Comments made by a UK politician are being met with heavy criticism after he called for the “life of Palestinians since 1948″ to be given the same prominence as the Shoah in British schools, according to London’s Jewish News.
Colchester MP Sir Bob Russell was speaking during a debate on the national curriculum in the House of Commons on Monday, when he posed a question to Education Secretary Michael Gove about the status of world history lessons, 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?”
“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 systematized mass murder of 6 million Jews – with the conflict in the Middle East is simply inaccurate as well as inappropriate.”
In response to Russell’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, dismissed Russell’s comments as those of a “fringe marginal voice in the community.”
Watch a video below of earlier comments from Sir Bob Russell, where he calls for Israel to be treated as apartheid South Africa.