Greek Prime Minister Urged to Denounce Anti-Semitism
New York, NY, March 30, 2004 … Following the publication of a series of outrageous anti-Semitic cartoons in a Greek daily newspaper, including one that repeats the charge of Jews as "Christ killers," the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today called on the new prime minister of Greece to forcefully condemn anti-Semitism and take responsibility "for setting a tone for tolerance."
In the aftermath of the killing of Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, a series of political cartoons appeared in the Greek daily newspaper Eleftheroptypia. Several of the cartoons use vicious anti-Semitic imagery and swastikas to portray Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and President George W. Bush as fascist dictators. In one strip, a woman asks, "Why did the Jewish Government kill a religious leader?" A man replies, "They are practicing for Easter."
"These cartoons clearly cross the line from legitimate criticism of Israel to base anti-Semitism," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director and author of Never Again? The Threat of the New Anti-Semitism (HarperSanFrancisco, 2003). "These caricatures are couched in criticism of Israel, but are expressed through age-old, anti-Jewish stereotypes."
In a letter to Prime Minister Konstandinos Karamanlis, Mr. Foxman noted that while Greece enjoys a free and lively press, the government bears a responsibility for denouncing crude stereotypes whenever they appear and for setting a tone of tolerance in society.
"In recent years, we have grown increasingly aware of anti-Semitism in the Greek press, and have communicated our concerns to the Greek government on a number of occasions," wrote Mr. Foxman. "We urge you to speak out strongly against these anti-Semitic depictions."
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.