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The Holocaust Educational Trust has accused Liberal Democrat MP David Ward of “deliberately abusing the memory of the Holocaust, causing deep pain and offence” after he compared the Israeli government to the Nazis, and accused “the Jews” of inflicting “daily atrocities” on the Palestinians.

His statement was peculiar, not least its choice of words. He wrote that the Jewish people faced “persecution” during the Holocaust, but that the Palestinians face “atrocities” now.

Ward is not the first to abuse the Holocaust in order to slander Israel and the Jewish people. It is, unfortunately, a popular technique, as I wrote in the Jewish Chronicle in July:

It is the “they-of-all-people” argument: the suggestion that the Jews, having faced extraordinary persecution, should know better than anyone not to be oppressors.

Put aside for a moment that the “oppression” which proponents of this argument are accusing Israel of committing is usually imaginary. When directed by gentiles towards Jews, the “they-of-all-people” argument is in its very essence so fundamentally ill-judged and unjust, and voiced with such a breathtaking lack of self-awareness, that my spirit flags when I hear it.

I concluded:

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.

You can read the column in full here.

Ward is standing by his statement. He gave a bizarre interview about it to Sky News, during which he giggled, and he later claimed the words of Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel as his guiding motivation. Wiesel has now distanced himself from Ward, saying: “Although he quotes me correctly, I am outraged that he uses my words at the same time he utters shameless slanders on the State of Israel.”

Even by the standards of the Liberal Democrats this is a mess.

(Update: David Ward has now ‘apologised’. However, one Lib Dem MEP isn’t happy that the party leadership reprimanded Ward.)

35 Responses to “David Ward plays the 'you of all people' card”

  1. [...] Update: read Chas Newkey Burden’s commentary on the subject here. [...]

  2. The saddest part is the comments section under the Sky clip. “If it wasn’t for the Nazis, Jews wouldn’t have the sympathy they have loved for the last 60 years, ironic isn’t it. Is Hitler the new Moses?” for example.

  3. Shmuel says:

    He is an idiot. He says that if Israel moved its settlements out of Gaza then rockets attacks would stop. (http://hurryupharry.org/2013/01/25/david-ward-mp-if-all-the-illegal-settlements-were-vacated-and-the-land-given-back-there-wouldnt-be-any-rocket-attacks/)

    No. Israel left Gaza eight years ago and that is when rocket attacks INCREASED.

    Why does Liberal Democrats have so many people who hate Israel?

  4. Laura says:

    Your paragraph after I conclude – has made me cry. Thank you! Very true and I hadn’t thought of it like that. My grandmother should learn from her treatment !!

  5. NM says:

    No, the saddest bit is on the LibDem Voice website etc, where so many people defend him and say that the Jews have been sensitive for too long, and people are too “PC” about them. It seems many Liberal Democrats are chomping at the bit to be Jew Baiters, only stopped by 60 years of “inconvenience” now running out. :-(

  6. Dan says:

    Yes. We of all people” know that when someone says they want to eradicate you, take them seriously.

  7. Norman Cohen says:

    I am waiting for the Morsi excuse you know “the Zionist press misquoted me.”
    Seriously I wonder when the British Jews are finally going to get the message. The House of Commons is now rife with anti-Israel MPs who fearful for their re-election are bending over backwards to be more Hamas than Hamas of which Ward is just one example. Seee hansard for 23 January for an example of thee complete abrogation of all sense of fairness in the debate on Israeli settlements. The time to pack up is now before more of Britain becomes a no go area for Jews it is obvious the House of Commons has now become one.

  8. Harvey says:

    Hi Chas
    Read your July article first . How incredibly relevant in view of Wards repugnant comments on the eve of HMD . You cut straight to the heart of the matter . Thank you .

  9. [...] Newkey-Burden who blogs at the wonderful Oy Va Goy blog, slams Ward for playing the “You of All People” card: Ward is not the first to abuse the Holocaust in order to slander Israel and the Jewish people. It [...]

  10. Barry Kester says:

    The trouble is, this David Ward affair was just waiting to happen in the anti- Israel, anti- Semitic climate that exists here. See my blog on the subject. http://t.co/WuQTmDbc

  11. Duvid Crockett, King of DeLancey Street, /Home of gefilte fish and kosher meat says:

    Great piece, Chas.

    As you have written in the past, the lib dems appear to be a particularly seedy party. Apart from multifarious other immoralities, the party is certainly jam-packed with Isra-haters, including Menzies Campell and Sarah Teather, so this descent into the pit is unsurprising.

    What would be very interesting is if Ed Milliband, the labour leader and self-declared “proud Jew” were to issue a condemnation of David Ward’s comments. But the labour party Muslim vote makes this unlikely.

    • Chas Newkey-Burden says:

      I find Miliband generally uninspiring.

      Indeed, the overall UK political scene is far from inspiring right now:

      The Tories haven’t won an election outright for 21 years.

      The Lib Dems are shattered by the coalition experience.

      Labour is ‘led’ by Ed Miliband.

      Jeez.

  12. Jeff Blankfort says:

    You write, “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.”

    It is clear from that incredible statement that you are blaming all the non-Jews of this world for the Nazi Holocaust. That may play well with those of your fellow Jewish tribalists who share your mental illness but were it not for the gentiles who gace their lives defeating the Nazis, you might not have been around to make such a fool of yourself today.

    • Chas Newkey-Burden says:

      I think you’ve rather missed the point: I’m not Jewish.

      Even if I were, my points would stand.

      Thanks for trying, though.

    • FromIsrael says:

      Jeff, it is not only the actual perpetrators of the Holocaust who are guilty. There were also “guilty bystanders”, those who tried to silence any news of it reaching the newspapers, the Red Cross which knowingly played along with Nazi propaganda, the “neutral” Swiss banks who were Hitler’s bankers, whilst turning back Jewish refugees to Germany, and later demanding death certificates from the heirs of the murdered in Aushwitcz, the acquience of the pope who knew of the final solution, yet later allowed senior catholics to send Nazis to safety in South America, the French police who rounded up the Jews to send to the concentration camps, and the British police who sent Jewish immigrants back to Poland, and of course all those countries who closed their doors to Jewish immigrants, and the list of complicity and indifferenc goes on and on and on. On the other hand there were examples of heroism and humanity from Raoul Wallenberg, Irena Sendler, Sugihara, the Danes, the Bulgarian church and others. Whilst the heros of the Holocaust proved themselves to be beacons of humanity, they were so in a world of evil, darkness and indifference. In short, whilst there were exceptions to the rule, the Holocaust could not have happened without global complicity and indifference.

      • Jeff Blankfort says:

        You have forgotten to include the mainstream Zionist leadership in the US and Palestine. The former kept the information about what was happening to the Jews “under wraps,” while the Mapai in Palestine discouraged every effort to allow the Jews to emigrate anywhere but Palestine.

        Then you had the Zionists, first adding to the Nazis’ anti-Jewish propaganda by acknowledging the “legitimacy” of the Nazi striving for a pure Aryan population by comparing it with the Zionist goal for such a Jewish population in Palestine and they put their efforts where their mouths were by creating the Transfer (Haavara) agreement with the Nazis which allowed German Jews (the majority of whom were not ideologically Zionist) to get their money out of Germany by buying German goods which they could resell when they were delivered by 3rd Reich flagships to Palestine. That arrangement effectively undermined the anti-Nazi boycott which itself had been used by the Nazis to set up Jews everywhere as the Nazis’s enemies.

        For more on the mainstream Zionist betrayal of Europe’s Jews, I recommend Ben Hecht’s “Perfidy,” which after years of being suppressed is now out in paperback.

        As for the “guilt” of the rest of the gentile world, it should be remembered that, although it is barely discussed today, there was a world war going on to stop Hitler in which the majority of the fighting and dying was being done by gentiles.

        • Ada says:

          Jeff- The mainstream zionist cause was mobilized for the British war effort, as demonstrated by the massive recruitment of Palestine jews into the British army -the Jewish brigade. The jewish brigades return was considered the basis of the new IDF, therefore it seems that it is obvious from this very fact which side the mainstream Zionist effort was put into.

          Again a few revisionist historians and maybe an agreement from an extremist or two etc dont count for the painting of the entire jewish yeshuv of the time with one brush. I accept that a few extremist elements of Zionist opinion may have been to side with Nazis, however not to be confused with the Palestinians who widely sided with the Nazis, their leadership were completely allied with Nazi Germany, having viewed a German invasion of Palestine a quick and easy solution to their own ‘Jewish question’.

    • Ada says:

      “It is clear from that incredible statement that you are blaming all the non-Jews of this world for the Nazi Holocaust. That may play well with those of your fellow Jewish tribalists who share your mental illness but were it not for the gentiles who gace their lives defeating the Nazis, you might not have been around to make such a fool of yourself today.”

      Jeff- were it not for the gentiles who gave their lives defeating the nazis?? No one fought any Nazis to help any jews.

      The war was fought to come to the aid of the European countries invaded by Germany. It wasnt a ‘gentile’ war against the Nazis. I as a British jew, am proud of my grandfathers on both sides who fought in Europe and the far east, as did their brothers and fathers too. My great grandfather was a colonel in the Royal Artillery, having also served in ww1, All soldiers, jew and gentile, was fighting for the freedom against nazi tyranny for jew and gentile alike. Just as yes, as jews we should be thankful to every gentile that fought the nazis, you should be equally grateful to the jews that served alongside their free European brethren, as were it not for them you could be spouting your thinly veiled anti-semitic vile diatribe in German today instead of English.

  13. Shirl in Oz says:

    Be my guest and send a comment to David Ward, as I have just done

    http://davidward.org.uk/en/article/2013/654558/david-ward-mp-s-update-on-israel-palestine-comments

  14. Norman Cohen says:

    Charles
    I should have thanked you for this post when I originally left a reply I do so now. I wonder if you have been have been following the debate under this story on some of the other websites. Some of the posts there are horrendous for example the Huffington Post you could imagine yourself back in Nazi Germany so blatant was the hatred – so pleased I am not living in the UK now. And then there was the cartoon in yesterday’s Sunday Times of a typical Dr Sturmer caricature of Netanyahu bricking up Palestinians over the line “Will cementing the peace continue?”

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  15. Lee says:

    I have always been of the belief/understanding that the lib dems are intrinsically anti semitic, being so right on they actually are so right wing!(thats why the coalition is working,albeit it in a very strained way; this man should be sacked from the party, but he won’t be as I note his party are known for their anti semitic stance. oh and what would one expect for an MP who represents Bradford, tailoring his words to his wished for voters in the next election…

  16. Robin says:

    As an English atheist I read this article with sadness. I find it depressing to see things coming down to ‘them and us’ and not just us.
    Isreal has both a rite and an obligation to defend itself, the same as any other country. That includes Palistine (if we allow them to call themselves a country).
    The accusation of atrocities has been placed against Isreal on more than one occasion. This must not go unchallenged, as with any such aligations. There is plenty of evidence that the UN is biased against Isreal but there is a need for an independent unbiased look at such aligations.

    Philip Zimbardo wrote The Lucifer Effect. A fascinating look at how good people do terrible thing.

    • Jeff Blankfort says:

      Palestinian civilians are being killed both in the West Bank and Gaza and almost a daily basis which barely rates a mention in the Western press. In June, 1982, Israel launched an unprovoked attack on Lebanon, killing an estimated (by the Red Cross) over 18,000 Lebanese and Palestinian civilians, excluding the several thousand murdered in Sabra and Chatila by Christian Falangists who Sharon allowed into the camp while Israeli soldiers guarded the camps entrances and exits, fed the killers, supplied flares to the blood-letting could go on through the night and, lastly, provided bulldozers to bury many of the bodies. It cost, you may remember, Sharon is post as Defense Minister.

      In that war, Israel repeatedly dropped white phosphorous and cluster bombs on civilians, finally causing Pres. Reagan to call a halt to US shipment of the weapons to the IDF.

      In an East Jerusalem Palestinian hospital the following year, I photographed six Palestinian children who had been brought there to be fitted for prostheses. They had two legs among all of them. Ironically, earlier in the day I had visted Yad Vashem.

      Over 2000 Israeli reservists signed a pledge refusing to serve in that bloody war and some did so after what they saw their comrades do in the 80,000 man invasion and I interviewed a number of them. One, whose parents had come to Israel from Iraq, broke into tears describing the “atrocities” committed by his fellow soldiers.

      When I returned to Israel 20 years later, I found that the several who had emigrated to Israel from South America had returned to their real homelands. They had seen enough.

      Thanks to the influence of Israel’s “friends” in the media, that war is hardly remembered outside of the Middle East.

      • Norman Cohen says:

        You really must get a better source to prevent you from posting this tommy rot. I am not going to waste my valuable time debunking each and every vicious lie you have posted here except to say why don’t you go to a reputable website and find out why Israel went into Lebanon in 1982 I can assure you before you do that Israel’s entry was far from unprovoked as it was in 2006 – but why let a few facts get in the way of a blood libel. Following a PLO agreement with Israel for a cease fire in July 1981 (PLO agreement is an oxymoron) in the ensuing 11 months, the PLO staged 270 terrorist actions in Israel, Judea Samaraia and Gaza, and along the Lebanese and Jordanian borders. Twenty-nine Israelis died, and more than 300 were injured in the attacks. The frequency of attacks in the Galilee forced thousands of residents to flee their homes or to spend large amounts of time in bomb shelters – unprovoked indeed!

      • Norman Cohen says:

        For your further education I suggest you read this:
        http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/report/1987/SGC.htm
        There for example you will see your figure of 18000 casualties is a wild exaggeration with which not even the PLO agreed.
        You will also see that such is the strength of Israeli democracy that when it became clear the war was not being fought in accordance with country’s intrinsic moral and ethical ideals the populace turned against it as did the Americans with the war in Vietnam or the British with war in Iraq.

  17. David says:

    As Mr Ward claimed that Israel was inflicting daily atrocities on the Palestinians I did e-mail him a couple of days ago to ask him to please list all the atrocities that had been carried out on that particular day but needless to say I haven`t had a reply.

  18. [...] suing for being “institutionally anti-Semitic.” This week alone we got British MP David Ward issuing the latest “they of all people” slander and the Sunday Times publishing a cartoon with [...]

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  20. [...] The historical and moral (and political) question as to whether Nazi crimes against non-Jews even constitute “the Holocaust” is yet another matter: but that is hardly likely to have motivated Sally FitzHarrris’ two-fingered insult to Ms Pollock and the JC’s readers. By her own logic, if non-Jews “count”, then why is the anti-Israel mob only so obsessed with what lessons and actions Jews derive from the Holocaust? Or, as Chas Newkey-Burden has written: [...]

  21. [...] The historical and moral (and political) question as to whether Nazi crimes against non-Jews even constitute “the Holocaust” is yet another matter: but that is hardly likely to have motivated Sally FitzHarris’ two-fingered insult to Ms Pollock and the JC’s readers. By her own logic, if non-Jews “count”, then why is the anti-Israel mob only so obsessed with what lessons and actions Jews derive from the Holocaust? Or, as Chas Newkey-Burden has written: [...]

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