The European Jewish Congress on Monday presented Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras with an award following the arrest of leading members of the far-right Golden Dawn party. EJC President Moshe Kantor praised Samaras for his "courageous leadership."
The EJC, a regional affiliate of the World Jewish Congress, held its annual Executive meeting in Athens and presented Samaras the award. “We commend Prime Minister Samaras on his leadership, especially his brave and courageous stand against the Golden Dawn party who want to use and abuse democracy for their hateful and racist agenda," Kantor declared, adding: "We ask that this experience and leadership be used as an example and a model for the rest of Europe when Greece assumes the rotating EU Presidency in January.”
The EJC Executive also discussed the European Parliament elections in May next year with Prime Minister Samaras and called on him and other European leaders to ensure that voter apathy and a lack of mainstream political mobilization does not ensure that the far-Right makes significant electoral gains. “Polls show that a third to a quarter of the next European Parliament could be made up of populist, far-right nationalist and neo-Nazi parties which would stymie moves against hate speech and push legislation limiting religious practices,” Kantor said. “This could result in a far less governable European Parliament and put the unity and morality of the union at risk.”
Golden Dawn's leader Nikolaos Michaloliakos and two other lawmakers of the neo-Nazi party were arrested and jailed in September, charged with membership of a criminal organization, following an investigation into the fatal stabbing of an anti-fascist rapper blamed on a party volunteer. The party, whose leaders have openly expressed admiration for Adolf Hitler, has seen its support rise in opinion polls since gaining nearly 7 percent of the vote in 2012 general elections, as support for traditional political parties has collapsed amid economic crisis.