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Wed, 5 August 2020

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EXCL Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell called for Holocaust Memorial Day to be renamed

EXCL Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell called for Holocaust Memorial Day to be renamed
3 min read

Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell called for Holocaust Memorial Day to be renamed, PoliticsHome can reveal.


The Shadow Chancellor used an Early Day Motion - a mechanism for proposing issues to be debated in the Commons - to suggest that it should be called 'Genocide Memorial Day – Never Again For Anyone' instead.

His EDM was tabled on 27 January - Holocaust Memorial Day - in 2011 and sponsored by four other Labour MPs, including Mr Corbyn, and the Conservative backbencher Peter Bottomley.

It said the alternative title better reflected the fact that "every life is of value", and that the Nazis also targeted other groups as well as Jews.

The motion, which is still available to view on the Parliament website, notes "that disabled people were the first victims of Nazi mass murder, that working class activists and trade unionists, many of whom were Jewish, were the first to be sent to concentration camps, and that Nazism targeted not only Jewish but also Roma, Jehovah's Witnesses, lesbian, gay and bisexual people and others they deemed undesirables."

 

 

It "therefore supports the call for international awareness of all communities and countries who have suffered and resisted mass extermination by renaming Holocaust Memorial Day as Genocide Memorial Day - Never Again For Anyone".

Mr Corbyn was last night forced to apologise for hosting a debate entitled 'Never Again For Anyone' in the House of Commons in 2010 at which Israel was compared to Nazi Germany by Auschwitz survivor Hajo Meyer.

Palestinian activist Haidar Eid also told the meeting: "The world was absolutely wrong to think that Nazism was defeated in 1945. Nazism has won because it has finally managed to Nazify the consciousness of its own victims."

Mr Corbyn said that he did not accept or condone the views expressed at the meeting.

He said: "In the past, in pursuit of justice for the Palestinian people and peace in Israel/Palestine, I have on occasion appeared of platforms with people whose views I completely reject. I apologise for the concerns and anxiety that this has caused."

Commenting on the EDM, Karen Pollock, chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said: "Holocaust Memorial Day remembers all victims of the Nazis and subsequent genocides, while also recognising the unique characteristics of the Holocaust and the centrality of anti-Semitism to the Nazi attempt to exterminate European Jewry.

"This Parliamentary motion and the campaign it supported appear to be politically-motivated and attempts to undermine a national day of remembrance that involves communities and educators of all backgrounds.

"It is for Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell and the other MPs who signed the motion to explain why they thought it was worth their support."

A Labour party spokesperson said: "This was a cross-party initiative, jointly sponsored by a senior Conservative MP, to emphasise the already broader character of Holocaust Memorial Day. It is not our policy to seek a name change for this important commemoration."

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