A Sydney-area mayor who urged his residents to “be a good Jew” and “screw the last dollar out” has apologized.
Greg Watson of Shoalhaven, a district south of Sydney, made the remarks Tuesday during a heated public meeting on the sale of public land.
Watson said, “Why don’t you jack the prices up? Why don’t you be a good Jew? Why don’t you screw the last dollar out?”
Watson told the Australian Jewish News his wife is Jewish and his comments were made in the heat of the moment.
“It was in the context that Jews are good businesspeople and would make a profit out of it [the sale of the land],” he said. “If I had thought about what I was saying, I wouldn’t have said it at all.”
New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies CEO Vic Alhadeff told JTA, “Such racism is unconscionable, even more so as it was expressed by a person in a position of leadership and in a public forum. Such sentiments invariably stem from bigotry, ignorance or a combination of both, and have no place in a society which respects diversity and celebrates difference.”