Politician with anti-Semitic past appointed Greek health minister

ATHENS, Greece (JTA) — A right-wing Greek politician with an anti-Semitic history, Adonis Georgiadis, was appointed to the key post of health minister of Greece.

The move came as part of a cabinet reshuffle last week after one of Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’ junior coalition partners walked out over controversial attempts to reform Greece’s struggling economy.

Georgiadis, a charismatic politician who also owns a publishing house, has actively promoted and sold the notorious anti-Semitic book “The Jews, The Whole Truth” written by Konstantinos Plevris. In the book, the author Plevris describes himself a “Nazi, fascist, racist, anti-democrat, anti-Semite.”

Georgiadis has said in the past that “all major banks belong to the Jews” and that “the Jewish Lobby” would determine the fate of Greece’s foreign debt.

Georgiadis was a member and spokesman of the small far-right Popular Orthodox Rally Party, or LAOS. When that party failed to get enough votes to make it into parliament last year amid the rise of the more extreme neo-Nazi Golden Dawn Party, Georgiadis and several other LAOS members joined Samaras’ conservative New Democracy Party.

The Anti-Defamation League wrote to Samaras to protest the appointment.

“At a time when anti-Semitic speech and Holocaust denial continue to occur regularly in public and political discourse in Greece, and as Golden Dawn’s leaders openly espouse anti-Semitism to stoke hatred and fear while their party is rising in popularity, the elevation of a politician who is also known to have promoted anti-Semitism is troubling,” said ADL National Director Abraham Foxman in a statement.

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In the letter to Samaras, the ADL urged the Greek leader to reconsider the appointment of Georgiadis and to ensure that the delayed anti-racism legislation meant to combat Golden Dawn is enacted and enforced.

“Our concern is heightened by the ongoing failure to enact a stringent anti-racism bill despite the government’s public commitment to do so,” Foxman said.