Here we go again – another Lib Dem MP delivers ‘shocking’ Shoah slur
search

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Here we go again – another Lib Dem MP delivers ‘shocking’ Shoah slur

A Liberal Democrat MP was this week accused of a “shocking piece of Holocaust denigration” after calling for the Palestinians’ plight to be given the same prominence as the Shoah in British schools.

Sir Bob Russell was speaking during a debate on the national curriculum in the House of Commons on Monday. The Colchester MP asked Education Secretary Michael Gove about his assertion that there would be more coverage of world history, saying: “On the assumption that the 20th century will include the Holocaust, will he give me an assurance that the life of Palestinians since 1948 will be given equal attention?”

bob russellThe comments, which come months after fellow Lib Dem MP David Ward was censured for his comments on Israel and the Holocaust, were roundly condemned by community leaders and Holocaust educators.

“These remarks are a shocking piece of Holocaust denigration,” said Jewish Leadership Council chief executive Jeremy Newmark. “There is simply no comparison between the two situations. It is worrying that so soon after the David Ward affair another MP thinks it is acceptable to play fast and loose with the language of the Holocaust in this context.”

Karen Pollock, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, added: “To try to equate the events of the Holocaust – the systemised mass murder of 6 million Jews – with the conflict in the Middle East is simply inaccurate as well as inappropriate.”

The comments come amid an ongoing disciplinary procedure against fellow Lib Dem MP David Ward. The Bradford East MP was censured by his party’s chief whip in January after writing, ahead of Holocaust Memorial Day, that he was “saddened that the Jews, who suffered unbelievable levels of persecution during the Holocaust could, within a few years of liberation, be inflicting atrocities on the Palestinians in the new state of Israel – and continue to do so”.

Despite issuing an apology for “unintended offence” and pledging not to use the term “the Jews” again in that context, he later emailed the Jewish News asking if it would be more acceptable to replace the words “the Jews” with “the Jewish community”.

In response to Sir Bob’s remarks this week, Gove said: “ These are delicate waters, into which I fear to tread too definitively. One thing I would say is that there has been near universal welcome and support for the centrality of the Holocaust and the unique evil inherent in the Holocaust being in the national curriculum. Once one gets on to the position of the State of Israel after 1948, it is probably better if I step back. I have strong views on the matter and I would not wish to impose them on the curriculum.”

Gavin Stollar, of Liberal Democrat Friends of Israel, said: “Bob Russell is a fringe marginal voice in the community. All parties have them sadly.”

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...

Engaging

Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.

Celebrating

There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.

Pioneering

In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.

Campaigning

Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more:
comments