June 4, 2013 – Washington – Greek Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos delivered a stern warning against extremist groups that have emerged across Europe, including in Greece, at the AJC Global Forum. He addressed an audience of more than 1,500 people, including Members of Congress, leaders of the Greek-American community, and representatives of the Greek Jewish community.
"Greece will never allow hate to grow and spread. Hate will be confronted and stopped," declared Foreign Minister Avramopoulos. “No one should ever believe that the country, which gave birth to democracy and respect for the human being, which has become the best example of resistance against Nazism, would ever tolerate and allow the revival of hatred and racism.”
The neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party holds 18 seats in the Greek Parliament, and public opinion surveys show it enjoys the support of more than ten percent of the population. “Because of its economic problems, Greece is facing serious social challenges that have bred political forces that disgrace our democratic and humanistic traditions,” said Avramopoulos. “The social factors that have allowed this to happen, as in other European countries, must be successfully addressed.”
The foreign minister spoke enthusiastically of deepening ties between Greece and Israel, based on shared democratic values and common economic and strategic interests in the region. Avramopoulos was in Israel only two days before coming to Washington to address AJC. In Israel, he was preparing for a significant “high-level meeting between our two governments” that will take place within a few months.
“It will be a great moment for our two nations,” he said. “It is the fruit of concrete, coherent, sustained and well-prepared action, expressing the strong will of the two countries to collaborate closely together for the benefits and prosperity of our peoples.
”Greece and Israel will sign 20 agreements for “a new framework of Greece-Israel relations.” Avramopoulos, who has long been a close friend of AJC, and the Greek Jewish community, saluted the “exemplary cooperation” that AJC has achieved with the Greek American and the Cypriot American communities, adding that those relationships “inspire” the government of Greece in its own deepening ties with Israel.