On his Facebook page, Karypidis (pictured) had alleged that Nerit, the acronym of Greece's new public broadcaster, was derived from the Hebrew word for candle, which he linked to the Jewish festival of Hanukkah, which commemorates the struggle of the Maccabees against the Greeks. “Samaras is lighting the candles in the seven branched candelabra of the Jews and lighting Greece on fire after his visit to the ThessalonikiSynagogue,” Karypidis wrote, adding that Samaras was "organizing a new Hanukkah against the Greeks.”
The synagogue visit to which Karypidis referred was an appearance Samaras made with World Jewish Congress and Greek Jewish leaders at Thessaloniki’s historic Monastiriotes Synagogue in March 2013 to commemorate the deportation of 50,000 of the city’s Jews to the Nazi death camps in 1943. It was the first such visit a Greek prime minister had made in the last 100 years.
Last week, both the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece (KIS) and the World Jewish Congress urged Syriza to withdraw Karypidis. In a statement, KIS welcomed the decision by Syriza: "The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece expresses its satisfaction for the most recent decision taken by the leadership ofSyriza, which actually places on the margins of Greek society those who disseminate views that incite racism, intolerance and anti-Semitism. With this decision, Syriza gives a strong and clear message towards the Greek society that anti-Semitism is to be condemned as a phenomenon of racism and bigotry that breeds hatred against Jews and in the same time constitutes a threat against democracy itself as well as against the principles and values of a free society."
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