of Costas Plevris, a self-avowed neo-Nazi and anti-Semite, is a miscarriage of justice and makes a mockery of the Greek anti-racism law. By overturning Plevris’ conviction, the appeals court has essentially given legitimacy towards further violence against the Jewish community – in Greece and throughout Europe. It is nothing short of an abomination.”
In his book, Plevris openly calls the Holocaust into question while justifying Nazism, stating, “Ridding Europe of the Jews is necessary because Judaism poses a threat to the freedom of Nations” (page 432). And, “I constantly blame the German Nazis for not ridding our Europe of Jewish Zionism when it was in their power to do so,” (page 1,221).
He also notes, “And now the time has come for us to call the Jew by the name he deserves…… He is the sub-human Jew!” (page 266). And, “It is the fault of the civilized world that tolerates the international parasites that are called Jews… the time for retaliation has come…” (pages 138-139).
Kantor noted, “Only a coward cloaks his hatred and incitement against other people behind the comfort and protection of ‘freedom of expression.’ In a symposium on religious and racial tolerance held by the EJC and European Parliament just last week, the Plevris case and his incitement against Jews were raised in the presence of a host of European MEPs. The EJC will work with other civil rights organizations to repeal the court decision and to lobby Greek institutions and the Greek government to ensure that in the end, Plevris will in fact serve his sentence for incitement to hatred and that justice will eventually be served.”
Kantor added, “The way in which the Greek government and courts deal with this court decision and other cases of this nature will be the true test as to the seriousness with which Greek leaders view anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial. We will be watching.”