The only thing necessary for the persistence of evil is for enough good people to do nothing

Synagogue Attacked Again

I wrote an update to my post about the arson attack on the Etz-Hayyim synagogue but I realised that this sad, shocking news deserved its own post. The same synagogue was targeted again early on Saturday morning, destroying much more than the previous attack.

Via CBC News

A synagogue on the Greek island of Crete was hit by arsonists for the second time in three weeks, police said Saturday.

The attack happened in the city of Chania when an unknown number of people entered the building, broke through a first-floor door and started a fire, police said.

Fire officials said the blaze partly destroyed the synagogue’s wooden ceiling, as well as many of its archives, computers and CDs.

Police say about 2,500 books, many of them rare editions, were destroyed in this attack and a previous arson attack three weeks ago.

For a personal account of what happened and photographs of the destruction, please visit the blog of the Etz-Hayyim synagogue.

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23 Comments

  1. January 19, 2010    

    Oh, the horror…
    I’m so ashamed I’m Greek. Honestly.

    Saigon

  2. Post Disagreement
    January 20, 2010    

    Religious intolerance is horrible.
    I guess arson attacks on occupied buildings count as much or more than physical attacks on people:::: FROM Haaretz.com

    Christians in Jerusalem want Jews to stop spitting on them
    By Amiram Barkat

    A few weeks ago, a senior Greek Orthodox clergyman in Israel attended a meeting at a government office in Jerusalem’s Givat Shaul quarter. When he returned to his car, an elderly man wearing a skullcap came and knocked on the window. When the clergyman let the window down, the passerby spat in his face.
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    The clergyman prefered not to lodge a complaint with the police and told an acquaintance that he was used to being spat at by Jews. Many Jerusalem clergy have been subjected to abuse of this kind. For the most part, they ignore it but sometimes they cannot.

    On Sunday, a fracas developed when a yeshiva student spat at the cross being carried by the Armenian Archbishop during a procession near the Holy Sepulchre in the Old City. The archbishop’s 17th-century cross was broken during the brawl and he slapped the yeshiva student.

    Both were questioned by police and the yeshiva student will be brought to trial. The Jerusalem District Court has meanwhile banned the student from approaching the Old City for 75 days.

    But the Armenians are far from satisfied by the police action and say this sort of thing has been going on for years. Archbishop Nourhan Manougian says he expects the education minister to say something.

    “When there is an attack against Jews anywhere in the world, the Israeli government is incensed, so why when our religion and pride are hurt, don’t they take harsher measures?” he asks.

    According to Daniel Rossing, former adviser to the Religious Affairs Ministry on Christian affairs and director of a Jerusalem center for Christian-Jewish dialogue, there has been an increase in the number of such incidents recently, “as part of a general atmosphere of lack of tolerance in the country.”

    Rossing says there are certain common characeristics from the point of view of time and location to the incidents. He points to the fact that there are more incidents in areas where Jews and Christians mingle, such as the Jewish and Armenian quarters of the Old City and the Jaffa Gate.

    There are an increased number at certain times of year, such as during the Purim holiday.”I know Christians who lock themselves indoors during the entire Purim holiday,” he says.

    Former adviser to the mayor on Christian affairs, Shmuel Evyatar, describes the situation as “a huge disgrace.” He says most of the instigators are yeshiva students studying in the Old City who view the Christian religion with disdain.

    “I’m sure the phenomenon would end as soon as rabbis and well-known educators denounce it. In practice, rabbis of yeshivas ignore or even encourage it,” he says.

    Evyatar says he himself was spat at while walking with a Serbian bishop in the Jewish quarter, near his home. “A group of yeshiva students spat at us and their teacher just stood by and watched.”

    Jerusalem municipal officials said they are aware of the problem but it has to be dealt with by the police. Shmuel Ben-Ruby, the police spokesman, said they had only two complaints from Christians in the past two years. He said that, in both cases, the culprits were caught and punished.

    He said the police deploy an inordinately high number of patrols and special technology in the Old City and its surroundings in an attempt to keep order.

  3. The Wind
    January 20, 2010    

    Many thanks for this forum enabling public discourse and understanding. This is a particularly disturbing news item for all, not in the least those of the Greek Orthodox, Christian faith. Whatever the grievances of the perpetrators, to not express themselves by a peaceful demonstration is both cowardly and violently incompatible with civilized behavior- civilization being a concept long cherished in the Greek tradition. Undoubtedly one of the most troubling aspects of this story is that is the allegation that a bar of soap was symbolically placed at the crime scene, presumably intended to communicate sympathies and identification with the German nazi ideology of World War Two. This is exceptionally bothersome considering the massive famine and executions imposed upon all Greeks-Jewish and Gentile- during Greece’s nazi occupation- certainly the people of Crete. Not to diminish the suffering endured by all the other nazi occupied countries of the time, it is ironic that the perpetrators embrace nazi ideology- the same ideology which prevented nazi Germany from conscripting Christian Greeks into its fledgling ranks during its final struggle during its war effort. Christian Poles, Danes, Norwegians- even Russians, however, were forced into the German war machine. Thus, the nazi symbolism represented by the bar of soap exemplifies the criminal stupidity of the perpetrators.
    Nonetheless it is certainly defamatory and false, to say the least, for Abraham H. Foxman of the internationally renowned ADL- Anti Defamation League- to claim there is: a ”common Greek anti-Semitic expression, “I’ll make you into a bar of soap.”” This obviously defames and misrepresents tolerant, common Greeks who without question are just as insulted by the introduction of this absurd, obscene rumor as the Jewish community whose Etz Chaim synagogue in Hania was attacked. Hence the criminal, anti Semitic arson attack is being justly condemned, and Abraham H. Foxman certainly must also apologize for his unsubstantiated, vicious and ridiculous attack, regardless of any need for vengeance he was experience when he propagated such a vile, preposterous, supposedly “common expression.“

  4. Greeks & Armenians
    January 21, 2010    

    Post Disagreement, the Greeks and Armenians themselves fight and cause much more fracas than the spitting Jews in Israel.

    I saw this fracas and couldn’t believe my eyes. Apparently, an American sports network even turned it into a reality show.

    Orthodox christian fighting….

  5. Troublemakers and Trolls
    January 21, 2010    

    “Greeks and Armenians”? It would be much better if posters were were not allowed to use different names every time they posted. Only trolls and troublemakers use a different name every time they post. Why don’t you use a name and stick to it. You can change it after a while if you don’t like it but it’s very difficult to keep track of who people are when they use a different name for every single post. I bet we won’t see “Greeks and Armenians” being used again by this troll. Using your name one-time is a sure indication of cowardice and trolling.

  6. crusader
    January 21, 2010    

    There have been many anti semetic attacks through out Europe the last years mostly commited by Muslim Immigrants and there are quite a few Arabs in Crete.

  7. AFROULA
    January 21, 2010    

    I agree with “Troublemakers and Trolls”. People come up with some have baked name and then we never hear from them again. What is up with that silly youtube video about Greeks/Armenians fighting or was it praying anyways.

  8. Cinzano
    January 22, 2010    

    Well well well…it looks like the anti-semitic attack on the synagogue was carried out by one Greek, TWO Brits and TWO Americans.

    I wonder why this bit of news wasn’t posted on this thread….

    ANA-MPA — Three people have been arrested and two more are wanted by police on the island of Crete, accused of participating in two arson attacks on Jan. 5 and 16 targeting the historic Jewish synagogue in the port-city of Hania.
    In a press conference on Friday, police announced that a local man from the nearby city of Irakleio, aged 24, and two British nationals, aged 23 and 33, are in custody, while another two suspects, both US citizens, are wanted.

    The

    33-year-old Briton, who is accused of being the perpetrator

    of the second arson attack on Jan. 16, denied the charges against him. The two US nationals are accused of the first arson attack on Jan. 5, while in the three detained suspects are accused of involvement in that incident, too.

    The Greek man and the 23-year-old Briton are accused of keeping watch in the second arson attack.

    The three suspects were led to the synagogue on Thursday night where a crime reconstruction took place.

    The first fire broke out at 1:15 a.m. on Jan. 5. The culprits broke into the synagogue’s courtyard and set fire to an outdoor wooden ladder which leads to the library. The fire was extinguished immediately before it threatened the temple and the adjoining library, which features roughly 1,600 rare books and manuscripts. A bottle with a flammable liquid still burning was found at the scene by fire-fighters.

    The second fire broke out at 4 a.m. on Jan. 16 and destroyed digital discs, four computers, tapes with Jewish music and books. Both attacks destroyed a total of 2,500 books.

    The medieval synagogue in Hania’s old quarter is amongst the most noted Jewish temples in Greece, functioning as both a cultural centre and a house of worship.

  9. Cinzano
    January 22, 2010    

    I wonder how many of you immediately assumed the fire was started by the “anti-semitic Greeks”?

    Just read the first post on this thread – typical stereotyping.

    This thread has seriously backfired. The civilised Brits and the tolerant Americans are responsible for torching a synagogue in Greece. Nice.

  10. pj
    January 22, 2010    

    Admittedly, my first assumption (had I even thought about it, which I didn’t), would probably have been that the fire was started by Greeks. Just as, if it had occurred in Britain, I would have assumed that Britons were responsible, French people in France, and so on…

  11. Cinzano
    January 23, 2010    

    It goes to show that you souldn’t assume anything until you have the FACTS.

  12. Cinzano
    January 23, 2010    

    I realised that this sad, shocking news deserved its own post.

    I believe that an apology is owed to all Greeks for the insinuation that they should be “ashamed” for carrying out this attack…(see first post in this thread).

  13. pj
    January 23, 2010    

    @ Cinzano

    What stereotyping? In the first post on this thread I see a Greek person reacting with horror and shame to an attack that he/she assumes has been carried out by Greeks. I react in just the same way when I hear about similar attacks carried out in England, because I assume the perpetrators are English…

  14. Cinzano
    January 23, 2010    

    Well pj, you learned a valuable lesson:

    Never jump to conclusions, especially when you only have your prejudice and not the FACTS.

    Just because anti-semitic vandalism or grafitti happens in an EU country, it doesn’t necessarily make the people of that country “anti-semitic”. There have been many threads in this blog dedicated to demonising a whole nation on account of isolated incidents of anti-semitism.

    In fact, the post on the second attack on the synagogue could’ve been just tacked onto the first thread, but an opportunity was pounced upon to open another thread on the same subject just to further demonise the “anti-semitic” Greeks. Another thread would propogate the idea that anti-semitism in Greece is more common than it is.

    (“I realised that this sad, shocking news deserved its own post.”) – I bet you were even more “sad and shocked” to discover the perpetrators were Brits and Americans….

    I react in just the same way when I hear about similar attacks carried out in England, because I assume the perpetrators are English…

    I doubt very much that if you read a story about a UK paedophile ring you would immediately say “I’m ashamed to be British”. Incidents of things like paedophilia and anti-semitism happen in ALL countries and no single ethnicity or nationality deserves to be singled out for comitting these incidences than any other country.
    Insinuations of “anti-semitic Greeks” are common in this blog which is the real shame.

    The immediate reaction of a poster to the anti-semitic attack in this thread was to be “ashamed to be Greek” and you have tried to excuse this sentiment by explaining that it’s some sort of natural reaction. But you wouldn’t apply this thinking if it happened in your own country. This leaves only one conclusion: that you apply double standards.

    So, in order to prove me wrong, please confirm that you are you “ashamed to be British” because of the following:

    ‘Record rise’ in UK anti-Semitism
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8166173.stm

  15. pj
    January 23, 2010    

    Well pj, you learned a valuable lesson:

    Never jump to conclusions, especially when you only have your prejudice and not the FACTS.

    Are you aware how patronising (not to mention SHOUTY) this sounds?

    Just because anti-semitic vandalism or grafitti happens in an EU country, it doesn’t necessarily make the people of that country “anti-semitic”.

    Well no, where did I say anything like that?

    an opportunity was pounced upon to open another thread on the same subject just to further demonise the “anti-semitic” Greeks

    I don’t see any mention, much less demonisation of Greeks.

    I bet you were even more “sad and shocked” to discover the perpetrators were Brits and Americans….

    Are you talking to me or DD here?

    I doubt very much that if you read a story about a UK paedophile ring you would immediately say “I’m ashamed to be British”. Incidents of things like paedophilia and anti-semitism happen in ALL countries and no single ethnicity or nationality deserves to be singled out for comitting these incidences than any other country.

    What kind of equivalence is there between anti-semitism, which is inextricably linked with the demonisation of a religious, cultural and ethnic “other”, and paedophilia, which is not? When English thugs perpetrate anti-semitic attacks they are, in part, violently asserting their Englishness. So for me to feel a sense of shame at my Englishness seems an entirely appropriate response.

    The immediate reaction of a poster to the anti-semitic attack in this thread was to be “ashamed to be Greek” and you have tried to excuse this sentiment by explaining that it’s some sort of natural reaction. But you wouldn’t apply this thinking if it happened in your own country.

    But I would. I just did. And I did in my previous post. Why aren’t you listening to me?

    So, in order to prove me wrong, please confirm that you are you “ashamed to be British” because of the following

    Of course I am. What civilised person wouldn’t be? I genuinely can’t understand the point you’re trying to make.

  16. Pants on the Ground
    January 23, 2010    

    The Americans were Greek-Americans.

  17. Ants In Your Pants
    January 23, 2010    

    The Americans were Greek-Americans.

    They weren’t Greek citizens, they were AMERICANS. So much for home of the brave and land of the free…firebombing a synagogue. How very brave.

  18. This thread blew up in your face
    January 23, 2010    

    The truth is that this thread has backfired badly.

  19. January 23, 2010    

    I did not open another thread to make it seem as though there where more acts of anti-semitism. There was ANOTHER attack on the SAME synagogue and I realise that people do not necessarily go back and read older posts and notice updates.

    I am not withholding information. I actually hadn’t read the latest news on the perpetrators until just now. I am not more

    sad and shocked to discover the perpetrators were Brits and Americans

    Why should I be ? Nowhere did I say that it was Greeks who carried out the attack. It was an anti-semitic act in Greece which is within the scope of this blog.

    I will be posting this latest news in a few minutes…

  20. Kaboom!
    January 23, 2010    

    A thread posted by a Brit to show how anti-semitic Greeks are – turns out that the perpetrators were British and American. The irony is astounding (and very amusing).

    This thread has backfired spectacularly.

  21. January 23, 2010    

    The truth is that this thread has backfired badly.

    How? Please explain…

  22. Pants on the Ground
    January 23, 2010    

    They weren’t Greek citizens, they were AMERICANS. So much for home of the brave and land of the free…firebombing a synagogue. How very brave.

    With 200+ million Americans, I suppose a few of them will come to Greece and commit crimes. Geez, maybe we ought to stereotype all of them, huh?

    Some of these posters should really get their pants off the ground, looking like fools with their pants on the ground! Pants on the Ground. Go figure.

  23. HOMELAND SECURITY
    January 24, 2010    

    Interesting how much more waves attacks on a Cretan museum – that wasn’t only jewish art! – make than all the attacks on migrants and foreigners in Chania before.
    Btw how is the german girl doing after nazis iron-barred her head into hospital? What about the co-op of nazis and police in Chania and Rethimno or the Albanian in Iraklio got hunted to death by cops just a few days ago? And the “autonomous nationalists” who attacked an anti-rascist rally yesterday?
    I’m impressed.

    fighting terrorism since 1492
    fuck olympic games on stolen land
    revenge for the 10000 homeless that got kicked out of Vancouver to get space for journalists
    HOMELAND SECURITY

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