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GREEK HELSINKI MONITOR (GHM)
Address: P.O. Box 60820, GR-15304 Glyka Nera
Telephone: (+30) 2103472259 - Fax: (+30) 2106018760

E-mail: office@greekhelsinki.gr - Website: http://cm.greekhelsinki.gr/


PRESS RELEASE

“Pedagogy of anti-Semitism and intolerance” by Professor of Education Maria Tzani

January 1, 2008

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Maria TzaniGreek Helsinki Monitor (GHM) cites below some basic points in the sworn testimony of Professor Maria Tzani of the Capodistrian University of Athens (Pedagogical Department of Primary Education) given on 13 December 2007 before the Three-Member Appeals Court as defense witness in the trial of Kostas Plevris. He was then on trial and has since that day been convicted at first instance for incitement to racial violence and hatred and for expression of racist views. GHM then cites excerpts from a decision of the Greek National Radio and Television Council (ESR), which penalized the television channel Extra Channel 3 for encouraging or provoking extreme antisocial behavior, because of statements made by Maria Tzani on a program aired on 16 May 2007. Finally there is an excerpt of statements made by her on Antenna TV (ANT1) on a program aired on 25 March 2007 during which she referred to three academic colleagues as a “gang of bandits;” followed by anti-Semitic remarks she made at an academic conference in 2003. GHM notes that Maria Tzani trains future school teachers at a state university.

When Maria Tzani was asked at the opening of her testimony in the 13 December 2007 trial to take the oath on the Gospel (as is routine in Greek courts), she stated that she would “swear on the Constitution and the flag.” Although there is no provision for such an oath, it nevertheless was accepted by the court. After noting that she “had the honor of having Jewish friends,” she went on to speak of “cursed Zionism, the intellectual syphilis of the century,” adding that “I will be the next victim who writes that there is no stone that does not have the seal of Zion.”

Ms. Tzani asked rhetorically, “was any rich bourgeois Jew mistreated by Hitler’s regime?” and “do the Jews repudiate their Talmud and Bible, which is incompatible with human rights?” She then stated that “Nazism was the creation of international Zionism, as proven by Jewish sources,” that “Zionist Jews did not suffer in Hitler’s Germany,” and that “because there was anti-Semitism – unfortunately – the rich Zionists collaborated with Nazism with the intention of creating a psychological framework so that [the Jews] would not feel guilty and could pressure their little brothers, the financially non-robust Jews, to go and settle in the state of Israel – i.e., for the Jews to move to Israel out of fear.”

About Plevris’ book (“The Jews - The Whole Truth”) Maria Tzani said, “A book such as this provides a valuable service. … . When we speak of Zionism, this book is paltry,” adding that “In the university auditorium I say a lot more about Zionism… I say, ‘misanthropy, your name is Zion’.” [These positions inspired the title of this press release.]

In response to the statement in Plevris’ book, “Those responsible for distorting the history of Greece and thereby putting intellectual blinders on the Greek people ought to be hanged. And if the state cannot do it, Greeks will be found to execute the traitors,” Ms. Tzani replied, “I have said we should hang four Professors from the Pedagogical School in Syntagma [Constitution Square]. They should be prosecuted, that is,” for their positions.

It should be noted that the National Radio and Television Council, on 9 October 2007, fined the television station Extra Channel 3 with ˆ30,000 for its program of 16 May 2007 (http://esr.gr/media/488-2007.pdf). The reasoning: “This was a program during which remarks were made such as, ‘those people who in any way injure … childhood as well as drug dealers who are not users … should be put to death with a simple bullet to the temple. … [This] person ought not to exist, because he will go to prison, will continue doing the same things and I hope with all my heart that there will be convicts serving long sentences … to beat them to a pulp.’ These remarks together with the program’s subtitle ‘DEATH TO DRUG DEALERS AND RAPISTS,’ are capable of encouraging and provoking extreme antisocial behavior” (Violation of article 10 paragraph 4 of ESP ordinance 2/1991, which prohibits programs that aim at or result in encouraging or provoking extreme antisocial behavior). All of these remarks were made by Maria Tzani.

Prior to this, on 25 March 2007, Maria Tzani is quoted as saying following on ANT1 regarding her colleagues, authors of the newly issued, controversial 6th grade history book: “Professor Maria Tzani about Maria Repousi: ‘The authors of that book [are a] gang of bandits!’ … One university professor had a problem with [his colleagues Professors] Svolopoulos and Mikrogiannakis, and sent them to court – mind you. And despite the overwhelming consensus [against the professor] of experts competent to judge him, he nevertheless became a university professor. He then produced two ladies, gave them doctorates, that is. These ladies, whom he gave doctorates to and promoted to sister universities in other areas, comprised the writing and evaluating team for the books. This is an academic gang of bandits that makes me say, like Horton said in ‘The Blight of Asia’ about what the Turks did to the Greeks there, in Smyrna, that I’m ashamed to tell people I’m an academic.” The relevant video was aired by the Antivaro team, which mobilized public opinion against the 6th grade history book authored by a team under Maria Repousi, Assistant Professor in the Pedagogical Department of the Aristotelian University of Thessaloniki (http://www.antibaro.gr/society/tupos_istoria.php) and is available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JbTVb0PlcjQ. Antivaro has also made sure to name the second academic Maria Tzani was referring to, Athanasia Leontsini, Professor of Philosophy at the National and Capodostrian University of Athens (http://www.antibaro.gr/society/apodhmos_araxni.php).

Maria Tzani’s anti-Semitic views reflect the anti-Semitism of many followers of the “Hellenic Ethnic Religion” (“Dodecatheists,” worshippers of the twelve Olympian deities), who consider all monotheistic religions “Judaic.” She expressed these views at an international academic conference held in Athens on 7 May 2003, the theme of which was “Otherness and Society.” This conference was organized by the Association Internationale des Sociologues de Langue Francaise (AISLF), the [Greek] National Center for Social Research (EKKE), the French Institute of Athens, and the Society of Greek Sociologists (http://benl.primedu.uoa.gr/conference.html). In her paper on the topic “The necessity of the other: Otherness beyond the myth,” Maria Tzani said inter alia: “The rationale of the “Chosen People” that survives in religious systems or ideologies such as Judaism and the two great religious systems that it has produced, Judeo-Christianity and Judeo-Islamism, as a conception that some people are the chosen children of a higher god. This perception permits these people to abide by or subscribe to the immoral treatment of all other human beings as being evil, dangerous children of a lesser god and for this reason must undergo absolute manipulation or enslavement by the Chosen Good People” (http://benl.primedu.uoa.gr/conference/tzani-el.pdf).

 
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