School row on Holocaust Memorial Day

A church minister allegedly used an address at a Holocaust Memorial Day assembly at a Scottish school to accuse Israel of its own Holocaust.

Reverend David Smith, minister of the Kirk of the Holy Rood in Grangemouth, Falkirk, made the comments after he lit a memorial candle at the assembly at Grangemouth High School last Thursday.

Jewish pupil Jacob Pearson, 16, said: "He decided to delve into his recent trip to Israel, and described what he called the "irony" that the "hate of the Holocaust lives on in Israel", making a comparison between the Warsaw Ghetto and what he called the "Bethlehem Ghetto".

"I was angry when he said it. As soon as the words came out of his mouth I knew that I wasn't going to be able to let someone say something so insulting during a remembrance service for the Holocaust.

"I worry for the future of Holocaust education if men who make comments like this are given such an important platform."

The school organised a meeting between the minister and Jacob.

A Church of Scotland spokesman said: "Reverend Smith joined in solidarity with people all over the world as he and pupils from Grangemouth High paid tribute to the tragic victims of the Holocaust and other genocides during a special school assembly.

"During the assembly the minister gave his personally-held views during a reflection on his recent visit to Israel and Palestine." Mr Smith did not make himself available for further comment.

    Last updated: 10:34am, February 4 2011