CST Blog

Taking outreach to extremes

17 February 2010

Here is a video from a meeting of Society Outreach, a group which organises regular meetings in Parliament to discuss Middle Eastern matters. It is the last in a 10-part record of the meeting on youtube.

The meeting is chaired by Lord Nazir Ahmed. On the panel is Oliver Miles, recently in the news for pointing out the vital information that there are two Jews on the Chilcott Inquiry, here speaking in his capacity as a former British ambassador to Libya.

At about 6:20, a familiar face makes a contribution to the debate: Lady Michele Renouf, probably Britain's most prolific - and certainly most glamorous - Holocaust denier.

Renouf has an ingenious solution for the Israel/Palestine conflict, which involves Israel being dismantled and all "those people" - which seems to include European Jews - moving to eastern Russia:

...most of the conflicts we are talking about are as a consequence of the pirate in Palestine and the absolutely criminal state that needn't  exist, because - and I run a campaign about it - there is a first Jewish homeland in Birobidzhan, it's been peacefully set up since 1928, it is still there to receive European Jews, and there was no need morally or in any sense after 1945 for those people to pirate Palestine. And this is the issue that we don't want to face and the British [UN] veto arises from this nonsense." (applause)

Watching this video, as the applause subsided I wondered what the reaction in the room would be to such an outrageous suggestion, straight out of the canon of pre-war 'Jewish Problem' theorising. I was to be very disappointed, and the most depressing thing of all is that I wasn't surprised.

Nobody - not Lord Ahmed as  meeting chair, or the panellists, or anyone in the audience expressed any objection. I'm perfectly willing to accept that Lord Ahmed, Oliver Miles and the rest don't know who Renouf is and didn't agree with her. Perhaps they just weren't listening properly - although the applause suggests that at least some people heard her clearly enough. But racism needs to be challenged whenever and wherever it appears, and the fact that not one person in the room felt moved to object is very troubling indeed.

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