Rod Liddle writes for the Jewish Chronicle to, as the newspaper reports, "defend comments he made about Auschwitz in an online forum which contains virulently antisemitic jokes". Yet Liddle writes that "Context is everything. I do not know of a single fellow fan who could remotely be described as antisemitic".
Liddle continues to describe his argument as having been about his feeling that the concentration camp "had been stripped of its awfulness and bleakness ... it had become something much less than it should be. It is perhaps not possible for Auschwitz today to deliver the package of awfulness the visitor might expect; I understand that".
Try reading the thread.
A Millwall fan who has visited Auschwitz and says "I haven't stopped thinking about it since to be honest. Very moving and has left me having a long hard look at myself" sees that discussion derailed, first by Liddle complaining that it is "Fcking outrageous that you can't smoke in Auschwitz. I had to sneak round the back of the gas chambers for a crafty snout".
(Is that about it having been stripped of its awfulness then?)
Other supporters then make a series of gas chamber jokes about the holocaust, while Liddle says that "the poor Jews were allowed to smoke".
When several supporters say the jokes are "sick", Liddle attacks them.
OKR: There's plenty of things to have a good piss take out off, this wasn't one of them.
Liddle: "OKR maybe you could write down the things you think it's ok for everybody else to take the piss out of and admin cd make it a sticky at the top of the board".
Gaz: Expected a bit more of a thoughtful response from you though Monkey. You visited Aushwitz personally and apart from a comment about the Poles not being honest about their role in the whole scenario you can only talk about smoking and burger bars?
I did expect the juvenile schoolboy stuff from others but to be honest its moved me so much I'm still glad I posted it.
kinelloz: To make (unfunny) jokes about lighting up fags and whatever Noose said is in my opinion bang out of order. Respect is an over used word these days, but there are some issues that just aren't funny and this is one of them for me. Not entering into a debate on it and won't post again on this thread, just my view.
Liddle (Monkey): Sorry you took it like that and sorry if I offended, mate. **That was to Gaz, not the sanctimonious toss from Kinnel.
To be clear, I don't think Liddle's own comments can or should fairly be described as anti-semitic, as I explained in commenting on a Left Foot Forward post.
But the Auschwitz comments show very poor judgement (even if Liddle perhaps doesn't think the football website should really 'count' as a public forum).
Defending the "context" is a poor call. Why not admit the comments were a mistake and apologise?
UPDATE: To be absolutely fair to Liddle, his "defence" of the Auschwitz thread is a pretty accurate account of his November 2007 Spectator feature on Auschwitz. That's an absolutely legitimate piece of mainstream journalism. But to claim that the argument that modern Auschwitz ""had been stripped of its awfulness and bleakness" is also the central thrust of his contribution to the Millwall thread is misleading nonsense, presumably in the hope that few people will look at what he actually wrote.