Labour MP condemned for Gaza-Holocaust comparison

Labour MP Yasmin Qureshi

Labour MP Yasmin Qureshi

The Holocaust Educational Trust has condemned a Labour MP who compared the situation in Gaza to the treatment of the Jews during the Holocaust.

During a Parliamentary debate on the humanitarian situation facing Palestinians on Wednesday, Yasmin Qureshi drew parallels with the Shoah.

The Bolton South East MP suggested it was "quite strange" that the Israeli government was "complacent and happy" to allow Palestinians to be treated like "Jews who suffered genocide".

Her remarks were also challenged by Labour Friends of Israel. The group called for Ms Qureshi to apologise.

During the debate, the MP said: "What has struck me in all this is that the state of Israel was founded because of what happened to the millions and millions of Jews who suffered genocide.

"Their properties, homes and land - everything - were taken away, and they were deprived of rights. Of course, many millions perished.

"It is quite strange that some of the people who are running the state of Israel seem to be quite complacent and happy to allow the same to happen in Gaza."

In response, Karen Pollock, HET chief executive, said: "While current events in the Middle East understandably stir emotions, it is astonishing to think that anyone could visit Auschwitz-Birkenau, learn about the industrial nature of the Nazi's murderous regime, even walk through a gas chamber - and then make these offensive and inappropriate comparisons.

"We expect our politicians to speak responsibly and sensitively about the past and about events today. These lazy and deliberate distortions have no place in British politics."

LFI director Jennifer Gerber said she "strongly condemned" the "comparisons between the Holocaust and the situation in Gaza".

She said: "In her remarks, she directly links Israeli policies towards the Palestinian people to the Nazis' efforts to exterminate world Jewry.

"This is both deeply offensive to the memory of the Holocaust and its millions of victims, but also wilfully ignorant of the actual situation in Gaza.

"We would ask Ms Qureshi to apologise for her remarks, and to cease using such upsetting and offensive comparisons."

Last updated: 2:19pm, February 7 2014