This attitude is, unfortunately all too typical of the ultra-right organisations that claim to speak on behalf of British Muslims:
“The Muslim Association of Britain welcomes and fully supports the stand taken by the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), the main umbrella organisation in Britain, in boycotting the Holocaust Memorial Day functions…”
Even more despicable, this attitude is reflected on the so-called “left”:
“Holocaust Memorial Day has been an annual event in this country since 2001, marked each year on the anniversary of Auschwitz’s liberation by the Red Army on January 27 1945.
“It is sponsored by the British government and, besides a national event, local events are held around the country sponsored by local government and various religious and civic groups.
“Among the millions of victims of the nazis were Jews, Gypsies, gays, communists, trade unionists, the disabled, mentally ill – and the Palestinians.
“In fact, the Palestinians hold a unique place as the Holocaust’s forgotten victims, at least in the eyes of those charged with maintaining the objective of colonising the Middle East in the interests of Western neoliberalism.
“in short, the long-suffering Palestinians have been sacrificed upon the alter of the West’s continued blind support of that apartheid state otherwise known as the state of Israel.”
(John Wight, ‘Holocaust Hypocrisy’, Morning Star, January 26 2008).
As a supporter of the Palestinians’ right to a viable state alongside Israel, and an opponent of Israel’s treatment of these oppressed people, I was going to write a point-by-point rebuttal of Wight’s argument. But then an overpowering sense of disgust and nausea overcame me…his foul words (printed, remember in Britain’s only “socialist” daily paper) surely speak for themselves?
Let’s not mince words: this is the form that modern anti-semitism takes.
While we’re on the subject, may I recommend Walter Russell Mead’s extremely nuanced and fair review (in the November/December issue of Foreign Affairs) of Mearsheimer and Walt’s The Israel Lobby:
“Beyond these faults, the insensitivity that the authors too frequently display in their handling of difficult topics will leave many readers convinced that, despite their frequent protestations to the contrary, the authors are sly and malicious ant-Semites. These charges – made inevitable though not accurate by the authors’ unwitting and innocent use of certain literary devices that trigger unhappy memories – are generating an ugly, ill-tempered, and thoroughly pointless debate about the authors’ character and intentions. I can stand behind Mearsheimer and Walt. This may be a book that anti-semites will love, but it is not necessarily an anti-Semitic book.”
After you’ve attended your local Holocaust Memorial Day event, send me your comments.
CORRECTION: Since I wrote the above piece, Jules has pointed out in the comments that the opening quote, from an MAB press release, dates from 2005 and I understand that both they and the Muslim Council of Britain have since amended their policies and no longer have the postion of boycotting Holocaust Memorial Day. I am happy to acknowledge this mistake: I should have checked the date on the press release. I have not re-written the piece because I think it’s important to note that in 2005 these “mainstream” organisations did hold such a vile position, and because I don’t want to seem to be trying to cover up my mistake.