Guardian reader comment of the day: Where Greek neo-Nazis aren’t too concerned with Jews

Flag of Greece’s neo-Nazi Golden Dawn Party

Today’s ‘ Comment is Free’ piece “Open Letter: We are all Greek Jews” of May 28th, signed by Benjamin Abtan, Bernard-Henri Lévy, Elie Wiesel, Amélie Nothomb and others called on Europe to reject the Greek neo-Nazi party, Golden Dawn, which entered the Greek parliament this month.

Golden Dawn’s leader Nikos Michaloliakos

The letter warns that “the [neo-Nazi Greek Golden Dawn] party is the lineal heir of the German national-socialist party that led Europe and the world into chaos and bloodshed.”

The specter of a resurgent neo-Nazi movement in Europe would seem, at first glance, an anomaly and almost reads as fiction. However, as the open letter notes:

“Greece is not the only country threatened by this revival of Nazi ideology. In Latvia this year, the president of the republic has for the first time supported the annual former Waffen SS march.

In Austria the FPÖ, an extreme right organisation that nurtures Third Reich nostalgia, is favourite in the polls for the next parliamentary elections. In Hungary, the Hungarian Guard Movement, descendant of The Arrow Cross party – the former militia responsible for the extermination of Jews and Gypsies – terrorises Jewish populations and holds direct responsibility for provoking deadly attacks against Roma people.”

The following is a recent interview with Nikos Michaloliakosis – the leader of Greece’s Golden Dawn movement which will occupy 21 seats in the Greek parliament after winning 7% of the vote in the May 6 elections.

While this blog has often argued that Guardian readers are much more comfortable condemning right-wing antisemitism than the Islamist variety, note that the following comment, greatly downplaying even the former, garnered 113 ‘Recommends’. 

Stunning, really: a reader who questions the antisemitic bona fides of an extremist European movement which possesses a swastika-inspired emblem, enforces a  Hitlerian salute, references Mein Kampf, endorses racist ideology, and trades in Holocaust denial.

It makes you wonder what precisely it would take for some Guardian readers to see the hideous Jew hatred squarely in front of their face. 

24 replies »

  1. Incredible, where do they come from? Nikos Michaloliakosis is yet another Jew-hating, Holocaust denier – a would-be Nazi, who despite his evasiveness in this interview, clearly admires Hitler, denies the Holocaust and equates US and allied actions during WWII with that of the Nazis. This time he is from Greece, where nearly 90% of the Jewish population was murdered by the Nazis during WWII and where only 5000 Jews still remain, but we’ve all seen and heard this kind of talk from every country in Europe and the Arab and Muslim world.

    The reader’s quote indicating that the Jews aren’t very high on Golden Dawn’s list of people to get beaten up and driven out of the country may, ironically, be true – most of the Greek Jews who lived there in the 20th century were murdered and not many of their descendants are left. Considering that Jews now make up far less than 1% of the population of Greece, it wouldn’t be surprising if Nikos has never met an actual Jewish person in his entire life. That wouldn’t stop him from being an antisemite – but it would make it difficult to persecute Greek Jews, if only because there are so few. Given time, however, I’m sure he will figure that out too.

    So, why he is a Jew-hater? God only knows. A more interesting question is why any Greek person would admire Hitler and the Nazis after what they experienced during WWII. Or why anyone in Greece (or anywhere for that matter) would support such an individual. Have they forgotten their own history?

    • Yes they have!
      As for Niko, he’ll blame their financial meltdown on Jews in other lands.
      Seems to be popular through out history.

    • A more interesting question is why any Greek person would admire Hitler and the Nazis after what they experienced during WWII

      A question even more poignant when it comes to Eastern Europe (not so much Hungary and what was Czechoslovakia as Poland and Ukraine).


        +++ Some fans at the match told the BBC that they were saying “Sieg Heil” because Hitler hated “Jews and blacks” and that is how they support their team.

        But local police chief Colonel Volodymyr Kovrygin denied that it was a Nazi-inspired salute, saying the fans were “pointing in the direction of opponents as it were, the fans, so it looked like they were pointing with the right hand to the fans, kind of attracting attention to themselves.”+++


        • I think the Colonel got it wrong.

          They all happened to watch superman film that morning and all happened to remember it at the same time having a crack while pointing to the sky (where evidently the other team was sitted):

          is it a bird? is it a plane? no, it is super scum from the opposing equaly mentaly challanged Ukranian team…

          • Were they only bird-watchers …

            But seriously – imagine if Israel had qualified for the tournament.
            If they had done so for the 2006 World Cup in Germany there would not have been this kind of problem.

  2. It’s an odd comment, especially in light of what the original piece actually says:

    “We refuse to accept that on our continent, Jewish, immigrant, Muslim, Roma or black people might fear for their lives because of who they are. We invite all citizens, political parties, unions, civil society, intellectuals and artists to fight the extreme right by promoting and bringing to life the European dream. We must always remember that this dream was built on the ruins of Nazism. We must never forget about the Shoah. Our dream is of a continent free from racism and antisemitism. It is the project of a society based on “togetherness” – beyond boundaries.”

    To which the response from ballymichael is “Grumble grumble, someone mentioned Jews, anyway, I’m sure it will really be blacks and Muslims, and I’ll forget to mention the Roma, and do we really have to talk about the Holocaust again?” Oddly, he doesn’t actually challenge the assertion that there are fascists abroad in the land, he just doesn’t want to have to think about Jews in the context of that, and he’ll get snippy if anyone else does.

    Sigh. I know this guy, or ten just like him. Entirely missing the point.

  3. OK, I’ve read more of the comments now, and this American is genuinely confused as heck. Please help.

    These people are mostly supposed to be left-wing right? Is it just me, or do an awful lot of them seem to be very disgruntled about some writers calling out right-wing extremists? What gives?

    • Hating the Jews is a mandatory part of “progressive” ideology. If you stand for equal rights, equal respect, and all the stuff that the left used to stand for, you are “right-wing” and the “progressives” will ban you from commenting.

      This stems directly from the Soviet party line. In the 1920s, the Soviets adopted the ideology of “colonialism” as a strategy against the capitalist states and ordered the communist parties to stop talking about workers’ rights and human equality and to start talking about national rights (formerly considered a regressive thought process). Some time in the 1930s or ’40s, the Soviets declared that Zionism was a regressive ideology because Zionists respected Arab land rights and would not seize the Arabs’ land for the state. In the 1960s and 1970s, the Soviets adopted the goals of Arab League jihad as a geopolitical strategy against the United States and dressed up the holy war in anti-colonial terms using the newly created “Palestinian people” to attract the Western left. The Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 but the themes they established are so influential, and persons in the media and academy are so loyal to them and unable to criticize their own thought processes, that the party line continues to dominate.

  4. The hellenics and the jewish people have had a long long relationship – Sure It is known that Greeks consider the Jews as HEVREOS – They have some old theories about the Jewish ways They are uncertain of their own feelings – Socially they are comfortable in the prsence of Jewish crowd – They eat similar foods play similar games do business together – Enjoy life as Greeks can and Jewish people share this love of life – Both nations have had a hard time – Many Greeks helped Jewish people during the war 2 and yet many also sold them down the drain to the Nazi specially in Rhodos and Tsanollika – But when Israel was established in 1948 and the Arab countries put an embargo on JEWS the Greeks came to the fore front to help may jewish people to get to Israel and kept them fed and saw them on their way safely – So We must remember that Greeks hates this Naziz regime it is FOREIGH to their way of thinking and living The two do not gell A greek is a bon viveur where as a Nazi is a slave of the philosophy inculcated by their belief. Greece has been invaded by so many people from North Africa – Central Africa and West Africa . They just do not know what to do wiith these people and perhaps this one of the reasons for the creation of this RIGHTIST MOVEMENT. It musy not be forgotten that JEWS lived in Greece before the coming of Christianity Greeks are enveloped with many supertitions which is carried through the times and as I said earlier THEY just do not know how to love or hate the JEWS>

  5. But … but … the flag’s derived from an ancient symbol used by Hindus and Buddhists. Nazis? Nah, nothing to do with them!

    And this weekend’s Eurovision was surely a conspiracy. Not only was the Greek entry well beaten by Turkey’s, but the latter’s representative was Jewish as well!

  6. What about PeterNW1’s ridiculous comments about Jordan apparently being the home of Palestinians – and the huge amount of recommendations it received?

    Why not make that “Guardian reader comment of the day”??

  7. I definitely recommend people in the UK to watch latest BBC Panorama on antisemitism and neo Nazism in Poland and Ukraine in relation to coming Euro 2012. It is simply unbelievable that in the countries who went through what Poland and Ukraine went in the World War 2, this hateful ideology would still endure. And it is obscene that UEFA in effect turns a blind eye to this by awarding them the right to host the tournament.

    • Al, Ukranian collaborators were involved in some of the worst atrocities of the war, especially as ‘Watchmen’ – extermination camp guards. Look no further than Ivan Demjanjuk for confirmation.

      As for the Poles, Polish Holocaust survivors often recall the level of apporval and co-operation that the general population gave to Nazi Jewish policies.The Polish Home Army that fought for Polish liberation against Nazism had an anti-Semitic ideology that excluded Jews from any help that may have saved their lives. Some Jewish survivors hiding in the forests were murdered by these Polish partisans.

      The first pogrom AFTER the Second World war occured in Poland, against Holocaust survivors returning ‘home’.

  8. The idea that being the victim of persecution ****doesn’t excuse persecuting others is completely valid.

    Norman Finkelstein, who for his writings has been virtually blacklisted, noted in “The Holocaust Industry” the Jewish Holocaust has allowed Israel to cast itself and “the most successful ethnic group in the United States” as eternal victims.

    (ummm, shouldn’t it be Native Americans being USA’s biggest victims? Then the slaves?).

    Finkelstein, the son of Jewish survivors of the Nazi Holocaust, goes on to argue this status has enabled Israel, which has “a horrendous human rights record,” to play the victim as it oppresses Palestinians or destroys Lebanon. This victim status has permitted U.S. Jewish organizations (the American Jewish Committee, the American Jewish Congress and others) to get their hands on billions of dollars in reparations, much of which never finds its way to the dwindling number of Holocaust survivors.

    Finkelstein’s mother, who was in the Warsaw ghetto, received $3,500, while the World Jewish Congress walked away with roughly $7 billion in compensation moneys. The organization pays lavish salaries to its employees and uses the funds to fuel its own empire.

    For many the Nazi Holocaust is not used to understand and deal with the past, and more importantly the universal human capacity for evil, but to manipulate the present.

    Finkelstein correctly writes the fictitious notion of unique suffering leads to feelings of unique entitlement.

    • Nadine,
      To put it bluntly, Norman Finkelstein is full of crap, and so are you.

      It would come as a shock to most Americans that Israel “is the most successful ethnic group in the United States,” especially since Israel is a) a country, b) not an ethnic group, c) not located in the United States.

      “(ummm, shouldn’t it be Native Americans being USA’s biggest victims? Then the slaves?).”
      Is that your preferred pecking order? African Americans are seen as America’s #1 victim group by a long shot, not the Jews, you ninny. Native Americans barely register on anyone’s radar, including the far left.

      • actually, this Lumley woman is completely incapable of anything but cutting and pasting other people’s writing. She’s quite a sad woman really, full of hatred and venom, but void of original thought.

    • Yes, you’re quoting what Finkelstein,says, the problem is that both of you are talking out of your asses.

      Neither American Jews nor Israelis (and there actually is a difference) cast themselves as ‘eternal victims’, nor does the active combating of anti-Semitism and remembrance of its victims harm other victims of racism and genocide. (Ummmm….can you explain how African Americans and Native Americans have been harmed not so much by racism as by Jews having the appalling bad taste to remember their own suffering for more than ten minutes? No? Didn’t think so.)

      Finkelstein, on the other hand, has made quite a lot of money casting himself as the lone brave maverick.

  9. “It makes you wonder what precisely it would take for some Guardian readers to see the hideous Jew hatred squarely in front of their face”.

    Many Guardian readers are themselves degraded by the same bigotry, in that polite, middle class, sanctimonious English way.

  10. Well, well. Looks like I’ve been immortalised, without knowing it. As the screenshot indicates, there were three reply to my post, that actually make the point, that this “reader comment of the day” makes.

    post “relapaletute” reminded me:

    “Dude, are you kidding? Have you seen this party’s flag? read its manifesto? Hear the speeches? The writers of this letter didn’t relate the rise of Golden Dawn to the Holocaust; they did that themselves by openly and explicitly referencing the Nazi Party in their imagery and language.”

    to which I responded:

    “I’m aware of the nazi imagery, and the fact that they think hitler was some kind of hero. (Wierd, really, since the next party to their left demands WW2 war reparations, but anyway).”

    “In terms of who is actually threatened, though, it seems to make more sense to focus on immigrants getting terrorised, than jews. One is a real threat, the other ideological.”

    And I’m afraid I do stand by that. There is a large wave of anti-immigrant attacks in greece, carried out by Golden Dawn. They also have staged attacks on asylum-seekers in camps, and generally try to make life sufficiently unbearable, that the hated foreigners will leave.

    That, to me, seems a more concrete threat, to a very large number of people, today, then Golden Dawn’s ideological use of nazi symbols, behaviour like the hitler salute, and language.

    I certainly don’t deny them, though. Golden Dawnre a neo-nazi party, like Jobbik in Hungary. They get off on hating jews, too. That’s what neo-nazi parties do.

    It’s just a suggestion: you might want to post an indication that you’re going to pillory a poster here, on the CiF thread that you found it at? I am pretty relaxed, because my post was pretty thoughtlessly expressed, in fact.