ATHENS, Greece (JTA) — Antonis Samaras, the leader of Greece’s New Democracy Party, reaffirmed his personal and the party’s commitment against anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial.
Samaras stressed in an e-mail to the American Jewish Committee that the party’s core values — total opposition to racism, anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial — remain unshakeable.
He was reacting to an AJC statement last week expressing concern over the inclusion of two lawmakers, Makis Voridis and Adonis Georgiadis, in the New Democracy Party who have expressed or associated themselves with insulting anti-Jewish views. Voridis and Georgiadis recently re-signed from the far-right Popular Orthodox Rally, or LAOS, and plan to run as candidates for New Democracy, one of the leading parties in Greece, in April’s elections.
“We welcome the reaffirmation from Antonis Samaras of his party’s foundational values,” AJC Executive Director David Harris said in a statement issued last Friday.
AJC has been in contact with Samaras for more than 20 years, since he was foreign minister of Greece.
“It is deep in the ideological DNA of the Greek society and, of course, New Democracy, to categorically oppose racism in all its forms, to strenuously oppose anti-Semitism and to strongly oppose all Holocaust denial,” Samaras wrote to AJC. “As a matter of fact, these are more than party core values. These are deeply rooted cultural premises shared by the Greek people as a whole, from generation to generation.
“Today, there are hundreds of families in Greece, taking pride for rescuing Greek Jews during the Nazi occupation of our country. I know well since my family is one of them.