Historian David Starkey accuses left-wing activists of being 'jealous' of Holocaust

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The remarks were described as “pathetic”, deplorable and antisemitic

The historian David Starkey has accused left-wing political activists of having a “determination” to replace the Holocaust with slavery - claiming that movements like Black Lives Matter want to destroy “white culture”.

Starkey - who stepped down from his role at Cambridge University in 2020 after using derogatory language about black people - made the comments at the National Conservatism conference, which has seen a number of government ministers in attendance in recent days.

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What did Starkey say?

In a speech to the conference today (May 17), Starkey said: “The determination is to replace the Holocaust with slavery. In other words, this is why Jews are under such attack from the left, there’s jealousy, fundamentally. There is jealousy of the moral primacy of the Holocaust and a determination to replace it with slavery.”

“Movements like critical race theory and Black Lives Matter are not what they pretend to be. They are attempts at destroying the entire legitimacy of the Western political and cultural tradition.”

“The idea that they are there to defend black lives is a preposterous notion. They do not care about black lives, they only care about the symbolic destruction of white culture. We have to be absolutely clear about this.”

What has Starkey previously said?

Starkey was strongly criticised for comments he made in a podcast three years ago, in which he suggested that slavery “was not genocide” otherwise there wouldn’t be “so many damn blacks” in Africa or the UK.

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The then Health Secretary Sajid Javid said the comments were racist, and Starkey was removed from two university roles, as well as having an honorary degree revoked and a book deal terminated. Scotland Yard opened an investigation into the remarks, but it was later dropped.

During coverage of the King’s Coronation on the TV channel GB News in May this year, he was again accused of racism for claiming that Rishi Sunak was “not fully grounded in our culture”.

He denied his comments were racist, saying he was referring to the Prime Minister being a “typical international liberal” with no interest in British “values”.

What has the reaction been to his latest comments?

Daniel Sugarman, from the Board of Deputies for British Jews, said Starkey’s remarks on the Holocaust and slavery were “pathetic” - and his attempts to “drive a wedge between communities” would not work.

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On Twitter, the Labour MP Christian Wakeford - who defected from the Conservatives at the beginning of 2022 - asked Rishi Sunak whether whether he was happy to have his ministers Suella Braverman and Michael Gove sharing a platform with “deplorable and antisemitic individuals” like Starkey.

What else has happened at the conference?

The National Conservatism conference brands itself as an event dedicated to “national independence” and the “revival of unique national traditions”.

On Monday (May 15) Braverman gave her own speech there, widely regarded as testing the water for a future Tory leadership bid, saying it was not “racist” to want to cut immigration, while the Conservative MP Danny Kruger claimed that marriages between men and women were “the only possible basis for a safe and successful society”.

Downing Street said Sunak did not agree with those comments, and that Number 10 was not endorsing the conference.

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