A Liberal Democrat candidate has apologised over a tweet sent in 2014 comparing Gaza to “Nazi ghettos in which Jews were trapped”.
Wera Hobhouse, 59, most recently served as the Lib Dems’ climate change spokesperson. Elected to represent Bath in 2017, she is standing in next month’s general election.
She told Jewish News: “I abhor antisemitism with every fibre of my being. My mother’s brothers and sisters had to flee the Holocaust because they were Jewish, and it destroyed their families. I had an uncle imprisoned in Dachau, and a great uncle murdered because he was mentally ill.
“This was the reality for my family in Nazi Germany, and we still live with the trauma. However, I apologise unreservedly for any offence I have caused. Looking back at these tweets I realise that trying to discuss hugely serious issues via 140 characters is a mistake.”
She tweeted in 2014 that “#gaza seems to remind terribly of Nazi ghettos in which Jews were trapped during Holocaust. For what reason do we remember Holocaust?”
Another tweet sent the following year read: “‘Israel cynically using memory of the Holocaust’. ‘Never again this suffering to anybody not just Jews’ #bbcthebigquestion.”
The Liberal Democrats adopted last year the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism and its examples, which include comparisons between contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.
Last week, a Liberal Democrat spokesperson defended a tweet sent by the party’s Chippenham candidate in 2014 which appeared to describe Israeli leaders as “psychopaths.”
The tweet by Helen Belcher appeared to suggest that Israeli, ISIS and Ukrainian leaders be sent to an “isolated place.”
“Trying to work out if there’s a way we can send psychopaths to an isolated place instead of them ending up in charge. #Ukraine #Israel #ISIS,” the tweet stated.
When approached for comment last week, a spokesperson said that “Helen’s tweet alludes to leaders whom she feels are behaving like psychopaths, it makes no reference to their ethnicity in relation to this.”