The worst in society is magnified by how statist that society is.
Dr.Gerstenfeld made an interview with the Greek professor Moses Altsech in 2004 on how antisemitism is strongly embedded in Greek mainstream society. I now choose to republish that interview in light of the fact that the neo-Nazi and antisemitic Golden Dawn Party in Greek opinion polls is getting close to 15% of the vote.
It’s not just about the Fascist salute, it’s about the whole Socialist Neo-Nazi package. The leader Nikolaos Michaloliakos (in above picture front and center) can blame ”global speculators” all he wants, the Greek socialist welfare state (which he supports) and the administrative bureaucracy, are to blame for the Greek mess, no one else.
NOTE: No one should be surprised shocked at all to see ultra-nationalist socialist movements sprouting in a welfare state. Any society based upon the bedrock of limited government, the principles of individual liberty accompanied by personal responsibility, the protection of property rights and adherence to the free market system, will ever be lured by numskulls such as the Neo-Fascists, Marxists or the present day Fabians.
Anti-Semitism in Greece: Embedded in Society
An Interview with Moses Altsech
Anti-Semitism in Greece occurs not only among extreme rightists and leftists. It is embedded in Greek mainstream society and manifests itself in religious contexts, education, politics and the media. Jews are often not perceived as true Greeks, although many families have lived there since the 15th century.
A Eurobarometer survey in the year 2000 showed Greece to have the highest degree of xenophobia in the European Union.
Greek mainstream media regularly uses the terms “genocide,” “Holocaust” and the names of concentration camps drawing a parallel between Nazi Germany and Israel today. In this, Greece is more similar to Syria and Iran than to the Western world.
- As the Greek Jewish community is small and not very vocal, the international condemnations of Greek anti-Semitism by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Anti-Defamation League and others are especially important.
Jews Not Perceived as True Greeks
“Anti-Semitism occurs in Greece not only among extreme rightists and leftists, but is embedded in Greek mainstream society. It manifests itself in many ways: in a religious context, in education, in the application of the law, in the media, and through politically-motivated anti-Semitism in the major parties, as well.”
Greek-born Moses Altsech teaches at Edgewood College in Madison, Wisconsin, and has long researched anti-Semitism in his native country. He asserts that for the ordinary citizen, to be Greek means to be white, ethnic Greek and Greek Orthodox, even if this is not stated explicitly. “In view of the way most Greeks perceive their identity, they have difficulty understanding how someone who is not Christian can be truly Greek.
“For political reasons, the Turks in northeastern Greece are never mentioned as a Turkish minority, but as a Muslim one. There are few blacks in Greece, but even if they are born in the country and speak the language fluently, many people do not perceive them as Greek. My family has been in the country – like most Greek Jews – since the end of the fifteenth century, after their expulsion from Spain. We are still not considered true Greeks because of the mainstream perceptions of what it means to be Greek. It doesn’t enter the average person’s mind that someone can be fully Greek without being Orthodox. This exclusion is fueled by both religious and educational elements which have given most Greek people an ‘us versus them’ mentality in relation to the Jews.
“A 2000 Eurobarometer survey showed that 38 percent of Greeks – the highest percentage in the European Union – were troubled by the presence of people of other nationalities living in their country. I think that when the survey was taken, the Greeks were referring to the Albanians, in particular. The popular notion was that crime became rampant because of the Albanian immigration – as if there had been none before. In that survey, 24 percent of Greeks said they were bothered by the presence of people of another race, and 21 percent were bothered by those of another religion living in Greece. These were among the highest percentages in EU countries.1 On 12 March 2004, Chrysi Avghi (Golden Dawn), the new weekly newspaper of the Neo-Nazi organization of that name, cited another survey indicating that the percentage of Greeks who view immigrants unfavorably is 89 percent.2
“This xenophobia causes all minorities – religious or ethnic – to adopt defensive postures and to feel the constant need to reaffirm their patriotism and to prove that they are truly Greek. In a democracy this should not occur. Jews were never easily identified as such in Greece, except by their names; yet they were usually treated as foreign elements in society. The best way to explain this is that Jews and other minorities were only reluctantly tolerated in Greece. This means that Greeks were willing to put up with minorities rather than accept them.”