Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Breaking News

Greek Leader Who Said ‘Jews Don’t Pay Taxes’ Named Defense Minister

Panos Kammenos, a right-wing politician who said Jews don’t pay taxes, was appointed the defense minister of Greece.

Kammenos, who heads the ultranationalist Independent Greeks, was appointed to the post in the new government on Tuesday after joining the coalition of the newly elected far-left Syriza party, which won handily in Sunday’s national elections.

While the parties are far apart on most issues, they are united by a common rejection of the harsh terms imposed on Greece in the financial bailout.

Kammenos drew condemnation from Greece’s Jewish community in December after he said on television that Greek Jews don’t pay taxes — a remark denied publicly by a government official, who called it “conspiracy theories, lies and slander” that had become a part of “the dark side of the Internet.”

As defense minister, Kammenos will oversee the military ties with Israel that have become much closer in recent years. Even considering the taxes statement, he is still likely to be more pro-Israel than the Syriza lawmakers, who have taken part in protests against Israel, with some even participating in the flotillas to Gaza.

Conspiracy theories are rife in Kammenos’ ultranationalist party, which frequently blames outsiders for the economic woes befalling Greece.

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

In the elections, the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party retained its position as the third-largest party in Greece.

Engage

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.