Greek Minister distances himself from past associations with neo-Nazi groups

Greek Jewish community to meet Monday to discuss Voridis statement.

By
July 15, 2019 05:10
2 minute read.
Greek parliamentarian Makis Voridis

FAR-RIGHT parliamentarian Makis Voridis was recently appointed Greek health minister, despite strong opposition from the beleaguered Jewish community.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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The central board of the Greek Jewish community is to meet in Athens Monday to discuss a statement issued by a newly appointed minister with an antisemitic past distancing himself from his previous association with neo-Nazi groups.

Victor Eliezer, general secretary of the Jewish organization, told The Jerusalem Post that the meeting follows a statement newly appointed Agricultural Development and Food Minister Makis Voridis issued on Saturday denying that he is an antisemite.

In that statement, Voridis – who has a rich past with Greek extreme right political parties and organizations -- said, “I have never been an antisemite.”

However, Voridis acknowledged that he has “for many years been in nationalistic political parties and organizations, and have coexisted politically with people who have such unacceptable ideas.” He added that “in order to remove any doubt, I renounce any act, omission or tolerance of third party acts that could be perceived as antisemitic or neo-Nazi.”

In the statement, Voridis mentioned that as a member of parliament he has always supported the condemnation of antisemitism, was the only Greek politician to support moving the Greek embassy to Jerusalem, and is the only Greek politician who supports a defense pact with Israel, not just a strategic alliance.

Voridis’ statement came after Eliezer called upon him in a Friday radio interview to denounce his “racist and antisemitic past.” Eliezer said that his organization sent congratulatory letters to all the new ministers in the new government of Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who was voted into office last Sunday, except for Voridis.

One of these new ministers is Adonis Georgiadis, who was also appointed on Tuesday to the new government. Georgiadis also has an antisemitic past, but Eliezer pointed out that he denounced it publicly in 2017, and has since visited Israel and Yad Vashem, and become a “friend of Israel.”

“Life moves on, and we must look ahead, without forgetting the past – and therefore we ask of those who had antisemitic positions in the past in these types of parties apologize, and to recognize – in public and not in living rooms – that they made a mistake,” Eliezer said.

Eliezer praised Mitsotakis as a strong friend to Israel and the Greek Jewish community, which numbers some 5,000 people. Mitsotakis’s aunt was recognized by Yad Vashem as a Righteous Among the Nations for saving Jews during the Holocaust, and his father was the prime minister who formally established ties with Israel in 1990.

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