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Anti-Semitism - Question for Short Debate

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 1:56 pm on 13th September 2018.

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Photo of Baroness Deech Baroness Deech Crossbench 1:56 pm, 13th September 2018

My Lords, in admitting that anti-Semitism today is characterised largely by hatred of Israel, the calls for a one-state solution are straightforwardly calls for the persecution, if not the destruction, of six million Jews living in Israel. History shows that when Jews are in a minority and do not have their own state—especially when they are in a minority in a Muslim state—they are subjected to persecution, expropriation and, ultimately, expulsion and killing, as happened across the Middle East in the 1940s and earlier. The disproportionate number of Israel questions in this House is not healthy, nor is it effective in any way in the pursuit of peace. It beggars belief that anyone should go on the radio to say that the noble Lord, Lord Sacks, does not know what he is talking about when he addresses racism.

The Government should be commended for setting aside £50 million for a Holocaust Memorial and Education Centre but I am concerned that this might go wrong. There are already a number of Holocaust exhibitions and memorials, for example at the Imperial War Museum, in Newark and in Hyde Park. Sadly, the proposed siting in Victoria Tower Gardens is arousing opposition, in part, but not wholly, justified by the small location. Controversy is exactly what one does not want to surround a venture such as this, which needs to start with acceptance and reverence. The winning design must be obviously Jewish; it has to have something that strikes the passer-by as pertaining to this important issue. The exhibition that will go with it must include the origins of and the need for Israel. Only by studying anti-Semitism over the centuries, and its continuation today, can one understand the need to support and celebrate the establishment of Israel. Children need to learn that at school in Holocaust education. Had Israel existed in time, there would have been no genocide.