David Ward, a Liberal Democrat Member of the British Parliament, will find out today if he will be disciplined after comments comparing “atrocities” committed by “the Jews” with Nazi concentration camps caused outrage, the London Evening Standard reported.
“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,” he wrote on his website ahead of Holocaust Memorial Day.
He was condemned by his party, which received a formal complaint from the Holocaust Educational Trust. The complaint is under consideration by chief whip Alistair Carmichael.
Karen Pollock, chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, wrote: “I am deeply saddened that at this somber time, when we remember those who were murdered by the Nazis, Mr. Ward has deliberately abused the memory of the Holocaust causing deep pain and offence – these comments are sickening and unacceptable and have no place in British politics.”
A Lib Dem spokesman said: “This is a matter we take extremely seriously. The Liberal Democrats deeply regret and condemn the statement issued by David Ward and his use of language which is unacceptable.”
Jon Benjamin, chief executive of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, said: “We are outraged and shocked at these offensive comments about Jewish victims of the Holocaust and the suggestion that Jews should have learned a lesson from the experience.
“For an MP to have made such comments on the eve of Holocaust Memorial Day is even more distasteful, and we welcome the fact that the Liberal Democrats have sought to disassociate the party from David Ward’s comments.”
Ward appeared on television to defend his comments and reinforce his point, but on Sunday he changed his tune, writing on his website that he “never for a moment intended to criticize or offend the Jewish people as a whole, either as a race or as a people of faith, and apologize sincerely for the unintended offence which my words caused.”
But he insisted that he would “continue to make criticisms of actions in Palestine in the strongest possible terms for as long as Israel continues to oppress the Palestinian people.”