Prime Minister Tony Abbott has drawn sharp criticism from Australia’s peak Jewish organisation after saying that Islamic State (ISIS) are worse than the Nazis.
In an interview with Alan Jones on Thursday morning, Mr Abbott rejected the notion that he was overstating the threat posed by ISIS and unnecessarily scaring the Australian public.
“It’s nonsense. Turn on your televisions, look at what is happening. The latest atrocity apparently was four young men being strung up and burnt alive,” the prime minister said.
“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. They act in the way that medieval barbarians acted; only they broadcast it to the world with an effrontery which is hard to credit.”
Following the interview, the president of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, Robert Goot, said Islamic State was “a profoundly evil organisation” but described Mr Abbott’s comments that the terror group is worse than the Nazis as “injudicious and unfortunate”.
“The crimes of Islamic State are indeed horrific, but cannot be compared to the systematic round-up of millions of people and their despatch to purpose-built death camps for mass murder,” he said, according to Fairfax Media.
“There is a fundamental difference between organised acts of terrorism and a genocide systematically implemented by a state as essential policy.
“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.”
Later in the day, Mr Abbott was unapologetic, suggesting that his words were being twisted.
“I’m not in the business of ranking evil, but I do make this point, that unlike previous evil-doers, whether we’re talking about Stalin, Hitler or whoever that tried to cover up their evil, this wretched death cult boasts about it.”
A decision on whether Australia will expand airstrikes against ISIS, currently restricted to inside Iraqi borders, to Syria is expected to be announced next week.
IMAGE: Tony Abbott (Via Drop of Light / Shutterstock.com)