Corbyn sorry for ‘hurt’ over Holocaust memorial event comparing Israel to Nazis
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Corbyn sorry for ‘hurt’ over Holocaust memorial event comparing Israel to Nazis

Labour leader apologises for historic event as the CAA refers Labour to the Equality and Human Rights Commission

Jeremy Corbyn with survivor Hajo Meyer at the talk in 2010. The banner in the background reads 'international Jewish Anti-Zionist Network'
Jeremy Corbyn with survivor Hajo Meyer at the talk in 2010. The banner in the background reads 'international Jewish Anti-Zionist Network'

Jeremy Corbyn has apologised for “concerns or anxiety” after it was revealed that he hosted a parliamentary event in 2010 where an Auschwitz survivor denounced the “Holocaust religion”.

The Labour leader hosted the London event as part of a tour called ‘Never Again – For Anyone,’ featuring Hajo Meyer, a Jewish Auschwitz survivor and anti-Zionist who regularly compared Israeli actions to those of the Nazis.

At the event, Meyer – who died in 2014 – said: “Judaism in Israel has been substituted by the Holocaust religion, whose high priest is Elie Wiesel.”

Another speaker at the Scottish leg of the event, Haider Eid, patched in from Gaza, reportedly said: “The world was absolutely wrong to think that Nazism was defeated in 1945. Nazism has won because it has finally managed to Nazify the consciousness of its own victims.”

In a statement on Tuesday night, Corbyn said: “The main speaker at this Holocaust Memorial Day meeting was a Jewish Auschwitz survivor. Views were expressed at the meeting which I do not accept or condone.”

He added: “In the past, in pursuit of justice for the Palestinian people and peace in Israel/Palestine, I have on occasion appeared on platforms with people whose views I completely reject. I apologise for the concerns and anxiety that this has caused.”

Community Security Trust (CST) spokesman Dave Rich said: “Using Holocaust Memorial Day as a platform for comparing Gaza to Auschwitz looks very much like a deliberate provocation, and comments about Judaism being replaced by a ‘Holocaust religion’ are grotesque.”

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Karen Pollock, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust took to Twitter to say: “On Holocaust Memorial Day, when people from all backgrounds, parties & faiths came together to remember the unique evil of the Holocaust,Mr Corbyn chose to chair an event undermining its very purpose – deliberately distorting of the truth of history’s greatest crime.”

Olivia Marks-Woldman, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, said: “This event was an appalling misuse of the Holocaust. It trivialised the suffering of millions of Jews by making inappropriate and offensive comparisons. ‘Holocaust Memorial Day is the time to remember the six million Jews, and countless others who were dehumanised, persecuted and murdered by the Nazis, as well as all those who suffered during genocides which followed. It is not a time to challenge the memory of the Holocaust, distort the truth or make offensive and antisemitic comparisons.

“This event should never have taken place. Having chaired it, it is now incumbent on the Leader of the Opposition to recognise that it sought to misuse the Holocaust.”

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