A Labour MP has been accused of making “lazy and deliberate distortions” after equating the Holocaust with the plight of Palestinians.
The comments from Yasmin Qureshi, the MP for Bolton south-east, came during a Westminster hall debate on the humanitarian situation in Gaza Wednesday.
During the debate in which she clashed with CFI chair James Clappison, the barrister 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.”
The comments have been reported to Labour by party member Tal Ofer, who is also a member of the European Jewish Parliament. It’s understood that the comments will be raised by the Jewish Leadership Council, as part of the wider issue of the delegitimisation of Israel, during planned talks next week.
Jennifer Gerber, the director of Labour Friends of Israel, said “LFI strongly condemns” the remarks in which “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.”
Holocaust Educational Trust chief executive Karen Pollock said: “Whilst 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.”
Ofer said: “As a member of Labour Party and as someone whose family members were holocaust victims, I find Qureshi’s comments very offensive. I have reported it to the party officials and I hope that disciplinary action is taken.”