|Voridis (pictured on the right carrying a hatchet), was a Neonazi thug in his youth, destroyed properties, chased down democrats, Jews, and anyone else who used to argue with him. In 2012, thanks to the interim government, he became Minister of Transportation and Public Communications. In less than 60 days he gave a massive 320M euros to the Bobolas Construction Group (Aktor). Still there are lots of money to be made in Greece.|
By SABBY MIONIS
(,,,,) As a Jew and an Israeli, I feel it is my duty and obligation to share with you Voridis’ background and political career. A former leading figure in Greece's neo-Nazi youth group, Chrysi Avgi (Golden Dawn), Voridis has a long history of Holocaust denial, anti-Semitism and xenophobia, including physical threats to Jewish families and leading groups of thugs against immigrants and leftists. Over the last couple of weeks he has smoothed over his thuggish past by describing it as "right-wing activism". As a student at the elite Athens College high school, alma mater of current Prime Minister Papadimos, former Prime Minister Papandreou, Samaras and myself, Voridis formed the fascist student group “Free Students” that painted the walls with swastikas and saluted each other with using the Nazi-era greeting "Heil Hitler."
During school elections, Voridis would violently threaten not only the Jewish students who opposed his fascist group, but also their families. After graduation, Voridis formed a fascist group in the Law School of Athens and became active in neo-Nazi youth groups. In the 1990s, following the footsteps of his mentor, Jean Marie LePen, he formed the National Front, an anti-immigrant party. His party's motto was "Red card for immigrants." A few years ago, he joined LAOS and was elected to parliament. He soon became the darling of the Greek media, due to his extensive family connections, his debating skills and his charisma in front of the cameras.
|Voridis (pictured on the far right), with prime minister Antonis Samaras-Benakis (center).|
Although less charismatic, the second of the two LAOS MPS, Adonis Georgiadis, also has a long history of anti-Semitism. This includes attacking Jews through his television show and being named as a prosecution witness against the leaders of the Greek Jewish community who are on trial for the defamation of Kostas Plevris, a self-proclaimed Nazi and anti-Semite whose book was described by the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece as a "defamatory, anti-Semitic book in which Jews are called 'subhuman' and are directly threatened with annihilation." Plevris himself went on trial for incitement, but was acquitted, and then he sued the leaders of the Jewish community. Plevris is also the father of Thanassis Plevris, another LAOS member of the parliament.
Samaras legitimized a neo-Nazi and an anti-Semite of the worst kind when he invited Voridis to join his party. Letters of protest by Jewish organizations received a lukewarm response from Samaras. Israel has not publicly protested, probably in an attempt not to “rock the boat" of its newly-found friendship with Greece. Perhaps it has done so through private channels.
The co-option of far right-wingers into a Greek government or its opposition is a dangerous precedent. As Israelis and Jews, we need to protest against any kind of neo-Nazi participation in the governments of friendly nations, just as we did when Kurt Waldheim was elected President of Austria, and when the party of Jörg Haider, the long-time leader of the Austrian Freedom Party, joined the government.
Bearing in mind the storms battering the Greek state and economy, and an underlying current of anti-Semitism that has deep roots in the country, my fear is that a dangerous nationalism is on the rise in Greece. The desire of politicians to appeal to populist conspiracies and racism in the lead up to the general elections in a month’s time and afterward will lead to neo-Nazis holding a balance of power and by then, it will be too late to stop them. The time to stop them is now.
Sabby Mionis was born in Athens and moved to Israel in 2006. Founder of Capital Management Advisors and active in Greek business life, he is a former president of Keren Hayesod (the United Israel Appeal) in Athens and now serves as on the UIA Executive and is co-founder of the Israel Center for Better Childhood.