British MP panned for saying Netanyahu in Paris made him sick
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British MP panned for saying Netanyahu in Paris made him sick

Israeli ambassador calls for ‘forceful and immediate action’ against parliamentarian David Ward after critical tweet

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Israel’s ambassador to London called Sunday for British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg to discipline a member of parliament who declared it made him feel ill to see Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attend the mass demonstration of unity against terrorism that was held in Paris at the beginning of the week.

MP David Ward, a member of Clegg’s Liberal Democrat party, posted a short message on his Twitter account as some 50 visiting heads of state and top diplomats led the march through the streets of the French capital on Sunday.

“#Netanyahu in Paris march – what!!!! Makes me feel sick,” Ward wrote at the time.

Israeli Ambassador Daniel Taub sent a letter to Clegg demanding that Ward be taken to task for his comment.

“It gives me no pleasure to write to you once again to express my abhorrence at statement made by David Ward MP, on this occasion with regard to the presence of the Prime Minister of Israel at the solidarity march in Paris,” Taub wrote.

Among those who led the march were Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

“At a time when world leaders were united in condemnation of extremist atrocities Mr. Ward’s statement is a disgraceful attempt to politicise suffering, delegitimise Israel, and justify acts of terror,” Taub continued. “It also exhibits a callous disregard for the Jews of France, many of whom look to Israel as they are increasingly targeted merely because of their religion.”

Taub challenged that, despite previous provocative anti-Israel statements, Ward appears to be uninhibited by the Liberal Democrats.

“Mr. Ward’s comments are offensive and shocking, but more shocking still is the continued impunity that he seems to enjoy from his party,” he wrote.

Ambassador Daniel Taub at a synagogue in Bradford, August 18, 2014. (Photo credit: Raine Marcus)
Ambassador Daniel Taub at a synagogue in Bradford, August 18, 2014. (Photo credit: Raine Marcus)

The march came as a response to a series of terror attacks last week in France that killed 17 people, including four Jews who were slain in a Paris kosher grocery by Islamist gunman Amedy Coulibaly a day after he shot a policewoman to death. Earlier 10 workers at the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and two policemen were killed by Islamic extremist brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi.

All three gunmen were eventually killed by police.

Ward has caused controversy in the past with his anti-Israel rhetoric. During the 2014 summer conflict between the IDF and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, as Palestinian terrorists fired over thousands of rockets at Israel’s civilian population, Ward wrote that he would likely join them in firing at Israel.

At the time his party distanced itself from the comments and said Clegg had long called for a peaceful solution to the conflict.

“We utterly condemn David Ward’s comments, they are not representative of the Liberal Democrats,” the party said in a statement. “The party takes this matter very seriously and will treat it as a disciplinary issue.”

Last July, the Liberal Democrat party gave Ward a two-month suspension for tweeting that Israel is an apartheid state.

In a July 13 tweet Ward wrote “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?”

Previously, Ward had angered the Jewish community in January 2013, on International Holocaust Memorial Day, when he said he was “saddened that the Jews, who suffered unbelievable levels of persecution during the Holocaust, could, within a few years of liberation, be inflicting atrocities on the Palestinians in the new State of Israel — and continue to do so.”

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