US/World News

Athens Jews protest desecration of cemetery

By Yossi Lempkowicz

(EJP via JNS) The Jewish community of Athens on Sunday formed a human circle around the Jewish cemetery of the city in a silent protest to say that anti-Semitism will not be tolerated in Greece, after the cemetery was desecrated last week. The protest rally was called by the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece (KIS), which represents the country’s 6,000 Jews. Members of the Greek government and religious groups participated in the rally in a gesture of solidarity with the Jewish community.

The vice mayor of Athens, Lefteris Papagiannakis, addressed the rally.

The World Jewish Congress said it stands with the Jewish community of Athens in condemning repeated antisemitic attacks and its initiative to organize the protest. The group has launched in parallel a social-media campaign to raise awareness of the antisemitic manifestations ongoing in Greece, urging people worldwide to join in support.

“The World Jewish Congress abhors the despicable and cowardly act of desecrating Jewish property and stands firmly with the local Jewish community in urging individuals, organizations, and public authorities to mobilize in any way possible to make it absolutely clear that there is no room for antisemitism in Greek society,” said WJC CEO Robert Singer. “It is inconceivable that still today, antisemitic stereotypes are rife in Greece. We cannot stand by in silence as hatred continues unhindered.”

He continued: “Greece was once home to a strong and influential Jewish community, which was all but decimated during the Holocaust. The community that remains today is small but still vibrant, and unfortunately is no stranger to antisemitic manifestations. Every citizen of Greece deserves the full protection of its government. We thank Athens Mayor Giorgis Kaminis for publicly condemning this antisemitic act, and urge other politicians and authorities to follow suit.”

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