Writing in the Jewish Chronicle, Professor Alan Johnson comments on Jeremy Bowen’s recent “holocaust card” Tweet sent during the Israeli prime minister’s speech to the US Congress.
“Mr Bowen’s idea is that when an Israeli leader mentions the Holocaust he is being tricksy, manipulative, acting in bad faith, “playing a card” to get narrow advantage in contemporary politics, not really expressing a genuine thought about the Holocaust itself or a genuine fear about a second, nuclear, Holocaust.
And that idea, of the Bad Faith Jew, is unmistakably dripping in the assumptions and myths of classic antisemitism.
Mr Bowen did what only the antisemitic extremists used to do, reduce the invocation of the Holocaust to a common sense indicator of ‘Zionist’ bad faith and something to disdain.
Well, the Holocaust happened. It happened to the Jews. And now the Jews are threatened again by a genocidal regime. These are facts.”
Read the rest of the article here.
Via the Guardian we learn that Jeremy Bowen has responded to criticism of his Tweet – without addressing the actual issue.
We also learn that the BBC has officially elected to address the issue by means of wilful miscomprehension.
“A BBC spokesperson said: “Jeremy was using Twitter and journalism shorthand whilst live-tweeting PM Netanyahu’s speech. The context of his comment is that a major part of PM Netanyahu’s critique of the proposed Iran deal was based on the spectre of another holocaust. Jeremy’s tweet was designed to reflect that context. He absolutely refutes any suggestion of antisemitism.””
The phrase “plays the holocaust card” is not “Twitter and journalism shorthand” for ‘mentions the Holocaust’. The BBC’s official response is an insult to its funding public’s intelligence.