Expect the UK’s Planned Holocaust Memorial to Ignore Anti-Semitism

The British parliament recently decided to proceed with plans to construct a Holocaust memorial in a London park known as Victoria Tower Gardens—which has been the subject of controversy since the plans were first proposed by then-Prime Minister David Cameron. Melanie Phillips is less than enthusiastic:

Although the Nazis murdered many types of people in the Holocaust, their principal driver was the intention to wipe the Jews alone off the face of the earth. Yet much Holocaust memorializing denies the unique characteristics of anti-Semitism and the genocide of the Jews.

A graphic example was provided by the UK Online Commemoration for Holocaust Memorial Day last month. Its 23 sections referred to “genocides” in Rwanda, Bosnia, Cambodia, and Darfur, to “the Nazi persecution of gay people,” and to “people being persecuted simply because they were Ordinary People who belonged to a particular group.” But there was no mention of the genocide of the Jews other than two fleeting references in personal messages from [the Tory cabinet member] Michael Gove and [the Labor leader] Keir Starmer.

In its 1939 white paper, the British government tore up its legal obligation to settle the Jews in Palestine. Instead, it barred entry to those desperate to flee Nazi Europe, causing untold numbers to be murdered and making Britain an accessory to the Holocaust. Will the memorial really deal with this? The Holocaust Memorial Trust claims it will provide “an honest reflection of Britain’s role.” Yet the project’s supporters simultaneously claim that situating it next to Parliament demonstrates that democratic “British values” will prevent such horrors happening again. Well, which is it? It can’t be both.

If it were really to address Jew-hatred, it would show that the Nazi period wasn’t an aberration but on a continuum stretching back to earliest times—and encompassing the war waged against Israel today.

Read more at Jewish Chronicle

More about: Anti-Semitism, British Mandate, Holocaust memorial, United Kingdom

Iran’s Calculations and America’s Mistake

There is little doubt that if Hizballah had participated more intensively in Saturday’s attack, Israeli air defenses would have been pushed past their limits, and far more damage would have been done. Daniel Byman and Kenneth Pollack, trying to look at things from Tehran’s perspective, see this as an important sign of caution—but caution that shouldn’t be exaggerated:

Iran is well aware of the extent and capability of Israel’s air defenses. The scale of the strike was almost certainly designed to enable at least some of the attacking munitions to penetrate those defenses and cause some degree of damage. Their inability to do so was doubtless a disappointment to Tehran, but the Iranians can probably still console themselves that the attack was frightening for the Israeli people and alarming to their government. Iran probably hopes that it was unpleasant enough to give Israeli leaders pause the next time they consider an operation like the embassy strike.

Hizballah is Iran’s ace in the hole. With more than 150,000 rockets and missiles, the Lebanese militant group could overwhelm Israeli air defenses. . . . All of this reinforces the strategic assessment that Iran is not looking to escalate with Israel and is, in fact, working very hard to avoid escalation. . . . Still, Iran has crossed a Rubicon, although it may not recognize it. Iran had never struck Israel directly from its own territory before Saturday.

Byman and Pollack see here an important lesson for America:

What Saturday’s fireworks hopefully also illustrated is the danger of U.S. disengagement from the Middle East. . . . The latest round of violence shows why it is important for the United States to take the lead on pushing back on Iran and its proxies and bolstering U.S. allies.

Read more at Foreign Policy

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, U.S. Foreign policy