Melanie Phillips: About the Muslim Boycott of the Auschwitz Anniversary in Britain
[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.]
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 Britains 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.
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 mans inhumanity to man, such as Stalins gulags or Maos 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.
comments powered by Disqus
MCB Watch - 8/4/2005
The MCB are actually a *radical* organisation, not a *moderate* one. Once you understand that, much of their activity makes so much more sense.
- Did a historian who said he’s a victim of McCarthyism get the story wrong?
- Stephanie Coontz’s work on the history of marriage cited by the Supreme Court.
- How Does It Feel To Have One’s Work as a Historian Cited by the Supreme Court? Cool. Very Cool. Thank You Very Much.
- NYT History Book Reviews: Who Got Noticed this Week?
- David Hackett Fischer wins $100,000 prize for lifetime achievement in military writing