British Parliamentarian Faces Ejection from Party Over Anti-Zionist, Antisemitic Tweets
A British parliamentarian could be fired from the Liberal Democrat Party over a series of anti-Israel and antisemitic tweets, a senior member of the party has said.
David Ward, who represents the constituency of Bradford East in the north of England, was treading “a thin line between free speech and hate speech and incitement,” Lynne Featherstone, who serves as Crime Prevention Minister in Britain’s governing coalition, told The Jewish Chronicle.
Party officials are now considering whether to “withdraw the whip” – a process by which Ward would be fired from his party but remain in his parliamentary seat – in response to the parliamentarian’s repeated offenses on Twitter, as well as his other public statements. Last week, Ward observed Holocaust Memorial Day by listing other genocides that have taken place since the Second World War. Among the genuine genocides that claimed the lives of millions in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur, Ward also listed “Palestine,” in a deliberate attempt to provoke a comparison between the Nazi persecution of the Jews and Israel’s policies towards the Palestinians.
Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg blasted Ward for his “crass and insensitive” remarks. “To compare – however distressing it is to see – what is happening in Gaza to the Palestinian people to what has happened in Darfur or Cambodia or the Holocaust is completely inappropriate,” Clegg said.
After the terror outrages in Paris in January, Israeli diplomats in the UK were compelled to complain to Clegg when Ward tweeted his disgust at the presence of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Paris two days after a brutal attack on a kosher supermarket in which four Jews were murdered.
Ward tweeted: “#Netanyahu in Paris march – what!!! Makes me feel sick” and “Je suis #Palestinian.”
Daniel Taub, Israel’s Ambassador to London, told Clegg in a letter that Ward had exhibited “a callous disregard for the Jews of France, many of whom look to Israel as they are increasingly targeted merely because of their religion.”
Ward briefly lost the party whip following disciplinary action in 2013 after a series of posts targeting Jews and Zionists.
During last summer’s Gaza conflict, he tweeted: “The big question is – if I lived in #Gaza would I fire a rocket? – probably yes.”
On Holocaust Memorial Day in 2013, Ward took to Twitter to condemn “the Jews” for inflicting “atrocities on the Palestinians.”