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MP David Ward 'utterly condemned' for holocaust remarks
Organisers of a memorial day for victims of the Holocaust last night “utterly condemned” a Bradford MP who accused “the Jews” of atrocities against Palestinians.
Bradford East Liberal Democrat MP David Ward, who is facing disciplinary action by his party, has apologised for causing “unintended offence” with comments posted on his website before yesterday’s Holocaust Memorial Day.
But 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."
Mr Ward initially defended the article and hit out at criticisms by his party, which has summoned him to the Whip’s Office for a meeting this morning.
But in a new post he wrote 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”.
He said: “I recognise of course the deep sensitivities of these issues at all times, and particularly on occasions of commemoration such as this weekend.
“I will continue to make criticisms of actions in Palestine in the strongest possible terms for as long as Israel continues to oppress the Palestinian people.”
As the Telegraph & Argus reported on Saturday, 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.”