MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Thursday he was right to compare a prominent Mexican Jew to Adolf Hitler because of his political mentality, ignoring protests from the country’s Jewish community.
López Obrador said Wednesday that advertising executive director and political analyst Carlos Alazrachi, a critic of the president, is “Hitler,” prompting the Mexican Jewish community to issue a statement rejecting the statements as “unacceptable.”
Lopez Obrador referred to Alazrachi after showing a video clip during a regular government press conference of the latter in a discussion with opposition politicians who said Mexico was allowing illegal immigrants from Venezuela to enter a new airport. The government denies this.
“He’s very conservative, like Hitler,” Lopez Obrador said on Wednesday.
Mexico’s Jewish community, in a statement, rejected the use of the term “Hitler” to refer to anyone: “Any comparison with the most bloodthirsty regime in history is regrettable and unacceptable.”
The Nazis under Hitler killed 6 million Jews during World War II.
Some Mexican opposition politicians were offended. Opposition Congressman Santiago Creel said in a tweet: “The President’s comment against Carlos Alazrachi not only infringes upon freedom of speech, it is unworthy and disproportionate. Calling a prominent member of the Jewish community ‘Hitler’ is very hideous and abnormal.” .
On Thursday, Lopez Obrador returned to the topic during his usual press conference, saying “Azaraki is a follower of Hitler’s ideology,” referring to Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels and his use of lies to manipulate public opinion.
“This is the essence of Al-Azraqi’s propaganda or propaganda strategy,” said the president, who frequently called Goebbels when he sought to discredit his critics.
To make his point, Lopez Obrador showed a short video in 2021 in which Alazari said the key to overcoming the president’s ruling National Renewal Movement (MORENA) was to use lies and propaganda against it.
Azraqi told Reuters he was at a loss to understand the president’s comments. He said that his remarks in the passage were taken out of context, and that he was making it clear that to compete with MORENA, one had to use propaganda as the party did.
Al-Azraqi also posted a video on Twitter on Thursday condemning Lopez Obrador’s statements, and affirming his opposition to his policies. He concluded by saying that he forgave the president for the insults “because you don’t know what you’re doing.”
López Obrador noted that he had longstanding disagreements with the Alazraki but expressed respect for the Jewish community.
“I have very good friends in the Jewish community,” he said.
(Reporting by Valentine Heller and Dave Graham in Mexico City; Editing by Matthew Lewis)