MEP Disciplined Over Slur

MEP Disciplined Over Slur
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Chris Davies, the leader of the 12 Liberal Democrat MEPs who sit in the European Parliament, has been summoned to a private meeting with Sir Menzies after he told a reader of our sister paper the Jewish News that he hoped she enjoyed‘wallowing in her own filth’ and decried the influence of the “Jewish lobby”.

The Lib Dems were so outraged by Davies’ comments that Michael Moore, the Liberal Democrat Shadow Foreign Secretary, immediately repudiated them and apologised “unreservedly” for any offence caused to the Jewish community.

The exchange between Davies and the reader began after she contacted him to say she disagreed with comments he made last month in which he claimed that the people who had suffered in Auschwitz seemed “not to care that they have themselves become oppressors.”

The reader, who wished to remain anonymous, wrote to Davies: “You make the same mistake as many others who call themselves liberals – you seem to equate the situation of the Palestinian people as being exactly the same as the Jewish victims of the Holocaust.”

In response, he wrote: “Sounds like racism to me. I hope you enjoying wallowing in your own filth.”

When the correspondent replied that he should “have the decency of replying properly to my letter”, Davies said that if he stood for re-election he would highlight “the racist policies of apartheid being put into practice by an Israeli Government”.

He added: “I shall tell them that I intend to speak out against this oppression at every opportunity, and I shall denounce the influence of the Jewish lobby that seems to have far too great a say over the political decision-making process in many countries.”

When TJ contacted Davies about his comments he said he stood by them but confessed he didn’t know the difference between referring to the ‘pro Israel lobby’ and the ‘Jewish lobby’.

He added: “I’m quite prepared to accept that I don’t understand the semantics of some of these things.”

He promised last Friday to apologise to our reader, adding: “You just have to put this in context I’m afraid. I’d had a string of abuse, I hardly read the first email and I just assumed it was another one of these ones calling me scum and all the rest of it.”

But it was not until yesterday when TJ complained to Liberal Democrat Central Office on the reader’s behalf that Davies finally said sorry.
He said: “I would to extend a fulsome apology for my remarks to [this correspondent]. It was wholly unacceptable for me to use the language and tone that I did. I deeply regret the obvious offence that my remarks will have caused. However much I may disagree with someone else’s political views, I accept that there is absolutely no justification for making the comments I did.”

Liberal Democrat Shadow Foreign Secretary, Michael Moore, said: “Mr Davies’ comments to his constituent do not represent the policy of the Liberal Democrats. We repudiate his remarks and apologise unreservedly for the offence given by them.”

And a party spokesman added: “The leader of the party will be wishing to speak to Mr Davies at the earliest opportunity about these unacceptable comments.”

Fiyaz Mughal, Deputy President of Liberal Democrats, told the Jewish News that the party needed to approach the Israeli-Palestinian conflict “in a consistent manner”.

He added: “I will write to the President of the party and to the leader to ensure that in future we respond in a manner that is looking towards constructive dialogue.”

Louise Ellman Liverpool Riverside MP told TJ: “I am astounded you’re your reader should call on Menzies Campbell, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, to consider action against this high-ranking member of his party. Mr Davies is fully entitled to disagree on Israeli policy but the European Parliament is an extremely important place and I’m amazed such a prominent politician would repeat an age-old Jewish conspiracy theory.”

Board of Deputies Chief Executive Jon Benjamin said: “Mr Davies was taken to task by a constituent after expressing some particularly strident views on Israel and the Holocaust. Perhaps even more telling than his views on Israel and the Holocaust was the way in which he responded to a member of the electorate who wished to question him more closely on his comments. He appears to have shown a dismissive contempt which does nothing to suggest that he has any understanding of the sensibilities of his electorate, the complexities of politics in the Middle East or his responsibilities as an elected member of the European Parliament.”

The reader who initiated the correspondence with Mr Davies said last night: I’m delighted he’s apologised. Thank you Jewish News. I couldn’t have done it without you.”

THE EMAIL TRAIL

From: [JEWISH NEWS READER]
Sent: 21 April 2006 21:59
To: DAVIES Chris
Subject: Lesson of Auschwitz
Dear Mr Davies

I refer to The Jewish News dated 21st April 2006.

On page 2 of this publication I read an article featuring comments you made referring to Israel not learning the lesson of Auschwitz in relation to the Palestinians.

You make the same mistake as many others who call themselves liberals – you seem to equate the situation of the Palestinian people as being exactly the same as the Jewish victims of the Holocaust. This belittles the systematic humiliation, torture and subsequent murder by industrial methods of 6,000,000 Jewish men, women and children plus 6,000,000 others including Liberals such as you call yourself.

You obviously need to get your facts right so I will give you a little history lesson. The Jews were exiled from their land, Israel, by the Romans, 2,000 years ago and had to live amongst, at best, people who did not understand them and at worst, people who wanted to murder them. This was all because of a man (who, by the way, was a Jew from Israel) called Jesus, who your ancestors thought was the Son of God.

The Jews suffered exile, persecution and fear of death for these 2,000 culminating in the Holocaust and after that terrible event, they returned to their land. That is a little different to the Palestinian experience, don’t you think?

No, Mr Davies, it is not Israel that ‘hasn’t learnt from Auschwitz’ – it is YOU – you and the many well-meaning, misguided people, who, for some reason, support people that are homophobic, mysogynistic and intolerant of other religions, namely muslim extremists and haters of Israel and still consider themselves to be liberals. By the way, Israel give sanctuary to homosexual Arabs, because they certainly do not receive that in their own lands – now, that’s what I call liberal.

It is YOU that needs to read up and educate yourself about Auschwitz and the Holocaust in general instead of making comparisons between two subjects that CANNOT be compared.

Yours truly

[JEWISH NEWS READER]

—– Original Message —–
From: DAVIES Chris
To: [JEWISH NEWS READER]
Sent: Sunday, April 23, 2006 9:47 PM
Subject: RE: Lesson of Auschwitz

Sounds like racism to me. I hope you enjoying wallowing in your own filth.

From: [JEWISH NEWS READER]
Sent: 24 April 2006 15:53
To: DAVIES Chris
Subject: Fw: Lesson of Auschwitz

You are supposed to represent people of the north-west in the U.K at the European Parliament – if this is how you do it, you are a disgrace – you do not have the decency of replying properly to my letter – it is not for YOU to judge me – YOU are the one that is a representative of this country and resorting to insults is NOT the language to use with a member of the public who fundamentally disagrees with your point of view, however angry that disagreement makes YOU feel – it is not your place to show your anger to ME

—– Original Message —–
From: DAVIES Chris
To: [JEWISH NEWS READER]
Sent: Monday, April 24, 2006 4:46 PM
Subject: RE: Lesson of Auschwitz

I answer to the electorate collectively.

I may never seek election again.

If I do, I shall tel them that I have been to the Middle East and I have seen the racist policies of apartheid being put into practice by an Israeli Government that seems to have no understanding of the concept of justice.

I shall tell them that I intend to speak out against this oppression at every opportunity, and I shall denounce the influence of the Jewish lobby that sems to have far too great a say over the political decision-making process in many countries

With regards

Chris Davies

From: [THE JEWISH NEWS]
Sent: Fri 4/28/2006 3:22 PM
To: DAVIES Chris
Subject: FW: Lesson of Auschwitz
Dear Mr Davies,

Further to your conversation with [our paper], here is the correspondence between yourself and our reader

As requested, her email address is [CUT]

Zeddy Lawrence
Editor
The Jewish News
www.totallyjewish.com

From: DAVIES Chris
Sent: 28 April 2006 17:25
To: Zeddy Lawrence
Subject: RE: Lesson of Auschwitz
Thank you. I recall this now.

[Your reader’s] private email to me arrived at much the same time as a number of others, variously calling me ‘anti semitic’, ‘scumbag’, ‘Jew hater’, and comparing me with excrement. After a while I stopped reading the contents in detail. [Your reader] would not have had the response she got from me in a private email had she not been in such bad company – no fault of hers perhaps, but that’s emailing for you.

What I saw a fortnight ago was the evidence of great injustice being practised as a result of the policies of the Israeli Government, and the destruction of any hope of creating a viable Palestinian state which is essential if the despair and anger that is the cause of such misery and which inspires such hateful acts is to be calmed. My press release denounced these policies.

I note now that [your reader] makes no criticism whatsoever of them. In fact reading her email again my impression is that she seeks by implication to excuse them. Am I wrong in this?

Perhaps you could ask her to let me know in what ways she disagrees with the policies of the Israeli Government in this respect. If she will do so I will be happy to enter into dialogue and apologise for implying that she was a supporter of the filthy apartheid policies being practiced.

With regards

Chris Davies

From: [Lib Dem Central Office]
Wed 03/05/2006 14:37
To: [The Jewish News]
Subject: : RE: JEWISH NEWS: Chris Davies email exchange with [CUT]

Responding to the comments of Chris Davies MEP, Michael Moore MP, Liberal Democrat Shadow Foreign Secretary said:

“Mr Davies’ comments to his constituent do not represent the policy of the Liberal Democrats. We repudiate his remarks and apologise unreservedly for the offence given by them.”

From: [Lib Dem Central Office]
Wed 03/05/2006 14:39
To: [The Jewish News]
Subject: : RE: JEWISH NEWS: Chris Davies email exchange with [CUT]

A second quote from Chris Davies MEP:

Chris Davies MEP said:

“I would to extend a fulsome apology for my remarks to [your reader]. It was wholly unacceptable for me to use the language and tone that I did. I deeply regret the obvious offence that my remarks will have caused. However much I may disagree with someone else’s political views, I accept that there is absolutely no justification for making the comments I did.”

ENDS

From: [Lib Dem Central Office]
Wed 03/05/2006 14:40
To: [The Jewish News]
Subject: : RE: JEWISH NEWS: Chris Davies email exchange with [CUT]

Third and final comment:

A party spokesman added:

“The leader of the party will be wishing to speak to Mr. Davies at the earliest opportunity about these unacceptable comments.”

ENDS

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