One of the themes of Holocaust Memorial Day, and the charity behind the event, is that people should come together to prevent future holocausts and genocides.
It shames us all, therefore, that some people have been encouraged to complain about Jeremy Corbyn’s Facebook message, in which he did not mention Jews.
People were quick to attack the omission, which was said to be from the message he wrote in the Holocaust Educational Trust’s book of remembrance.
In fact, it was not. One wonders how that mistake happened. The message from the book – which certainly does mention Jews, appeared on Facebook later, and can be read here.
But the damage was done. Critics arose to question Mr Corbyn’s omission, including the writer of this on the Christians United For Israel website:
Jeremy Corbyn shared a message ahead of Saturday’s Holocaust Memorial Day. However the Labour leader did so without mentioning Jews.
The omission raised eye-brows with many of social media questioning his reason. Over six million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust. With the “power of words” being a theme of this year’s Memorial Day, it would have been an appropriate opportunity to have addressed this directly, especially considering the Labour leadership’s recent problems with antisemitism in the party.
Another critical article, in The Tablet, quotes Hugo Rifkind – who This Writer so resoundingly trounced in a discussion on anti-Semitism in 2016 – as follows:
I literally cannot understand why he would do this. Can it be accidental? You mention Jews, just like you mention gypsies, homosexuals and dissidents. If you don’t, you are making a specific point of not doing.
Perhaps Mr Rifkind had not read Theresa May’s message in the same book of remembrance. Here it is:
The pages of this book unite us in a commitment to remember all those who suffered during the Holocaust. We stand together to honour the lives lost and those who survived.
As Prime Minister, I pledge to do everything in my power to ensure we never forget where prejudice and hatred can lead. The new national Memorial to the Holocaust will sit in the shadow of Parliament, alongside a world class learning centre to do just that. It will make a permanent statement of our promise to remember and our commitment to teach future generations to fight hatred in all its forms.
By supporting the Holocaust Educational Trust and all its partners we will safeguard the memories of survivors and learn the lessons for generations to come.
The evidence shows that it is Mrs May who made not a single reference to the Jews – either individually or as a race.
Nor, for that matter, did she mention Romani, homosexuals or dissidents. Perhaps she was making a specific point not to do so.
It may interest you to recall that in my most recent article on this subject, I mentioned all of the above, along with many other people whose sacrifices should be recalled during Holocaust Memorial Day – if the charity that runs the event is serious about commemorating all victims of holocaust and genocide: The disabled, the mentally ill, neurotics, prostitutes, recidivist criminals, Prisoners of War, and among the political prisoners: trade unionists, Socialists, Communists, Anarchists, and slave workers from the Slav nations. Also: Armenians, and those who died in the genocides in Cambodia, Darfur, Bosnia and Rwanda.
Other genocides go uncommemorated, as I have mentioned in another article.
Do I get some sort of prize for commemorating all victims of these atrocities?
No. As many readers are aware, I have been accused of anti-Semitism.
In fact, one of the accusations against me is for suggesting that, referring to another organisation that did not mention Jews in its discussion of the Holocaust, it seemed likely that the organisation in question was simply being “politically correct” in using an umbrella term – “victims” – to cover them all.
The theme of this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day is “The Power of Words”, and the Theme Vision statement makes it clear that “words used to good effect can restore hope, courage or faith. Words can challenge prevailing views and can state solidarity”.
This Writer would hope that this is the purpose to which most people are putting their own words with regard to HMD.
But the same document also states that “harsh words, or words that feed negative stereotypes, can fuel tensions, increase vulnerability and even incite violence”.
In other words, they can be hugely divisive – in exact opposition to the aim of the event, which is to “ensure that everyone works together to create a safer, better future”.
I would suggest that the accusations against Mr Corbyn are exactly the kind of “harsh words” that are intended to “fuel tensions, increase vulnerablility and even incite violence” – it is “the language of hatred and exclusion”.
It is language used to attack Mr Corbyn under a false banner, while giving Mrs May a free pass. It is the language of hypocrisy, of division, of hate.
And I’m willing to bet that those responsible will get away with it.
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