(JTA) – The European Jewish Congress presented Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras with an award for his government’s support of a ban on the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party.
The award presented to Samaras Monday during a meeting in Athens of the EJC executive committee noted Greece’s “stand against the Golden Dawn party, who want to use and abuse democracy for their hateful and racist agenda,” the EJC wrote in a statement.
In September, Samaras said at a reception held in his honor in New York by the American Jewish Committee that he would try to eliminate the party. That month, Greek officials said they would outlaw the group following the slaying of Pavlos Fyssas, a prominent anti-fascist musician, allegedly at the hands of a man with ties to Golden Dawn.
“We ask that this experience and leadership be used as an example and a model for the rest of Europe when Greece assumes the rotating EU presidency in January,” said EJC President Moshe Kantor.
Golden Dawn, once a fringe group known for Hitler salutes and Holocaust denial, won 7 percent of the vote in the 2012 national elections.
Polls this fall indicated that Golden Dawn had a 15 percent approval rating among Greek voters.