Chris Davies: a Letter to Lib Dem News

LDN didn’t print my letter last week, but the letters they did publish went some way to redress the “Davies love fest” of the week before.

For the record though, I thought I’d publish what I wrote here:

Since you published Chris Davies’ self-righteous non-apology last week and apparently received many other letters supporting him, allow me to add a note of dissent.

In the article that got Davies in such hot water, he states: “I visited Auschwitz last year, and it is very difficult to understand why those whose history is one of such terrible oppression appear not to care that they have themselves become oppressors.” To draw parallels between the extermination of 5 million Jews and the Palestinian situation, let alone to imply that the Holocaust contains a moral instruction that Jews should heed, Israeli or not, is grotesquely offensive. Would you hector a rape victim about the need for them to learn their lesson?

Referring to the situation in Palestine as “apartheid” is fatuous in the extreme. Anyone who advocates a two-state solution – including Israel, Palestine and the Quartet – is advocating what could be simplistically described as an “apartheid” solution, partition wall or not. And let’s not forget that 19% of Israelis are Arabs who have citizenship and voting rights.

The use of such inflammatory language on such a complex issue always causes more heat than light. It means that an opportunity to highlight the very real plight of the Palestinians at the hands of the Israeli government is lost.

Initially, I assumed that Chris Davies was simply being uncharacteristically naive. I’m no longer so sure. Is it really too much to expect our politicians to use responsible language?


  1. This is minefield and I always find the language extreme on both sides. On of the reasons I cowardly refuse to comment on the situation is that you can’t find any neutral language.

  2. David raises an interesting point, that it is difficult to be completely neutral on this issue. This is arguably a good thing. The tendency to neuter political views and opt for consensual agreement often leads to bad politics and silly compromises. Political leadership sometimes requires clear thinking and the taking of positions.

    James, an excellent letter.

  3. I have very great difficulty in believing that anybody who attacks Israelis over the removal (ethnic cleansing if you will) of originally half a million Palestinians from Israel but does not spend much more time attacking NATO’s leaders for the cleansing of half a million Serbs from Croatia, 350,000 Serbs, Roma, Jews etc from Kosovo & about a million from Sarajevo & western Bosnia is motivated by something other than racism. It is certainly not liberalism.

  4. Please go to Palestine. Once you have been you will know what all about the mindless inhumanity and extreme racism of the Israeli State.

    One would not hector a rape victim about the need for them to learn their lesson? One would if they then raped someone else. This is Auschwitz analogy.

    This is not a complex situation at all. The Israelis have built a society where the rule of law enhances the value of one group because of their race, whilst diminishing or destroying anothers because of theirs (The Nazis DID do this too). The Apartheid wall is a fact. Their ethnic cleansing and refusal to allow regugees to retrun to their homes (and vote) does make Israel a democracy.

    We went to war with the Naxis and Serbia, we imposed sanctions against South Africa.


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