SYRIZA Bumps Anti-Semitic Candidate

Greece’s major opposition Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) has withdrawn the candidacy of a journalist running for the governorship of Western Macedonia who put postings on his Facebook page raging against Jews and showing sympathy for the ultra-extreme right Golden Dawn party that has shown neo-Nazi leanings.

SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras overruled a decision by the regional committee which backed Theodoros Karypidis as the party’s candidate in May elections.

A brief statement from SYRIZA’s political secretariat revealed that Karypidis would no longer represent the party in the contest for the region’s governorship, despite being selected to do so less than a week earlier.

Karypidis claimed that the interim public broadcaster was named NERIT after the Hebrew word for candle, Ner. He said this was connected to the Jewish festival of Hannukah, which he alleged marked a Jewish victory over Ancient Greece.

“Samaras is lighting the candles (Nerit) in the seven branched candelabra of the Jews and lighting Greece on fire after his visit to the Thessaloniki Synagogue… He is organizing a new Hanukkah against the Greeks,” wrote Karypidis, referring to Greek Premier Antonis Samaras, the New Democracy Conservative leader.

That drew an immediate reaction from American Jewish Committee Executive Director David Harris who said that, “Vile, outrageous expressions of anti-Semitism in Greece are coming not only from Golden Dawn on the far right but also, as Theodoros Karypidis’ Facebook post illustrates, from the far left.”

SYRIZA’s candidate for Athens Mayor, Gavriil Sakellaridis, also joined the criticism. “There are many issues with Karypidis’s candidacy,” the 34-year-old economist told SKAI. New Democracy and PASOK also attacked SYRIZA.

SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras, trying to handle a hot potato, returned from the earthquake-struck island of Kefalonia to oversee the meeting that will decide Karypidis’ fate.

Two members of the secretariat called on Wednesday for Karypidis’s suitability to be reassessed, as did the Left Platform, a left-wing grouping within SYRIZA. “SYRIZA is totally against all forms of racism and, therefore, anti-Semitism,” wrote party MP Dimitris Papadimoulis on Twitter. “Everyone should recognize and respect this.”