Fears over 'antisemitism' in new Greek coalition government

By Jessica Elgot, November 14, 2011
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LAOS leader Georgios Karatzaferis publicly questioned why Jews did not “come to work on 9/11”

LAOS leader Georgios Karatzaferis publicly questioned why Jews did not “come to work on 9/11”

Jewish organisations have expressed concern over the presence of an extreme right-wing party in Greece's new provisional government.

The new Greek coalition, formed after the resignation of Prime Minister George Papandreou, held its first session on Friday, but concerns have been raised by organisations worldwide over the presence of the fast-rising, ultra - right LAOS party, the Popular Orthodox Rally, in the coalition government.

During Operation Cast Lead in 2008, LAOS leader Georgios Karatzaferis said in a newspaper editorial, that the Israel Defence Forces were acting "with savage brutality only seen in Hitler's time towards helpless people." He has also publicly questioned why Jews did not "come to work on 9/11" in 2001 and accused the then-Greek prime minister during a parliamentary session in 2002, of having a daughter who "secretly married a Jew".

The party has been condemned by the American Jewish Committee, after it joined the unity government together with the Socialist PASOK party of Mr Papandreou and the Conservative New Democracy party. At least one LAOS member is expected to gain a ministerial post.

One party member Adonis Georgiadis, has publicly endorsed a book called "Jews: The Whole Truth" on a television show, on a TV channel owned by the party. The book has been described by the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece as a "defamatory, antisemitic book in which Jews are called 'subhuman' and are directly threatened with annihilation."

A spokesman for the AJC said: "We urge the new Greek leadership, understandably preoccupied with the economic crisis, not to permit any such expression of outright bigotry or antisemitism to emerge from its ranks."

Last updated: 4:05pm, November 14 2011