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Sick and Tired

New Zealand Labor Party MP John Tamihere has shown that anti-Semitism in New Zealand is not confined to the occasional grave desecration, but exists in the higher echelons of government.

Labour MP John Tamihere says he is “sick and tired of hearing how many Jews got gassed”.

 

The comments – branded yesterday by the Jewish Council as “sickening” and “deeply shocking for all Jews” – were made in the same interview in which Mr Tamihere referred to Cabinet minister Chris Carter as a “tosser” and “queer” and Cabinet minister Steve Maharey as “smarmy”. They were released yesterday by Investigate magazine editor Ian Wishart after a spat with Mr Tamihere about the recording of the interview.

In the interview, Mr Tamihere is asked by Mr Wishart about how a society can be focused on injustices of the past.

 

Mr Tamihere responds: “The Weisenthal Institute is the same. I’m sick and tired of hearing how many Jews got gassed, not because I’m not revolted by it – I am – or I’m not violated by it – I am – but because I already know that.

 

“How many times do I have to be told and made to feel guilty?”

Even New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark (certainly no friend of the Jews) has slammed him:

Clark was quoted by local media as saying that an apology was not enough for Tamihere and he should consider finding a new job.

 

In a statement issued on Monday, Clark said that Tamihere’s statements to a journalist were “deeply offensive to New Zealanders. The statements are also offensive and utterly unacceptable to the New Zealand Labor Party.”

Silent Running’s ‘Tom Paine”, who is apparently a friend of Tamihere’s, has been more willing to give his friend the benefit of the doubt. While I understand Tom’s reluctance to immediately condemn his friend before being in possession of all the facts, I cannot see how Tamihere could have been “misquoted”, or how there could have been “extenuating circumstances,” given the wholesale condemnation of his remarks.

 

Update: Some more reactions:

 

  • The anti-Semitic Adelaide Institute are proudly running with this story on their front page.

     

  • Efraim Zuroff of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre has been quoted as saying that “It would appear that MP Tamihere is in urgent need of psychological assistance to increase his ability to deal with the sad history and reality of life on the planet Earth during the past century, an absolutely necessary quality for anyone who desires to serve as a public representative”
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  • China View headlines the report as follows:
  •  

    MP’s Holocaust comments might chill NZ-Israel relations

     

    as if oblivious to the events of the last year.

    About the author

    Picture of David Lange

    David Lange

    A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
    Picture of David Lange

    David Lange

    A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
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