A week ago we wrote a text with the title “Is Anti-Semitism going to succeed what Repression did not?”, noting that an evident anti-Semitism had started being manifested in various places within the country, hidden behind the anti-Zionist veil of opposition to the bombardments in Gaza. Our main concern in that text was to prevent any kind anti-Semitic outburst in Greece, something that would wash out any right attempts with a direction towards ‘inside’ (the creation of the ‘domestic enemy’), caused by December’s riot 2008 against the Greek state’s structures. While writing that text we could not imagine that we would soon face such a direct realization of the text’s title, something that happened three days ago in front of Larisa’s synagogue, during a rally. While a large group of riot police was standing at one side of the synagogue holding their truncheons, at the other side there was a battle taking place between some people who wanted to remove the Star of David from the synagogue’s entrance and those who wanted to protect it. Indeed, at this specific moment there was no external suppression. The problem was within the rally.
But let’s see things from the beginning: on the 17th of January 2009, a rally of 2,000 people took place in Larisa, expressing their solidarity with those that had been detained during December’s riot and their opposition to the anti-terrorist law, with which 19 people are being persecuted for their participation in the events in Larisa. This rally was partially the first implementation of the slogan that has been widely heard in many cities: “Let’s take back our prisoners!”
The moment, however, that the rally reached the square of the Jewish Martyrs of the Occupation, on which the monument of the Holocaust of the Greek Jews of Larisa is located and around which the synagogue, the Jewish school and the offices of the Israelite Community of Larisa are, near Palestine street, some revolutionaries from the anarchist part of the demonstration went into an Anti-Semitic frenzy.
It is worth noting that since the beginning of the demonstration some Palestinian flags had appeared in the anarchist bloc, waving next to the black and red ones, indicating some comrades’ selective tolerance towards the flags of only some nations and states.
Although the Palestinians that tried to hang the Palestinian flags on the monument of the Holocaust showed considerable understanding and were persuaded within a minute not to do something like that, some Greek anarchists were straight tried to hang their flags on the monument using screams and bullying. This is the renowned “solidarity with the Palestinian people” and the celebrated “solidarity with the intifada” we have been hearing about for so long! Greek anti-Semites and paranoids try to sharpen the situation and bring about fanaticism in order to provide their—supposed—help to the struggle of Palestinians, the best mean for which proved to be the desecration of the monument of the Holocaust!
Exactly the same moment, the two cameras placed outside the Community’s offices for the Synagogues security were broken and a lot of people gathered and started swearing at the cops that were at the alley where the entrance of the synagogue is. Although these moves had as a target the representatives of ‘order’ and the gear of surveillance, none was prevented from making comments such as “there are guarding the Jews”…and the slogan “dogs, guard your masters” that was suddenly shouted acquired a new flavor…since the cops at that moment were standing in front of the synagogue, a newsstand and a kebab place. We do not believe that the slogan implied that the cops’ masters are the owners of the newsstand or the kebab shop.
The last and worst incident happens in front of the old entrance of the synagogue, where, while the rally was moving, a group of anarchist revolutionaries helped by two Palestinians (you know, those used as excuse for any type of anti-Semitic action…) decide to rip away the Star of David from the entrance. From somewhere at the back someone was shouting “destroy it”, “burn it” and other similar…revolutionary calls.
Before any destructive actions took place, comrades from various collectives, as well as immigrants that were participating in the rally, spontaneously stood in front of the synagogue’s entrance in order to protect it, while other comrades started quarreling with the anti-Semites, pushing and yelling to each other. The fact that some comrades were shouting to the aggressors that they are “nationalists” and “Fascists” caused a feeling of perplexity which could not be thought over by the wrathful revolutionaries. They, therefore, turned this perplexity into questions like: “who are those guarding the door? Are they Jews?”. While some of them had already raised their flags to destroy the Star of David sensing that something weird was happening—namely, that some of the people participating in the protest started protecting the star—and admitting their immature level of thought, started asking us holding their shafts questions like “explain to me, I don’t know, I want to know the reason why I should not rip it away…”, etc. These ‘beautiful moments’ ended soon, since the star was not ripped away and the rally moved towards its end.
This unity describing the broad ‘antizionist’ trend in Greece shows clearly who benefits from this. It is something that not only has to raise discussions and thoughts, but also needs to be condemned and treated without any prevarications. A collective memory that ‘forgets’ what fascism was and spots ‘fascisms’ everywhere has as a result the relativization of the old crimes. Today’s supposedly revolutionary memory that overlooks the character of the war it enters, leads to the destruction of the total historical memory and, indirectly, to reactionary and racist paths. When the targets and the slogans of some people, whoever they are, get identical with those of neo-Nazis, something peculiar is going on.
Whoever pretends not to understand the differences between the state of Israel and the monuments dedicated to greek Jews in memory of their annihilation by the Nazis of Hitler is dangerous. The 86% of the greek Jewry, around 60,000 people, were exterminated by the Nazis between 1942 and 1945. These monuments are devoted to these victims, the victims of German fascism and anti-Semitism. Whoever does not accept this denies a priori the extermination itself or desecrates the memory of the genocide, by implying that the victims are responsible for things that are totally irrelevant. They continue in this way connecting the choices of the state of Israel with the greek-jewish communities (as the Communist Party also did in 2006 during the war between Hezbollah and Israel) and do the very job of fascists! With the veil of antizionism (that attacks whoever is considered a “Zionist”) and the blessings of a part of the greek Left and some radicals, it seems there is something emerging now that will end up out of control. It is our responsibility to realize it and stop it.
Whoever begins his supposed anti-religious campaigns (against someone else’s religion and not his own) today, that the limits between antizionism and anti-Semitism become socially more and more indistinguishable, proves proves to be, if not an anti-Semite, at least a useful idiot of anti-Semitism. Whoever gets involved in such things simply provides an additional argument of left origin to fascists themselves. What do we mean by that? That neonazis, not being justified to use their old kind, hitlerist, biological anti-Semitism anymore, they nowadays promote their anti-Semitism through the three central and very successful—in terms of camouflaging hatred—arguments of the Left: the anti-capitalist one (“I love Jews but I hate their companies and banks”), the anti-zionist one (“I love Jews but I hate the racist jewish state”) and the anti-religious one (“I love Jews but I hate the racist jewish religion”). Through these three arguments, anyone can say and act as he likes by replacing the word “jew” with the word “zionist”. In this way, from Mihaloliakos to Papariga and from Plevris to Alavanos, everyone speaks the same solid language without any obstacles.[i]
Finally, we have to say that we condemn this desecration in the city of Larissa, as well as the one in the jewish cemetery in Ioannina, as despicable anti-Semitic actions. We call everyone who still remains anti-fascist to resist against this kind of actions and stand by all those threatened by anti-Semitic attacks. We call all groups and organizations to take a strong stance about the latest wave of anti-Semitism in Greece that during these days has been directed against jewish buildings and monuments, and to isolate all those expressing anti-Semitic hatred and ideas.
Anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism!
Against any kind of anti-Semitism!
Solidarity with the Jewish Communities!
For social and individual autonomy
Ps. many comrades the last few days and after our previous text (which we wrote together with Café Morgenland) asked us to take a stance against Israel because of the war break in Gaza during January between Hamas and Israel. We have to respond publicly to this request, by saying that the conflict in Gaza has nothing to do with greek anti-Semitism. What we were discussing in our previous text is greek anti-Semitism and not “Gaza”. These are two different issues. Secondly, the conflict in Gaza is not for us the only conflict taking place today in the whole world—and it is certainly not the most tragic one—so we cannot understand why we have to take a selective stance about this conflict only, while no other greek anarchist group, leftist group or Media doesn’t even say a word about, for example, the genocide in Sudan, the dead Arabs of Iraq or the dozens of conflicts that the local media constantly refuse to televise. We should also squarely state that we refuse to criticize Israel in any way. And that’s because Israel receives a mainly anti-Semitic criticism from its very first appearance as a state (see our analysis about anti-Semitism—in Greek—in our first and second issue and in many of our texts). Finally, we have to say that, being loyal followers of the old political slogan “Our enemy is here!” (Karl Liebkneht), we choose without hesitations and second thoughts to primarily criticize greek society and the greek state, the destruction of which we desire. The task of criticizing the Israeli state has been already undertaken by our comrades inside Israel and we are happy to send them, once more, all our revolutionary greetings! Of course our comrades in Israel always try to persuade us that the Israeli state is the worst of all states, but we always respond that they are mistaken, probably because they have not visited Greece yet…
[i] Mihaloliakos is the fuhrer of the neonazi party Golden Dawn (Hrysi Aygi), Papariga is the general secretary of the Communist Party of Greece, Plevris is a neonazi author and one of the founders of a greek right-wing party (People’s Orthodox Alarm) and, finally, Alavanos is the former leader of the left-wing party Synaspismos. The last three parties are also in the greek Parliament.