During a debate in England's Westminster Hall last Wednesday, a week after International Holocaust Memorial Day, a Pakistani-born MP made the surprising accusation that Israel is conducting a "holocaust" against Arabs in Gaza.
Labor Member of Parliament Yasmin Qureshi claimed "what has struck me in all this is that the state of Israel was founded because of what happened to the millions and millions of Jews who suffered genocide. Their properties, homes and land—everything—were taken away, and they were deprived of rights. Of course, many millions perished."
The statement is of course blatantly inaccurate. Israel was founded not "because of the Holocaust," but to re-establish Jewish sovereignty in the Jewish nation's ancestral homeland, an irrefutable historical connection that has been proven in countless archaeological finds. The modern movement to re-settle the land began in the mid-1800s, well before the Holocaust.
"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," accused Qureshi.
Here too Qureshi's claims defy the facts in comparing the systematic genocidal extermination of 6 million Jews in Europe with the largely Egyptian-run siege of Gaza following the terror attacks, conducted by the Hamas government. Israel has continued to provide supplies, and talked of increasing the amount of electricity being sent to Hamas, even as the group threatened Israel with genocide and peppered the country with missiles.
Qureshi's comments can be seen here:
The Labor party's response to the outrageous statements by one of its MPs avoided the issue, claiming "these remarks were taken completely out of context. Yasmin Qureshi was not equating events in Gaza with the Holocaust. As an MP who has visited Auschwitz and has campaigned all her life against racism and anti-Semitism she would not do so."
However, apparently Qureshi found the flaw in her own logic, later excusing her aspersions by saying "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. I apologize for any offense caused."
Qureshi took the opportunity to try and portray herself as the victim, saying "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."
The apology was apparently good enough for fellow Labor MP Mark Ferguson, who said "Qureshi’s apology should draw a line under this, and rightly so. If there was no intention to cause offense or equate events in Gaza with the Holocaust I am happy to accept that.”
But others were less convinced.
Pro-Israel blogger Richard Millett scoffed at Ferguson's response, asking "how can there have been 'no intention'? Her words are 100% clear. There is no nuance!"
This is not Qureshi's first revelation of her antagonism towards the Jews. In November 2012, during the IDF's counter-terror Operation Pillar of Defense, she tweeted "Israeli [sic] is pounding gaza with thousands of missiles which are lethal unlike Hamas home made few rockets."
The IDF reports that during the 8 day operation, Gaza terror groups fired 1,506 rockets at Israel. 5 Israelis were killed during the conflict, with an additional 240 wounded. Meanwhile the IDF targeted 1,500 terror sites in surgical strikes, not a random barrage of "thousands of missiles."