This didn’t take long at all. Not only did the Israel Lobby, led by the World Jewish Congress, make Philipino President Rodrigo Duterte apologize, but this time he was sure to say the ‘required’ number of ‘six million’ — as opposed to the ‘three million’ figure he mentioned last.
“Duterte says sorry to Jews,” Source: newsinfo.inquirer.net
BACOLOD CITY, Philippines—President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday apologized “profoundly and deeply” to the Jewish community for saying on Friday that, like Adolf Hitler, he would be happy to slaughter 3 million Filipino drug addicts, but he vowed there would be no backing down from his war on illegal drugs.
“I want to make it clear here and now, there was no intention on my part to derogate the memory of the 6 million Jews murdered by the Germans,” Mr. Duterte said to applause from the crowd.
Still, he repeated his blasts against US attacks on human rights violations that had marred his antinarcotics campaign.
“The Americans, I don’t like them … . They are reprimanding me in public. So I say: Screw you, fuck you, everything else. You are stupid,” he said. He repeated his intention to review basing agreements with the United States.
He also denounced human rights lawyers of the European Union, saying they were “stupid.”
“I apologize profoundly and deeply to the Jewish community. It was never my intention, but the problem was, I was criticized, (and critics were) using Hitler, comparing (the German leader) to me,” the President said at the 37th Masskara Festival.
“I said something wrong,” he said, acknowledging that Jews “don’t really want you to tinker with the memory (of the Holocaust) and we know that.”
“But I was very emphatic, I will kill the 3 million. It had nothing to do (with the massacre of the Jews by the Nazis), but perchance, there was something really, a bad taste in the mouth to say it,” Mr. Duterte said.
World Jewish Congress president Ronald Lauder on Friday said Mr. Duterte’s remarks were “revolting” and demanded that he retract them and apologize for them.
“What President Duterte said is not only profoundly inhumane, but it demonstrates an appalling disrespect for human life that is truly heartbreaking for the democratically elected leader of a great country,” Lauder was quoted as saying by BBC.
The President stressed that his apology was only to the Jewish community and was not to the European Union or human rights organizations that had expressed concern at the extrajudicial executions that had marked his administration’s campaign against widespread use of “shabu,” or crystal meth.
Mr. Duterte was elected President in May on a campaign promise that he would eliminate the drug menace, which he described as a “pandemic,” a problem that had infected a broad sector of Philippine society and had escalated with the protection of barangay chiefs, local government officials, military and police authorities, lawmakers and judges.
The war on drugs has claimed more than 1,200 lives in police operations.
Another 2,140 people have been killed in drug-related incidents blamed on vigilantes, criminals and police “ninjas” out to cover their tracks in recycling confiscated narcotics and selling them in the face of Mr. Duterte’s relentless crackdown.
For his part, Sen. Panfilo Lacson yesterday urged the President to exercise caution in issuing statements, saying these were regarded as policy, citing the international furor over Mr. Duterte’s allusion to Hitler’s mass executions of Jews.
Presidential statements, Lacson said in a radio interview, are “like toothpaste coming out of the tube.”
“If you said it, it’s hard to take it back,” he said. “You can correct, clarify or change the meaning of his statement but to those who heard it, his words were clear, and it’s hard to change the intent of the statement.”
Lacson disagreed with presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella’s move to blame other people for the Hitler analogy during the campaign.
“That’s too far out,” he said of the statement of Abella, who was apparently referring to former President Benigno Aquino III. Aquino had warned that Mr. Duterte’s rise to power was akin to that of Hitler in the 1920s and 1930s.
The President’s comments on Friday that he wished to kill millions of drug dealers as part of his antinarcotics war and those he made about the deaths of millions of Jews were “two entirely different things,” Abella said.
“The President’s reference to the slaughter was an oblique deflection of the way he has been pictured as a mass murderer, a Hitler, a label he rejects,” he said.
“He likewise draws an oblique conclusion, that while the Holocaust was an attempt to exterminate the future generations of Jews, the so-called extrajudicial killings, wrongly attributed to him, will nevertheless result in the salvation of the next generation of Filipinos.”
The maverick 71-year-old President appeared to liken himself on Friday to the Nazi leader, and said he would “be happy to slaughter” 3 million Filipino drug users and peddlers, adding that he had been portrayed by critics as “a cousin of Hitler.”
Abella said Mr. Duterte recognized the deep significance of the Holocaust and said that the initial comparison to Hitler “did not originate from the President.”
“The Palace deplores the Hitler allusion of President Duterte’s antidrug war as another crude attempt to vilify the President in the eyes of the world,” he said. TVJ