Douglas Alexander attacks critics who compare Israel to Nazis

Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander at the Birkenau camp (Photo: Blake Ezra)

Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander at the Birkenau camp (Photo: Blake Ezra)

Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander has attacked critics who compare Israel’s actions to those of the Nazis.

Following a tour of Auschwitz, the Labour frontbencher said people who liken Israel’s treatment of Palestinians to the suffering of Jews in concentration camps are “as offensive as they are ignorant”.

He added it was essential to be “constantly on guard against the virus that is antisemitism”.

Mr Alexander visited Poland on Tuesday with school pupils taking part in the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Lessons from Auschwitz project.

Speaking to the JC during his flight back to London, he said the spreading of lies about the Shoah, and the increasing application of the term “Holocaust” to everyday events, must stop.

“The Holocaust stands apart, both in the depth of the horror and the nature of the premeditated murder. To draw easy, casual comparisons with other situations is unworthy of the nature of what happened in Auschwitz-Birkenau and other death camps,” he said.

Mr Alexander said he would defy Holocaust deniers to “see what I saw today and then continue to promulgate malign and evil lies” about the Shoah.

Reflecting on the experience of standing in the death camp’s crematoria alongside sixth-form students, the MP said: “I wanted to listen and learn. It was a searing personal experience. The industrial scale of the murder designed and delivered here is shocking to observe. It has been a haunting, challenging day.”

Mr Alexander praised HET’s “extraordinary” work, and the efforts of the students taking part in the project. It includes them meeting survivors and working as ambassadors to teach fellow pupils about the Holocaust.

He also issued a warning over the growing popularity of far-right and neo-Nazi parties across the continent ahead of next May’s European Parliament elections.

The Golden Dawn party in Greece, and Jobbik in Hungary, posed a particular threat, Mr Alexander said.

“This is a time of peril. We should resolve to take what action we can to confront the rise of popular extreme-right neo-nationalism.”

Last updated: 4:33pm, November 21 2013