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.
*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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