The BBC reported yesterday on German Muslim schoolgirls who were racially abused by locals on a trip to visit Holocaust memorials in Lublin in Eastern Poland. The Board of Deputies of British Jews rightly picked up on the following statement that was inserted into the piece on the BBC article. The phrase stated:
The Holocaust is a sensitive topic for many Muslims because Jewish survivors settled in British mandate Palestine, on land which later became the state of Israel.
The relevance of linking the state of Israel to the Holocaust and how it is perceived within Muslim communities was perverse to say the least. Holocaust education and awareness is not linked to developments in the Middle East and the assumption completely disregards the diversity of Muslim communities and the large numbers of Muslims who want to know more about the Holocaust. Indeed, the article cites German Muslim girls travelling to Poland to find out more about the Holocaust.
Furthermore, the assumption that all Muslims cannot somehow empathise and feel the pain of the Holocaust in whatever form that takes, suggests that the writer thinks that all Muslims think the same. Additionally, many Muslims can distinguish between the practices of the Government of Israel and the implementation of policies regarding the Occupied Territories and Jewish communities globally. Linking political decisions made in Israel and Palestine to the genocide of Jews in Europe is frankly, sickening. Wherever such blatant linkages are made, they must be challenged and we therefore welcome the quick action of Muslim and Jewish groups and in particular that of the Board of Deputies, which we fully supported.
The BBC is globally seen as a respected news source. The last thing we need is ‘fake news’ creeping into a publicly funded body which promotes divisions between Muslims and Jews.