Associated Press - August 27, 2004


By Ramit Plushnick-Masti Associated Press Writer

[Freeman Center Questions: If we control all the money, why am I so broke all the time? If we control all the governments, why do they hate us so much? If there is NO anti-Semitism, how can Theodorakis exist? Can he be stopped from spreading such nonsense which is like yelling "fire" in a crowded theater resulting in murdered Jews? I am very confused!]

JERUSALEM - Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis, who outraged Jews in November by calling them "the root of evil," is at it again, this time saying Jews control the world's banks and the mass media.

Theodorakis, best known for the score of the 1964 film "Zorba the Greek," called himself a "true friend of the Jewish people" in an interview published Friday by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

Theodorakis said he granted the interview to try to soothe the feelings he hurt in November.

"And I was very much hurt by the Jewish reaction to what I said. It was not a civilized reaction," he told the paper. He said he had received hundreds of "poisonous e-mails from Jews all over the world. I couldn't understand this hatred toward me."

But Theodorakis went on to reiterate his earlier comments and used common anti-Semitic invectives.

He said he doesn't hate Jews, but rather Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's policies regarding the Palestinians, which he described as Nazi-like. Sharon -- and other Jews in influential positions -- persuaded U.S. President George W. Bush to go to war against Iraq, he added.

Theodorakis' comments in November led Israel to complain to the Greek government, which distanced itself from the composer's remarks.

In March, the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish advocacy group, urged Jews not to visit Greece, saying: "There is no country in Europe that matches the intensity of anti-Semitic invective."

The composer -- who wrote the Palestinian national anthem -- also said there is no anti-Semitism in Europe, despite a recent wave of anti-Jewish attacks.

He called Jewish claims of anti-Semitism a "masochistic reaction" by a people who like to be "the victim."

Theodorakis claimed Jews control banks, the mass media and the United States.

"They hold world finance in their hands, so it's only natural that they would see themselves as very strong," Theodorakis said. "In America the Jewish community is very strong. It controls much of the economy, certainly the mass media," he said.

Theodorakis said Jewish control of orchestras has prevented him from holding concerts.

"The Jewish people now appear to control the big banks. And often the governments. So whatever bad or evil comes from the governments, it's natural for ordinary people to associate that with the Jewish people," he said.

After describing how his religious grandmother believed Jews drank the blood of Christian boys during Easter, the composer said the problem was that Jews didn't accept Jesus.