Brits deem anti-Israel group Holocaust event 'offensive'

Government bans any mention of Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign event on the official Holocaust Memorial Day Trust’s website.

By JONNY PAUL
September 29, 2010 05:08
Brits deem anti-Israel group Holocaust event 'offensive'

holocaust memorial 224.8. (photo credit: AP [file])

LONDON – The British government has branded a Holocaust Memorial Day event organized by a radical anti-Israel campaign group earlier this year “offensive,” banning any mention of it on the official Holocaust Memorial Day Trust’s website.

The matter came to light after Mick Napier, head of the fringe group Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (SPSC), posted the government’s letter on the organization’s website on Monday.

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Napier wrote to Home Secretary Theresa May in July asking why its event, which had been organized to coincide with Holocaust Memorial Day – commemorated internationally every year on January 27, the day Auschwitz-Birkenau was liberated – was not listed by the trust.

Speaking at the event, on the subject of “Israeli mass killings in Palestine,” had been Holocaust survivor and anti-Israel activist Hajo Meyer, author of the book The End of Judaism.

Meyer has claimed that Judaism was supplanted by the “Holocaust religion” that was “invented by the High Priest Elie Wiesel.”

Meyer is also known to rebuke Israel for “treating the Palestinian people in the same way the Nazis treated Jews during the Second World War.”

On Holocaust Memorial Day last year, SPSC hosted Azzam Tamimi, a Hamas supporter who condones suicide bombing in Israel, at an event titled “Resistance to Genocide and Ethnic Cleansing: from Europe in the 1940s to the Middle East Today.”

In 2006, it staged Perdition, a play that implies Zionist complicity in the Shoah. The same year, it hosted Gilad Atzmon, an alleged Holocaust-denier and anti-Semitic musician.

In his writings, Atzmon has said, “To regard Hitler as the wickedest man and the Third Reich as the embodiment of evilness is to let Israel off the hook,” and, “Perhaps we should face it once and for all, the Jews were responsible for killing Jesus.”

In a written response to SPSC last month, the government said it deemed the content of the event “offensive” and that it was the trust’s policy to bar anything “inappropriate.”

“Holocaust Memorial Day Trust’s policy is to prohibit from inclusion on its website any content that is deemed to be offensive,” Andrew Stunell, minister for communities and local government, said in the August letter to Napier.

“I understand that HMDT took the view that the wording of the SPSC statement was likely to offend participants in the many events which were planned to take place on or around HMD 2010,” Stunell said.

The Liberal Democrat MP said that everyone was free to use the trust’s materials and themes, “but the trust will not publish anything which they find to be offensive or inappropriate.”

Mark Gardiner from the Community Security Trust, a charity that monitors anti- Semitism and provides security for the Jewish community in Britain, hailed Stunell’s letter.

“It is offensive and perverse to use Holocaust Memorial Day as an excuse to attack Israel.

The minister’s letter is to be applauded,” he said.

Stanley Grossman of the Scottish Friends of Israel campaign group noted that “Napier comfortably boasted of attending a memorial event in Gaza honoring the memory of the terrorist George Habash, founder of the murderous Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Now he bitterly complains as to why his group is sidelined from respectable society.”

In his response to the letter, Napier said it amounted to “censorship,” accusing the government of banning any discussion of the Palestinians during Holocaust Memorial Day.

Writing on the SPSC website on Monday, he called for help to “break this censorship.”

“We can work together to see that Nazi mass killings against Jews, Gypsies, Russians, Poles, Serbs, disabled people, homosexuals are remembered and lessons drawn that we must stop all mass killings, especially when our own government arms and supports the killers,” he wrote.

“We must remember the most revolting example of European state-directed racism to rededicate ourselves to opposing all state-directed racism, including the vicious form of apartheid existing in Israel today,” Napier added.

Replying to the government, he asked, “What was deemed to be offensive in SPSC having an Auschwitz survivor talk across Scotland on the world’s ‘largest prison camp’?” – a reference to Prime Minister David Cameron’s description of Gaza during a visit to Turkey in July.

Inquiring whether groups “campaigning for Palestinian human rights” could participate in Holocaust Memorial Day next year, Napier asked if any reference to “Israeli crimes in Palestine is considered ‘offensive’ within the context of HMD?”

He also asked if official Holocaust commemoration was “constrained by British government support for Israel” and if it was acceptable to “invoke the genocide racism of the Holocaust perpetrators to warn against nuclear weapons that can exterminate whole populations; Israeli massacres of Palestinians from 1948 till today and the ongoing program of dispossession of Palestinians by settlers backed by the Israeli State?”

Following the terrorist attack on Jerusalem’s Mercaz Harav Yeshiva in 2008, in which eight students were killed and 15 wounded, Napier accused the institution of being “a training center for illegal occupation, murder and Arabs to the gas chambers.”

“Ala Abu Dhaim killed eight students who were being trained to oppress and dispossess him, his family, his entire people. He was himself killed by an armed student,” Napier added.

The syllabus at the yeshiva, according to Napier, included “contempt for all gentiles, not only Arabs” – for Palestine, he said, was “in the grip of Jewish supremacism.”

SPSC activist John Wight has also employed anti-Semitic rhetoric.

“Israel is a hydra-headed monster, comprising Zionist ethnic cleansers, US imperialists and Arab collaborationist regimes. Arrayed against this monster are the forces of human progress,” Wight has said.

“As soon as the scales fall from the eyes of international Jewry with regard to the racist and fascist ideology that is Zionism, the world will begin to emerge from the iron heel of war and brutality in the Middle East,” he added.


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