World Jewish Congress (WJC) President Ronald S. Lauder has urged Greece to implement hate crime law now and stop neo-Nazis from uindermining Greek democracy, in a reference to last week’s murder of a rap musician and anti-racism campaigner by a sympathiser of Greece’s ultra-nationalist Golden Dawn, the European Jewish Press said on September 25 2013.
“It is high time Greek politicians honour their pledge and adopt effective legislation that will put an end to completely unacceptable harassment of immigrants, ethnic minorities, immigrants and political opponents by the extremist Golden Dawn party,” Lauder said in a statement.
He lamented that, despite assurances given to him and others by Greek prime minister Antonis Samaras and members of his government, no concrete bill has been adopted by the Greek governing coalition due to internal disagreements.
Lauder’s comments came after a Golden Dawn sympathiser was arrested in connection with the murder of rap musician and anti-racism campaigner Pavlos Fissas (45) last week.
Lauder however welcomed statements made by some Greek government ministers who said that a ban of Golden Dawn – which is the fourth-largest party in Greece’s parliament – should be taken into consideration and state-funding for racist and extremist parties cancelled. But he warned that “words of condemnation, although important, won’t suffice”.
“Greece’s leaders need to take action against those who create a climate of fear and who pose a threat to many of their fellow citizens,” he said.
Samaras last week vowed to keep Nazism from “poisoning” the country’s life.
In a televised address, he said: “This government is determined not to allow the descendants of the Nazis to poison our social life, to commit crimes, terrorise and undermine the foundations of the country that gave birth to democracy.”
Lauder said that Greece’s democratic forces “have a moral obligation to unite against Golden Dawn leaders”, especially those who “publicly incite to crimes, preach hate against minorities, deny and belittle the Holocaust, or viciously assault people based on the colour of their skin, their ethnic background, or their political views.”