Statement from David Jeffery
I want to apologise unreservedly to the Jewish community for the comments I made on Facebook equating the actions of the Israeli government in the Occupied Territories with genocide. These comments were made without thinking through their full ramifications and I never intended to cause harm to the Jewish people.
I care deeply about justice for the Palestinian people, but my work on Steph’s campaign has brought me into much closer contact with the Jewish community than I had previously been, and with that contact my understanding of their point of view has grown and changed. That’s why I decided months ago to remove this post, although I take full responsibility for any pain it may have caused.
I was wrong to use a word like genocide, which is so uniquely painful for the Jewish people, to describe the actions of the Israeli Government, although I strongly oppose its conduct, which remains a real obstacle to a lasting peace in the region.
There can be no comparison to the horrors suffered by European Jewry in the Holocaust. I want to again apologise for any harm I caused in the past by suggesting that there was.
Statement from Steph Hodgins-May
I’m extremely disappointed in the ill-considered and harmful comment made by David.
I have told him that the remarks are completely unacceptable. I expect a complete and unreserved apology, and I’ve asked that he make arrangements to spend time with the Jewish community to better learn why this type of language is so harmful.
If David sees a future with the Greens then he must better understand the impacts that careless use of language, and particularly of words so imbued with historical horror, can have on the Jewish community.
Now more than ever, it’s so important that we come together in support of all of our different faith communities. How we use language matters, and I will be reinforcing that point again to all those working on my campaign.