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British lawmaker disciplined for 'apartheid Israel' comments

Liberal party temporarily suspends MP who accused Israel of 'atrocities against Palestinians,' refused to apologize; UK Jewish group: Token empty gesture

A British lawmaker who described Israel as an "apartheid state" whose future is in doubt after "inflicting atrocities on Palestinians" was suspended by his party on Thursday.


David Ward, a member of the Liberal Democrats, the smaller grouping in Britain's two-party coalition government, was reprimanded after making a series of remarks about Israel.


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He refused to apologize after sending a message on Twitter on Saturday which read: "Am I wrong or are am I right? At long last the #Zionists are losing the battle - how long can the #apartheid State of #Israel



Earlier this year, the 60-year-old wrote on his website that he was "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".


The Holocaust Educational Trust, a charity that aims to educate young people about the Nazis' murder of six million Jews, described his comments as "sickening and unacceptable".


Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg and chief whip Alistair Carmichael, in charge of party discipline, met Ward on Wednesday. Carmichael said Ward had caused considerable offence.


They decided to "withdraw the whip" from Ward until September 13, meaning he is effectively expelled from the parliamentary party and must sit as an independent until the sanction ends.


Ward was not immediately available to comment.


The Board of Deputies of British Jews, a charity that promotes religious and civil rights, said the

punishment was a "token empty gesture". Parliament breaks for the summer on Friday to return on September 2, cutting the length of Ward's penalty.


A former college lecturer and local government official, Ward was elected in 2010 to represent a district in Bradford, a northern English city that has a large Muslim population.



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פרסום ראשון: 07.18.13, 21:33
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