26 November 09
A Times leader yesterday referred disparagingly to, but did not properly deal with, the disgraceful attack by Oliver Miles, Britain’s former ambassador to Libya, on two members of the Chilcot inquiry into Britain’s involvement in the war in Iraq. Writing in the Independent on Sunday, Miles drew attention to the curious appointment to the committee of the historian Sir Martin Gilbert and the professor of war studies Sir Lawrence Freedman. Miles states:
Both Gilbert and Freedman are Jewish, and Gilbert at least has a record of active support for Zionism. Such facts are not usually mentioned in the mainstream British and American media, but The Jewish Chronicle and the Israeli media have no such inhibitions, and the Arabic media both in London and in the region are usually not far behind.
Sir Martin Gilbert is one of Britain’s most distinguished historians, while Sir Lawrence Freedman also enjoys a stellar reputation as a professor of war studies. That is why they were appointed to the inquiry. But to Miles, they are suspect not just because Gilbert once compared Bush and Blair to Roosevelt and Churchill while Freedman was the supposed architect of intervention in Kosovo and Afghanistan (hello?) as well as Iraq (so it was All His Fault) but because they are Jews -- and even worse Gilbert supports Zionism.
This would appear to be part of the ‘Jewish conspiracy’ theory so fashionable in the UK intelligentsia that the war in Iraq only occurred as a result of pressure from a trans-national Jewish conspiracy acting in the interests of Israel to put the world at risk. The fact that Israel in fact advised at the time that it was Iran they were worried about rather than Iraq does not trouble the propounders of this malevolent libel.
The Times called Miles’s comments
extraordinary and disgraceful
but did not spell out the reason why they were so. The paper pulled its punches. Miles’s comments were an example of anti-Jewish racial prejudice. The notion that Jews cannot be trusted to be impartial because they only act in the interests of other Jews and to the detriment of everyone else is a staple of anti-Jewish bigotry down through the ages.
It is a baleful comment on the state of British public discourse that this man felt able to say this so openly. Normally the ‘Jewish conspiracy’ theorists hide behind camouflage words such as ‘Zionist’ or ‘neo-con’ to disguise their prejudice. Miles doesn’t even bother with such fig-leaves: he is confident enough, now that anti-Israel bigotry and anti-Jewish bigotry-denial is running at epidemic levels, to be entirely brazen about it.