ATHENS, Greece (JTA) –Greece’s Jewish community warned that the election of a neo-Nazi party to parliament posed a "serious blow" to Greek democracy and called on fellow citizens to oppose the return of fascism.
The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece said Tuesday in a statement that it believed "the May 6 election of those nostalgic for fascism and Nazism was a serious blow for Greek democracy."
The extreme-right Golden Dawn party, whose flag closely resembles the Nazi swastika, received 21 seats in parliament, the first time it passed the threshhold to enter the legislative body. It campaigned heavily on an anti-immigrant platform under the slogan "So we can rid this land of filth."
"We are confident that our fellow citizens, the democratic forces in the Greek Parliament, the media and the spirit and culture of the people will continue to strive to combat racism, intolerance and anti-Semitism," the Central Board’s statement said.
"We all have a duty to preserve our dignity, and preserve the principles of liberty, democracy and humanity," said the short statement, which did not mention Golden Dawn by name.
Despite its strong showing, it is not clear how many Golden Dawn members would ultimately end up as lawmakers, as Greece appears headed to fresh elections.
Sunday’s elections resulted in a fractured parliament as voters protested against the mainstream parties they blame for the country’s financial crisis and accepting harsh European austerity measures. If no party can put together a coalition, the most likely scenario, then Greece will hold a new vote.
Speaking privately, Jewish leaders said they hoped that Golden Dawn would attract fewer votes in a second election as Greeks realize the severity of the situation.