BANGKOK — Photos of two men who cosplayed as a wartime German army drew condemnation from Israeli Embassy in Bangkok – and much support from Thai netizens.
The unidentified men were photographed wearing the uniforms, which bore swastika signs, as they were posing for photos in front of a Christmas tree in Bangkok. The Israeli ambassador called it an “insult” to millions of Jews and other victims murdered by the Nazi regime during the Second World War.
“I am disappointed to see the sad reoccurrence of incidents in which Nazi symbols are displayed on random occasions in Thailand,” Meir Shlomo wrote online. “There is yet a lot to be done in Thailand through proper education and public awareness.”
The embassy later removed the photos because one of the two men reached out and apologized to the embassy, it said.
But many comments on the post were sympathetic to the men, and accused the Israeli embassy of overreacting.
“Why are you so thin-skinned? They are historical reenactors. They know well what good and evil the background of those uniforms implies,” user Peerawit Insang wrote. “Don’t think your Jewish brethren were the only ones who were hurt.”
“When it comes to what Israel did to its neighboring countries in history, how it violated sovereignty and humanitarian principles … you didn’t take any action or care at all,” Pongsakorn Chatsri wrote.
“The past happened so long ago. Stop whining and move on already,” Thanwa Mormuang commented. “When Jews were killing Islamic nations, you were silent.”
“You are Jews. Don’t mess with us. Mind your own business, and Thailand will mind ours,” Kitti Rojjana wrote.
Public displays and even glorification of Nazi symbols are a recurring issue in Thailand.
In 2016, Silpakorn University students cosplayed as Nazi Party leader Adolf Hitler. Chulalongkorn University graduates in 2013 performed Nazi salutes for photos in front of a mural of “superheroes” which also included Hitler.
In early 2018, an idol singer also wore a Nazi war flag shirt during a rehearsal onstage. She later apologized and engaged in campaigns to raise awareness about the Holocaust.