WEEKEND WEB: We can never let our guard drop against antisemitism
HAYES IN THE HOUSE: By MP John Hayes
Since becoming an MP, each year I have signed the Holocaust Memorial Trust’s book, placed in the House of Commons, on January 27. In doing so I affirm the plain, but powerful message; never again.
Whatever progress is made in Europe; a great sin will always haunt us – antisemitism. Facing tragedy after tragedy; culminating in the horror of the Nazi Holocaust, Jews across the world have long faced an irrational hatred that pins the worst social ills onto them and theirs.
Antisemtism, however, has not been restricted to the obsession of Arian fundamentalists. Britain has seen its share of antisemitic movements, from Edward I expelling the Jews from England in 1290, to Oswald Mosely and his thuggish blackshirts attempts to bring Nazism to Britain.
Here in Lincolnshire, the Jews of Lincoln were expelled from our Cathedral city, where the 12th century ‘Jews House’ still stands as a memorial to their life there.
I would love to say that we have seen the last of all this, but in the dark corners of conspiratorial collective minds of far-left and far-right groups antisemitism looms large.
With recorded antisemitic incidents in the UK having reached an all-time high, and a 34 per cent rise in violent assaults against Jewish individuals, it is time that we all said enough is enough – one assault is too many.
Antisemitism should never be ignored; it has risen again from conspiracy theories that demonise words like ‘Jew’ and perpetrate the notion of a ‘Jewish Banking Conspiracy’.
Jonathan Goldstein, chairman of the Jewish Leadership Council, recently highlighted the scale of the prejudice – ‘Wherever we go, we are told we act on the instructions of Israel, that Rothschild’s run the world, that ISIS is a fake front for Israel, that Zionists are the new Nazis’.
In an age in which too many people believe too much of the nonsense on the internet, such wicked lies have come to be believed. To make matters worse, we have become lazy in challenging propaganda, and even relatively credible news sources have fallen into the trap of repeating scurrilous claims and falsified quotes.
As Times columnist David Aaronovitch said; ‘In 2018 we all need to be much more careful’.
Unfortunately, these Jewish conspiracy theories have wormed their way into the political sphere too. I need not repeat the claims of antisemitism that have been made, except to say that I sense a troubling scent of prejudice from those who should know better.
I hope that all parties take note of the protest made by Jewish groups to highlight the troubling rise, and worrying sanitisation, of antisemitism in some sections of our kingdom.
Thankfully our country remains a safe home for Jewish families, and I will always fight to keep it so. But we cannot ever let our guard drop.
Almost 80 years ago, my father along with many veterans here in South Holland and The Deepings fought in a noble cause; a World War to defeat the tyranny of Nazism. But before their end, the Nazis executed over six million Jews. Never again.