Rarely can one short statement have exposed its author as a shallow, inconsiderate, mean-spirited, callous opportunist than that made by Jeremy Hunt (the former Culture Secretary) in a calculating and cheap attempt to smear Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, and then widely shared by the publishers of Jewish News.
You've got to be a complete Hunt ...
Here’s what he said, verbatim: “When I went to Auschwitz I rather complacently said to myself, ‘thank goodness we don’t have to worry about that kind of thing in the UK’ and now I find myself faced with the leader of @UKLabour who has opened the door to antisemitism”. Hunt is such a complete Hunt that he considers what happened at Auschwitz-Birkenau to be “that kind of thing”. He wasn’t paying attention.
... to trivialise what happened here
An estimated 1.3 million individuals were sent to Auschwitz; 1.1 million died. 90% of those who died were Jews. Approximately one in six Jews who died during the Holocaust died at Auschwitz. It was not merely “that kind of thing”. Nor is what happened at Auschwitz even remotely comparable to Hunt’s cynical smear of a lifetime anti-racist.
Small wonder the criticism was instant and sustained, as from Michael Beglen: “It’s quite deplorable that a Jewish news outlet would highlight the attempts of a mindless and nasty individual to smear a mainstream political opponent by making comparisons with the Holocaust, thus trivializing the horrors committed by the Nazis. Unbelievable really”.
Sabine Roach added “#JeremyHunt is an unspeakably monstrous when invoking the Holocaust in THIS context. Surely he cannot be so ignorant as to compare the Labour Party to the NSDAP. So all I can presume is that this is an evil manipulation worthy of a very accomplished psychopath. Sickening!” And there was more.
“Terrifying the Jewish community for political purposes is one of the lowest political moves I have ever seen in my lifetime … Spreading irrational fear amongst Jewish people is irresponsible and wrong. Mr Hunt should consider the effect his intemperate and inflammatory remarks could have on Jewish people. Fear-mongering like this is abhorrent”. Aaron Bastani added “the idea that someone would visit Auschwitz and use it as a means to attack a leader of a mainstream political party in the UK is utterly insane”.
And the Tweeter that is Another Angry Voice summed it up: “Using Auschwitz to score cheap political points has to be one of the most despicable things I've ever seen, even from a Tory. Dredging up all of that unimaginable human suffering purely for your own political advantage. Despicable!” Despicable is dead right.
Moreover, one thought occurs: if the far-right ever did seize power in the UK, those prepared to put themselves in harm’s way in order to defend minority communities - as happened at Cable Street and elsewhere in the 1930s - would not include Jeremy Hunt. They would not include any of the Tory right. Nor would they include any of the mealy-mouthed punditerati who cheer them, and those further right, to the rafters.
But those manning the barricades to defend those minorities - including Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, and yes, Jews - would include Jeremy Corbyn. While the likes of Hunt mouth their platitudes, Jezza has always been ready to stand against the fascists.
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