Fighting anti-Semitism will become that bit harder when the last Holocaust survivor leaves us – Telegraph.co.uk

Posted By on January 29, 2020

Anti-Semitism has always been a shape shifting virus. Put two anti-Semites in front of a keyboard and one will deny the Holocaust while the other wants to finish it. Barely a day goes by when I am not sent something along either of those lines. As the editor of the Jewish Chronicle, I am an easy and obvious target. But my inbox simply reflects the fact that anti-Semitism is back and increasing in intensity.

The Community Security Trust recorded 892 anti-Semitic incidents across the UK in the first six months of 2019, the highest ever total and a rise of 10 per cent from the same period in 2018. You hardly need me to point out that one of our main political parties is currently being investigated by the Equality and Human Rights Commission for institutional anti-Semitism.

So Mondays Holocaust Memorial Day does not simply commemorate the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, important enough as that would be. It is a vital plank in the fight against modern anti-Semitism the Jew hate that is once again thriving.

Labours issues are a symptom, rather than a cause, of this. Those party members who spread anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial did not suddenly decide to hate Jews because Jeremy Corbyn became their party leader. They have certainly felt more able to share that hate often on social media than before. But their anti-Semitism must have lain dormant until they began to think it acceptable to air.

After 1945 and the horrors of the Holocaust, there was a feeling that anti-Semitism might finally be extinguished, with the shattering clarity of where it had led. But it is not called the oldest hatred for nothing. Despite the gas chambers being within living memory, Jew hate and Holocaust denial are now firmly back with us.

In the context of Holocaust Memorial Day, it is that phrase in living memory that is most important. Because as the years go by, the number of remaining survivors of the Holocaust falls. And it is the survivors themselves, with the testimony of their own experiences, who are the most powerful communicators of what happened and what human beings are capable of. Anyone who has seen a survivor speak to a group of school children has seen them sit rapt, in total silence, as they learn what evil means.

There are all sorts of wonderful educational tools being developed such as holograms filmed for the National Holocaust Centre and Museum, for which 10 survivors were asked over 1,000 questions each, so the holograms can themselves be asked questions. But they are not the same as hearing from a living, breathing survivor.

Even now, with governments across Europe committed to Holocaust education and spending huge sums on it, anti-Semitism is on the rise. Social media makes it far easier than ever before to push Holocaust denial and firms such as Facebook refuse to take down offending posts unless compelled by law, as in Germany. Anti-Semitism will never be eliminated. And it will be an ever more uphill struggle as the survivors leave us. But that simply makes occasions like Holocaust Memorial Day ever more important.

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Fighting anti-Semitism will become that bit harder when the last Holocaust survivor leaves us - Telegraph.co.uk

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