Greek parliamentarian calls Israel 'eternal enemy of Greece and Orthodoxy' - World Jewish Congress

Greek parliamentarian calls Israel 'eternal enemy of Greece and Orthodoxy'

Greek parliamentarian calls Israel 'eternal enemy of Greece and Orthodoxy'

Christos pappas

The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece (KIS) on Monday strongly condemned anti-Semitic statements made by an extreme-right lawmaker, calling it “infuriating that this kind of statements can be heard in the Parliament of the Hellenic Republic.”

Christos Pappas at his arrest in 2013In a parliamentary debate last week, Christos Pappas, a deputy for the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party, described Israel as the “eternal enemy of Greece and Orthodoxy.” Pappas also accused Israel of implementing “genocidal methods,” describing it as “a regional troublemaker.”

Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos, in response, called on the Justice Ministry to take action against the Golden Dawn lawmaker. In the past, however, Kammenos himself was accused of anti-Semitism. In 2014, he claimed that Greek Jews paid fewer taxes than their non-Jewish neighbors. Since becoming defense minister in January 2015, however, Kammenos has overseen a warmer relationship with Israel.

The KIS statement said: “For our part, as the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece, we will never get tired of denouncing every anti-Semitic statement, every stereotypical characterization of Jews or the State of Israel. However, we will always demand from the state to undertake all necessary actions in order to condemn immediately, officially and, above all, unequivocally any anti-Semitic statements. 

“The fight against anti-Semitism and bigotry is a daily struggle. We therefore have to fight with dedication and perseverance,” said the Jewish umbrella body.

As Greece’s third-largest political party, Golden Dawn frequently employs Nazi imagery, with its leaders denying the Holocaust and the existence of Nazi death camps and gas chambers. The party’s banner resembles a Nazi swastika as well. The party has been associated with anti-Semitic vandalism, racially motivated attacks on immigrants, and the alleged 2013 murder of left-wing anti-fascist activist and musician Pavlos Fyssas by one of its members.

The party was founded by Nikolaos Michaloliakos in 1980. Michaloliakos and Pappas were among the many Golden Dawn leaders who were arrested in September 2013 in connection with the murder of a rapper, and were later released. The trial is ongoing.