Former education secretary Michael Gove has said the Holocaust Educational Trust was needed “now more than ever” following a rise in antisemitism across Europe.
Mr Gove, government chief whip and a member of the Prime Minister’s Holocaust commission, said the fallout from the recent conflict between Israel and Gaza had triggered a spike in antisemitism, which made the work of the trust even more relevant.
Speaking at the HET’s annual appeal dinner in London tonight, Mr Gove said attacks against Jews and Jewish synagogues had occurred in France, Germany and Belgium, and that antisemitic incidents had risen five-fold in the UK between July 2013 and 2014.
“Today, across Europe, there has been a revival of antisemitism which the enormity of the Holocaust should have rendered forever unthinkable,” he said.
He added: “[We must be] careful to distinguish between explicitly antisemitic incidents and more general protests about Israeli policy. The latter, even if many of us would regard them as profoundly misguided, are legitimate expressions of opinion in a democratic society.
"But once they transgress into antisemitism, all legitimacy ceases. When banners at pro-Palestinian rallies carry slogans such as “Stop Doing What Hitler Did To You” or “Gaza is a Concentration Camp” then a line has been crossed.”
The HET, which was set up 25 years ago, was successful in ensuring the Holocaust was featured in the national curriculum, and in 2005 the organisation was given funding to take students to Auschwitz-Birkenau several times each year to show them the full scale of the atrocity.