Holocaust images displayed in a viral email alongside pictures taken during Israel’s military operation in Gaza have been condemned as grossly offensive.
Forty-two Shoah pictures and an equal number depicting what areclaimed to be equivalent scenes from Gaza have been emailed all over the world.
Eric Moonman, president of the Zionist Federation, said: “These pictures are grossly offensive and I am reporting them to the police as a malicious communication.
“I believe this should be reported because I know they have been sent to members of Christian organisations who are friendly towards Israel as well as Jewish individuals and groups.
“As a community, we are under a lot of pressure at the moment. But we must not lose sight of the fact that some of the material being used as propaganda deserves attention.”
Among the pictures is the famous Warsaw Ghetto photo of a boy in a peaked cap with his hands in the air.
The origin of the email is unknown. The email describes the Warsaw Ghetto picture as “the classic propaganda machine”, adding: “It’s supposed to make you sympathise with the victims and to support their cause for justice and a homeland.”
Many of the pictures show the bloody bodies of slain children; others show people behind barbed wire or being herded at gunpoint.
Rabbi Barry Marcus, a trustee of Holocaust Memorial Day and patron of Yad Vashem, said: “I agree with Mr Moonman that this is a malicious communication. Someone has gone to a lot of trouble to try to pervert the Holocaust like this. The person who did this was morally bereft.
“This is a desecration of the memory of all those in the pictures and who died in the Holocaust. To see this on Holocaust Memorial Day has caused me great distress.”
Mark Gardner, communications director of the Community Security Trust, said: “The CST is aware of numerous individuals and organisations having received this despicable email.
“Rhetoric has consequences and when people air these obscenities, they are giving a very dangerous signal that in effect says nothing is any longer off limits when it comes to hating and abusing the mainstream of the Jewish community.”