British Member of Parliament David Ward has been suspended Thursday for two months from the country’s Liberal Democrat party for offensive comments he made about Jews and the state of Israel.
This past weekend, the MP for Bradford East tweeted a message in which he asked: “Am I wrong or are am I right? At long last the #Zionists are losing the battle – how long can the #apartheid State of #Israel last?”
His tweet followed a blog post, written in the run up to Holocaust Memorial Day in January, in which he questioned how “the Jews,” who had suffered 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.”
His suspension is seen as largely symbolic as it comes the day before parliament rises for its summer recess, but the UK’s Zionist Federation Chairman Paul Charney said Thursday he was pleased by the decision.
” I applaud Lib Dem Chief Whip Alistair Carmichael MP and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg MP for taking this necessary action. Should Mr Ward continue to abuse his position by using it as a platform to broadcast his prejudice against Jews and Israel, then his party should withdraw the whip permanently. This action sends a clear message that racially prejudiced language will not be tolerated in our society.”
In a letter sent to Ward and released to the public, Carmichael said Ward had previously agreed to use language which was “proportionate and precise” but his tweet crossed the boundary.
“During the meeting we put it to you that your most recent statement – which specifically questions the continuing existence of the State of Israel – is neither proportionate nor precise.
“Unfortunately, we considered your explanation to be unconvincing and it did not satisfy us that you understood the importance of conducting the debate on this issue at all times and in all places in terms that are proportionate and precise.
“We wish to reiterate that this is not about telling you what your views should be. Indeed, we have all visited the occupied territories and we have all experienced an instinctive and liberal reaction to the humanitarian suffering we have witnessed,” Carmichael wrote.