It is sad to see organized Jewry at the forefront of the struggle to limit speech.
* With the growth of social media, Antisemitism is finding new forms of expression which must be monitored and countered. We would therefore welcome additional political and material support to prevent and prosecute Antisemitism and other forms of racism in these new media.
* The Jewish community is concerned about hate speakers being allowed into the UK to spread and incite various forms of hatred against Jews; other faiths and races; the LGBT community; and other minorities. Hate speakers should be blocked from importing their hatred into the UK, spreading animosity and division. The Jewish community recognises and appreciates the work of the Home Office in refusing entry to some known hate speakers in the past.
From time to time, UK citizens are implicated in preaching hatred on university campuses and at community venues. The Community Security Trust, the Board of Deputies and the Union of Jewish Students have worked with groups including university authorities to balance the need for free speech with a clear opposition to hate speech.
Policy Ask: To support cohesion by banning speakers considered to be ‘not conducive to the public good’ from entering the UK. Policy Ask: To work with the Jewish community to prevent UK citizens preaching hate, including in universities and community centres.
* The Jewish Community is committed to positive and authentic engagement with people of all faiths and none. Promoting good relations between communities proactively prevents tensions, racism and violence. Steps should be taken to educate people of different faith and belief backgrounds about each other, and proactive efforts and investment should be put into developing good inter faith relations in order to prevent tensions and promote cooperation.
Whilst much of this work is driven from faith groups themselves at a local and national level, only Government has the resources to facilitate the strategic growth and direction of this work. The Jewish community and the Board of Deputies, in particular, prides itself on working with Government to enhance the interfaith encounter, producing joint research, projects and events. Organisations and projects like the InterFaith Network for the UK and its regional and local affiliates, as well as national bodies like the 3FF, Mitzvah Day, the Council of Christians and Jews, the Christian Muslim Forum, the Christian Hindu Forum and the Joseph Interfaith Foundation offer sustainable mechanisms and partners to deliver a more cohesive and integrated society.
Since 2005, the United Kingdom has officially marked Holocaust Memorial Day on 27 January every year. The Day does not just commemorate the Nazi Holocaust of the Jews, but also the genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur. Like other Holocaust-related activities, the aim is not just to remember the past, but to create a consciousness that will prevent any other genocides happening in the future.
With each passing year there are fewer Holocaust survivors able to tell their stories. Therefore, it is important for schools across Europe to teach students about the Holocaust. Bodies like the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, the Holocaust Educational Trust, the Wiener Library, Yad Vashem, the Anne Frank Trust, Yom HaShoah UK, the Centre for Holocaust Education and the Beth Shalom Holocaust Centre all merit support.
The Board of Deputies’ response to the 2014 Holocaust Commission made recommendations, including the following:
• Strengthen and broaden existing Holocaust modules within the National Curriculum
• Educate children to become activists for human rights and social justice, and against prejudice
• Formally designate Holocaust Memorial Day as a recognised day in mainstream schools.
• Increase the number of Holocaust Educational Trust trips to concentration camps
• Support/fund a central Forum for Holocaust Education and Commemoration to offer a joined-up approach.
• Provide all school children in the UK with a copy of Anne Frank’s Diary
• Build a ‘Memorial to the Holocaust’ in Central London – ensuring that it has the power to educate as well as to commemorate
• Promote initiatives to enable young people to shadow survivors of the Holocaust
Policy Ask: To implement the Board of Deputies’ recommendations to the 2014 Holocaust Commission. Policy Ask: To support Holocaust education, remembrance, commemoration, research and survivor testimony. Policy Ask: To show solidarity with all the victims of Nazi persecution, including Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, disabled people and political opponents of Nazism, as well as the victims of other genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.
Policy Ask: To include and expand holocaust education in schools to prevent ignorance which can in some cases lead to revisionism or denial.
Holocaust denial and revisionism is widely abhorred, but it continues – particularly in the context of opposition to Israel. The current Iranian Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, previously sought to question the veracity or extent of the Holocaust. Former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad even organised a two-day conference in 2006, attended by neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan, to question the reality of the Holocaust. In Europe, convicted French racist Dieudonné M’bala M’bala uses his public comedy shows to suggest that Jews created the idea of the Holocaust in order to reap financial gain. He was banned from the UK in 2014.
In Europe, the 2008 Prague Declaration caused alarm among many Jewish communities by conflating crimes under Soviet Communism with Nazi crimes. The concern is that some countries have attempted to deflect attention from the complicity of their wartime governments in the Holocaust, cynically attempting to avoid liability for compensation to Jewish victims. The crimes that Communist governments committed against their people should be explored and the perpetrators prosecuted, but it is important that countries acknowledge their role in the Holocaust and do not attempt to gloss over a very troubled period in their history.
At times, a related trope is that many leading Communists were Jews and so – it is claimed – the Jews as a whole are complicit in the crimes of Communism. The rationale continues that, as such, Jews in general do not deserve sympathy or compensation for their suffering in the Holocaust. This argument is unacceptable. The actions of some Jewish Communists do not make all Jews complicit. The ‘Jewish people’ does not hold property confiscated by the Communists, but various states do hold Jewish property confiscated by the Nazis and must fulfil their obligation to return it.
Policy Ask: To refute and confront individuals and political movements who seek to minimise or downplay the Holocaust.
Luke: I love how the Board of Deputies argues that promoting multi-culturalism leads to a more cohesive and integrated society. The last Chief Rabbi of Great Britain, Jonathan Sacks, had different views.
AP 2007: Multiculturalism promotes segregation, stifles free speech and threatens liberal democracy, Britain’s top Jewish official warned in extracts from his book published Saturday.
Jonathan Sacks, Britain’s chief rabbi, defined multiculturalism as an attempt to affirm Britain’s diverse communities and make ethnic and religious minorities more appreciated and respected. But in his book, “The Home We Build Together: Recreating Society,” he said the movement had run its course.
“Multiculturalism has led not to integration but to segregation,” Sacks wrote in his book, an extract of which was published in the Times of London.
“Liberal democracy is in danger,” Sacks said, adding later: “The politics of freedom risks descending into the politics of fear.”
Sacks said Britain’s politics had been poisoned by the rise of identity politics, as minorities and aggrieved groups jockeyed first for rights, then for special treatment.
The process, he said, began with Jews, before being taken up by blacks, women and gays. He said the effect had been “inexorably divisive.”
“A culture of victimhood sets group against group, each claiming that its pain, injury, oppression, humiliation is greater than that of others,” he said.
In an interview with the Times, Sacks said he wanted his book to be “politically incorrect in the highest order.”
I love this sentence: “In Europe, the 2008 Prague Declaration caused alarm among many Jewish communities by conflating crimes under Soviet Communism with Nazi crimes.” Why should the victims of communism be less remembered than the victims of Nazis?
If all adult Germans alive during WWII were complicit in the Holocaust (a notion I find ridiculous), then Jews as a people are complicit in communism (even though only a tiny proportion of Jews pushed communism, just as only a minority of Germans supported Nazi genocide).
“Israel is a diverse and pluralistic society that seeks to guarantee equality to all its citizens.” Nonsense. Israel is the Jewish state. Non-Jews in Israel are necessarily second-class citizens. From a Torah perspective, there is no room for Gentile citizenship in the Jewish nation.
Why should a Gentile nation officially commemorate the Holocaust more than any other genocide? That makes no sense. The victims of communism deserve as much commemoration as the victims of Nazism.
“The popularity of faith schools with parents reflects their academic results, their ethos, their behavioural standards, and the contribution that their pupils go on to make in wider society. Currently, one in every three schools in Britain is a faith school, and around sixty-five per cent of Jewish children in the UK attend Jewish schools. Whilst some faith schools operate in the private sector, there is a significant benefit to the relationship between public authorities and those faith schools that are part of the state sector. Many of them are models of best practice. As such, faith schools should remain an integral part of the state-sector offer.”
I don’t see why any country would want to promote religious diversity. That is only a recipe for increased conflict. The more Jewish the country of Israel is, the stronger it is. That same principle equally applies to Gentile countries.
“The success of faith schools is partly due to the sense of shared values and a shared purpose. Quotas or other interventions in schools’ admissions criteria risk losing this benefit.”
In other words, the Board of Deputies of British Jews wants minority groups to be as ethnocentric and closed as they like while denying that same cohesiveness to the majority.
“Policy Ask: To support the right of schools to continue to set their own admissions’ criteria.”
Why shouldn’t the nation as a whole and other communities within it set their own admissions’ criteria?
“Policy Ask: To ensure that there is provision for breakfast clubs in schools to ensure that vulnerable children are supported.”
Let’s ask the government to feed our kids.
“Policy Ask: To impose greater regulation on the rental market to give protection to people in the private rented sector.”
This is the very opposite of the Board’s program for Jewish schools (to set their own admission criteria).
“Jews and Roma were persecuted together during the Second World War, and continue to face abuse from extremists, especially in Hungary, but in other places too. Victimisation of the Roma needs to be tackled urgently.”
Great. So let’s move Roma into the homes and communities of the architects of this document so they can enjoy the diversity.
“The Jewish community is, essentially, an immigrant community, arriving in the UK as either economic migrants or refugees fleeing persecution. As such, the Jewish community takes a particular interest in the plight of immigrants and asylum seekers, and shares a discomfort in loose, pejorative language that stigmatises new arrivals in this country.”
The Board of Deputies must hate the pejorative language in the Torah about Amalek. Funny, I don’t hear the Board of Deputies requesting that Jews censor their texts and prayer books to remove pejorative language about out-groups.
“Policy Ask: To promote fair policies towards migrants, asylum seekers and refugees, takings pains not to encourage hatred or baseless suspicion towards these groups.”
What if the hatred and suspicion is justified by the facts? England is already over-crowded. Why would this country want more immigrants?
“The flourishing UK Jewish cultural scene is testimony to a thriving and integrated community.”
The Board of Deputies seeks cohesion for Jews and multi-culturalism for the goyim.
In sum, this document’s recommendations will make Great Britain weaker.