Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

'Anti-Semitism Did Not Die Overnight after the Holocaust. in Many Places It Festered beneath the Surface, and Continues to Do So' LINDA SCOTT AND MONICA STERN, CO-PRESIDENTS OF THE REPRESENTATIVE COUNCIL OF NORTH EAST JEWRY, ON THE "ANCIENT HATRED" THAT MUST NEVER RETURN TO THE FOREFRONT

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

'Anti-Semitism Did Not Die Overnight after the Holocaust. in Many Places It Festered beneath the Surface, and Continues to Do So' LINDA SCOTT AND MONICA STERN, CO-PRESIDENTS OF THE REPRESENTATIVE COUNCIL OF NORTH EAST JEWRY, ON THE "ANCIENT HATRED" THAT MUST NEVER RETURN TO THE FOREFRONT

Article excerpt

Byline: Linda Scott and Monica Stern

The entrance gates and the railway track to Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland NEWCASTLE and the North East have a richly diverse Jewish community. We are proud to live in a City of Sanctuary, which has a long history of welcoming refugees and asylum seekers who come to settle in our great city and rebuild their lives. This is also a major element in the collective history of the Newcastle Jewish community.

Though most were born and bred here, our ancestry tells a very different story. Many members of our community, or their parents, are survivors of the Holocaust, or of 19th century pogroms in Russia. They found solace, safety and a home in our cities and towns.

The Jewish community's history in Newcastle dates back to 1775, with the first synagogue being built in 1838. Sadly, the local Jewish population is now small, causing a sense of vulnerability. As with other Jewish communities across the country, we are not strangers to anti-Semitism and its many different forms.

The Community Security Trust (CST) monitors anti-Jewish hatred and works closely with police forces across the UK. The figures they released last year came as no surprise to Jews in the North East. The report showed a significant rise, for the fourth consecutive year, in anti-Semitic incidents, ranging from physical attacks to online hate speech.

We know from our collective history that when anti-Jewish racism rears its head, the most horrendous things can happen. Our community is living with the fallout of the Holocaust, which saw many of our family lines end between 1939 and 1945. Anti-Semitism can start with caricatures used in propaganda but often leads to deadly consequences. The conspiracy theory of anti-Semitism serves to unite polar opposite political traditions of the far left and the far right.

Neo-Nazis glorify Hitler, carry weapons and frequently (as seen in Pittsburgh) launch violent attacks on Jews, with the aim of destroying our community. Espousing conspiracy theories, the far left blames Jews and Israel for many ills of the world.

For many years now, anti-Semitism has been growing across the world. Here in Britain, it has been a hot topic on the political scene. Jews across the UK have been abused and aggressively targeted on many occasions.

The new International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism has been adopted by most local councils and public bodies in Britain and by 32 countries around the world.

The Holocaust was the greatest abomination, not only of the 20th century, but perhaps of any period in world history. Jews have always suffered from discrimination, persecution, pogroms and slaughter, but the systematic murder of six million will always remain a scar on the face of humankind.

During the Holocaust, many countries - including the United Kingdom - did not accept Jewish refugees who were fleeing the Nazi regime. For many survivors liberated from concentration camps, a Jewish homeland was the only option as a refuge from persecution.

In 1947, the UN proposed and voted on the first 'two-state solution' called the Partition Plan, in what was then Mandate Palestine - two states for two peoples.

However, after the UN-sanctioned Declaration of Independence, the newly established state was invaded by five neighbouring countries, all threatening its destruction. Further attempted invasions took place in 1967 and 1973, but this is only part of what Israel has overcome. Attacks on buses, pizza parlours and schools, have killed over 3,000 Israelis. …

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