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Greece: Beat anti-Semitism with a Start-up

Starting from 2011 the relations between the country and Israel are gradually expanding in various sectors, from economy and trade to energy and technology and even defense
A view of a village and the Mediterranean Sea near Neopoli, Greece, on February 3, 2016. (Esther Rubyan/Flash90)
A view of a village and the Mediterranean Sea near Neopoli, Greece, on February 3, 2016. (Esther Rubyan/Flash90)

It would not be far from true if someone, after even a small trip to Athens, described Greece as a nation and a society that is facing a strong bipolar disorder.

The ongoing financial and societal crisis enabled the exposure of the faults and the hidden collective stereotypes that Greek society was suffering from during the last decades.

One of the hidden guilty secrets is the anti-Semitism sentiment that part of the Greek society, the media and the political spectrum had and has even in our days.

Anti-Semitism that has poisoned for decades the relations with the rest of the society and the living conditions of the Jewish community that resides in Greece. However, the Jewish community were not the only victims of Anti-Semitism. Political parties and party leaders formulated a populistic agenda under an anti-Jewish and anti-Israel discourse that had as a target the construction of an enemy that was used when the public opinion had to stop paying attention in a news matter that was not in favor of the politician or the political party.

As it obvious, one of the consequences that the dominance of the anti-Semitic agenda had was the downgrade of the relations between Greece and Israel. However, the tremendous impact that the Greek crisis had in the financial capabilities of the economy and the urgent need for the Greek Governments to formulate new and strong alliances in the region resulted to the deepening of the relations between the two countries.

Starting from 2011 the relations between Israel and Greece are gradually expanding in various sectors, from economy and trade to energy and technology and even defense.  One of the most interesting aspects of the Greek-Israeli relations is the assistance that the Embassy of the State of Israel provides to Greek entrepreneurs who wish to invest in startup companies in Greece.  The Israeli Embassy organizes seminars and conferences with Israeli gurus of the startup community that assist and provide in-depth knowledge and know-how to the Greeks who wish to start their own business in the Greek start-up ecosystem.

The above mentioned dimension of the Greek-Israeli relation may seem to a cynic analyst of international relations as something that provides very limited dynamism to the relations of the two countries. However, in my opinion the relationship that is cultivated between one of the most progressive parts of the Greek society, young entrepreneurs and start-uppers, and the State of Israel is the most important factor that will isolate and then eliminate in the near future the anti-Semitism that part of the society and the political system still has in Greece (and deal with Greece’s bipolar disorder)

About the Author
Chris graduated from the University of Panteion with a bachelors in sociology, and earned an MSc in Media , Culture and Society at the University of Essex. He was a trainee at Thomson Reuters, and worked at various news websites, such as Huffington Post Greek edition, Hurriyet Daily news and others.
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