Kooyong candidate sorry for Nazi post

April 22, 2022

Sharri Markson and Sophie Elsworth
The Australian
22 April 2022

Independent candidate for Kooyong Monique Ryan has apologised for a social media post that trivialised Nazism and has been described by a Holocaust survivor as “very upsetting”.

A 2017 Facebook post of Dr Ryan’s surfaced and was obtained by The Australian this week that showed her sharing a meme replicating Adolf Hitler’s autobiography, Mein Kampf, using a photo of former US president Donald Trump on the cover of a mock version renamed Mein Covfefe.

Holocaust survivor Phillip Maisel said he was surprised Dr Ryan would share such an offensive image online and make comments trivialising the Nazis’ murder of millions of Jews.

“The Holocaust is an event which should be a lesson to humans about humanity in dissent,” Mr Maisel, 99, said.

“Germany was a very cultured nation and the barbarism was unbelievable, and at the very least Dr Ryan should apologise.”

Victorian Liberal senator James Paterson also condemned Dr Ryan’s post, labelling it “insensitive”.

“This is now a very disturbing pattern of behaviour of insensitive comments from Climate 200 candidates and their supporters about Nazism and the Holocaust,” he said. “It’s also grossly inappropriate to compare a democratically elected leader of our major ally to Hitler.”

Goldstein independent Zoe Daniel’s campaign manager, Sue Barrett, also came under fire after using social media in 2020 to trivialise Hitler, posting “Hitler altered reality with drugs & (PM Scott) Morrison uses religion”.

In Dr Ryan’s 2017 post, she wrote above the image of Mr Trump, “this book is so covfefe right now”. The word covfefe was published in a tweet by Mr Trump that year and he was ridiculed for it, with many believing he meant to write the word coffee.

Below the meme was a fake post pretending to be written by Mr Trump: “New book is almost finished. It’s filled with the best words. Many are so good you’ve never even heard of them.”

Dr Ryan is running as a candidate in the hotly contested Victorian seat of Kooyong against incumbent Liberal MP and federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, who is Jewish.

When contacted by The Australian, a spokesman for Dr Ryan said “the posting of this meme was a poor attempt at humour”.

“Dr Ryan agrees that the post could be seen as offensive and she is deeply regretful of any hurt that she has caused to any member of the community, including members of the Jewish community and all other communities persecuted by the Nazis,” he said.

“Dr Ryan is deeply sorry to anyone who is offended by her misguided attempts at humour.”

Australia Israel and Jewish Affairs Council executive director Colin Rubinstein said the post was a “cheap, snide and tasteless effort”. “Such comparisons risk trivialising the crimes of the Nazis,” he said. “It’s therefore not a good look for an aspiring politician, especially one whose campaign focuses on personal integrity, to be associated with the circulation of this material.”

Issues continue to surround Climate 200 candidates and their views on Israel. Earlier this week Mount Scopus Memorial College principal Rabbi James Kennard, the head of Melbourne’s largest Jewish school, wrote to former ABC journalist Ms Daniel in a public Facebook post demanding answers on why her signature remains on a controversial letter that remains online accusing Israel of maintaining an “apartheid regime against Palestinians”.

Ms Daniel has refused to remove her signature from the letter she signed last year.

The Goldstein electorate, held by Liberal Tim Wilson, has the third-largest Jewish population in Australia.

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