Pleased to see this letter from Lib Dem Chief Whip Alistair Carmichael to the Holocaust Educational Trust about David Ward's appalling comments about "the Jews" and the Holocaust. Hearing Mr Ward's later comments on Sky News, I wonder if I am one of the Jews who do it, or one of the Jews who don't do it? Mr Ward says:
I'm accusing the Jews who did it, so if you're a Jew and you did not do it 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 you do not do those things and have never done those things then I am of course not criticising you.What would be the reaction if, in discussing traveller sites, I said:
I'm accusing the Gypsies who did it, so if you're a Gypsy and you did not do it I'm not accusing you. I'm saying that those Gypsies who did that and continue to do it have not learned those lessons. If you are a Gypsy and you do not do those things and have never done those things then I am of course not criticising you.It is very nice of Mr Ward, in discussing a community of normative, law-abiding British people (in this case, Jewish people), to benevolently give them (us) the benefit of the doubt and say that he is not criticising us for...whatever it is that he is now criticising Jews or Israelis for. There was I assuming that, as an individual human being, I was not going to suddenly find myself criticised (least of all on the basis of the cultural group into which I happen to have been born) on the television by a Member of Parliament, as I was not aware of any suggestion that I had done anything wrong, but it turns out that I am wrong - as Jews, we are on trial, with various criteria as to whether or not he is "accusing" us of things.
It stinks, and it would stink just as much if said about Muslims, about British Asians, or about any other minority group. History teaches us at all costs to avoid the politics of "I blame the Jews".