British Politicians and Their Jewish Conspiracy

According to rational optimists, no one now could believe in the allegation of a "Jewish conspiracy" to control the world, or at least the American State Department.  This fabrication had disappeared into the dustbin of history, even if the virus of anti-Semitism was still active.  It therefore came as a surprise to find that belief in such a conspiracy is still alive and well -- and is being advanced by members of three political parties in both Houses of Parliament in Britain, as recent incidents have shown.

The first set of events concerns Lord Ahmed, one of the first three Muslims appointed to the House of Lords in 1998.  Nazir Ahmed, born in Kashmir and raised in Britain, was originally a fishmonger.  He became a Labour Party member of a local council, a justice of the peace, a leader of the British Muslim community, and a successful property dealer before Prime Minister Tony Blair sent him at the age of 40 to the House of Lords as a Labour peer.

On March 14, 2013 Ahmed was suspended from official attachment, through the party whip, to the Labour Party "pending an investigation" of remarks he had made on a television interview while on a visit to Pakistan in April 2012.  He declared in Urdu that his conviction and prison sentence for dangerous driving in 2009 resulted from pressure on the courts imposed by members of a Jewish conspiracy "who own newspapers and television channels."  Implicit in his assertion was the inference that he was punished for supporting the cause of the Palestinians.  The reality was that he might have been prosecuted in Britain for a hate crime if his charge of a Jewish conspiracy had been made on British soil.

Ahmed served only 16 days, although he had been sentenced to a term of twelve weeks.  He was convicted for an incident that took place on Christmas Day, 2007.  While driving his Jaguar at high speed, he had been sending text messages and had crashed into a stationary vehicle whose occupant, a young Slovakian, was killed.  Since he pleaded guilty to the charge, it was surprising that he later tried to cast aspersions on the judge who sentenced him by allegedly and somewhat convolutedly saying the judge was appointed to the High Court after helping a Jewish colleague of Tony Blair during an important case.

By contrast, there is nothing convoluted or indirect about Ahmed's previous actions and statements on Jews and Israel, among other issues.  He was earlier suspended from the Labour Party in 2012 after it was reported that he had placed a "bounty" of £10 million for the capture of George Bush and Tony Blair, who he urged should be brought to the International Court of Human Rights to face charges of war crimes committed in Iraq and Afghanistan.  The Labour Party was lenient on this occasion and ended the suspension after three months.

Ahmed's intolerance of criticism of Islam is clear.  In 2007 he opposed a knighthood for Salman Rushdie, arguing that the author had "blood on his hands."  In 2009 he threatened to mobilize 10,000 Muslims to prevent a film critical of Islam made by Geert Wilders, the Dutch parliamentarian, from being shown in the House of Lords. He also revealed his double-prejudices stemming from his birth as a Muslim Pakistani and his anti-Israeli activism when he was alleged to have remarked that Israel and India were jointly massacring the innocent Muslims in Palestine and occupied Kashmir.

On a number of other occasions, Ahmed has expressed his anti-Israeli views.  In February 2005 he hosted a book party in the House of Lords for "Israel Shamir," a Swedish journalist and author.  Shamir has used many aliases, but despite them, he is generally regarded as an anti-Semite and a Holocaust-denier; he is also recognized as helping Julian Assange in the leaking of United States cables.  No doubt officials of the European Union would be surprised to learn, as Ahmed did, that Shamir contends that Jews now " own, control, and edit a large share of mass media ... they rule over the minds and souls of Europeans."

On another occasion, Ahmed in 2009 signed a letter praising Prime Minister Erdoğan after the Turkish leader had walked out of a debate with President Shimon Peres of Israel at Davos.  Ahmed was also convinced that Jewish student groups in Britain actively recruited for the Israel Defense Forces.

The second British case of what at best could be considered questionable, if not anti-Semitic, comments was the remarks made by David Ward, a Liberal Democratic Member of Parliament, for the constituency of Bradford East (Yorkshire), in which Muslims constitute about a quarter of the electorate.  In the general election of 2010, he won by a majority of 365 votes and was supported by the Muslim Public Affairs Committee (MPACUK) that proclaims itself Britain's main Muslim civil rights organization.

In conjunction with the signing of the Book of Remembrance marking Holocaust Memorial Day in January 2013, Ward remarked that he was 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."  Noticeably, Ward spoke of "Jews," not "Israelis."

Ward was not really reprimanded.  He received only a mild censure by his political party and was simply given the suggestion that he meet with the Liberal Democratic Friends of Israel in the British Parliament.  But Ward, a frequent critic of Israel, went on to blame a "high operation" of Israel supporters, " a machine ... designed to protect the state of Israel from criticism," for the controversy he had himself created.  His statement suggests equivalence between the policies of Israel and the Nazi Holocaust: "It appears that the suffering by the Jews has not transformed their views on how others should be treated."  On his website, he alleges that "the Jews had failed to learn the lessons of the Holocaust."

Ahmed and Ward are not the only British parliamentarians expressing views of this kind.  The case of Lady Tonge, member of the House of Lords, is familiar.  She is an unremitting critic of Israeli activities and Israel's "brutalization of Palestinians."  In February 2010, she suggested that members of the Israel Defense Forces had harvested body parts while on a humanitarian mission in Haiti.  In March 2012, she spoke of Israel's "relentless ethnic cleansing, land grab, and what many people would describe as terrorism by the Israeli Air Force with its targeted assassinations."

The most vociferous politician who compares Israel to the Nazis is George Galloway, former Labour Party member of Parliament and founder of the Respect Party, which he represents as an MP for the Bradford West constituency, which adjoins that of David Ward.  Typical of his rhetoric are his remarks in 2009: "Today the Palestinian people in Gaza are the new Warsaw Ghetto, and those who are murdering them are the equivalent of those who murdered the Jews in Warsaw in 1943."  His lack of respect for the principle of free speech was shown on February 21, 2013, when he walked out of a debate of the Oxford University Union after one of the panelists stated that he was an Israeli.  Galloway then declared, "I don't recognize Israel, and I don't debate with Israel."

It is troubling that these politicians persist in this kind of rhetoric.  At least the London Sunday Times, after publishing on Holocaust Day in February 2013 a cartoon depicting Prime Minister Netanyahu as "reveling in the blood of Palestinians," did apologize for its insensitive behavior after it was criticized.  It is high time that British politicians in Westminster, who regrettably may not be marginal voices in contemporary Britain, stop comparing Israel and Nazi Germany and desist from implying that a Jewish conspiracy is attempting to control the destiny of the world.

According to rational optimists, no one now could believe in the allegation of a "Jewish conspiracy" to control the world, or at least the American State Department.  This fabrication had disappeared into the dustbin of history, even if the virus of anti-Semitism was still active.  It therefore came as a surprise to find that belief in such a conspiracy is still alive and well -- and is being advanced by members of three political parties in both Houses of Parliament in Britain, as recent incidents have shown.

The first set of events concerns Lord Ahmed, one of the first three Muslims appointed to the House of Lords in 1998.  Nazir Ahmed, born in Kashmir and raised in Britain, was originally a fishmonger.  He became a Labour Party member of a local council, a justice of the peace, a leader of the British Muslim community, and a successful property dealer before Prime Minister Tony Blair sent him at the age of 40 to the House of Lords as a Labour peer.

On March 14, 2013 Ahmed was suspended from official attachment, through the party whip, to the Labour Party "pending an investigation" of remarks he had made on a television interview while on a visit to Pakistan in April 2012.  He declared in Urdu that his conviction and prison sentence for dangerous driving in 2009 resulted from pressure on the courts imposed by members of a Jewish conspiracy "who own newspapers and television channels."  Implicit in his assertion was the inference that he was punished for supporting the cause of the Palestinians.  The reality was that he might have been prosecuted in Britain for a hate crime if his charge of a Jewish conspiracy had been made on British soil.

Ahmed served only 16 days, although he had been sentenced to a term of twelve weeks.  He was convicted for an incident that took place on Christmas Day, 2007.  While driving his Jaguar at high speed, he had been sending text messages and had crashed into a stationary vehicle whose occupant, a young Slovakian, was killed.  Since he pleaded guilty to the charge, it was surprising that he later tried to cast aspersions on the judge who sentenced him by allegedly and somewhat convolutedly saying the judge was appointed to the High Court after helping a Jewish colleague of Tony Blair during an important case.

By contrast, there is nothing convoluted or indirect about Ahmed's previous actions and statements on Jews and Israel, among other issues.  He was earlier suspended from the Labour Party in 2012 after it was reported that he had placed a "bounty" of £10 million for the capture of George Bush and Tony Blair, who he urged should be brought to the International Court of Human Rights to face charges of war crimes committed in Iraq and Afghanistan.  The Labour Party was lenient on this occasion and ended the suspension after three months.

Ahmed's intolerance of criticism of Islam is clear.  In 2007 he opposed a knighthood for Salman Rushdie, arguing that the author had "blood on his hands."  In 2009 he threatened to mobilize 10,000 Muslims to prevent a film critical of Islam made by Geert Wilders, the Dutch parliamentarian, from being shown in the House of Lords. He also revealed his double-prejudices stemming from his birth as a Muslim Pakistani and his anti-Israeli activism when he was alleged to have remarked that Israel and India were jointly massacring the innocent Muslims in Palestine and occupied Kashmir.

On a number of other occasions, Ahmed has expressed his anti-Israeli views.  In February 2005 he hosted a book party in the House of Lords for "Israel Shamir," a Swedish journalist and author.  Shamir has used many aliases, but despite them, he is generally regarded as an anti-Semite and a Holocaust-denier; he is also recognized as helping Julian Assange in the leaking of United States cables.  No doubt officials of the European Union would be surprised to learn, as Ahmed did, that Shamir contends that Jews now " own, control, and edit a large share of mass media ... they rule over the minds and souls of Europeans."

On another occasion, Ahmed in 2009 signed a letter praising Prime Minister Erdoğan after the Turkish leader had walked out of a debate with President Shimon Peres of Israel at Davos.  Ahmed was also convinced that Jewish student groups in Britain actively recruited for the Israel Defense Forces.

The second British case of what at best could be considered questionable, if not anti-Semitic, comments was the remarks made by David Ward, a Liberal Democratic Member of Parliament, for the constituency of Bradford East (Yorkshire), in which Muslims constitute about a quarter of the electorate.  In the general election of 2010, he won by a majority of 365 votes and was supported by the Muslim Public Affairs Committee (MPACUK) that proclaims itself Britain's main Muslim civil rights organization.

In conjunction with the signing of the Book of Remembrance marking Holocaust Memorial Day in January 2013, Ward remarked that he was 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."  Noticeably, Ward spoke of "Jews," not "Israelis."

Ward was not really reprimanded.  He received only a mild censure by his political party and was simply given the suggestion that he meet with the Liberal Democratic Friends of Israel in the British Parliament.  But Ward, a frequent critic of Israel, went on to blame a "high operation" of Israel supporters, " a machine ... designed to protect the state of Israel from criticism," for the controversy he had himself created.  His statement suggests equivalence between the policies of Israel and the Nazi Holocaust: "It appears that the suffering by the Jews has not transformed their views on how others should be treated."  On his website, he alleges that "the Jews had failed to learn the lessons of the Holocaust."

Ahmed and Ward are not the only British parliamentarians expressing views of this kind.  The case of Lady Tonge, member of the House of Lords, is familiar.  She is an unremitting critic of Israeli activities and Israel's "brutalization of Palestinians."  In February 2010, she suggested that members of the Israel Defense Forces had harvested body parts while on a humanitarian mission in Haiti.  In March 2012, she spoke of Israel's "relentless ethnic cleansing, land grab, and what many people would describe as terrorism by the Israeli Air Force with its targeted assassinations."

The most vociferous politician who compares Israel to the Nazis is George Galloway, former Labour Party member of Parliament and founder of the Respect Party, which he represents as an MP for the Bradford West constituency, which adjoins that of David Ward.  Typical of his rhetoric are his remarks in 2009: "Today the Palestinian people in Gaza are the new Warsaw Ghetto, and those who are murdering them are the equivalent of those who murdered the Jews in Warsaw in 1943."  His lack of respect for the principle of free speech was shown on February 21, 2013, when he walked out of a debate of the Oxford University Union after one of the panelists stated that he was an Israeli.  Galloway then declared, "I don't recognize Israel, and I don't debate with Israel."

It is troubling that these politicians persist in this kind of rhetoric.  At least the London Sunday Times, after publishing on Holocaust Day in February 2013 a cartoon depicting Prime Minister Netanyahu as "reveling in the blood of Palestinians," did apologize for its insensitive behavior after it was criticized.  It is high time that British politicians in Westminster, who regrettably may not be marginal voices in contemporary Britain, stop comparing Israel and Nazi Germany and desist from implying that a Jewish conspiracy is attempting to control the destiny of the world.

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