BBC tones down British MP’s comments on Jews and the Holocaust

As readers may have heard, the Liberal Democrat MP for Bradford East – David Ward – made a reprehensible comparison between the Holocaust and the Arab-Israeli conflict just days before Holocaust Memorial Day is marked in his country and others on January 27th

The Commentator, which first broke the story, has the details:

“British Member of Parliament David Ward has issued a statement to the ‘Asian Image’ magazine, juxtaposing the Middle East Conflict with the Holocaust.

As Holocaust Memorial Day is to be observed on Sunday, the Liberal Democrat MP, upon signing the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Book of Commitment in the House of Commons, stated:

“Having visited Auschwitz twice – once with my family and once with local schools – I am saddened that the Jews, who suffered unbelievable levels of persecution during the Holocaust, could within a few years of liberation from the death camps be inflicting atrocities on Palestinians in the new State of Israel and continue to do so on a daily basis in the West Bank and Gaza.” “

Ward later gave a statement to the Commentator in which he said:

“The Holocaust was one of the worst examples in history man’s inhumanity to man. When faced with examples of atrocious behaviour, we must learn from them. It appears that the suffering by the Jews has not transformed their views on how others should be treated.”

The situation worsened as Ward gave an interview to Sky News and another interview with him emerged from last November – during Operation Pillar of Cloud – on BBC Radio Leeds, in which he said:

“If all the illegal settlements were vacated and the land given back there wouldn’t be any rocket attacks.”

For more details of, and commentary on, the incident see the Telegraph, the Commentator, Paul David Evans, the Jewish Chronicle, the Independent, Harry’s Place and the Guido Fawkes blog

So how did the BBC relate to the story? Well, it interviewed Ward on Radio 5 live (which can be heard via the link below) – although with nowhere near the tenacity of the Sky News interviewer. It also published an article about the incident on the UK Politics page of the BBC News website. There, it stated that: [emphasis added]

“He accused “the Jews” in Israel of “inflicting atrocities on Palestinians… on a daily basis”.

Ward 2

Except he didn’t. Ward referred to “the Jews” in general. 

So why did the BBC think it appropriate to try to tone down and ‘contextualise’ Ward’s abhorrent remarks? 

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

Update 2: David Ward has now issued an apology. The BBC has published another article on the subject in which it repeats the use of the same phrasing employed in its first report.  

Ward 3

Likewise, the BBC News Twitter account also phrased Tweets promoting its latest report in a manner which clearly suggests that Ward’s remarks related to Israelis instead of “the Jews” as a collective.  

BBC News tweets 26 1

Once again, one must ask why the BBC appears to be trying so hard to blur the antisemitic nature of Ward’s remarks and why in doing so, it seems to be unaware that “drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis” is also defined as antisemitism under the EUMC working definition

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32 comments on “BBC tones down British MP’s comments on Jews and the Holocaust

  1. ‘why did the BBC think it appropriate to try to tone down and ‘contextualise’ ‘

    Because that is what they do .

    And should not.

    They add words as it suits, and remove them if they don’t.

    Which is propaganda in complement with censorship.

    • Fancy meeting you here, junkkmale. Any luck trying to educate the BBC’s Robin Lustig on his personal blog? I cannot bring myself to visit it.

  2. I am saddened but not shocked by his comments. I don’t even know if he’s an anti-semite. This is the all to common left/liberal “moral equivilency”. The (take your pick, Holocaust, school bus attack, family murders=whatever self defence move Israel makes) distortion. And it’s not only Israel they use it on. Israel, Zionists (read Jews) are only the most common target!

  3. Isn’t that typical BBC: editing a comment, which may or may not be anti-Semitic, to try to make it appear unlikely to be anti-Semitic. Clumsy as well, since obviously Ward was talking about Jewish Israelis. It’s equally obvious that he did not mention Israelis because he wanted to emphasise the fact that Jews were the ones committing “atrocities” against the Palestinians. That, he knew full well in his bias, would strengthen the link he was trying to forge between the actions of the Nazis and Israelis.

  4. Posted this on the Telegraph blog:

    The Arab and broader Muslim world is virulently anti-Semitic. Even the state media in Egypt, Israel’s “peace partner” produces anti-Semitic cartoons to rival those of the Nazis. ‘The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,’ an anti-Semitic forgery, and ‘Mein Kampf’ are wildly popular in these countries. As mentioned by Coleridge1 about half an hour back, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem was a Nazi who, if he’d had the chance, would have brought the Holocaust to the Jews of Palestine. The main obsessive intent of Hezbollah and Hamas is to kill Jews – and not just Israeli Jews. Both of these terrorist groups have been photographed doing the Nazi salute.

    So when they compare the Jews to the Nazis, it’s a transparent propaganda trick – make believe your enemy is guilty of what you are in fact guilty of. And they shout it long and loud enough to make others believe it and parrot the propaganda.

    • Toby Young’s article seems to have beckoned to the fevered antisemite, TrueToo!
      Reading some of their comments you can only be thankful that you’re not possessed of such a mind. Or indeed, possessed – full stop.

      • Just as an aside. I left a comment – well several – and I’ve been moderated. What seems to be missing from my comment is a few words about the corruption of the PA. Yet so much worse is appearing from the virulent, so-called pro-Palestinian crowd.

        • Hi pennylan! Yes, some real weirdos on that site. I’ve been enjoying your comments. They also moderated one of mine. They deleted the bit where I pointed out that Ward, far from being the lonely, brave soul people like to portray him as, is in reality backed by huge numbers of anti-Semites, some of whom had wandered onto that blog.

          I find it particularly annoying when people try to portray the Israel bashers as waging a courageous, lonely battle against great odds.

          Well, at least they left the bit in where I asked someone to hand me a bucket.

          • I’ve enjoyed reading your comments, too – but what’s that moderation policy all about?!! I don’t understand it. Removed from mine was wider reference to children being encouraged to blow themselves up. It’s factual, been commented on even by Clinton, and surely of concern? Also removed was mention of corruption among Palestinian leaders. I could understand a moderator acting if none of this was true – but it is and hardly a secret. Meanwhile, the most outrageous claims by the anti brigade are left standing. Incomprehensible. That said, I’m not sure it’s moderation a la Guardian mode. It seems to me to be moderation by people who don’t fully understand their task.

          • Oh and yes, the bucket is sorely needed! With every comment these people make they demonstrate that their concern for the Palestinian people is non-existent. How telling was the comment left in response to my expressing concern for children’s education? “Manipulative” wrote whatever-is-name-is. His first thought was not to engage with the subject of children being brainwashed into hatred and possible martyrdom, but to see even the mention of them at all as a manipulation!

  5. So why did the BBC think it appropriate to try to tone down and ‘contextualise’ Ward’s abhorrent remarks?

    First, why did he make those comments?
    When I see that he is the MP for Bradford East it becomes clear. Besides being a fool, he obviously has no moral or ethical fibre, and will say what he knows the many Muslim constituents of his domain want to hear, regardless of fact.

    All this publicity has for him just made sure his public will know that he stands with them.

    The BBC knew that even for them he went over the top, but there also in the business of appeasing Muslims, so they just ‘tidied it up’ for general consumption along the lines of their normal bias.

  6. “I’m accusing the Jews who did it, so if you’re a Jew and you did not do it, then I’m not accusing you. I’m saying that those Jews who did that and continue to do it have not learned those lessons. If you are a Jew and do not do those things… then I am not criticising you.”

    Using his perverse logic I would argue that since Jews are expected to “learn their lesson,” from their persecution then any violence against Palestinians by Israel should be congratulated as Israel’s attempt to “teach” the Palestinians their lessons!!

  7. The next logical conclusion of his line of thinking is since Jews haven’t “learnt their lesson,” from prior genocide it’s time to teach them again eg another round of murder/persecution against Jews.

  8. What ‘lesson’ should Jews learn from the Holocaust, or preceding pogroms for that matter?
    Simply not to trust nations who have a vested interest in demonizing Jews to achieve some other agenda. I think most Jews learned that lesson, which is why Israel is so important, and the desire to live in peace. The reality is that for all Jews in Israel ‘the Holocaust’ has never ended – merely slowed. Peace has never been known, and there’s no doubt that their neighbours, with few exception, would like to finish off what Hitler started.

    Seems to me it’s Ward and his ilk, including the BBC, who have not learned the lessons of the Holocaust. It is their kind of mentality which caused and perpetrated it. Lowly beings, who can’t think too well, appeasing Muslims who if they get their way, will eventually destroy Ward and his kind.

    Right now, he just wants their votes.

  9. Early Day motion 1349, tabled 26/01/2011

    “That this House expresses grave alarm over recent reports of the torture of prisoners under the custody of the Palestinian Authority; notes that the Arab Organization for Human Rights reported that from 2008 to 2009 six detainees were tortured to death; recognises that citizens of the Palestinian Authority are often subject to indiscriminate arrest and torture with no access to legal counsel; urges the Government to seek from the Palestinian authorities guarantees that the basic human rights of detainees shall be respected; and joins in the condemnation of the use of torture which is contrary to international law.”

    Two MP’s signed this. Robert Halfon and Peter Bottomley.

    The hypocrisy of those – like Ward – who claim to care about the Palestinians really does need to be highlighted and questioned. They only care if the word ‘Israel’ can be slotted into the frame.

    • Thankyou for bringing this to our attention. The term as I understand it is “Sui Genaris”. Israel being held to seperate, often arbitrary rules no one else is held to.
      There is a great vid on YouTube. See Robbie Sabel.

  10. penylan – the reply button for your two last responses to me went AWOL so I’m responding here.

    I’ve found that moderation is inconsistent in every blog I’ve been to. Probably yesterday whoever was on duty was a PeeCee protector of the doe-eyed, innocent Palestinians against the Israelis and therefore snipped away at your comments, leaving bits of them on the floor.

    The quality of practically all the anti-Israel comments on that Telegraph blog is really bottom of the barrel.

    • Bottom of the barrel indeed! It was the crowd I tend to think of as the ‘Feverishly Excited; – the type whose energy rises and whose life takes on meaning when there’s a chance to pretend to love the Palestinian people. Who, of course, hardly get a mention what with all the Israel atrocities being described.

  11. Don’t hold your breath for David Ward to be kicked out of the lib dem party, former home of Baroness Jenny “poison-tongue” Tonge, home of Isra-hater former leader Menzies “Minger” Campbell and other assorted reprobates, all the way back to Jeremy Thorpe.

    • PS, Duvidl should have mentioned Mark “wife understands why I used 3-in-bed rent boys” Oaten MP and former drunk leader Charles “whisky face” Kennedy, both to be seen airing their views regularly on the BBC.

      • Perhaps Duvidl should continue: deputy leader Simon “not the gay candidate” Hughes,MP, who is gay and former leader Lord Paddy “Pantsdown” Ashdown.

    • Last fall, I was watching a Cspan broadcast of British Parliment. Israel/Palestine was the topic. Especially the wall. While there was not one pro-Israel comment, the Conservatives were by and large even handed and always calm. (In the 90 minutes I watched). The Liberals were always, I repeat, always hostile to Israel. Further, there was a hint of anger in all. Many sounded hatefull, near hysterical. To Israel of course.

  12. according to wiki n the 2001 census the percentage of the population identifying as Christian was 60.14% whilst 16.08% identified as Muslim, 1.02% Sikh and 0.95% Hindu. 13.3% identified as having no religion and 8.1% did not state a religious affiliation. The percentage of Jews, Buddhists and those following other religions amounted to fewer than 0.5% of the city’s population.[70]”
    ……. not hard to see which side of his bread is buttered.

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