Blogs > Cliopatria > European Politics and the Holocaust

Sep 20, 2005 12:30 pm

European Politics and the Holocaust

Last week, the London Timesreported that a group of Muslims appointed by Tony Blair to examine how the government might diminish Muslim extremism are pressuring the PM to replace Holocaust Memorial Day with"Genocide Day," since"Muslims feel hurt and excluded that their lives are not equally valuable to those lives lost in the Holocaust time." The head of a British Muslim charity added, “There are 500 Palestinian towns and villages that have been wiped out over the years. That’s pretty genocidal to me.” (One Labour MP appropriately responded, “These Muslim groups should stop trying to evade the enormity of the Holocaust.”)

Perhaps French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy might want to visit Britain for next year's Holocaust Memorial Day, which is held on January 27. Yesterday's Ha'aretzreports that Douste-Blazy revealed a shocking lack of knowledge of the Holocaust and European history during a recent visit to Israel's Holocaust memorial site, Yad Vashem.

The museum, which is an extraordinary achievement in public history, includes detailed maps showing the number of Jews killed in each nation occupied by the Nazis. Douste-Blazy asked why no British Jews were listed as murdered, prompting the museum curator to point out,"But Monsieur le minister, England was never conquered by the Nazis during World War II."

The Foreign Minister's response:"Yes, but were there no Jews who were deported from England?" Amazing.

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Oscar Chamberlain - 9/22/2005

My understanding--and if I am wrong I really do want to be corrected--is that the synagogues were among the few buildings left standing by the Settlers when they were forced out and that other buildings, such as clinics, were destroyed by the settlers. That in itself would be provocation of sorts.

As far as "relativizing" the Holocaust is concerned, I'm not sure what you mean. If you mean making recognition of it in some way contingent upon Palestinian grievances, then I agree that it should not be relativized.

However, directly or indirectly, the Holocaust has touched the lives of many who did not suffer directly from it. Therefore considering the Holocaust in relation to the Middle East and its peoples strikes me as quite appropriate for a historian.

Nathanael D. Robinson - 9/21/2005

Relativizing the Holocaust would seem to facilitate inverting the guilt for the genocide back onto the victims -- the Jews are indeed an minority capable of endangering a race and should be resisted. The manner in which the synagogues of Gaza were 'dismantled' suggests that there is much aggresion behind the pseudo-scholarship.

The funny thing is I don't know what they hope to achieve by replacing Holocaust memorials with a 'genocide day'. Few events can stand alongside the Holocaust (Rwanda, Armenia), and its architectonics have affected not only how other calamities are viewed, but the entirety of the modern era.

Walter McElligott - 9/21/2005

Tony Blair is nuts. I believe its called appeasement!

Dave Matthews - 9/21/2005

See footnote "6" here.

Several Jews were deported from the occupied Channel Islands. This source says "3," other places I've seen the figure as high as a dozen.

But anyway....

Ralph E. Luker - 9/21/2005

If you've written KC off long ago and the level of "idiocy" here is such that you need to observe it, one wonders why you keep returning, Chris. Your comments are consistently abusive -- especially coming from someone so professedly devoted to international peace and goodwill.

chris l pettit - 9/21/2005

that I fully agree that those complaining about the Holocaust Memorial Day and wanting it changed are as intellectually vapid as those using it to further their own ideological nonsense.


chris l pettit - 9/21/2005

and as usual...this is turning into something involving only the Jews versus the Arabs...with KC on his usual ideological rooting post.

Why not take the universal high road and simply point out that the Holocaust is important to continue to commemorate because it is the most striking example of genocide in our times, involving the murder of millions of HUMANS...Jews, homosexuals, communists, intellectuals, anyone who did not aggre with the Nazis, Allied soldiers, the mentally ill, etc. I am so tired of the Holocaust being used by ideological quacks or ethnic promoters to claim victimhood for predominantly their "people" and then to further their biased and inherently elitist agendas. It is simply dishonest. Now, KC lost all academic credibility on these issues a long time ago, and the fact that anyone still takes him seriously makes me question their ability to think critically and non-ideologically...but come on are supposed to be historians...why do you let yourselves get dragged into this ideological nonsense? i am sure that some misfit will try and make an argument that the majority of those killed were Jews or that there were laws specifically targeting what? There were laws specifically targeting homosexuals, the mentally ill, communists, etc. Numbers don't matter when you are talking about millions of people killed...all need to be recognized. In terms of true human rights, the rule of law, and non-ideological history, this post is just not helping anything.

With that being said...if you guys could ever actually educate yourselves about genocide, ethnic cleansing, etc, and their ramifications (I did not even bother commenting on your idiocy down below regarding the Balkans...either read a text and educate yourselves or stop talking in terms that you don't understand...or go take a class on genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity - I can suggest some quality profs) you might be able to join me in supporting a genocide day (in addition to a Holocaust Memorial Day) as a good way to continue to make the world aware of current cases of genocide and ethnic cleansing going on in the world.


Oscar Chamberlain - 9/21/2005

The Muslims were wrong to want to end commemoration of the Holocaust. However, without the Holocaust it is entirely possible that there would be no state of Israel. It was used, quite understandably, by Zionists as the conclusive proof that a Jewish State was necessary, even if it was in the middle of an Arab and Muslim majority.

That makes the Arab Muslim relationship to the Holocaust a troubled and difficult one. That deserves some understanding, even though this particular suggestion was wrong.