British MP Andrew Turner of the Conservative Party apologized Friday for equating Israel’s attacks on ‘Lebanese infrastructure and citizens’ to tactics employed by the Nazis.
During a panel held last Wednesday, which dealt in part with the Palestinian problem and the recent war in Lebanon, Turner said, “There had been plenty of words of condemnation of suicide bombers, but few on the Israeli attacks in Gaza, in particular the attacks on civilian installations.”
Turner slammed the British government for falling in line with the United State’s policy and failing to call for an immediate ceasefire in Lebanon.
“Indeed, they (UK parliamentarians) blamed Hizbullah and the seizing of two soldiers for the conflict in Lebanon and for Israel’s reaction to the seizing to the seizing of those soldiers,” he said.
“Human Rights Watch condemns both sides pretty unequivocally for breaches of international law and of internationally recognized human rights. It condemns Hizbullah for taking hostage and using the soldiers as pawns to negotiate the release of prisoners held in Israel…and it condemns Israel over the lawlessness of its attacks on south Lebanon, for the extraordinarily high level of civilian casualties that followed.
“Those were the tactics of the Nazis in 1939 and 1940 – attacking fleeing civilians from the air,” he said.
Turner then turned to Jewish MP Louise Ellman, saying, “I know this offends the honorable Member for Liverpool, Riverside, but I must tell the truth.”
Ellman asked in response: “Is the honorable gentleman seriously comparing Israel’s defending itself to the genocide of the Holocaust?
To this Turner answered, “What a stupid intervention; of course I’m not comparing it to the Holocaust; if the honorable lady was a little more careful in the way in which she listened to other honorable members instead of parading her prejudices, she would have heard what I said, which was that Israel attacked fleeing civilians; that is all that I said.”
Following the uproar over Turner’s remarks, Conservative Party leader David Cameron insisted that his fellow party member to apologize.
“Many people have been offended by what I said; I understand why they feel this comparison was inappropriate,” Turner said on Friday. “I apologize for offending them, and I withdraw the remarks.”
Israeli ambassador to London Zvi Hefetz told Ynet, “We are sorry for the Conservative Party MP’s remark, especially in light of the fact that the party has expressed its empathy toward Israel during the recent events at its convention. The MP (Turner) was reprimanded by the faction leader and then issued an unequivocal apology.”
Jewish Conservative Party MP Lee Scott told Ynet that Turner said he did not mean to link the Lebanon war with the Nazi’s crimes, stating that he personally ‘had a hard time’ with Turner’s remarks, as ‘Israel never has and never will set up concentration camps or do what the Nazis did.’