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December 23, 2014 / 1 Tevet, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘Greece’

Russian Navy’s First Port Visit to Egypt in 21 Years

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

Suddenly, even Vladimir Putin looks more attractive.  He looks, at least, like he actually intends to fight radical Islamism – in some of its varieties anyway.  In theory, he has some pull with Iran.  He can exert a certain level of “check” on the Syria crisis.  His relatively well armed nation sits on the other side of Erdogan’s wild-card Turkey, which keeps bouncing from China to Iran to NATO and back again.  He’s not “Europe” – not really – but “Europe” acknowledges that he has to be given a place at the table.

Maybe he doesn’t look attractive, exactly; maybe the word is interesting.  Whatever it is, it’s showing up in real forms now, in regional nations’ decisions in the Eastern Mediterranean.  Last week came the flurry of reports that Putin would visit Egypt in November and announce a major arms sale, which will inevitably serve as something of a counter-smack to the U.S. decision to halt arms deliveries to Egypt a few weeks ago.

The newer news is from Monday, November 11, when Russia’s Slava-class missile cruiser Varyag pulled into Alexandria for the Russian navy’s first port visit in Egypt since 1992.  Pundits of varying quality have rushed to speculate that Moscow will soon have the use of Egyptian ports as bases in the region.  I doubt that; Egypt is too anxious to retain her stature and independence of action – properly so – and doesn’t “need” to accord Russia such privileges to keep useful ties going between the two of them.

In the current, comparative disarray of some Arab governments in the region, Egypt’s actually looks solid and moderate, and has the overt support of Saudi Arabia and Jordan, as well as the tacit support of Israel – all of which are well armed, well connected regional powers with common interests in a status quo.  The situation over which Al-Sisi presides is different from that of the Nasser regime in the 1950s and 1960s, when it was so eager for the great-power patronage of the erstwhile Soviet Union.

Russia, for her part, is unlikely to press this issue.  Between Syria, Greece, Cyprus, Montenegro, and Malta, the Russian navy has a lot of options now for making temporary landfalls for logistics.  Moscow wouldn’t necessarily even save money by concluding more literal “basing” agreements in the Mediterranean.

But I’m sure we can expect to see the Russian navy welcomed in Egyptian ports.  This makes a noteworthy, and regrettable, contrast with the U.S. Navy, which has been scarce in Egyptian ports in recent years – in spite of our two nations’ close relationship – largely because of the threat of terrorism.

Egypt, meanwhile, isn’t the only nation to roll out the welcome mat for the Russian navy in the past year.  In May, the Russian amphibious ship Azov arrived in Haifa for the first port visit ever by a Russian navy ship to Israel.  Russia and Israel have of course found some common ground in their opposition to radical Islamism, and the Netanyahu government has had a robust program of diplomatic outreach to Russia since it took over in the spring of 2009.  After Putin visited Jerusalem in June 2012 to pray for the rebuilding of the Temple, a naval port visit could hardly have been far behind.

Russian warships also visited Lebanon in March 2013, an exceedingly rare occurrence.  According to Russia’s defense ministry, the visit involved a frigate and two amphibious ships, and signified no intention on Moscow’s part to establish any permanent basing arrangement.

Cyprus hosted multiple visits by Russian warships in 2013, fueling the usual speculation that Moscow is negotiating for basing rights on the island.  (See here for more on Russia’s strategic approach to Cyprus.)  It has become routine in the last few years for Russian navy ships to visit ports in Greece and Malta.  Russian officials announced earlier this year that the navy’s newly constituted (or, in effect, reconstituted) Mediterranean squadron would use a port in Montenegro as well, referring to the port of Tivat (which for many years during the Cold War was a Yugoslav navy base, used as a Mediterranean base by the Soviet navy).  A September 2013 press release on the upcoming activities of amphibious landing ship Yamal indicated the ship would visit Greece and Montenegro this fall.

Golden Dawn Leader Jailed Ahead of Trial in Greece

Thursday, October 3rd, 2013

A Greek court has ordered the head of the ultranationalist Golden Dawn party held in jail until his trial following six hours of testimony that ran through the night.

Nikolaos Michaloliakos was arrested last week with several other lawmakers and senior Golden Dawn members on charges of forming a criminal organization, part of an unprecedented crackdown on the neo-Nazi party. Government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou hailed the decision on Michaloliakos an important victory for the Greek legal system, calling it “the most dynamic confrontation of a neo-Nazi criminal gang in European, and possibly world, history.”

Golden Dawn has 18 seats in the 300-member parliament and is known for its Nazi swastika-like flag and Holocaust-denying leadership. Its leaders have denied the charges against them, saying the arrests were part of a political witch hunt against the party.

The crackdown on Golden Dawn, which included the arrest of more than 10 other party leaders, follows widespread outrage and protests in Greece in the wake of the Sept. 18 killing of anti-fascist rapper Killah P by a suspected Golden Dawn member.

Smoke Warning Forces NY-Israel El Al Plane to Land in Greece

Thursday, August 15th, 2013

A smoke detector warning in a bathroom forced an El Al airplane with 324 passengers  on the New York-Tel Aviv route to land in Athens late Wednesday night, according to the Hebrew-language Yediot Acharonot newspaper.

All of the crew and passengers are safe, and the airline placed them in hotel rooms before they could resume their trip to early Thursday morning.

 

European Report Says Greece Can Ban Neo-Nazi Golden Dawn Party

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

A report released by the Council of Europe says that Greece could legally ban the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn Party, but Greece has rejected the idea.

The Council of Europe is based in Strasbourg, France and runs the European Court of Human Rights.

The 32-page was issued Tuesday by the council’s human rights commissioner Nils Mutinies, who said he was “seriously concerned by the increase in racist and other hate crimes in Greece,” and that “a number of the reported attacks have been linked to members or supporters, including MPs, of the neo-Nazi political party ‘Golden Dawn.’” The party has been linked to a number of violent, racist attacks and is openly anti-Zionist.

The reports said that under existing Greek legislation and under treaties signed by Athens, Greece had the legal means to take steps against Golden Dawn, including banning the party.

“The Commissioner calls on the Greek authorities to be highly vigilant and use all available means to combat all forms of hate speech and hate crime and to end impunity for these crimes,” the report added.

Golden Dawn emerged on the political scene last year, winning 7 percent of the vote or 18 seats in the 300-member Greek Parliament. Recent polls have indicated the party, which runs on a fiercely anti-immigrant platform, now has 14 to 18 percent of the population’s support.

A statement on the party’s website dismissed the report, saying the Council of Europe was a “Zionist institution.”

Greek media said the Greek government had sent the council a response indicating they were unlikely to ban Golden Dawn.

Spiegel Bemoaning ‘Germanophobia’

Sunday, April 14th, 2013

It appears that the Germans have been expecting to be forgiven for those memorable years 1933-1945, especially when considering all the goodness and stability Germany has been spreading around the continent. But the continent is refusing to be grateful, and have become quite insolent, in fact. Germany’s push for austerity during the ongoing euro crisis has prompted Nazi depictions of Chancellor Angela Merkel in many parts of Southern Europe and mass demonstrations pushing the same idea, namely that today’s Germany is pursuing the same old targets, using economic means.

This weekend, Spiegel interviewed Brendan Peter Simms, a professor of the History of International Relations in the Center of International Studies at Cambridge University, asking poignantly: “People talk of a Fourth Reich, and the hatred is palpable. Is this just absurd dramatics, or is it a reaction to a true power shift in Germany’s favor?”

Prof. Simms enlightened Spiegel’s editors—and their German readers—on the fact that the “German question” is still very much on everybody’s mind in Europe, despite the German reunification, and perhaps because of it.

“There is no doubt Germanophobia exists,” said Simms. “Look at Greece, at Italy, even Ireland, a country that has never before expressed hostility toward Germany, but which is now full of anger over increasingly painful cuts to its standard of living, an anger that comes from people feeling they have been hung out to dry. Then, of course, there is also anti-German sentiment that stems from World War II, for example in Greece.”

According to Simms, the problem starts with German politicians who tend to emphasize almost exclusively the poor conduct of the countries at the periphery of the EU, insisting that those countries change this conduct as a prerequisite for changing the EU’s political structure.

“By taking this position, they’re failing to recognize that this poor conduct was in part a result of a design flaw in the way the euro was implemented, which led to the countries at Europe’s periphery being flooded with new, cheap money… My fear is that Germany’s policies on this point consist solely of setting the European periphery conditions it can’t fulfill.”

Antisemitism Is Rampant in Europe, Pass the Matzo

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

My job as employee of the Jewish Press Online includes going over stories put out by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (I’m also in charge of maintaining the office telegraph, which gets tricky on humid days, don’t ask). This morning, as I was going through those motions, I realized there was a common denominator to almost all the news items on display:

Three men believed to be linked to Mohamed Merah were arrested in southern France.

A major survey among Belgian teenagers indicated antisemitism was seven times more prevalent among Muslim youths than in non-Muslim teenagers.

The Greek Golden Dawn party has called for a boycott of Estee Lauder cosmetic products after World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder urged Greece to ban the neo-Nazi group.

A local authority in Switzerland has fired an employee who sent the Israeli embassy an email expressing joy about the death of Jews in a terrorist attack.

A Polish court has ordered a psychiatric examination of a man accused of planning to blow up the country’s parliament building because of “xenophobic, anti-Semitic ideas.”

That’s just since 3 PM Wednesday!

Now, it’s possible that it only looks to us, outsiders, as if Europe is in a 1939 time zone. It’s possible that Jews inside Europe are not nearly as concerned, because they don’t experience antisemitism directly. But that’s not what I hear in shul from French Jews who come to Netanya to vacation and to check out alternative housing while they’re here.

So, if this is 1939, why are we so blasé about it? How come Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu isn’t going to the UN to warn the world about it, the way he did the Iranian bomb? Seriously, folks, Europe is a place that can garble up Jews at a rate of thousands every day if we dare look away.

I have to say, if we’ve become desensitized to the signs of an approaching holocaust then we might as well be zombies, we might as well be dead.

And buy a lot of Estee Lauder products, if only to make up for the sales in Greek Nazi stores…

Greek Soccer Player Gets Life Ban for Nazi Salute

Monday, March 18th, 2013

A Greek soccer player has been banned for life from playing for the national team after giving the Nazi salute during a game.

Giorgos Katidis, 20, who plays for the AEK Athens team, gave the salute after scoring the winning goal in a match on March 15, the same day Greek Jews marked the 70th anniversary of the deportation of the Thessaloniki Jewish community to Auschwitz.

The Greek soccer federation on Sunday barred Katidis from playing for the national team for life, saying that the Nazi salute was a “severe provocation” and an insult to “all the victims of Nazi barbarity.”

Katidis, who used to play for a Thessaloniki team, claimed he was unaware of the meaning of the salute and apologized for his act. “I am not a racist,” he said in a message on Twitter.

In recent months Greece has seen an upsurge in such incidents with the rise of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party, whose members and leaders often give the salutes and employ other Nazi imagery

Speaking at a ceremony on Sunday to mark the deportation of the Thessaloniki Jews, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras vowed to take a harsher stance against neo-Nazis and racists.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/greek-soccer-player-gets-life-ban-for-nazi-salute/2013/03/18/

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