Nick Clegg Equivocates about David Ward MP's Antisemitic Comment

By Jonathan Hoffman
January 31, 2013

Yesterday Jonathan Arkush (Board of Deputies’ VP and Chair of the Defence Division) said:

We note that David Ward MP has been censured by the Liberal Democrats. However, the Board regards this as wholly inadequate. The whip should have been withdrawn and he should have been warned that he risked being expelled from the party. The Board further notes that Mr Ward’s offensive statement remains on his website, which hardly inspires confidence in the sincerity of his apology.

I called Nick Clegg on LBC this morning (13.58 on the mp3 file) to ask why David Ward MP (Bradford East) has not lost the Whip and why this antisemitic comment is still on his website:

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.

After Mr Clegg said Ward had been 'given a yellow card' (he has been 'censured') Nick Ferrari asked whether that was enough and whether he should be "suspended for a while".

Mr Clegg responded:

For Jonathan it is clearly not enough. For other people, would you believe they're saying, we've gone too far in reprimanding him, which I personally strongly ...

Then Nick Ferarri asked whether Mr Clegg had had any personal contact with Ward since the antisemitic comment - the response was "no".

Let's summarise:

1. The comment remains on Ward's website and he remains a LibDem MP
2. Nick Clegg did not feel it was important enough to speak to Ward
3. Nick Clegg is prepared to defend the LibDems' (in)action by saying that 'some people think we've gone too far in reprimanding him'

Of course none of these facts could possibly influence Mr Clegg:
- Ward only has a tiny majority of just 365
- 24.3% of the population of the constituency is Muslim
- in the 2010 election, MPAC UK campaigned heavily for him against the Labour incumbent:

Draw your own conclusions about the willingness of the LibDem leadership to tolerate racist comments against Jews from Party MPs


Excellent pieces in the Times (paywall) by Giles Coren and in the Spectator by Hugo Rifkind:



Thu, 01/31/2013 - 17:32

Rate this:

0 points

This was said on 24 November 1938 (i.e. before WW2) in the House of Commons:

Sir Archibald Sinclair The hon. Gentleman who has just sat down has delivered a characteristic speech, learned, provocative, even didactic, but stimulating; and among several things he said didactically is one on which I must challenge him straight away, although perhaps, it has no direct relevance to the main subject of the Debate. Zionism, he said, was one of the main causes of the growth of anti-Semitism in the world. That was a controversial statement which, upon other more suitable occasions, I should be very willing to argue with the hon. Gentleman, but in my belief the causes which have produced the growth of anti-Semitism in the countries which most suffer from that somewhat loathsome disease are quite evident. They are quite evident in Germany, where they are largely artificial. In Poland, of course, they are largely economic. In many other countries the causes are complex but they are clear, and the growth of Zionism is not one of them. On the other hand, in those countries which do not suffer from anti-Semitism, such as this country and the United States of America, there is a large volume of agreement that the achievements of Zionism in Palestine have greatly raised the reputation of the Jewish people. 2020 They have proved that they are capable of building up a civilisation from the ground floor—that it is not true that they are only bankers and middlemen and office workers, but that they can build up a civilisation from the soil. They have proved it to the admiration of the world. The hon. Member also went on to say that, if there had been maladministration in Palestine—and he admitted that there had, and also that such maladministration was probably due to ambiguities of policy—this House was much more responsible for the ambiguities of policy than His Majesty's Government.

Comment would be superfluous. But you should read Herbert Morrisons at 4:34 pm gives the lie to everything the Arabs claim today including the theft of Transjordan by Churchill.


Wed, 02/13/2013 - 18:19

Rate this:

1 point

Rich Armbach: … See where all the hysteria gets you ? Ward and Bibi are anti semites !!!!!

rich, i will give you the benefit of the doubt, and assume that you are not disputing that ward's website statement is antisemitic, but simply can't resist making some "debating point" against a politician that you hold in such contempt
the entire text of netanyahu's statement (of 8/2/2013, from ) is as follows:
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, today, condemns the violence by those who oppose the integration of Chechen players into the Beitar Jerusalem football club. "Such behavior is shameful. We cannot countenance such racism. The Jewish people, who suffered from boycotts and ostracism, must be a light unto the nations," the Prime Minister said.

Rich Armbach: Well isn't that more or less what David Ward said ?

no, liberal democrat mp david ward was comparing the deaths of six million people in a non-war situation with the deaths of about three thousand people in military actions, mostly during the 1948 war of independence and the 2009 and 2012 wars in gaza

(or possibly … depending what he meant by "atrocities" six million deaths with the security barrier, road blocks, the gaza economic sanctions/blockade, and settlements)

netanyahu was comparing the international boycotts and ostracism of present-day israelis with an (attempted) racist boycott by a tiny minority of present-day israelis

netanyahu was saying "we've all been boycotted and ostracised by (mostly) muslim countries: we of all people should not complain about this and then stand idly by while fellow israelis boycott muslim chechens" (not arabs, btw)

liberal democrat mp david ward was saying "israelis' grandparents' families were murdered in cold blood in their millions: israelis of all people should not be killing hundreds of people, including civilians, in military actions, nor standing idly by while their politicians and soldiers do so"

(except of course that he was, and still is, expressly charging "the Jews" with it! )

alternatively … on his other possible meaning of "atrocities"liberal democrat mp david ward was saying "israelis' grandparents' families were murdered in cold blood in their millions: israelis of all people should not be imposing the security barrier, road blocks, the gaza economic sanctions/blockade, and settlements, on others, nor standing idly by while their politicians and soldiers do so"

rich, how is david ward's conflation of 1940s persecution of jews with the behaviour of present-day israelis (or "the Jews") "more or less" the same as netanyahu's conflation of present-day oppression of israelis with the behaviour of present-day israelis? 

Rich Armbach: He … is … requiring that they bear in mind the past trials and tribulations when constructing present behaviour.

yes, requiring!!!

there is an enormous difference between saying "let us choose to behave to a higher standard than other nations" and "you should behave to a higher standard than other nations" …

the latter position, of liberal democrat mp david ward, is simply racistly selective criticism


Mon, 02/18/2013 - 15:08

Rate this:

1 point

Rich Armbach: Bibi … says that Israel must adopt higher standards than other nations on account the of the Jewish Peoples historical experiences.

no, not historical, he says on account of the present generation's experiences: of "boycotts and ostracism"

i repeat, netanyahu (unlike david ward) is not comparing six million deaths with boycotts of muslims, he is comparing muslims' boycotts of israel (and of jews) with israelis' boycotts of muslims

Rich Armbach: I do not think Ward is anti-semitic since I can see no evidence of a hatred of Jews or a desire to discriminate against Jews or a desire to persecute Jews or any combination a la THE concept of anti-semitism.

liberal democrat mp david ward lies about israel ("atrocities", "ethnic cleansing"), and makes a deliberately hateful comparison between the six million jewish dead and present-day jewish behaviour

and despite discipline by his party, he does not remove the offending comparison, but reaffirms it

yet you "see no evidence"

that's rich!


You must be logged in to post a comment.