Greek government minister resigns over anti-Semitic, homophobic tweets

Dimitris Kammenos (screencrab: YouTube

Dimitris Kammenos (screencrab: YouTube

ATHENS, Greece (JTA) — A minister in the new Greek government has resigned less than 48 hours after being appointed over an outcry about a series of anti-Semitic and homophobic tweets.

Dimitris Kammenos of the Independent Greeks Party had been appointed deputy transport minister following Sunday’s election. The Independent Greeks are the junior coalition partner in the government of the far-left Syriza party.

Among the tweets on his page, which have since been deleted, were some that referred to a conspiracy theory alleging that Jews did not show up to work at the World Trade Center on the morning of 9/11. Another mocked the Athens pride parade.

Kammenos resigned late Wednesday, reportedly following pressure from Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, saying he was doing so to allow the government to “function in an orderly way.” He also released a statement denouncing anti-Semitism and homophobia, and claimed his social media pages were hacked.

This is not the first time Kammenos has been in trouble for social media posts, however.

Earlier this year he sparked outrage by posting a picture on Facebook of the Auschwitz death camp gates with the pro-Europe slogan “We stay in Europe” replacing the sign on the gate, “Arbeit macht frei,” a German phrase used during the Holocaust that translates to “work makes you free.”

The post came as Greece was locked in crisis talks with the European Union.

Kammenos is not related to party leader and Defense Minister Panos Kammenos, who also caused an outcry last year when, during an election campaign, he said Jews don’t pay taxes.

A recent ADL poll found that anti-Semitic stereotypes are widespread in Greece and that the country had the highest percentage of anti-Semitic views in Europe.

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