A New York City cab driver, who was suspended for wearing a Nazi armband while driving his taxi, insisted on Friday that he has a right to display his National Socialist beliefs.
Diaz told CBS that being a National Socialist did not make him an anti-Semite. “I don’t hate Jews. I’m critical of them, but I don’t hate them. That doesn’t mean that I’m anti-Semitic. That don’t make me a hater,” he said.
But when asked whether he knew that 6 million Jews were exterminated by the Nazis, Diaz refused to comment saying only that he believes “we have been told lies about Hitler our whole lives.”
While it is not illegal to wear a swastika on the streets of New York, it is against the law to wear one while driving one of the city’s infamous yellow cabs.
Diaz was suspended by the Taxi and Limousine Commission for thirty days after pleading guilty to violating its employment rules.
The Anti-Defamation League, which had complained to the Commission after receiving pictures of Diaz wearing the armband from the public, applauded the decision, saying “in disciplining the driver, the TLC sends a powerful message that such a vehement demonstration of hate is unacceptable.”
The ADL’s Evan Bernstein also commended the quick response of the regulatory agency. “Their course of action, we felt, was really appropriate and expedient. Hopefully, (Diaz) realizes this is wrong. Hopefully, he learns from this mistake.”
But the cab driver expressed no such remorse. “It paints me that I have to apologize. You know, it pains me. I don’t want to apologize. Why don’t they suspend a Muslim for wearing a turban?”
Diaz stressed that his rights were being curtailed, “If I have to apologize then a homosexual should have to apologize for being open and gay.”
The cab driver, however, promised to leave the swastika apparel at home when he returns to his work.