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.
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.
The British Embassy in Vilnius today released a letter, organized by the British ambassador, HE Simon Butt, signed by nine ambassadors to Lithuania, to Dr. Rachel Margolis, now resident in Rehovot, Israel. The initiative comes in response to Lithuanian prosecutors’ campaign of defamation, harassment and attempted prosecution of Dr. Margolis and other heroes of the Jewish resistance against Nazi forces and their allies during the Holocaust.
The nine participating embassies are those of Austria, Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Ireland, Sweden the United Kingdom, and the United States of America.
The letter is available as PDF and follows below.
At the initiative of the UK’s ambassador to Lithuania, HE Simon Butt, Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky, one of the Jewish partisan veterans being subjected to “war crimes investigations” by Lithuanian prosecutors, was asked to give a talk and lead a walk through the streets of what had been the Vilna Ghetto during the Holocaust in Lithuania. Fania was incarcerated in the ghetto from its first day, 6 September 1941, through to its last, 23 September 1943, when she and Dobke Develtov (now of Los Angeles) escaped through a hole in the wall to join up with the Jewish veterans in the forests where both women fought heroically against the Nazis and their collaborators.
The participants in today’s event to honor Fania Brantsovky and, by extension, the Jewish partisans generally, were:
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.]
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.
The British ambassador to Lithuania, HE Simon Butt, today visited Professor Dovid Katz’s Vilna Yiddish Reading Circle, an advanced Yiddish- in-Yiddish institution that Prof. Katz initiated in September 1999. As guest of honor, Ambassador Butt, who listened to participants reading from the works of Yiddish authors with interest, was invited to say a few words. He told the assembled hat he deeply understands their concerns over resurgent antisemitism, ultranationalism, Holocaust revisionism and the attempted defamation of Jewish partisan heroes. He made it clear that “he is on the case” and gave reasons for hope and optimism.
Front row, from left: Prof. Dovid Katz (standing); Dr. Shimon Alperovich, chairman of the Jewish Community of Lithuania,, Ambassador Simon Butt, and Prof. Izaraelis Lempertas (Israel Lempert). Standing at right at the back if Carole Lemee, a university lecturer from France visiting in Lithuania.
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[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.]
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
Posted in A 21st Century Campaign Against Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors?, Ambassador Simon Butt, Double Genocide, Estonia, EU, France, News & Views, Norway, Poland, Politics of Memory, Sweden, Symbology, United Kingdom, United States
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. 
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.
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:
Posted in Documents, Double Games, Double Genocide, History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, UCL Manipulated?, United Kingdom
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.
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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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.”
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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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.
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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.
Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, Double Games, Double Genocide, Efraim Zuroff, EU, Events, Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, History, Identity Theft of Litvak Heritage, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, UCL Manipulated?, United Kingdom
Tagged Antony Polonsky, Efraim Zuroff, Holocaust, International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupational Regimes in Lithuania, No Simple Stories: Jewish-Lithuanian Relations, UCL Hebrew and Jewish Studies
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:
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 article as PDF].
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.
Posted in Double Games, Double Genocide, Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, Identity Theft of Litvak Heritage, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Politics of Memory, UCL Manipulated?, United Kingdom, Views of Prof. Sarunas Liekis, Vilnius Yiddish Institute, Yiddish Affairs
Tagged Sarunas Liekis, Vilnius Yiddish Institute, Vilnius Yiddish Summer Program, Yiddish studies professor from Vilnius
Letter of Protest signed by Lord Janner, MP MacShane, Professor Dov Levin, Rabbi Barry Marcus & 17 Others
DIGNIFIED MORNING PROTEST
Member 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.
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)
Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, Double Games, Events, Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Rothschild Foundation Europe (Hanadiv): Lithuanian Issues, UCL Manipulated?, United Kingdom
Tagged Efraim Zuroff, Hebrew and Jewish Studies London, Lithuanian Foreign Ministry, Litvaks, Vilnius Yiddish Institute