Just a day after Jews from the UK and Germany slammed Keir Starmer, the head of Britain’s Labour Party, for featuring Berlin’s famous Holocaust memorial in his campaign ad without a semblance of any agenda that includes the Jewish community, the politician went ahead and defended himself.
“Visiting the Memorial to Murdered Jews of Europe was a very moving experience for Keir Starmer which is why we wanted to include it in our record of his visit to Berlin,” a spokesperson said on behalf of Starmer. “Keir also spoke to the media about the visit, the power of the Memorial and why we must never forget the Holocaust.”
On the other hand, Jewish groups including Campaign Against Antisemitism said, “To incorporate the Memorial as the backdrop for a political clip that does not even mention the Holocaust is an insult.”
“Starmer should apologize and listen to the criticism that people in the Jewish community are making if Labour wants to make good on his promise to follow on from the Corbyn years in a positive way,” said Nicholas Potter of the Amadeu Antonio Foundation, a Berlin-based watchdog on racism.
Meanwhile, Ruth Smeeth, a Jewish former Labour lawmaker and vocal critic of Corbyn, defended Starmer on Twitter, writing that he “has a proud record in fighting antisemitism. He visited the Holocaust memorial and spoke about it at the time. This attack is not only wrong, but completely disingenuous and deeply unfair. And attempts to politicize something that simply shouldn’t be.”