Thanos Plevris, the newly appointed Health Minister with ruling New Democracy, apologized on Wednesday for past comments about the Auschwitz death camp, saying he “never meant to offend the Jewish people.”
The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece (KIS) issued a statement earlier in the day expressing its concern over Plevris’ selection as in Tuesday’s cabinet reshuffle and calling for an apology for his comments 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.”
Plevris – a transplant to New Democracy from the ultranationalist Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party – said on a reference to the 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?’”
“KIS’s objections about me due to my speech as my father’s defense lawyer, with whom I completely disagree, are understandable. However, I never, meant to offend the Jewish people and I apologize if I did,” Plevris said in a statement posted on his Facebook page.
“I am certain that with my actions as minister of health will lift even the slightest reservation of those who question my respect for the Holocaust of the Jews and will find that in no way am I governed by anti-Semitic feelings.”