Around the world, International Holocaust Memorial Day was marked with dignity and respect. But not everywhere.
Some, like Labour MP Kate Osamor, used the occasion to imply in a message to constituents that what is happening in Gaza is comparable to the Holocaust and, by strong implication, that Israel acts like the Nazis, a breach of the International Definition of Antisemitism.
Her apology rang hollow, as if she was unaware of the meaning of her own remarks. Clearly, her understanding of antisemitism is deficient and not in accordance with that of her Party, which has adopted the Definition.
We have called on the Labour Party to suspend her, and she must be required to undertake antisemitism training by a reputable provider.
Meanwhile, at anti-Israel demonstrations in the UK, protesters desecrated the solemnity of the day, not only by equating Israel to Nazis as well, but also in providing a masterclass in how a phenomenon like Holocaust-denial begins, as they cast doubt on, played down or outright denied the Hamas atrocities of 7th October.
Leicester Square attack
Not only are the police failing to police the weekly anti-Israel demonstrations adequately, but they are also failing individual Jews under attack.
Last weekend, in the early hours of the morning, three Jews were physically assaulted by ten men in Leicester Square, resulting in serious injuries. Incredibly, not a single bystanders assisted.
Although the victims called the police while the attack was underway, and notwithstanding that it was taking place in the heart of London, police officers only showed up after half an hour, by which time the perpetrators had fled the scene.
The Metropolitan Police must identify and arrest the attackers. The victims are also calling on the police to apologise for failing them when they needed them most.
Watch the victims speak out here.
“Generation hate”: frightening new polling published
Campaign Against Antisemitism commissioned King’s College London to survey British adults’ attitudes towards Jews, using YouGov.
The polling has revealed worrying levels of anti-Jewish prejudice among the British public, with particularly frightening rates among young people aged between 18 and 24.
Published in the week of Holocaust Memorial Day, the polling raises serious questions about whether lessons about the antisemitism that motivated the Nazis have really been learned by British young adults.
- A quarter of British people over 64 believe that Israel treats the Palestinians like the Nazis treated the Jews. Among 18-24 year olds, it is over a third.
- Almost one fifth of the British public believes that Israel can get away with anything because its supporters control the media. Among 18-24 year olds, it is more than a quarter.
- Compared to the general population (one in twenty), double the proportion of 18-24s (almost one in ten) do not believe that Jewish people are just as loyal to Britain as other British people.
- Compared to the general population, more than double the proportion of 18-24 year olds are not as open to having Jewish friends as they are to having friends from other sections of British society.
- While almost one fifth of the British public believes that Israel and its supporters are a bad influence on our democracy, that rises to over one quarter of 18-24 year olds.
- 7% of Britons do not believe that Israel is right to defend itself against those who want to destroy it. That figure doubles to 14% of 18-24 year olds.
- 14% of British people are not comfortable spending time with people who openly support Israel. Among 18-24 year olds, that figure rises to 21% – more than one fifth of the young population.
- More than one in ten young Britons do not believe that Israel has a right to exist as a homeland for the Jewish people.
- More than one in ten 18-24 year olds believe that Jewish people talk about the Holocaust just to further their political agenda.
Other findings from the survey:
- More than one in ten British people believe that Jewish people chase money more than other people do.
- Only three quarters of British people believe that Jewish people can be trusted just as much as other British people in business.
- More than one in ten Britons believe that, compared to other groups, Jewish people have too much power in the media.
The rhetoric that we are seeing online, on television and on our streets is radicalising the British public, but it is the rates of antisemitism that we have discovered among 18-24 year olds that are most frightening. This is generation hate.
On the occasion of Holocaust Memorial Day, our country needs an urgent rethink about how we teach about antisemitism. If young people cannot see the relationship between the genocidal antisemitism of the Nazis and the genocidal antisemitism of Hamas, and, as a society, we refuse to talk about how our attitudes towards Israel and its supporters are influenced by antisemitic prejudice, then we are clearly not talking about antisemitism properly.
Our education is failing the next generation, and our society is suffering as a result. It is British Jews who are paying the price.
The YouGov survey was designed and analysed by experts at KCL on behalf of Campaign Against Antisemitism. Total sample size was 2,084 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 8th-11th December 2023 by YouGov plc. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+). The full results, background information and methodology can be found here.
This weekend saw the memory of the Holocaust appropriated to abuse the Jewish community. What would the British soldiers who liberated the Nazi death camps make of Britain today?