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Sunday, January 27, 2013

LIberal Democrat British MP compares Israel to Nazi Germany

In a statement issued on Friday in advance of Sunday's Holocaust Memorial Day, Liberal Democratic British MP David Ward accused Israel of 'not having learned the lessons of the Holocaust.'
As Holocaust Memorial Day is to be observed on Sunday, the Liberal Democrat MP, upon signing the Holocaust Educational Trust's Book of Commitment in the House of Commons, stated:
“Having visited Auschwitz twice – once with my family and once with local schools – I am saddened that the Jews, who suffered unbelievable levels of persecution during the Holocaust, could within a few years of liberation from the death camps be inflicting atrocities on Palestinians in the new State of Israel and continue to do so on a daily basis in the West Bank and Gaza.”


David Ward is the Member of Parliament for Bradford East, the constituency that neighbours George Galloway's Bradford West. Campaigners have told The Commentator that Ward's comments are 'disgusting, deplorable and factually inaccurate, bordering on anti-Semitism and breaching all levels of common decency in the run up to Holocaust Memorial Day".
David Ward MP has contacted The Commentator to make a statement, explaining that he believes, "The Holocaust was one of the worst examples in history man's inhumanity to man. When faced with examples of atrocious behaviour, we must learn from them. It appears that the suffering by the Jews has not transformed their views on how others should be treated."
Ward also went on to say that he does not believe juxtaposing the Middle East conflict with the Holocaust is conflating the two, and that he is due to attend a Holocaust Memorial event in Bradford later today.
The Liberal Democrat party has had its problems with Israel-bashing previously, with Lords member Baroness Jenny Tonge claiming that, "Israel is not going to be there forever”.
Ward has also been found to have referred to Israel, the democracy in the Middle East that has 11 Arabs in its own Parliament (the Knesset), as an "apartheid regime".
Ward's comments were made in the run up to the London Olympics, where he urged protests at events involving Israeli athletes, calling into question whether or not the MP believes that Jews or Israelis who are not officials in government, are legitimate targets for protest or boycotts.
This again could fall foul of the EUMC Working Definition on anti-Semitism, in so far as asserting some form of Jewish collectivity.
Ward also quoted Holocaust survivor and Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel in support of his claims.
He then went on to defend himself by using the words of Holocaust survivor, Professor Elie Wiesel: “I swore never to be silent whenever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”
That brought an angry reaction from Wiesel.
"Although he quotes me correctly, I am outraged that he uses my words at the same time he utters shameless slanders on the State of Israel.”
Facing disciplinary action from his parliamentary faction, Ward removed the statement from his website late on Friday, and on Sunday, he FINALLY issued a half-hearted apology.
He initially strongly defended the article and hit out at criticisms by the party - which summoned him to the Whip's Office for a meeting on Monday morning.
But in a new post this afternoon he said he 'never for a moment intended to criticise or offend the Jewish people as a whole, either as a race or as a people of faith, and apologise sincerely for the unintended offence which my words caused.'
'I recognise of course the deep sensitivities of these issues at all times, and particularly on occasions of commemoration such as this weekend,' he added.
Mr Ward said that in raising the treatment of the Palestinians he had simply been 'trying to make clear that everybody needs to learn the lessons of the Holocaust.'
'I will continue to make criticisms of actions in Palestine in the strongest possible terms for as long as Israel continues to oppress the Palestinian people,' he added.
But Melanie Phillips writes that the shock and outrage over Ward's comments misses the point.
Ward’s offence, it would appear, was to have repeatedly blamed ‘the Jews’ for failing to learn the lessons of the Holocaust and inflicting atrocities upon the Palestinians. Apparently – as even the Sky interviewer seemed at one point to imply-- if he had blamed ‘the Israelis’ there wouldn’t have been a problem.
This is not just to fail to grasp the real obscenity of Ward’s comments, but to reveal that many of those expressing revulsion at his comments actually suffer from the same prejudice
For the really terrible thing here is not the grotesque misuse of the Holocaust, nor the vicious suggestion that ‘the Jews’ are guilty of behaviour that is somehow analogous to the Nazi genocide inflicted upon them, nor even the sickening insult that they have to ‘learn the lessons’ of their own suffering.
No, the true venom of these remarks is the way they reverse the position of today’s Jewish victims – the Israeli survivors of the Holocaust and their children and grandchildren -- and their current would-be exterminators – the descendants of Hitler’s Nazi collaborators in Palestine during the Holocaust.


The really appalling thing about Ward’s remarks is his hijacking of the Holocaust to reverse the position of Arab aggressors and their Jewish victims.  But he also goes further than accusing Israel of such crimes in the West Bank and Gaza. He accuses it of
‘inflicting atrocities on Palestinians in the new State of Israel.’
He thus appears to be accusing Israel of committing atrocities against its own Arab citizens. But this is just plain hallucinatory. There is nothing that could possibly be considered to be such.
Arab Israelis have full civil rights in Israel; they serve as MPs, judges, even serve in the army; every day Arab Israelis peacefully go about their everyday lives.
The really chilling thing is this. Leave aside Ward’s particular offensiveness and idiocies. The insane belief that Israel is trying to wipe out the Palestinians or at the very least that it behaves savagely towards them, subjects them to ‘apartheid’ and ensures through its behaviour that there is no peace in the Middle East is now common currency in British progressive circles.
While most would not use the Holocaust analogy and are careful to damn Israelis rather than ‘the Jews’, the entirely false belief that the Israelis have supplanted the indigenous people of Palestine and towards whom they are now behaving in an unconscionable way is now the default position amongst liberals and the left, and has also made serious inroads amongst the more isolationist and ignorant British conservatives.
The belief that, in Israel, the victims of one of the greatest crimes against humanity are themselves now guilty of crimes against humanity is the collective libel that has become the default position amongst the British intelligentsia. And as Ward suggested in his remarks on Sky, only those Jews who themselves endorse this libel by denouncing Israel are to be considered free of this taint. British Jews who support Israel and try to counter these Big Lies are quite simply treated as pariahs by baying mobs whose obsession with Israel has brought about nothing less than a mass derangement in British public debate.
The full, monstrous obscenity of both Ward’s remarks and the widespread British attitude to which he has given voice is no less than this: accusing the people who were the victims of genocide entirely falsely of committing crimes against humanity -- simply because they are trying to defend themselves from being wiped out again by those for whom the Holocaust is unfinished business. Self-defence against extermination is now considered a crime against humanity.
 Read the whole thing.

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At 8:08 PM, Blogger Dan said...

It's funny--folks like Ward routinely shake their heads in disappointment that the descendants of Holocaust victims are supposedly committing atrocities, but the head-shaking only ever goes in one direction. If Ward really believes that the Israelis are committing atrocities against the Palestinians, then how can he not be similarly saddened that those same Palestinian victims are in turn openly and unashamedly embracing terrorist brutality against Israeli civilians? Shouldn't they have learned from their alleged traumatic experience that gentle passivity is the only humane way, and therefore reject violent "resistance"? Or is that a lesson that only Jews are supposed to learn?


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