CST Blog

Holocaust Memorial Day abuse part two: Lee Jasper

23 January 2013

Last week, CST blog briefly noted how the far left and Islamists abuse and twist the memory of the Holocaust for their anti-Israel and anti-Zionist purpose. In particular, we noted how the pro-Iranian group, Islamic Human Rights Commission, abuse Holocaust Memorial Day with their own annual Genocide Memorial Day.

Now, the Jewish Chronicle brings news of an ex anti-racist bigwig, Lee Jasper, also abusing Holocaust Memorial Day. On Monday 21st January, he posted on his facebook page:

Holocaust Memorial Day. Israel has failed to learn the lessons of its own tragic history having evolved into a racist oppressor #apartheid

Then he added:

Holocaust Memorial Day today. We are asked to remember that which Israel has forgotten, that religious & racial hatred is a sin against G-d.

Mr Jasper has held numerous high profile anti-racism posts. He worked directly with CST whilst senior advisor on race and policing to then Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone. I saw him help Police to better understand, post-Macpherson, the black community’s perceptions of Police racism and to adapt their behaviour accordingly. I know, therefore, from direct personal experience that this man is more than capable of intelligent theorising and practical input on issues of racism and community belonging.   

So, all the more depressing then, to say that here we have yet another example of someone who is fully aware of how racism works and how it is perceived by its victims: but whose anti-Israel hostility still leads him to treat mainstream Jewish sensibilities with outright contempt.

Mr Jasper has been here before. He addressed the 2010 version of the above-mentioned Genocide Memorial Day / Islamic Human Rights Commission event, telling his pro-Iranian hosts that “the Jewish community” had forgotten the lessons of Nazism; and that Israel “seeks to do to others exactly that which was done to them by the Nazis”:

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.

At the time, CST blog noted that Mr Jasper, despite having just given an anti-racist theory speech on the nature of slavery, and the resulting long-lasting impacts upon oppressor and oppressed alike, had “still found the crass rhetorical link between the Jewish state and the Jewish genocide simply irresistible.”

We concluded:

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.

Now with the Respect Party (see him campaigning in Croydon here, before losing his deposit), Mr Jasper has basically repeated his offence. True, there is no mention of Jews per se, but it is certainly implicit in his writing, “Israel has failed to learn the lessons of its own tragic history”. (My emphasis.) True also that this time he does not go so far as saying that Israel seeks to repeat the Holocaust, but these are small mercies from a man who fully understands racism.

As a community, Jews learned very quickly that the Respect Party’s name was an Orwellian pun. We expect nothing from Respect regarding their hatred of Israel and Zionism. It is disappointing that Lee Jasper now seems so well suited to them, but that is the reality: especially when we consider how well he knows the paramount importance of how the victims of racism perceive, internalise and respond to their past and present situations. 

Finally, could we imagine such an abuse of Black History Month, or of Transatlantic Slavery Memorial Day?

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