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Comments on Israel and Palestinians could lead to party disciplinary action
An MP may be disciplined by his party following comments he made regarding Palestinians in the state of Israel.
Bradford East MP David Ward condemned Israel for the treatment of Palestinians on the same day he signed the Holocaust Memorial Day Book of Commitment.
Mr Ward (Lib Dem) signed the Book at the House of Commons on Thursday and issued a statement saying: “Having visited Auschwitz twice – once with my family and once with local schools – 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.”
The statement was on his website, but has since been removed.
Now the MP faces action from his party, but no decision has yet been taken on what that will be.
A party spokesman said: “This is a matter we take extremely seriously. The Liberal Democrats deeply regret and condemn the statement issued by David Ward and his use of language, which is unacceptable.”
Karen Pollock, chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, slammed the MP.
She said: “These comments are sickening and unacceptable and have no place in British politics.”
But yesterday Mr Ward said he could not understand the reaction.
He said: “I keep reading what I said because I’ve read so many comments and I’m not sure we’re talking about the same comments. I said there were unbelievable levels of persecution – it was somebody saying it was horrific.
“I’ve just been to the Holocaust memorial event in Bradford and it was very moving. The whole event focused on how terrible this thing was and how we could learn lessons about how human beings treat human beings.
Conservative councillor Simon Cooke (Cullingworth) said on his website: “Today, when we remember the evil of Hitler’s genocide, David Ward launches what seems to be a crass, anti-Semitic attack.”
George Galloway, the Respect MP for Bradford West, called Mr Ward’s comments “shocking and ignorant and racist”.