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Yad Vashem Responds to Antisemitic Remarks by Greek Composer and Subsequent Silence of Government Ministers

Following Unchallenged Statement that the Jewish People is the Root of All Evil, Chairman Shalev Calls on Mikis Theodorakis to Visit Yad Vashem

12 November 2003

Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis made severely antisemitic remarks in recent days, including a statement claiming that the Jewish People is “the root of all evil”. In response, Chairman of the Yad Vashem Directorate, Avner Shalev, said “Mr. Theodorakis’ statements are a symptom of the systematic flooding of Europe with incitement against the Jewish People and the State of Israel. This incitement feeds on the latent antisemitism in Europe, which had been dormant since the Holocaust. Unfortunately, it has awakened again.”

Shalev added, “Even worse than the statements themselves is the deafening silence from the Greek education and culture ministers, who were present in the audience when Mr. Theodorakis made them. This silence is proof that false preconceptions and illegitimate views are winning dangerous, tacit approval in what should be the most unlikely places - in this case, the cradle of Western democracy. Mr. Theodorakis’ statements, and the inaction to counter them, are part of the much larger wave of antisemitism which now threatens European democracy. Europe must fight this trend with a major educational campaign, focusing on stamping out the ignorance that leads to antisemitism and racism.”

Shalev called upon Mr. Theodorakis to visit Yad Vashem.