Bung’s Hitler salute demeaning to six million Holocaust victims, says Jewish group
KUALA LUMPUR, July 11 — Malaysian MP Datuk Bung Moktar Radin’s controversial salute to Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler following Germany’s World Cup semi-final victory was hurtful to both Germans and victims of the Holocaust alike, the Anti-Defamation League said today.
In a statement sent to The Malay Mail Online, the US-based Jewish non-governmental organisation said Bung Moktar’s adulatory tweet about the dead Nazi leader and others like it on social media during the football tournament were the “anathema to the values of sportsmanship”.
“The Nazi references on social media in response to Germany’s victory are insulting to the German team and demeaning to Holocaust survivors and victims,” said ADL national director Abraham H. Foxman, who is described as a Holocaust survivor.
“These tweets falsely and irresponsibly identify current, democratic Germany with the horrific past of the country, which the present German government and people have denounced and rejected. Germany has done so much to atone for its past, and to have this happen now is terribly hurtful.”
Foxman added that Bung Moktar and others invoking the name of Hitler or making reference to the Holocaust clearly know something of history, but are “tone deaf” of the significance to both the Jewish people and to Germany.
In the euphoria following Germany’s thrashing of Brazil during the World Cup semi-finals on Wednesday, Bung Moktar tweeted a salute to Hitler and drew a flurry of criticism from other Twitter users.
“Well done… Bravo… Long live Hitler…” the federal lawmaker posted on the microblogging site via the Twitter handle @MyKinabatangan.
Germany’s ambassador to Malaysia Holger Michael had objected to Bung’s salute of Hitler in his praise for the country’s performance in the World Cup, saying the comparison was “unacceptable”.
Bung Moktar retorted by saying that the envoy “doesn’t get it”.
Yesterday, he apologised after Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said the Sabah lawmaker would do so, but Bung Moktar’s parting shot of “LONG LIVE BUNG” appended to his “SINCEREST APOLOGY” as well as repartees with critics later raised doubts about his genuineness.
Najib earlier said that Bung Moktar’s comments were unacceptable and wrong.
“He does not speak for Malaysia, or for ordinary Malaysians, who understand Europe’s tragic past, and respect its modern unity,” the PM said.
In May, an ADL survey found that nearly two in three Malaysians admitted to anti-Semitic tendencies, outstripping the global average of 24 per cent as well as the 22 per cent across the rest of Asia.
Malaysia is also 19th in a list of 102 countries, coming in behind the most fiercely anti-Semitic countries from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). It is also the Asian country that is most prejudiced against the Jewish people.
The country’s bias is rooted in the government’s overt support for Palestinians in the conflict, which in turn has encouraged local politicians to use the issue as a platform to appeal to the Malay-Muslim electorate.
Austrian-born Hitler was the leader of Nazi Germany between 1934 and 1945, and was at the centre of World War II. He was also behind the Holocaust, the mass extermination and execution of millions of European Jews in concentration camps.
The ADL describes itself as an organisation founded in 1913 “to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all.”