A WESTERN Sydney mayor has reached out to the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies to apologise for likening COVID-19 restrictions to Nazi Germany on social media.
Steve Christou, who presides over Cumberland City Council, shared an infographic of new lockdown rules with the comment “Welcome to Nazi Germany” last Friday.
The post prompted an uproar and was subsequently removed, with Cr Chistou apologising.
“I apologise sincerely and unreservedly for any hurt caused regarding my comments,” he said. “I was not trying to offend anyone. I am expressing the despair of my community.”
He reached out to NSW Jewish Board of Deputies CEO Darren Bark on Tuesday after speaking with The AJN.
“Any comparison to the deportation and murder of six million Jews and many others by a totalitarian and genocidal regime is absurd and deeply offensive,” said Bark.
“But it was pleasing that the mayor reached out to unreservedly apologise and he has accepted our invitation to not only visit the Sydney Jewish Museum, but to have an ongoing dialogue on how we can work together to foster harmony and understanding.”
Sydney Jewish Museum CEO Norman Seligman said, “I am pleased Cr Christou has agreed to visit the museum, so that we can demonstrate just how inappropriate and inaccurate the comparison was.
“During his visit we will ensure he has the opportunity to meet with a Holocaust survivor.”
Speaking earlier on Tuesday to The AJN, Cr Christou reiterated that he “honestly and wholeheartedly did not mean to offend” anyone.
“I should have used a better example,” he said.
Meanwhile, also last week leaflets were dropped in letterboxes in the Sydney suburb of Neutral Bay comparing restrictions to what appears to be restrictions imposed on Jews in Nazi-occupied France, the Daily Mail reported.