On 2 July, Conservative leadership hopeful Jeremy Hunt made what many people described as a “disgraceful” comment. He used the Holocaust in an effort to smear Jeremy Corbyn. The response, quite rightly, condemns Hunt.
“Get off our history you horrible man”
On 1 July, Jewish News published an interview with the foreign secretary. The following day, it shared a tweet featuring a quote from Hunt:
.@Jeremy_Hunt: “When I went to Auschwitz I rather complacently said to myself, ‘thank goodness we don’t have to worry about that kind of thing in the UK’ and now I find myself faced with the leader of @UKLabour who has opened the door to antisemitism”https://t.co/cVn4fUB1hc
— Jewish News (@JewishNewsUK) July 2, 2019
This caused hurt and outrage for many Jewish people, especially those whose ancestors the far right murdered in the Holocaust. Children’s author Michael Rosen accused Hunt of an “unprincipled hijacking of a world tragedy for his own electoral advantage”:
Hunt linking the place where my relatives were killed to an accusation about the Labour Party: not at all unprincipled hijacking of a world tragedy for his own electoral advantage. Free airtime provided by the mass media. Get off our history you horrible man. https://t.co/NL5oyYPRLS
— Michael Rosen (@MichaelRosenYes) July 2, 2019
Rosen later asked an incredibly poignant question:
Journos with the IHRA code on their desks are ready to pounce when people compare the Nazis to Israel. How are they doing this morning when Hunt, possible future PM, links a Nazi death camp to Corbyn?
— Michael Rosen (@MichaelRosenYes) July 3, 2019
Jewish group Jewdas made a similar comment. It also drew attention to Conservative Party support for far-right Hungarian PM Viktor Orbán. Theresa May met Orbán in 2016 and she reportedly promised to “maintain strong bilateral relations” between Hungary and the UK. In 2018, meanwhile, Conservative MEPs backed the far-right leader against a motion in the EU parliament. Orbán was “accused of violating press freedoms, undermining judicial independence and waging an antisemitic campaign against a leading Jewish businessman”.
How dare you use the genocide of our people to score political points where your own party supported Orban in the European parliament, you disgusting shit weasel https://t.co/OXLs1kbnAZ
— jewdⒶs // יידהודה (@jewdas) July 3, 2019
Author David Rosenberg, who also guides educational visits to Auschwitz, called Hunt’s comments “disgusting” and “disgraceful”:
People who trivialise the Holocaust + abuse the memory of the murdered millions to try to score a cheap political point are morally on a par with Holocaust deniers. Jeremy Hunt's comments about Labour & @jeremycorbyn are disgusting + disgraceful. https://t.co/rZWf268ooV
— David Rosenberg (@davidjrosenberg) July 2, 2019
Jessica Simor QC also condemned Hunt, saying:
On top of that the idea that you felt complacent in Auschwitz because after all it was only Hungarian, Ukrainian, Polish, Czech, German, Dutch Jews and couldn’t happen in good old Blighty. What the hell is wrong with you people?
— Jessica Simor QC (@JMPSimor) July 2, 2019
Hunt’s comments have faced much criticism. As some have pointed out, they draw attention to the gross hypocrisy of many allegations made against Corbyn. Because had Corbyn made comments similar to Hunt’s, the calls for his resignation would have been immediate:
If Jeremy Corbyn used the holocaust to score political points over Jeremy Hunt, how many milliseconds until the Tories & MSM jumped on him? How many more milliseconds until the Blairites screamed antisemite & demanded he resign? But if a Tory disrespects Auschwitz, it's fine?
— RD Hale 🌹 (@SkyeCitySeries) July 2, 2019
And this is a very serious point. Because yet again, the corporate media’s allegations of antisemitism against Corbyn and many left-wing Labour members have spiralled. In a detailed thread, Harry Tuttle pointed out that many accusations against leading Jewish authors and academics have focused on comments they have made about the Holocaust:
Okay. Here is goes. (1) Professor Norman Finkelstein, a jewish academic, both of who's parents were holocaust survivors, is apparently an antisemite and it was his cartoon which Naz Shah retweeted and which was falsely miscontextualised as antisemitic . https://t.co/Of9Zun10Ub
— Harry Tuttle (@arryTuttle) January 9, 2019
(3) The "antisemite" who Jeremy Corbyn invited to speak at his holocaust remembrance day was Dr Hajo Meyer, a jewish holocaust survivor. (4) Dr Marek Edelman, a commander of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, also is accused of being an antisemite for comparing Gaza to Warsaw
— Harry Tuttle (@arryTuttle) January 9, 2019
Yet Hunt seems to think he can make this accusation against Corbyn freely. As the Conservative leadership moves into the final stages, the situation in the UK looks bleaker than ever. Our future prime minister will either be Boris Johnson, ‘famous’ for his sexist and racist insults, or Hunt. Alongside the latter’s appalling track record destroying the NHS and his deeply alarming actions as foreign secretary, he has now used the Holocaust for political point-scoring.
We need a general election and we need it now, because neither of these men is fit for purpose.
Do your bit for independent journalism
Did you know that less than 1.5% of our readers contribute financially to The Canary? Imagine what we could do if just a few more people joined our movement to achieve a shared vision of a free and fair society where we nurture people and planet.
We need you to help out, if you can.
When you give a monthly amount to fund our work, you are supporting truly independent journalism. We hold power to account and have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence the counterpoint to the mainstream.
You can count on us for rigorous journalism and fearless opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right wing mainstream media.
In return you get:
- Advert free reading experience
- Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
- 20% discount from our shop