Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 December 2014

MP may face action over comments

Liberal Democrat MP David Ward has apologised over comments about Israel made in the run-up to Holocaust Memorial Day
Liberal Democrat MP David Ward has apologised over comments about Israel made in the run-up to Holocaust Memorial Day

A Liberal Democrat MP is due to find out if he will be disciplined after comments comparing "atrocities" committed by "the Jews" with Nazi concentration camps caused outrage.

David Ward, who initially defended his words, apologised on Sunday for any "unintended offence" caused by a message posted on his website ahead of Holocaust Memorial Day.

His words were condemned by the party, which received a formal complaint from the Holocaust Educational Trust which is being considered by chief whip Alistair Carmichael, who has summoned the Bradford East MP for a meeting on Monday evening.

The Bradford East MP composed his original posting after signing a Holocaust memorial book.

He wrote: "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."

Amid a furious backlash he appeared on television to defend the comments and reinforce his point.

But in a new post on Sunday Mr Ward said he "never for a moment intended to criticise or offend the Jewish people as a whole, either as a race or as a people of faith, and apologise sincerely for the unintended offence which my words caused".

He added: "I recognise of course the deep sensitivities of these issues at all times, and particularly on occasions of commemoration such as this weekend."

He insisted however that he would "continue to make criticisms of actions in Palestine in the strongest possible terms for as long as Israel continues to oppress the Palestinian people."

Organisers of a memorial day for victims of the Holocaust yesterday "utterly condemned" Mr Ward.

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