Greek Government Not Supporting, Encouraging Anti-semitism

A leader of the Greek Jewish community said today that the Greek government could not by any stretch of the imagination be regarded as supporting, much less encouraging, recent anti-Semitic inferences appearing in some sections of the Greek press. Dr. Joseph Lovinger, president of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency in a telephone interview that any such assumptions were totally wrong and must be strenuously denied. He said the Greek government knew no discrimination on religious grounds and that its attitude toward its Jewish citizens was one of good will at all times.

The JTA reported last Friday that the left-wing Athens daily, “Athenaiki,” refers repeatedly to U.S. Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger as “the German Jew Kissinger” and declared in an editorial recently that Greece no longer wants to be the “sole means of survival for any more Israels.”

The JTA report was based on information from a journalist who specializes in Greek affairs to the effect that Greek anger at the United States over its policies in the Cyprus crisis had an anti-Semitic component directed at Kissinger and could easily lead to a revival of anti-Semitism latent in Greece because of alleged Jewish support for the Turks in Greece’s struggle for independence during the early 19th century. The journalistic source asked not to be identified.

Dr. Lovinger told the JTA: “The entire Greek people, irrespective of party affiliation, views the events in Cyprus and the attitude of the United States to them with deep anxiety. Everybody knows that American foreign policy is directed by Dr. Henry Kissinger. When Kissinger did something people approved of, he was Kissinger the Secretary of State. Now that he does something of which people disapprove violently, he becomes Kissinger the German Jew.”

Dr. Lovinger observed that the Greeks are not the only people to apply such standards. But he stressed that the Greek government could not in any way be accused of fostering or holding such attitudes. He added, however, that “the Central Board watches the situation closely, being aware of the dangers of anti-Jewish propaganda wherever it occurs.”

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