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Duterte’s Hitler remarks cause uproar

The German government on Friday told the Philippine ambassador that comments by President Duterte likening his deadly crime war to Hitler’s efforts to exterminate Jews were “unacceptable.”

Duterte, 71, won elections in May in a landslide after a campaign dominated by his pledge to eradicate drugs in society by killing thousands of people.

In comments Friday, he drew parallels between his campaign to wipe out the drug problem and Adolf Hitler’s genocidal drive.

“Hitler massacred three million Jews. Now there are three million drug addicts (in the Philippines). I’d be happy to slaughter them,” Duterte told reporters in his home city of Davao.

“At least if Germany had Hitler, the Philippines would have,” he said, then paused. “But you know, my victims, I would like to be (sic) all criminals to finish the problem of my country and save the next generation from perdition.”

Nazi Germany slaughtered some six million Jews by the end of World War II.

The German foreign ministry said in a statement that it had asked the Philippine envoy “to come to the ministry for a discussion on this issue.”

“Any comparison of the singular atrocities of the Holocaust with anything else is totally unacceptable,” ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer told reporters earlier and reiterated in the statement.

Pentagon chief Ashton Carter yesterday criticized the “deeply troubling” remarks by Duterte in which he likened his deadly war on crime to Hitler’s efforts to exterminate Jews.

Carter’s comments came during a regional security summit with Southeast Asian ally nations, where he sought to reassure counterparts that America’s ongoing commitment to its Asia “rebalance” would continue into the next US administration.

Carter said the remarks were not discussed at the summit. But “speaking personally for myself, I find those comments deeply troubling,” he added.

The “informal” meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Oahu in Hawaii focused mainly on longer-standing regional issues such as continued unease over China’s growing reach across the South China Sea.

The US State Department yesterday called Duterte’s comments likening himself to Hitler and saying he would be happy to exterminate three million drug users troubling.

“America’s … partnership with the Philippines is … based on a mutual foundation of shared values and that includes our shared belief in human rights and human dignity,” State Department spokesman Mark Toner said. “President Duterte’s comments are a significant departure from that tradition and we find them troubling.”

The UN and Jewish advocacy group B’nai B’rith criticized the remarks, calling them inappropriate. “I think any use of the Holocaust and the suffering of the Holocaust in comparison to anything else frankly is is inappropriate and is to be rejected,” Stéphane Dujaric, United Nations spokesman said.

“They show either a high level of ignorance or a disdain for history or both,” Daniel Mariaschin, the Executive Vice President B’nai B’rith International said in Washington. (AFP and Reuters)