New York, NY, January 14, 2010 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today called on the government of Greece to "publicly and forcefully condemn" an anti-Semitic arson attack against a synagogue on the island of Crete.
"It is disappointing that the Greek government has so far failed to condemn the shocking arson attack targeting a synagogue on the island of Crete," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "The prime minister was forceful in condemning the recent firebomb attack aimed at the Greek Parliament, saying that 'democracy cannot be terrorized,'" said Mr. Foxman. "We would hope that, in the same spirit, he would publicly and forcefully condemn the firebomb attack on the Etz Chaim synagogue in Hania."
On January 5, a fire was intentionally set inside the historic Etz Chaim synagogue and a bar of soap left outside, presumably invoking the common Greek anti-Semitic expression, "I'll make you into a bar of soap."
ADL has written to Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou, urging his government to condemn anti-Semitism and to ensure the safety and security of the Jewish community of Greece.
"The previous government remained silent when synagogues were attacked and Jewish cemeteries desecrated, sending a message of insecurity to the Jewish community and of impunity to those who perpetrated the attacks," the League's Mr. Foxman wrote to the prime minister. "We hope your government will change that policy and declare that anti-Semitism has no place in Greece."
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.