Σάββατο, 26 Σεπτεμβρίου 2015

New Greek minister resigns following discovery of anti-Semitic tweets ...

The naming of ministers in Greece’s coalition government was marred by controversy on its first day in office after an MP accused of holding anti-Semitic and homophobic views was appointed to a junior ministry.
Less than 12 hours after being sworn in, a deputy minister in Greece’s renewed leftwing-nationalist coalition was pushed into resigning after a series of anti-Semitic and homophobic tweets he posted in recent years made his position untenable.
In an otherwise predictable ministerial line-up that included the appointment of a retired army general as police minister, the naming of Dimitris Kammenos as deputy minister of infrastructure, transport and networks emerged as the most contentious given the content of much of his commentary on social media in recent years.
Kammenos is an MP with the nationalist Independent Greeks party, which Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras again chose as his junior coalition partner after winning Sunday’s election. 
In a 2013 tweet on the anniversary of 9/11, Kammenos suggested that a Jewish conspiracy was to blame for the attack on the World Trade Centre: “Let’s not forget. Of the 2,500 Jews who worked in the Twin Towers, none of them turned up for work that day,” the tweet said.
When challenged by another twitter user about the claim, Kammenos, no relation of Independent Greeks leader Panos Kammenos, replied: “F*** your Talmud.”
On Wednesday, Kammenos was asked to step down pending an investigation into whether the tweets were genuine. Appropriately, given the circumstances, his party leader called for his resignation in a tweet. 
Shortly before he was asked to step down, Mr Kammenos had alleged that “most” of the controversial posts had been “manipulated by known forgers” for electoral purposes, adding that his social media accounts, which he said were controlled by “15 staff”, were often hacked.
“I personally apologise to those who have been annoyed by them and I explicitly condemn racism, anti-Semitism and homophobia,” he said.
Kammenos’s Twitter account was deactivated some hours before he was formally sworn into office.
Kammenos’s removal was strongly praised by the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece, the country’s EJC affiliate.
In a letter to Tsipras congratulated him on his election, the Board noted that the decision to force Kammenos’s resignation had fallen on Yom Kippur, “a holiday dedicated to judgment, introspection, self-awareness, self-criticism and forgiveness”.
“Mr. Prime Minister,” the letter went on, “we wish to express our satisfaction over the fact that on this precise day, a person that had expressed hideous and insulting views against the Jews, against civilization and against the democratic feeling of Greek society, was removed from your Government following the outrage of thousands of people on social media who sent a clear message against racism and anti-Semitism.”
“With the removal of this person from your government, a determined message was sent: that racism and anti-Semitism have no place in Greece, neither should they have a place in Europe.”
“We wish you the best of success in this difficult duty that you have assumed for the benefit of Greece and the Greek people,” the letter concluded.
Click here to read the full article in Irish Times




Ε.J.C.

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