Uproar after MP attacks 'Jewish atrocities'
Charlie Cooper is Health Correspondent for The Independent, i, and The Independent on Sunday, writing on the NHS, medical advances, and international health. Since joining the papers as an editorial assistant, he has been nominated for young journalist of the year at both the Press Awards and the British Journalism Awards.
Friday 25 January 2013
An MP who criticised “the Jews” for committing “atrocities on Palestinians” on the eve of Holocaust Memorial Day is facing disciplinary action from his party.
In comments that outraged Jewish leaders, David Ward, the Liberal Democrat MP for Bradford East, added that, while people should “learn from” the Holocaust, “the suffering by the Jews has not transformed their views on how others should be treated”.
There was speculation tonight that the party could threaten to remove the whip from Mr Ward, who has held the Bradford East seat since 2010. The MP will be summoned by the whips on Monday, after which a decision will be made on what disciplinary action to take.
Mr Ward has now defended his views in an interview. “I’ve spoken to the Chief Whip and he’s got his views. I don’t feel bad about it in any way,” he said.
“They consider my comments regrettable; I consider their reprimand regrettable,” he went on.
He added that any disciplinary action from his party would be “a sad reflection on the values we all hold so dearly, particularly on free speech.”
His party quickly moved to distance itself from Mr Ward’s comments. A Liberal Democrat 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.”
In a statement on his website to mark Holocaust Memorial Day, Mr Ward wrote: “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.”
Karen Pollock chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, which has placed a “Book of Commitment” in the House of Commons, which Mr Ward signed, said that the MP had “deliberately abused the memory of the Holocaust”.
Jon Benjamin, chief executive of the Board of Deputies of British Jews said: “We are outraged and shocked at these offensive comments about Jewish victims of the Holocaust and the suggestion that Jews should have learned a lesson from the experience.
“For an MP to have made such comments on the eve of Holocaust Memorial Day is even more distasteful.”
Mr Ward later posted an update on his website, stating that he had “fought prejudice” for his entire political career.
- 2 Moscow voted the world's unfriendliest city
- 3 The excuses your boss is most likely to believe when you call in sick
- 4 I'm pansexual – here are the five biggest misconceptions about my sexuality
- 5 More than 11,000 Icelanders offer to house Syrian refugees to help European crisis
The excuses your boss is most likely to believe when you call in sick
Bono's group has made more money from Facebook investment than from all his music
Three-year-old ultra-Orthodox Jewish children told 'the non-Jews' are 'evil' in worksheet produced by London school
Wikipedia rocked by 'rogue editors' blackmail scam targeting small businesses and celebrities
More than 11,000 Icelanders offer to house Syrian refugees to help European crisis
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches, it's time to act
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don’t change Europe’s attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up
£40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...
£21000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is seeking someone w...