From the Annals of the Almost Too Appalling to be True:

From Ha'aretz:

Advisers appointed by British Prime Minister Tony Blair are proposing that Britain get rid of Holocaust Memorial Day because Muslims find it offensive, the British Sunday Times reported.

The draft proposals - which provoked a backlash from British Jewish leaders - want to replace Holocaust Memorial Day with a Genocide Day that would include recognition of Muslim deaths in the West Bank and Gaza, Chechnya and Bosnia, the Times said.

A Home Office spokesman said it would consider the proposals but said it regarded the Holocaust as a "defining tragedy in European history," according to the report.

"The very name Holocaust Memorial Day sounds too exclusive to many young Muslims," a member of one of the committees was quoted as saying. "It sends out the wrong signals: that the lives of one people are to be remembered more than others. It's a grievance that extremists are able to exploit."

I can see the argument (though I'm not saying I agree with it) for replacing Holocaust Memorial Day with Genocide Day, especially because Britain played no direct role in the Holocaust. But to do so because "Muslims find" Holocaust Memorial Day "offensive" is, to say the least, offensive in itself. Even worse is the idea that a new "Genocide Day" would include "Muslim deaths in the West Bank and Gaza," thus giving credence to the absurd contention that Israeli policies in those areas amount to "genocide," and thus replacing a memorial to victims of the Holocaust with the fantastical political propaganda of those whose political ancestors (e.g., the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Muhammed Amin al-Husseini) allied with the Nazis.

Alexandra von Maltzan (mail) (www):
You know David, on a day like today, I am inclined to say "Bugger off" to the Muslims, and their 'peaceful' war of terror. That's just me.
9.11.2005 10:44pm
Bleepless (mail):
Whenever Muslims murder so many people at once that not even the mainstream media can pretend that it did not occur, the Muslim organizations so loved by the liberals issue press releases. Wow! Such courage! Such ideals!
9.11.2005 11:00pm
William Spieler (mail) (www):
Genocide awareness is worthless while Europe does its best to ban small arms shipments to the areas that need them most.
9.11.2005 11:13pm
I would hope that they'd at least want to call it Anti-Genocide Day...
9.12.2005 2:38am
Buck Turgidson (mail):
Sheesh! Eric Alterman would be proud.

There is a significant liberal and significant conservative anti-Semitic element in most Western European countries. In many cases, they would even ally against the European Jews and/or Israelis and in support of Muslims or Palestinian Arabs, even if there is clear evidence of anti-Semitic intent. It would not surprise me if some of them quietly cheer on the suicide bombers in the darkness of their ideological caverns.

There are such people here, but in smaller percentage. Pat Buchanan has made some odd statements before, and certainly there is a number of progressives who buy into the Palestinian liberation movement wholesale, complete with accusations of Israel of genocide. Their reasoning may be different (some extreme lefties see this as world struggle, while Buchanan is just an anti-Semitic isolationist), but the result is the same.
9.12.2005 2:48am
Paul doson (mail) (www):
Nice blog.I read some of you're articles and they are really nice.mac
9.12.2005 5:32am
Replacing the Holocause Memorial Day with a genocide awareness day makes sense, but not for the reasons the anti-Semites think. A factual comparison of what the Nazis did to the Jews with what Israel has done to the Palestinians would show how wrongheaded it is to equate the two.

And yes, I realize that the last sentence needs an adjective far stronger than "wrongheaded."
9.12.2005 8:56am

...especially because Britain played no direct role in the Holocaust.

Not true.

When the Germans took control of the British Channel Islands, the local police helped to round up dozens of Jews who were then shipped to concentration camps and killed. There was an SS camp on Alderney with slave labourers.

The doco on PBS, Auschwitz: Inside the Nazi State had some of the original german propaganda films showing how well the german soldiers were getting along with a British bobby.
9.12.2005 8:59am
Bruno (mail):
"West Bank and Gaza, Chechnya and Bosnia?" Why stop there? What about Sudan? And the first genocide of the 20th century, the Armenians? Or would this also be too "offensive" to the Muslims?
9.12.2005 10:48am
The problem that most British Muslims perceive with Holocaust day is not its "exclusivity," but rather the underlying premise, i.e., that there is something fundamentally wrong with killing Jews.
9.12.2005 11:14am
Humble Law Student:
Outrageous. If they are really arguing "that the lives of one people are to be remembered more than others." Then as part of the "genocide memorial" have exhibits of all of the women stoned to death in Muslim countries. Why not next to the "genocide" memorial, talk about the cultural and social genocide brought about by fundamentalist Islamic governments. For some strange reason, I think they wouldn't be too keen about that.
9.12.2005 1:05pm
Shelby (mail):
Maybe they should devote a portion of the attention and resources to "today's genocides," which could now focus on the Arab-v-Muslim atrocities in the Sudan.
9.12.2005 1:19pm
AppSocREs (mail):
Genocide Day might require the British to recognize that they pretty much invented, operationalized, and perfected the concept of concentration camps -- and even supplied the name for these evil things -- during the Boer War. The death rates in British camps pretty much matched those achieved by the Nazis in WW II, although some of this might be due to the composition of the British death camps which was almost entirely women and children.
9.12.2005 1:30pm
It never ceases to amaze me that people think the Israelis are carrying out "genocide" against the Palestinian Arabs. Forty years of "genocide" and the population of the West Bank is higher than ever. The Israelis must be the most incompetent practitioners of genocide in the history of civilization.
9.12.2005 3:28pm
a (mail):
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9.12.2005 5:02pm
a (mail):
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9.12.2005 5:56pm
erp (mail):
There is no moral equivalency to the holocaust and no amount of squeezing and contorting Palestinians into that role will make it so. Better to cancel Holocaust Day than to buy in to that notion.
9.12.2005 9:48pm
No doubt, the British are guilty of many things, but genocide against the Boers is not one of them, and to compare Kitchener to Himmler is offensive.
9.13.2005 10:59am
AppSocREs (mail):
Willard: I didn't accuse the British of genocide against the Boers, only of inventing one of the most effective tools for genocide, the concentration camp. Kitchener knew of the grotesquely high rates of mortality in these camps, he knew that they contained mostly women, children, and old men, and he knew that the British army could not defeat the Boers using civilized methods of warfare, which is why he allowed the continuation of the camps despite international outrage. Any history of the Boer War not written by an absolute jingoist will support all these assertions and I invite anyone reading thgese posts to see if I am not providing the essential truth of the matter.

By the way, my grandfather fought on the British side in this war in a Canadian regiment. My only interest here is in reminding people of a historic fact that is too often and too conveniently forgotten: The British invented concentration camps and used them to kill women and children in order to win an otherwise hopeless guerrilla war.
9.13.2005 5:33pm