Baroness Ashton speech attacked

By Jennifer Lipman, March 22, 2012

The European Union's High Representative has been criticised for attempting to "draw parallels" between the killings in France and the situation in Gaza. Baroness Ashton, told the "Palestine Refugees in the changing Middle East" conference in Brussels: "When we think of what happened in Toulouse today, when we remember what happened in Norway a year ago, when we know what is happening in Syria, when we see what is happening in Gaza and Sderot and in different parts of the world - we remember young people and children who lose their lives."

Original reports of her speech omitted the words "and Sderot", even though videos show that she did mention the Negev city that comes under frequent missile attacks from Gaza.

However, her comments, which she later said had been "grossly distorted", were criticised in Israel and the Jewish community. Avigdor Lieberman, Israel's Foreign Minister, said he viewed them as "inappropriate", while the chief executives of the Board of Deputies, the Community Security Trust and the Jewish Leadership Council, along with John Mann MP, chair of the All-party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism, described them in a joint statement as "deeply offensive".

Last updated: 4:27pm, March 22 2012