CST Blog

Lee Jasper and Holocaust Abuse

20 April 2010

Lee Jasper has, for many years, been one of Britain's highest profile anti-racist activists; and served as Director for Policing and Equalities to then London Mayor, Ken Livingstone (before leaving under something of a cloud). Throughout these times he has worked with many Jews and Jewish groups, including on occasion me and CST.

It has now emerged that Jasper told the  pro-Khomenite group, Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC)

Israel seeks to do to others exactly that which was done to them by the Nazis and so on.

The speech occurred on 17 January 2010 when Jasper addressed the IHRC's so-called "Genocide Memorial Day", marking "the anniversary of the Gaza massacre and its fallen victims". It may be read in full here on the pro-IHRC website, Inminds. The section on Israel comprises a very small part of Jasper's speech and is as follows

We are one year on from Gaza, it seems to me almost unimaginable that a people such as the Jewish community who suffered so grievously under the yoke of Nazism and fascism should forget the fundamental lesson of that oppression, and the state of Israel as its currently engaged in its Zionism project around Palestine has simply abandoned any moral ground, any intellectual relationship with that experience when it seeks to do to others exactly that which was done to them by the Nazis.

Most of Jasper's speech concentrated on the slave trade, colonialism and racism. It utilised very serious anti-racist theory to explain how slavery and colonialism have left racist impacts that endure for oppressed and oppressor alike to this very day. Nevertheless, he still found the crass rhetorical link between the Jewish state and the Jewish genocide simply irresistible.

The Holocaust, like the slave trade, is not something that can be glibly tossed about like rhetorical confetti. Choose to spit on the memory of the Holocaust and you choose to lose the trust of the overwhelming majority of Jews. It is quite simple and you don't need to be a professional anti-racist to understand why.

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