The World Jewish Congress has compared a boycott of Jewish cosmetic firms by Greek neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn to actions of the German Nazi government, further escalating a spat between the two organisations.
The fight began at the recent WJC Executive Committee meeting in Thessaloniki in northern Greece attended by Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, where WJC President Ronald Lauder said that Golden Dawn was a “a threat to democracy” and called them the “new Nazis”.
A motion was passed at the meeting calling on Greece to “consider banning political parties, such as the Golden Dawn movement, which pose a serious danger to liberal democracy”.
In response, a post on Golden Dawn’s New York-based blog ‘Xaameriki’ called for a boycott of a list of cosmetic companies owned by Estee Lauder, which is owned by the Lauder family of which Ronald Lauder is a member.
Included were Estee Lauder, Mac, Clinique, Bobbi Brown and Israeli company Aveda. Many of the companies listed, including Estee Lauder, are Jewish owned.
Maram Stern, deputy secretary-general of the WJC, said: “To announce a boycott of ‘Jewish’ companies a few days before the 80th anniversary of the first organised boycott of Jewish businesses in Germany by the Nazi government, on 1 April 1933, shows the true face of Golden Dawn. Both in words and in actions these fanatics behave like the Nazis did 80 years ago.
“Once again, this is a reminder that they need to be opposed vigorously by all democratic forces, not just in Greece but everywhere they operate. Together with the Greek Jewish Community, the World Jewish Congress will continue to speak out against Golden Dawn. We are not afraid of them.”
A spokesperson for Golden Dawn said: “We are not encouraging the boycott of Estee Lauder because it is owned by Jews, if there was a Chinese, Armenian, or Martian international institution that was attempting to undermine freedom and democracy in Greece, we would boycott them too. Our boycott is peaceful, and in the name of Greek freedom and self-determination to choose its own path.”