Jewish groups slam MP for 'highly irresponsible' vaccine Holocaust tweet

Andrew Bridgen was suspended from the party after Whips said he 'crossed the line'


Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen speaks to the media next to Parliament in central London after Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May won a confidence vote on December 12, 2018. - (Photo by Niklas HALLE'N / AFP) (Photo credit should read NIKLAS HALLE'N/AFP via Getty Images)

Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen has had the Whip removed after he 'crossed the line' with a tweet where he quoted a doctor comparing covid vaccines to the Holocaust.

In a tweet on Wednesday, Mr Bridgen commented on an article appearing on far-right libertarian financial website Zerohedge, which claims those who underwent vaccinations for covid-19 were much more likely to experience serious health conditions.

Among other statistics, the article alleges that serious adverse health effects in the following months were 5.5 more likely for those who underwent mRNA vaccinations.

Commenting on the article, Mr Bridgen said: “As one consultant cardiologist said to me this is the biggest crime against humanity since the holocaust.”

As a result of the Tweet, Simon Hart MP, Chief Whip removed the whip from Mr Bridgen and opened a formal party investigation.

Mr Hart said: "Misinformation about the vaccine causes harm and costs lives. I am removing the Whip from Andrew Bridgen with immediate effect, pending a formal investigation."

Speaking at Wednesday’s PMQs, former health secretary Matt Hancock asked Prime Minister Rishi Sunak if he would agree with him that the “disgusting, antisemitic, anti-vax conspiracy theory that has been promulgated online this morning are not only deeply offensive, but anti-scientific and have no place in this House or our wider society?”

Sunak also condemned the remarks, saying: “I join with my Rt Hon friend in completely condemning those types of comments that we saw this morning in the strongest possible terms.

“Obviously it’s utterly unacceptable to make linkages and use language like that, and I’m determined that the scourge of antisemitism is eradicated. It has absolutely no place in our society and I know that the previous few years have been challenging for the Jewish community and I never want them to experience anything like that ever again.”

A spokesperson for the Conservative Party told the JC: “The vaccine is the best defence that we have against COVID. Misinformation about the vaccine causes harm and costs lives.”

Olivia Marks-Woldman OBE, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, told the JC: “We find it disturbing particularly as we approach Holocaust Memorial Day that some people think it’s appropriate to invoke the imagery of the Holocaust to score political points. The murder of six million people is not a subject for flippant analogies or political exploitation. There are other ways in which people can get their messages across, without using genocide as shock value. We owe it to victims of the Holocaust – and survivors - not to minimise their pain and suffering.”

Chief Executive of CST, Mark Gardner, told the JC that Mr Bridgen's Tweet was a "repulsive, hurtful and idiotic comparison to make. It is right that he has been suspended."

The Board of Deputies of British Jews Tweeted: "For an MP to suggest that Covid vaccines are the biggest crime against humanity since the Holocaust is unconscionable. We will be writing to the Chair of the Conservative Party Nadhim Zahawi to express our deep concern and to ask for clarification as to what action will be taken."

Karen Pollock CBE, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust: “The Holocaust was the systematic murder of 6 million Jewish men, women and children. They were stripped of their citizenship, their rights, and their humanity. They were thrown out of their homes and forced into ghettos and camps, before being murdered in towns and cities, forests and ravines, and in purpose-built killing centres.

"Today, the antisemitism and hatred that led to the Holocaust persists. Jews in the UK and beyond are targeted on the streets and online. Elderly Holocaust survivors share their darkest memories, day in and day out, in the hope that the world will remember the truth of what the Holocaust was, and will speak out against its denigration, misuse and abuse.

For these horrors to be co-opted by anti-vaxxers once again is appalling. Andrew Bridgen’s words were highly irresponsible, wholly inappropriate and an elected politician should know better.”

Lord Pickles, the United Kingdom Special Envoy for Post-Holocaust Issues said: "Throughout the pandemic we saw various anti-vac groups compare themselves to victims of the Nazis, it was distasteful then and remains so. The act of murdering millions of innocent people does not lend itself to modern comparisons, it trivialises and distorts the Holocaust.

"People in authority have a duty to use language responsibly, Mr Bridgen has failed that test, and I welcome the removal of the Conservative whip from him”

The website Mr Bridgen responded to in his tweet, ZeroHedge, founded in 2009 as a financial blog, is notorious for spreading antisemitic conspiracy theories and fringe rhetoric.

The site’s contributors, who collectively write under the pseudonym Tyler Durden, have among other things claimed that Jewish media mogul George Soros is a “globalist” concerned with the destruction of national borders, and who finances the European refugee crisis.

The site’s non-financial commentary has led to them being banned on social media platforms in the past such as Twitter and Facebook.

Bridgen was suspended from the House of Commons earlier this week, after a parliamentary inquiry found that he breached rules on lobbying.

Bridgen has been approached for comment.

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