Australian PM faces Jewish backlash over remarks comparing ISIS to Nazis

Leading Jewish group head slams Abbott for suggesting Islamic State "is in some respects worse than the Nazis."

September 3, 2015 16:16
1 minute read.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott faced criticism from members of the country’s Jewish community on Thursday over remarks he made comparing the Islamic State terrorist group to the Nazis.

“The Nazis did terrible evil but they had a sufficient sense of shame to try to hide it. These people boast about their evil, this is the extraordinary thing.

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They act in the way that medieval barbarians acted, only they broadcast it to the world with an effrontery which is hard to credit,” Abbott said during an interview with Fairfax radio station 2GB.

Robert Goot, president of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, said it was “injudicious and unfortunate” that the prime minister had suggested that Islamic State “is in some respects worse than the Nazis,” the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

According to the report, Goot highlighted that there was a “fundamental difference” between organized terrorist acts and state policy sponsoring systematic genocide.

“Acts of terrorism are necessarily done in the full glare of publicity for their propaganda effect. In contrast, those responsible for ordering and implementing systematic state-sponsored genocide are high government officials who often operate in secret not out of any sense of shame, but to avoid being held criminally responsible for their actions,” the Jewish leader was quoted as saying.

According to the Morning Herald, Abbott stood by his remarks and suggested that his statements had been misinterpreted, adding that he was “not in the business of trying to rank evil.”

During the original radio interview, Abbott also rejected implications that the Australian government was trying to scare citizens about the terrorist group that has wreaked havoc across areas of Iraq and Syria.

The prime minister, however, said that Canberra would decide next week whether Australia would broaden its participation in a US-led coalition targeting ISIS to include air strikes in Syria and Iraq.

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