Expressions of anti-Semitism are by no means unique to Greece. A recently published survey conducted in 2012 by the EU Fundamental Rights Agency among 5,847 Jews living in Belgium, Britain, Germany, France, Hungary, Italy, Latvia and Sweden found that large percentages (76%) thought anti-Semitism had increased either a lot or a little over the past five years; that 27% had witnessed other Jews being verbally insulted or harassed or physically attacked in the past 12 months; and a quarter were afraid to wear a kippa or attend a Jewish event or visit a site which would publicly identify them as Jews.
Walking the streets of Athens and sitting in coffee shops with a kippa on my head I cannot say that I felt completely comfortable. And some of the nastiest looks I received came from police. The Jews from the community that I met did not wear kippot, though members of Chabad do. A modest Holocaust remembrance site in Athens, located where the city’s Jews were deported to Auschwitz during World War II, is periodically vandalized – lights are broken, swastikas spray-painted on its walls.
I wonder how much of that is Muslims, and how much is that Europeans simply know, as common sense, that Jews are an unhealthy influence on their country?
Benjamin Albalas, president of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece, told me that the vast majority of the country’s Jews voted for Samaras’s New Democracy party. He said they were motivated principally by the party’s economic policies
I wonder what New Democracy’s economic policies are? Oh, here they are:
The troika makes its aid conditional upon various austerity measures that have drastically cut pensions and resulted in the layoff of hundreds of thousands of workers (the Greek unemployment rate is 27%, and is even higher for workers aged 25 to 30)
The next installment of the troika-arranged cash infusion is conditional upon at least two reforms: one which would allow creditors to evict Greeks who default on mortgage payments, and one which would enable public sector layoffs of more than 5% of the workforce. Samaras, meanwhile, has warned that if the troika pushes too hard and thousands of Greeks are forced out of their workplaces and their homes, his narrow coalition will fall apart and a government even less disposed to austerity measures will be voted in – led, perhaps, by the leftist opposition party SYRIZA, neck-in-neck in opinion polls with Samaras’s New Democracy party.
So Greek’s Jews are vastly in favor of international banker austerity that throws Greeks out of jobs and out of their homes. I edited out a paragraph that said, “Greeks Jews are suffering too!” because if they were suffering so much, why do they vastly support New Democracy that increases Greeks’ suffering?
It will be interesting to see what happens if the extreme leftist Syriza gets elected. Will it be good or bad for Golden Dawn? I suppose it depends on what they do, which is up in the air. Will they throw open the gates to immigrants and Greek citizenship in a blatant “Elect a New People?” strategy? If so, this is an open declaration of war, and would likely lead to a civil war. If they do economic populism, they may be a little more secure in power. Another question — will they try to put the boot on Golden Dawn? Again, that could lead to civil war.
There are a lot of copycat Golden Dawns springing up all over the world. A very good sign. It’s a nice brand.
At any rate, it’s interesting to see what Jews are saying among themselves. They don’t sound particularly confident of their global hegemony.
As one senior member of the Jewish community in Athens told me, the minuscule Jewish community of Greece has very little political influence. And the situation is not very different throughout Europe.
“We have nothing comparable to AIPAC here,” he said, referring to the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
“Therefore, the strategy is to keep our expectations low and remain on best terms as possible with the present government.”
Heavy is the head that wears the crown!