How the Greek Crisis breeds antisemitism: the Yannakopoulos/VIANEX case

“The Jews unwanted in the shop”, Salonica May 1941/ source: Bunderarchiv

A persistent characteristic of antisemitism is the use of Jews as the classic scapegoats when things go to hell, (or “go to Israel” as the late Archibishop of the Greek Church used to say). Although one must not forget that antisemitism remains a constant both during good and bad times, difficult economic conditions like the one we’re experiencing facilitate the manifestation of phenomena that during normal times the need for “peace and quiet” would not allow to surface. In this post we are going to deal with Ilias Mosialos and the Yannakopoulos family, not because there a shortage of antisemitism but because it serves a textbook reference as how the crisis utilizes and advances *the already existent* racism.

Ilia Mosialos is a greek parliamentarian and a professor at the London School of Economics. Elected in 2009 under socialist PASOK he arrived to become a Minister and Spokesperson for the Government.

And no, he is not Jewish.

I.Mosialos had his first brush with antisemitism when in July 2011 the cesspool which constitutes the greek christian nationalistic web reproduced a post in which Ilias Mosialos is in fact Eliah Moshia. In the beginning it was only 3-4 blogs which routinely copy one another, but when infamous for his antisemitic remarks reporter Spiros Hatzaras reproduces it in 18/7/11 the news explodes. Here one must not that the reporter, former anchor of the State television, has made a name for himself as a Jew-hunter revealing presumed Jewish roots among many greek politicians. In fact no greek politician is Jewish but it remains as a common vector for personal attacks since it is commonly perceived that Greek Christian voters would never vote for a Greek Jewish politician. As many antisemitic rumors it drew its course and then quietly died… when the generic drugs arrived in the greek Public Health system.

source: Spyros Hatzaras

In the beginning of 2012, amidst the worst economic crisis since WW2, a new law is passed which introduces a limited use of generic drugs in greek Public Health system. The greek pharmaceutical industry feels threatened as seen in the statements by the Greek Association of Pharmaceutical Industries. A prominent member of the association is VIANEX owned by brothers Thanasis and Pavlos Yannakopoulos, which actually participated in the press conference which I linked to.

A couple of weeks later suddenly a new round of rumors begins, this time originating by the site; they are part of a series of posts which vehemently accuse this new law – the actual titles are quite scary I might add. The villain in this case is israeli pharmaceutical industry TEVA and it’s tool Ilias Mosialos if not because he’s a paid stooge, certainly because of religious solidarity allegedly being Jewish himself. Indicative is the post “Coincidental? What do you think?” in which the author wonders whether it is a coincidence that rumors on Mosialos being Jewish appear and that israeli TEVA won over greek VIANEX on a series of auctions for the supply of hospital drugs .

Indeed after referring to the infamously antisemitic reporter Hatzaras with favorable terms, it repeats the claims over the Jewish Mosialos. At the same times it hypocritically proclaims that the name change and his Jewish religion are not illegal, practically adopting in full the antisemitic innuendos. During the next days repeats the attacks and tries to link Mosialos with TEVA wondering whether is was sheer chance that Mosialos rose to prominence or was it linked to his presumed ties with TEVA.

Conspiracy theories anyone ?

The pictures accompanying the articles actually adopt the antisemitic innuendos

As claims that “…research has a right to observe and compare clues”, I take up the challenge albeit not being a reporter but a simple Greek Jew to denote that DPG Media Group appears as owner of . We know this because DPG admits it, the physical address of DPG and coincide and the persons working at newsbomb appear elsewhere as employees of the group. But to who DPG Media Group belongs to? In absence of a corporate site we have to refer to multiple reports in which Dimitris Yannakopoulos appears as the owner. In this video the CEO of DPG S.Efstathopoulos confirms D.Yannakopoulos as the owner, while this one claims he is the son of Pavlos Yannakopoulos owner of VIANEX. Indeed VIANEX confirms that Dimitris Yannakopoulos is the substitute CEO of the company.

So we see that a news site propriety of Yannakopoulos adopts lewd antisemitic innuendos as a means to criticize a parliamentarian which advocates the use of generic drugs, while the pharmaceutical company of his father in which he also directing is vehemently against. I am certain that one can claim that it is a coincidence and the ethics of its journalists is impeccable and it is only coincidence to be blamed that we have a barrage of posts which support the business interests of their employer; but undoubtedly a conflict of interest is more than apparent. Still 6 university professors have less doubts than I do and denounce the “despicable racist innuendos”. 

The result is that the greek christian reader feels the Israelis, alias for Jews for the layman, are ready to invade the greek marker causing layoffs and a degradation of the public health system. And all this with the aid of dishonest politicians who act as Jews and not as Greek patriots. And even worse they hide their Jewishness and change their name because obviously they do not want us to understand the jewish reasons behind their actions. In other words They Live Amongs Us.

An epilogue

It is obvious that it is not illegal to spread such rumors but such conspiracy theories have favored a climate of fear and antisemitism which proved instrumental in the rise of Nazism in Germany. In addition it creates a climate of fear both for Christians who feel under siege and the Jews who are facing the consequences of being viewed by the Christian majority as a threat.

In fact during the research for this article I encountered hundreds of reports about “Jews getting ready to take over the market” and how the new generic drugs law mandated by the Troika was because “the Jews wanted to”. Greek Jewish doctors, pharmacists and nurses have told me of the multiplication of antisemitic remarks in their workplaces by their Greek Christian colleagues. Εven the president of the Athen’s Pharmacy Association speaks of a israeli connection, perhaps influenced by his companies at Anexartiti Elines political party, ignoring the fact that at other times newsbomb has chosen to attack even the pharmacists ! 

I have no idea whether Dimitris Yannakopoulos shares the antisemitism which his journalists adopt as means. I do know that this minor episode is indicative of how much antisemitism is embedded in the greek christian society and how, even at the absence of Jews it, is used as a tool. I am certain that the Yannakopoulos family is not responsible for the fact that Greek Christians view an alleged jewish origin as an occasion for possible treason, nor are they responsible for the constant creation of antisemitic rumors which have made Greece into a champion of antisemitism among the european states. In any case I believe thay their scope is to advance their bussiness interest and they simply decided to take advantage of the established antisemitic hate at every part of the greek society.

I would like to stress this fact: the case of generics/VIANEX/jew Mosialos is not per se just another antisemitic incident. In any case owned by the Yannakopoulos family is seething with antisemitism like this post which considers Masonry as a Jewish conspiracy which funds everything evil they can find (sic). What I consider worthy of notice is that when the journalists of a mainstream site thought of what kind of muck they could throw, they used the JEWS AMONG US taking as granted the antisemitism of the greek society. And they were proven right !

The Yannakopoulos family is responsible for allowing their employees to perceive that they can advance the business interests of their employers through the use of antisemitism indifferent to the consequences it has for their compatriots. A cimate of hatred which promotes the nazis of the Golden Dawn, the transformation of the greek society into warring fractions which attemt to exterminate minorities and the establishment of Hatred as the ultimate Greek virtue.

And for that they should be ashamed and isolated.

PS. I had written this post back in April 2012 and one year lated nothing has changed. Instead attacked the gay (GLBTQ) community although fortunately there was a public outcry which was absent before. I would like to believe that this happened because of the Village Cinemas initially withdrawing and then reinstating their advertisements and not because of selective sensitivities among the more liberal part of greek society.

source: abravanel 


2 thoughts on “How the Greek Crisis breeds antisemitism: the Yannakopoulos/VIANEX case

  1. Pingback: Greek nazis, a threat to Jews | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: How the Greek Crisis breeds antisemitism: the Yannakopoulos/VIANEX case | Greek Left Review

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