Richmond MP criticised for Nazi concentration camps comparison


Tory MP Zac Goldsmith continues to face criticism for comparing news organisations to Nazi concentration camps on Monday.


By Helen Glover

Richmond MP Zac Goldsmith faces continued critiscm today for comparing news organisations to Nazi concentration camps. 

The ill-advised comments were made during his appearance at the Joint Commons and Lords Committee on Privacy and Injunctions, alongside Hugh Grant, Steve Coogan and Max Mosley, on Monday.

The Tory MP had been called to give evidence before the Committee in relation to a super injunction granted in 2008 preventing the publication of private emails leaked to the press.

He rejected Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre’s defence that invasive celebrity gossip and exclusive stories were vital to securing newspapers’ financial viability.

He said: “If the only way a business can stay afloat is by engaging in immoral or unethical behaviour then that business should change its model or go out of business.

“Nobody said, for example, that Auschwitz should have been kept open because it created jobs.”

The analogy was immediately attacked by journalists and politicians, including Labour MP and member of the Parliamentary Committee Against Anti-Semitism Foundation, Margaret Hodge.

Mrs Hodge branded the remarks ‘pathetically stupid,’ predicting a frosty public reception.

The response was such that Mr Goldsmith, who has represented his Richmond Park constituency since 2010, was later forced to defend his comments on Twitter.

Though maintaining that his point was valid, he admitted that, in retrospect, a better comparison could have been cited.

Over a million people – most of them Jewish – died in the concentration camp during World War Two.

He tweeted: “No one can genuinely believe I equated tabloids to concentration camps. Silly.”

Despite his swift repentance, the insensitive comments have made waves amongst commentators and gained considerable coverage from national newspapers.

Chief Executive of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Jon Benjamin, was in agreement that employing references to concentration camps in comparisons to newspaper practices was unwise.

He said: “Zac Goldsmith MP’s reference to Auschwitz in relation to the press is foolish.

“For someone in a position of public office to draw such comparisons is irresponsible.”

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