Agriculture Minister Makis Voridis has rejected allegations of anti-Semitism levelled against him by the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece (KIS), the umbrella organization of Greek Jews.
“I have never been an anti-Semite. I have however served for many years in political parties and organizations in the nationalist flank and I have politically coexisted with people who held unacceptable ideas of this sort,” said Voridis.
“I denounce any action, omission or tolerance to any action by a third party that could be interpreted as anti-Semitic or neo-Nazi,” he added.
Speaking on News24/7 radio, KIS Secretary-General Victor Eliezer said that Greece’s Jewish community was not “particularly happy” with Voridis’ appointment in the new cabinet.
“There is a dark past and we publicly urge him to his renounce his anti-Semitic past,” he said.
Last week, an unnamed Israeli diplomat recently told The Jerusalem Post that the country will not work with the new minister because of his anti-Semitic past.
Voridis, 54, was leader of the EPEN (National Political Union) youth group founded in the early 1980s by Greece’s jailed dictator Georgios Papadopoulos. In the mid-1990s, he founded the nationalist Hellenic Front (Elliniko Metopo), a party absorbed by Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) in 2005. He joined New Democracy in 2012.