Jewish lead­ers re­act to Ro­drigo Duterte Holo­caust re­marks

Malta Independent - - WORLD -

Jewish lead­ers have re­acted an­grily af­ter Philip­pine Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte com­pared his anti-drug cam­paign to the Holo­caust.

The com­ment - wrongly cit­ing num­bers killed by the Nazis - was in­hu­mane and deeply of­fen­sive, they said.

Mr Duterte said he would kill as many ad­dicts as Hitler did Jews in his crack­down on users and deal­ers.

“Hitler mas­sa­cred three mil­lion Jews... there’s three mil­lion drug ad­dicts. I’d be happy to slaugh­ter them,” he said.

“What Pres­i­dent Duterte said is not only pro­foundly in­hu­mane, but it demon­strates an ap­palling dis­re­spect for hu­man life that is truly heart-break­ing for the demo­crat­i­cally elected leader of a great coun­try,” said World Jewish Congress pres­i­dent Ron­ald S. Lauder as he de­manded an apol­ogy.

US-based Jewish group the Anti-Defama­tion League said the com­ments were “in­ap­pro­pri­ate and deeply of­fen­sive”, with com­mu­ni­ca­tions direc­tor Todd Gut­nick say­ing it was “baf­fling why any leader would want to model him­self af­ter such a mon­ster”.

Rabbi Abra­ham Cooper, of the US-based Si­mon Wiesen­thal Cen­ter, said Mr Duterte owed “[Holo­caust] vic­tims an apol­ogy for his dis­gust­ing rhetoric”.

Mr Duterte, who has over­seen a bloody crack­down on drug users and deal­ers since tak­ing of­fice in June which has left more than 3,000 peo­ple dead, made the com­ments dur­ing a ram­bling speech in Davao, the city where as mayor he im­ple­mented a tough an­ti­crime pol­icy and was ac­cused of sanc­tion­ing death squads to kill crim­i­nals.

He told re­porters he had been “por­trayed to be some cousin of Hitler” as he lashed out crit­ics who he said were ac­cus­ing him of geno­cide.

“Hitler mas­sa­cred three mil­lion Jews, now, there is three mil­lion drug ad­dicts. I’d be happy to slaugh­ter them,” he said.

Both fig­ures quoted by Mr Duterte are in­cor­rect.

Hitler ac­tu­ally mas­sa­cred six mil­lion Jews, as well as other mi­nori­ties, dur­ing the Holo­caust, while the most re­cent fig­ures in the Philip­pines - re­leased ear­lier in the week - sug­gests the num­ber of drug users in the coun­try is closer to 1.8 mil­lion, just 1.8% of the over­all pop­u­la­tion, ac­cord­ing to lo­cal news web­site Rap­pler.

Mr Duterte’s ram­bling speech con­tin­ued: “At least if Ger­many had Hitler, the Philip­pines would have...” - at which point he is reported to have pointed to him­self.

Mr Duterte also used the speech to once again ac­cuse the West of hypocrisy over its crit­i­cism of his bru­tal crack­down.

“You US, EU. You can call me any­thing. But I was never into... hypocrisy like you,” he said.

“There are mi­grants es­cap­ing from the Mid­dle East. You al­low them to rot and then you’re wor­ried about the death of about 1,000, 2,000, 3,000?”

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