Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Campaigners blast comments on Jews

Holocaust Memorial Day marks the 68th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp

Organisers of a memorial day for victims of the Holocaust have "utterly condemned" a Liberal Democrat MP who accused "the Jews" of atrocities against Palestinians.

David Ward has apologised for the comments posted on his website ahead of Holocaust Memorial Day and is facing disciplinary action by his party.

Congregating in central London to mark the 68th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, campaigners blasted his comparison between Israel's treatment of Palestinians and the Holocaust.

Olivia Marks-Woldman, chief executive of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, said: "We utterly condemn those original remarks that he made.

"The Holocaust was a unique event. It was a tragedy of unique proportions and scale.

"We condemn utterly any attempts to make comparisons between that event and any other atrocities that are going on across the world.

"We are glad to hear he has made an apology."

The Bradford East MP initially strongly defended the article and hit out at criticisms by his party - which has summoned him to the Whip's Office for a meeting.

But in a new post he said he "never for a moment intended to criticise or offend the Jewish people as a whole, either as a race or as a people of faith, and apologise sincerely for the unintended offence which my words caused".

In his original online blog, Mr Ward said: "Having visited Auschwitz twice - once with my family and once with local schools - I am saddened that the Jews, who suffered unbelievable levels of persecution during the Holocaust, could within a few years of liberation from the death camps be inflicting atrocities on Palestinians in the new State of Israel and continue to do so on a daily basis in the West Bank and Gaza."

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