Today, a Daily Mail columnist revived an antisemitic trope concerning the Jews’ putative “blind hatred” of Palestinians. But, before highlighting the article in question, here’s some background on the toxic charge in question:
In 2013, David Ward (who was then a Liberal Democratic MP for Bradford East) faced intense criticism from the CST and other anti-racist and Holocaust education campaigners when he wrote the following in reference to Holocaust Memorial Day.
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.
Whilst many condemned the parallels Ward drew between Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians and the Nazis’ treatment of the Jews, the passages were compromised by another morally repellent trope: the suggestion that Jews, as a people, didn’t internalize the right lessons from the Holocaust, and have collectively forfeited any rights to sympathy by taking on the role of oppressor – a narrative that’s all too familiar within academic circles today.
A year later, John Prescott (former British Deputy Prime Minister), in an op-ed about the Summer 2014 war between Israel and Hamas, wrote the following at the Daily Mirror:
What happened to the Jewish people at the hands of the Nazis is appalling. But you would think those atrocities would give Israelis a unique sense of perspective and empathy with the victims of a ghetto.
In 2016, an op-ed at the Daily Mail (“Do the right thing – long shadow of the Holocaust demands resolve”, Jan. 31) by Kevin Pringle, a Times columnist and former communications director for the SNP (currently advising First Minister Humza Yousaf), included the following:
After the Second World War and for many years thereafter, Israel was a cause and country supported by progressive opinion, which is hard to imagine now.
I deplore the Israeli state’s treatment of Palestinians — a tragic case of the persecuted become the persecutor — and wish to see an independent Palestine as part of a two-state solution.
Today, Daily Mail columnist Alexandra Shulman, the former Editor-in-Chief of British Vogue, revived a variation of this toxic narrative.
Yes, a “loathing” of Israel really does ‘warp the mind’ and undermine rational thought on Israel’s war against the proscribed terror group, doesn’t it?
Though Shulman denies making a comparison between the Holocaust and Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians, it’s extremely telling that what came to mind for her when discussing a film depicting Nazi cruelty to Jews is not Hamas’s barbarism on Oct. 7th, but the Jewish state’s ostensible moral failures.
As we’ve documented, the mass murder, rape, torture, mutilation of Jewish men, women and children by Hamas fanatics on Oct. 7, unspeakable brutality which represented the worst antisemitic attack since the Holocaust, must be minimised or erased in order for the Israel-hating clique in the UK to maintain what Shany Mor described as two nearly theological principles: 1) that Israel is evil, and that no Palestinian action is ever connected to any Palestinian outcome.
Indeed, Shulman went beyond airbrushing Hamas from the moral equation (a soft Oct. 7 denialism). She specifically attacked Jews – Jewish ‘descendants of the Holocaust’ – for, per Ward, not learning the right lessons from the Shoah, thus being “driven” to inflict such indescribable brutality upon Palestinians.
As Howard Jacobson characterised such critics who level the “you of all people” charge when lamenting Jews’ putatively sub-par post-Shoah ethical performance:
Forget Holocaust denial. Holocaust denial is old hat. The new strategy … is to depict the Holocaust in all its horror in order that Jews can be charged (“You, of all people”) with failing to live up to it. By this logic the Holocaust becomes an educational experience from which Jews were ethically obliged to graduate summa cum laude, Israel being the proof that they didn’t. … Thus are Jews doubly damned: to the Holocaust itself and to the moral wasteland of having found no humanizing redemption in its horrors.
Grassroots’ pro-Israel groups in the UK have complained to the Sunday Mail about Shulman’s antisemitic smear.