Monday, February 10, 2014

British M.P. Demonstrates the Limits of Holocaust Education

Labour M.P. Yasmin Qureshi knows all about the Holocaust. She has even been to Auschwitz. And yet, she felt no hesitation at all in comparing the Jews of Israel to the Nazis and the Palestinians of Gaza to Europe's murdered Jews, an opinion that landed her in hot water and for which she has now issued a perfunctory and patently insincere apology:
A Labour MP has apologised after she appeared to compare the situation in Gaza to the treatment of Jews during the Holocaust. 
In a Parliamentary debate last week on the humanitarian situation facing Palestinians, Yasmin Qureshi drew parallels with the Shoah. 
The Bolton South East MP suggested it was "quite strange" that the Israeli government was "complacent and happy" to allow Palestinians to be treated like "Jews who suffered genocide". 
Her remarks were condemned by the Holocaust Educational Trust, Labour Friends of Israel and Labour supporters. 
Ms Qureshi issued a statement apologising over the weekend. She said: “The debate was about the plight of the Palestinian people and in no way did I mean to equate events in Gaza with the Holocaust.  
"I apologise for any offence caused. I am also personally hurt if people thought I meant this.  
"As someone who has visited the crematoria and gas chambers of Auschwitz I know the Holocaust was the most brutal act of genocide of the 20th century and no-one should seek to underestimate its impact.” 
In the debate Ms Qureshi had highlighted that Israel "was founded because of what happened to the millions and millions of Jews who suffered genocide"...
In a way, Ms. Qureshi has done us a favour. She has shown us that, in and of itself, Holocaust education does not necessarily teach people to be mindful of the motto "Never Again" and apply it to the situation of today's Jews, especially those living in Israel. In fact, learning about the Shoah can have the opposite effect of the one desired. For those with a leftist and/or Islamist worldview, it can establish (or reaffirm) a false dichotomy between the "good" dead Jews, who were victims, and who were murdered, and the "bad" Jews of Israel, who--oh, the delicious irony of it all!--victimize the Palestinians, and are therefore just like the Nazis.

Yes, the Jewish State came into existence several years after the end of the Shoah. But the Jews' residence in and ties to the land are ancient and eternal, something which needs to be emphasized, and which tends to get lost when the Holocaust--remembering it and educating people about it--is always top of mind and front and center.

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