by Gilad Atzmon
Ken Livingstone, the Mayor of the multi ethnic city of London, is asked to apologise after comparing an ‘Evening Standard’ reporter to a “concentration camp guard”. Like many other inhabitants of this colourful metropolis, I ask myself why should he apologise? As it seems, the answer is simple: he dared to insult a Jew. He neither referred to any Jewish characteristic the journalist may have had , nor did he refer to the reporter’s ethnic origin. The Mayor was just insulting a man who happened to be a Jew. In politically correct Britain this is unacceptable.
Mayor Livingstone wasn’t referring to the journalist as a Jew; he wasn’t even equating the ‘Jews’ with ‘concentration camp guards’. As a matter of fact, he was referring to a specific journalist in reaction to his conduct.
And yet, this was enough to awaken the Board of Deputies of British Jews, an organisation that presents itself as the “voice of British Jews’. They now publicly demand the Mayor’s apology. We should ask why British Jews feel off ended by the Mayor? Did he threaten any Jewish interests? Clearly not, and yet the Board of Deputies insist on presenting the Mayor’s comment as a racial assault. I would maintain that once again we are presented with a glimpse into the Jewish notion of brotherhood. Following the twisted logic of the Jewish Board of Deputies: offending one Jew is an assault against the entire ‘chosen race’. But it goes further; the incident makes it clear that in the eyes of the Board of Deputies, WW2 is in fact an internal Jewish affair. The fact that millions of non-Jews died in Nazi concentration camps is completely irrelevant for them, so is the fact that Britain scarified its best young men fighting Hitler. The Board of Deputies is very efficient in capitalizing on the Holocaust. For them, WW2 is an integral part of the Jewish history; no one else is allowed in. This applies of course to the Mayor’s usage of metaphorical language and to Prince Harry’s dressing code.
The Board of Deputies, demands the Mayor’s apology but apparently they are not alone. As disgusting as it may sound, another morally deteriorated political figure has joined their demand. This is what PM Tony Blair had to say today:
"Let's just apologise and move on." For PM Blair an apology is a political manoeuvre. It is there to serve a political cause. In Blair’s world, an apology is merely a strategic act. If political survival is the ‘one and only’ goal, then every means is more than legitimate. But then, very much in contrast, Livingstone served us all with a far more dignified performance.
Livingstone insisted that he would not apologise because he didn’t believe that he should offer an apology. Here is what he said on Monday: "I could apologise but why should I say words I do not believe in my heart?”
Unlike the instrumental prime minister, who is suggesting using words tactically, the Mayor insists that apology is a sincere and meaningful act. On the face of it, sincerity and integrity are exactly the ingredients Blair and his cohorts are lacking badly.
We should ask ourselves why Mr Blair, once the leader of a European political institution (he is still the leader but unfortunately they are not an institution anymore..), joined the Jewish clannish demand. I argue that morally deteriorated leaders often ally themselves with Jewish and Zionist organisations. Allying yourself with holocaust victims is proved to be the ultimate sufficient political body armour. Being amongst the survivors makes one look better than Hitler. Yes, let’s admit, PM Blair is still far better than Hitler but the fact that he feels a need to emphasize it occasionally makes it clear that he owes us, the Iraqi people and humanity a big apology himself.
Gilad Atzmon was born in Israel and served in the Israeli military. He is the author of the new novel A Guide to the Perplexed. Atzmon is also one of the most accomplished jazz saxophonists in Europe. His recent CD, Exile, was named the year's best jazz CD by the BBC. He now lives in London and can be reached at: email@example.com
Last updated 09/11/2006