When in doubt – accuse the victim or defender of the victim of being a victimizer… this kind of trying to avoid today’s realities by burying it in the past, is wearing thin. The world weeps over the genocide of the Armenians, Jews in Europe and Russia, Cambodia, Darfur and prays that a similar fate is not visited upon Palestinians.
“Of course, many millions perished. It is quite strange that some of the people who are running the state of Israel seem to be quite complacent and happy to allow the same to happen in Gaza.”
Her words drew sharp condemnation from the chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, Karen Pollock.
“We expect our politicians to speak responsibly and sensitively about the past and about events today,” she said. “These lazy and deliberate distortions have no place in British politics.”
Qureshi, the MP for Bolton South East, said she had not intended to draw a direct parallel and felt “personally hurt” that anyone could think she had done – especially as she had visited one of the most notorious death camps.
“The debate was about the plight of the Palestinian people and in no way did I mean to equate events in Gaza with the Holocaust,” she said in a statement. “I apologise for any offence caused.
“I am also personally hurt if people thought I meant this. As someone who has visited the crematoria and gas chambers of Auschwitz I know the Holocaust was the most brutal act of genocide of the 20th century and no one should seek to underestimate its impact.”
Pollock said: “Whilst current events in the Middle East understandably stir emotions, it is astonishing to think that anyone could visit Auschwitz-Birkenau, learn about the industrial nature of the Nazis’ murderous regime, even walk through a gas chamber – and then make these offensive and inappropriate comparisons.”