Councillor Alex Christian says “unreservedly” apologises for any offence caused by his comments that likened the unvaccinated to Jewish people during the Holocaust.
October 21, 2021
Comments of this nature were included in two of the podcasts he published in August.
“The unvaccinated, the unwashed, will become the Jews of the 21st Century … I’m telling you, that you will end up in a camp unless you get vaccinated. Your life will not be worth living,” he said in his August 4 podcast, titled ‘Comply or Die’.
The NSW Jewish Board of Deputies CEO, Darren Bark, has criticised the podcasts, calling them “extremely inappropriate and hurtful”.
He has written to Bathurst Regional Council to request that Cr Christian’s conduct be investigated.
Mr Bark told J-Wire, a digital outlet for Jewish news in Australia and New Zealand, that he wanted the comments to be investigated.
“We have asked the general manager of the council to investigate Mr Christian’s conduct and ask that appropriate action be taken,” he said in an October 15 article.
“The pandemic has highlighted the need for the community to stand together to support each other through these difficult times. Invoking the suffering of the past causes more harm amongst a community that has already suffered enough due to COVID-19.”
Council’s general manager, David Sherley, could not tell the Western Advocate whether or not the request from Mr Bark was a formal code of conduct complaint.
“Council is aware of the article and has had contact from the Jewish Board of Deputies relating to a podcast. Council is following the relevant procedures in relation to this matter,” he said.
Although saying he felt his comments were “misrepresented”, Cr Christian apologised in a post on his public Facebook page on Wednesday, and made the same apology at that night’s ordinary council meeting.
“I was in no way comparing the Holocaust, which has been suggested, to the current situation. I was simply identifying times in history where people have been segregated for various reasons,” he said.
“I have tremendous respect and admiration for the Jewish people, they are world leaders in science and technology and the resilience they’ve shown as a people is truly amazing. Coming back from the most horrific, evil unspeakable acts in human history like they have is truly incredible.
“Mr Bark has invited me to attend the Sydney Jewish Museum with him, which I am really grateful for, and I’d be honoured to accept his invitation, and for any offence that’s been caused by this matter I unreservedly apologise.”