One might think, that being a Jew in England these days is safe and easy. Jews can carry out traditions of their faith in public, they are an integral part of the society in England. The ugly specter of anti-Semitism is a thing of the past. Antisemitism is a dark part of history, a part in which Jews were prosecuted solely for being Jews.
Anti-Semitism is alive and kicking in the UK. Holocaust denial is a real thing. Jews are targeted and victimized all over the country. University campuses, which were supposedly hububs of free speech and acceptance are in fact not that accepting. Messy scenes of vandalism and desecration of Jewish sites aren’t uncommon. Most of all, criticism of Israel seems to be a mere cover for criticism of Jews in general.
Recently, the Labour Party has had to suspend many of its members due to racist displays. Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn has secured support from the notorious Holocaust denier, David Irving who called him “impressive” and “a fine man”. Irving has claimed only a few Jews were killed by the Nazis and that the concentration camps were simply a hoax. He once compared the Auschwitz death camp to Disneyland.
Why is it that anti-Semitic incidents aren’t so rare in one of the most western countries, such as the U.K.? Why is it, that that a prominent Holocaust denier such as David Irving enjoys continuous and lately even growing support? Anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial seem to be the fad on both the left and right.
This year National Holocaust Memorial Day on January 27, 2017 holds the theme: “How can life go on?” How can life go on with the trauma and coming to terms with the loss? How can life go on with the displacement of the survivors and the refugees? How can life go on with remembering the travesties? But most of all, how can life go on with facing the hate, the denial and trivialization?
Historically Raphael Lemkin, a Jew whose family perished in the Holocaust was the first to coin the word genocide, the collective murder of an ethnic group sparked by hatred.Denial is the final stage of genocide. By denying the existence of a genocide which took place against the Jews in the 1940s, or even minimizing the atrocities, one agrees with and actually “participates” in a modern day genocide.
Holocaust deniers are not really concerned with the Holocaust, and not concerned with the truth either. Their sole focus is on Jews, and with their existence today.
Image: GPO, Haim Zach
By: Hadassah Schwartz