Ban urged for Greece's Golden Dawn and other extremists in Europe

By Jennifer Lipman, May 17, 2012
Moshe Kantor

Moshe Kantor

Europe should consider banning far-right parties from the political arena, a European Jewish leader said on Wednesday.

Speaking days after the leader of Golden Dawn – the Greek neo-Nazi party that won seats in parliament for the first time this month – denied key facts of the Holocaust, Moshe Kantor said there were times when restrictions on free speech were necessary.

Mr Kantor, president of the European Jewish Congress, said: "Before calling on European leaders to act against hate on the street, they must clear their own house and that means banning and ostracising any politicians and political parties that preach hate and violence.

"While we highly value freedom of speech, we all recognise that there must be restrictions, and the visceral hatred propagated by the Golden Dawn is surely outside the boundaries of appropriate political discourse."

He said that Golden Dawn's success should have sent shockwaves through the halls of power in Europe and urged European governments to strengthen their efforts against antisemitism and far-right extremism.

Mr Kantor made the comments after a meeting in Prague with the Czech Prime Minister and asked for his backing for "emergency measures" to protect the Europe's Jews from hate crimes.

Petr Necas was presented with the Compass of Jerusalem Award from the EJC for his wiork building links with the Jewish community and his efforts to develop a more tolerant continent. The Czech Republic has relatively low levels of antisemitism. "We hope that this can serve as a model for other parts of Europe," said Mr Kantor.

After discussing the matter with Mr Necas, the EJC plans to approach EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and Spanish leader Mariano Rajoy.

Mr Kantor said there was a need for "strong legislative efforts, working together with non-Jewish NGOs, to define and protect our communities from violent hate crimes and to ban any form of incitement".

He referred to intelligence sharing between European countries, as well as increasing public awareness of antisemitism.

"We have to be proactive. Otherwise we're in a shameful position because we see the problem and we do not do anything," he said.

Last updated: 1:00pm, June 14 2012