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Lib Dems say sorry over anti-Israel post

    The Liberal Democrat Party has apologised after its Friends of Palestine group again posted antisemitic material on Facebook.

    The group linked to a piece by antisemitic Israeli musician Gilad Atzmon which claimed "the time is ripe to cleanse British public life of Zionists and Jerusalemites".

    Mr Atzmon's article referred to Ed Miliband's speech to Labour Friends of Israel last month.

    He wrote: "Ed Miliband affirms his deep Zionist affiliation… He would have been better suited for a position as a local rabbi or a part-time job as an Israeli consular."

    It went on to suggest Mossad had arranged the kidnapping of the three Jewish teenagers in the West Bank.

    A Lib Dem spokesperson said: "That article was not, and is not the view of the party in any way. It was clearly inappropriate and offensive. We're of course sorry if there was any offence caused."

    The LDFoP group removed the link and also apologised.

    Gavin Stollar, Lib Dem Friends of Israel chairman, said: "It demonstrates that they are on the fringes. They are not in the mainstream of the party."

    The JC revealed in May that the Friends of Palestine group had repeatedly posted links to a site promoting Zionist conspiracy theories and Holocaust denial.

    On that occasion site administrator Miranda Pinch apologised, but the party did not comment.

    The controversy came as a group of leading Lib Dems made a four-day visit Israel this week. The delegation, which included anti-extremism campaigner Maajid Nawaz, and held talks with representatives of Israeli centrist political party Yesh Atid.

    The visit coincided with the news that the bodies of the three kidnapped teenagers had been found. Mr Nawaz said: "To be here during a time of national tragedy reinforces the need for us all to reach a lasting solution to this conflict."

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