B'nai B'rith Welcomes Official Condemnation of Anti-Semitic Remarks Made by Senior Clergyman on Greek TV
B’nai B’rith welcomes the strong and clear denunciation by the Greek government and the leadership of the Greek Orthodox Church of the hateful and dangerous statements Metropolite of Piraeus Seraphim made on Greek television. The clergyman’s anti-Semitic rant included statements linking Adolf Hitler to a Jewish plot to ensure the State of Israel’s establishment and the existence of a Zionist conspiracy to take over Greece and the Christian Orthodox Church.
B’nai B’rith had been deeply concerned about the remarks in light of the recent significant enhancement of Greece's relationship with Israel, and with the Jewish community worldwide. This association was evident in the official statement of a spokesman for Prime Minister George Papandreou which said the remarks “insult Greece. They insult our culture. They insult our very society of which the Greek Jewish Community is an inseparable part.”
In letters to B’nai B’rith International President Dennis W. Glick and Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin, Greek Ambassador to the United States Vassilis Kaskarellis wrote: “The Greek Government and the leadership of the Greek Orthodox Church have unequivocally condemned, by issuing public statements, these fanatical words as unacceptable and as an offense to Greece and its people.” The ambassador reaffirmed the friendship and enhanced cooperation between Greece and Israel. “Please rest assured that Greece will continue to leave no stone unturned in order to isolate those fanatics who preach hatred and intolerance.”
B’nai B’rith also welcomed the condemnation from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America of the language which expressed “its sadness that these hurtful words should have been spoken at all. The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America considers the remarks to be gravely offensive and totally unacceptable.”
Glick said, “While we deplore the original remarks of the church leader, we are gratified that both the government and the church were equally appalled at the vitriol expressed. We look forward to continuing the close friendship that exists between the Greek and Jewish communities.”
Mariaschin added, “It is comforting to know that responsible leaders come forward to denounce those who would spew hatred toward another culture.”