Business Secretary Sajid Javid addressed 400 attendees of the Holocaust Educational Trust (HET) annual dinner on Monday night with a stern warning about the growing threat of anti-Semitism.
He called on Britons “of any faith or none” to join “the fight against extremism and anti-Semitism” after praising the Holocaust Educational Trust for 27 years of fighting intolerance.
Mr Javid thanked the late Sir Nicholas Winton, who organised the rescue of 669 Czech children as part of the Kindertransport, addressing his daughter Barbara who was in attendance.
The Cabinet Minister warned that “across Europe, anti-Semitism is on the rise” yet it is “easy to dismiss”. Drawing on the words of Primo Levi, Mr. Javid said: “it happened, therefore it can happen again” though “both the Holocaust and Levi’s warning are slipping to the fringes of living memory”.
He underlined: “We cannot lack the courage to stand up, together, and say we will not tolerate intolerance. So tonight I call on every decent Briton, whether you’re of any faith or none, to join us all in the fight against extremism and anti-Semitism”.
Mr Javid spoke of “explicit” examples of intolerance such as hate speech as well as “more oblique” intolerance towards the Jewish community. Referring to “dinner party anti-Semites”, the Business Secretary described “respectable, middle-class people who would recoil in horror if you accused them of racism, but are quite happy to repeat modern takes on age-old myths and slanders about Jews…Who can’t condemn the murder of Jewish children in France without a caveat criticising the Israeli government. Who demand that a Jewish American artist sign a declaration of support for Palestine if he wants to perform at a festival in Spain.”
Mr. Javid suggested that anti-Semitism is often seen as “less bad” than other forms of discrimination, which creates a climate in which “the most violent extremism can take root and it can thrive.”
He concluded by saying that “it falls to us to see that [the Holocaust] never happens again”, encouraging guests to support the Holocaust Educational Trust.