Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Greece: "Those committing these violent acts are what we consider ‘normal’ people"

Via Get the Trolls Out (h/t Watch: Antisemitism in Europe):
In his spare time, Iosif Vaena, a young Greek Jewish pharmacist in Thessaloniki, dives into the Thermaikos bay to collect headstones of the Jewish cemetery destroyed by the Nazis and the Greeks. Vaena is hoping to find out, one day, who threw them there.

Greece has stood out for having one of the highest levels of antisemitic attitudes among monitored countries, research has been showing since the 1980s. “We could object on many things about these research studies – that the sample was small, that the questions were not right –  but we cannot say that all the research in the last 30 years was wrong” said Vaena at the microphone of Symbiosis.

The Jewish Elementary School in Fleming Street is surrounded by strong fences and anti-terrorist barriers – a response to terror attacks in neighbouring countries and folied attacks in Greece by domestic and foreign organisations. Yet, episodes of vandalism are still happening. In preparation for a feast, a few Jewish religious symbols that were left in the courtyard became the target of unknown individuals who threw eggs at them. Furthermore, Molotov cocktail bombs have been thrown against the Jewish graveyard; the Shoah memorial has ben vandalised; and during demonstrations some members of the Communist Party have attacked the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki offices and the Jewish Youth Club.

Why are these incidents not known although they have been reported by the media? “Because those committing these violent acts are what we consider ‘normal’ people,” explained Vaena. “Our neighbours, our friends, people with whom we go out to drink Ouzo. It is difficult to report them also because antisemitism and conspiracy theories are embedded in Greek society and are not considered outrageous", he concluded.

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