Michael Gove, a British politician who serves as the chief whip of the governing Conservative Party in the House of Commons, warned in a speech on Tuesday that Europe had largely forgotten the lessons of the Holocaust.
The Conservative MP spoke to the Holocaust Education Trust and made critical remarks regarding the “resurgent, mutating, lethal virus of antisemitism,” likening the calls to boycott Israeli products to similar boycotts of Jewish goods during the Nazi era.
“We need to remind people that what began with a campaign against Jewish goods in the past ended with a campaign against Jewish lives,” Gove said, according to the Guardian. “We need to spell out that this sort of prejudice starts with the Jews but never ends with the Jews. We need to stand united against hate.”
The MP also condemned pro-Palestinian activists who draw comparisons between the Israeli government and the Nazis, asserting that their actions are a “deliberate attempt to devalue the unique significance of the Holocaust.” Gove contended that the conflation of the two has led to a rise in anti-Semitism.
He evoked a long list of of recent anti-Semitic incidents throughout Europe and cautioned that there was “insufficient indignation” for the rise of anti-Jewish prejudice.
“In France, in July of this year, more than 100 Jewish citizens had to be rescued from one synagogue and another was firebombed… The virus is spreading across other European nations… In Belgium a cafe displays a sign saying ‘dogs are allowed but Jews are not,’ while a doctor refuses to treat Jewish patients. We must all remember where this leads.”
The MP, a self-described “proud Zionist,” went on to defend Israel in his speech on the basis of the common bonds it shares with the West, while criticizing “jihadist terrorists” that target the Jewish state.
“They hate Israel, and they wish to wipe out the Jewish people’s home, not because of what Israel does but because of what Israel is – free, democratic, liberal and western,” Gove said. “We need to remind ourselves that defending Israel’s right to exist is defending our common humanity. Now more than ever.”