ATHENS, Greece (JTA) — A right-wing Greek politician who has made anti-Semitic statements was appointed health minister of Greece.
The naming of Adonis Georgiadis came as part of a Cabinet reshuffle last week after one of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’s junior coalition partners walked out over attempts to reform the struggling economy in Greece.
Georgiadis, who also owns a publishing house, has promoted and sold the notorious book “The Jews, The Whole Truth” written by Konstantinos Plevris. In the book, Plevris describes himself as a “Nazi, fascist, racist, anti-democrat, anti-Semite.”
In the past, Georgiadis has said that “all major banks belong to the Jews” and that “the Jewish lobby” would determine the fate of Greece’s foreign debt.
Georgiadis and several other members of the far-right LAOS joined Samaras’s conservative New Democracy after their small party failed to garner enough votes last year to qualify for the parliament amid the rise of the ultranationalist Golden Dawn party.
The Anti-Defamation League wrote to Samaras to protest the appointment and urge him to reconsider, as well as to ensure that delayed anti-racism legislation meant to combat Golden Dawn is enacted and enforced.
Greece has been debating a new law, aimed at combating Golden Dawn, which would impose stiff penalties for racist attacks and criminalize Holocaust denial.
Golden Dawn emerged on the political scene last year, winning 7 percent of the vote, or 18 seats, in the 300-member parliament. Recent polls have indicated the party, which runs on a fierce anti-immigrant platform, now has about 10 percent of the population’s support.
Golden Dawn has been frequently condemned by Jewish and international groups as racist and anti-Semitic.