Lee Jasper shows no respect for Israel or HMD

By Jennifer Lipman, January 24, 2013

Respect Party politician Lee Jasper has defended comments in which he used Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) to mount an attack on Israel as a "racist oppressor".

Mr Jasper, a former equalities adviser to Ken Livingstone, wrote on Twitter and Facebook this week: "We are asked to remember that which Israel has forgotten, that religious & racial hatred is a sin against God.

"Israel has failed to learn the lessons of its own tragic history having evolved into a racist oppressor," and tagged his comment with the accusation "apartheid".

Asked whether the conflation of the current situation in Israel and the genocide of six million Jews was appropriate, Mr Jasper said it was "entirely" so. "I don't know whether there is a sort of Holocaust bar that you've got to reach in relation to these things," he said.

"HMD is a time for reflection… not just on the extent to which other communities have learnt the great lesson of history in relation to the Jewish Holocaust, but to what extent to which Israel itself has learnt those lessons".

Mr Jasper recently stood unsuccessfully in a London by-election for George Galloway's Respect party.

He went on to say that as HMD was about not forgetting "so that we avoid the mistakes of the past in the future", it was right to acknowledge "the fact that it is with some irony that Israel is in the place where it is deemed to be an apartheid nation.

"Israel has unfortunately, with such acute failure to learn its own lessons from history, allowed itself to turn into the very thing that it despises the most, a political ideology that seeks to oppress people on the basis of race or religion."

Last updated: 2:49pm, January 24 2013