Two articles on Jews just came my way across the net, each with a story of its own but each with a very different theme. First this, which may be of more general interest: This wasn’t a political protest – it was shameful mob behaviour. This is the sub-head to tell you what it is about: “The hounding of Tzipi Hotovely [Israel’s ambassador to Britain] confirmed how prejudiced anti-Israel sentiment has become”. I will draw only one para from the story but you can read the rest for yourself if it interests you.
It is very difficult to watch something like the mob harassment of Ms Hotovely and not wonder if this is more an outburst of prejudice than a display of political displeasure. It is difficult to know for a fact that Israeli representatives like Ms Hotovely are always singled out for special opprobrium, treated virtually as the most evil political actors in the world, and not consider that there is at least an element of anti-Semitism here. It is hard to see Israel constantly being talked up as the most toxic nation on Earth – as the puppeteer of Western imperialism, the bringer of doom to global affairs – and not contemplate the possibility that for some people the Jewish State now plays the same role the Jews once played. That is, it is viewed as a singularly malevolent entity, controlling world affairs, consumed by bloodlust.
Brendan O’Neill should be commended for this article, but he unfortunately is near unique on seeing this issue for what it is.
The second article is by Juliet Moses with a perhaps enigmatic title – Sorry, that’s not a holocaust – in which she tries to point out that the word itself represents a unique and terrifying moment in history for which no comparisons are possible or legitimate. She is reacting to the following statement:
” Trans people are in the middle of a holocaust’.”
This is the point she is trying to make.
The ramifications of the Holocaust are ongoing. The Jewish worldwide population (some 15 million) is still not back to pre-Holocaust levels. Survivors still live. Research continues; documents, artefacts and photos are unearthed. Alleged Nazis go on trial or live undetected. Restitution claims persist. Yet, at the same time, there is increasing Holocaust denial and trivialisation. Since the pandemic, invoking the Holocaust for political point-scoring has reached absurd heights. The more it is universalised, the more its weight and meaning are devalued and the more the unique Jewish experience is erased….
When people who are not victims of the Holocaust use that word to describe their experience, a comparison of suffering inevitably ensues. I don’t want to get into a victimhood competition. I don’t know what it is like to be transgender, but I do know they are not suffering a ‘holocaust’ in any way the word has ever been used. Their experience is unique, and different to Jewish people, black people, or anyone else, and will vary between themselves. That experience should be respected, but not at the expense of or through the erasure of others’ experience or the appropriation of others’ suffering.
One of the major reasons for recalling The Holocaust is to ensure that a similar horror does not recur, which specifically relates to the murder of Jews because they are Jews. That is why this second story is so closely related to the first.