Jews Outrage after Thai Men Dressed as "Nazis" in Christmas Display
Israel's ambassador to Thailand says "ignorance is to blame" after photos emerged of two men posing as Wehrmacht officers in a busy Bangkok mall.
A photo published by online news website Stickboy Bangkok shows two men of Asian ancestry atop a Christmas-themed platform sponsored by Mastercard at central Bangkok's CentralWorld mall.
They were giving the thumbs-up while dressed in the military regalia of National Socialist Germany.
A second photo shows the side-profile of one of the men standing upright, as casually dressed crowds walk past him. Others are seen taking photos of the scene on their smartphones.
The head-pieces and coats clearly show NS iconography, which includes black swastikas and an iteration of the reichsadler — the National Socialist interpretation of the German Imperial Eagle.
Responding on Twitter, Thailand's Israeli Embassy quoted ambassador Meir Shlomo saying he was "disappointed to see the sad reoccurrence of incidents in which Nazi symbols are displayed on random occasions in Thailand".
"Needless to say, that this is an insult to the 6 million Jews and other victims of the Nazi regime, and their relatives," he said.
"There is yet a lot to be done in Thailand through proper education and public awareness."
But in a written statement to the ABC, Shlomo said he was "not concerned about the level of anti-Semitism in Thailand".
"I am aware that the vast majority of such incidents which are happening in Thailand stem from ignorance and due to lack of awareness regarding the implications," Shlomo said.
"I do not make any generalisations and claim that Thailand has a problem of anti-Semitism, but I do believe that ignorance about the Holocaust does exist."
On Twitter, Mastercard distanced itself from the two men and said it was "appalled" by the images.
"We condemn violence, hate speech and the images in these photos. They are offensive and they are morally wrong," the company wrote.
CentralWorld also said it was "appalled" by the images on Twitter, but it copped criticism for describing the men dressed in "military-like uniforms" rather than in explicit NS regalia.
The mall's statement also alleged the men were performing "obscene gestures".