It’s the Holocaust, stupid.

Arbeit Macht Frei (Work Means Freedom) at the entrance to Auschwitz where 1.1 million people died, 90% of them Jews

Arbeit Macht Frei (Work Means Freedom) at the entrance to Auschwitz where 1.1 million people died, 90% of them Jews

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign is extremely adept at keeping the memory of the Holocaust alive, but, sadly, not for memorialising or academic purposes.

Many a PSC event, or those held by other anti-Israel organisations, seem to start off by invoking the Holocaust.

And why not?

For sure, the very sound of the word “Holocaust” makes an audience’s ears prick up.

The Holocaust. Two simple but emotive words.

You would hope that the memory of 6,000,000 Jews (including 1,000,000 children) and 4,000,000 Communists, gypsies, homosexuals and the physically and mentally disabled would only be invoked when utterly necessary.

Maybe on Holocaust Memorial Day (27th January each year), a visit to Auschwitz or Dachau maybe or maybe an educational class about the Holocaust. This is appropriate.

But a talk presented by the PSC at the House of Commons entitled Ending the siege on Gaza – Eyewitness reports from the Viva Palestina convoy, Parliamentary delegations, and Westminster University Architects is an inappropriate place.

I doubt, somehow, that Gaza, Viva Palestina, Parliamentary delegations and Westminster University Architects have anything to do with Jews being gassed, hanged, shot, burned alive, having medical experiments performed on their genitals and having their corpses bulldozed into mass unmarked graves.

Holocaust denial is sickening enough (and there is plenty of it around in Iran and Arab countries) but gratuitously invoking the Holocaust, as Lord Andrew Phillips of Sudbury did at the PSC event on tuesday, is sickening in its own way.

Perhaps he should be forgiven as he is a Liberal Democrat peer. As we well know, the Liberal Democrats, wishing to entice the Muslim vote, are not well-disposed to Israel.

But being anti-Israel is no excuse to utilise the Holocaust just to get an audience’s attention. If Lord Phillips thinks he was being intelligent and authoritative, he wasn’t.

According to Jonathan Hoffman Lord Phillips was eager to tell everyone that his first visual memory was of the Holocaust (he was born in 1939) and he suggested that Israel was created only because of the guilt felt by the West after the Holocaust.

Lord Phillips, according to Hoffman, also said, “Europe cannot think straight about Israel because of the Holocaust and America is in the grip of the well-organised Jewish lobby.”

The sub-text to these comments seems to be that if six million Jews hadn’t died at the hands of those blinking Nazis there would be peace in the world today. There would be no need for Al Qaida, Hamas and Hizbollah. It’s all because of that blinking Holocaust, stupid.

Even from the grave Hitler is exerting his presence thanks to the likes of Lord Phillips.

Just for good measure Lord Phillips said he believes that Israel has a right to exist but no one who addresses a Palestine Solidarity Campaign meeting believes this and certainly wouldn’t be invited to give a talk if they did.

If he was pushed further he would state that Israel has a right to exist but that the Palestinians must have the have a right to return, which would extinguish the Jewish nature of Israel.

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign supports Hamas (or, at least, doesn’t denounce it), a banned terrorist organisation. Hamas has sent many suicide bombers into packed Israeli restaurants and would continue to do so if it wasn’t for the security wall built, far too belatedly, by Israel.

Supporting Hamas is bad enough but the PSC and its speakers should leave those who have been tortured and murdered by the Nazis to rest in peace and not have their experiences raised for political point scoring or to grab an audience’s attention, especially when the topic at hand is totally unrelated to the Holocaust.

35 responses to “It’s the Holocaust, stupid.

  1. thanks Richard

    btw I think the right of return executed would trigger the converting of the only democracy in the middle-east into something all too similar to its neighbours in no time whatsoever

    she could survive as a Jewish state though if she adopted domination by a minority style stuff from her neighbours, but somehow I think very few Jewish Israelis would enjoy living in such a state.

  2. I truly fear for the future of democracy in the face of such offensive ,and apparently well organised, stupidity.

    Does Lord Phillips ever stop to consider the consequences of what he is saying ? I doubt it somehow.

  3. Richard, I’ve adressed PSC meetings and I think Israel has a right to exist -t

    But I really came here to ask you about the Israeli ambassador to Europe, Ran Curiel, because he seems to be making rather inappropriate comments about Europe’s history too.

  4. Mr. Judelson seems to be a very educated man and an exceedingly elegant writer but unfortunate for me has a style of quoting which leaves me scratching my head as I used to do in school when I was supposed to write or say something when asked the question: What is the poet trying to tell us here?

  5. Silke, in one comment you pay me three huge compliments? Educated, an exceedingly elegant writer (that’s my favourite), a poet even? I shall engage with you often if you choose to express your scepticism about what i have to say in this way.

    But is it indeed elegant if a reader does not undestand the point? Which was: “is it wise for a senior Israeli diplomat to resort to this kind of moral blackmail in the first instance?” I think it is extremely unwise, even reprehensible. That, for all the flowery quoting, is my essential point.

  6. Dan
    and to say it bluntly you make the point in a way that smells for lack of a stronger word of slandering.

  7. Silke, I have the original exchange of letters between Heidi Hautala MEP and H. E. Ran Curiel. I am quoting verbatim, not slandering. Curiel’s words are his own and I think he was mistaken to write them.

    I’m happy to forward you the PDF files (of the letters) if you wish – via Richard if you prefer not to give your email address out in public.

  8. Dan
    I am not interested in your proving your case, I am interested in criticizing/mocking your highly pretentious writing style – whom are you trying to imitate or surpass? my first guess is a mixture of Wilde and Orwell in any case you are trying way beyond your abilities and I as a reader object to this kind of erudition.

    I don’t doubt that you quoted verbatim – I object to not making your point convincingly due to whatever you were trying to say.

  9. Mock away Silke, but you need to do it without accusing me of slandering anyone (and it would be libel anyway, not slander, as the former is written and the latter oral, I believe).

  10. Dan
    I don’t think I am subject to British jurisdiction

    and even if so you should always cut us non-natives some slack

  11. come to think of it, maybe

    wilful obfuscation

    might be an adequate description

  12. What is being obfuscated?

  13. to answer that question needs an essay by a true writer, deeply familiar and red in the subject, and certainly nobody is more qualified than you

    I am not a writer, I am a reader, operating exclusively on gut-reactions and as thus I am always holding the writer responsible for “losing” me.

    You know I am one of these creatures who voluntarily pays writers who in her mind to a good job for their stuff whenever she is given a chance.

    I guess I am not giving away a secret when I tell you that the majority of Richard’s pieces would easily qualify.

  14. Anyone who says “I think Israel has a right to exist” is patronising, arrogant and doesn’t like those uppity Israeli Jews very much. Israel exists, end of. It does not need permission from the likes of Judelson or the appalling Phillips and the rest of his revolting colleagues to do so.

  15. PS. In the same vein, although I suppose not quite as patronising but still pretty much so, is the substitution of “the Jewish state” for “Israel” on e.g. news programmes. When taking about Peru, for example, do they ever say “the Peruvian state has decided to enter into a trade agreement with the Bolivian state?”. Of course not. The phrase “the Jewish state”, in this context, implies exceptionalism. People still can’t quite believe that the Jews have the unmitigated chutzpah to behave like proper people, have their own country and run their own affairs without asking permission from anybody. I mean, how DARE they?

  16. Quick note, I think “Arbeit Macht Frei” means “Work Makes Free”, although where I’m from, Bessarabia, the signs at the gates to the camps read “Arbeit Macht Das Leben Sich”, from what my grandpa tells me.

  17. Victor
    I don’t know any word “Sich” (except in combination with verbs like “sich ekeln” where it means oneself and is quite common) – there is German “sicher” which means secure but that doesn’t make sense in the context either. Another idea could be “schön” beautiful, but the most likely is “süß” sweet which I know only in an irony tinged context as a proverb – maybe your grandfather was joking and telling you what they told themselves in the camp.

  18. Yoni, I agree with your point to an extent – the question is not one that is asked of the UK, Zimbabwe or Chechnya for example. But I think you are being a bit sweeping, not least because the question is one that is always being put to campaigners like me, perhaps on the assumption that the reply will be “no”.

    I was responding here to a point that Richard raised in his post and which – correct me if I am wrong Richard – he put to the four speakers, including me, of a public meeting in Cambridge in February 2009, requesting a one word answer.

  19. Well, if you are responding to a specific question, then fair enough.
    I would then say that the question shouldn’t ever be put (I certainly wouldn’t dream of putting it myself), because it opens the door to those anti-Zionists who think that the Jews are the only nation not entitled to its own country (i.e. 99% of them, excluding only the deranged end of the mega-ultra-orthodox who insist that one should seek to destroy Israel until the arrival of the actual physical messiah, actually physically riding a white she-ass, and the minuscule percentage who think ALL nation-states should be destroyed; and those 99% are not ‘campaigners’, they are antisemites); and in any case encourages the patronising attitude I referred to above.
    However, you know perfectly well that “I think Israel has a right to exist, but …” has replaced “Some of my best friends are Jews, but …” in the lexicon of those who think the rest of us were born stupid and will fall for this ludicrous figleaf.

  20. No “buts” in my formulation Yoni. Unless it’s the same as in the Balfour Declaration – i.e. as long as the Palestinians are allowed the same rights to self determination as the Israelis (and the British and Chechnyans and Scots and the Kurds and …)

    • There is no mention of ‘Palestinians’ in the BD, and I do wish people like you bothered to mug up on the relevant history before spouting such nonsense. ‘Palestinians’ were invented in 1964, along with the whole concept of the mythical ‘historical Palestinian homeland’, aka the biggest fraud ever perpetrated on ignorant Western so-called ‘progressives’. The Arabs were given self-determination in the 78% of the Mandate that became Judenrein as Trans-Jordan, along of course with all the other Arab states.
      Try again, you can do better than this.

  21. what did they call themselves while the Ottoman Empire was still alive?

    • Is that a Q to Dan? Arabs, of course. Members of the great Arab nation, “Along with all our Arab brothers”.
      They became ‘Palestinians’ by a sleight-of-hand, in a sort of backformation that pulled off the linguistic trick of making the Jews foreigners (or “white European foreign coloni(ali)st Imperialist invaders”, to be known henceforth as WEFCII(TM)), with nil historical connection to the country known as ‘Palestine’ that obviously belongs to the ‘Palestinians’, innit, by a circular sham-logic that convinces only those that have a problem with Jews being independent in their own country and sticking up a finger to them.

      • Yoni
        yes it was a question to Dan –

        I happen to know some very very few basics and Dan’s latest statement was so dumb in its clumsy attempt of comparing apples and pears or rather fata morganas and real things that I had a vague hope that he might dig himself into a big hole with his answer.

  22. Oops, sorry, Silke, 200 culpa (do you speak Hebrew? if not, that’s a pun). The temptation was too great.
    Must resist the temptation to correct dumb statements … Must resist the temptation to correct dumb statements …

    • Yoni
      you made absolutely no dumb statement, yours was second best to Dan digging a hole for himself – I don’t speak Hebrew, I am not even a Jew, I am German German, but I could never word that part of the argument as well as you and lots of others I read do and did.

      I have something else on offer though. I love history books and am right now on my second to last leg of a series of books about the Mediterranean: John Julius Norwich on the Mediterranean (1 volume) Byzantium (3 volumes) Sicily (2 volumes) Venice in the midst of 1 of 2
      Again and again Jews happen to be mentioned here or there and surprise surprise also as having been in Jerusalem (the Crusaders slaughtered them, remember?) but not once have I come across Palestinians. but of course what are 3.500 pages by a first-class story teller and a bit of an authority? nothing for the Dans of this world.

      • Silke,
        danke, sehr nett von Ihnen.
        Actually, I meant that the dumb statement was Dan’s 🙂
        And yes, there is that little matter of Jews having a well-developed polity in Jerusalem, Hebron, Nablus, Bethlehem, etc etc, a mere 1700 years before the Arabs arrived.

  23. From the Balfour Declaration:

    … it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.

    Though I suspect you knew that anyway.

    But your comments about Jordan raise another question: how do you see the Palestinian’s claim to a state of their own being settled? Do you hope or expect they will give it up completely? Or does a modern solution to this conflict involve the two states I envisage in my answer to you above?

    Silke, another book for your shelves after you have completed John Julius Norwich’s tome: Palestine: A Personal History.

    A review by Adam Lebor is worth reading first.

    • Dan,
      Why, oh why, are you trying to flimflam people who know a thing or two about ME history, or even just to construe plain English?
      “Civil and religious rights ” does NOT mean “a separate state”. It means religious freedom (Israel is the only country in the ME that has that ) and the freedom to be a citizen. We know whose civic rights are greater: those of Arabs in Israel, or those of Arabs in Saudi; and let’s not even start on women’s rights.
      Perhaps you wish to tell us which group is expressly associated with a national home in the BD. Hint: it’s not Inuits.
      I don’t know what the future will bring. I do know that a population with a genocidal agenda towards Israel can’t simply be let loose to get on with that agenda. And I do know that a Judenrein J&S, which many in your camp are clamouring for, is not on. Sorry, that boat has sailed.

  24. thanks Dan but before that I urgently want to go back to Churchill, another high class writer of gripping page turners whose multi-volume WW1 provided me with a really good time and in whose WW2 6 volume history I got stuck in volume 1 probably because life interfered

    and thanks for the hint to Adam Lebor’s review – I hope he does Sabbagh an injustice by picking out this quote – sorry this implies a style which I find highly off-putting – you see I mind if a writer tries to entice me into reading him by telling me that he considers me to be dumb beyond imagination.

    “I am the son of a Palestinian father, but I am endowed with few of the characteristics associated in the popular mind with Palestinians or Arabs. I am not poor, unshaven or a speaker of broken English. I do not know how to use a gun or manufacture a bomb. I have had little to do with camels, sand or palm trees.”

    • Yes, is he an Arab or a ‘Palestinian’?
      That’s the thing, some people want to have their cake and eat it, too. All very nice, I am sure, but not when it’s at the expense of the Jewish nation’s right to self-determination. The Jews’ are no longer the world’s whipping boy (except, that is, the reprehensible ASHjews), even though some people find this really, really hard to grasp.

  25. “… it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”

    Interesting to note that in the case of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine talk was of “civil and religious rights” while in the case of Jews in any other country it was of “rights and political status”.

    In other word, no mention was made of Palestinian political right and this was no oversight as they were mentioned in the case of Jews in other countries a few words later.

    Makes ye’ think!

  26. Daniel
    judging on Dan’s thinking by his writing I assume that he has long evolved into one of these higher intelligences which for earthlings like me are out of reach.

    I am worried about him though that he cares for a writer who tells him that the popular mind is dumb.
    There are two possible explanations:
    either he prides himself that his mind is higher evolved than the public one, see above,
    or he enjoys getting bashed and other than others I can think of he may even have paid for getting his masochistic itches scratched by having bought the book. (unless of course he got it from somewhere for free)

  27. I didn’t intend to discuss Dan’s personality. I don’t know him and I’m a little wary of assuming that everyone who agrees with me is a good and moral person, while all my opponents are bounders. Dan may be an angel – I have no idea.

    My only point was that the Balfour Declaration is the last document that opponents of Zionism ought to be using, as it assured the East End Jew infinitely more political rights over the governance of Great Britain than it did the then Arab population over Israel (Palestine at that time).

    Quite rightly from there point of view, the Arab leadership of the day opposed the Balfour declaration and endeavored, often successfully, to have it watered down and even abandoned.

    I, for my part, am prepared to accept the Balfour Declaration today. Just look at the borders we’d be getting!

  28. Daniel
    I judge people by what they say and by extention by what they write.

    It has happened quite often that people have misled me into assuming that they are worth my trust quite often, the other way around rarely.

    I remember something from religious lesson that one shouldn’t judge to avoid being judged. This has never been explained to me in a way I could understand.

    As to Balfour: I’d love to see Israel’s benign and conducive to peoples’ doing well style of governing/rule/dominance extended over large areas? You betcha!