Formula One Chief Implicates Jews in the Banking Crisis

By Haaretz Service

Published July 08, 2009.
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When Formula One mogul Bernie Eccleston was forced to apologize for making remarks about Hitler’s ability to “get things done,” the 78-year-old billionaire proceeded to accuse the Jews of contributing to the world’s banking crisis, British daily the Daily Mail reported Wednesday.

Last weekend, in an interview with London’s The Times, Ecclestone made several remarks that sparked a bitter row.

When Ecclestone was informed that the Hitler remark, coupled with other outbursts, had prompted the World Jewish Congress to call for his resignation as the head of Formula One, he replied “it’s a pity they didn’t sort the banks out.” Asked to clarify, he added, “they have a lot of influence everywhere.”

This comment only served to fan the already existing flames, raising suggestions of a boycott of Formula One by German-owned racing teams, including BMW and Mercedes, the Daily Mail reported.

A spokesman for Germany’s Central Council of Jews said “No team should work with him any more — a boycott would be more than appropriate.”

Earlier Wednesday, the British newspaper the Jewish Chronicle reported that Ecclestone had canceled his trip to Germany, the site of a major grand prix racing event.

“Those who don’t know me think I support Hitler’s atrocities; those who do know me have told me how unwise I was to articulate my points so badly that it should have been so widely misunderstood,” Bernie Ecclestone told British media on Tuesday.

“I’m just sorry I was an idiot. I sincerely, genuinely apologize,” he said.

The World Jewish Congress had called on Ecclestone to resign or announce his own suspension after the Formula One chief’s praise of Hitler appeared in an outspoken interview with London’s The Times.

He was quoted as saying that democracy “hasn’t done a lot of good for many countries — including this one [The United Kingdom].”

“In a lot of ways, terrible to say this I suppose, but apart from the fact that Hitler got taken away and persuaded to do things that I have no idea whether he wanted to do or not, he was in the way that he could command a lot of people, able to get things done,” Ecclestone was quoted as saying.

“In the end he got lost, so he wasn’t a very good dictator.”

Ecclestone also told The Times that Saddam Hussein, the executed former dictator of Iraq, “was the only one who could control that country.”

He was quoted as saying that democracy “hasn’t done a lot of good for many countries — including this one.”

“In a lot of ways, terrible to say this I suppose, but apart from the fact that Hitler got taken away and persuaded to do things that I have no idea whether he wanted to do or not, he was in the way that he could command a lot of people, able to get things done,” Ecclestone was quoted as saying.

“In the end he got lost, so he wasn’t a very good dictator.”

Ecclestone, 78, first apologized in an interview with the German daily Bild Zeitung on Monday, saying his remarks had been taken out of context.






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