- President Rodrigo Duterte's comment comparing himself to Hitler in a news conference last week shocked the international press
- His comparison led him to apologize to Jewish communities, most recently the one in the country yesterday
- He eschewed his prepared speech in lieu of an extemporaneous one, wherein he compared himself this time to Israel Prime Minister Benjami Netanyahu
In an attempt to appear clever with his words, President Rodrigo Duterte blundered the comparison of his intensifying war against drugs and one of the most historical, if not also the most controversial, events in mankind: the Holocaust.
He admitted of this error when he spoke to a crowd of Jews gathered at the Beit Yaacov Synagogue in Makati City yesterday.
Last week, the president made waves with the press again with a diatribe against his detractors: the United States, the United Nations, and the European Union. In one of his tirades, he has been portrayed as a 'cousin' of Adolf Hitler due to the killings brought about by his campaign against drugs.
"Hitler massacred 3 million Jews. Now there [are] 3 million drug addicts….I’d be happy to slaughter them," was one of his infamous statements.
The offhand comment blew out of proportion and caused international outrage, which he apologized for immediately. However, it was not enough for the tough-talking president as he also asked for forgiveness from the Jews in the country.
His timing was also impeccable as they were also celebrating Rosh Hashanah yesterday, or their own version of New Year.
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The sincerity of his apology led him to scrap the speech he prepared for the event, but being the spontaneous person that he is, he still managed to get to the good side of his audience.
In a not-so-concealed shade against the United States, he said that the country was better off buying defense equipment from Israel, where majority of the Jews in the country came from.
He even joked that at least equipment from the Middle East country will not be rigged with spy technology.
The president compared himself yet again to another leader - Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu - who does not appreciate the intervention of the United States on every country's problem.
Some leaders of the Jewish community present in the event thought that Duterte's apology was sincere enough for them.
For Israel Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines member Itamar Gero, however, the president made the comment out of fatigue due to his hectic schedule.