Anti-Jewish Comments by Greek Member of Parliament Must Be Condemned

New York, NY, June 24, 2015 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today called on the President of the Greek Parliament to publicly condemn offensive anti-Jewish comments made by Dmitris Kamennos, a member of parliament from the Independent Greeks party.

Mr. Kamennos posted an image of the gate to the Auschwitz death camp with the pro-Europe slogan, “We stay in Europe” replacing “Arbeit macht frei,” a German phrase used during the Holocaust which translates to “work makes you free.” In addition, on June 5, he posted “Euroschwitz,” a combination of Euro and Auschwitz, on his Twitter account, PortaPorta, and on April 17, he tweeted “Have you recorded the attacks of Jews against all of us?” in response to a tweet about a report on anti-Semitism in Europe.

“Greek leaders should not let such despicable social media posts by a member of parliament go without comment,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, and a Holocaust survivor. “With the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party in parliament and a vast majority of citizens who harbor anti-Semitic attitudes, responsible Greek leaders need to take a stand against hate speech, especially when uttered by elected officials.”

In a letter to President Zoe Konstantopoulou, ADL said the trivialization of the Holocaust and belittling of anti-Semitism “should offend all people of good faith, not just Jews,” and expressed hope in the office of the president to make clear that such views will be met with condemnation.

“We believe such a declaration is all the more necessary, given the Holocaust memorial in Kavala was vandalized days ago, just two weeks after its installation, and the Holocaust memorial in Athens was vandalized twice in the past 18 months,” Mr. Foxman wrote. “We respectfully urge you to heed the request of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece and speak out forcefully against Mr. Kamennos’ comments.”

A recent ADL poll in 100 countries found that 69 percent of those surveyed in Greece harbor anti-Semitic attitudes, including 60 percent of the respondents agreeing with the statement, “Jews still talk too much about what happened to them in the Holocaust.” The polling in Greece also found that 11 percent of the participants had never heard of the Holocaust and 25 percent of those who had heard of it believed that it took place, but the numbers of Jews who died has been greatly exaggerated. Greece’s score was also the highest outside of the Middle East and North Africa.

In November 2014, a delegation of top ADL leaders attended a series of meetings with senior government, religious and community leaders in Athens, and received strong messages about the Greek government’s commitment to combatting anti-Semitism and all forms of extremism.