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The Israel lobby at its intimidating worst – in Britain

How the British Board of Jewish Deputies and its allies are smearing a decent critic of Israel as an anti-Semite – and the success they’re having.

British MP David Ward (Photo: David Ward official Facebook)

The view in Israel of British Jewry is that they’re cowed by traditional British anti-Semitism and running scared from the “Muslim takeover” of the country. They’re not as chutzpahdik as the American Jews, supposedly. But I think Israel is selling the British Jews short, or at least their leaders. For the last month, the country’s Jewish machers have been smearing a member of Parliament as an anti-Semite with the sort of cynicism and relentlessness that could make their American counterparts envious. Chuck Hagel, meet David Ward.

A month ago, on the eve of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Ward, an MP from the Liberal Democratic party, posted this statement on his website:

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.

Does that sound anti-Semitic? To the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the Jewish Leadership Council and other stalwart communal bodies, it most certainly does. They immediately seized on Ward’s use of the term “the Jews” to accuse him of being an anti-Semite, and since then have been pressuring the Lib Dems to teach him a lesson. The party has obliged, chastising Ward publicly and ordering him this week to consult the party’s “Friends of Israel” organization to “identify and agree [on] language that will be proportionate and precise” when speaking out on the Mideast conflict, according to yesterday’s Jerusalem Post. (Note: In its properly outraged coverage of this story, the Jerusalem Post has taken to omitting Ward’s opening phrase, “Having visited Auschwitz twice – once with my family and once with local schools,” when quoting the statement from his website. Wonder why.)

Ward, an MP from Bradford East and a member of Parliament’s Britain-Palestine caucus, has been pretty defiant. While taking pains to say he didn’t mean to offend Jews, he’s stood by his statement about Israel. When Sky News suggested he was blaming Jews in general for Israel’s treatment of Palestinians, he replied:

I’m accusing the Jews who did it, so if you’re a Jew and you did not do it I’m not accusing you. I’m saying that those Jews who did that and continue to do it have not learned those lessons. If you are a Jew and you do not do those things and have never done those things then I am of course not criticizing you.

He went on to tell The Guardian:

There is a huge operation out there, a machine almost, which is designed to protect the state of Israel from criticism. And that comes into play very, very quickly and focuses intensely on anyone who’s seen to criticize the State of Israel. And so I end up looking at what happened to me, whether I should use this word, whether I should use that word – and that is winning, for them.

The British macherdom is not amused. The Deputies and Leadership Council rebuked the Lib Dems for “a pedestrian and lackluster response to what amounts to anti-Semitism at the heart of parliament.” The Holocaust and Educational Trust said, “This is a disappointing response to Mr. Ward’s sickening and unacceptable comments which he has kept on his website.” The affair isn’t over, either. Jerusalem Post: “The Liberal Democrat party said a date will be fixed to review Ward’s progress in an effort to conclude the disciplinary process against him.”

So don’t let anybody tell you British Jews won’t stand up and fight; the leaders of the Jewish “defense” organizations, at least, will fight as nasty as they need to.

The statement Ward made on his website, which he wrote after attending a Holocaust memorial ceremony in Bradford, contains not a nanogram of anti-Semitism. He was talking about the Jews of Israel who were responsible for the Nakba and those who later became responsible for the occupation. (I think he was awfully one-sided about the Nakba – there were massacres and ethnic cleansing of Jews as well as of Palestinians in the 1947-48 war, which was initiated, even if understandably, by the Palestinians – but that’s a whole other thing from anti-Semitism.) And what he told the Guardian about the “machine” that intimidates British public figures from criticizing Israel has obviously been proven true.

It’s an old story, it happens in the United States, in France, in Britain – the established Jewish defense organizations take a nationalistic view of Israel, and have few if any qualms about exploiting the suffering of Jews in the past as a shield for the suffering Israel inflicts on the Palestinians. It’s so demoralizing: Jews used to stand with the weak, now they stand with the oppressors of the weak when the oppressors are their own. And the memory of the times when Jews were weak – which we aren’t now, not in Israel or the Diaspora – is their best weapon.

I’m not talking about Diaspora Jewry in general, who remain disproportionately involved in human rights causes. I am talking about the recognized Diaspora Jewish leadership, the AIPAC types, the Board of Deputies types. By defending Israel’s subjugation of the Palestinians, especially by conscripting the Six Million to do it, they betray Jewish history. It is MP David Ward, in this episode, who honors it.

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  • COMMENTS

    1. Aaron Gross

      Why bring this up again a more than a month later? Anyway, I think Norman Geras gave a very good answer to Larry Derfner’s argument here.

      Larry Derfner is probably right that this is not anti-Semitism. And I don’t like those organized Jewish agencies any more than Derfner does. That doesn’t make Ward’s comment OK, though.

      Reply to Comment
      • aristeides

        But the issue isn’t Ward’s statement. The issue is the organized outrage machine that reacts to the statement.

        Reply to Comment
        • Aaron Gross

          You and I are commenting at an organized outrage machine right here, 972mag.com. Outrage is the name of the game, here and everywhere. As I said, I don’t like those organizations any more than Derfner does. But he was talking partly about Ward’s comment itself, and that’s what I was responding to.

          For what it’s worth, my own reaction was pretty much like Derfner’s, but I changed my mind after reading Geras’ blog post, which I linked to above.

          Reply to Comment
          • Joe

            I think the comment was clumsy, in the sense that it does paint all Jews with the same brush in a soundbite that is designed to appeal to a particular constituency, which may well take it to be antisemitic even if the original intention was not. It is ambiguous.

            More than that, though, it is silly. Israelis and Jew are not interchangable terms. People to survived the camps did not all go to Israel, people involved in early Israel were not all from the camps. There is no particular reason why British Jews should be linked to Israeli government actions.

            I don’t know whether British Jews are over-reacting. Very possibly they are, but maybe we’d see the same thing if people were to try to make associations between other slightly-correlated facts.

            Reply to Comment
          • If freedom of expression anywhere is to survive these tactics have to be opposed. In New York I have many friends who have suffered because of pro palestinian views at the hands of the “machine.”

            Reply to Comment
          • aristeides

            Oh, I think this is a disorganized outrage machine!

            Reply to Comment
      • chsangfeng

        ‘In little over a year after the Warsaw ghetto was sealed, some 50,000 of its inhabitants had died of starvation, and in the end the population there was “liquidated”
        Maybe, you and your friend Norman Geras should visit Gaza in real and see for youself the “differences”.

        Reply to Comment
        • The entire population of Gaza has been liquidated?! When did this happen? Why was I not informed?

          Reply to Comment
          • Danny

            Cast Lead, January 2009.

            Not total liquidation, because that wouldn’t be the Jewish way. Slow, staged liquidation is much more Jewish.

            Reply to Comment
          • Charles

            to Dany,
            Your comment is purely racist.
            Sorry, we found you.

            Reply to Comment
          • chsangfeng

            It will happen in 5, 10 years, sneaky. Death or expelled. Read your Founding Father’s and cheque the Consultancy’s Dalet and see how their planning is on track in 2013.

            Reply to Comment
          • Kolumn9

            We have had 60+ years to expel the Israeli Arabs and yet there they are. We have had 45+ years to expel the Arabs of Gaza and the WB and yet there they are over that hill and there are more of them than before. For a polity guided by a bloodlust and a desire to murder and expel the maximum number of Arabs we seem to be doing a very poor job of it. Or perhaps your theory just doesn’t fit the data?

            Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            These fellas’ would be dying to see Jews exterminating Gaza population.

            Reply to Comment
          • chsangfeng

            Or the Palestinians have more brains and a natural stronger motiv to resist all those beautiful bloody plans.

            So wake up and stop the occupation; simple!

            Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            Simple it might seem to someone with a simple brain.

            Reply to Comment
          • chsangfeng

            That’s the essence of a lie: making simple things look like very complicated.
            It’s an occupation.

            Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            >That’s the essence of a lie: making simple things look like very complicated.
            It’s an occupation.

            You see?
            16 words but 0 (zero) information.

            Why? Because in you simple mind “occupation” exists like some unrelated to the surrounding world entity, and could be “stopped” at one’s sole discretion.

            Reply to Comment
          • chsangfeng

            All great events started as an intention. The intention to stop the occupation would do.

            Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            >All great events started as an intention. The intention to stop the occupation would do.

            Until Arabs have enough intention to stop violence there is no reason to stop the occupation.

            Reply to Comment
          • ray

            You really are Gross by name and nature

            Reply to Comment
      • Ben Zakkai

        Sorry, I can’t agree with you and Mr. Geras. Most Jews are so wilfully blind to the suffering we Jews have inflicted and continue to inflict on the Palestinians that they need to be slapped upside the head. It’s vital, after all our wailing about the Holocaust (and I come from a family of survivors and non-survivors) that we be reminded that we still haven’t learned the right lessons from that tragedy.

        Reply to Comment
        • Well, everybody’s got his “right lessons” of the Shoah. The Zionists’ lesson is that Israel must defend itself. The internationalist left’s lesson is that nationalism, including Zionism, is bad. And so on and on.

          The Holocaust is a heavy club that people use to hit each over the head with their “lessons.”

          Reply to Comment
          • Ben Zakkai

            My right lessons would include the following: nobody should be oppressing, dispossessing or murdering anybody else; and no group should use its past suffering to justify present crimes, as the Germans did to us Jews. I hope you agree.

            Reply to Comment
          • Kolumn9

            Well I am sure Aaron agrees. So do I. And yet are we at the point in history where the Holocaust can’t happen again (Rwanda, Bosnia, Syria, Darfur, etc..) and so the lessons that Zionists learned are not valid?

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben Zakkai

            If we Jews had learned from the Holocaust to begin assessing risks and defending ourselves in a measured and rational manner, that would have been good; but since we went crazy and began to regard every fly on the wall as a poisonous snake and attack it with a sledgehammer, I’d say we learned the wrong lesson, and soon the house will collapse.

            Reply to Comment
          • Kolumn9

            Ben, we disagree on what is rational then. Maintaining the status quo is extremely rational given the absence of credible alternatives.

            Leen, the UHRD would be a wonderful document if there was a credible force to ensure that it is implemented, but there isn’t and its application is entirely political. I for one have absolutely no doubt that were the Jews in Israel weak they would be slaughtered en masse again and the UHRD would not help one iota. What value does the UHRD have then for the purposes of determining policy whose goal is to ensure that no such slaughter take place?

            Reply to Comment
          • Leen

            Actually, the lessons of the Holocaust is in the Universal Human Rights Declaration. One of the main reasons it was drafted was because of the atrocity of the holocaust, and one of the writers was Stephane Hessle, a holocaust survivor.

            Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            Pity that Palestinian Arab congress in 1919 wasn’t able to foreseen such unlucky chain of events.

            If only they’d agreed to accept the idea of Jewish homeland in Palestine…

            Reply to Comment
          • Michael W.

            Calling Stephane Hessel a holocaust survivor is stretching the definition.

            Reply to Comment
          • Leen

            He was in Dora and Bergen-Belsen concentration camps.
            Sorry I was under the impression if you are in a concentration camp as subjected to torture and dehumanization, that does make a survivor of the holocaust.
            What is your definition?

            Reply to Comment
          • Aaron Gross

            The Holocaust, or Shoah, was the Nazi project of mass murder of Jews during the war. As Cynthia Ozick has pointed out, the answer to the question, “How many non-Jews died in the Holocaust?”, is, “None.”

            By definition, Holocaust survivors were targeted because of their Jewishness. I’d never heard of this Hessel guy before, but if he was sent to the camps (partly) because of his Jewishness, he was a Holocaust survivor. If purely because of his French resistance activities, then not.

            Reply to Comment
          • aristeides

            Purely semantic distinction meant to privilege Jews. Several groups besides Jews were targeted for extinction by the Nazis and were sent to the same camps, for no other reason but their inclusion in those groups.

            They, too, suffered Holocausts. Do you know what the word means? It means to burn the whole. It doesn’t mean, “Jews only”.

            Reply to Comment
          • Er

            The term Holocaust is now widely used to refer to ALL victims of Nazi racial policy. You may not like this change, but you do not get to stop it.

            Reply to Comment
          • aristeides

            If only the Arabs had managed to convince the world that the Zionist project was racist ethnic cleaning.

            Reply to Comment
          • Aaron Gross

            OK, fine. That’s one reason I usually use the word “Shoah”: because “Holocaust” has become corrupted. This kind of thing is about power – who influences the language. I sure don’t.

            Anyway, this was in response to a request for a definition of “Holocaust survivor.” I gave my definition. I’m not going to try to impose it on anyone else.

            Reply to Comment
    2. Zephon

      All one need say is: Norman Finkelstein

      Reply to Comment
    3. Danny

      To borrow a quote from Seinfeld: “Yes, I was very wise to hitch my wagon to his star.”

      Yes, the British/French/U.S./… Jews were very wise to hitch their wagons to Israel’s “star”, especially in the last few years when that star has become a falling meteor.

      The word ‘Israel’ has become a deeply negative term in the U.K. David Ward accurately represents the views of most Brits, anti-semite or not.

      Jewish money notwithstanding, He and other MP’s like him have the upper hand. Israel will continue to be associated negatively in Britain – justifiably so.

      Reply to Comment
      • sh

        Danny, I think you’re over-estimating “most Brits”. People in Europe with no particular connection to this place have long given up on understanding what goes on here. They’ve got enough with their own problems.

        Reply to Comment
    4. Susan

      The Holocaust should not be used as a cudgel to beat up Jews, or Jews to beat up other Jews with. Jews are human beings with the same follies and foibles as other human beings. It reduces my humanity to assume that Jews must be perfect because of the Holocaust.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Joe

      I’d like you to correct the article above, please. The MP is from Bradford. There is no such place as Bradfordistan. He is an MP for Bradford East, a northern English city. Residents there are overwhelmingly British, although with a sizable minority of Bangladeshi and Pakistani heritage, most of several generation ago.

      There is no “Britain-Palestine caucus”, there are some interest groups in Parliament on which members choose to sit.

      Kindly in future make it clear when you are making your own derogatory remarks about the names of British cities rather than their actual names.

      Reply to Comment
      • I was being sarcastic, ridiculing paranoia about Muslim immigration, but since you’re the second reader who’s mentioned it, I’ll fix it. My reference to the “Muslim takeover” in the 1st pgh was also sarcastic – I’ll fix that too.

        Reply to Comment
    6. Zephon

      Everybody else got it except you – lighten up.

      Reply to Comment
    7. Khaled Khalid

      This Zionist Propaganda Machine has already cost the blood of Norwegians children when Anders Brevik bought into the lies that Muslims are taking over Europe.
      (That’s as incendiary as saying THE Jews have taken over Europe.)
      He was being fed these lies by the Jewish Defense League – A parent organization of those drunken louts in the English Defense League.

      I could say for the Zionist Smear Machine to stop but they won’t listen due to their Arrogance and Hubris.
      One thing I will say is, this Zionist Mud Slinging will all backfire big time someday. People will get fed up with being told What to Think and say, of walking on Egg Shells all the time.

      This Smearing of anyone who finds Israel’s mistreatment of Palestinians then labelling Britain as having “Traditional Anti-Semitism” is a complete and utter disgrace on the men who died fighting Hitler and his henchmen – SHAME ON YOU “Friends of Israel.”

      Reply to Comment
      • The Trespasser

        Yeah, that’s a common lie: “Muslims are not taking over Europe”

        Shariah The Solution 4 UK – Shariah vs Democracy by British Born Revert to Islam – Abdullah Dean
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pZXvAiva8GA

        Reply to Comment
        • JG

          Bravo. Now you pulled a full Breivik.
          No one wonders that toys like you buy the islamophop propaganda smear.
          Khaled nailed it.

          Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            A converted European argues how good Islam would be for UK.

            What is it if not a takeover process, given that the opposite is severely punished in any Muslim country?

            Khaled is a renowned Judophobe, anti-Zionist and liar.

            Mindlessly repeating his lies is a sufficient indicator that you are a Judophobe and an idiot.

            Reply to Comment
          • JG

            You are a playable like a 5 year old. You should get your own comedy show.

            Reply to Comment
    8. Khaled Khalid

      This Smearing of anyone who finds Israel’s mistreatment of Palestinians unacceptable then labelling all Britain as having “Traditional Anti-Semitism” is a complete and utter DISGRACE on the men and women who died fighting Hitler and his henchmen – SHAME ON YOU “Friends of Israel.”

      Reply to Comment
    9. jamesinparis

      Calling a spade a spade is what the world needs. Bravo Ms Ward

      Reply to Comment
    10. Susan

      It seems to me that the people who called David Ward an antisemite are not part of a “Zionist propaganda machine”. They genuinely believe that he is an antisemite. They may be wrong, but they are honestly mistaken. No one is lying to protect Israel.

      Reply to Comment
    11. Eugene

      I wish the next time someone is brave enough to criticise the Israeli government they don’t use terms like “the Jews” which are sure to bring out opposition and distract from the message.

      I think this article brings out several important points but Larry assertion that people are defending Israel’s policies “especially by conscripting the Six Million to do it” is stereotypical and unproven. We on the left have got to be careful of hypocritically smearing opponents too.

      Reply to Comment
    12. Tzutzik

      It seems thought that the Brits have some politicians left who unlike Mr Ward, don’t ignore all context but tell the whole story.

      “Tory MP Robert Halfon said his comments were ‘a tragic trivialisation of real evil.’ He said ‘It should be remembered that Israel withdrew from Gaza completely and yet has faced a barrage of 7000+ missiles from Hamas and been the victim of hundreds of terrorist suicide bombers and been attacked by all its neighbours in 1948, 1967 and 1973.’”

      Surely this has relevance too? Not just what Israel does or does not do? Or is it just me who thinks so??

      Reply to Comment
      • Tzutzik

        One has to wonder how other Brits would have reacted had he lived in WW2 and had he made a similar comment about the Brits for the fire bombing of Dresden without also mentioning the bombing of London by the Germans during the Blitz.

        I don’t think his countrymen would have been too impressed with him.

        But of course, we all know that Israel is different. Israel is fair game isn’t it??

        Reply to Comment
        • Zephon

          If you’re going to dwell in the world of the hypothetical then you’re living in la la land. What if’s and what could have been are not what are or what is. You want to think Israel is fair game then you need a serious crash course in world affairs. But you won’t do that because YOUR focus is just Israel; therefore whatever comes your way must be the only thing the world focuses on – monkey logic.

          And the Apes are still waiting ever so patiently for their chance at the keyboard.

          Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            “YOUR focus is just Israel; therefore whatever comes your way must be the only thing the world focuses on – monkey logic.”

            My focus is just on Israel? And your logic focuses on that?

            Ok then, + 972 Magazine’s focus is just on Israel too. I am in very good company.

            Now let’s focus on you for a chage. Why do you have YOUR logic rather than monkey logic?

            Zephon, it seems that you have a severe case of progressiv-itis or minima-virus.

            In laymen’s term it means that people like you have a habit of sticking their heads in the sand and denying reality.

            The good news is that your disease is curable but you need professional help.

            The bad news is that as the name implies, it is a progressive degenerative disease and if you don’t seek help for it, your condition will continue to degenerate rapidly till at the end, it will render you into total and permanent degeneracy.

            I would seek urgent help if I were you, Zephon.

            PS
            To others around you, advise them to get immunised because unfortunately your condition is contageous. Weak minded people are especially prone.

            Reply to Comment
          • JG

            I would be glad if you could abuse the ziotrolls without insulting innocent animals. Apes are actual lovely creatures.

            Reply to Comment
          • Oscar

            “I would be glad if you could abuse the ziotrolls without insulting innocent animals. Apes are actual lovely creatures.”

            You were right, tzutz, it is contageous. Our friend JG has got progressivitis too.

            Hey, JG, I would seek urgent expert assistance before it is too late. I hear that progressivitis is eminently treatable. They say the drug progestorone is very effective.

            Reply to Comment
          • Shmuel

            Larry
            I think you need to intervene here. It seems that Zephon started sn abusefest calling Tzutz names, he took the bait and responded with abuse of his own. JG then put his two bits in followed by Oscar.

            I think they all need a reminder to stop it. Unless of course you don’t mind such antics in your talkback?

            Reply to Comment
      • Felix Reichert

        So collectibe punishment is inherently okay?

        If one jew would have actually poisoned the well in medieval Europe the pogroms against the jewish population would have been justified?

        Let me phrase it differently:
        Is Israel’s treatment of the Palestinian population okay? Yes or no?

        P.S. Israel attacked first in 1967.

        Reply to Comment
        • The Trespasser

          >So collectibe punishment is inherently okay?

          Collective punishment often is the easiest and most efficient way to deal with any non-cooperative society, be it an infantry platoon, inmates in jail or hostile civilians.

          >If one jew would have actually poisoned the well in medieval Europe the pogroms against the jewish population would have been justified?

          No.
          But if Jews would continuously poison wells time after time, it would certainly be the most appropriate way to deal with the problem.

          >Let me phrase it differently:
          >Is Israel’s treatment of the Palestinian population okay? Yes or no?

          Yes.

          Whoever disagrees should back his opinion by a realistic, viable and acceptable for both sides plan.

          >P.S. Israel attacked first in 1967.

          Arabs attacked first in 1919, 1929, 1947, 1948, 1956, 1973, 1982, 1987, 2000, 2006, 2008 and in 2012.

          In 1967 they were preparing war, as intelligence was able to prove.

          Reply to Comment
    13. Laurent Szyster

      This “of all nations” meme is the most insulting form of moral pervesion.

      Victims have no moral lessons to learn from the crime they suffered.

      European Jews were not mass murdered into becoming better human beeing.

      To say so is to imply that victims and their descendant must somehow redeem … their tormenter’s crime.

      And Ward had the gal to make such despicable statement by the time he was supposed to do some soul searching about one of the darkest hour or Europe!

      Well, Jews did learn something from the Holocaust.

      They learned to fight back, they learned to strike first, they learned to hound relentlessly the people who talk that scum talk.

      And now Mr Ward is learning the hard way that UK’s Jews won’t give a free pass to his pervert trope.

      Reply to Comment
    14. Mikesailor

      Actually Mr. Ward was completely right, and his critics unbelievable hypocrites. The victimhood and crocodile tears oozing from the professional wailers of the term ‘antisemitism’ beggars belief. If you don’t like his comment on “Jews”, then forcefully speak out against the entire idea of a ‘Jewish state’ and disassociate yourselves from such terminology. There is a news story wherein PM Erdogan likened Zionism to Fascism and Antisemitism as a crime against humanity. And now he is accused of antisemitism. Why? Because “Jews” as a group,either can’t, or won’t, disassociate one concept from another, instead forcing others to distinguish between Zionism and Judaism. Likewise, ‘Jews’ have not distinguished between Judaism as a religion or an ethnicity. Tell me, how does one ‘convert’ to an ethnicity? Apparently, these “zionists” or “Jews” have decided that all critique is antisemitic and will wail that because of such ‘antisemitism’ all actions by Jews are immune from questioning by those dastardly ‘antisemitic’ goys.

      Reply to Comment
    15. The Trespasser

      >Likewise, ‘Jews’ have not distinguished between Judaism as a religion or an ethnicity. Tell me, how does one ‘convert’ to an ethnicity?

      The fact that you are not able to comprehend how a religious conversion might change ethnicity of the converted.

      Here, have a look at a video which would help you understanding reasons which stand behind your lack of capability.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wXSjrq469CA

      Reply to Comment
    16. Maya

      Eric Lichtblau reports in the New York Times of yesterday:

      “Thirteen years ago, researchers at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum began the grim task of documenting all the ghettos, slave labor sites, concentration camps and killing factories that the Nazis set up throughout Europe. What they have found so far has shocked even scholars steeped in the history of the Holocaust. The researchers have cataloged some 42,500 Nazi ghettos and camps throughout Europe, spanning German-controlled areas from France to Russia and Germany itself, during Hitler’s reign of brutality from 1933 to 1945. The figure is so staggering that even fellow Holocaust scholars had to make sure they had heard it correctly when the lead researchers previewed their findings at an academic forum in late January at the German Historical Institute in Washington.”

      http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/03/sunday-review/the-holocaust-just-got-more-shocking.html?pagewanted=all

      If David Ward were the “decent critic of Israel” that Larry Derfner takes him to be, surely he could have found SOMETHING else to say about one of 42,500 sites (including P.O.W camps) on Holocaust Memorial Day, and would have kept his ‘decent critique of Israel’ for another occasion

      I understand Derfner’s frustration with the way some people abuse the memory of the Holocaust for ugly political causes, but these comments by Ward are nasty in general and inexcusable in the context.

      Reply to Comment
      • Maya – That’s a legitimate criticism – that Ward could have, as you say, saved his point about Israel for another occasion. If that’s the objection people had raised – and then gone on to other things – that would have completely reasonable. But they distorted his use of the term “the Jews” to turn it into a whole inquest, which isn’t over yet – and that’s hysterical and dishonest.

        Reply to Comment
    17. Susan

      Larry, the response has either been hysterical or dishonest, but I don’t see how it can be both at the same time. Personally, I think it was genuine.

      I think it an insult to say that the Board of Deputies of British Jews would purposefully lie just because you disagree with their politics. I am reminded that when members of the Board of Deputies of British Jewish Jews met with Bevin to tell him that they had proof that the Nazis were murdering Jews, Bevin said, “Oh you Jews are always wailing about something.”

      Ward not only used the wrong occasion to criticize Israel, he used the Holocaust as a reason to beat up Jews with.

      Reply to Comment
      • Susan, I think it’s definitely possible to be hysterical and dishonest at the same time – to be driven by rage and hatred into falsifying the words and seeming intent of somebody who at worst said something that carries a lot of truth but who said it at the wrong moment. The Deputies have slandered this guy as an anti-Semite w/out any justification whatsoever, and they’ve gone on a full-blown crusade to make an example of him. Whatever offense Ward may have committed by saying what he did on the eve of Yom Hashoah is dwarfed by what the Deputies and their friends are doing, which is aimed clearly at intimidating serious critics of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.

        Reply to Comment
        • Alan

          Larry– I agree with Susann that the reaction of British Jewry is deeply felt and genuine. Perhaps the reaction of British Jews would be easier for you to understand if you considered that Britain is a country with a long history of anti-Semitism and that the virulent obsession with Israel in Britain is the latest strain of the anti-Semitic virus that has plagued Britain for hundreds of years. If you want a comprehensive understanding of this phenomenon, I strongly suggest “Trials of the Diaspora” by Anthony Julius. There is a very direct line from Chaucer’s anti-Semitic “The Prioress’s Tale” and Caryl Churchill’s anti-Semitic play about Gaza, “Seven Jewish Children,” not to mention the anti-Semitic/anti-Israel poems of Oxford poet Tom Paulin and the anti-Semitic statements of former London Mayor Ken Livingstone. Perhaps if you lived in a country where the membrane between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism was so permeable, you might have a nuanced understanding of the reaction of British Jews to David Ward’s comments.

          Reply to Comment
    18. Aaron Gross

      @Aristeides, of course I know the etymology of “Holocaust.” Please.

      @Er, the word “Holocaust” is used to refer to much more than victims of the Nazis. Just one example: It’s widely used to refer to the killing of unborn babies as well. You don’t get to decide how the word is used.

      Reply to Comment
    19. Susann

      Larry, I just don’t buy your explanation. I don’t think they are purposefully trying to intimidate Israel’s critics. I don’t think they were driven by rage and hatred. I know many people on the left who are critical of Israel’s policies towards the Palestinians who thought Ward’s comments were unacceptable. I also think that they were driven by a very Jewish habit of looking for antisemitism everywhere and parsing every statement to see if it is antisemitic.

      It is perfectly possible to criticize Israel without referring to “the Jews” or using the Holocaust as a cudgel to beat up Jews with. Yet, David Ward found it necessary to do both and that is very problematic.

      Reply to Comment
    20. Jonathan Hoffman

      Larry Derfner – You have no idea about antisemitism – why not learn something before you put pen to paper?

      Reply to Comment
    21. Elizabeth Morley

      And what is so revolting about the “Macherdom” is that challenges to their malignant influence don’t concern them; arrows rebound off the “six million” shield!

      Reply to Comment
    22. KC

      Larry, a very perceptive piece. Thank you.

      Reply to Comment
    23. mark gardner

      ah, so the board “immediately seized” upon the controversy to call Ward an “anti-Semite” – so, where exactly is the proof of that? where and when did they “immediately” call him an anti-Semite?

      Reply to Comment
    24. John

      I believe the 1947/1948 war was initiated by the zionists when they hijacked Palestine.

      Reply to Comment
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