UK MP faces disciplinary action for 'Jew' quips

David Ward, already sanctioned by party for anti-Jewish remarks, to face disciplinary process for further offensive comments.

By JONNY PAUL, JERUSALEM POST CORRESPONDENT
February 12, 2013 21:29
3 minute read.
David Ward, UK's Bradford East's Lib Dem MP

David Ward. (photo credit: Courtesy Liberal Democrats)

 
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The British MP sanctioned by his party for making anti-Jewish remarks on the eve of Holocaust Memorial Day is set to face a lengthy disciplinary process after breaching a promise made to party officials by making further offensive comments.

David Ward, Liberal Democrat MP for Bradford East had posted comments on his website, days before International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27, suggesting that "the Jews" had not learnt the lessons of the Holocaust.

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On Monday evening, the controversial MP met party officials, as the escapade entered its third week, to answer to comments made in the aftermath of disciplinary procedures brought against him after his original offending comments.

"Liberal Democrat Chief Whip, Alistair Carmichael met with David Ward last night [Monday]. He intends to have further meetings as part of a disciplinary process," a Liberal Democrat spokesman told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.

His comments sparked outrage with the party distancing themselves from him. Alistair Carmichael MP said: "Singling out 'the Jews' in the way he does crosses a line of acceptability and is offensive. I wish to dissociate the Liberal Democrats without reservation or ambiguity from these remarks."

Ward initially stood by his comments and refused to yield but apologized after pressure from his party. However he has refused to take down the offending statement from his website, despite pleas from his party. He has since made a series of offensive and controversial comments.

Last Thursday, Liberal Democrat leaders met with Jewish community officials in an attempt to repair the damage caused by an MP who had unleashed widespread outrage when he made his comments on his website.



The Board of Deputies of British Jews said the Liberal Democrat's response had been "inadequate and limp wristed" and said they had been unimpressed by the failure of the party¹s leadership to address the issue.

"The concern and anger felt by the Jewish community at Mr Ward and the ineffectual manner in which his offensive words have been addressed by the party leadership have been exacerbated by the offending statement remaining on his website. This not only undermines his apology but also shows that he apparently intends to break his undertaking not to use the term 'the Jews'. By leaving his statement on his website, presumably deliberately, Ward is in effect putting two fingers up to the leadership of the Liberal Democrat party," the Board of Deputies said.

The MP went on to further enflame the situation by continuing to make controversial comments.

Responding to a question on Twitter, Ward said on Sunday that it is important to ask whether Israel's behavior towards the Palestinians is because of the Holocaust.

Ward was responding to question about a Tweet he made ­ in which he said: "It is not a state that demolishes a house but a person, this is about how (not all) persecuted become persecutors."

Asked if he thought "agents of the Israeli state are doing such things because of the Holocaust?" The controversial MP said he did not know but that it is "important to ask the question and we cannot allow the horror of the Holocaust to stop us asking."

On Friday he asked community weekly newspaper Jewish News if he should have used the words "Jewish community" instead of "the Jews" in his initial comments to make it more acceptable.

He also told the Guardian that there was "a machine" out there designed to protect the State of Israel from criticism.

"And that comes into play very, very quickly and focuses intensely on anyone who's seen to criticise the state of Israel. And so I end up looking at what happened to me, whether I should use this word, whether I should use that word ­ and that is winning, for them," he said.

Earlier this month he asked on Twitter "how do we seriously raise the issue of boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel? Are these words acceptable to all?"

Ward's original comment on his website read: "I am saddened that the Jews, who suffered unbelievable levels of persecution during the Holocaust, could within a few years of liberation from the death camps be inflicting atrocities on Palestinians in the new State of Israel and continue to do so on a daily basis in the West Bank and Gaza."

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