I’m inclined, on balance, to agree that if there is to be a Holocaust Memorial Day, it should focus generally on the multiple instances of states which have pursued genocide as a matter of policy. I’m with Leslie Bunder when he says:
The way forward for remembrance is not so much focusing on a single issue, but rather broadening to include other events that affected people, Jewish or not. And if we focus on Jewish issues, we need to broaden those as well. What about those who suffered as a result of Russian pogroms and either killed or thrown out of their villages? What about those who lived in Spain and suffered under the crusades?
But what can be said about the disgraceful position of the Muslim Council of Britain, which having boycotted Holocaust Memorial Day, has now issued a statement which seeks to “correct any false impression that may have been created by a misleading report in the Sunday Times” which focussed on the MCB’s position.
The essence of the MCB’s statement is that their decision to boycott is nothing to do with jews, you see, with whom they stand in solidarity. Its just that the day fails to commemorate “human rights abuses and mass killings in the Palestinian Territories, Chechnya and Kashmir and also recent mass killings and genocide on Bosnia, Kosova and Rwanda”. That’s all.
We should not forget that this was not their position two years ago, when they issued a press release which explicitly – and uniquely – identified the exclusion of the “Palestinian genocide” as their reason for not participating in the event?
We can, of course, debate the similarities and differences between Jenin and the Warsaw Ghetto , whether or not the IDF has committed war crimes, and whether any such war crimes constitute genocide, and so on. No doubt we will. If we do, its worth noting that whereas in the 2003 press release the MCB classed human rights abuses in Palestine as “genocide”, they specifically do not make that claim in this week’s statement. No doubt they have decided that they can’t substantiate it.
The MCB’s response is, upon due reflection, an egregious display of anti-Semitism. They’re worried that commemorating the liberation of Auschwitz might be just a bit too much about Jews.
That’s the thing about racists. They just can’t help but give themselves away.
And the MCB’s clumsy attempt to cover their shame up only draws further attention to it.
Hat tip: Norm