Indy’s political editor misrepresents David Ward’s vile Holocaust remarks

We recently reported on a Tweet by David Ward MP, which read “Am I wrong or are am I right? At long last the #Zionists are losing the battle – how long can the #apartheid State of #Israel last?”, suggesting that the Bradford East MP was relishing the inevitable destruction of the “apartheid” Jewish state.  Ward’s Tweet, on top of comments he made on Holocaust Memorial Day earlier this year, resulted in minor disciplinary action being taken against him by his party, the Lib Dems.

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David Ward, MP

Whilst the Guardian reported the most recent row somewhat fairly, a July 18 piece in The Independent, reporting on both Ward’s latest Tweet and his original Holocaust Day ‘reflection’ egregiously downplayed the latter. Nigel Morris, the Indy’s political editor, in a report titled “Liberal Democrats suspend MP David Ward over Israel comments on Holocaust Day“, wrote the following:

A Liberal Democrat MP who questioned the continued existence of Israel lost the party’s whip yesterday following a dressing-down from Nick Clegg.

David Ward, the MP for Bradford East, had previously been reprimanded by the party’s leadership over comments condemning Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians.

The issue came to a head after a new post on Twitter in which Mr Ward wrote: “Am I wrong or are am I right? At long last the #Zionists are losing the battle – how long can the #apartheid State of #Israel last?”

Of course, it is grossly misleading to write that Ward had been reprimanded due to comments “condemning Israel’s treatment of Palestinians”. The quote which caused the row specifically referred to Jews, and not Israelis.  Here it is:

“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,” 

As the quote clearly indicates, Ward was castigating Jews as Jews for, a mere few years after liberation from the death camps in 1945, evidently not learning the correct moral lessons and thus beginning immediately to inflict atrocities on Palestinians.  

Jews, ‘of all people’, an exasperated Ward was in effect exclaiming, had visited upon the Palestinians a level of cruelty and violence which arguably evoke the crimes committed against their co-religionists in the death camps throughout Europe – a “they of all people” argument which Howard Jacobson aptly characterized as leaving the Jewish people doubly damned: to the Holocaust itself and to elevated moral scrutiny as a result of it.

 As Chas Newkey-Burden so eloquently wrote:

Let us strip the “they-of-all-people” argument down to its very basics: gentiles telling Jews that we killed six million of your people and that as a result it is you, not us, who have lessons to learn; that it is you, not us, who need to clean up your act. It is an argument of atrocious, spiteful insanity. Do not accept it; turn it back on those who offer it. For it is us, not you, who should know better.

Contrary to the extremely misleading passage by Morris, Ward did not simply condemn Israel for its treatment of Palestinians, but criticized Jews for their alleged collective amnesia over the Shoah, and their resulting ‘inhumanity’ towards others.  Jewish victims, Ward’s logic implies, have “sadly” become the new victimizers.

Ward egregiously crossed the line between criticising Israel and collectively criticising Jews, a huge moral distinction which the Indy editor should have easily identified. 

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