Jewish representatives this week said it was “beyond parody” that the Liberal Democrats had selected the Israel-hating, Jew-baiting former MP David Ward to run for his old seat in Bradford.
The damning indictment, from the head of the Holocaust Education Trust among others, followed news that Ward – who once used his Holocaust Memorial Day message to compare Israelis to Nazis – was back in the political fray.
“This is unbelievable,” said the HET’s Karen Pollock. “It is beyond parody that someone who has repeatedly expressed anti-Semitic and deliberately incendiary views would be selected to be a Parliamentary representative by a mainstream political party. This is pretty shocking and hugely disappointing.”
A Board of Deputies spokesman concurred, saying: “It is deeply disappointing to us and very embarrassing for the Liberal Democrats that David Ward has once again been selected.”
Ward, who represented Bradford East from 2010-15, was warned about his language after the HMD message in January 2013, in which he said he was “saddened… that Jews could, within a few years of liberation from the death camps, be inflicting atrocities on Palestinians in the new State of Israel”.
In July of the same year he was suspended for three months for refusing to apologise for asking: “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 last?” Former party leader Nick Clegg described his comments as “crass and insensitive”.
This week, Lib Dem peer Lord Palmer of Childs Hill said he was “disappointed” that Ward was standing, and was still hoping to persuade the party leadership to drop him from the 2017 election list.
“Sadly when Mrs May called a snap General Election it had some knock-on effects, including that sitting Lib Dem MPs and those defeated in 2015 can if they wish get automatic re-selection – that wouldn’t have happened in a 2020 General Election,” he said.
“I have – and am – pressing the party leadership to see that he is not a Lib Dem candidate. Sadly Bradford has had very anti Israel candidates across many Parties… Must be something in the air there!”
Ward was one of dozens of Lib Dem MPs to lose his seat in 2015, but has remained active in local politics, and has continued to make incendiary statements from the side-lines, last month tweeting: “There’s an inexorable end to #Israel as it is – its discrimination, apartheid, colonialism and racism is outdated and unsustainable.”
Announcing that he would once again stand for Bradford East, the local party this week described Ward as a “hard-working campaigner” focused on issues like fuel poverty, community cohesion and school funding.
Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.
Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.
For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.
Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.
You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.
100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...
Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.
There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.
In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.
Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.
In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.
Voice of our community to wider society
The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.
We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.