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David Ward and the Ruthless Suppression of Anti-Israel Criticism - Spectator Blogs

7 February 2013

7 February 2013

David Ward, Liberal Democrat MP for Bradford East, is unhappy that his recent comments about The Jews attracted such widespread criticism. You see:

“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.”

As machines go, this one seems a pretty Heath Robinson contraption, idiosyncratically constructed and wildly inefficient. It certainly ain’t a marvel of mechanised efficiency. We kinda know this since, with the possible exception of the United States, there ain’t a country in the whole world that’s more criticised than the state of Israel.

But poor Mr Ward. He, you see, is a victim too. Crushed by the relentless, all-consuming Zionist maw. Trapped beneath – what shall we call it? – an Iron Media Dome. If only there were a way to criticise policies pursued by the Israeli government without implying that The Jews are different from the Nazis  in degree, but not, alas, kind.  If only it were possible to refer to the grievances of the Palestinian people without raising the spectre of Auschwitz as a comparison. It’s tough, I know, but thank heavens some of our parliamentarians are up to the task.

It’s not that Israel’s actions are beyond reasonable reproach. Far from it. Many of the people most worried by Israel’s present path are those people – Jew and gentile alike – most keenly concerned for Israel’s future. This includes, naturally, many Israelis.

So, no, not every Israeli, far less every Jew worldwide, is responsible for the actions of the Israeli government and only an imbecile can think otherwise.

Mr Ward is hardly alone, of course. I’m not surprised by his claim to have received thousands of supportive messages and not just from the rancid usual suspects either. His kind of woolly unthinking is depressingly common on the British left. (I was going to say it seems especially, perhaps even oddly, virulent amongst left-wing Liberal Democrats but then I remembered that they’re the “Tony Blair, War Criminal” crowd too.)

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Why so? Peering into souls is always a fraught business but I’d hazard this explanation. Part of the left has been searching for a cause ever since apartheid ended in South Africa. Palestine has become that cause. The comparison between Israel and apartheid South Africa has only superficial merit (if that) but that does not matter a damn. What matters is that the cause is a way of signalling your own moral superiority. The Israeli-Palestine conflict is merely a convenient vehicle for doing so. The detail of the matter – far less its complexities and moral ambiguity – is, in the end, fairly unimportant. It is a form of vanity, a means of demonstrating your own effortless ethical supremacy. (And it doesn’t hurt that the Americans support Israel. Why, doesn’t that just prove the point?)

To be clear: not all Palestinian supporters are motivated by such base and solipsistic motives. But I think some are and I suspect Mr Ward may be one of them.

This is not, forgive me, some black and white battle between right and wrong, good and evil. (Some of Israel’s supporters* forget this too). It’s the impasse between incompatible but equally legitimate “rights” that makes the conflict intractable and, in the Aristotelian sense of the term, a true tragedy. It should provoke more pathos than outrage.

David Ward plainly prefers to live in a simpler world. That’s his prerogative but he should not be surprised if other people feel minded to tell him that he’s an ass.

There are many things Mr Ward could profitably read but he might start with an excellent essay by Tom Doran in the January issue of the Jewish Journal. Mr Doran, a left-wing Welshman, explains why he is a Zionist and a critic of the Netanyahu government. His last line, borrowing from David Ben-Gurion, is especially good: “We will fight the occupation as if there are no enemies of Israel, and fight the enemies of Israel as if there is no occupation.” That’s a view with which many Israelis sympathise too. And there are many others who accept the Occupation as a necessary evil for the time being while worrying deeply where it will end and, just as importantly, what kind of Israel it will create.

Doubtless, however, these friendly critics, domestic and foreign, have their voices suppressed by the Zionist media machine too. You decide, people: David Ward – crusader for truth or numbskull?

*As I’ve written beforeIt sometimes seems that Israel’s staunchest defenders judge Israel not on the merits of its policies but on the extent to which those policies outrage wrong-thinking pundits and papers in Great Britain or the United States. The more they howl the more this is proof Israel is taking the only course open to it! I can appreciate the appeal of this kind of confirmation-bias but I doubt it does Israel much good.

 

 

 


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Show comments
  • Grrr8

    Alex I trust you have read Henry Siegelman in this months prospect on this you. He is not shy about using the word “apartheid”. And he’s the former president of the American Jewish congress.

  • Augustus

    ” His kind of woolly unthinking is depressingly common on the British left”

    You mean those who have been trained to think in terms of typical Western appeaser logic. That if those nasty Zionists exit the occupied territories, the remedy will appear and cure the ills of the
    country. If you just sit and talk, the terror will disappear for good and a
    vision of a dove with an olive branch will shine over the Jews from the Green
    Line That the conflict is the source of all problems in the region, and that its
    resolution would usher in an era of peace throughout the Middle East. Peace be upon it.

  • kevin king

    You would think by the ridiculous discussions conducted here that the “jews” were an homogenous race. The peoples living in the modern state of Israel are a disparate collection of races, each with their own agenda. To talk about them as if they were homogenous sums up the lack of understanding of global history that is the root of this problem. A problem alas that will never be solved.

    • Damocles

      Not a very intelligent comment.
      Perhaps you have forgotten that Israel defines itself as ‘the Jewish state’, and ‘the homeland of the Jews’, only Jewish people are full citizens (in terms of rights and so on) in Israel – so the ‘obsession’ with ‘Jews’ ‘Jewish’ etc comes from Israel and the Jewish community worldwide, but somehow it is deemed unacceptable by them when anyone who isn’t Jewish describes the actions of Jewish people acting in the name of the self-proclaimed ‘Jewish state’ as being the actions of ‘the Jews’
      All this nit-picking about precisely which term should or should not be used is a red herring.
      The real issue concerns the way Israel treats the indigenous Arabs and why they are allowed to carry on getting away with it.

      • C. Gee

        No. Israeli citizens include Arabs, both Muslim and Christian. All citizens have the same rights. There are Arab representatives in parliament and Arab judges in the courts.
        All Israeli citizens, including its Arab citizens, are treated better than all Arab citizens. There are no – or very few now – “indigenous” Jews living in Arab countries. Some are Jew-free.
        Why do you bother displaying your crude opinions on this site?

        • Damocles

          “all citizens have the same rights”

          Tell me, do you also believe in Father Christmas ?

          Just one tiny example (among thousands)

          How do you explain that if an Arab Israeli marries an Arab from outside the borders of Israel, he/ she is not allowed (by law) to bring that person to live in Israel – they have to leave the country to live together ?

          Simultaneously ALL Jewish people even if neither they nor any of their antecedents have ever been anywhere near the Middle East, can claim Israeli citizenship and apply to live in Israel.

          Equal rights ?

          Perhaps you have been puffing on the Hubba Bubba pipe for too long ?

          Tell me, why do you bother displaying your ignorance on this site ?

        • Damocles

          “All citizens have the same rights”

          Are you serious ?

          Do you also believe in Father Christmas by any chance ?

          Here is just one example (there are thousands)
          How then do you explain that if an Israeli Arab marries an Arab from outside the borders of Israel, he/ she cannot bring them to Israel to live – if they wish to live together the Israeli Arab must leave Israel.

          Simultaneously, any Jewish person from anywhere in the world can claim Israeli nationality and move to live in Israel with all the rights of a full citizen. It doesn’t matter if the Jewish person (nor any of their antecedents) has never even been anywhere near the Middle East.
          They can still claim Israeli nationality.

          Why do you bother showing your crass ignorance on this site ?

  • DrCrackles

    When Mandela goes then it will be possible to discuss South Africa properly and understand the merits and demerits of the apartheid and post-apartheid periods.

  • cyllan2

    the only thing the state of israel is priotected is missiles…..thanks to the iron dome…..not from people like you

  • cyllan2

    woulnd it be UNBELIABLE if massie did a report on arab anti jew pressure……..well that would be unbiased reporting……which he doesnt do……the left doesnt do objectivity

  • http://www.facebook.com/ant.aloy.3 Ant Aloy

    I would have liked reference to the ruling of the International Court of
    Justice, regarding Israel’s “separation barrier” which has encircled the
    Palestinian city of Bethlehem and carved up the Palestinian West Bank
    (recognised internationally as Palestine) for settler only roads where
    indigenous people are forbidden.

    May I respectfully also draw your attention to the following?

    * The UN view of the Palestinian Territories can be seen at

    the following URL: http://unispal.un.org/pdfs/OCH….

    * The West Bank and East Jerusalem is occupied Palestine (bilaterally
    recognised by 132 na-tions in the world including India, China, Russia,
    Brazil, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Iceland).

    * Palestine is officially a non-member State and recognised by the
    UN. 138 nations supported Palestine last November in its successful bid
    for statehood. France, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Greece,
    Cyprus and Malta were among many European nations to support Palestine.
    Their vote for Palestine was important as were those cast by India,
    China, Russia, Brazil, Japan, Mexico and New Zealand who supported
    Palestine too. The Secretary General of the UN and Vatican Church
    welcomed the re-birth of Palestine.

    * However, Palestine (West Bank and East Jerusalem) is still
    illegally held and sadly Israel’s Prime Minister Mr Netanyahu has
    ignored the ruling of the International Court of Justice (subse-quently
    supported by the UN and EU) with respect to the “separation barrier”.
    This “wall” is 3 times the length of the Berlin Wall.

    * UNESCO’s recognition of Palestine in 2011 was supported by France,
    Spain, Ireland, Belgium, Norway, Greece and other European nations.

    * Please also see UNSC Resolution 478 concerning Jerusalem. The 4th
    Geneva Convention is applicable to all the Palestinian Territories.

    * International law and UN Resolutions (over which there are over
    150) are ignored by Israel’s Prime Minister and Foreign Minister.

    * UN Resolutions specify Israel’s illegal hold of the Palestinian
    Territories to be a violation of the 4th Geneva Convention and as such
    is a War Crime under international law. More so as of now since
    settlements are being placed in another nation.

    Yours sincerely

    Anthony

    *** UN Security Council Resolution 478 (1980) of 20 August

    1980 – BINDING

    The Security Council, recalling its resolution 476 (1980);

    reaffirming again that the acquisition of territory by force is inadmissible;

    deeply concerned over the enactment of a “basic law” in the Israeli

    Knesset proclaiming a change in the character and status of the Holy City of

    Jerusalem, with its implications for peace and security; noting that Israel has

    not complied with resolution 476 (1980); reaffirming its determination to

    examine practical ways and means, in accordance with the relevant provisions of

    the Charter of the United Nations, to secure the full implementation of its

    resolution 476 (1980), in the event of non-compliance by Israel ; Censures in

    the strongest terms the enactment by Israel of the “basic law” on

    Jerusalem and the refusal to comply with relevant Security Council resolutions;

    http://unispal.un.org/UNISPAL….

    *** Resolution 694 (1991) – BINDING

    Adopted by the Security
    Council at its 2989th meeting on 24

    May 1991

    The Security Council,

    Reaffirming its
    resolution 681 (1990),

    Having learned with
    deep concern and consternation that

    Israel has, in violation of its obliga-tions under the Fourth Geneva Convention

    of 1949, and acting in opposition to relevant Security Council resolutions, and

    to the detriment of efforts to achieve a comprehensive, just and lasting peace

    in the Middle East, deported four Palestinian civilians on 18 May 1991,

    1. Declares that the
    action of the Israeli authorities of

    deporting four Palestinians on 18 May is in violation of the Fourth Geneva

    Convention of 1949, which is applicable to all the Pales-tinian territories

    occupied by Israel since 1967, including Jerusalem;

    2. Deplores this action
    and reiterates that Israel, the

    occupying Power, refrain from deporting any Palestinian civilian from the

    occupied territories and ensure the save and immediate return of all those

    deported;

    3. Decides to keep the
    situation under review.

    *** Resolution 672 (1990) – BINDING

    Adopted by the Security
    Council at its 2948th meeting on 12

    October 1990

    The Security Council,

    Recalling its
    resolutions 476 (1980) and 478 (1980),

    Reaffirming that a just
    and lasting solution to the

    Arab-Israeli conflict must be based on its resolutions 242 (1967) and 338

    (1973) through an active negotiating process which takes into account the right

    to security for all States in the region, including Israel, as well as the

    legitimate political rights of the Palestinian people,

    Taking into
    consideration the statement of the

    Secretary-General relative to the purpose of the mission he is sending to the

    region and conveyed to the Council by the President on 12 October 1990,

    1. Expresses alarm at
    the violence which took place on 8

    October at the Al Haram al Shareef and other Holy Places of Jerusalem resulting

    in over twenty Palestinian deaths and to the in-jury of more than one hundred

    and fifty people, including Palestinian civilians and innocent worshippers;

    2. Condemns especially
    the acts of violence committed by the

    Israeli security forces resulting in injuries and loss of human life;

    3. Calls upon Israel,
    the occupying Power, to abide

    scrupulously by its legal obligations and responsibilities under the Fourth

    Geneva Convention, which is applicable to all the territories occupied by

    Israel since 1967;

    4. Requests, in
    connection with the decision of the

    Secretary-General to send a mission to the region, which the Council welcomes,

    that he submit a report to it before the end of October 1990 containing his

    findings and conclusions and that he use as appropriate all the resources of

    the United Nations in the region in carrying out the mission.

    24th April 2012 – UK
    Foreign Secretary William Hague said:

    “I strongly condemn the Israeli government’s decision

    yesterday to turn three illegal outposts in the West Bank into settlements. I

    urged the Israeli government in my statement on 5 April to remove – not

    legalise – outposts across the West Bank”.

    Furthermore, I would
    like to refer you to specific serious concerns raised by the International
    Court of Justice (2004) – with relevance to the ‘security barrier’ – which was
    viewed with alarm by the international community. Incidentally the reference to
    the illegality of settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem was also
    reinforced when the International Court of Justice also found the following
    (indeed the EU supported the UN vote pertaining to the ‘security barrier’):

    * That the separation
    barrier is intended to assist the settlements, the establishment of which
    violates Article 49 of the Convention. Also, the court pointed out that the
    restrictions placed on the local population located between the barrier and the
    Green Line are liable to lead to abandonment of the land, which also
    constitutes a violation of Article 49. In addition, the opinion stated that
    taking control of private land to build the barrier injured

    private property owners, and thus violated Articles 46 and 52 of the Hague
    Regulations of 1907 and of Article 53 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

    * The illegality of the
    barrier under international human rights law. In this context, the court stated
    unequivocally, and contrary to the position held by Israel, that international
    human rights law applies in its entirety in occupied territory, along with
    humanitarian law. The court ruled that the separation barrier violates rights
    set
    forth in conventions to which Israel is party. The court mentioned the
    rights to freedom of movement and the right against invasion of privacy
    of home and family, which are enshrined in Articles 12 and 17 of the
    International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the right to
    work, to an adequate standard of living, health, and
    education, which are enshrined in Articles 6, 11, 12, and 13 of the
    International covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural rights.

    http://www.icj-cij.org/docket/… ve a message…

  • http://www.facebook.com/ant.aloy.3 Ant Aloy

    I would have liked reference to the ruling of the International Court of Justice, regarding Israel’s “separation barrier” which has encircled the Palestinian city of Bethlehem and carved up the Palestinian West Bank (recognised internationally as Palestine) for settler only rules where indigenous people are forbidden.

    May I respectfully also draw your attention to the following?

    * The UN view of the Palestinian Territories can be seen at

    the following URL: http://unispal.un.org/pdfs/OCH….

    * The West Bank and East Jerusalem is occupied Palestine (bilaterally recognised by 132 na-tions in the world including India, China, Russia, Brazil, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Iceland).

    * Palestine is officially a non-member State and recognised by the UN. 138 nations supported Palestine last November in its successful bid for statehood. France, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Greece, Cyprus and Malta were among many European nations to support Palestine. Their vote for Palestine was important as were those cast by India, China, Russia, Brazil, Japan, Mexico and New Zealand who supported Palestine too. The Secretary General of the UN and Vatican Church welcomed the re-birth of Palestine.

    * However, Palestine (West Bank and East Jerusalem) is still illegally held and sadly Israel’s Prime Minister Mr Netanyahu has ignored the ruling of the International Court of Justice (subse-quently supported by the UN and EU) with respect to the “separation barrier”. This “wall” is 3 times the length of the Berlin Wall.

    * UNESCO’s recognition of Palestine in 2011 was supported by France, Spain, Ireland, Belgium, Norway, Greece and other European nations.

    * Please also see UNSC Resolution 478 concerning Jerusalem. The 4th Geneva Convention is applicable to all the Palestinian Territories.

    * International law and UN Resolutions (over which there are over 150) are ignored by Israel’s Prime Minister and Foreign Minister.

    * UN Resolutions specify Israel’s illegal hold of the Palestinian Territories to be a violation of the 4th Geneva Convention and as such is a War Crime under international law. More so as of now since settlements are being placed in another nation.

    Yours sincerely

    Anthony

    *** UN Security Council Resolution 478 (1980) of 20 August

    1980 – BINDING

    The Security Council, recalling its resolution 476 (1980);

    reaffirming again that the acquisition of territory by force is inadmissible;

    deeply concerned over the enactment of a “basic law” in the Israeli

    Knesset proclaiming a change in the character and status of the Holy City of

    Jerusalem, with its implications for peace and security; noting that Israel has

    not complied with resolution 476 (1980); reaffirming its determination to

    examine practical ways and means, in accordance with the relevant provisions of

    the Charter of the United Nations, to secure the full implementation of its

    resolution 476 (1980), in the event of non-compliance by Israel ; Censures in

    the strongest terms the enactment by Israel of the “basic law” on

    Jerusalem and the refusal to comply with relevant Security Council resolutions;

    http://unispal.un.org/UNISPAL….

    *** Resolution 694 (1991) – BINDING

    Adopted by the Security
    Council at its 2989th meeting on 24

    May 1991

    The Security Council,

    Reaffirming its
    resolution 681 (1990),

    Having learned with
    deep concern and consternation that

    Israel has, in violation of its obliga-tions under the Fourth Geneva Convention

    of 1949, and acting in opposition to relevant Security Council resolutions, and

    to the detriment of efforts to achieve a comprehensive, just and lasting peace

    in the Middle East, deported four Palestinian civilians on 18 May 1991,

    1. Declares that the
    action of the Israeli authorities of

    deporting four Palestinians on 18 May is in violation of the Fourth Geneva

    Convention of 1949, which is applicable to all the Pales-tinian territories

    occupied by Israel since 1967, including Jerusalem;

    2. Deplores this action
    and reiterates that Israel, the

    occupying Power, refrain from deporting any Palestinian civilian from the

    occupied territories and ensure the save and immediate return of all those

    deported;

    3. Decides to keep the
    situation under review.

    *** Resolution 672 (1990) – BINDING

    Adopted by the Security
    Council at its 2948th meeting on 12

    October 1990

    The Security Council,

    Recalling its
    resolutions 476 (1980) and 478 (1980),

    Reaffirming that a just
    and lasting solution to the

    Arab-Israeli conflict must be based on its resolutions 242 (1967) and 338

    (1973) through an active negotiating process which takes into account the right

    to security for all States in the region, including Israel, as well as the

    legitimate political rights of the Palestinian people,

    Taking into
    consideration the statement of the

    Secretary-General relative to the purpose of the mission he is sending to the

    region and conveyed to the Council by the President on 12 October 1990,

    1. Expresses alarm at
    the violence which took place on 8

    October at the Al Haram al Shareef and other Holy Places of Jerusalem resulting

    in over twenty Palestinian deaths and to the in-jury of more than one hundred

    and fifty people, including Palestinian civilians and innocent worshippers;

    2. Condemns especially
    the acts of violence committed by the

    Israeli security forces resulting in injuries and loss of human life;

    3. Calls upon Israel,
    the occupying Power, to abide

    scrupulously by its legal obligations and responsibilities under the Fourth

    Geneva Convention, which is applicable to all the territories occupied by

    Israel since 1967;

    4. Requests, in
    connection with the decision of the

    Secretary-General to send a mission to the region, which the Council welcomes,

    that he submit a report to it before the end of October 1990 containing his

    findings and conclusions and that he use as appropriate all the resources of

    the United Nations in the region in carrying out the mission.

    24th April 2012 – UK
    Foreign Secretary William Hague said:

    “I strongly condemn the Israeli government’s decision

    yesterday to turn three illegal outposts in the West Bank into settlements. I

    urged the Israeli government in my statement on 5 April to remove – not

    legalise – outposts across the West Bank”.

    Furthermore, I would
    like to refer you to specific serious concerns raised by the International
    Court of Justice (2004) – with relevance to the ‘security barrier’ – which was
    viewed with alarm by the international community. Incidentally the reference to
    the illegality of settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem was also
    reinforced when the International Court of Justice also found the following
    (indeed the EU supported the UN vote pertaining to the ‘security barrier’):

    * That the separation
    barrier is intended to assist the settlements, the establishment of which
    violates Article 49 of the Convention. Also, the court pointed out that the
    restrictions placed on the local population located between the barrier and the
    Green Line are liable to lead to abandonment of the land, which also
    constitutes a violation of Article 49. In addition, the opinion stated that
    taking control of private land to build the barrier injured

    private property owners, and thus violated Articles 46 and 52 of the Hague
    Regulations of 1907 and of Article 53 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

    * The illegality of the
    barrier under international human rights law. In this context, the court stated
    unequivocally, and contrary to the position held by Israel, that international
    human rights law applies in its entirety in occupied territory, along with
    humanitarian law. The court ruled that the separation barrier violates rights
    set forth in conventions to which Israel is party. The court mentioned the rights to freedom of movement and the right against invasion of privacy of home and family, which are enshrined in Articles 12 and 17 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the right to work, to an adequate standard of living, health, and
    education, which are enshrined in Articles 6, 11, 12, and 13 of the
    International covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural rights.

    http://www.icj-cij.org/docket/index.php?pr=71&code=mwp&p1=3&p2=4&p3=6&ca

    • C. Gee

      May I respectfully draw your attention to the Dreyfus case? It was the exemplar for politicized justice deployed against Jews in recent times (still available to cultural memory). With respect to International Justice, Israel is always Dreyfus in the dock – the irony being that modern human rights and war crime jurisprudence was born in the Nuremberg Trials out of the world’s shock at the holocaust. It has been shaped – especially in the institutions of the UN – in judicial opinions by selective political animus against one particular state: Israel. Whether legislative or judicial, the criminalizing of Jews as Jews, individually or collectively has always been the precursor not merely to deracination, but to genocide, en masse or one by one.
      The meretricious judicial exercise – a parody of justice – that you cite is one of many from the “International Community” that legitimizes the political eradication of Israel and the hatred murder of Jews – wherever they live.
      You might also wish to read the Israeli Court’s opinions on the separation wall, and how it addresses violations of civil – particularly property – rights.

      • Damocles

        Yet more misinformation ?
        The The Nuremberg Trials were about much more than ‘the (Jewish) Holocaust’ they were about the whole thing, all the people who died in the Camps and the massive destruction that was wrought throughout Eastern Europe, etc., etc.,
        I think you need to do some serious reading (other than the zionist propaganda you seem so au fait with)

      • Damocles

        But weren’t you saying in a previous post that you don’t believe in all these concepts of Human Rights, ‘fairness’ and justice and deriding anyone who does ?
        I see, but simultaneously you do believe in such things when it comes to yourself and your fellow Jews.
        How very selective you are when it comes to ‘rights’.
        Israel is increasingly vilified by most of the International Community because it deserves it.
        It is a nasty, bloodthirsty warmongering monstrosity and a completely artificial one at that.
        It was created by stealing most of historic Palestine by force, and by people who were almost exclusively not from that part of the world.
        Of the 13 Prime Ministers that Israel has had since it’s inception in 1948, only 5 were born locally. Of those 5 none of their parents were.
        That just shows how artificial a state it is.
        Time to stop wallowing in (artificial) self pity and come into the real world.

  • cyllan2

    surprise surprise , massie defending antisemites……..why dont you go to live with your brothers in Gaza????

  • http://www.facebook.com/ilana.walsh Ilana Walsh

    This rubbish about “the tragedy of incompatible but equally legitimate rights” seem to be the new meme for those who think themselves morally superior to others who support one side or the other in this conflict. Firstly, why are the rights of the 2 groups equal? The Jews have existed as a distinct nation (not just religion) for thousands of years – they have their own languages, customs etc. and have always been recognized as such. Moreover their connection to the Land of Israel – spiritual, historical, emotional – was until quite recently generally recognized – for better or worse (“Jews – get back to Palestine” type graffiti). In addition, Israel is the only country that Jews can call their own.
    The Palestinians on the other hand did not even exist as a separate entity from Syrian Arabs until quite recently – were there any graffiti in Lebanon saying, “Plestinians, get back to Palestine”? Can you tell me what distinguishes them as a nation? I accept that they now exist as a separate entity, but I also know that their sense of being a separate nation has been manufactured for political reasons. It certainly did not exist before 1949. Even those who do not admit that Jordan is Palestine, accept that the majority of the Jordanian population is Palestinian – whatever that means. What exactly is the difference between Palestinian and non-Palestinian Jordanians?
    Moreover, why are the rights of the 2 nations incompatible? Israelis have shown many times that they are prepared to accept a genuine 2-state solution – they have political parties that explicitly or implicitly support this and get respectable votes in elections. And does anyone doubt that those votes would dramatically increase if Israelis felt that there was a response from the other side?

    • Damocles

      If Palestine didn’t even exist separate from Syria until quite recently
      (I thought you propagandists usually insist that Palestine and Jordan were the same ? So now it has suddenly become Syria ?? make your minds up)
      how do you explain that there is a whole section in the British Museum (for example) dedicated to ‘Ancient Syria and Palestine’ (two separate names if you haven’t noticed) full of ancient artefacts and relics from these two separate areas, and just a few lines of text (that’s all) on ‘one’ poster in the Levant Room on the (supposedly) all conquering Ancient Israel ?

      Israel has never shown that it has any genuine interest in a two state solution and has consistently started all the wars since 1948, with help from ‘The West’ of course (perhaps you should read Avi Shlaim’s book ‘The Iron Wall’)

      I think you need to rethink your failing propaganda.
      No wonder you always try to close the subject down.

      • http://www.facebook.com/ilana.walsh Ilana Walsh

        I think you need to improve your reading comprehension. I did not say that the area was not called Palestine. I did not say that the area was called Southern Syria. I said that the people today referred to as “Palestinians” regarded themselves as southern Syrians before 1948. I have a book printed in 1935 about Jewish customs and how they are observed in the Holy Land. It talks about “Palestinian children” celebrating Hannukah and other Jewish holidays – I don’t think they mean Arabs. In fact, before 1948 the Arabs in the area denied they were Palestinian – that name presumably had too many Jewish connotations.
        I am not going to get into a discussion about who started which wars or who believes in 2 states and who doesn’t, as I don’t have any inside knowledge of the facts. There are plenty of books supporting one side of the argument or the other – I suppose your views depend on which ones you read. My opinion is based on talking to people in Israel, reading newspapers in Israel, and not on the views of this or that historian.
        I am not trying to close any subject down. I am gving my opinion, which I think is fairly well backed up. It is people like you who call people like me “propagandists” who are trying to close the subject down.

        • Damocles

          Good God what a complicated convoluted point to make,
          but ‘you have a book’ that proves all of this
          Really ?
          Are you absolutely sure ?
          Was it written by a zionist zealot by any chance ?
          It sounds like it was.

          ‘The truth’ supports the Palestinians
          End of story.

          You are not seeking ‘truth’ wherever it may lay
          You and your friends are ‘propagandists’ and that is all you are
          How much are you paid to write this stuff ?
          (I promise I won’t tell)

  • Matt Pryor

    Never mind all that. How are we going to get those Hezbollah b8stards kicked out of Europe? How are we going to persuade the Frenchies to man up over Lebanon? We need solutions, and this Ward idiot and all the other lefty twirps are just a distraction from the real problem!

  • andy_gill

    I was prepared to give David Ward the benefit of the doubt over his remarks on Holocaust Memorial Day. But now he has amplified his position, he has revealed what he really is. A bigot.

  • Simeon Howell

    Why are you bringing this up now Massie? Its old news…keep with the fricking programme, I hope you’re not getting paid for this.

    • Matt Pryor

      Damn straight! Stick it to ’em! :)

    • Damocles

      No my zionist chum they are ‘occupied’ territories
      Only zionists and their allies would even dream of suggesting otherwise.
      Without American support (to the tune of $Billions each year plus all the latest high tech weaponry) Israel would be ‘yesterdays papers’, so don’t knock them
      Don’t ‘bite the hand that feeds you’ (as we English say)
      or you might live to regret it

  • Augustus

    David Ward said, “…what we all want to do is to find a peaceful solution to the Palestinian issue, and to ensure that we can fairly and openly criticise each side when they do things which are wrong.”

    As long, of course, as a certain premise remains intact – that there are two peoples who can’t get along due to mutual mistrust and a lack of societal awareness of each other’s legitimacy – there is hope for a solution. This premise has been repeatedly revealed to be utterly false, but not enough to convince those people who think they can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome. That those grossly obvious goings-on in the Fatah-run Palestinian Authority and in the Hamas-led Gaza Strip are unwelcome is pretty clear, but ignoring them serves only to perpetuate a situation that peace-seekers are desperate to rectify. And while Israel is left with no choice but to keep its weapons cocked and Iron Domes on the ready to defend its populace from terrorists and missiles, the Palestinians have no protection whatsoever against the poison they are being fed by their own leaders. A venom purposefully injected into every walk of their lives. A venom that not only oils the cogs of the Palestinian propaganda machine, but takes sociopathy, psychopathy and moral relativism to new heights.

    • Damocles

      .. ‘a lack of societal awareness of each other’s legitimacy’ …
      Only a nut would question the legitimacy of the Palestinian’s claims, they are from Palestine, they didn’t come from anywhere else.
      Israel by way of contrast is a nation almost exclusively made up of immigrants who’s claim to the land is based on a story in the Bible (whilst simultaneously they claim to be a secular state) and whilst I am on this subject, what exactly is wrong with David Ward’s use of the term ‘the Jews’ when describing the actions of Israel ?

      Israel claims to be ‘the Jewish state’, ‘the homeland of the Jews’, everything it does is done in the name of ‘the Jews’, the only people who can claim full citizenship of Israel are Jewish people, Jewish is claimed to be both a religion and an ethnicity, so what is wrong with calling the actions of the Israeli state, the actions of the Jews ?

      No-one hesitates to call the actions of the Government of France the actions of the French, or the actions of the American Government, the actions of the Americans – I am quite sure that not all French people agree with everything their Government does, and I am equally sure that not all French people live in France, so what is the difference ?

      Of course I should remember, the Jews are always looking for ‘special treatment’ after all, they are the ‘chosen’ people aren’t they, a higher form of life than the rest of us (how could any sensible person really believe such nonsense ?)

      • J. Charles

        “…claim to the land is based on a story in the Bible (whilst simultaneously they claim to be a secular state)”

        So many facts wrong here: Their claim to land is primarily based on the UN Partition Plan, although Bibilical stories of Hebrew tribes living there are backed up by archaeological evidence. Also, Israel describes itself as a Jewish and Democratic state (although a lot of people there happen to be secular).

        “the only people who can claim full citizenship of Israel are Jewish people”

        Nope, you can gain Israeli citizenship regardless of religion through birth to a citizen or through naturalization. Currently, 16% of Israel is Muslim, 2% Christian and 1.5% Druze.

        “the Jews are always looking for ‘special treatment’ after all, they are the ‘chosen’ people aren’t they, a higher form of life than the rest of us”

        Jews are the ‘chosen people’ because they believe they were chosen to take on all the laws of the Torah; they don’t believe they are a higher form of life (this is a view typically taken on by anti-semites. Funny that…), they merely believe that they have more duties during their time on Earth.

        Lastly, not all French people live in France, but all French people hold French citizenship. Not all Israelis live in Israel, but all Israelis hold Israeli citizenship. Not all Jews live in Israel, and most Jews don’t have Israeli citizenship. See the difference?

        • Damocles

          Oh really J Charles

          ‘my’ facts are wrong are they ?

          I don’t think so

          Around the time that the political movement called zionism was born (1897) the population of Palestine was approx 3-4% Jewish and there was no history of conflict with the indigenous arabs going back hundreds of years.

          The UN Partition Plan was proposed in 1947 as a way of attempting to stop the conflict that had been prompted by the mass immigration of Jews claiming the land of Palestine was their land because it says this in the bible.

          You seem to have the ‘cart before the horse’

          The only non-Jewish ‘citizens of Israel’ are arabs who were not ethnically cleansed in 1948 (they couldn’t get rid of all of them after all could they ?)

          An Israeli arab (they actually prefer to be called ‘Palestinians’) cannot bring in a spouse from say The West Bank if he/ she marries such a person. The only way for them to be together is for the Israeli arab to leave the country.

          The Jews believe that they are a higher form of life than the rest of us and that they enjoy special status as being ‘God’s chosen people’

          It is probably a good idea to learn something of the real history of the region before making your comments J Charles

          Finally, no J Charles, not all French people hold French citizenship and I never claimed that all Jewish people hold Israeli citizenship so what is your point ?

  • C. Gee

    What is the “present path” of Israel that worries some people? And don’t say “Occupation” (or its proxy “settlements”) unless you wish to ally yourself with those mystics of the left who believe that there is some magical peace formula to be arrived at: the perfect compromise of territory, returnees, exchange of population, recognition of boundaries, that will be agreed to by the Arabs.

    That you are some kind of mystic is revealed when you say,”It’s the impasse between incompatible but equally legitimate “rights” that makes the conflict intractable and, in the Aristotelian sense of the term, a true tragedy. It should provoke more pathos than outrage.” What Pecksniffian piousness.

    The two sets of “rights” are not “equally legitimate” – in fact the “rights” claimed by the Arabs to a nation on that territory are what is being negotiated. It is precisely because the Arabs – and their supporters like poor Mr. Ward – claim (without legal justification) that they have national rights to the entire territory, that they own the entire territory by virtue of being Arab, that makes those rights incompatible with a Jewish state. Palestine must supersede Israel according to the logic of Arab national rights – not surprising, as they were concocted for that purpose.

    It is precisely because these these fictitious rights are colluded in (UN recognition of Palestine as observer state for example; the “Occupation” has become accepted as a basic assumption which justifies “Resistance”) that there is an impasse for a two-state solution. It is not a Greek tragedy. Fate has nothing to do with it.

    The moral vanity (a concept you rightly deploy) of western politicians that has unnecessarily prolonged the Arab/Israel war, which the Israelis will and must, continue to fight until they cannot any more. Look to Obama/Kerry to bring the dead peace process to life. Look for withholding of arms to Israel, threats of economic boycott, abstentions in the UN – all the intimidation diplomacy to get Israel to do what these good friends want it to do. The result? Making it harder for Israel to continue to sustain the war. The only kind of Israel Israel ever could have been, or ever can be, is a state fighting for its survival.

    • evasmagacz

      Germany was also fighting for survival. Read Goebbels. Fighting for survival does not give Israel free pass to break International Law and committ the war crimes.

      • C. Gee

        “If only there were a way to criticise policies pursued by the Israeli government without implying that The Jews are different from the Nazis in degree, but not, alas, kind.” I take it you are one of many of this mind-set?

      • Hugh

        Yes, that’s clearly the best way to get a balanced take on German history: reading Goebbels.

        • Damocles

          I think you have completely misconstrued evasmagacz’s point.
          Try reading it again and have a little think
          then respond.

      • Matt Pryor

        So was Czechoslovakia, you malignant oaf.

        • Damocles

          and your point is ?

    • Grrr8

      Funnily enough, I would think that the rights claimed by European Jews, people whose roots lie primarily in Russia and eastern/ central europe, (never mind Ethiopian jews or jews from India), to settle in the middle east and claim sovereignty to land as an ancestral homeland, should be the first claim to be questioned. I’m sure there are excellent arguments, but that needs to be the first point made.

      • C. Gee

        The rights were granted to Jews as a people, their distinct nationhood being largely defined – insisted upon, in fact, especially before persecution, expulsions or massacres – by countries of Europe, Russia, Islam and Arabia – who over centuries were more or less iffy about Jews belonging to their nations, or anywhere at all. Where Jews were residing – or reside now – before becoming citizens of the Jewish state is utterly irrelevant (though one recalls that Britain turned back from Palestine European Jews fleeing their extinction in Europe). “Roots” is not a concept that furthers the Arab legal case for statehood in the Middle East any better than the Jewish one. Even if there is a genetic marker for a people, and cultural evidence tying their ancestors to a region of the planet, that has nothing whatsoever to do with state sovereignty over particular territory and who is granted citizenship therein.

        • Grrr8

          Fair enough. But the question I raise is not of state sovereignty over land. There was no Israel as a state (distinct fm your concept of nationhood) before 1948, ergo no state to claim sovereignty. The question still remains as to why Israel was given soverignity over land in the Middle East and not somewhere else, say between Germany & Poland, or somewhere uninhabited like Patagonia?
          Sent from my iPad

          • C. Gee

            That question has been thoroughly investigated. “Somewhere else” was considered, but rejected. Patagonia may have been “uninhabited” in the sense of low population density – so was Palestine, relatively – but it was still controlled by the states of Chile and Argentina. If these powers had agreed to a state of Israel in Patagonia, and the Jews had accepted it, that would have been sufficient to establish the new state. There would have been no asking permission of the (nomadic) indigenous tribal population. As it happened in fact, France and Britain controlled the Middle East and agreed to establish several states without asking permission of the population (which included Jews among the Arabic-speakers). All Arab Middle Eastern sovereignties owe their existence to the Powers. And sovereign power was handed over to “foreigners” without benefit of plebiscites. They imposed a Hashemite dynasty over the Arabs of Transjordan. Moreover, the Powers were quite happy to move vast populations to other states if they felt it expedient – witness the division of India, the expulsion of Germans. Yes, the British almost immediately regretted their generosity to the Jews, and have tried to unscramble the egg. Cannot be done. Israel exists. The Arab states of Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Syria exist. Arab “Palestine” does not, and should not on the basis merely of an Arab-speaking population – nomadic or settled – present in numbers greater than the Jews at the time the states were being established.

            • Grrr8

              This is all well and good but the days when a colonial draughtsman could draw and re-draw maps and countries and expect the resident populations to accept their new “states” are likely on the wane. From my recollection of history the British did draw up a Palestinian state, one not respected by their other artificially created states (Jordan particularly), never mind Ben Gurion etc. That you quite calmly seem to condone this and think that these people do not deserve a state based on the mistakes of colonial draughtsman and foreign rulers, leaves me a bit chilled.
              Sent from my iPad

              • C. Gee

                Bit chilled are you? Let’s bring you to room temperature.

                Have you developed a coherent ethno-political theory explaining
                state formation based on what a people deserves? Not even the idea of a people being entitled to self-determination as an expression of their racial and cultural distinctiveness (which was behind nineteenth century nationalism and anti-imperialism) rests on the concept of desert. Are the tyrannies and despotisms we see in Arabia the natural forms of government resulting from an essentially Arab mentality or animating spirit? Is this what Arabs deserve?

                There is in the West the corrupt notion that victimhood sanctifies: the Jews were moral when they were victims, but lost that when they became powerful and the displaced Palestinian Arabs are now victims and therefore hold the moral high-ground and deserve to displace Jews. This perversion of the concept of justice underlies the Zionism Is Racism meme: Jews were victims of Nazis, then became Nazis to the Arabs who are now the new Jews. It must be wiped away. Jews had started building the state of Israel before the German genocide – the largest scale persecution and massacre so far experienced by Jews. It is morally repugnant to expect Jews to compete with Palestinians in suffering to deserve the good opinion of pity-mongers and no self-respecting Jew would think of doing so. Why do so many Europeans fall for this poison? Why do they allow the Palestinian apologists to manipulate vulgar Christian precepts – redemption through suffering – to seduce them into a politics of grotesque sentimental cruelty. Yes, these moralist say, the poor Palestinians must send brave suicide bombers and home-made rockets to kill Jews, what else can they do to get a homeland?

                Is it not more “chilling” to see people kept as permanently suffering impoverished refugees with diminished civil rights (even diminished relatively to the unfree citizens) in Arab states? Is it not “chilling” to collude with Arab powers in holding people hostages to Arab political ambitions to eradicate the Jewish state? Is enabling oppression to foster pity not more “chilling” than to say that statehood is a matter of power, not desert?

                Thousands of individual Jews dwelling in “Palestine” (a legal trust created for the purpose of providing a homeland for the Jews), created a viable state (including democratic institutions, legal, social and economic infrastructure) and defended it by force of arms. Do they and their descendants deserve their democracy on that land? The self-appointed gunmen leaders of Palestinian Arabs of Gaza and the West Bank have set up the institutions for a theocracy and a gangster regime, and their “resistance” is popping off Jews wherever they can find them. Do they deserve to have a state (or two)?

                • Grrr8

                  I don’t think your bile is going to bring me or anyone other reasonable person up to room temperature. I may not be the most coherent theoretician here. But I continue to be chilled by your very coherent principle, that states should be determined by the map making pen of colonial bureaucrats sitting in Paris and London. And that the losers in this mapmaking, and the (unrepresented civilian) losers in a ground war of unequal forces (and I mean 1948 not now), should suck it up and accept their fates, as residents of oppressive bantu-stans.
                  If you were that worried about the terrible fate of those Palestinian refugees, have you raised your voice in support of their resettlement in Gaza and the West Bank? For the point, have you raised your voice in support of the millions of reasonable residents (those routinely subjected to collective punishment by the world) of those two places who are neither members nor supporters of either a ‘theocracy’ or a ‘gangster regime’? And those great guardians of Israeli democracy, guarded by force of arms (and $10B of American aid): do you even acknowledge that they use F-16s and cluster bombs against an opponent using rockets, made in little metal workshops, with no technology, accuracy or firepower?
                  You seem to suffer from some wilful blindness and it makes me wonder where it comes from.

                • C. Gee

                  Bile? And it is not my principle. I challenge you to name one nation state, or empire, or even tribal territory at any point in history up to the formation of South Sudan that is not the result of power plays.
                  I will not compete with you in raising my voice in compassion for the oppressed in the West Bank, in Syria, North Korea, Iran, Sudan…I concede you rate highly on noisy compassion scale. Perhaps there will be “springs” everywhere thugs are in government, with Britain in front and America leading from behind.
                  It is obvious you did not understand my point about victimhood, as you buy into the lethal street theatre of Palestinian rockets, describing while quite oblivious to the self-parody.
                  Obviously, if Hamas wants a state, they had better get better arms (like Hezbollah in Lebanon). Did you know they call suicide bombers “F-11s”, as their answer to F-16s? Oh, those little metal workshops, where little murderers work. Oh the pity! Why don’t you put away your handkerchief, stop raising your voice and send arms to these poor people. Have you booked on a flotilla? Have you raised your voice in support of nukes for Iran?
                  And where do you think willful blindness comes from? Is it genetic or learned?

            • Matt Pryor

              The Ottomans agreed in principle to a Jewish state in Palestine (then referred to as Southern Syria) in the late 1900s in exchange for paying off their national debt. Events didn’t quite pan out that way though…

              • Damocles

                You don’t also believe in Father Christmas by any chance do you ?
                Just wondered

            • Damocles

              What gave Britain the right to ‘give’ large chunks of Palestine to the Jews in the first place ?
              What if they had given them say, Wales instead ?
              Do you think the Welsh would be happy ?
              As for your constant pronouncements about the treatment of the Jewish community over the centuries and your allusion to the idea that ‘people just didn’t like them’, firstly the extent to which this actually happened is greatly exaggerated, and secondly perhaps you should read ‘Jewish History, Jewish Religion’ by Israel Shahak (for example) ?
              Classical Judaism encompasses some rather quirky beliefs, and openly declares that Jews are somehow superior to the rest of us, and also preaches some very nasty things about the rest of us, perhaps that has at least something to do with the animosity they faced as a group who separated themselves from mainstream society, from time to time ?
              Shahak was someone who spent some of his childhood in Belsen Concentration Camp and the Foreward to the book is written by (the late) Gore Vidal one of the foremost Jewish intellectuals of the last 50 years. The book is not written by some wild eyed crazy.

              • Malfleur

                “What gave Britain the right to ‘give’ large chunks of Palestine to the Jews in the first place ?” The right of conquest.

                • Damocles

                  Now isn’t it funny, I was under the impression that

                  (a) Britain supported the idea of a homeland for the Jews based in Palestine before Britain had the Mandate over Palestine

                  (b) The Palestinian Arabs fought with the British (Laurence of Arabia etc.,) against the Ottoman Empire (which had previously ruled over that area of the Middle East – which included historic Palestine) so the British didn’t actually ‘conquer’ Palestine as such did they ?

                  (c) plus the British promised the Arabs of Palestine self-determination if they helped them with their effort against the Turks

                  and going on your stated reason, what if the USA decided to give Iraq to the Hispanic population in USA as their homeland ?
                  Well, they did conquer Iraq after all didn’t they (albeit with others)

                  What a daft answer you gave

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=540871186 Shimon Bialoguski

            No state of Israel before 1948? Some mishtake, surely. What you meant to say was that there has never been a state of ‘Palestine’. Ever. There is plenty of evidence of Jewish national sovereignty in what is now Israel from before 1948.

            • Damocles

              really ?
              Please enlighten me

          • mightymark

            Why should Israel’s pre existing Jewish population – not all of which was European in origin, or Israel’s post 1948 Arab Jewish and other non European populations have been exported to Germany, Poland – or Patagonia?

    • Damocles

      And the fact that Israel was created by stealing (by force) most of historic Palestine, by militias that were almost exclusively immigrants (i.e. not indigenous to the local area) all justified by a story from the Bible ?
      When the political movement called Zionism was founded in 1897 by Herzl, the population of Palestine was approximately 3-4% Jewish, and there was no history of conflict between them and the indigenous Arabs going back hundreds of years. All that changed with the arrival of the zionists with their ‘exclusive’ claim to the land.
      Could it possibly be that this has something to do with why ‘the International Community’ feels that Israel is not even attempting to be reasonable with the indigenous inhabitants ?
      Remember, when Israel mounts yet another onslaught on the (largely defenceless) population of Gaza (or indeed the West Bank) our Governments often help in whatever way they can, and much of the latest high-tech weaponry Israel uses comes from and is financed by the USA, so we are involved.
      Perhaps some people feel that ‘we’ (the West) are supposed to be fighting the good fight aren’t we ?
      Perhaps increasing numbers of people have come to question how supporting this colonialist, expansionist enterprise is fighting the good fight ?

      • C. Gee

        I stopped reading after “And the fact that Israel was created by stealing”

        • Damocles

          I am not surprised.
          Your points are simply ridiculous and very, very easy to refute
          so best avoid any intelligent discussion
          because you are on a hiding to nothing and you know it.

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