World Jewish leaders on Friday praised Argentina's decision to order the departure of an ultra-traditionalist British Catholic bishop who caused an international uproar by denying the Holocaust. Bishop Richard Williamson has been given 10 days to leave the country or face expulsion.
Jews all over the world welcomed the Argentine government's decision ordering the expulsion of British bishop Richard Williamson. Argentina's Interior Minister Florencio Randazo announced that Bishop Williamson had 10 days to leave the country where he has lived for years or face expulsion.
The interior ministry said that the bishop's statements on the Holocaust profoundly insulted Argentine society, the Jewish community and all of humanity by denying the historic truth. The bishop denies that Jews died in gas chambers and has said no more than 300,000 died in Nazi concentration camps.
Aldo Donzis, President of the Argentine Delegation of Israeli Associations says the decision taken by the government was a reason for great celebration.
"We think it was a very good decision considering that this is a person who constantly denies the Holocaust in a country that is part of the taskforce - an international group made up of another 23 nations - to investigate and commemorate the Holocaust, and he continues to deny it, despite the fact that his brothers have told him to stop saying those things," he said.
Elan Steinberg, vice president of the American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors and their Descendants said, "the government of Argentina has advanced the cause of truth and struck a blow against hate".
Ronald Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress said the Argentine government's decision was commendable, even more so because the government made it clear that those who are Holocaust deniers are not welcome in the country. He called on other governments to follow Argentina's lead and crack down on anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial in their countries.
Williamson headed a traditionalist seminary near Buenos Aires until he was removed from that job earlier this month. The Argentine interior ministry said he had not declared his "true activity" as head of the seminary on immigration forms and had concealed the true motive for his stay in the country.
Bishop Williamson was one of four ultra-traditionalist bishops whose excommunications were lifted by Pope Benedict in January. The pope's decision to open the door for him to eventually be fully readmitted into the Church was met with widespread criticism by Jews and many Catholics.
The Vatican, which has ordered Williamson to retract his comments on the Holocaust, said it had no comment on the expulsion order by Argentina.