Baroness Deech has warned political leaders against “passive acts of commemoration” on Holocaust Memorial Day, calling instead for them “to commit to protecting Jewish communities from violence and hatred.”
Writing in The House magazine, Baroness Deech noted that “the Holocaust is a collective trauma for the Jewish people. The unbearable knowledge of what occurred has affected, informed and inspired Jews and the State of Israel.” However, she warned that Holocaust Memorial Day “must be about more than remembrance: it must be about action.”
Baroness Deech, who is an honorary patron of Campaign Against Antisemitism, observed the appalling rise in antisemitic crime. Indeed Campaign Against Antisemitism’s analysis of Home Office statistics shows that an average of over three hate crimes are directed at Jews every single day in England and Wales, with Jews almost four times more likely to be targets of hate crimes than any other faith group.
She also noted the full statutory investigation by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) into antisemitism in the Labour Party, which is the largest political party in Europe. The EHRC launched its investigation on 28th May 2019 following a formal referral and detailed legal representations from Campaign Against Antisemitism, which is the complainant.
While recognising the importance of commemorating the crimes of the past, Baroness Deech stipulated that world leaders much also “commit to concrete action to fight antisemitism and redouble their efforts to stem the resurgence of race hatred in Western countries.”
“Substantive steps,” she suggested, might include wider adoption of the International Definition of Antisemitism, including at universities, more funding and training to secure Jewish communal institutions, and more resources for education “about the Jewish story in order to inoculate against antisemitism before it starts.”
Campaign Against Antisemitism joins Baroness Deech in calling for #ActionNotWords in the commemoration of antisemitism in the past and the fight against its resurgence today.