The new finance minister of Greece has been accused of harboring anti-Semitic views and expressing empathy for Palestinian suicide bombers.
In 2005, Yanis Varoufakis was suspended from a radio show for what the station called the promotion of anti-Jewish stereotypes. Varoufakis, who at the time was an economics professor at the University of Athens, defended himself a few years later by stating that in his criticism of Israeli policies he was merely basing himself on reports in the Israeli daily Haaretz.
During his weekly broadcast at the Australian state-owned radio station SBS on August 29, 2005, Varoufakis had claimed that Israel used the blockade of Gaza as part of “a strategy for retaining a large part of the West Bank” and called the West Bank security fence a “concrete monster,” according to his blog.
“The fact that my comments were supported by reports in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz was not deemed a sufficient defense against the charge of anti-Semitism,” he wrote in December 2010 about the incident.”
At the time, SBS said Varoufakis was a worthy commentator on economic issues but that he was no expert on Middle East politics and should therefore refrain from presenting one-sided analyses of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The “particular anti-lsraeli line of his commentary could be reasonably held to have assisted in the promotion of negative stereotypes about Jews and more particularly Israeli Jews,” the radio station stated at the time.