Lib Dem MP criticised for 'abusing memory' of Holocaust victims

David Ward

David Ward

The chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust has expressed her disappointment over the comments by a Liberal Democrat MP accusing "the Jews" of atrocities in Gaza.

David Ward compared modern Israel to the Nazi regime in remarks on his website - now deleted - made after he signed the Trust's Book of Commitment ahead of Holocaust Memorial day 2013.

The Bradford MP said: "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."

Karen Pollock said Mr Ward had "abused the memory" of the victims of the Nazis.

"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," she said. "These comments are sickening and unacceptable and have no place in British politics."

His comments were also criticised by Mark Gardner of the Community Security Trust. "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," said Mr Gardner. "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 Nazis comparison?"

Mr Ward's party said they were taking the matter "extremely seriously". "We deeply regret and condemn the statement issued by David Ward and his use of language which is unacceptable."

Accoridng to Guido Fawkes' blog, Mr Ward is standing by his comemnts and told Radio 5 that he refused to be stifled.

Last year Mr Ward urged the government to support a protest "at events involving Israeli Olympians to highlight the plight of the Palestinians and to bring to public awareness the apartheid regime in Israel".

Last updated: 3:01pm, January 25 2013