Rabbi Mordechai Frizis recently launched a delirious outburst against the increasingly active far-left organization Rouvikonas (Greek for Rubicon), after its members targeted the Israeli Embassy in Athens early on Christmas Day. The rabbi’s controversial comments, which were posted on YouTube, were met with a strong and clear condemnation by the embassy as well as the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece (KIS). The extremist Frizis got the answer he deserved.
In that respect, the case is now closed in the best way possible, both on the level of bilateral ties between Athens and Tel Aviv, as well as on the level of relations between the country’s Jewish community and the Greek state.
There is, however, one outstanding issue and this concerns the reaction from New Democracy’s vice president, Adonis Georgiadis. Georgiadis originally tweeted that the rabbi’s comments were “just impeccable,” only to remove his tweet following the statement from the Israeli embassy.
It is besides the point whether Georgiadis endorsed the rabbi’s comments in a bid to compensate for the KIS’s strong reaction to the decision in 2012 by former conservative leader Antonis Samaras to welcome Georgiadis (and Makis Voridis) into New Democracy from the ultranationalist Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS).
It is also besides the point if Georgiadis sought to take advantage of the rabbi’s tantrum in order to strike a blow against ruling SYRIZA leftists.
Both interpretations would suggest a naive understanding of politics. At the same time, attacks of this sort risk making leftist Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras indestructible.
The issue would be treated as minor had the former LAOS duo refrained from seeking to play a decisive role in a much more crucial issue, namely ongoing negotiations on the name dispute with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).
New Democracy is not going to fill in the role of the “useful idiot” in the name dispute. Having already experienced painful in-party turmoil because of it, the conservatives have formulated a position regarding the issue that can be summed up in a mutually accepted composite name used by all, erga omnes. It was agreed upon under the leadership of Costas Karamanlis and it has not changed ever since.
One will naturally ask, where are the warnings coming from the former LAOS officials directed? There is no intention here to interfere with the party’s internal affairs or offer advice. That is the business of its leadership. But it’s hard to ignore the cacophony produced by the self-appointed guardians of ND’s patriotic image.