The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece on Wednesday issued a statement expressing its concern over the appointment of Thanos Plevris as minister of health in Tuesday’s cabinet reshuffle.
The board also demanded an apology for comments made by Plevris – a transplant to ruling New Democracy from the ultranationalist Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party – in 2009 while defending a man accused of inciting racism by saying that the Auschwitz concentration camp should be kept in good condition so it can be used again.
The board’s full statement, as it appears on its website, is as follows:
In 2009, Mr. Thanos Plevris stated the following, among others, before a Greek court: “I will refer to issues that have puzzled you. You are concerned about the reference to Auschwitz. The one that says ‘to keep the camp of Auschwitz in good condition.’ I will examine the most extreme interpretation. That the defendant by this reference means: ‘Keep the camp of Auschwitz in good condition because I want, at some point, the national socialist regime to come back, Hitler to come back, take the Jews and put them in Auschwitz.’ What kind of instigation is this? What incitement is this? Is it one not allowed to believe and want to believe ‘I want to exterminate someone’?”
We expect Mr. Thanos Plevris to apologize to the Jewish people for this reference and express his unequivocal condemnation of intolerance, antisemitism and Holocaust denialists, conforming with the declared positions of the Greek prime minister. We also hope that the new minister will address all citizens equally, regardless of skin color, race or religion.