• Sunday, February 05, 2023

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Suella Braverman latest migration row: 80-plus Holocaust survivor slams UK home secretary over ‘invasion’ rhetoric

Suella Braverman (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

By: Shubham Ghosh

British home secretary Suella Braverman has refused to apologise after a Holocaust survivor has slammed her for calling migrants an “invasion”.

Eighty-three-year-old Joan Salter confronted the Conservative leader over the matter during a meeting in her constituency — Fareham — on Friday (13).

According to the former, Braverman’s rhetoric reminded her of the language that the Nazis used to justify killing her family.

But Braverman, who has courted controversy in the past over her hardline takes on migrants, said her language showed the “scale of the problem” with illegal migration.

“When I hear you using words against refugees like ‘swarms’ and an ‘invasion’, I am reminded of the language used to dehumanise and justify the murder of my family and millions of others,” Salter said, as per the footage of the exchange, provided by the charity Freedom from Torture, the BBC reported.

“Why do you find the need to use that kind of language?”

The 42-year-old Braverman, a daughter of Indian-origin parents, thanked Salter for her question and said she “shared a huge amount of concern and sympathy” when it came to “challenge” of illegal immigration.

The home secretary said her own parents were not born in Britain and “owe everything to this country”.

“There is a huge problem that we have right now when it comes to illegal migration, the scale of which we have not known before,” she added.

“I won’t apologise for the language that I have used to demonstrate the scale of the problem.”

Her answer was applauded by the audience.

According to the home office, a one-minute video of the incident, shared by Freedom from Torture on social media, was “heavily edited and doesn’t reflect the full exchange”.

“Since the footage misrepresents the interaction about a sensitive area of policy, we have asked the organisation who posted the video to take it down,” a spokesperson said.

However, Sonya Sceats, the charity’s chief executive, refused saying it would not remove the short clip from social media, and added that a video of the full exchange was available on the charity’s website.

“Suella Braverman refused to apologise for offensive and dehumanising language when challenged by a Holocaust survivor at a party meeting,” she said.

“She has used language she should be ashamed of, and we won’t be pressured into helping her hide it.”

Braverman has not used the word “swarm” in public but it has been used by other politicians, including former prime minister David Cameron and former UKIP leader Nigel Farage, the BBC report added.

Shortly after being reappointed as home secretary in October after Rishi Sunak took over as the prime minister, Braverman described her job as being “about stopping the invasion on our southern coast”. She said it in reference to the number of people crossing the English Channel in small boats.

Salter, who has been honoured with an MBE for her work on Holocaust education, was born as Fanny Zimetbaum in 1940 in Brussels, Belgium, to Polish Jewish parents.

When she was three months old, Belgium was invaded by the Nazis but her mother and sister managed to take her to France.

In 1943, she was taken by the Red Cross to the US before being reunited with her parents four years later in London, where she has been living since.

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