Greek Jews Protest Depiction of Former Finance Minister as Shylock

The cartoon, which shows Yanis Varoufakis wearing a giant black skullcap and counting bags of gold, was published in one of the country's largest newspapers.

AFP

The Greek Jewish community protested after one of Greece’s main newspapers published a caricature of former Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis as a “Jewish moneylender” on Friday.

The image, which shows Varoufakis wearing a giant black skullcap and hunched over a ledger, counting bags and coins of gold, was published in Ta Nea, one of the country’s largest newspapers, usually associated with the center-left.

“We consider the use of religious racist stereotypes to portray current events as not only unacceptable and despicable, but especially dangerous, as it spreads religious hatred and perpetuates prejudices that should not have a place in today’s society,” said a letter to the editor from the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece.

The cartoon was published after Varoufakis, the outspoken former far-left finance minister, revealed he had recently been paid thousands of euros for interviews and speaking fees.

Anti-Semitic stereotypes are widespread in Greek public and political discourse and a recent Anti-Defamation League survey showed that Greece has Europe’s highest rate of anti-Semitic attitudes, with 69 percent of Greeks espousing anti-Semitic views.

Varoufakis, for his part, seemed to blame the Troika of Greece’s international creditors  – the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, tweeting:  “Troika-inspired propaganda/policies are antisemitism’s/antihumanism’s best mates. Evidence from mainstream Gk paper.”