The founder of Hong Kong’s Asian Jewish Life journal has criticised a speaker at a police rally for comparing insults against officers with the Nazi persecution of Jews in World War II. Erica Cohen Lyons called the comments “entirely inappropriate.”

A video taken by Apple Daily showed a speaker at the rally describing how officers are often insulted by protesters.

police rally jews nazi holocaust
The speaker making a reference to the persecution of Jews. screenshots.

“How I would describe it is: it’s like in the second world war. We are Jews, and we are being persecuted. We are like the Jews being persecuted by the Nazi armies. Am I right?”

The crowd then shouted “yes!”

Lyons told HKFP that it was inappropriate for the officers to equate their experience with protesters to the experience of persecuted Jews.

“It is more than a mere misplaced reference,” she said. “It trivialises the deaths of 6 million innocent Jewish men, women and children who were slaughtered by a brutal regime.”

Erica Lyons police rally
Erica Lyons (left) and the police rally. Photo: Erica Lyons/HKFP.

“The officers may feel put upon, but they are facing shouts and jeers, not a genocidal regime.”

In a statement, the Consulate-General of Israel in Hong Kong said it wishes no further comparisons will be made between the seven police officers and the Holocaust.

“Without relating to the trial of the seven police officers, the alleged statement at the rally yesterday that made a reference to the persecution of Jews in Nazi Germany is inappropriate and regretful,” it said.

In a Facebook post, the Hong Kong Holocaust & Tolerance Centre said the comments “trivialised” the Holocaust.

Criminalising insults 

Another unidentified speaker at the event led the crowd in chants of “fuck your mother,” in an effort to “imitate” how police officers would sometimes be insulted by protesters.

Several speakers called on the Legislative Council to pass a law that would criminalise insulting the police force.

police rally
Photo: HKFP/Kris Cheng.

The rally on Wednesday evening was held in support of seven policemen who were convicted of assaulting activist Ken Tsang during the 2014 pro-democracy Occupy protests.

Maria Tam Wai-chu, Hong Kong deputy to China’s national legislature, said at the rally she established a fund to assist the relatives of the seven convicted police officers.

She added that “friends from the banking sector” had called her, saying that they would hire the seven officers after their two-year sentence.

Organisers claimed that 38,000 attended the rally at its peak.

Elson Tong is a graduate of international relations and former investigations consultant. He has also written for Stand News.