Thursday, 25 September 2008
Anti-semitism in Greece: Final conviction of "Eleftheros Cosmos"
Press Release from The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece
"Following their conviction at first instance, the editor of the far-right Greek weekly "Eleftheros Cosmos" Dimitris Zafeiropoulos and journalist Theodoros Hatzigogos were tried on 18 September 2008 on appeal before a Three-Member Court of Appeals of Athens, and were unanimously sentenced to imprisonment for 5 months (with a three-year suspension) for anti-semitism (violation of Law 927/1979 against racism), for the article published in the newspaper’s 12 March 2006 issue, which stated : "Thank God, not even 1,500 Jews are left in Thessaloniki ...".
It is worth noting that the defense counsel was Kostas Plevris (!), the known anti-semite and Holocaust denier, who did not fail to plead in court with his familiar arguments against the Jews."
Source: EJP (17.09.2007)
""Elefteros Kosmos" (Free World) is a marginal extreme right wing weekly with no more than 800 copies in circulation. (...)
A conviction based on the anti-discrimination law would constitute a legal precedent allowing for further prosecutions in the future against anti-Semitic literature in Greece.
Dozens of pro-Hitler magazines and books or specifically anti-Semitic - like the Protocols of the Elders of Zion - are being sold in nearly every kiosk and in bookstores in the country.
However nothing is done to deal with this hatred and Nazi propaganda despite the existence of anti-discrimination law.
The reasoning of the courts is that prosecuting this type of literature constitutes a violation of free speech.
Anti-Semitism in Greece, although not violent and institutionalized, is not a marginal ideology of a minority but is embedded in the mainstream society and manifests itself in religious contexts, education, politics and the media.
Recent research showed that 24% of Greeks do not want to have a Jew as a neighbour. The Greek mainstream media is one of the most fiercely anti-Israeli in Europe.
Around 4,000 Jews live today in Greece."