Call Israel what you like, but don't diminish the Holocaust

Israel's critics often complain that they're shut down as anti-Semites. Maybe that's because so many of them truly are?

Anti-Semitism does exist, you know?
On 12 July 2013 09:12

So another Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament has been caught making deplorable comments about the Holocaust, likening it to a conflict that has in its entirety claimed fewer lives on both sides than Bashar al-Assad's forces have extinguished in just a few short years. And that's when we include military deaths in the former, too.

It feels inherently British sometimes, to hear anti-Semitic or intolerant comments about Jews and their history. It makes me sick, not just as a Brit, but as someone who was raised in Islam. If I can have the requisite sensitivity about the Holocaust, what precludes people like Sir Bob Russell and David Ward from exercising the same clarity of thought on these issues?

Remember, we broke the story on Ward, who stated, "It appears that the suffering by the Jews has not transformed their views on how others should be treated," and accused Israel of basically conducting its on Holocaust against the Palestinians. He was swiftly rebuked by basically everyone. 

I floated an idea a while back, about the crux of it being the company which men like Ward and Russell keep. Safe to say Baroness Tonge moves in the same circles, led in part by the Palestinian Solidarity Campaigners whose logo replaces the entirety of Israel and the Palestinian Territories with a new 'Palestine'.

Perhaps it's these kind of lobbyists that fuel the type of sentiment that pervades the British establishment. It's not really for me to say whether this is what groups like the PSC aim for, but it's no great leap to see how the interchangeability of 'Jews' and 'Zionists' and 'Israelis' which occurs in these circles can make people like David Ward unsure about his lingo. Some see all three things as inseparable, like Labour's Lord Ahmed. Some just don't care and seemingly brag about their bigotedness, like Patrick Mercer.

And the British establishment, epitomised in part by the Foreign and Conmonwealth Office, does the world no favours by welcoming one-state solution and boycott types who are tied up with anti-Semites and bigots. 

So here's the solution, since people are so quick to claim that any criticism of Israel is painted as anti-Semitism by pro-Israel types, which it most certainly is not, let's be quite clear.

Have your say on Israel. The facts are such that the Jewish State can handle your criticism.

If you're a nutbag who wants the best functioning democracy in the region wiped off the map, say so. If you oppose settlement policies, and know the facts, rather than the propaganda, then we're just as keen for you to have your say. If you can fault the State of Israel's policies on merit, rather than invoking Judaism, the Holocaust or offensive anti-Semitic tropes, who's going to try and stop you?

But guess what?

When you start invoking blood libels, ancient conspiracy theories, diminish the extermination of 6 million Jews or claim that people who happen to be Jewish run the world, well, that does make you an anti-Semite. It really does. No really, it does. You should embrace it. Now march yourself down to the annals of history and stay there, because the 21st century has no place for race baiters and bigots. And nor should the British Parliament.

So if you're a British resident and you want to protest about Sir Bob Russell's comments, click here, get in touch with your MP (especially if it's Sir Bob) and have your say. 

Raheem Kassam is the Executive Editor for The Commentator

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