Jewish rights group sends message

The Simon Wiesenthal Center has written a letter to Interior Minister Costas Skandalidis urging him to close down the television channel owned by Greek nationalist politician Giorgos Karadzaferis, the Los Angeles-based organization said in a news release. The center quoted its international liaison, Shimon Samuels, expressing concern at «the empowerment of the racist extreme-right party Popular Orthodox Rally, by a nightly propaganda show on the Athens-Piraeus television station owned by its leader Giorgos Karadzaferis.» The press release was dated October 11, before Sunday’s elections in which Karadzaferis won 13.6 percent of the vote in the race for «super-prefect» of the Athens-Piraeus region. It referred to Karadzaferis’s past attacks, when he was still a member of the New Democracy party, against Prime Minister Costas Simitis and then Deputy Foreign Minister Christos Rozakis (who is now vice president of the European Court of Human Rights) «for their ostensible ‘Jewish origins, as thus being unable to defend Greek interests.’» The letter added that Karadzaferis «also propagates the calumny that ‘the Jews were behind the September 11 attacks and, for that reason, 4,000 Jews were warned not to go to work that morning at the World Trade Center,’» the letter said. The Wiesenthal Center urged the Greek authorities «to take the necessary measures to close down Karadzaferis’s television station – a mouthpiece for hate – which is operating in violation of Greece’s obligations under European conventions against incitement to racism and violence.» The center is named after renowned Nazi-hunter Simon Wiesenthal and says that it is a Jewish human rights organization dedicated to preserving the memory of the Holocaust and confronting issues such as «racism, anti-Semitism, terrorism and genocide.»