Holocaust lessons on Syria

September 17, 2013

It is to the Prime Minister’s credit that his speech to the Holocaust Educational Trust contained much more than the usual platitudes. The default option for many politicians is to pay tribute to the survivors, warn that such evil must never happen again and then sit down and bask in the warm glow of a grateful audience. But

Mr Cameron went a lot further. First, his announcement of a commission to look into how Holocaust commemoration and education needs to change for the next generation confronts a real issue. At some point in the not too distant future, the immediacy of contact with survivors will have gone. But the lessons will still need to be learned for future generations. The commission is an important step towards working out how we best do that.

Secondly, he pointed to the lesson of “not standing by” and did not shy away from pointing out how we ignored that — against his wishes — in our response to the Syrian atrocities. As his speech made clear, there may never be another Holocaust but its lessons are with us every day.

Last updated: 11:55am, September 17 2013