Friday, January 25, 2013

British MP Compares Israel/Palestine Conflict To Holocaust

David Ward, a British Liberal Democrat party MP, caused a furor with the following statement to Asian Image magazine after signing the House of Commons Holocaust Educational Trust's Book of Commitment, and posting it on his website:

“Having visited Auschwitz twice – once with my family and once with local schools – I am saddened that the Jews, who suffered unbelievable levels of persecution during the Holocaust, could within a few years of liberation from the death camps be inflicting atrocities on Palestinians in the new State of Israel and continue to do so on a daily basis in the West Bank and Gaza.”

Comparing what is happening in Palestine to the Holocaust is not only outrageous it smacks of anti-Semitism.

The Commentator goes on to say:

Ward's statements come at a particularly sensitive time, and many will argue that the comments indeed are in breach of the European Union Monitoring Centre's definition on anti-Semitism, of which it is stated that, "Denying the fact, scope, mechanisms (e.g. gas chambers) or intentionality of the genocide of the Jewish people at the hands of National Socialist Germany and its supporters and accomplices during World War II (the Holocaust)" is a particular example of anti-Semitism.

Ward's comments may be said to fall foul of the definition, as they actively seek to contrast the Middle East conflict, which is indeed an ongoing conflict between various parties, with the oppression and mass slaughter of the Jews under Nazi Germany.

David Ward is the Member of Parliament for Bradford East, the constituency that neighbours George Galloway's Bradford West. Campaigners have told The Commentator that Ward's comments are 'disgusting, deplorable and factually inaccurate, bordering on anti-Semitism and breaching all levels of common decency in the run up to Holocaust Memorial Day".

David Ward MP has contacted The Commentator to make a statement, explaining that he believes, "The Holocaust was one of the worst examples in history man's inhumanity to man. When faced with examples of atrocious behaviour, we must learn from them. It appears that the suffering by the Jews has not transformed their views on how others should be treated."

Ward also went on to say that he does not believe juxtaposing the Middle East conflict with the Holocaust is conflating the two, and that he is due to attend a Holocaust Memorial event in Bradford later today.
But apparently members of the Liberal Democrat party have a penchant for criticizing Israel. Ward has also called Israel an "apartheid regime",  which is factually incorrect, and Baroness Jenny Tonge said, "Israel is not going to be there forever".  Ward also encouraged people to protest or boycott Israeli athletes during the 2012 London Olympic Games.

The Commentator did update their article:

UPDATE: The Liberal Democrat party has denounced Ward's statements. Telling the Guido Fawkes blog: “This is a matter we take extremely seriously. The Liberal Democrats deeply regret and condemn the statement issued by David Ward and his use of language which is unacceptable.”
UPDATE 2: David Ward has removed the offending statement from his website.

Anti-Semitism is alive and well in good old England, and not even from those you'd expect it from.

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