06 Jul 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.”
“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.”