I hope David Ward loses his seat over anti-Israel remarks, says Lib Dem peer

Baroness Ludford said Mr Ward's tweets about Netanyahu “tipped over from anti-Israel to antisemitism”.


Liberal Democrat peer Sarah Ludford says she hopes David Ward - an MP belonging to her own party - loses his seat at the general election, claiming that his controversial tweets about Benjamin Netanyahu had “tipped over from anti-Israel to antisemitism”.

Baroness Ludford revealed that she had been angered by the Bradford East MP’s remarks about Mr Netanyahu’s presence among international leaders at the solidarity march in Paris following the terrorist attacks on the Charlie Hebdo magazine and a kosher supermarket.

Mr Ward had written: “Netanyahu in Paris march – makes me feel sick. Je suis Palestinian.”

Baroness Ludford said she had exchanged “personal” e-mails with party leader Nick Clegg.

She said: “David Ward is a serial offender. I have to say that his tweeting on the day of the Paris march was totally unacceptable.

“Nick Clegg said [in a radio interview] that he thought it was ‘outrageous, but not racist’.

“I do not agree with that.”

The peer, who is not Jewish, added: “He [Mr Ward] must have been the only person in the world who thought that it had anything to do with Palestinians, on the day when Jews were specifically targeted.

“I exchanged emails, personally, with Nick Clegg. I believe that David Ward should have had the whip removed from him.

“I have no idea what David’s prospects are in the election. We can only hope…”

She added: “David Ward in my opinion, tipped over from anti-Israel to antisemitism.

“I have not said that before. One cannot go around calling everyone antisemitic, but I believe that he did in the context where Jews were the actual victims, I believe that.

“I haven’t said that before. I thought he was extremely anti-Israel. But in this context, being disrespectful to Jews as people, as human beings.”

Mr Ward has repeatedly denied accusations of antisemitism.

Baroness Ludford made her comments as she was co-chairing a Liberal Democrats Friends of Israel session at the We Believe in Israel conference in central London on Sunday.

The former MEP praised Israel’s democratic system but added: “That doesn’t mean that I personally am the greatest fan of Benjamin Netanyahu – on the contrary.

“I mean, I am a Liberal Democrat. He is far too hard-right wing for my liking.

“I hope his remarks [on Palestinian statehood] do not endure in terms of policy. I think that Israel needs peace as much as the Palestinians need peace.”

Lib Dem supporter Laurence Brass, outgoing treasurer of the Board of Deputies, acknowledged that out of 1,500 attendees at the conference, only eight had chosen to attend the Lib Dem session.

He said that Tim Farron, the Lib Dem’s Foreign Affairs spokesman who is tipped to succeed Mr Clegg as leader, was “very sound on the Middle East and is a very supportive friend of Israel”.

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