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Guardian continues the hounding of David Ward

February 12, 2013 5:03 PM

Guardian NewspaperThe political and media hounding of Liberal Democrat MP David Ward continues despite his public apology for using the generic term "the Jews" when criticising Israel's treatment of the Palestinians.

Ward had said at his blogpost:

  • "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."

It's notable, firstly, that Ward uses the generic term "the Jews" in an obviously sympathetic vein to note the horrors of the Holocaust. The second aspect of his sentence is to ask how they, "the Jews", could have gone on to inflict daily atrocities against the Palestinians.

While the first use of this generic term was treated as unproblematic, the second was regarded as an affront. Yet, whatever lack of qualification or carelessness in his words, were we really to believe that Ward meant or implied that all Jews were/are responsible for Israel's repressions and occupation?

In a particularly pernicious piece of liberal hatchetry from the Guardian's Aida Edemariam, Ward is taken to task for his comments. Asking him: "Was he surprised when the chief whip got in touch?" Ward replies:

  • "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 criticise 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. Because what I want to talk about is the fundamental question of how can they do this, and how can they be allowed to do this."

Amongst the barbed rebukes to this and Ward's other reasonable explanations, Edemariam opines:

  • "There is something admirable as well as foolish about the tenacity with which he insists on keeping his head above the parapet. Does he not see that to link the Holocaust and the Occupation is, among other things, a total category error? The Holocaust was genocide - an overt intention that the Jewish people should not exist. You might disagree with what the Israeli government does, but it is not setting out to annihilate a people."

She further berates Ward for asking how one can be free to state fair criticism without being labelled a racist. Edemariam replies: "Being careful who you are blaming for what would be a start."

Besides the expected criticism from outraged Zionists and disgraceful pressure from his own party hierarchy, Edemariam's article is a further shameless twisting of Ward's essential meaning and motives.

Behind the lofty defence of 'responsible language' which she uses to attack Ward, Edemariam, like all Ward's detractors, really knows what he meant and who he's blaming: he wasn't, in any meaningful sense, generalising all Jews, merely saying that Israel, a Jewish state, and one that does purport to speak for all Jews, was/is now in the process of persecuting Palestinians.

Nor was Ward linking the Holocaust and the Occupation by comparing or equating them as "categories". He was linking them in the obvious sense that the Holocaust was used as a part of the Zionist agenda for occupying another people's land. Should that preclude him or others from speaking about the Nakba/Occupation in the same, explanatory context as the Holocaust?

If only Edemariam had the careful integrity to state that basic truth and to highlight the main perpetrators of the distortion as the central point to her piece.

And if Edemariam really does believe after sixty years of ethnic cleansing, mass IDF murder, settler takeovers, apartheid transfer policies and the continued prison camp siege of Gaza that Israel "is not setting out to annihilate [the Palestinian] people", perhaps she is the one who should be more carefully considering her incendiary language.

Ward's point about the "huge operation out there, a machine almost, which is designed to protect the state of Israel from criticism" also applies to this kind of liberal baiting.

Again, some still insist that Ward's key 'mistake' was to use the word "Jew" instead of "Zionist". And this, as his apology indicated, has now been unambiguously acknowledged.

Clearly, as Ward always understood, not every Jew is responsible for what the Zionist state of Israel is doing to the Palestinians. How facile that any serious commentator could even read his words as such.

If only Ward's sole 'transgession' had been the inappropriate use of those two words - even though his meaning is likely to have been well understood.

In truth, that wording looks more like an unconscious error than any major mistake. Ward's real 'mistake', as far as the Zionist lobby and many liberal commentariat are concerned - and as his Liberal colleague Jenny Tongue also found out to her cost - was to criticise Israel at all. Not a word here from Edemariam on that much more central indictment.

Moreover, how likely is it that those same Zionist or/and Jewish denouncers of Ward would defend other Jews who do actually support the Palestinians and who find it immoral what Israel and Zionist Jews are doing in the name of all Jews? The reserved label for them is usually severe and similarly-generalised: "self-hating Jews".

In all this discussion, there's a rather basic set of sequential things to restate:

  • The Holocaust was an historical abomination, an unquestionable genocide, which sought to eradicate an entire race of people, the Jews.
  • It was part of a systematic purge on any community, Jews, Gypsies, Communists, deemed inferior or/and a threat to Nazi ideology and power.
  • Anyone who seeks to deny or misconstrue these basic facts is either peddling lies, misinformed or uninterested in the truth.
  • The Holocaust formed a central ideological, political and militarist agenda in the Zionist formulation and creation of a Jewish state.
  • The Nakba, ethnic cleansing of Palestinians and ongoing Occupation have been the direct consequence of that Zionist process.
  • Anyone who seeks to deny or misconstrue these basic facts is either peddling lies, misinformed or uninterested in the truth.
  • We cannot reasonably learn or understand anything about Palestinian suffering without referencing the Holocaust and the ways in which Zionism has used it to legitimise the Occupation.

Significant public figures like Norman Finkelstein, whose own Jewish family were murdered in the extermination camps, has, with others like Noam Chomsky, written extensively on how this has been turned into ideological propaganda through the Holocaust Industry.

Those, like David Ward, who courageously speak in any kind of similar vein - despite his subsequent corrections - are, as usual, pilloried for being anti-Semitic and hounded by liberal media types for not subscribing to the template Zionist narrative.

And if we are to castigate such generalised labels, what of references like "Islamic terrorism" and "war on Islamic terror"? Would you ever likely hear the term "Jewish terrorism" or "war on Jewish terror" used by the BBC or in the pages of the Guardian?

Edemariam, like many other 'fair-minded' journalists, can take safe liberal refuge in the claim to be just ''guarding the language', just challenging people like Ward over their political/racial/religious 'insensitivities'.

What they're really doing is shrouding the central issue by focusing on a careless discrepancy, thus serving to keep other journalists in a state of cautious apprehension about discussing the Holocaust in relation to the Occupation.

The key media and educational development of this story should have been David Ward's honest point about that very issue. Instead, this kind of personalised hatchet-job does exactly what the Zionist lobby and self-protecting editors want in keeping all that prudently off-limits.

Source: Zenpolitics