Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, Councilman Peter F. Vallone Jr, Assembly Member Aravella Simotas, community and religious leaders today rallied at a press conference to protest Greek Neo-Nazi Party Golden Dawn’s expansion into New York City. Golden Dawn announced in late September that they would be opening up a headquarters in New York, and there have been reports of activity and sightings of their hateful literature around Astoria, Queens, home to one of the biggest Greek communities in the country.
The Golden Dawn party, an extremist right-wing party in Greece, recently made inroads this past August in Greek elections, winning 18 of Greek Parliament’s 300. The party leader, Nikos Michaloliakos, has denied that German Nazis used gas chambers to systematically kill Jews, and the party has been accused by Human Rights Watch of inciting violence against immigrants in Greece.
“I am standing here today with a broad coalition of Greek and Jewish leadership, and with members of the greater Astoria community, to send a clear message to the Golden Dawn party that is trying to make inroads in New York City,” said Public Advocate Bill de Blasio. “You are not welcome in this community, this city, or this country. Your hatred and bigotry will fall on deaf ears in Queens, the most diverse county in America, where people of every race, creed and nationality live side by side in harmony.”
State Senator Michael Gianaris said, “The painful lessons of our own history have taught us that extremism and intolerance beget violence, oppression and suffering. I stand with Greek-American leadership like the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association, who have made clear that extremist and divisive groups like Golden Dawn are not welcome in our community. There is no place more inappropriate for a group like this than western Queens, which celebrates its diversity and openness to all peoples.”
Assembly Member Aravella Simotas said, “New York City, and Astoria in particular, are models of diversity and tolerance. There is no room for any kind of hate group to promote an anti-immigrant agenda in our city, especially here in the heart of our community,” Simotas said. “I immigrated to this country from Greece with my parents 33 years ago, and we were welcomed in Astoria with open arms by the generations of immigrants that came before us. This is what we in Astoria stand for as a community – not hatred and violence against immigrants, women and those who may be different from us.”
“While we vigorously defend freedom of speech, the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, together with all freedom-loving New Yorkers, are deeply offended by the presence here in Queens, the most diverse borough in the most diverse city in the world, of this xenophobic, racist and anti-Semitic movement. Their ideology is rejected by the Greek community here in Queens and we will continue to work with our local ethnic and faith partners to combat all forms of racism and intolerance,” said Alan S. Jaffe, President of Jewish Community Relations Council of New York.
“We are outraged by the establishment of a New York City presence of Golden Dawn, a political party in Greece that combines an ideology of ethnic purity, anti-Semitism, and violence against minorities. These repugnant beliefs have no place in New York City, in Greece, nor anywhere else on the globe. We are gratified by the strong condemnations of Public Advocate Bill De Blasio and other elected officials and we are confident that all New Yorkers will reject this hateful message,” said Ron Meier, Regional Director, Anti-Defamation League, New York Office.
“I strongly condemn the message of the Golden Dawn. Their message plays to the worst of humanity. They are not representative of the amazing Greek community that I know and love. As a Greek-American, I have always been part of a Greek community that thrives as part of the grand tapestry of diversity that is Queens and NYC and loves their diverse neighbors. We reject Golden Dawn’s message of hate and division,” said Democratic District Leader Costa Constantinides.
(YWN Desk – NYC)