Dominic Raab: I'm shocked old antisemitic tropes that fuelled Nazism have found their way here

Exclusive: Foreign Secretary tells the JC 'you are starting to hear them again with this fresh anti-Zionist anti-Israel veneer of respectability'


Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has said he is “still shocked” at the way “old tropes that informed the pogroms of the 19th century that then fuelled Nazism” have found their way into the higher echelons of British society.

Speaking to the JC ahead of his speech at the Foreign Office’s Holocaust Memorial Event on Wednesday, Mr Raab said: “I always felt we have turned a page in this country but what upsets me most are the old tropes … you are starting to hear them again with this fresh anti-Zionist anti-Israel veneer of respectability.”

He said that what particularly angered him was to hear “senior level politicians, obviously inluding Jeremy Corbyn”, along with those in “intelligent circles...come up with this rubbish.”

But the Foreign Secretary said he believed “the answer is to reaffirm our values”.

He added: “There are still lots of decent people in the Labour Party. If we take a zero tolerance approach I am confident that at some point we will reject and expel this.”

Mr Raab spoke of his “pride” at his own family’s Jewish ancestry. His Czech-born Jewish father came to Britain in 1938 as a refugee, aged six. He died of cancer when Mr Raab was 12. His mother brought him up in the Church of England.

He heard stories of the family’s ordeal in Eastern Europe from his grandmother, who “lived to a ripe old age” and lived close to his family home.

“Dad rarely spoke about his past or where he came from. Part of that was horror, part of that was that he was a classic, assimilated Jewish man,” said Mr Raab.

“My grandmother was different —  she was a Czech who married a Hungarian man, which is where the name Raab comes from. She was scarred, not just by what happened, having left behind her parents and all the other members of the family who perished.

“She felt a huge sense of loss — and, I suspect, guilt for having left her parents behind. They tried to persuade them to come — my dad, his grandparents, I think his uncle was with him.

“They left and went through Tangiers refugee camp and then arrived in the UK in 1938.”

Mr Raab said the loss of his father and the deaths of large numbers of his family in the Shoah had made him appreciate what was “precious in life.”

He added that the heartache of loss was “in one sense piercingly painful and in another sense has left me with a very strong sense of family and its importance.

“The wonderful thing is that in this country you can have mixed ancestry.

“One thing we do well is mix things up,” said Mr Raab. “My wife is a Catholic from Brazil, and I am proud my children have got that running through them — Czech, Hungarian, Jewish, Brazilian.”

On Wednesday, in his speech at the Foreign Office, Mr Raab emphasised the importance of Holocaust remembrance and education as a means of ensuring atrocities never happen again.

He spoke of his pride at giving the Honorary Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George award to Theodor Meron — a Holocaust survivor who went on to become legal counsel to the Israeli Foreign Ministry President and to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

Mr Raab added: “We must never forget, but we also need to tell the positive stories of people who have taken one the darkest point in history and found something positive to do from it.”

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