UK Liberal Democrat ban the phrase “the Jews”
The curious case of David Ward’s scalp
Confusion as UK Liberal Democrats issue new instructions on language involving “the Jews”
Last week British MP David Ward was left wondering if his scalp would soon be hanging in the Zionists’ tepee.
Ward, if you remember, wrote on his website:
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.
This caused a great hullabaloo. Karen Pollock of the Holocaust Educational Trust said Ward “deliberately abused the memory of the Holocaust” and his remarks were “sickening”.
Jon Benjamin, chief executive of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, was outraged by Ward’s “offensive” comments and complained: “For an MP to have made such comments on the eve of Holocaust Memorial Day is even more distasteful…”
The Liberal Democrat chief whip, Alistair Carmichael, immediately wrote to Pollock that Ward’s remarks were “wholly inappropriate” and that “singling out ‘the Jews’ in the way he does crosses a line of acceptability and is offensive”. He also wished to dissociate the Liberal Democrats from Ward’s remarks as they did not reflect the views of the party.
Carmichael said he was arranging a meeting to discuss the matter with Ward, and many believed this would result in disciplinary action. But for the last few days party sources have been strangely silent. What happened? The ever-watchful Jewish Chronicle (JC) had the answer to the question on everyone’s lips: Is David’s scalp intact, or has it become another Zionist trophy?
Censure and censorship
The JC reports that after his discussions with Ward, Carmichael sent a letter calling on him to “confirm the undertaking that you gave to me in our meeting that you will not again use the phrase ‘the Jews’ in this context. I am strongly of the view that your use of the phrase ‘the Jews’ in this context was unacceptable and I formally censure you for that.”
Censure? Jeepers, that’s strong stuff – a formal reprimand, an official rebuke, an ugly blot on his Liberal Dempcrats service record, and no front-bench promotion for David anytime soon.
According to the JC, Ward replied: “I confirm that I am prepared to give you the undertaking that you asked for in our meeting.”
But it isn’t enough for the moaners. They still wanted blood and hair. The Board of Deputies’ vice-president, Jonathan Arkush, says on the Board’s website:
Most of our community will regard the censure as completely inadequate. It misses much of the point and is far too limp-wristed to be much of a disciplinary step. It would have been better if serious consideration had been given to withdrawing the whip from Mr Ward, or even expelling him from the party altogether.
At least Ward keeps his hair – or does he? In these circumstances and under pressure from impertinent outsiders, a censure sounds uncomfortably like the lifting of someone’s scalp. Ward emerges bruised and humiliated as a result of the chief whip’s over-eagerness to placate those who, many believe, have no real reason to complain.
You can’t have it both ways!
If you call yourself “the Jewish state” (even though it’s really a Zionist state), and tell everybody it’s the “Jewish homeland” and hide behind the Jewish faith, your crimes will inevitably reflect badly on “the Jews”, or Jewish people generally. So, how is this new language rule going to work? In what circumstances, exactly, mustn’t David Ward or other Liberal Democrats use that dreaded phrase “the Jews”?
If you call yourself “the Jewish state” … and tell everybody it’s the “Jewish homeland” and hide behind the Jewish faith, your crimes will inevitably reflect badly on ”the Jews”, or Jewish people generally.
And how is the hypothetical Man on the Clapham Omnibus seriously expected to differentiate?
Luckily, this fog of confusion and fear, no doubt created to further shut down criticism of the Israeli regime, is lifted by Alan Hart who reminds us, in his article “Anti-Semitism: what It Is and is not”, of the warning by one of Israel’s top military intelligence men, Yehoshafat Harkabi: “Israelis must be aware that the price of their misconduct is paid not only by them but also Jews throughout the world.”
So, Israeli Jews know perfectly well the possible consequences to their brethren elsewhere but just don’t care. Meanwhile, under the new Carmichael Doctrine are we permitted to ask, without fear of causing offence, how much longer it will take “the Jews” (meaning Harkabi’s “Jews throughout the world”) to end Israel’s 65 year-old crime spree in their name against the Palestinians?