UK Politician Abuses the Holocaust to Attack Israel

John Prescott was formerly the UK’s Deputy Prime Minister during the Labour government of 1997-2007 and is now a member of the House of Lords.

Back in 2001 on the campaign trail, Prescott was hit by an egg thrown by a protester. In response, he grabbed the protester and punched him during an unedifying scuffle. This is the man who now lectures Israel about proportionality in an outrageous opinion piece in the tabloid Sunday Mirror.

Among the literary punches leveled at Israel, Prescott abuses the Holocaust:

But who is to say some of the other 20 per cent weren’t ­innocent too? Israel brands them terrorists but it is acting as judge, jury and ­executioner in the ­concentration camp that is Gaza.


. . .


What happened to the Jewish people at the hands of the Nazis is appalling. But you would think those atrocities would give Israelis a unique sense of perspective and empathy with the victims of a ghetto.

The inaccurate and inappropriate description of Gaza as a “concentration camp” and a “ghetto” is coupled with a thinly veiled admonishment that what Israel is doing to the Palestinians is in some way comparable to what the Nazis did to the Jews.

Prescott may wish to consider that “Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis” is listed in the EU and U.S. State Department working definitions of anti-Semitism.

Either way, Prescott succeeds in trivializing the Holocaust, an event that can in no way be compared to the current conflict in Gaza, where there are no concentration camps and where, irrespective of the tragic civilian loss of life, Israel is not carrying out a deliberate and systematic mass genocide.

Prescott also trivializes the threat of Hamas terrorists describing them as “militants” in quotation marks as if to question Hamas’s extremism. Indeed, in the above quote, Prescott questions whether the 20% combatant figure estimated by the Palestinians and the UN (but disputed by Israel) are even terrorists. Those who fire rockets and dig tunnels to kidnap or kill Israelis are terrorists by accepted Western standards and not because Israel “brands” them as such.

Hamas rockets are described by Prescott as “primitive” on the grounds that the Israeli casualty rate has been mercifully low. These rockets may not match the sophistication of Israel’s weaponry but they are still deadly and would likely kill and injure many more Israelis if it weren’t for the Iron Dome system, air raid sirens and bomb shelters that Israelis employ to defend their lives.

According to Prescott, “an Israeli economic blockade has forced Palestinians into poverty.” Palestinians have been impoverished by the Hamas government that has spent its cash on building a massive terrorist infrastructure rather than building houses, schools, kindergartens and hospitals. Not to mention that the Israeli restrictions on Gaza’s border is a direct response to rocket attacks over the years.

But for John Prescott:

The military action supposedly targeting Hamas is so brutally disproportionate and so grossly indiscriminate that it makes it impossible not to view Israel’s actions as war crimes.

What does he mean by “supposedly targeting Hamas?” The implication that Israel is deliberately targeting any other Palestinians other than the terrorists is simply false. Yet another example of how ill-thought out Prescott’s opinions are and particularly disturbing for an experienced politician who should know better.


How can you take action?


Scroll to the bottom of John Prescott’s opinion piece and click “NO” to the question of whether you agree with his opinions. 


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Image: CC BY-NC-SA HonestReporting, flickr/Steve Punter