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Anti-Semitism - Question for Short Debate

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 2:14 pm on 13th September 2018.

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Photo of Lord Russell of Liverpool Lord Russell of Liverpool Crossbench 2:14 pm, 13th September 2018

My Lords, I, too, thank the noble Lord, Lord Popat, for this timely discussion. I rise to express my personal outrage at recent events and my commitment to fighting the woeful and wilful ignorance that is anti-Semitism, which I fear may never die but must be called out for what it is, wherever and whenever it occurs. I rise also to express my quiet pride in two of my forebears, both of whom were Members of your Lordships’ House.

My great-grandfather, Stanley Baldwin, appalled by the Kristallnacht, launched the Lord Baldwin Fund for Refugees in December 1938. In eight months it raised £522,000—slightly over £34 million in current money. It is rightly regarded as the most successful UK public appeal of the interwar years and it resulted in the arrival of many of the Kindertransport children—one or two of whom are also Members of your Lordships’ House. My grandfather and namesake was the senior officer in the Judge Advocate-General’s office responsible for overseeing all war crimes trials in British-occupied Germany between 1946 and 1950. What he experienced led him to write the first factual description of the Holocaust, in The Scourge of the Swastika—which is still in print, I am ashamed to say, after 64 years.

I have just re-read Martin Gilbert’s searing and definitive book, The Holocaust. It haunts me, and I defy others not to be similarly affected. It is for us to continue to call out anti-Semitism, wherever it festers, in all its malignity, malevolence and mendacity.