A Conservative MEP has demanded that the EU account for the funding it has given to the Bethlehem-based Ma’an News Agency following the publication on 31 January of an anti-Semitic piece on its opinion pages which denied the existence of the Holocaust.

Marina Yannakoudakis, who is MEP for London, put an official question to the European Commission calling on it to account for the €600,000 (£524,500) it gave to the Ma’an News Agency’s parent company from the EU aid budget in 2008.

Mrs. Yannakoudakis also asked the Commission to confirm whether the agency or its parent company was still in receipt of EU grants or contracts and to consider disqualifying the Agency from future EU funds. She also called on the EU’s office in the West Bank to monitor the Palestinian press for anti-Semitism and to ensure that any culprits were ineligible for EU funding.

The London MEP said: “The Ma’an News Agency’s decision to publish an anti-Semitic, Holocaust-denying article is sickening, but what horrifies me more is to learn that a publisher of hate speech has received EU taxpayer funding.

“While the Ma’an News Agency may have removed the offending piece, its publication in the first place is unjustifiable. Such outrageous articles should never be published again and the European Union must end its support of the Ma’an News Agency and any other body which refuses to give the terrible events of the Holocaust the respect they deserve.”

Full text of Mrs. Yannakoudakis’ question to the European Commission is here.