Daily Archives: January 26, 2013
A Liberal Democrat MP in the UK, David Ward, is in hot water for his “use of language” in condemning Israelis for atrocities against the Palestinians while the horrors of their own suffering at the hands of the Nazis were still fresh in their memory.
He wrote on his website a few days before Holocaust Memorial Day:
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.
Karen Pollock, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, and Jon Benjamin, Chief Executive of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, lost no time in protesting.
According to a BBC report, Pollock said Ward “deliberately abused the memory of the holocaust” and his remarks were “sickening” and had no place in British politics.
Benjamin was outraged and shocked by Ward’s “offensive” comments. He complained: “For an MP to have made such comments on the eve of Holocaust Memorial Day is even more distasteful…”
But is there ever an “acceptable’ moment for mentioning Israel’s atrocious conduct? And what about that other holocaust, Israel’s Operation Cast Lead against Gaza’s civilians (Muslim and Christian) launched over Christmas-time and New Year 2008/09? It was not on the same scale admittedly but was evil and unforgivable nonetheless.
…is there ever an “acceptable’ moment for mentioning Israel’s atrocious conduct? And what about that other holocaust, Israel’s Operation Cast Lead against Gaza’s civilians (Muslim and Christian) launched over Christmas-time and New Year 2008/09?
And before anyone dismisses the death-roll as relatively insignificant, let’s remember that statistics from Israel’s B’Tselem show that between 2000 and the start of Israel’s “Cast Lead” assault the Israelis’ vast standing army, equipped with the most advanced American-funded weaponry, killed 4,790 Palestinian civilians in their homeland. Of these, 952 were children.
Yes, 952 young Palestinian lives horribly snuffed out and their parents desolated. In response the Palestinians, with their primitive weapons, killed 490 Israeli civilians, including 84 children. That’s a slaughter rate of 11 to 1 by the Israelis. Their score has been further improved by the Cast Lead and more recent Pillar of Cloud operations, and the many air strikes in-between.
Liberal Democrat leaders have “form” when it comes to stabbing good people in the back for criticizing the racist state. The well-known human rights campaigner, Baroness Jenny Tonge, has felt the knives of Charles Kennedy, Menzies Campbell and Nick Clegg for speaking her mind. Now she’s safely out of their clutches and sits as a cross-bencher in the House of Lords.
Again, on this occasion, instead of defending their MP from unjust accusations the Liberal Democrats announced that they “deeply regret and condemn the statement issued by David Ward and his use of language which is unacceptable”. He has been summoned to a meeting with the party whips next week. This means a dressing-down at least, possibly disciplinary action and even the end of his political career.
And for what? Speaking the truth?
Ward told the BBC: “I don’t feel bad about it in any way. They consider my comments regrettable; I consider their reprimand regrettable.” He said any further disciplinary action would be “a sad reflection on the values we all hold so dearly, particularly on free speech”.
Yes indeed. On the Liberal Democrat website under the tab “What We Stand For” there’s an item which says: “Protecting freedom of speech – We are protecting freedom of speech through our Defamation Bill and by ending the restrictive situation where it is an offence to ‘insult’ someone.”
Furthermore the party’s constitution says:
We will at all times defend the right to speak, write, worship, associate and vote freely… Our responsibility for justice and liberty cannot be confined by national boundaries; we are committed to fight poverty, oppression, hunger, ignorance, disease and aggression wherever they occur and to promote the free movement of ideas, people, goods and services. Setting aside national sovereignty when necessary, we will work with other countries towards an equitable and peaceful international order and a durable system of common security.
It also declares that Liberal Democrats
are supporters of international law … welcome the extension of international law to hold individuals to account for crimes against humanity. If governments engage in large-scale violations of human rights, or are unable or unwilling to protect their populations from catastrophes, then this responsibility must be fulfilled by the international community…
The Liberal Democrats’ track record is one of gutlessness and hypocrisy. They have the oldest Friends of Israel setup in the British Parliament and now are in coalition with the Conservative Party, 80 per cent of whose MPs are said be signed-up Friends of Israel.
Fancy words. But put them to the test and they fly out the window. The Liberal Democrats’ track record is one of gutlessness and hypocrisy. They have the oldest Friends of Israel setup in the British Parliament and now are in coalition with the Conservative Party, 80 per cent of whose MPs are said be signed-up Friends of Israel. What an appalling bunch of people, this admiration society who promote the ambitions of some of the worst criminals on the planet.
No one in this affair has shown disrespect for the holocaust and its memorial, and certainly not David Ward who has said and done all the right things, even to the extent of signing a Book of Commitment. OK, you might argue with his timing. But the only people to have “abused the memory of the holocaust”, as Karen Pollock put it, are the Israeli regime itself (which dispossessed and drove into exile some 700,000 Palestinians in 1947/48 and has had its boot on the necks of those remaining for the 64 years ever since) and its supporters – including some who lurk in the Liberal Democratic Party. The abiding message of the holocaust, that such cruelty must never be allowed to happen again, seems to have eluded them.
Also eluded them is the fact, apparently, that Israel outlaws commemoration of the Palestinians’ corresponding Nakba, the catastrophe of the 1948 mass expulsion, ethnic cleansing and massacres.
To give David Ward some words of support for standing up to the bullies, you can write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org .
By Alan Hart
Some of us do not believe what our politicians say, especially when the subject is Israel’s behaviour – its ongoing colonization of the occupied West Bank for the purpose of making peace impossible except, perhaps, on terms which require the Palestinians to surrender to Zionism’s will.
The responses of some Jewish supporters of Israel right or wrong to one British MP who did dare to tell the truth illustrate why most politicians throughout the Western world won’t. That’s yesterday’s story but I am driven to comment by the hypocrisy on display, hypocrisy which takes chutzpah to wild extremes.
For those readers who might not be fully familiar with chutzpah, let’s begin with a definition of it.
Chutzpah is a Talmudic word that means many similar things, chief among them being shameless audacity, impudence and arrogance, each and all laced with incredible self-righteousness.
In the context of the conflict in and over Palestine that became Israel, chutzpah represents an Israeli (Jewish) way of saying to the world without actually saying it something like: “We know we shouldn’t have done this. We know it’s wrong. But we’ve done it because we also know there’s nothing you can do about it.”
As I say in my book Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews, if there is one single word that sums up the whole Zionist enterprise, it is chutzpah.
Sunday 27 January is Holocaust Memorial Day and this year marks the 68th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp where more than one million people, mostly Jews, died. As this day approached, the Holocaust Educational Trust placed a Book of Commitment in the House of Commons to give MPs the chance to sign it and honour those who were slaughtered during the Nazi holocaust and subsequent other genocides, and commit themselves to encouraging constituents “to work together to combat prejudice and racism today”.
Among those who signed the book and pledged his commitment (I’d be somewhat surprised if there was a single available MP who didn’t sign) was David Ward, the Liberal Democratic member for Bradford East, a 59-year-old newcomer to the House of Commons, elected in 2010.
On his website he then said this:
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.
Then, in an update after he was condemned by his party and reviled by Jewish supporters of Israel right or wrong, he added this:
For my entire political career I have fought prejudice. I have just returned from Bradford’s Holocaust Memorial event where people across cultures and faiths joined together to say, “We bear witness to the horrors of the holocaust and will never forget its lessons.
In the words of the holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, as quoted in the booklet Holocaust Memorial Day – Learning Lessons from the Past to Create a Safer, Better Future, 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.
Chutzpah taken to its wildest extreme
The response of Jon Benjamin, Chief Executive of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, included this: “We are outraged and shocked at these offensive comments about Jewish victims of the holocaust and the suggestion that Jews should have learned a lesson from the experience.”
There is no power on Planet Earth that has used and abused the obscenity of the Nazi holocaust more than Zionism.
If that means the Jews have nothing to learn from the Nazi holocaust – the slaughter of Jews and others by Europeans not Arabs or other Muslims – I am more than amazed.
It was, however, the response of Karen Pollock, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, that took my breath away. She said she was “deeply saddened” that the MP had “deliberately abused the memory of the holocaust”.
In my view that’s chutzpah taken to its wildest extreme. Why?
There is no power on Planet Earth that has used and abused the obscenity of the Nazi holocaust more than Zionism.
It has used the guilt of Europeans and the West as a whole to blackmail politicians and the mainstream media into silence on the matter of Zionism’s crimes and justify everything it did and does in defiance of international law and a string of UN Security Council resolutions.
I sent the following email to MP David Ward: “You have my utmost respect and admiration, not only for your truth telling but for refusing to back down under fire, including fire from your own party which, like all others and the mainstream media, is terrified of offending Zionism.”
At the time I sent my message to him, he had apparently received 80 unsolicited supportive emails and only two from detractors.
But he must watch his back. He won his election to the House of Commons by the narrow margin of 365 votes. It will be interesting to see if he becomes a target for an organized Zionist campaign to defeat him at the next election.
[Redress Information & Analysis editor adds: To give David Ward some words of support for standing up to the bullies, you can write to him at email@example.com .]