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Jewish group suggests ban on far-right Greek party

Associated Press Published: May 16, 2012

PRAGUE (AP) — A major European Jewish organization is urging European governments to quickly adopt measures to tackle anti-Semitism and far-right extremism, including possibly banning a hardline Greek party that did unusually well in recent elections.

Moshe Kantor, president of the European Jewish Congress, was meeting with Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas on Wednesday to seek his support for "emergency measures" to protect the continent's Jewish communities from violent hate crimes.

Kantor would not give details of the measures that his organization plans to propose, but they could involve passing legislation, sharing intelligence, and a public awareness campaign about anti-Semitic threats.

In particular, Kantor expressed concern about Golden Dawn, a party that did well during Greece's May 6 election and whose leader claimed that Nazi concentration camps did not use ovens and gas chambers to kill prisoners during the Holocaust.

The party has rejected a neo-Nazi label but campaigned on an anti-immigration platform. Because the leading parties were unable to form a government in Greece, another election is expected, but the message sent by Golden Dawn's performance has raised fears among minorities.

Kantor said Golden Dawn's "political rise should have sent shock-waves through Europe."

"Before calling on European leaders to act against hate on the street, they must clear their own house and that means banning and ostracizing any politicians and political parties that preach hate and violence," he said. "While we highly value freedom of speech, we all recognize that there must be restrictions, and the visceral hatred propagated by the Golden Dawn is surely outside the boundaries of appropriate political discourse."

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