Why are pro-Palestine protesters heckling Holocaust survivors?

Jews cannot even commemorate the horrors of Auschwitz in peace anymore.

Lauren Smith

Topics World

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What on Earth could compel a person to travel to Auschwitz to yell at Holocaust survivors? As incredible as it sounds, this is precisely what a group of ‘pro-Palestine’ protesters did yesterday. In Poland, half a dozen activists gathered around the former site of the Nazis’ largest extermination camp in order to disrupt a remembrance march for victims of the Holocaust. Seemingly, this was to make some sort of point about the war in Gaza.

The International March of the Living is an annual silent walk between two former death camps, Auschwitz and Birkenau, to honour the victims of the Nazis. This year, 56 Holocaust survivors took part in the march. They were joined by survivors of the 7 October pogrom in Israel and by relatives of those still held hostage by Hamas.

Anyone with an ounce of compassion or common sense would have let these marchers commemorate history’s most brutal genocide in peace. And yet, covering their faces with keffiyehs, protesters aligned with a movement that claims to be about ‘peace’ decided it was a good idea to turn up waving Palestinian flags and chanting ‘Stop genocide’ at those taking part in the remembrance march.

This is a sickening display of either mind-numbing ignorance, staggering tone-deafness or outright anti-Semitism. Of the six million Jews who died in the Holocaust, an estimated one million of those died at Auschwitz between 1940 and 1945. Then, last October, in the worst massacre of Jews since the Holocaust, Hamas slaughtered 1,170 people, mostly civilians, and kidnapped 250. What message, exactly, were the pro-Palestine protesters hoping to convey by heckling the people commemorating these awful anti-Semitic crimes?

To make matters worse, the protest at Auschwitz comes at a time of increasing anti-Semitism, both in Poland and across Europe. Just last week in Warsaw, the Nożyk Synagogue was attacked and set alight with Molotov cocktails. This was the city’s only synagogue to have survived the Holocaust.

Of course, the people waving Palestine flags outside Auschwitz are unlikely to be the same thugs who are setting fire to synagogues. In fact, the keffiyah-wearing activists probably think of themselves as ‘anti-racist’, on the ‘right side of history’ and opposed to genocide. But clearly something has gone horribly wrong if Jewish people are being made to feel afraid to exist again. Almost 80 years after the world pledged ‘Never Again’, protesters seem to be getting a righteous thrill out of soiling the memory of the Holocaust.

Even in the UK, once a safe haven for Jews fleeing Nazi persecution, police had to cover and guard the Hyde Park Holocaust Memorial in London last month. There were fears that it would be targeted and vandalised during a pro-Palestinian demonstration. Given that protesters regularly chant anti-Semitic dogwhistles like ‘From the river to the sea’ and call for the eradication of Israel, these fears were hardly unfounded.

Anything associated with Israel and Judaism is now seen as fair game for attack by the pro-Palestine set – even commemorations of the Holocaust and of 7 October. Anyone who still thinks this movement is solely concerned about the plight of civilians in Gaza, or peace in the Middle East, needs to have their head examined.

Lauren Smith is a staff writer at spiked.

Picture by: Getty.

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Topics World


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