Rodrigo Duterte
Rodrigo DuterteReuters

Ronald S. Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress, said that the implied praise issued by President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines for Hitler is "revolting" and "unacceptable."

Lauder, in Jerusalem for the funeral of Shimon Peres, condemned Duterte for saying he would be happy to slaughter drug addicts in his country just as Hitler slaughtered the Jews. “These statements are revolting, and President Duterte must retract them and apologize,” said Lauder, who heads the international organization representing Jewish communities to the government of 100 countries.

Duterte said, "Hitler massacred three million Jews, now, there is [sic] three million drug addicts. I'd be happy to slaughter them." He then continued, "At least Germany had Hitler. The Philippines wouldn't… [I would like to] finish the problem of my country and save the next generation."

“We just marked the 75th anniversary of Babi Yar," Lauder said, "the massacre of more than 33,000 Jews in Ukraine by Nazi Germany in a mere two days. Now, the elected leader of the Philippines openly calls for the mass murder of people who are addicted to drugs."

Acknowledging that "drug abuse is a serious issue," Lauder said that still, "what President Duterte said is not only profoundly inhumane, but it demonstrates an appalling disrespect for human life that is truly heart-breaking for the democratically elected leader of a great country."

Duterte made the strange remarks in the city of Davao, where he previously served as mayor and implemented a tough anti-crime policy.

Tens of thousands of citizens of the Philippines work in Israel, almost all of them as caregivers.