Date
23 May 2017
A rally organized by police groups Wednesday in support of jailed colleagues has come under fire due to 'inappropriate' comments of one of the speakers. Representative image: HKEJ
A rally organized by police groups Wednesday in support of jailed colleagues has come under fire due to 'inappropriate' comments of one of the speakers. Representative image: HKEJ

Israeli consulate sees red over Holocaust reference by policeman

The Israeli consulate has objected to remarks by a Hong Kong policeman who has compared the plight of law enforcement officers in the city to the sufferings endured by Jews during World War II.

In a statement Thursday, the Consulate General of Israel in Hong Kong and Macau slammed the reference to the Jewish Holocaust, saying the analogy was wrong and “inappropriate”.

It is improper for anyone to compare the perceived problems faced by Hong Kong police to the suffering of Jews during the Second World War, it said, adding that it wants such talk to end.

The consulate hopes that no comparison to the Jewish Holocaust will be made in the future, it said.

The statement came a day after a speaker at a police rally Wednesday drew a comparison between local law enforcement officers and the persecuted Jews during the Second World War.

During the rally, which was organized to voice concern over the jailing of seven policemen in the Ken Tsang assault case, an officer said in his speech that the police in Hong Kong are being persecuted just like what had been done to the Jews by the Nazis.

Addressing tens of thousands of colleagues, the officer lamented that frontline policemen have seen their dignity eroded as they are often verbally abused when on duty, while their supervisors ask them to swallow the insults.

The emotional remarks prompted cheers from the assembled crowd, but the reference to the Jewish Holocaust drew the ire of the Israeli consulate after media reports on the event.

Several experts agreed that the reference was inappropriate.

Comparing issues faced by police officers to the pain suffered by Jews during the Holocaust amounts to trivializing the historic tragedy, people pointed out. 

Simon Li , director of education at the Hong Kong Holocaust and Tolerance Centre, a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of education and awareness of the Holocaust, said one cannot compare the situation of policemen to the suffering of Jews, who saw more than six million of their people systematically murdered by the Nazis.

Li said he was shocked to learn of the policeman’s comments and also saddened that many people seem to agree with him.

Meanwhile, the Geman consulate in Hong Kong also issued a statement denouncing the reference to the Holocaust.  

In a statement Thursday, the consulate said “the reported reference to the Holocaust shows a regrettably insufficient knowledge of historical facts.”

“The Jewish population in Germany was persecuted by the State and all its organs during the Nazi dictatorship and millions lost their lives. Therefore the comparison between the Jewish victims of the Holocaust and police officers convicted for an abuse of power is utterly inappropriate,” it said.

Responding to the earlier rebuke from the Israeli consulate, Joe Chan, chairman of the Junior Police Officers Association JPOA, which co-organized Wednesday’s rally, said the group is sorry if any comments made during their gathering caused offence to any race or nation, Apple Daily reports.

The police department, meanwhile, stressed that speeches at the rally — which was billed as an internal event — did not represent the force’s official position and that they don’t endorse the comments.

In other news related to the police, Ming Pao Daily reports that the Department of Justice said Thursday that it has received a notice that three of the seven jailed police officers, who were convicted of assault on activist Ken Tsang during the 2014 democracy protests and sentenced to two years in jail, have decided to appeal.

As for the plan to provide financial support for the seven officers as well as other policemen whose had suffered during the Occupy movement, the JPOA is said to have notified its members that a one-month internal fundraising campaign will last until March 20.

The association said it welcomes voluntary donations from officers, suggesting that colleagues should donate up to 3 percent of their monthly salary.

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TL/AC/RC

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