Greek-Israeli glad to have helped expose ‘neo-Nazi’ party

Businessman Sabby Mionis, the subject of anti-Semitic rhetoric last week, demands apology from Greek parliamentarian who belittled him

Amanda Borschel-Dan is The Times of Israel's Jewish World and Archaeology editor.

Greek-Israeli businessman Sabby Mionis (photo credit: Amanda Borschel-Dan/Times of Israel)
Greek-Israeli businessman Sabby Mionis (photo credit: Amanda Borschel-Dan/Times of Israel)

A Greek-Israeli businessman who was subject to anti-Semitic rhetoric last week by a Golden Dawn parliamentarian said he is happy to have helped reveal the true neo-Nazi nature of the party.

At a June 7 committee meeting, Golden Dawn parliament member Ilias Kasidiaris — as quoted on the party’s English website — called Sabby Mionis “the Jew Mionis” who “refused to testify in the Committee of the Greek Parliament, because ‘holocaust’ deniers are part of it [the committee]! Of course they are a part of it.”

The committee was investigating alleged misconduct of the former finance minister of Greece, George Papaconstantinou.

According to Abraham H. Foxman, the ADL’s national director, in a press release following the incident, “Mr. Kasidiaris was clearly referring to himself as the Holocaust denier in his hateful rhetoric since he is the only Golden Dawn member of the committee… No Jew anywhere should be compelled to engage with Holocaust deniers and Mr. Mionis’ decision is certainly understandable and we commend him for his stance.”

Mionis made aliya to Israel in 2006 and is active in numerous philanthropic endeavors including Tel Hashomer Hospital, March of the Living, scholarship programs and the Diaspora Museum, and he sits on the board of governors of the Jewish Agency.

“It is completely Kafka-esque,” Mionis told The Times of Israel on Tuesday. “You always read that there are these things against Jews in different places, but until it happens to you — it’s completely insane. A parliament member can deny the Holocaust and there’s no provision in the government to prosecute him.”

Mionis — whose grandfather was killed at Auschwitz, whose 102-year-old grandmother is a Mengele survivor, and whose mother and aunt were hidden children during the Shoah — has been refusing to testify before Holocaust deniers in a seven-month Greek financial scandal in which he has been involved.

Instead he has testified at the Greek embassy in Israel. Additionally, he has stated willingness to testify before a Greek subcommittee in Israel, minus the Golden Dawn party member — or any other Holocaust deniers.

The subcommittee has indicated it may arrive on Friday.

Mionis’s involvement relates to an account controlled by his former company, Capital Management Advisors, an investment advisory firm, which was acquired by EFG International, a Zurich-based bank. Mionis served as CEO until 2009.

Mionis has one further condition before testifying, however: that a politician who belittled him when he refused to sit with Holocaust deniers apologize.

“The left-wing member of parliament who dismissed my letter refusing to appear in front of Holocaust deniers was proven wrong by facts. She showed great insensitivity for my feelings and owes me an apology,” Mionis said.

At the insistence of the European Union, the Greek government is currently debating an anti-racism measure. However, the conservative ruling party New Democracy is said to be wary of confronting Golden Dawn and its rising political sway, and has stalled progress.

Mionis is hopeful after this recent anti-Semitic incident the Greek public will be more cognizant of the neo-Nazi nature of Golden Dawn.

“The biggest service I’ve done is by taking off their [Golden Dawn party members’] masks as neo-Nazis,” he said.

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