Why David Ward’s remarks about Israel and the Holocaust are mainstream

David Ward MP is in a spot of bother with the Liberal Democrats.

On the eve of Holocaust Memorial Day in the UK he chose to make the following slanderous comparison between Israeli Jews and Nazi Germany:

” [he was] “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”.

Even to rebut this piece of trash is like trying to respond to a ‘when did you stop beating your wife’ question, but here goes.

There are about a hundred things wrong with this statement so let’s dissect it.

Firstly he makes the telling conflation of Jews and Israelis. Is he really saying that, given his statement that ‘atrocities’ are and have been visited upon Palestinians that the Jews are responsible wherever they are in the world? Israel may be the nation state of the Jews but not all Jews live there or even identify with it.

Second:  he uses that trick which others have used before; to be ever so sorry about the Holocaust and to tell us how awfully the Jews were treated and then go on to accuse them of ‘not learning the lesson’ of the Holocaust as if it’s the victims who have a lesson to learn and not the perpetrators. it also conveniently avoids the fact that it is Israel’s and the Jews’ enemies who daily proclaim their wish to annihilate Israel and the Jewish people: Hamas, Hizbollah and the Iranian regime.

Third: He says ‘within a few years’ of the lesson that the world taught the Jews, they were themselves perpetrating atrocities. Oh, really. In the 19 years between the declaration of the State of Israel when it was attacked by armies of the Arab League intending to finish Hitler’s work, until 1967 when the same Arab League lost a war in 6 days and had to concede territory after attacking Israel once again, all the ‘atrocities’ were against the Jews.

Fourth: He says that these atrocities were perpetrated IN the new State of Israel. Is he referring to the hundreds of thousands of Arabs who fled or were forced out as a result of the attack on Israel by the Arab League? Did atrocities occur? Of course they did; war always produces atrocities whether it be in Afghanistan, World War II or Vietnam. Israeli atrocities as regrettable as they were were certainly no greater than those of their enemies and, in my view, considerably less. However, an atrocity is an atrocity. But is Mr Ward, therefore, holding Israeli Jews to a higher standard than the rest of the world? If so, than this is actually a marker for anti-Semitism – not that I would accuser Mr Ward of that, that would be too simple. it’s far deeper than a irrational hatred, it’s a pathology.

Fifth: ‘continue to do so on a daily basis’. So Mr Ward is saying that Jews (presumably those in Israel) are daily committing atrocities. Like what? No doubt there is much Israel can be criticised for. No doubt that innocents die. But there is a context for this, whether you agree with Israel being in the West Bank, for example, or not what atrocities are here? Maybe he means settlers allegedly taking Palestinian land? Or, maybe some settlers have shot and even killed Palestinians. Is he referring to the awful ‘Price Tag’ actions which target Mosques and farmers’ crops. These may all be crimes, but are they atrocities like the Nazis committed atrocities? Do they deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence? If so, half the countries of the world should have learned these lessons – why pick on Israel, of all countries, or rather ‘Jews’ as examples of atrocity perpetrators when he could have mentioned: Cambodia, Rwanda, Tibet, Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan, Algeria, Mali, Nigeria, Congo. This is not an exhaustive list. Every one of those conflicts exhibit truly awful atrocities on a large scale of both genocide, and ethnic-cleansing as well as internecine and tribal warfare.

Even the USA and the UK have not been atrocity free in recent years. And this is to say nothing of Islamist atrocities, including those against Israel, which have been a part of everyday life for over a decade.

He also mentioned Gaza which was ethnically cleansed of Jews by the, er, Israelis eight years ago, since which time its inhabitants have set a course of suicide bombings and rocket fire against Israel. Its government, Hamas, has a charter which clearly sets out its mission to destroy Israel and the Jews. Nice. Clearly THEY didn’t learn the lesson of the Holocaust; or maybe they did, and the lesson was that if you threaten to wipe out the Jews no-one will believe you.  Meanwhile Israel continues to provide them with water, electricity, hundreds of truckloads of goods daily and treats thousands of Gazans every year for free in Israeli hospitals.

So  Mr Ward, the British provided the Germans with all that was necessary to sustain life whilst the Luftwaffe blitzed England, is that right, Mr Ward?

Yet it is Israel who has to learn the lesson of its own intended destruction.

Sixth: Mr Ward’s words imply strongly, and please read them very carefully, that Israel’s actions are, somehow, comparable to the actions of the Nazis. This is in itself actually an anti-Semitic marker, but let’s again exonerate Mr Ward from that accusation; I’m sure many of his constituents in Bradford would never countenance, let alone elect anyone with such views.

So let’s look at what characterised the Nazi’s atrocities against Jews (and here I also have to mention Roma, Gays and the mentally ill etc. who, it is presumed, have indeed learned the lessons of their experiences in the Holocaust and would never commit a single atrocity against anyone, ever again, as a result, their all being very special super-human people who inherited the no-atrocity gene from their forbears, whereas the benighted Jews did not).

Please, Mr Ward, show me the death camps, the labour camps; show me the ghettos (and, no, Gaza is not a ghetto, it’s a political entity which happens to be an outclave of the Palestinian Authority thanks to Egypt cutting it loose some time ago). Show me the starving millions; the cattle trucks; the gas chambers; the denial of paid work; the laws. Show me the death pits, the disease, the torture, the summary executions of innocents – show me the genocide, Mr Ward.

So, Mr Ward has knee-jerked his anti-Semitic trope, inspired as he was by Holocaust Remembrance Day which sticks in the throat of certain people on the Left in British political classes, because their favourite victims, the Palestinians, engineers of their own fate, and themselves as anti-Semitic as they come, don’t figure in this national breast-beating for the wrongs done to the Jews and others. They cannot abide that the Jews should garner a single drop of sympathy or that maybe some people might just begin to figure out why the Jews need their own country and justify defending it against those who are themselves inspired not by Holocaust Remembrance Day but by the perpetrators of the Shoah, the Nazis, to whom Mr Ward so egregiously compares the Jews.

Some have said that Mr Ward is playing to his Muslim constituents gallery. If this were true it would be a calumnious attitude towards them in that it implies that Muslims in his constituency would be more likely to vote for him because he accuses Jews of behaving like Nazis. After all, Mr Ward is not George Galloway.

All this goes to show that, in the UK today, you can get away with (give or take a reprimand) slandering Israel – even on the eve of a day intended to remind us what such attitudes can lead to.  Such views are now mainstream because the public has bought into the anti-Israel narrative to such a degree that they will even believe that Israelis behave like Nazis thus demonstrating not only ignorance of Nazis but also Israelis.



  • Davieboy

    Superbly put. Should be on the front page of every newspaper. Bravo!

  • http://www.raymondcook.net Ray Cook

    Well, there you go, genocide against Jews is an understandable response to ‘stealing land’.

    Sort of confirms what I said about the current narrative.

    On stealing land? Jews BOUGHT land legally from the Ottomans and then, after a series of international legally ratified resolutions (League of Nations, San Remo, United Nations) was confirmed and ratified as a legal entity. So I don’t know what was stolen apart from a few disputed 10’s of square miles on the West Bank.

    You don’t seem to understand what Islamist means. Let me help you. It means radical jihadist Islam.

    It’s the Gazans beating the Israelis with their sticks of dynamite and rockets which caused Israel to react by sealing off the Strip, not the other way round.. When The Israelis left there was no blockade by sea and no embargo and they left behind millions of dollars of agricultural equipment which was then trashed.

    If the embargo is hurting Gaza so much, why does Hamas now ban imports from Israel (unsuccessfully)? And, at the same time, the world expects Israel to help Gaza with its exports – which it still does.

    You may think that it is perverse to be both persecuting (in your terms) and helping, but surely, persecution, especially of a Nazi nature, would not require Israel to do anything to help a single Gazan or Palestinian. The fact that it does daily does not appear to penetrate your cognitive dissonance with regard to Jews in Israel.

    And finally, you reveal yourself as a ‘Zionist’ influence believer. You, of course, mean Jewish. We control the media, of course, which is why you perversely believe that the media somehow are pro-Israel. In your world I would guess that not a word of good is permissible about Israelis, especially of the Jewish kind, as that would spoil the plot. Anything reported that is patently good has to be part of a Zionist conspiracy to pervert the truth.

    And you wonder why Mr Ward’s words have created such a reaction.

  • Olonam

    This story is not reported in any American media I’ve seen or read. I also read Melanie Phillips blog about David Ward’s remarks. And the vicious racist anti Semitic cartoon that is defended as “robust.” Then I read about about a conference presided over by two anti Israel British Jews in which Israel’s defenders are routinely booed and heckled. Yes, there’s plenty of American leftist anti Zionism, but this doesn’t permeate to the Congress and any TV networks l listen to and I listen to everything including Al Jazeera English. For those of you who have courage and strength, keep fighting. Good luck to British Jews. It sounds horrendous on your side of the Atlantic.

  • richardarmbach

    Ray I don’t want to get into an argument about 1948, but you say there has been no stealing of land. Hundreds of thousands of Arabs who left what is now Israel during the 48 war ( and I don’t want to get into an argument why either it’s irrelevant ) left behind land and other property. What happened to that property ?

  • http://www.raymondcook.net Ray Cook

    Hi Richard thanks for commenting. I don’t know every detail of what happened to property. Abandoned villages were often erased and homes in major cities were appropriated by the state. Is that stealing? In war refugees leave, for whatever reason, and what they leave behind is appropriated. If there were a peace treaty it is feasible that there could be compensation. In 1945 millions of ethnic Germans left what is now Poland and their property was appropriated. Poles lost land and property to the Russians in the East. In 1947 millions of Indians moved from or to Pakistan as a result of conflict.

    To say Israel ‘stole’ implies a deliberate attempt to wrest land or property as state policy. You could, indeed, argue that in some cases property and land was effectively stolen. I’m not saying this is the case but a legal argument could be made and proper compensation sought, Remember almost 200,000 Arabs remained on their land and in their homes in Israel.

    But there are two points here worthy of note. When the Palestinians and their supporters speak of ‘stolen land’ they are not speaking of a house here a village there, they are speaking of ALL Israel. They argue that Israel is illegitimate and was stolen from the Palestinians, a people that did not exist in 1948.

    More important still is that you have not taken into account 850,000 Jews who were actually forced out of Arab countries, with a suitcase if they were lucky, only because they were Jews, and as revenge for the establishment of Israel.

    Whole communities, many of whom had existed centuries before the Arabs even arrived in North Africa and the Middle East, were deprived of citizenship, their business and properties confiscated and many were forced to sign documents stating they would never return or make claims against the state which was illegally expelling them, These countries include Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Syria, Libya, Lebanon and Iraq.

    This process took place over a period of about 10 years. Many of these forgotten Jewish refugees went to Israel, and, no doubt some lived on land or in property that was previously occupied by Arabs who were now refugees.

    Therefore, there was a kind of population transfer. Whereas a large proportion of both sides never wanted to leave their homeland, the Jewish refugees were settled in Israel or abroad and ceased to be refugees; the Arab refugees, however, have remained so because none of the countries they fled to or were expelled into would accept them as citizens or give them full rights, except Jordan. Many of them actually crossed into what is now the ‘West Bank’ then occupied by Jordan, or Gaza, occupied by Egypt. In other words, they remained within what they considered to be their homeland. So why are they still refugees, you may ask. But that’s a different subject.