- Israel has complained to the Greek government about comments
by composer Mikis Theodorakis, who called Jews "the root of evil"
and dismissed key Biblical figures as mere "shadows," a diplomatic
source said Wednesday.
- The source, who requested anonymity, said the Israeli
Embassy in Athens pointed out the "gravity" of the remarks by
Theodorakis, who is best known for the score of the 1964 film "Zorba
- The Foreign Ministry issued a statement denouncing the
comments as "anti-Semitic" and expressing "sorrow that such
remarks were made by a personality of his stature."
- Meanwhile, the Foreign Ministry has also found that Israel
is perceived as a provocative, unreliable country whose agenda is controlled
by a handful of settlers, Army Radio reported Wednesday.
- The findings were contained in a draft document on Israel's
image in the world, which also indicated rising international criticism
against Israeli policies, the radio reported.
- Sympathy for the Palestinians is high in Greece and protests
are often held to criticize Israel's actions in the Palestinian territories.
- "We are two nations without brothers in the world,
us and the Jews, but they have fanaticism and are forceful," Theodorakis
said at a November 4 news conference to promote his book "Where Can
I Find My Soul." The event was attended by some senior government
- "Today we can say that this small nation is the
root of evil, not of good, which means that too much self importance and
too much stubbornness is evil," he told the audience of journalists
and officials, including Cultural Minister Evangelos Venizelos and Education
Minister Petros Efthimiou.
- According to the daily Apogevmatini, Theodorakis said
Greece "did not turn aggressive like them" because of its rich
- "They only had Abraham and Jacob, shadows... We
had the great Pericles here," Theodorakis was quoted as saying.
- Theodorakis often grabs headlines with his blunt remarks,
particularly against the U.S. government. After the U.S.-led attacks on
Iraq, he described Americans as "disgusting, cruel and cowardly murderers."
- Israeli and Jewish leaders have expressed fears of a
resurgence in anti-Semitism in Europe. European and EU leaders have also
condemned the results of a recent Eurobarometer poll, indicating that 59
percent of the EU's citizens consider Israel the main threat to peace,
closely followed by the United States, Iran and North Korea, each with