This is a cross post by Mark Gardner from The CST Blog
In recent days, CST Blog has covered two separate examples of the debasement of Holocaust Memorial Day, as we fast approach its annual commemoration on 27thJanuary. (The first, by pro-Iranian group, Islamic Human Rights Commission is here. The second, by the Respect Party’s Lee Jasper is here.)
Now, a third example, this time by the Member of Parliament for Bradford East, David Ward (Liberal Democrat). His twitter feed is succinct:
Mr Ward sent the tweet on the day that he signed the Holocaust Educational Trust’sBook of Commitment in the House of Commons. Mr Ward’s website has a photograph of him signing the book and explains that the Book gives MPs
…the chance to honour those who were persecuted and killed during the Holocaust and encouraging constituents to work together to combat prejudice and racism today.
The website page has the same title as the tweet (without the hash tags) and states:
Bradford East MP, David Ward, has criticised Israel on the day he has signed a Book of Commitment in the House of Commons, in doing so pledging his commitment to Holocaust Memorial Day and honouring those who died during the Holocaust and in subsequent genocides.
Of course, there is ‘criticism’ and then there is ‘criticism’. So how exactly has the Bradford East MP “criticised Israel”? His website explains:
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.
Here we have someone who has visited Auschwitz in both a personal and professional capacity. The assumption, therefore, must surely be that he is most certainly not an antisemite. So, he is not an antisemite, but what exactly ought we to call a Member of Parliament who makes a crass Jews in Israel equal Naziscomparison?
…I am saddened that the Jews…within a few years of liberation…inflicting atrocities on Palestinians in the new State of Israel…daily basis…
The Guido Fawkes political website carries a Liberal Democrat Party criticism of its MP’s remarks:
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.
Mr Ward may know exactly where he stands on antisemitism, the Holocaust and the Israel-Palestine conflict. He may be utterly assured of his spotless morality and faultless compartmentalisation of all three issues. He may well have signed the Book of Commitment in order to encourage “constituents to work together to combat prejudice and racism today”.
Sadly, however, this is not quite how racism works; and neither is it how Jews (nor many others) will react to this latest opportunistic and amoral debasement of Holocaust commemoration.
Update. Karen Pollock MBE, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, states:
I am deeply saddened that at this sombre time, when we remember those who were murdered by the Nazis, Mr Ward has deliberately abused the memory of the Holocaust causing deep pain and offence – these comments are sickening and unacceptable and have no place in British politics.