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Extinction Rebellion hits out at co-founder after he calls Holocaust 'just another f**kery in human history'

In an interview, Roger Hallam compared the Holocaust to other historical massacres.

Extinction Rebellion co-founder Roger Hallam seen at a demonstration last year
Extinction Rebellion co-founder Roger Hallam seen at a demonstration last year
Image: Andres Pantoja/PA Images

CLIMATE ACTION GROUP Extinction Rebellion has moved to distance itself from comments made by its co-founder after he sparked outrage by referring to the Holocaust as “just another fuckery in human history”.

In an interview with Die Zeit newspaper, Roger Hallam, 53, compared the murder of six million Jewish people at the hands of the Nazis to other historical massacres and claimed that memory of the Shoah was holding Germany back.

“The extremity of a trauma … can create a paralysis in actually learning the lessons from it,” he told Die Zeit in an English-language interview.

“The fact of the matter is, millions of people have been killed in vicious circumstances on a regular basis throughout history.”

Hallam cited Belgian colonialists who “went to the Congo in the late 19th century and decimated it”.

A number of national Extinction Rebellion groups have since condemned his remarks.

In a statement, Extinction Rebellion UK said it unreservedly denounced Hallam’s comments, saying they were made in a personal capacity.

“Jewish people and many others are deeply wounded by the comments today,” the group said.

“Internal conversations have begun with the XR Conflict team about how to manage the conflict process that will address this issue. We stand by restorative outcomes as preferable, although in some cases exclusion is necessary.”

Hallam’s remarks were also criticised by German activists.

“We distance ourselves from Roger Hallam’s trivialising and relativising comments about the Holocaust,” Extinction Rebellion Germany tweeted.

“Roger has contravened the principles of XR and is no longer welcome at XR Germany,” the group said.

The Berlin branch of the organisation tweeted: “The systematic extermination of millions cannot be normalised. Never. Zero tolerance for anti-Semitism.”

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas also hit out Hallam’s comments.

“Industrially killing and exterminating Jews is uniquely inhuman. We must be always aware of this so that we can ensure: never again!”

German publisher Ullstein also said it was pulling out of publishing Hallam’s book.

In a statement, Ullstein said it “distances itself from all forms of current comments by Roger Hallam. For this reason, the book will not be published.”

With reporting from - © AFP 2019

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