In comments that sparked huge red-backed headlines in Israeli tabloids Wednesday (“ZORBA THE ANTI-SEMITE,” roared Yedioth Ahronoth) Theodorakis declared: “Today we can say that this small nation is the root of evil, not of good, which means that too much self importance and too much stubbornness is evil.
“We are two nations without brothers in the world, us and the Jews, but they have fanaticism and are forceful,” Theodorakis told a news conference last week.
He also derided the biblical patriarchs Abraham and Jacob, contending that the Greeks “did not turn aggressive like them” because of the Greeks’ rich history and mythology. “They only had Abraham and Jacob, shadows… We had the great Pericles here.”
This is the same Mikis Theodorakis who joined the Greek resistance to the Nazis, and later was imprisoned and exiled during the dictatorship of the Greek colonels in the 1960s and 1970s.
Yes, I know people like to draw fine distinctions between anti-Israel sentiments and antisemitism, but sometimes I have a damned hard time telling the difference.
Update: Bernard Joyce reports in the comments section that Theodorakis abandoned the Left some years ago. That’s reassuring, I suppose, although antisemitism among former leftists doesn’t make me feel much better than antisemitism among those who still identify with the Left.