Parliament yesterday unanimously passed a resolution condemning anti-Semitism and all forms of racial hatred, persecution and discrimination.

It was triggered by the two attacks in three weeks on Jewish graves in Wellington, and will be sent to the Speaker of the Israeli Parliament, the Knesset, with a record of the speeches by party leaders.

Acting Prime Minister Michael Cullen:

"Let it be hoped that the recent vandalism is the work of an isolated crank or cranks. But given its nature it inevitably raises emotions and memories which are deep-seated and profound, especially for Jewish New Zealanders and many others as well.

"For the survivors of the Holocaust, or those related to them, such actions as we have recently seen are particularly frightening and appalling."

Dr Cullen said some people pointed to individual events as "some kind of explanation", such as the actions of Israeli agents or the Government's reaction against them, and the proposed visit by Holocaust denier David Irving.

"The danger of entering into that area is that it gives some kind of rationale for something that is both evil and irrational, though sadly deep-seated in European culture."

National Party deputy leader Gerry Brownlee:

"The National Party absolutely condemns anti-Semitism and deplores in the strongest terms these idiotic acts of hate directed at one section of our community.

"These cowards have caused grief to the Jewish community and have shocked New Zealanders ... They have badly damaged New Zealand's reputation overseas."

NZ First leader Winston Peters:

"They [Jewish people] have their faith and culture which they quietly observe. They don't seek to impose their beliefs on others.

"They have earned our respect, and are entitled to be respected."

Green Party MP Keith Locke:

"The Nazi symbols at the cemetery make this crime even more dastardly - the Nazis killed six million Jews and crushed democracy and freedom in Europe.

"Today we stand together with the Jewish community in remembering those who died and in expressing our horror at the desecration of the tombs of their ancestors."

Act leader Rodney Hide:

"My party wholeheartedly supports the right of the state of Israel to exist. We must now all realise that anti-Semitism is a reality in New Zealand ... We must stand side by side with the Jewish community and these evil perpetrators must be brought to justice."

United Future leader Peter Dunne:

"In this country, over the years we have been quick to condemn attacks in other places rooted in racial and religious beliefs.

"The true horror of the events of recent days has been that those same features we have sought to be so critical of in other countries are now occurring in our own country."

Speaker Jonathan Hunt, in a rare personal comment, said the attacks had been "one of the most shocking incidents" in New Zealand during his 37 years in Parliament.

- NZPA