In less than 12 hours after being appointed as deputy minister of Infrastructure and Transport in the newly formed Greek government, Dimitris Kammenos was forced to resign. His term in office is the shortest ministerial tenure in recent Greek history. His resignation was announced on Twitter, following the demands of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who at the time was in Brussels for a summit of European Union leaders about the Syrian refugee crisis.
Μέχρι την απόδειξη της αλήθειας για την υπόθεση των αντισημιτικών ρατσιστικών αναρτήσεων ο υφυπουργός θα διευκολύνει με την παραίτηση του
— Panos Kammenos (@PanosKammenos) septiembre 23, 2015
Until the truth about the case of the anti-Semitic and racist posts is spoken, the deputy [minister] will facilitate the government's work with his resignation.
The reason for the sudden ouster were revelations that, over the past two years, Kammenos published on a now-deactivated Twitter account, @portaporta (“door-to-door”), several racist, anti-Semitic, and homophobic remarks.
More than 20,000 tweets in 24 hours sent ex-minister Dimitris #Kammenos home says @protothema (in GR) #PortaPorta https://t.co/yVQrPRpaMJ
— Daphne Papadopoulou (@daphnenews) septiembre 24, 2015
Dimitris Kammenos is a member of the right-wing Independent Greeks party, which is the junior coalition partner to Alexis Tsipras’ leftist Syriza party—a controversial alliance that is gradually becoming a liability for Tsipras, who is now being criticized for failing to vet his ministerial appointments properly.
Everyone knew about Dimitris Kammenos's (aka #portaporta) antisemitic & homophobic slurs – everyone, apart from the PM who appointed him.
— The Greek Analyst (@GreekAnalyst) septiembre 23, 2015
I think @atsipras just won entry in the Guinness Book of Records as the most cynical politician ever. #PortaPorta
— Theodora Oikonomides (@IrateGreek) septiembre 23, 2015
κάποιος να ενημερώνει τον πρωθυπουργό για τουίτς υποψηφίων του νέου κυβερνητικού σχήματος πριν τους υπουργοποιήσει διότι καταφανής ξεφτίλα
— fEmma_fatale (@fEmma_fatale) septiembre 22, 2015
Somebody should inform the Prime Minister about future candidates’ tweets before they're given ministerial duties. This is a phenomenal ridicule.
The tweets that sealed a swift end
Among Kammenos’ notorious tweets were insults directed at Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, whom he called a criminal. Kammenos cast aspersions on Tsipras’ leftist ideology, as well.
Γιατι ο #portaporta αφου αποκαλεί τον @tsipra εγκληματία κ βρίζει την αριστερά δέχτηκε το υπουργειο; #newgovGR pic.twitter.com/nWXNSAfUDi
— stella_tom (@stellatomm) septiembre 23, 2015
He calls Tsipras a criminal and he insults the leftist ideology. Then why did he accept the ministry?
In another tweet, Kammenos damned to hell any Greek citizens participating in gay pride marches.
Η πετυχεσά στην επιλογή ατόμων ΣΥΝΕΧΙΖΕΤΑΙ! #PortaPorta pic.twitter.com/rg2NbSXubt
— ΚΟΠΡΙΤΗΣ (@KOPRITHS) septiembre 23, 2015
The success in choosing ministers CONTINUES!
Venturing into the land of conspiracy theories, Kammenos also expressed his firm belief that the events of September 11, 2001, were a Jewish plot.
Perhaps the most problematic of all Kammenos’ tweets was a photoshopped image of the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz, where the German slogan “Arbeit macht frei” (“Work will set you free”) is replaced by the Greek phrase “”Μένουμε Ευρώπη” (“We’re staying in Europe”), which was popularized during Greece's recent referendum period, when some wished to compare the Greek economic crisis to the Holocaust.
The reaction of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece, published on June 24, 2015, was fierce:
The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece expresses the outrage and the repudiation of the Greek Jewry at the shameful photo posted on Facebook by MP Dimitris Kammenos (of the Independent Greeks – ANELL party). The post trivializes in the most hideous way the sign over the gate of Auschwitz. In the photo posted the “We stay in Europe” moto has replaced the world known sign which “welcomed” 1.500.000 Jews who were tortured and exterminated by the Nazis in the gas chambers. We call upon the President of the Greek Parliament and the representatives of all democratic parties to condemn the malevolent trivialization of the Holocaust of the 6 million Jews and all the victims of this barbarity, a trivialization that at the same time downplays the importance of the struggle against Fascism and Nazism in our country. We must not stay indifferent to such phenomena because if our society allows the distortion of the historical truth and memory of the Holocaust, it would have been as if we reopened the gate of Auschwitz to new crimes against humanity.
In an attempt to defend himself, Dimitris Kammenos claimed that not only his Twitter account, but all his social media profiles are handled by a team of 15 people, which has led to numerous hackings and “distortions of the truth.” So far, the public has showed little interest or trust in Kammenos’ explanations and excuses.
Εγώ τον καταλαβαίνω πάντως τον #PortaPorta. Έκανα χθες like σε ένα γκομενάκι,το είδε η γυναίκα μου και της είπα ότι μου χάκαραν το facebook.
— Παρτάλι (@Partalia) septiembre 24, 2015
I must say I fell for him. Yesterday I liked a chick's pic and told my wife they hacked my facebook.
Αλήθεια, αυτός ο Δημήτρης Καμμενος την σκέφτηκε πολύ την δικαιολογία του “με χακαρανε;” πανιβλακας #PortaPorta
— Spiros Fotis Jr.® (@SpirosFotisJr) septiembre 23, 2015
Seriously now, how long did it take him to come up with the “hacking” excuse? Dork.
αρνείται όλα τα ρατσιστικά tweets ο #PortaPorta ,αποδίδοντας τα σε χάκερ.Eπεισε έτσι κάθε δύσπιστο μιας κ οι φασίστες είναι γνωστές κότες.
— Πατήρ Κακόψυχους (@DEADWING1982) septiembre 23, 2015
He denies all racist tweets, claiming he was hacked, convincing every last one in doubt, since fascists are known cowards.
Ιn the era of social media, in which citizens now can raise their voice loudly and visibly against anything unjust and unethical, politicians are no longer the omnipotent and “untouchable” figures they once were after their election.
Mr Kammenos should have developed a beautiful speech about “brutal cruelties of the Israel’s army on the occupied territories”; thus, he would have gained reputation of a humanist and human-right fighter.