Karen Harradine: Yet again, we Jews face a fight for survival

The world is happy to pay homage to dead Jews but content to persecute the living ones. How sad that commemorations for Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) take place at a time when it is becoming increasingly difficult to live as a Jew. When Jews are being attacked in the streets of London this faux sentimentality creates a hollow siren of mourning.

For Jews are no longer allowed to claim the Holocaust as their own. Those who have contributed to anti-Semitism disingenuously use HMD to shore up their credentials as Israel haters. The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust's promotional video tells the moving story of a Jew persecuted in Nazi Germany and shows the gravestones of murdered Jews. But the impact of this poignancy is diminished by the gratuitous and pointless scenes, interwoven throughout this video, of a Muslim woman being attacked. It exemplifies the cognitive dissonance pervading this day and all hateful discourse on Jews and Israel.

Our dead need to be mourned in peace without any political posturing. Erroneously pious proclamations from anti-Semites on this day do not make up for their anti-Semitism during the rest of the year.  For them the only good Jews are dead Jews.

I want no part of them. I prefer to do my mourning in private. I pray for my murdered family, for the perished and survivors still afflicted. I honour my ancestors, slaughtered in the Ukraine, who I will never meet.  I mourn for those whose life stories were extinguished too soon by this great evil. There are so few of us Jews left and yet again we are having to fight for survival and justify our existence.

I never thought I would write these words but I am glad that my father, a proud Jew and a passionate Zionist, is no longer alive. No matter how much I miss him I am grateful he has been spared the hurt and pain of witnessing this appalling growth of anti-Semitism.  He has avoided the anguish, emanating from our collective consciousness, when we witness yet another Jew taunted and victimised. His noble heart would have broken at the sight of Jewish students being violently assaulted by Israel haters.

My father was born when Jews were being marched to concentration camps by the Nazis and their collaborators, dying children separated from grieving parents, bodies unceremoniously burnt into ashes with no-one to say Kaddish for them, families herded like cattle into ghettos, and later onto trains, enduring inexplicable and astounding suffering and death. How furious he would have been at the arrogance of those who claim to commemorate our dead yet gleefully advocate for the destruction of Israel and the death of even more Jews.

Once again Jews are being forced to pull suitcases out of attics and talk in hushed whispers around the dinner table about whether they should leave or not, all the while trying to ignore warning signs reminiscent of Nazi Europe. But the Holocaust has forged iron into our souls. More and more of us Jews are fighting back. We will no longer go meekly into the gas chambers.

(Image: cea+)

Karen Harradine

  • Reborn

    As a gentile atheist i agree with every word.
    Holocaust Memorial Day is being steadily undermined by anti Jewish elements.
    Brief story.
    Catholic friends in Stamford Hill.
    Massive crash at 1.00 am, Caribbean origin nurse from next door knocks at their
    door in panic.
    Lump of concrete through her window.
    Her son investigates & a few days later turns up with 2 black teenage thugs,
    Muslim converts.
    They apologise etc. Assumed Carribean family were Jews.
    No police action.
    So that’s all right then.
    The only serious Jew hating comes from mohammedans, indigenous Jew
    haters are an endangered species – fortunately.
    Labour Party now the Islamic party of Britain, so the rest follows.
    Most notably the anti Israel stance of the BBC &the liberal media.

    • Raul

      “pious proclamations from anti-Semites on this day do not make up for their anti-Semitism during the rest of the year” Agree totally . What I would say is that I am virtually the only Jewish person at work and have many face book non Jewish friends and have never come across anti-semtitism .Now this is possibly because I am not obviously Jewish and am not a “stereotypical” Jew. I think if I was and lived in say Leicester road Manchester a very orthodox area my experiences would be very different. A very thought provoking and sad article

  • Colkitto03

    Another creeping attack on Jews can be seen in the way individuals and groups attack Holocaust Memorial Day. The narrative they disingenuously try and push is that the Jews have ‘claimed’ it all for themselves at the exclusion of Gypsies, Gays, Poles etc. What a horribly divisive message.

  • RingedPlover

    Is it a Noisy Minority who are often totally Intolerant who are the problem? And they are becoming increasingly Vicious. Not just Intolerant of Jews but anyone they don’t like or approve of? I voted to leave the EU but won’t mention it to anyone for fear of a Verbal Assault. Which I know isn’t the same as a Physical Attack but it’s Unpleasant. And Worrying for the Future.

  • RPM

    Some eighteen months ago Newsnight the BBC “news” programme ” did a piece on the anti islamist group Pegida. They were planning a march in Newcastle-upon -Tyne. The BBC reporters duly went up to Newcastle and interviewed a local MP and members of the “under siege” Muslim community. And as predicted did a left wing hatchet job on Pegida, this was expected as it was the BBC after all.
    What they didn’t report was that two weeks previously at Newcastle crown court two members of the “under siege” muslim community were found guilty of and I quote going” Jew bashing” in the nearby Gateshead orthodox Jewish community causing GBH to their innocent victims.
    So what happened in 30’s Berlin was happening in 2015 Newcastle-upon-Tyne. And the BBC shows the perpetrators as victims.

    • Craig Martin

      It’s sickening.

  • weirdvisions

    What is happening is barbaric. I’m lucky enough to live in a peaceful, practically crime free part of the country. Violent crime is very rare. Muslims are even rarer. Like rocking horse droppings in fact. Please don’t paint the entire country the same colour as ghettoised inner city/big town cess pits. We’re not all uncivliised, anti-semitic savages. You will find a lot of right thinking people support Israel’s right to protect its people from terrorism. I’m one of them and I don’t think I’m alone amongst the people who comment on this site.

    • Craig Martin

      No, you are not alone.

    • KarenHarradine

      I know they do. I just wish there was more of them. But I am grateful for the support that us Jews and Israel get from many who comment on this site.

      • weirdvisions

        You’re welcome, Karen.

  • James Chilton

    If it’s true that anti-Semitism in this country is intensifying, I don’t believe
    that the Brexit result is making it worse.

    Karen Harradine links to a writer in The Spectator who wants to move from London to Tel Aviv. He writes,”The referendum result didn’t make me decide to leave, but it was a penny on the scales. This no longer feels like home.”

    I voted for Brexit. In doing so, it never entered my thoughts that I would be making life more difficult for Jews.

    • weirdvisions

      We didn’t. The person who posted that comment has been brainwashed by the interminable Brexiteers are all racists crap the media and prokaryotic snowflakes have been spewing out for months on end.

      • James Chilton

        Simon Wilder – the writer linked to in The Spectator article – goes on to explain how the Israeli government deals with applications to settle there and says, “Israel is as pro-immigration as Britain seems anti-.”

        This look like another hint that the Brexit vote, being an expression of anti- immigrant sentiment, allegedly, is some kind of threat to the security of British Jews.

        So, we might conclude, if you voted to leave the EU you are not only a right winger, a little Englander, etc., but also a potential anti-Semite.

        • weirdvisions

          Perhaps, rather than quit the UK, he should quit believing the anti-Brexit wibble he reads in the Guardian and watches on the BBC.

          • James Chilton

            This is just a personal anecdote.

            My brother-in-law is Jewish. I asked him by email if he thought anti-Semitism is getting worse in this country – particularly since the referendum. He said the whole idea is preposterous. While he has been insulted on account of the fact that he’s a Jew, it’s been only on a handful of occasions by thugs. He has never been given cause to worry about the state of public opinion with respect to Jews in general. He lives in Leeds.

          • weirdvisions

            Good for him. I have a lot of respect for Jews. They have given more to the world than they have taken from it. Maybe he can have a word with his more faint-hearted co-religionist and alleviate the fear that we are not all full bonkers racists.

    • KarenHarradine

      As a supporter of Brexit I too was irritated with the writer’s ludicrous sentiments on it. But his piece was important as part of it reflected the concerns of anti-Semitism which many Jews are experiencing, which are not linked to Brexit. That is why I linked to it.

  • Politically__Incorrect

    I agree entirely about mourning in private. Nobody’s death, whatever the circumstances should be used as a political football, espdcially in the way the holocaust has. The Left has a strong tendency to exploit catastrophe for their own purposes. Look at the death of Jo Cox. What should have been a family tragedy and a criminal investigation got turned into a tacky and mawkish display of political activism. The Left don’t even know how to respect the dead, never mind the living.

  • Busy Mum

    I have always been a bit cynical about Holocaust Memorial Day. I was never aware of it whilst at school but it has mushroomed in the past couple of decades, along with poppy-wearing. So many of these things seem to be about a visible show of remembrance whilst underneath, the nitty-gritty is obliterated. More and more show, less and less substance. More and more policy, less and less principle. The more we wear our hearts on our sleeves, the emptier those hearts seem to be.

    I am glad to say that my children find the concept of special ‘days’ and ‘weeks’ rather nonsensical.
    I find them sinister and open to abuse. Having followed the link to the video, I feel quite justified in that opinion. And that’s just from seeing the words ‘intolerance’ and ‘communities’, before even watching the video.