Greece's Jewish Community Slams Athens Coalition for Backing 'anti-Semite'

Coalition hoping to take back Athens next month includes Thanos Plevris, previously an MP with right-wing Popular Orthodox Rally (Laos) party.

Greek riot policemen stand guard during a May Day rally in central Athens on May 1, 2014.AFP

Greek's Jewish community has attacked an Athens municipal coalition backed by the country's ruling New Democracy Party for fielding a candidate they say is an anti-Semite in the upcoming elections.

The candidate, Thanos Plevris, is a candidate for the Athens, You Can coalition, which is hoping to win back city hall in local elections later this month. Plevris was previously a member of parliament with the right-wing Popular Orthodox Rally (Laos) party.

In a joint statement, the Central Board of Greek Jews and the Jewish Community of Athens said that Plevris had never "repudiated and condemned the disgraceful things said about the Jews in the book 'Jews: The Whole Truth,' which is a monument to anti-Semitism and hatred."

The book was written by Plevris' father, Kostas, a self-declared racist and Nazi. In 2007, he became the first person to be convicted under a 1979 anti-racism law. The conviction was later overturned on appeal, with the judges accepting the argument that his book only referred to "Zionist Jews" and not Jews in general.

The community said that Thanos Plevris had defended the book's author when he was a Laos MP. His excuse that he was simply acting as a lawyer for his father did not prevent him from condemning the book and its contents after the trial, the statement continued.

It also noted that, in recent tweets, Plevris had avoided identifying the Jews as the main victims of the Nazi Holocaust.

"Our position is well known … Attitudes towards the Holocaust, fascism and Nazism, anti-Semitism and intolerance need to be clear and conscious and should not be used for short-term political expediency," the statement said.

The left-wing coalition Syriza blamed New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras, the current prime minister, for his party’s "rich collection of right-wing extremists and Holocaust deniers."