New Greek health minister apologizes for past anti-Semitic remarks

Greece's new health minister apologizes after Jewish community takes issue with his past remarks.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,


Greece's new health minister has apologized for past remarks that the country's Jewish community had taken strong issue with, and avowed his “absolute respect” for Holocaust victims and his opposition to anti-Semitism, The Associated Press reported.

Athanassios Plevris' statement on social media came after the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece (KIS) expressed concern over his appointment.

KIS had called on Plevris to apologize for remarks he made as defense lawyer in a 2009 court case against his extreme far-right father, Constantinos Plevris, who was charged with incitement to racist hatred or violence over a book called “Jews: The Whole Truth.”

KIS quoted the health minister as having said then, commenting on a reference to the Nazi Auschwitz death camp: “What incitement is this? Is it that one is not allowed to believe and want to believe that ‘I want to exterminate someone?’”

Plevris later said that KIS' objections to his court comments were “understandable” and that he “fully disagrees” with his father's views.

“But I never wanted to insult the Jewish people, and I apologize if I did,” the 44-year-old lawyer said. “I am certain health minister, I will leave not the slightest grounds for reservation for those who doubt my respect for the Holocaust, and they will see that under no circumstances do I harbor anti-Semitic sentiments,” he clarified, according to AP.

The Jewish community in Greece today numbers just a few thousand.

The city of Thessaloniki had a thriving 50,000-strong Jewish community before World War II but there now remains only around 1,000 Jews. About 96 percent of the city’s 50,000 Jews were murdered in Nazi camps.