OPINION

Greek Helsinki Monitor monitors

Sir, In your story «Israeli envoy protests» (November 22, 2002, http://www.ekathimerini.com), it is inaccurately stated that the «report by Greek Helsinki Monitor (GHM) detailing cases of alleged anti-Semitism in Greece… was distributed to news media through the Israeli Embassy press office.» The joint GHM and Minority Rights Group-Greece (MRG-G) report was released on 9 November 2002, the International Day Against Fascism and Antisemitism, and distributed to some 3,000 electronic addresses that included a large number of media. It is an Internet habit to redistribute material distributed and/or posted: Those who do so (in the case of this report, we are aware of such cases in the Modern Greek Studies Association List and Athens Indymedia) cannot be said to be the distributors of the original text. It is also inaccurate that «the GHM report singled out journalists for alleged bias.» The report extensively documents the phenomenon of anti-Semitism that has been decried, inter alia, in Kathimerini English Edition by Pantelis Boukalas; like any serious scholarly or journalistic research paper, it extensively mentions its sources, which cannot be equated with ‘singling out’ their authors. Finally, as we wrote to the Embassy of Israel, though formally legitimate, their redistribution of a report to journalists was predictably counterproductive: Had they asked for our permission, which others did, we would not have granted it, because we believe that the public campaign against anti-Semitism in Greece is a matter for the country’s Jewish community, NGOs and other Greek institutions or individuals. As is written in the report, «those who resort to inappropriate analogies to the Holocaust and Nazi atrocities, to adopting the concept of collective responsibility, or to propagating traditional anti-Semitic stereotypes, essentially nullify efforts to rigorously condemn Israel, and give the impression that they are not motivated by justice but by intolerance.» It is also true that the interference of the embassy of a state which, as is also written in the report, «is currently leading in contempt for human rights, humanitarian justice and international legal standards… and [which] should (but unfortunately won’t) be brought to justice for all this» essentially nullifies efforts to rigorously condemn anti-Semitism in Greece. So, GHM has even more the right to feel frustrated over «defamation against it for actions by another institution,» to paraphrase the embassy’s expression of frustration. Panayote Dimitras, Spokesperson – Greek Helsinki Monitor