Aidan Burley was photographed next to a Nazi-uniformed bachelor at a stag party at a French ski resort. Embarrassed by the incident, he profusely apologized but not before being fired as a government aide. He also faces possible criminal charges by French authorities, who are investigating whether he is guilty of a pro-Nazi crime.
A French police spokesman said an investigation could be launched into the incident. "Anti-Semitic and pro-Nazi crimes are taken seriously. Anyone suspected of breaking the law can and will be prosecuted," he said.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry hosted Burley this year at the Yad VaShem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem, a site that is a must-go for virtually every visiting political leader from around the world. The formality of the visits recently has been criticized in some quarters as being perfunctory if not hypocritical by allowing visitors, not always the greatest friends of Israel, to express sorrow for the Holocaust while ignoring growing anti-Semitism in their countries.
Burley described his visit to Yad VaShem as “most moving” and that it “was an emotional and heartrending experience seeing the exhibits and hearing the stories of the Jews during the war."
Several months later, he attended the stag party for a bachelor, who was dressed in a Nazi uniform that some reports stated was hired by Burley. He has not commented on the charges.
At the party, friends raised a glass to salute the Third Reich and several of them chanted “Hitler, Hitler, Hitler” and “Mein Fuhrer.”
"Aidan is a friend of Israel and a friend of the Jewish community,” Conservative party Friends of Israel director Stuart Polak told TotallyJewish. “I know him well and he does not have an anti-Semitic bone in his body. The actions of his friends in France were inexcusable. Aidan should not have been associated with this,” he added.`
Burley apologized for what he called “inappropriate behavior by some guests at stag party I attended” but said he did not participate in the toast to the Third Reich and had left the party after being photographed next to the Nazi-uniformed bachelor.
Board of Deputies chairman Jon Benjamin did not accept the explanation and was quoted by the British website as saying, "We find it alarming that Aiden Burley MP did nothing to confront friends who were dressed in Nazi uniforms and were behaving so appallingly. Burley, who has confessed to have learned a great deal from visiting Holocaust Museum Yad VaShem, clearly still has much to learn."