The Liberal Democrat David Ward faces disciplinary action over a comment he wrote on his website concerning Israel’s treatment of Palestinians, according to the Guardian newspaper.
Apparently he wrote about honouring those who were persecuted and killed during the Holocaust but also accusing “the Jews” of “inflicting atrocities on Palestinians … on a daily basis”. Th is is in the run-up to Holocaust Memorial Day. He 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.”
Ward’s use of the expression “the Jews” was unfortunate, as it appears to suggest that repression of the Palestinians is something that involves all Jews. But he has tried to explain what he meant. In an interview with Sky News he was asked if he accepted that he was accusing Jews, rather than the Israeli state, of inflicting persection on the Palestinians, to which he replied:
I’m accusing the Jews who did it, so if you’re a Jew and you did not do it I’m not accusing you. I’m saying that those Jews who did that and continue to do it have not learned those lessons. If you are a Jew and you do not do those things and have never done those things then I am of course not criticising you.
So, did Ward do anything wrong? Well, apart from the stupid use of the word “Jews” and “Israelis”, I would contend that he did nothing other than speak the truth. It is a fact that the state of Israel was founded on terrorism (for example by the Irgun terrorist group that later became an official arm of the IDF (Israel Defence Forces), that it fought wars of expansionism and forcibly removed Palestinians from their ancestral homes (which were then given to Israeli “settlers”) and that Israel continues to impose an apartheid regime that treats Palestinians as second class citizens. The siege of Gaza clearly demonstrates Israel’s policy concerning its opponents: the civilians of the Gaza Strip will continue to live in Israeli-imposed hellish conditions for the “crime” of democratically electing a government which doesn’t accept Israel’s “right” to steal Palestinian territories.
Unfortunately, we live in a bizarre system which equates anti-Israeli rhetoric with anti-semitism. I wish David Ward luck in defending himself against the ridiculous charges levelled against him. But I fear that all the luck in the world won’t save him from the Israeli-apologists who rule the Western world.