Members and supporters of the extreme right party Golden Dawn march in central Athens. May 29, 2013.
Members and supporters of the extreme right party Golden Dawn march in central Athens. May 29, 2013. Photo by AP
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The Anti-Defamation League expressed concern on Friday over the appointment of Adonis Georgiadis as Greece’s Health Minister, due to a history of troubling remarks about Jews and his public promotion of an anti-Semitic book.

According to reports, Georgiadis has said in the past that “all major banks belong to the Jews” and that “the Jewish lobby” would determine the fate of Greece’s foreign debt. He has also promoted an anti-Semitic diatribe called "The Jews, the whole truth" written by Konstantinos Plevris, a prominent author and self-proclaimed anti-Semite.

“At a time when anti-Semitic speech and Holocaust denial continue to occur regularly in public and political discourse in Greece and as Golden Dawn’s leaders openly espouse anti-Semitism to stoke hatred and fear while their party is rising in popularity, the elevation of a politician who is also known to have promoted anti-Semitism is troubling,” said Abraham H. Foxman, the ADL's national director. “Our concern is heightened by the ongoing failure to enact a stringent anti-racism bill despite the government’s public commitment to do so.”

In a letter to Prime Minster Antonis Samaras, the ADL urged the Greek prime minister to reconsider the Georgiadis' appointment and ensure that anti-racism legislation is enacted and enforced.

Concerns over anti-Semitism in Greece have been on the rise recently, surging after the dramatic entry of extreme-right party Golden Dawn last year. The party won 7 percent of the vote, or 18 seats, in the 300-member parliament. Polls have indicated the party, which runs on a fierce anti-immigrant platform, now enjoys about 10 percent of the population’s support.

In June, Golden Dawn lawmaker Ilias Kasidiaris implied before the Greek parliament that he is a Holocaust denier. Earlier, he read excerpts from the anti-Semitic forgery "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" before Parliament.

Greece is debating a new law, aimed at combating Golden Dawn, which would impose stiff penalties for racist attacks and criminalize Holocaust denial.