Australian activist sorry for anti-Semitic remarks


SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) — A human rights activist living in Australia has apologized to the Jewish community over his high-profile anti-Semitic remarks.

Maqsood Alshams, who had organized a conference on Palestine to be held Thursday at the New South Wales Parliament House, called off the event Wednesday after a furor erupted over his anti-Semitic remarks, including describing Jews as “motherf—— bastards.”

Maqsood, a Bangladesh-born asylum seeker who founded the Asia Pacific Human Rights Institute, wrote the remarks in private e-mails.

“I am ashamed to say they were made at a time when I was intoxicated and angry,” Alshams said. “Of course, there is no excuse for such remarks.”

New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies CEO Vic Alhadeff said in a statement, “Our community felt from the outset that if the conference went ahead, it would have been irredeemably tainted with bias, given the lack of balance and the anti-Semitic comments made by the principal organizer.”

The conference, convened by Alshams with three major universities, was scheduled to discuss the possibility of Israel being prosecuted by the International Court of Justice because its actions in Gaza constituted a “war crime and crime against humanity."

Alshams, who once was nominated for the National Human Rights Award, had written in a private e-mail to Richard Benkin, a human rights activist in Chicago, “You guys [Jews] are simply a–holes" and "Stop playing the bloody victim games. You scums need to leave Palestine ASAP.”

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