Israel, Greece and Cyprus are cooperating closely on the EastMed pipeline, a joint project that would supply east Mediterranean gas to Europe. Pictured: Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu (left), Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades (center) and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (right) meet on January 28, 2016 in Nicosia, Cyprus. (Image source: Cyprus Ministry of the Interior/Wikimedia Commons)
Greece is a deeply divided country. It has two camps. One is the "institutional camp," which is presented to the global community and the international press. The other is what can be called the "people's camp," which considers the existing political regime a "Corpus Separatum" -- a separate entity.
The institutional camp consists of the corrupt political system, the oligarchs, the academic community and the media -- all soldiers in an army of globalization and multiculturalism. It is a system that feeds on the Greek populace, and, for its political and economic survival, depends on a strategic alliance with the Islamic countries of the Persian Gulf.
The people's camp, which the international community and media ignore, has a totally different view of -- and strategic approach to -- Greece's geopolitical present and future. This is evident in the latest World Values Survey (WVS), in which Greece participated for the first time. The survey, conducted on a sample of 1,200 Greek households in September-October 2017, reveals that only 7% trust their country's political parties; only 13% trust the government; only 14% trust the parliament; and only 18% trust the trade unions.
One key area that highlights the dichotomy between Greece's institutional camp and its people's camp is the country's attitude towards Israel. After being subjected to decades of anti-Semitic brainwashing -- fostered chiefly by the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) and its tentacles -- Greeks have begun to view Israel as a role-model state. A recent controversy surrounding a conference held in Sparta on September 2-3 is a perfect example.
The conference -- "Sparta-Israel: Renewing an Ancient Friendship" -- was organized by the Municipality of Sparta, B'nai B'rith Greece and the Greek-Israeli Cooperation Institute. Distinguished participants from Greece and abroad, including the chief of staff of the Greek Army, presented archeological findings supporting the friendship between ancient Sparta and the Jewish people, and discussed contemporary issues, such as geopolitics in the Eastern Mediterranean and cooperation towards development and growth between the two nations.
On September 1, a day before the conference, the socialist-anarchist Greek group Gassan Kanafani (Front of Resistance and Solidarity for Palestine) released a long and angry statement of "complaint" about the event. It reads, in part:
"...[W]e call the Spartans and, by extension, all the Greek people, everybody who opposes the imperialist and colonial crimes against the Palestinian people, every progressive citizen who believes that solidarity is the weapon of the peoples in the struggle for a world of social justice and respect for human rights, to turn their backs on this event and to stand in the way of all the policies implemented by the Greek government. At the same time, to strengthen in any way the boycott-Israel movement and all the companies that support it."
The statement also includes a passage about the EastMed pipeline, a joint project under consideration by Cyprus, Israel and Greece that would supply east Mediterranean gas to Europe. Gassan Kanafani claims it "belongs to the Palestinian people," and describes the project as follows:
"Israel, with the pipeline under construction and the help of Greece, Cyprus, Italy and EU funding, wants to export stolen Palestinian resources to the European market, but also to exploit the resources that have been identified in Cyprus and Greece and are property of the Greek and Cypriot people respectively."
Three weeks later, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), celebrating the 100-year anniversary of its establishment, hosted the Palestinian teenager Ahed Tamimi and her family, introducing her to the Greek people as a hero fighting injustice and Israeli occupation. In fact, Tamimi -- who served an 8-month prison sentence for physically assaulting an IDF soldier -- has openly called for suicide bombings and stabbing attacks against Israelis. Recently, she saluted Hassan Nasrallah, the head of the Lebanon-based, Iran-backed terrorist organization Hezbollah, for calling her "brave and courageous." In remarks broadcast on August 22 on Lebanese Al-Jadeed/New TV channel, Tamimi said:
"To the honorable sheikh, Hassan Nasrallah, I say: Thank you very much... His words boosted our morale -- not just my morale, but the morale of many people... I'd like to salute him, to thank him for his support, and to tell him that he always makes us grow stronger. We all support him and are proud of him."
Another of Tamimi's greatest supporters is Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
During her trip to Greece, Tamimi held a joint press conference with the Palestinian Ambassador to Greece, Marwan Toubassi, at the GCP Youth Center. The "questions" from reporters were so slanted against Israel that they might as well have been scripted by the Palestinian Authority propaganda machine. For example (at minute 3:26):
"You have to fight against a very powerful enemy, the Israeli murder state, which murders the Palestinian people daily. How do you imagine that it is possible for your struggle to win, to achieve what you want, and how important is international solidarity for this purpose?"
Tamimi's and Toubassi's replies were filled with lies, hatred, threats and historical inaccuracies. For instance, Toubassi said, among other things (minute 21:41): "If an independent Palestinian state is not established at the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as capital, there will be neither security nor stability, and the region will go to hell." Toubassi failed to mention that the Palestinian leadership refers to the entire state of Israel as "occupied territory," going as far as to threaten Britain with a lawsuit over the 100-year-old Balfour Declaration.
Toubassi was particularly vitriolic about Greek-Israeli cooperation, stating (minute 17:28):
"...I am impressed when I hear from some people here [in Greece] saying that we have common values with the State of Israel. Which values are they talking about -- the values of occupation, apartheid and racism? The Greek people have nothing to do with these ugly values. The Greek people have suffered from the occupation and fought against the occupation and defeated the occupation of Nazism and dictatorship. That is why Greece has nothing in common with the values of a country that is an occupier."
The Palestinian ambassador also omitted the fact that the Greeks and the Jews have more than 2,500 years of cultural, religious and historical ties and failed to mention that during World War II, the Jewish community in Greece fought alongside the rest of the Greek people in defending the country against the Nazi invasion.
In contrast, during WWII, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Mohammed Amin al-Husseini -- the Muslim cleric in charge of Islamic holy sites in Jerusalem -- was a very close ally of Adolf Hitler's. In other words, the Arabs of Palestine have the blood on their hands of half a million Greeks who perished during the German occupation and of the over 60,000 Greek Jews who were murdered in German concentration camps. Toubassi is, thus, among the last people on earth who should be lecturing the Greek people about morality, values and historical ties.
The KKE's political activism and alliance with the Palestinian Authority raises a very serious geopolitical question: Who benefits from the KKE's war against the Greek-Israeli friendship and from a defamation of the EastMed pipeline? The answer is Turkey, of course, but also Qatar, Russia and Iran. The KKE's behavior illustrates one way in which the far-left and radical Islamists are bedfellows.
It is crucial for people outside Greece to understand that the Communist Party of Greece is not a fringe party; it is the backbone of the political system. The good news -- as the World Values Survey indicated -- is that more and more Greeks are losing their faith in that system, and are striving to become a society that is more like Israel.
Maria Polizoidou, a reporter, broadcast journalist, and consultant on international and foreign affairs, is based in Greece. She has a post-graduate degree in "Geopolitics and Security Issues in the Islamic complex of Turkey and Middle East" from the University of Athens.