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British Muslims Cheapen the Holocaust By: Melanie Phillips
FrontPageMagazine.com | Friday, January 28, 2005

Countries around the world marked the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz yesterday – but the Muslim Council of Britain did not take part in the commemorations for reasons that belie an underlying anti-Semitism. The Muslim Council of Britain did not attend Britain’s Auschwitz commemoration in Westminster Hall, because, according to its Secretary-General Iqbal Sacranie, the event excluded “ongoing genocide and human rights abuses around the world and in the occupied territories of Palestine.” In a subsequent radio interview, he attempted to undo the damage. The report, he claimed, had been “misleading and distorted.” The MCB was not boycotting the event, just displaying its “unwillingness to attend.” The MCB stood alongside British Jews, he claimed, in their “pain and anguish” at the “evil crime” of the Holocaust. It simply wanted other suffering to be included. 

No Comparison

The Holocaust was principally a crime against the Jews. It was only the Jewish people who were specifically singled out for the extermination of an entire race. Gypsies, homosexuals, mentally handicapped people, and others were murdered too, and we should remember that. But the Nazis did not try to chart every last great-aunt by marriage who might have been a Gypsy, homosexual, or mentally handicapped person in order to remove all those groups from the face of the earth; that terrible fate was reserved for the Jews alone. It was not merely people who were being exterminated, but a people.


That crucial distinction is why the Holocaust is in a different category from other terrible examples of man’s inhumanity to man, such as Stalin’s gulags or Mao’s Cultural Revolution. It is only by understanding that the Holocaust against the Jews was sui generis that we can respond more appropriately to all tyranny, whatever form it takes. Unfortunately, not only is this distinction not widely understood, leading to the casual use of the terms “holocaust” or “genocide” to describe lesser acts of mass violence, but active Holocaust denial is increasing. The motive is to inflate other pet causes by placing them on par with the Nazi eradication program, and to deny the specifically Jewish nature of the Holocaust, thus denigrating the unique role of the Jews in human history.


With anti-Jewish hatred rampant in the Arab and Muslim world and on the rise in much of Europe too, the unique place of the Holocaust in the history of human infamy takes on an even greater significance; so much so that even at the United Nations, where efforts to condemn anti-Semitism and commemorate the liberation of the camps have been blocked for years, General-Secretary Kofi Annan actually made a point of recognizing the Jews as the primary victims of the Holocaust. We must be on the watch for any revival of anti-Semitism, and ready to act against the new forms of it that are appearing today,” he said.


Just such an ugly phenomenon has been on display in Great Britain with the Muslim Council of Britain.


MCB’s Hypocrisy


The MCB's position was of course the most revolting humbug. If Sacranie really thinks that Jewish and Palestinian suffering should always be commemorated together, then why doesn’t he mention the victims of the Holocaust every time he protests about the Palestinian conflict?


With his remarks, Sacranie revealed his deep contempt for Jews, his deliberate insult to the memory of the six million Jewish dead at the hands of the Nazis, and his denial of the Shoah as a unique atrocity. Rather than acknowledging it as a crime against the Jewish people without parallel in its nature and scale, he wished instead to appropriate, universalize, and minimize it.


In addition, Sacranie grossly and grotesquely libelled Israel, the country formed from the ashes of the Holocaust and the persecution of Jews in Arab countries, by accusing it of “genocide” against the Palestinians, equating Israel with the Nazis, the form of Holocaust denial de jour in our morally degraded times and the current stock-in-trade of Jew-haters from all points of the compass.


Israelis are Not Nazis


Israel, it should not need saying – but tragically does – is not committing genocide, as is patently obvious to anyone looking at Palestinian society going about its daily business. All Israel is doing is attempt to defend itself from being annihilated and its citizens from being murdered. Incidents of rough treatment or humiliation of Palestinians by Israel occur; they are reprehensible and should be punished. But in the context of a 50-year war waged against its very existence, following half a century of attempted ethnic cleansing of the Jews of Palestine before that, Israel has behaved overall with a restraint that would not be found in any other country in the world.

Holocaust denial is a modern form of Jew-hatred. Sacranie’s prejudice should therefore attract opprobrium. But look at the reported response of the Home Office to his demand: Home Office officials have told the council, which represents more than 350 Muslim organisations, that they are considering the request. But officials have no plans to broaden the remit of the occasion, because they fear it would infuriate the Jewish community.” [Emphasis added.]


So faced with an example of Holocaust denial, did the British government respond by sharply rebuking the bigot and declaring robustly that the Holocaust was a unique crime against the Jewish people? It did not. Instead it implied it would indeed dilute its message if the Jewish community wouldn’t make a fuss. What is the point of the British government marking the liberation of Auschwitz when it does not seem to grasp either the significance of the event it commemorates or the emergence of fresh anti-Jewish prejudice?


A Jew-Free Holocaust Remembrance?


Nor was this merely a rogue response by some out-of-step official. A Muslim Labour MP, Khalid Mahmood, criticised the MCB’s boycott — but on terms that were equally noxious. “I’m proud to be a Muslim,” he said. “But if people are boycotting this then I think it’s a mistake. People who were exterminated in the Holocaust were not just Jews. There were Romany gypsies, as well. Anybody who is interested in human rights should support this remembrance.


So to Mahmood, Muslims should have turned up to the Holocaust Day ceremony because there were enough victims from other ethnic groups to ignore the Jews altogether. The Jewish victims — the main victims — could thus be air-brushed out of the collective memory altogether. To repeat – Mahmood is a Labour MP. This vileness is what the Labour Party — which never stops trumpeting “anti-racism” and “social inclusion”— has now descended to.


Leftists Against (American and Israeli) “Nazis”


Such dismaying attitudes are part of a gathering crisis for British Jews. The general silence by the rest of society in the face of such prejudice is no mere oversight. It is no longer appropriate to talk merely of a resurgence of anti-Jewish prejudice in Britain. What is taking place is a steady delegitimization of Israel into the pariah of the world and, beyond even that, a delegitimization of the Jewish people.


Just such an example was to be found in the Spectator magazine, which took the opportunity afforded by the Auschwitz commemoration to accuse the Jews of turning into Nazis. It ran an article by Anthony Lipmann, an Anglican who did not know he had been born a Jew until he was 16, and whose mother had been in Auschwitz. Having described his ambivalent feelings about this disclosure, he then wrote this:


“What would I have done?” I ask myself. "What should I be doing now? What am I doing for those being persecuted today — among them the Palestinians, who are suffering at the hands of Jews? But for a turn of fate, could I have been a Nazi too?"


To imply that the Jews have turned into Nazis in the Middle East tells a lie about that tragic impasse. It is the Palestinians who have a programme to eradicate the Jewish state and ethnically cleanse the Jews from the land, as Arabs have been trying to do for the past 100 years. To accuse the Israelis of genocide when they are merely defending themselves against mass murder, is beyond grotesque.


Lipmann then wrote:

I will think not just of the crematoria and the cattle trucks but of Darfur, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Jenin, Fallujah... all Jews… need to be the voice of conscience that will prevent Israel from adopting the mantle of oppressor, and to reject the label “anti-Semite” for those who speak out against Israel’s policies in the occupied territories.


Fallujah? So the Americans too are Nazis, are they? As for Jenin, he was again peddling the big lie that the Israelis perpetrated a massacre there – ignoring the fact that a mere 56 mainly armed Palestinians died in that incident along with no fewer than 23 Israeli soldiers.


“The voice of conscience”? Would “conscience” be served by encouraging the Israelis to go passively into the slaughter, as in Auschwitz? How is he managing to “excise hate” with these scurrilous attacks?


Lipmann also minimizes the Holocaust…which brings us back to the Spectator. What kind of hatred of the Jews resides at that magazine, that they see fit to print this stuff, and in this of all weeks? No doubt they would wave Lipmann's Jewish ancestry as a shield to protect themselves from accusations of anti-Jewish prejudice. Sorry, that one won't wash. I don’t presume to guess at Lipmann’s motives for writing as he does, but Jewish history is littered with Jews who have sided with their persecutors.


It is now a favorite trick of the British “liberal” establishment to set Jew against Jew on the issue of Israel. They get a Jew to accuse Israel of being Nazis, and to accuse the Jew who protests at this infamy of waving the shroud of the Holocaust in order to sanitize Israel’s crimes. It happened again this week, at a prestigious debate in London where the motion “Zionism is today the real enemy of the Jews” was proposed by three Jews, including two Israelis, and defended by three Jews, including this author. (The motion was narrowly carried.) So Jews are having to defend themselves against other Jews proposing the calumny that they are responsible for their own destruction. Who can be surprised that Britain turns the other way when Muslims spout Holocaust denial, since Jew-baiting is becoming a national institution? What sport is here. And what a foul moral sickness.

Melanie Phillips is a British social commentator and author and a columnist for the Daily Mail. Her articles can be found on her website, www.melaniephillips.com.

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