The road to genocide starts with divisive words – the kind that are all around us today

I’m drawing attention to the article quoted below because it’s the right time.

The controversy over Jeremy Corbyn’s words to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day shows that evil-minded people will use lies and propaganda to twist the minds of others.

And consider attitudes to the long-term sick and disabled. How often have we heard the lie that they are parasites who could work for a living but prefer to leech money from the rest of us? It’s a lie, of course.

But ordinary people have been encouraged to scapegoat the sick and disabled, along with immigrants (whether from the EU or beyond), because it is easy.

And the reasons for the UK’s economic doldrums are complicated – although if you start with the word “Tories”, you’re well on the way to wisdom.

That brings us back to Mr Corbyn and the fact that, while he did mention Jews in his Holocaust Memorial Day words, Theresa May did not.

He was pilloried by certain organisations and individuals that pretend to stand up for Jewish people; she was not.

It’s because those people aren’t really standing up for Jewish people; they’re standing against the Labour Party under Mr Corbyn – for political reasons of their own.

Complicated political reasons.*

So they won’t want you to bother thinking about those reasons. Better to just accept the nonsense line that it’s all the fault of the sick, the disabled, or immigrants, or Jeremy Corbyn.


Or is it time we all started thinking for ourselves?

With concentration camps in mind, we assume that most forms of Nazi persecution must have involved overt physical violence and arrests. But a lot of it related to aspects of everyday life.

For example, they spread a “stab in the back” myth that Germany had lost World War I because of internal traitors, such as Jews and Communists, working for foreign interests. These myths about the Jews were widely believed, partly because they subtly played on existing prejudices, including fear of foreigners.

Nazi propaganda also tried to dehumanise the Jews. It compared Jewish people to rats, cockroaches and lice. This fed Nazi lies that Jews were, like parasites, extorting money from ordinary Germans and that Jewish financiers had taken advantage of Germany during the war for their own interests.

The complicity of ordinary people doing ‘everyday’ things was crucial for the success of Nazi measures. Ordinary people helped to channel Nazi hatred – both out of fear and, in some cases, greed and indifference, with thousands of ordinary people benefiting from the measures.

Similarly, one of the reasons anti-Semitic Nazi ideas were so effective was because they provided people with scapegoats for big issues that had caused them serious economic hardship… This made the lies more believable to ordinary people, who wanted easy answers to complex questions.

We may think this doesn’t affect us in the west in the 21st century. But replace the word ‘Jew’ with ‘migrant’ or ‘Muslim’ and it might give pause for thought.

Source: Why the Holocaust Shows We Need to Fight Hate Today with Human Rights – RightsInfo

*And no – I haven’t just fallen into the trap of using the “International Jewish Conspiracy” trope. The conspiracy theory relies on the perpetrators being part of a pan-Jewish, co-ordinated campaign – not a small number of malicious keyboard warriors with a grudge against left-wing Labour. We don’t even know if all those attacking Jeremy Corbyn or other alleged anti-Semites in the Labour Party are even of Jewish religion or ethnicity.

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5 thoughts on “The road to genocide starts with divisive words – the kind that are all around us today


    The BBC thought it would stir the pot a bit more this morning with The Big Question, “does the left have a problem with antisemitism?” I didn’t watch it, I didn’t want to have to buy a new TV set, I don’t understand why the left is getting all these allegations of antisemitism, particularly when the holocaust carried out by the extreme right.

  2. marius oshea

    Brave man, Mike. Keep hammering at this ability of people to close their minds to all but their own definition of what persecution to the point of death means. Perhaps it’s time to use another word than Holocaust to describe the systematic dehumanisataion of some people by others who have power over them. if memory serves, a holocaust originally meant a burnt offering to the gods. How it came to be perverted into its present meaning is complex. It is right that the Jewish people have their own word, Shoah, for the horrible attempted genocide perpetrated on them by the Nazis but, as has been pointed out, millions of others, gypsies, the mentally and physically disabled, homosexuals, Slavs, etc. were also exterminated and ethnic and religious organised slaughter continues unabated. It is well to remember, as I have mentioned above, that physically and mentally disabled people were systematically targeted by the Nazis. I am not going to say that this Tory “government” has a deliberate plan to eliminate those members of our society but their policies as enacted through the DWP and the crippling of the NHS have the same net result. And if that is not enough to cause revulsion in any normal human being then those who think it is not happening or that it “just happens” are already on the wide road to fascism.

  3. Kitty S Jones

    From 2014 – Allport’s Ladder –

    People don’t always make the links between derogatory language, and the barely perceptible incremental changes that push against public boundaries and norms, create the rise of prejudice and discrimination, persecution, leading to violence and sometimes, genocide, if the process isn’t stopped. It starts with subtle language changes, scapegoating and othering narratives. The politics of division

  4. John D. Ingleson

    ” … I am not going to say that this Tory “government” has a deliberate plan to eliminate those members of our society …”. Why not? Do you have evidence to the contrary?

Comments are closed.