How Not to Apologize for Praising Hitler

How Not to Apologize for Praising Hitler

For those of you who aren’t F1 racing fans — which I hope is all of you — you might have missed the charming comments about Hitler that were recently offered by Bernie Ecclestone, the head of the league:

In an interview with London’s The Times newspaper, Ecclestone expressed a preference for “strong leaders,” citing former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher and Max Mosley, outgoing head of Formula One’s governing body, as examples.

He was quoted as saying that democracy “hasn’t done a lot of good for many countries — including this one.”

“In a lot of ways, terrible to say this I suppose, but apart from the fact that Hitler got taken away and persuaded to do things that I have no idea whether he wanted to do or not, he was in the way that he could command a lot of people, able to get things done,” Ecclestone was quoted as saying.

“In the end he got lost, so he wasn’t a very good dictator.”

Ecclestone’s comments provoked a firestorm of justifiable criticism. The editor of the Jewish Chronicle said Ecclestone was “either an idiot or morally repulsive,” and the president of the World Jewish Congress (WJC) called on him to resign.

Ecclestone has made it clear that he has no intention of resigning. And check out his “apology” for his statements:

But Ecclestone said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press that “I think the people who are saying that [I should resign] haven’t got the power to say these things.”

If the WJC is influential, he said, “it’s a pity they didn’t sort the banks out.” Asked to elaborate, Ecclestone said, “They have a lot of influence everywhere.”

[snip]

“It’s probably my fault in that I got dragged into something I wasn’t supposed to discuss — we got out of F1 into something else,” Ecclestone said.

However, Ecclestone said he does not regret praising Hitler’s leadership “except as usual things were taken a little bit wrong.”

“Between ’32 and ’38 he took a country that was bankrupt and made it a reasonably strong power in Europe, but after that the guy obviously is a lunatic,” Ecclestone said.

Congratulations, Bernie, you have managed to outdo your earlier comment about women — that they should dress in white “like all other domestic appliances.”

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Europe, International Criminal Law, International Human Rights Law
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Johnny Rawls
Johnny Rawls

maybe we should simply continue to praise Israeli democracy of which power of life and death spans over palestinian territory determining the fate of non jews who as such are non participants to that democracy..

amazing.
amazing.

KJH, seriously. While other blogs and your colleagues in OJ post mini-article like substantive posts on international law, probably less in a week you managed to post about Britney Spears holocaust movies, jewish NBA drafting news and now some random Hitler mumblings by Ecclestone. Do you have some kind of jewish posts quota to fulfill? Cause if yes, that’s fine, sometimes you do what you got to do, but just make it explicit.

Kevin Jon Heller

I reserve the right to blog about anything I want.  Feel free not to read posts you think are inconsistent with the mission of the blog.

Martin Holterman
Martin Holterman

For those of you who aren’t F1 racing fans — which I hope is all of you

Are you sure that’s what you meant to write? Despite the fact that it is run by idiots, Formula 1 is the undisputed queen of racing. (At least for now…)

Patrick
Patrick

Of course it is what he meant to write Martin. How can you be so out of touch – formula 1 is inherently too vulgar and declassé for words to any self-respecting edjumakated western lefty!

Ironically perhaps given how un-lefty I am, whilst I love the idea of F1, I can’t bring myself to watch more than highlights of a race.

Kevin Jon Heller

Okay, I confess — I don’t like auto racing of any form.  But I have proletarian sports tastes — I love rugby union, rugby league, aussie rules…

Martin Holterman
Martin Holterman

Union and League? If you were a proper working class sports fan, you wouldn’t go anywhere near something as elitist as Rugby Union.

Anderson

Ecclestone reminds us how it was possible for Hitler to be so popular.  Many Germans (and many outside Germany) had just that reaction to him.
Ian Kershaw says, I believe, that if Hitler had died in 1936, he would be remembered (when at all) as a moderately successful German politician and demagogue.
Of course, Ecclestone’s “apology” suggests that Hitler’s anti-Semitism was for Ecclestone a feature, not a bug.

Patrick
Patrick

Dear me, I must second Martin – I love rugby union but the whole point is that union is played by the rich and league by the poor. Modern league was given life by the Australian Rugby Union captain Dally Messenger who at his mother’s urging quit Union to anchor the nascent Australian (I think then Sydney only) Rugby League (which was of course professional).

That perpetuated globally the English divide wherein those who could afford to played Union and those that couldn’t played League.

Are you sure you are a Rugby Union fan? Or is it that your threshold for ‘bourgeois’ sports start at yachting and polo?

Kevin Jon Heller

Touche — though I am aware union is the “rich” version of rugby.  I figured most readers wouldn’t know the difference.

I loathe yachting and polo.  And I am a White Sox fan, not a Cubs fan.  So there.

DNJ
DNJ

Rugby union is a “rich” sport in some places, such as England and to a certain extent Australia, but not in other countries, such as Wales and New Zealand (where I am from).