Renewed attacks on the left while antisemitism on the right is ignored

JVL Introduction

As Holocaust Memorial Day approaches vengeful attacks on Labour and the left are reaching new heights. Vernon Bogdanor,  in a scurrilous article in today’s Jewish Chronicle talks of the ” the minuscule antisemitic threat from the far right”.

Davis Rosenberg shows how remote from the truth such views are and that the Tory party has direct links to parties of the far right in Europe. Where is the media fuss about that?

Who will challenge the Tories’ links with antisemites?

January 25, 2019

Last February the Polish ruling Law and Justice Party (PiS) passed a law outlawing accusations of complicity by Poles in the Holocaust. A month later the Polish Prime Minister laid a wreath at the Munich grave site of the Holy Cross Mountains Brigade, a Polish underground military unit who collaborated with Nazi Germany against communists during the Second World War.

That same month the Latvian National Alliance party took part in an annual event commemorating the Latvian Waffen-SS.

In Bulgaria, every February, the Bulgarian National Movement holds a march through the centre of Sofia to honour Hristo Lukov, an army general who led the pro-Nazi Union of National Legions during the war. The march ends next to the house where Lukov was assassinated by anti-fascist partisans.

What connects these three parties?

Apart from the fact that they also indulge in ultra-nationalism and xenophobia (including Islamophobic, anti-Roma and anti-refugee propaganda), they are part of the Conservatives and Reformists bloc in the European Parliament, formed in 2009 by David Cameron and Polish right wingers, who took the Tories out of a more “moderate” Conservative bloc. The UK Conservative Party and Polish PiS remain, by far, the largest members of that coalition. Theresa May has chosen to keep the Conservatives in that bloc despite (or is it because of?) the reactionary politics of their close allies.

Last summer the Tories and PIS welcomed another controversial party into that bloc – the Sweden Democrats, whose roots were in the neo-Nazi movements of the 1980s and ’90s. They claim to have cleaned up their image but last year social media posts by some of the Sweden Democrats’ local/regional councillors were exposed. One mocked the Holocaust victim Anne Frank as “the coolest Jew in the shower room”. One more alleged that “Rothschild controls the economy”, and in a separate post asked: “What is the difference between a cow and the Holocaust ? You can’t milk a cow for 70 years.”
Hungary’s Fidesz party is outside of that bloc. Its Prime Minister, Victor Orban, was re-elected last march after a campaign in which he indulged his open antisemitism against George Soros. Yet when Orban was being censured by the Euro Parliament last September, the Conservatives and Reformists group – including the UK Conservatives – went through the lobbies with the furthest right-wing racist and fascist groups to defend Orban.

These are the current, real and verifiable links between the Conservative Party, antisemitism and Holocaust revisionism.

Yet in the media coverage around Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD), which will be commemorated this Sunday, I have not heard a single mainstream media representative challenge the Conservative Party over these direct links, or their complicity in working with and defending antisemites.

Between now and Sunday, will even one mainstream media outlet have the guts to call out the Tories’ links?

Instead what we hear repeatedly, with reference to HMD are specious and unsubstantiated reference to Labour’s alleged “problem” with antisemitism, and gratuitous attacks on Jeremy Corbyn.

It is sickening to see the history of the Holocaust used so cynically as a political football to obscure the Tories’ shameful alliances, and instead condemn the party of racial equality, and attack its leader who has always been prominent in the anti-racist, anti-fascist movement.

Comments (2)

  • Rick Hayward says:

    Mmmm…. Vernon Bogdanor …. now wasn’t he responsible for David Cameron’s education at one point? … Mmmmm ….

    I’m not a Jew. But the words :

    “It is sickening to see the history of the Holocaust used so cynically as a political football”

    … express exactly what many of us experience when we see what should be an object for serious contemplation used deceitfully for sectarian manipulation – actually often employing the same propaganda tricks of repeated untruths and distortions as were developed in the Third Reich.

    So today – Holocaust Memorial Day – we have a survey (not, in this case propaganda, but just working within the received trope) screaming ‘Wolf!’ about levels of ignorance about the holocaust that, in the context of knowledge about most historical and contemporary issues are unremarkable.

    Ask a random sample of citizens about – say – the genocides in Africa under European imperialism – and after – and I guess the lack of knowledge would be at a far higher level.

    Or ask what the term ‘Nakba’ means. I guess the majority would stare blankly.

    Meanwhile, coverage of the Holocaust is, actually pretty comprehensive. Have a look at this weekend’s television output – there is certainly no suppression of information. And, in terms of ‘education’, the topic is covered in schools. So, the distortions and ignorance that exist are – well – levels that represent pretty usual levels of such, with their the associated conspiracy theories.

    The danger of crying ‘Wolf!’, as in this case, and in the wider attack on the left under the banner of opposing antisemitism, is what the folk tale indicates – the real and present dangers – particularly from the right – are ignored.

  • James Rose says:

    He could have added another “movement” dear to Tory hearts = Ukrainian Nationalists and their “hero” Stepan Bandera (terminated by the Soviets in 1959). Unfortunately there are plenty more crawling out from the sewers. Even the friends of Sir Oswald Moseley (Motto: PJ for “Perish the Jews”) with their many connecting threads to the Tory and Establishment right. Now as then, the BDBJ and their ilk will predictably find they have something else to do when the day comes to stop the Blackshirts marching.

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