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Britain's Holocaust Memorial Day: a case of post-Cold War wish fulfilment, or brazen hypocrisy?

Britain's Holocaust Memorial Day: a case of post-Cold War wish fulfilment, or brazen hypocrisy?
Britain's Holocaust Memorial Day: a case of post-Cold War wish fulfilment, or brazen hypocrisy?
This article considers why institutionalized commemoration of the Holocaust in the United Kingdom developed in the 1990s. It finds that the answer may have less to do with Jewish lobbies, or the influence of a “Holocaust Industry” and much, more to do with state political objectives in the ebb of the Cold War. It argues that by repackaging and ritualizing the Holocaust into a “sacred” event in which Western states themselves were absolved of responsibility but also sought to come to Jewish rescue, it became an invaluable prop with which to promulgate Western values while at the same time acting as a moral alibi for interventions against anti-Western regimes. By focusing on the example of specifically British relations with Iraq, it is demonstrated that the moral high ground which Western states have attempted to milk from a Holocaust association is meretricious cant.

Appalling and inhuman acts of genocide changed the course of history in the twentieth century. Millions of people perished or had their lives hideously damaged. This is an opportunity for us to recognize and act upon the lessons of the past. Our aim in the twenty-first century must be to work towards a tolerant and diverse, society which is based upon the notions of universal dignity and equal rights and responsibilities for all citizens. The Holocaust Memorial Day is a symbol of this.

I would like to thank Prof. Dave Cesarani and two other unknown readers for extremely assiduous and helpful comments on the original draft of this article.
1524-8879
26-59
Levene, Mark
4ad83ded-d4b9-40eb-a795-b2382a9a296a
Levene, Mark
4ad83ded-d4b9-40eb-a795-b2382a9a296a

Levene, Mark (2006) Britain's Holocaust Memorial Day: a case of post-Cold War wish fulfilment, or brazen hypocrisy? Human Rights Review, 7 (3), 26-59. (doi:10.1007/s12142-006-1021-8).

Record type: Article

Abstract

This article considers why institutionalized commemoration of the Holocaust in the United Kingdom developed in the 1990s. It finds that the answer may have less to do with Jewish lobbies, or the influence of a “Holocaust Industry” and much, more to do with state political objectives in the ebb of the Cold War. It argues that by repackaging and ritualizing the Holocaust into a “sacred” event in which Western states themselves were absolved of responsibility but also sought to come to Jewish rescue, it became an invaluable prop with which to promulgate Western values while at the same time acting as a moral alibi for interventions against anti-Western regimes. By focusing on the example of specifically British relations with Iraq, it is demonstrated that the moral high ground which Western states have attempted to milk from a Holocaust association is meretricious cant.

Appalling and inhuman acts of genocide changed the course of history in the twentieth century. Millions of people perished or had their lives hideously damaged. This is an opportunity for us to recognize and act upon the lessons of the past. Our aim in the twenty-first century must be to work towards a tolerant and diverse, society which is based upon the notions of universal dignity and equal rights and responsibilities for all citizens. The Holocaust Memorial Day is a symbol of this.

I would like to thank Prof. Dave Cesarani and two other unknown readers for extremely assiduous and helpful comments on the original draft of this article.

Full text not available from this repository.

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Published date: April 2006
Organisations: History

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 397047
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/397047
ISSN: 1524-8879
PURE UUID: f8c43b0a-743a-42cf-b9c1-f8f023557037

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Date deposited: 20 Jul 2016 15:58
Last modified: 15 Jul 2019 20:21

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