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Britain’s MP John Mann, Speaking in UK Parliament, Blasts Tallinn’s “Double Genocide” Conclave



UK  |  DOUBLE GENOCIDE  |  ESTONIA  |  EU

VILNIUS—The following is an excerpt from John Mann’s speech in the House of Commons of 31 January 2008. The entire speech, along with others in the debate, is on the UK Parliament website.

 

2.30 pm

John Mann (Bassetlaw) (Lab):

On 22 January, in Tallinn, Estonia, five MEPs from five different countries met to launch a group called Common Europe—Common History.

It has the same theme—the need for an equal evaluation of history. It is just a traditional form of prejudice, rewritten in a modern context. In essence, it is trying to equate communism and Judaism as one conspiracy and rewrite history from a nationalist point of view. Those are elected MEPs.

 

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Joseph Levinson, 93, Holocaust Historian, Honored in London; But Q & A session is manipulated by translator


Joseph Levinson of Vilnius, born in March 1917  — an anti-Nazi war veteran, founding figure of Vilnius’s ‘Green House’, historian of the Lithuanian Holocaust, and author of The Book of Sorrow (Vilnius 1997) and The Shoah in Lithuania (English edition: Vilnius 2006)was honored in London’s Central Synagogue at a splendid event on Wednesday evening 1 September 2010. Details here.

Elegantly chaired by the synagogue’s Rabbi Barry Marcus, a scion of luminous Lithuanian rabbis, himself born in South Africa, it included speeches by Iain Duncan Smith (‘IDS’), Britain’s Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, and the Israeli ambassador to the UK, HE Ron Prosor. The Central Synagogue’s hall was packed.  [Added 20 September 2010: See the 2 Sept report in The Jewish News, and Simon Round’s interview with Mr Levinson in The Jewish Chronicle.]

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Sir Martin Gilbert Releases August 2008 Letter on his Resignation from the Lithuanian Government’s “Red-Brown Commission”


Sir Martin Gilbert has today authorized publication of his 24 August 2008 letter to this journal’s (future) editor. The facsimile follows. The letter had confirmed his April 2008 resignation from the “International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupation Regimes in Lithuania” (known informally and for brevity as the “Red-Brown Commission”), citing the Yitzhak Arad affair.

In view of the subsequent developments, the 24 August letter also cites the need for the Commission to condemn the defamation of additional Holocaust survivors Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky, Professor Sara Ginaite, and Dr. Rachel Margolis. Professor Gilbert’s authorization for publication came after the Commission’s website failed to remove his name from the list of members in spite of his resignation on principle.

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Mr Lidington is right, but there is more to it



O P I N I O N

[Note: A revised version of this comment appeared on Alfa.lt.]

by Dovid Katz

David Lidington, Britain’s Minister for Europe, has praised the recent Lithuanian parliament vote on a (lamentably ambiguous) draft of a bill to deal with restitution of looted Jewish communal property [Details here.] In his statement, he goes on to say: “Passage of the law will bring credit to Lithuania as it prepares to assume the chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). I hope that the draft will now advance successfully through its remaining stages.” [The minister’s statement is reported here; it was triumphantly reported in the Lithuanian media.]

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Ambassadors of Britain, Estonia, Finland, France, Netherlands, Norway and Sweden protest Antisemitism in Lithuania; Red-Equals-Brown Movement is Noted


BNS reported today that the Vilnius-based ambassadors of Britain, Estonia, France, Finland, Netherlands, Norway and Sweden have written in no uncertain terms to the president and other major officials of Lithuania to express concern over the growing manifestations of antisemitism.

Two of the signatories confirmed privately to Defending History that the initiative had come from British ambassador HE Simon Butt, who also drafted the letter. Ambassador Butt had in 2008 organized a letter in moral support of Dr. Rachel Margolis, a walk through the Vilna Ghetto with Ms. Fania Brantsovsky, and had, together with other senior Western diplomats stationed in Vilnius, visited the decaying Jewish partisan fort in the forest.

“Spurious attempts are made to equate the uniquely evil genocide of the Jews with Soviet crimes against Lithuania, which, though great in magnitude, cannot be regarded as equivalent in either their intention or result.”

Excerpt from a letter to the president of Lithuania from the ambassadors of Britain, Estonia, Finland, France, Netherlands, Norway and Sweden, 25 November 2010

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MP Denis MacShane Calls for Release of 7 Ambassadors’ Letter on Antisemitism and the ‘Double Genocide’ movement in Lithuania


The following exchange between human rights advocate MP Denis MacShane and the government’s Minister for Europe, David Lidington, was reported today in the House of Commons:

Mr MacShane:To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will publish the letter of 25 November 2010 sent by the UK and other ambassadors in Lithuania concerning the growing manifestations of anti-Semitism in Lithuania. [29665]

Mr Lidington:It has not been the practice of successive Governments to publish letters sent by diplomats in a confidential capacity. It is important for the effective conduct of international relations for diplomacy to be able to take place on a confidential basis where necessary.

The letter referred to was reported in this journal on 25 November 2010.

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An Orwellian Description of the Drive to Revise History in the Direction of Double Genocide


Extract (from original posting by François Guesnet, Corob Reader in Jewish History, University College London) from the description of the (foregone?) conclusions of the “No Simples Stories” conference on 6-10 February 2011:

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Lord Janner Confronts Revisionists’ ‘Double Genocide’, marking 2011’s Holocaust Memorial Day


Lord Janner of Braunstone (formerly Greville Janner, MP), in a statement published today on the Parliamentary Committee Against Antisemitism Foundation’s website, praised leaders of all political parties in the UK who have steadfastly supported cross-party work against racism and antisemitism and in the cause of proper and serious Holocaust commemoration. The essay, entitled ‘Never Again’, is issued on the eve of this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day on January 27th.

In his major substantive contribution, Lord Janner explains the connection of antisemitism with the current campaign, spearheaded in Lithuania and Latvia, to have Nazi and Soviet crimes declared equivalent in principle (‘Double Genocide’). The most recent incident involving efforts  by a group of East European states to insert ‘Double Genocide’ into European Union policy occurred last month.

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In Major Speech to UK’s Parliament, MP MacShane Confronts Hungarian Injustice, Baltics’ Double Genocide Campaign


MP Denis MacShane

Denis MacShane, the veteran Labour Party member of the British Parliament for Rotherham, gave a major speech on antisemitism in the House of Commons yesterday. (Full text of Denis MacShane’s 20 January speech.)

In contrast to politicians across Europe who pay lip service to the battle against antisemitism ‘in general’, Mr MacShane emphasized the actual issues of the day, including two major and ongoing scandals sadly involving member states of the European Union in the new accession eastern area. In both cases, his speech serves to overcome the veil of reticence sometimes encountered when it comes to criticizing Britain’s partners in the EU, NATO, the OSCE and other international organizations.

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A rather simple story: Lithuania, the Jews, and the Shoah


 


O P I N I O N

by Clemens Heni

An Open Letter to the Scholars Reading Papers at the 6-7 February UCL-Warburg Symposium in London

On February 6 and 7 of 2011, there will be a conference held in London, entitled “No simple stories: Jewish-Lithuanian relations between coexistence and violence”. Taking into account that some 95% of Lithuanian Jews were killed during the Holocaust — the highest percentage in all of Europe — this is quite a heartbreaking title, isn’t it?

“No simple stories” — really? For those Lithuanians involved, killing Jews was quite simple, even before the Germans arrived.

“No simple stories.”

Really?

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Clemens Heni Critiques London Conference


Dr Clemens Heni, a prominent Berlin-based scholar specializing in antisemitism, today critiques, in this journal, the 6-7 February 2011 conference in London entitled ‘No Simple Stories: Jewish-Lithuanian relations between coexistence and violence’ (conference program here; poster here). His opinion piece, “A rather simple story: Lithuania, the Jews, and the Shoah” is here.

Dr Clemens Heni

Dr Heni, a former research fellow at the Yale Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Antisemitism (YIISA) at Yale University (USA), was arguably the first to publish an academic paper on the antisemitic aspects of the 2008 Prague Declaration. His paper, which appeared in late 2009, is available here.

Additional coverage of the London conference (6-7 February 2011): Dovid Katz on DefendingHistory.com;  Simon Rocker in the Jewish Chronicle.

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Lithuanian Jews, Holocaust Survivors, Specialists who Disagree with the Lithuanian Government — Shut Out of London Conference



O P I N I O N

by Dovid Katz

The Holocaust Survivor community is responding with a mixture of sadness and defiance to news that the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry, which actively coordinated the recent attempt (December 2010) to underpin ‘Double Genocide’ and downgrade the Holocaust in European Union law (see top story on home page), is now financing, in partnership with (naive?) parties in London, a starkly one-sided colloquium on ‘Jewish-Lithuanian Relations Between Coexistence and Violence’ on 6-7 Feb 2011 in London.

London Fog: Will the Conference be a ‘Graywash’?

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A Shameful Shoah Whitewash



O P I N I O N

by Efraim Zuroff

This comment appeared in today’s Jewish Chronicle (London) and is reposted here by the author’s permission.


A financially-strapped small Eastern European country is spending tens of thousands of pounds to sponsor an extraordinarily large number of political and cultural events ― lectures, concerts, exhibitions and films ― in London next week. Why? That is the obvious question for the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry, several Lithuanian cultural institutions, and local UK partners.

Under the heading No Simple Stories; Jewish-Lithuanian relationships: facing difficult questions, the events are projected as an honest attempt to address the ostensibly complex history of Lithuania’s once very large Jewish community, which was irreparably decimated during the Holocaust — 96.4% of the 220,000 Jews who lived in Lithuania under the Nazi occupation were slaughtered, with the help of a large number of local collaborators.

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Text of the Letter Delivered to the Lithuanian Ambassador in London on 7 February 2011



Text of the letter delivered to the Lithuanian ambassador in London Monday morning 7 February 2011 by the Right Honourable Denis MacShane MP. The letter was drafted by Danny Ben-Moshe and evolved with input from the other signatories. Signatories include Lord Janner of Braunstone, Rabbi Barry Marcus of Central Synagogue, and Professor Ada Rapoport-Albert, head of the Department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies at University College London which hosted the main conference. PDF here. Background and further links to press coverage here.


H.E. Dr Oskaras Jusys

Ambassador
Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania
84 Gloucester Place
London W1U 6AU

7 February 2011

Dear Ambassador

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‘Holocaust Obfuscation’ as Specific Term enters the Diplomatic Lexicon


A report on the website of the Board of Deputies of British Jews reveals that Holocaust Obfuscation is gaining ground rapidly as a highly specific term for the phenomenon of ‘denying without denying’ in the context of the far right’s Double Genocide revisionism prevalent in post-Soviet Eastern Europe and especially the Baltics. The Board’s summary of a meeting held with the Lithuanian ambassador to London, HE Dr Oskaras Jusys noted that:

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Vilnius ‘Yiddish Studies Professor’ tells ‘Economist’ that Litvaks who Speak Out for Lithuanian Jewry are ‘Taliban’


Litvak Taliban?

Dispatched to London by the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry, the state-approved director of the Vilnius Yiddish(-less) Institute bemoaned feeling himself ‘between two Talibans’, referring to the antisemitic establishment in Lithuania on the one hand, and to a polite letter of Litvak protest on the other. The comment was reported in today’s Economist, in an article by Edward Lucas, which also reports that the VYI director, Sarunas Liekis, described himself as ‘a Yiddish-studies professor from Vilnius’.

The ‘Taliban’ letter was signed among others, by Lord Janner; British MP Denis MacShane; head of the last active Litvak organization in the world, Joe Melamed; the master historian of the Lithuanian Holocaust Prof. Dov Levin; Rabbi Barry Marcus, leader of London’s Central Synagogue. Text of the ‘Taliban’ letter here. Signatories here.

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London Fog: Lithuanian Foreign Ministry invests in a London ‘Graywash’


 


Letter of Protest signed by Lord JannerMP MacShane, Professor Dov Levin, Rabbi Barry Marcus17 Others

———

DIGNIFIED MORNING PROTEST

 All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Anti-SemitiMember of the UK Parliament, human rights champion and author RH Denis MacShane (right), led a good-natured moment of protest Monday morning, 7 February in London at the Lithuanian Embassy, 84 Gloucester Place, London W1.

MP MacShane presented a letter of protest to the embassy, drafted and organized by Professor Danny Ben-Moshe (center), who flew in from Melbourne to be at the event. At left is Danny Stone, director of the All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism. The letter was signed by 21 people, including academics, political figures, those involved with the fight against antisemitism, representatives of Litvak organizations, and Lithuanian Holocaust survivors. The ambassador declined a written request to meet to discuss the letter.

BACKGROUND REPORT

PRESS: REPORT IN THE JERUSALEM POST ♦ IN THE ECONOMIST (REPLY HERE) ♦ ALFA.LT (8 Feb) ♦ BNS ♦ CLEMENS HENI (DH) ♦ DOVID KATZ (DH) ♦ LRYTAS.LT ♦ JONNY PAUL (JP) ♦ SIMON ROCKER I (JC) ♦SIMON ROCKER II (JC) ♦ SIMON ROCKER III (JC) ♦ NITZA SPIRO (JN) ♦ EFRAIM ZUROFF (JC)

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Yad Vashem Withdraws Invitation to Lithuanian Minister over Campaign against Joe Melamed; British Parliamentarians Move an ‘Early Day Motion’; Melamed Speaks Eloquently at Yad Vashem, Blasts Efforts to Glorify Holocaust Perpetrators as ‘Heroes’


Yad Vashem  rescinded the invitations to the Lithuanian culture minister and ambassador to the 19 September event held in memory of the victims of the Lithuanian Holocaust. The cancelation of invitations came in response to the new investigation launched by Vilnius prosecutors  (via Interpol) against a Holocaust survivor. The 30 August visit to Mr. Melamed by Interpol liaison officers in Tel Aviv was reported in DefendingHistory.com and by Yossi Melman in Haaretz.

Joe Melamed in his Tel Aviv office

The report on the disinvitation, also by Yossi Melman in Haaretz was rapidly picked up by the Associated Press and carried widely (e.g. CBS News, Fox, MSNBC, Washington Post, YahooNews). Further reports have appeared in the Jerusalem Post, the Jewish Chronicle (London), Mishpacha, and JTA (WJC, JJ, Juedische.at, etc).

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Holocaust Survivor Community in Shock as Yet Another Survivor Pursued by Lithuanian Prosecutors (and Interpol!), This Time for “Libel”



Vilnius Prosecutors Launch Campaign against Another Holocaust Survivor, 86, this time via — Interpol!

Joe Melamed

At Lithuanian prosecutors’ demand, Israeli Interpol liaison officers speak with Mr. Melamed about the ‘accusations’

Report in Haaretz by Yossi Melman;

DefendingHistory.com reports here and here;

Geoff Vasil in the Jewish Chronicle

 

Yad Vashem withdraws invitations to visiting minster and resident ambassador for Vilna Ghetto commemoration; Coverage inHaaretz by Yossi Melman; Associated Press (→ CBS News, Fox,MSNBC,Washington Post, YahooNews etc);JTA (→WJC, JJ, Juedische.at, etc);Mishpacha

Three British MPs file Early Day Motion 2161 to protest the Lithuanian government’s action

 ISRAEL’S GOVERNMENT MAINTAINS PUBLIC SILENCE

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UK MP Denis MacShane Rushes to Defense of Lithuanian Parliamentarians who Signed Seventy Years Declaration; Slams Foreign Minister’s Hitler-Stalin ‘Joke’


The following press statement was issued today by the office of UK MP Denis MacShane concerning the response of the Lithuanian foreign minister to the news that eight Lithuanian parliamentarians had signed the Seventy Years Declaration.


News Release 25 Jan. 2012

On the eve of National Holocaust Day, former Europe Minister Denis MacShane MP has written to Lithuanian MPs and MEPs who defied their political establishment to sign a statement on the Holocaust which attacks attempts to devalue the Nazi extermination of Jews by claiming it is no worse than the crimes committed by communists.

The Seventy Years Declaration was issued on 20 January 2012 by seventy European Union parliamentarians (MPs and MEPs) concerned about the return of antisemitism as an issue in contemporary politics. In January 1942, Nazi officials met at a conference at Lake Wannsee close to Berlin to plan the industrially organized extermination of European Jewry.

In recent years, European right-wing politicians have sought to gain acceptance for their view that the suffering under communist rule was the same as the Nazi extermination of Jews. This so-called “double genocide” thesis has been criticized by campaigners against modern antisemitism as leading to a devaluation of the unique specific Jew-hating roots of the Holocaust.

Now social democratic MPs and MEPs in Lithuania who signed this declaration have been attacked by government officials. Lithuania’s Foreign Minister went so far as to say there was no difference between Hitler and Stalin except the length of their moustache.Continue reading

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