Newly appointed Minister defends himself against anti-Semitism accusations

Makis Voridis

Makis Voridis

Newly appointed Rural Development and Foods Minister Makis Voridis was forced on Saturday to defend himself against anti-Semitic accusations following a request by Victor Eliezer, the General Secretary of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece.

The Minister said that Eliezer had "called on me to publicly denounce my anti-Semitic past" in a radio interview.

"I have never been anti-Semitic," said Voridis though admitting that he had for many years been a member of nationalist political parties and organisations and had "coexisted politically with people that had such unacceptable ideas."

"To resolve any doubts, therefore, I denounce all action, omission or tolerance on my part to the act of a third party that might be interpreted as anti-Semitic or neo-nazi," he added.

"I also wish to notify Mr. Eliezer of the following, hoping to assuage the concerns he expressed:

1. As a member of the parliamentary assembly of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, in consultation with my colleagues in the Knesset, I have for three successive years proposed the rejection of the Palestinian Authority's request to become a member of the parliamentary assembly and unremittingly and systematically supported the condemnation of anti-Semitism. My Israeli colleagues know this.

2. I have spoken in parliament against the so-called antiracist law, recognising as its only positive point the penalisation of denial of the Holocaust.

3. I am the only Greek politician that has written articles in support of transferring the Greek Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

4. I am the only Greek politician that has supported the signing of a defence and not just a strategic alliance with Israel.

5. I am the only Greek politician that has adopted a position against Israel's condemnation for the incidents in Gaza.

In light of these, I hope that his concerns have been alleviated," Voridis cocluded.