Lord Polak urges UK to ‘refuse to participate in the Beijing Winter Olympics’

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Lord Polak urges UK to ‘refuse to participate in the Beijing Winter Olympics’

Tory peer called on Britain to 'stand up on the world stage' and take a stand, invoking the story of Chanukah which 'represented then and now, the importance of freedom.'

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

The Conservative Life Peer Lord Stuart Polak has spoken of lessons that can be taken from the Chanukah story as he called for the UK Government ” to stand up on the world stage and refuse to participate in the Beijing Winter Olympics.’

In a well-received speech in the House of Lords, the 60 year-old peer informed Lords that on Sunday “Jewish families across Britain and the world will stand by their windows as they light candles and tell the story of Chanukah.”

He added that this story and light of the Menorah, burning for eight days, “represented then, and represents now, the importance of freedom. ”

But the Lord then recalled how in the summer of 1936 remains a dark stain on British history, “when in another attempt to appease Germany, Britain participated in the Berlin Summer Olympic Games.”

This event was he said “orchestrated by Joseph Goebbels as an attempt to camouflage the Nazis’ racist, militaristic character, an attempt undermined by Adolf Hitler’s snub of Jesse Owens. ”

Polak then suggested that the UK finds itself with a similar question to answer –  “should we participate in the 2022 Winter Olympics, which will be hosted in China?”

He then continued:” As we speak, Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang are being detained in concentration camps, with testimonies of torture and rape taking place daily.

“Mosques are being destroyed, imams have been imprisoned, and prayer has been listed as suspicious activity. We are witnessing a watershed moment and, if we choose to participate in these Games, we are repeating our same mistakes from 1936.

“As we know too well, if we do not learn from history, we are doomed to repeat it.”

Lords were then reminded how a “few months before his passing, Lord Sacks of blessed memory published a post about the distressing developments in Xinjiang.”

Polak said:” It is our duty this Chanukah to stand up for those in their time of need and to give support to the weak and suffering.

” The bedrock of our democratic society is built on the rights of each person to express themselves as they wish and to practise and worship as they choose.

“We are a country that prides itself on diversity and acceptance. We must not stand idly by, as we watch a genocide take place under the guise of re-education.

“We must be the light that represents and fights for these freedoms. We must be a leading nation that takes action. We cannot repeat history by appeasing China and ignoring

” I have previously praised the Government for their condemnation of China’s appalling and inhumane treatment of the Uighur Muslims.

“Today I ask my noble friend and the Government to take these criticisms one step further. In response to China’s disregard for human rights and human dignity, I implore the Government to stand up on the world stage and refuse to participate in the Beijing Winter Olympics.”

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