Items filtered by date: October 2015

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A newly appointed Deputy Minister in Greece, known for his antisemitic and racist opinion, was forced to resign after the protests of people on social media at the end of September, setting a positive example of public response to counter antisemitism.

After national elections in September in Greece, the winning left-wing party Syriza needed to form a coalition with another party in order to reach the majority in parliament.  The agreement was made with Independent Greeks (Anexartitoi Ellines, ANEL), a far right-wing party with a political position similar to the UKIP in Britain, promising a few ministries in exchange for their vote of confidence. Dimitris Kammenos, cousin of the leader of the party, Panos Kammenos was appointed Deputy Transport Minister on the 22nd of September.

Dimitris Kammenos was well-known to the public for his offensive statements on his social media platforms ranging from antisemitism to racism and homophobia. Through tweets and Facebook posts, Kammenos spread anti-Jewish conspiracy theories (“9/11 and don't forget: none of the 2500 Jewish employees at the WTC went to work that day”), false myths about loyalty and otherness (“Kouvelis [a Greek centre-left politician] a ‘Greek’? Jews are first of all Jews, and then anything else...) as well as homophobic and antisemitic remarks (“Syriza identifies totally with Zionism’s demand to destroy all other societies. Why aren't same-sex marriages allowed in Israel?”)

As soon as Kammenos was appointed, a wave of enraged tweets and posts contested the decision of the Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. Screenshots of his abusive tweets and comments were shared in the social media to call for his immediate resignation. The following day Kammenos released a statement claiming he rejects racism, homophobism (sic) and antisemitism and that the incriminated posts were made by his assistants that had access into his accounts. This claim was soon proven untrue thanks to social media users pointing out occasions in the past where he endorsed and defended such posts.

Following the uproar, in the evening of the same day, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras called the leader of Independent Greeks, Panos Kammenos, asking about the authenticity of the posts and implied that if such was the case, Dimitris Kammenos should quit his position. In the night, the Independent Greece party leader announced on Twitter that Dimitris Kammenos had resigned "to make things easier until truth comes to light".

 This outcome, received with great satisfaction by the public, represents an important victory of social media users in the fight against antisemitic and racist hate speech.  

Published in Troll of the month