The Investigations Editor at The Times newspaper has apologised for causing offence after he tweeted that many VIPs accused of being paedophiles were “Jewish or gay” and should be identified “a system of triangles and stars”.
Jewish community leaders blasted comments from Dominic Kennedy, who removed the tweet in which he said: “So many of the VIPs accused of being paedophiles are Jewish or gay. Maybe we could have a system to identify these people: triangles, stars…”
European Jews were legally compelled to wear an identifying yellow star by the Nazis prior to and during the Holocaust, while homosexuals were forced to wear pink triangles.
Simon Johnson, chief executive at the Jewish Leadership Council, said: “I utterly condemn the words and the tone of Mr Kennedy’s tweet. What on earth does religion or sexuality have to do with the investigations? The suggestion to brand or identify suspects in the way that he suggests harks back to the worst of Nazi ideology.”
Johnson also called on The Times to apologise for its association with Kennedy’s “vile” comments, as some Twitter users defended Kennedy, saying the tweet was meant satirically.
Among others, it caused revulsion, with one Twitter user replying: “You should investigate how not to invoke the holocaust to justify baseless sensationalism. Or better yet: delete your account.”
Board of Deputies President Jonathan Arkush said: “What he said was stupid. I suppose he was being satirical but I find such comments extraordinarily misplaced and offensive.”
Senior Vice-President at the Board, Richard Verber, added: “While Mr Kennedy’s forced apology is welcome, further action is required. Millions of Jews and gay people died at the hands of the Nazis. For anyone, let alone a senior journalist, to trivialise the Holocaust in such a way is unacceptable. The Times needs to open its own investigation into Mr Kennedy’s actions. Mr Kennedy should also visit the Nazi death camps to help him understand why his remarks are so offensive. The Board of Deputies would be happy to arrange that for him. Mr Kennedy’s ignorant remarks are a timely reminder of the importance of Holocaust education.”
Kennedy later took to Twitter, saying: “I apologise to anyone who has been upset by the message. I am a gay man and hate to see any witch-hunt or persecution of vulnerable minorities or individuals, alive or dead, who cannot answer back.”
The Times has been approached for comment, but none has yet been forthcoming.