Lib Dem MP Refuses to Stand With Jews, Declares ‘Je Suis Palestinian’


As the hashtag #JeSuisJuif (I am Jewish) trended yesterday on Twitter in memory of the four hostages killed at a kosher supermarket in Paris last week, Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament David Ward took to Twitter to declare “Je Suis #Palestinian”.  He also criticised the appearance of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at yesterday’s Paris rally which attracted more than three million people.

This is not the first time that Mr Ward has caused controversy on Twitter. In July last year he tweeted “The big question is – if I lived in #Gaza would I fire a rocket? – probably yes”, and followed up an hour and a half later with “Ich bin ein #palestinian – the West must make up its mind – which side is it on?”

The Liberal Democrat party later ruled that his tweets were neither anti-Semitic, nor did they bring the party into disrepute, and that they were therefore not going to bring disciplinary action against Ward.

And in July 2013 Ward was suspended from the parliamentary party and had the whip withdrawn for three months over comments he made ahead of Holocaust Memorial Day. On his website, he wrote “Having visited Auschwitz twice – once with my family and once with local schools – 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.”

At the time, blogger Mark Valladares at Liberal Democrat Voice supported Ward, writing “For me, David’s words act as a reminder that some pretty dreadful wrongs have been committed against both sides (and there are those who seek to equate them in terms of scale), and suggest that past events should influence future behaviour.”

Mr Ward followed up yesterday’s tweet with another, stating:

Fellow tweeters were quick to criticise him for anti-Semitism. Simon Cobbs replied “..and many of us feel the same way about you but anti-Semitism is getting everywhere now days! #Schmuck”

Meanwhile, the hypocrisy of welcoming Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to the Paris march has been highlighted by none other than Hamas, who rule the Gaza strip. According to Ynet, senior Hamas official Mahmoud al-Zahar said of Abbas’ appearance “This behaviour is part of the hypocrisy and political acrobatics typical to Abbas.”

Zahar accused Abbas of evading his responsibilities by attending the march, arguing that Abbas’ priority should be his own people. “Abbas wants to seem as if he’s fighting terror but he doesn’t know the meaning of terror. He thinks that in acting this way, he’s earning the sympathy of world nations. He should first worry about his own people,”

Hamas has condemned the attack on Charlie Hebdo – although it was careful to make no mention of the attack against the kosher supermarket in which Jews were killed – releasing a statement in which it announced that it “condemns the attack… and insists that differences of opinion and thought cannot justify murder.”

However, according to the Gatestone Institute, just hours earlier a Hamas-affiliated website, Al-Resalah, tweeted a photo of the three slain French terrorists and described them as “martyrs.”

According to the Palestinian Centre for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA), the Palestinian Authority and Hamas have committed at least 500 documented press violations since 2007, including arrests, detention, torture, physical violence and censorship. Journalists in the region are therefore forced to work in a climate that leads “to the promotion of self-censorship among journalists, and media outlets”, a spokesman for MADA said.