A climate hostile to Israel with clear anti-Semitic overtones has developed in Greece as a result of the Cyprus crisis and the feeling in Athens that U.S. Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger’s policies have betrayed Greece. The anti-American resentment through out Greece has a Jewish edge to it and at least one leading Athens dally repeatedly refers to Kissinger as “the German Jew Kissinger.”
These developments were described to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency today by a Jewish reporter who is a specialist on Greek affairs and has just returned here from a prolonged visit to Greece. The reporter, who asked to remain anonymous, said a barometer of the prevailing mood was provided in an editorial published in the Aug. 16 edition of the daily. “Athenaiki,” which accused the U.S. of having treated the Greek government, and people as “serfs.”
The editorial declared, “We want to stop being tiny pawns in the hands of ruthless Metternichs,” a reference to Kissinger, and, “We no longer want to be the ‘sole means of survival’ for any more Israels.” The latter, the reporter pointed out, was a reference to former President Nixon’s comment last year on the role played by the U.S. naval bases in Greece in the American arms airlift to Israel during the Yom Kippur War.
FACTORS IN ANTI-JEWISH FEELINGS
The reporter noted that “Athenaiki” was one of the newspapers forced to suspend publication during the seven-year regime of Greece’s military junta which was overthrown last month. He said the paper represented the Greek Center Union Party, one of whose leaders is the current Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Greece, George Mavros.
The reporter noted further that Greece traditionally has had friendly relations with the Arab countries which even the Athens Airport massacre by Arab terrorists failed to shake. Expressions of sympathy for Turkey in the Israeli press after the Greek Junta coup that deposed Archbishop Makarios’ regime in Cyprus were seized upon by pro-Arab papers in Greece to generate hostility toward Israel. This was further exacerbated by the arrest of the Greek Catholic Archbishop Hillarion Capucci in Jerusalem on suspicion of espionage and aiding terrorist activities, the reporter said.
MAY REVIVE ‘BLOOD LIBELS’
According to the reporter, the anti-Israel sentiments in Greece may bring about a revival of latent anti-Semitism which has deep roots dating back to the early 19th century when it was alleged that the Jews were allied with Turkey during Greece’s struggle for independence. Such allegations were widespread during the Greco-Turkish war in 1821 when it was claimed that the Turks, after hanging the Greek Patriarch, handed over his body to the “Jewish mob” in Constantinople which
That tale, and other fabrications, resulted in the murder of hundreds of Jews by Greek rebels under the command of the Greek national hero Kolokotronis. There are already indications of an attempt to revive these ancient “blood 1thels” using Kissinger as a symbol for the Jewish people and describing U.S., policy as serving Jewish interests, the reporter said. He added, however, that at the moment there is no cause for panic inasmuch as Greece has more urgent matters to attend to than its relations with Israel or a quarrel with Jews.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.