Lib Dem candidate will offer pro-Israel voice in election battle


A series of controversial episodes involving Israel and the Jewish community should not hamper the Liberal Democrats’ election hopes in Finchley and Golders Green, the party’s candidate believes.

Jonathan Davies, vice-chairman of the party’s Friends of Israel group, was selected last week to contest his local parliamentary seat.

He admitted he did not know how damaging the impact of Bradford East MP David Ward’s comments on Jews and Israel would be when polling day arrives in May.

Mr Davies said: “Every party has people who cause difficulties. I wanted to stand and do this to show there is a strong pro-Israel voice in the party.

“I don’t hide the fact I would have liked the party to take stronger action against David Ward. Baroness Tonge [another virulent critic of Israel] is no longer in the party of course.”

Mr Davies is treasurer of Golders Green United Synagogue and a long-standing member of the local community. He won 5,670 votes when finishing third in the constituency in the 1997 election. A former councillor, he failed to win a seat on Barnet Council in last May’s poll.

Part of his campaign will focus on defending shechita. Party leader Nick Clegg has previously said the Lib Dems would not support moves against religious slaughter.

“One of the things that worries me about this election is the huge anti-immigration feeling that is being brought up. From the Jewish community point of view the anti-foreigner feeling is very dangerous and something we have to stand up against,” 53-year-old Mr Davies said.

“I hope people who have known me for a long time will give us their support. We will obviously give it our best shot. I’m not going to predict the result, but we will get our message across.”

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