Search Comment Central
Image: Loredana Sangiuliano / Shutterstock
Image: Loredana Sangiuliano / Shutterstock

We must fight antisemitism together

Bob Blackman MP
February 2, 2024

Today, it is more important than ever that we recognise the absolute atrocities that were directed towards the Jewish community during the war and continue to be today. 79 years on from the end of the holocaust and still people are persecuting and attacking people, based solely on their religion. It is absolutely unacceptable and I am proud that this Government is committed and steadfast in its support for Israel and the wider Jewish diaspora.

Antisemitism is not new and it did not originate with Hitler. Jewish people have been subjected to antisemitism throughout Europe since the Middle Ages, growing from the traditional hostilities between Christianity and Judaism. The hatred escalated significantly after the great war, when the reparations on Germany and its allies were extreme and we had the Wall Street crash followed by the depression, leading in turn to rampant inflation in Germany and the collapse of the Weimar republic.

America was rife with anti-Semitism from the early colonial days, however, as Jewish people only represented a very small part of American society, it remained dormant. Anti-Semitism flourished in the 1880s with the arrival of two million Jewish immigrants fleeing Eastern Europe, particularly from parts of the Russian empire where religious persecution was frequent.

Towards the latter part of the nineteenth century, conditions for Jews worsened with the passage of more restrictive legislation and recurring Government initiated violent attacks against Jewish communities, commonly known as pogroms. Consequently, Jews began fleeing in great numbers to the States. Many Americans originated traditionally from NW Europe or Scandinavia and thus grew increasingly anxious about the arrival of mass immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe whom they considered to belong to inferior “races” and frequently questioned their religious beliefs.

Quote

We rarely talk about the anti-Semitic movement in America, more often than not focusing on Nazi Germany. However, it was a grave situation across Europe and specifically in the States. Anti-Semitism was becoming more and more common in almost every aspect of American culture: Newspapers and magazines commonly printed anti-Semitic articles; racist cartoons; anti-Semites represented high positions in the federal government; Jewish exclusion from social clubs; discrimination in employment opportunities and many towns adopted zoning regulations to prevent the sale of land and houses to Jews. From 1922, following the example set by the leading University of Harvard, many prominent educational institutions imposed strict quotas on the numbers of Jews they allowed to study.

Throughout the 1920s, renowned car producer, Henry Ford, published a weekly newspaper called the Dearborn Independent which attracted an audience of over 700,000 people. He launched a vicious and persistent campaign against “The International Jew”. He blamed the Jewish community for all that was wrong with society, from threatening the capitalist system to undermining the moral values of the nation. He notably even blamed them for World War I.

Many miles across the globe, this narrative was gaining traction in Germany with the rapid rise of the Nazi party under Adolf Hitler. Hitler was a prominent member of the German Workers Party following the establishment of the Weimar Republic, often a firm favourite in the party for his engaging and passionate speeches. Throughout the 1920’s, Hitler would ferociously campaign across Germany, promoting his party’s values of anti-communism, antisemitism, and ultranationalism, appealing to both the left and right of the political spectrum and fast gaining considerable momentum.

The political landscape in Germany took a sharp turn following the Wall Street Crash in 1929. The economy slammed to a halt and the USA loans that were helping repay the WW1 reparations soon dried up. The Nazi’s used this politically polarizing landscape to exploit the crisis and loudly condemn the ruling government. Slowly but surely, the Nazi party was gaining more and more support. We should also remember that, in the UK, Oswald Mosely and his notorious blackshirts led the fascist agenda promoting Anti-Semitism.

The Nazi persecution of the Jewish community continued once Hitler assumed control, subtly becoming more and more discriminative until, in 1938, it took an exponential and unignorable turn. The night of Kristallnacht was a significant moment in the persecution of Jews. Until this point, although still despicable, the repressive policies had been largely non-violent. However, on the night of Kristallnacht, The Nazis torched synagogues, vandalized Jewish homes, schools and businesses, murdering 100 Jews. In the aftermath, some 30,000 Jewish men were arrested and sent to the concentration camps.

It saddens me that, almost 80 years later, the Jewish community are again being unjustly marginalised. The conflict in Gaza, following the horrific terror attacks on Israel by the Hamas terror group on October 7th, is a terrifying example of religion based hatred still occurring today. The repercussions of this are a huge surge in anti-Semitic hate in the United Kingdom, with the MET police reporting a 1,350% rise in London alone. It is truly appalling that school children have to hide their uniforms on the bus to protect themselves, just because it shows them to be Jewish. It is also completely unacceptable that MP’s are forced to leave office because of the antisemitic hatred they receive and the severe threat to themselves, their families and staff.

It is times like these that we all need to come together as one to fight hatred, not ignite further cultural wars in this country. Israel is a small country and so it is highly likely that Jewish people in the UK will have family, friends or connections who are suffering from the deadly attacks Hamas are inflicting on the state of Israel every single day. I urge you to reach out to any friends or local people and offer your thoughts, prayers and support at this undoubtedly difficult time for them. We must not let the Holocaust atrocities occur again and we must stand up to every case of antisemitism.

Bob

Bob Blackman is the Conservative MP for Harrow East and Chair of the APPG for Azerbaijan.

Border
Most Popular
Image: Pexels / Olga Lioncat
The economy is not doing...
Max Mosley 1
Max Mosley
February 28, 2024
What to read next
Shutterstock 387797695 1
Look no further than Britain’s powerful role in rebuilding the Caucasus...
Bob
Bob Blackman MP
November 29, 2021
Shutterstock 2003079191 1
The new Secretary of State for Health has a large and...
Bob
Bob Blackman MP
July 8, 2021
Tehran City edited
The Iranian Diplomat, Assadollah Assadi, is on trial following his intent...
Bob
Bob Blackman MP
December 21, 2020