Jewish leaders use Holocaust Day to decry persecution of Uighurs

People take part in a demonstration in September against China’s persecution of Uighurs in Xinjiang. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty

Source: Guardian

By Harriet Sherwood, @harrietsherwood

Leading figures in the UK Jewish community are using Holocaust Memorial Day on 27 January to focus on the persecution of Uighur Muslims, saying Jews have the “moral authority and moral duty” to speak out.

Rabbis, community leaders and Holocaust survivors have been at the forefront of efforts to put pressure on the UK government to take a stronger stance over China’s brutal treatment of the Uighurs.

In a recent letter to the prime minister, Marie van der Zyl, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, said: “As a community, we are always extremely hesitant to consider comparisons with the Holocaust.”

However, there were similarities between what is reported to be happening in China and what happened in Nazi Germany in the 1930s and 40s, she said. Urging Boris Johnson to take action, she said violations of the Uighurs’ human rights were “shaping up to be the most serious outrage of our time”.

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2 replies

  1. Justin Cohen, the paper’s news editor, told the Observer: “Two key aims of Holocaust education today are encouraging young people to speak out against all forms of discrimination at the first signs, and sounding a warning that the Nazi persecution of the Jews didn’t start with the gas chambers.

    “This is why survivors of the Holocaust and other genocides can play such a key role in speaking out in support of the Uighurs, and why their children and grandchildren feel such a strong impetus to do so.”

    Last week, the outgoing US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, and his successor in the new Biden administration, Anthony Blinken, stated that China was committing ongoing genocide against the Uighurs.

    Uighurs and other Muslims are reported to face starvation, torture, murder, sexual violence, slave labour and forced organ extraction in what China descibes as “re-education” camps. Former detainees have claimed women are forcibly sterilised.

    China insists that Uighur militants are waging a violent campaign for an independent state by plotting civil unrest and sabotage.

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