After speaking with Jewish leaders, Anglican priest Rod Bower has apologised for “offensive” remarks in which he suggested offshore processing of asylum-seekers was the first step on the way to the Holocaust.
The Gosford Anglican Church rector erected a sign at the end of last year with the message “Manus is how the Holocaust started”, which drew ire from moderate and conservative Jewish groups. After discussions with community leaders, including NSW Jewish Board of Deputies chief executive Vic Alhadeff, Father Bower said in a statement: “Several days ago, I attempted to explore something of the sociological phenomenon of ‘otherising’ and dehumanisation I have observed in the way Australia has dealt with asylum-seekers.
“In so doing, I mentioned the Holocaust and some sections of the Jewish community found this deeply offensive. I acknowledge my attempt to explore this issue was clumsy and I am sorry for the offence caused.”
Mr Alhadeff said he was pleased at the outcome.