COLCHESTER MP Sir Bob Russell has received scathing criticism for comments he has made about the holocaust.
In a Parliamentary debate on the national curriculum, Sir Bob said Israel’s treatment of Palestinians should be given equal attention to the genocide of six million Jews.
While Israel has received widespread condemnation of its treatment of Palestinians, critics say to compare this with the Nazi’s attempt to eradicate the Jewish race is wildly inaccurate and insulting.
One Lib Dem commentator pointed out Palestinians have a longer life expectancy than people in some parts of Scotland.
Karen Pollock, chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said: “To try to equate the events of the holocaust, the systemised mass murder of six million Jews, with the conflict in the Middle East is simply inaccurate.”
Matthew Harris, who writes for thecommentator.com, said: “There has been no genocide, no systematic attempt to wipe out every single person with ancestry from a particular ethnic group, so why suggest that there has?
“It is entirely inaccurate to compare the injustices suffered by Palestinians to the genocide suffered by Jews; to make such a comparison is to misunderstand the former and to trivialise the latter.”
Jeremy Newmark, of Britain's Jewish Leadership Council said the remarks are a shocking piece of Holocaust denigration.
He said: “There is simply no comparison between the two situations.”
Gavin Stollar, from Liberal Democrat Friends of Israel, described Sir Bob as a fringe, marginal voice.
Colchester Labour Party’s Jordan Newell said the remarks are deeply offensive and Will Quince, the Conservative parliamentary candidate for Colchester, the comparison is ignorant and deploarable.
Sir Bob Russell said he will treat comments from critics with contempt in the same way civilised society treated supporters of apartheid South Africa with disgust.
He said: “I have received messages of support from different parts of the world, including those of the Jewish faith who despair of what the State of Israel is doing.
“I have for years highlighted the plight of Palestinians so my comments in the House of Commons are consistent with what I have said in the past.
“The stark facts are that Israel, by its actions, is a racist state which practices apartheid and ethnic cleansing.
“It is in breach of United Nations Resolutions, International Law and the Geneva Convention.”
Mr Russell said he is astonished to hear Labour’s Mr Newell is siding with the apologists of Israel rather than supporting the down-trodden Palestinians.
He said: “That will come as a huge shock to Labour MPs such as Sir Gerald Kaufman and Richard Burden, chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Palestine Group.”
Sir Bob visited the Occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem in July 2011. Four years ago he raised money and donated £3,000 for the purchase of books for Palestinian children.
The Palestinian Mission in the UK declined to comment.