On Friday, Greek Jewish lobby leaders in a letter protested to country’s National Tourism Agency after its website and brochures listed the Easter practice of Judas burning as a recommended folk attraction.
“This custom perpetuates antisemitic feelings and it is characteristic that in other European countries it has almost vanished,” said the letter.
The tourism website tells travelers they can observe the ancient ritual of Judas Burning – during which an effigy of Judas Iscariot made by wood and straw and filled with explosives is set on fire. Thanks to powerful European Jewish lobby groups, the practice has long been banned in most of Europe. However, it’s still practiced in Greece, Philippines, Mexico and many Catholic-majority South American nations.
Had I not been sick to stomach of double standards practiced by the Organized Jewry when it comes to insulting Muslim and Christian religious leaders, I would have condemned this practice because Judas Iscariot became a Jewish folk hero for putting Jesus on the Cross.
In Thrace, northern Greece, a Judas Iscariot effigy is paraded by children in the streets, asking locals for branches so they can burn him. On Holy Friday, the procession of the Epitaph stops outside a chapel, where the fire is ready to burn Judas. Once the priest starts reading the Gospel, they light the fire and burn the effigy. Later, they take a handful of the ashes and scatter them in the graveyard.
In recent years, people have used the effigies to represent corrupt politicians or businessmen. In Venezuela in 2008, a Judas dressed up as an Exxon representative (above) was burned following the settlement of a legal fight between the nation and the oil giant.
In 2005, the Christian Holy tradition of Burning the Jew, was condemned by US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice. Greece essentially responded by saying, you’re idiots.