Greek Jews: Golden Dawn vote 'serious blow' to democracy

By Jennifer Lipman, May 9, 2012
A protest in Athens

A protest in Athens

Members of the Greek Jewish community have expressed alarm following the election of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn Party to the country's parliament on the weekend.

In a statement, the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece described the inclusion of 21 members of the party as a "serious blow" to Greek democracy.

The fascist party, whose logo includes a version of a swastika, won seven per cent of the vote. It campaigned on issues such as immigration and ridding Greece "of filth". The percentage of the vote was double the amount needed for Golden Dawn to cross the minimum threshold for parliament.

Nikos Michaloliakos, the party's leader, told reporters after the election that Greece was "only the beginning."

But the Central Board expressed confidence that the Greek people, culture and politicians "will continue to strive to combat racism, intolerance and antisemitism".

"We all have a duty to preserve our dignity, and preserve the principles of liberty, democracy and humanity," they said.

Greece's Jewish community is estimated to be up to 7,500-strong, with many members facing tough economic times in line with the rest of the country.

Last updated: 2:05pm, June 14 2012