British Councillor Suspended Over Auschwitz-Related Tweet

January 6, 2015  

A Labour councillor in the British city of Nottingham has been suspended from the party after re-tweeting an image of the train tracks in the Auschwitz camp, with the political slogan: “Let’s stay on the road to a stronger economy”, the Jewish News website reported on Tuesday.

A party spokesman told the website that the councillor, Rosemary Healy, had been suspended with immediate effect, and while Healy was quick to apologize, opposition politicians launched a withering condemnation.

“Sadly it is indicative of a nasty streak developing in the party. Trivializing the Holocaust in this way is wholly unacceptable.” said Mike Freer, Conservative MP for Finchley and Golders Green.

Harlow MP Robert Halfon tweeted that it was a “shocking and tragic trivialization of real evil by a Labour councillor”.

The mocked-up poster in question carries the Conservative logo with the line: “More people on zero hours, more tax cuts for the rich, no more NHS.”

Website broke the news that Healy, who has represented Mapperley on the Nottingham City Council since 2011, shared the image on Twitter on Monday, and local Conservative politicians reacted angrily.

“[She] presumably believed it to be funny,” said Conservative Councillor Georgina Culley, according to the Jewish News. “It is not in any way funny… Councillor Healy and her party should be ashamed.”

Healy, who is the Executive Assistant for Community Protection, later tweeted: “Profound apologies for that retweet which was a genuine mistake and would never have retweeted it had I recognized it for what it was.”

The incident comes at a time of increased anti-Semitism in Europe in general and specifically in Britain.

Recent statistics show that hate crimes against Jews have risen 383% worldwide since 2013, including a 436% hate crime hike in Europe.

The anti-Semitism in Britain took a turn for the worse during Israel’s Operation Protective Edge in Gaza last summer, with thousands taking part in anti-Israel protests. Those demonstrations have included pro-Palestinian Arab rioters vandalizing a Birmingham Tesco store out of rage over a refusal to boycott Israeli products.

In a similar incident, hundreds of demonstrators rioted outside the Kedem store in Manchester, in a series of clashes which culminated in dozens of death threats being hurled at the store’s owners.

Recently, Danny Cohen, the BBC’s director of television, said that he was deeply troubled by the anti-Semitism in Europe in general, and in Britain in particular, adding that “I’ve never felt so uncomfortable being a Jew in the UK as I’ve felt in the last 12 months.”

Britain last week unveiled a raft of tough new laws to tackle the growing anti-Semitism.

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