All Britain must join fight against antisemitism, urges Sajid Javid


Business Secretary Sajid Javid has called on the whole nation to fight extremism and antisemitism.

Speaking at the Holocaust Educational Trust’s annual dinner, Mr Javid said he was repeatedly told about the concern being caused by rising Jew-hatred.

“I can’t remember the last time I spoke to a Jewish friend or colleague who hasn’t, at some point, found themselves sitting awkwardly at a dinner party while a fellow guest railed against the international ‘kosher conspiracy’,” Mr Javid said.

There was a climate in which antisemitism was seen as “less bad” than other forms of discrimination, he believed.

More than 400 supporters of the charity heard the minister praise HET’s work at the Guildhall in central London on Monday. The dinner raised around £900,000.

The event marked the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War and the liberation of the concentration camps. More than 40 Holocaust survivors attended.

Mr Javid gave examples from across Europe of Jew-hatred, including a rabbi being attacked in Gateshead and football fans facing abuse in Holland.

He warned: “In 2015 history is beginning to repeat itself. Antisemitism is on the rise. It’s easy to dismiss. It happened, therefore it can happen again…

“We cannot lack the courage to stand up, together, and say we will not tolerate intolerance. So tonight I call on every decent Briton, whether you’re of any faith or none, to join us all in the fight against extremism and antisemitism.”

Further details were revealed about the work of the UK Holocaust Memorial Foundation. It will be supported by survivors’ groups as well as representatives of the Charedi community and the Gypsy-Roma community.

The foundation has already recorded the testimony of Shoah survivors and liberators. Another £1 million project is expected to be launched next month to record up to 100 stories with future-proofed technology.

Former SNP leader Alex Salmond has been appointed as a member of the foundation’s board, joining others including Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, Gerald Ronson, former Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls, Lord Feldman, Lord Alliance and David Cameron’s newly announced special envoy for post-Holocaust issues, Sir Eric Pickles.

In a statement Mr Salmond said: “By ensuring generations come to understand the horrors that the world endured 70 years ago, the foundation will create a lasting message about the dangers of prejudice and hatred taking root in any society.”

Foundation chair Sir Peter Bazalgette said: “We must not rest. We have much to do to ensure that Britain will always remember humanity’s darkest hour.”

Work is continuing to find a site for the Foundation’s national memorial and learning centre, which is due to be built in central London.

HET chief executive Karen Pollock said her charity was “always looking to the future — now our challenge is how we ensure the legacy of the Holocaust is preserved for generations to come, educating the next generation and continuing to challenge the antisemitism that continues to blight our society”.

WATCH: The Holocaust Educational Trust's Appeal Film 2015

Holocaust Educational Trust Appeal Film 2015 from Holocaust Educational Trust on Vimeo.

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