Liberal-Democrats Demonstrate that they are neither Liberal nor Democratic
Tim Farron is probably the most lightweight leader that the Liberals/Lib Dems have ever had, despite pretty strong competition. He is also the most right-wing and again the competition is pretty stiff.
Over 4 years ago David Ward, the then MP for Bradford East had the whip withdrawn for 3 months for asking "Am I wrong or are am I right?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?" Lib Dems withdraw party whip from MP David Ward over Israel comments
|people wanting Farron to be honest|
Since Israel rules over 4.5 million Palestinians on the West Bank and operates two sets of laws and legal systems it is difficult to know how else to describe Israel other than an apartheid state. In Israel itself the Arab minority is largely segregated from the Jewish population, for example there is a Jewish and an Arab education sector. 48% of Jewish Israelis want, according to the most recent Pew Research Centre Poll Israel’s Religiously Divided Society to physically expel Israel’s Arabs from the country. Israel is a state which in January demolished a Bedouin village in the Negev, Umm Al-Hiran to make way for a Jewish town. Quite how else would one describe that other than as apartheid?
|David Ward - former MP deselected by bigot|
Ward’s other offence was to have said 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 in the new State of Israel and continue to do so on a daily basis in the West Bank and Gaza.”
There is nothing anti-Semitic in this. Israel calls itself a Jewish state so it’s not surprising that many people therefore ascribe its actions to Jews per se. Of course David Ward should have said Zionist or Israeli Jews but there was nothing anti-Semitic in what he said. It is a fact that most people confuse the actions of Israel with Jews and ask why it is that Jews who were one the victims of anti-Semitism are now the perpetrators of racism. Their confusion is due to Zionist propaganda.
|My letter defending David Ward when controversy broke - Guardian refused to publish similar letter this time around|
However for Christian bigot and leader of the Lib Dems that was too much. When another racist bigot, Eric Pickles the Chairman of the Conservative Friends of Israel asked what is known as a planted question in the House of Commons about David Ward’s selection as a Lib-Dem candidate, Theresa May insinuated that David Ward was anti-Semitic.
Tim Farron immediately jumped when May barked and David Ward was peremptorily sacked as a candidate despite having been democratically elected by members of the Bradford East CLP. I am pleased to hear that he is now standing as an Independent and I wish him the best of luck. Tim Farron sacks Lib Dem candidate for 'offensive and antisemitic' remarks
This has nothing to do with anti-Semitism and everything to do with a patently false and distorted definition of anti-Semitism, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, which conflates anti-Zionism and opposition to the Israeli state with anti-Semitism and is therefore itself anti-Semitic.
|Sue Perkins of Bakeoff calling out Farron's weasel words|
For a good explanation of why the IHRA definition of is bogus see the article by Sir Stephen Sedley, a former Court of Appeal Judge, in this months London Review of Books. Stephen Sedley, former Judge at the Court of Appeal Criticises the IHRA Definition of anti-Semitism
For a good explanation of why Farron, despite attacking David Ward for fake anti-Semitism, is a bigot see Lib Dems' Tim Farron regrets abstaining in gay marriage vote. Still the Tory Telegraph came to his defence when Farron refused to answer a question on whether gay sex was a sin! Lib Dems' Tim Farron regrets abstaining in gay marriage vote
I therefore decided to write a letter to Tim Farron and Naomi Wimborne-Iddrissi has penned a good article below and on the Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods site. The Orwellian defenestration of David Ward
|One hypocrite calling out another hypocrite|
Dear Mr Farron,
I write, as someone who is Jewish, to protest your recent decision to prevent David Ward from standing as a Lib Dem candidate for Bradford East.
I must confess that I don't and never have supported the Lib Dems as they have always appeared to me to be a party without any principle. Your coalition with the Conservatives when you presided over the reorganisation of the NHS, whose only purpose was to hasten its privatisation, is a case in point. Your breaking of the promise not to raise tuition fees is another as was your collaboration in the cutting of benefits.
David Ward is one of the few people in the Lib Dems who has stood up against the tide and given his support to the real victims in the Middle East, the Palestinians. When Israel rules, as it has done for 50 years, over millions of people and refuses to accord them the same rights as its own Jewish citizens, whilst claiming their land as part of the biblical 'Land of Israel', then that is apartheid. To stand up against that is not anti-Semitic, it is basic anti-racist solidarity.
David Ward asked '“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?” There is nothing in the least anti-Semitic in what David Ward said. Israel is an apartheid state, even for its own Arab citizens. Everyday legislation is passed which is targetted at Israel's minority Palestinian population, a population which is considered a fifth column by Israel's rulers. A population that is considered a demographic threat to the majority Jewish population, a majority of whom favour the physical expulsion of Israel's Arab citizens.
You said in your response to other people when attempting to defend your decision that 'I have been clear that I believe in a politics that is open, tolerant and united.' Leaving aside your Christian Evangelical views on abortion and gays, which are anything but open and tolerant, your removal of David Ward as a candidate proves that you are a nasty and vicious McCarthyite, an insubstantial pipsqueak unfit to lead any political party, even one as reduced in circumstances as the Lib Dems
The moral panic about antisemitism rumbles on, crushing pro-Palestinian voices such as that of Malia Bouattia, former President of the National Union of Students, and taking its first general election scalp with the dumping of prospective parliamentary candidate David Ward by Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron. See below the full story originally published by Free Speech on Israel.
We would like to be able to share with you the refreshing viewpoint of Jewish Bath University politics student Joanna Phillips, but we have not yet managed to obtain her permission to republish her piece in full. Read it here on the Jewish News website.
The Orwellian defenestration of David Ward
It was inevitable that antisemitism smears would be deployed against supporters of Palestine at some point during #GE17. Even so it was a surprise to hear Tim Farron, Liberal Democrat party leader, cornered by pro-Israel lobbyist Eric Pickles in the House of Commons on Wednesday, appeasing the witch hunters by declaring that one of his own parliamentary candidates would be banned from standing.
The language used to denounce David Ward, former Lib Dem MP for Bradford East, as in so many of the cases we have seen in the Labour Party, the National Union of Students and elsewhere, takes us deep into Orwellian territory.
While Ward could probably sue the Jewish News for calling him “the Israel-hating, Jew-baiting former MP David Ward”, other media have been less hysterical but equally dishonest.
The Guardian’s coverage referred back to 2013 when it called Ward the “Liberal Democrat MP suspended by the party after questioning the continuing existence of the state of Israel”.
What had Ward actually written on his Twitter feed in July that year?
“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?”
It must be clear to all but the most partisan that Ward is talking here about the continuation of apartheid, not of Israel itself. It may be controversial to refer to Israel as an apartheid state, and it makes some people very cross, but it is decidedly not an expression of hatred of Jews.
Further yet, taking into account the legal opinion of Hugh Tomlinson QC on the definition of antisemitism adopted last December by Theresa May’s government, if Ward had in fact questioned the “continuing existence” of the state of Israel, that in itself could not be used to prove his antisemitism, since he has expressed no hostility to Jews as Jews.
This view has received a ringing endorsement in the pages of the London Review of Books from former Lord Justice of Appeal Sir Stephen Sedley (who happens to be Jewish). Sedley wrote that the inadequacies of the definition so ardently embraced by Pickles and May allow “perceptions of Jews which fall short of expressions of racial hostility to be stigmatised as anti-Semitic.”
The Lib Dem’s Farron said at a rally in St Albans on Wednesday that he found comments David Ward has made in the past “deeply offensive, wrong and antisemitic.”
So what has Ward said, apart from talking about apartheid Israel, that Farron might think fits this description?
According to LBC, “Mr Ward also caused controversy in 2013 when he wrote on his blog accusing ‘the Jews’ of atrocities against Palestinians. He was condemned by politicians, Jewish groups and Shoah survivors when he equated Jewish suffering in the Holocaust with Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians.”
This is another example of Orwellian word games. What Ward actually said on his website – and credit is due to the Spectator for taking the trouble to quote him in full – was 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 in the new State of Israel and continue to do so on a daily basis in the West Bank and Gaza.”
This is not “equating” Jewish suffering with Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians, it is lamenting the fact that one has followed historically upon the other. It is not “accusing” the Jews of atrocities, it is regretting that those who have suffered injustice in the past are now inflicting it on others.
I have, in discussions about the Middle East where my Jewish heritage comes up, heard countless questions worded almost identically to David Ward’s statement. It is an almost constant refrain – “How is it possible that people who have suffered so much can cause so much suffering to others?”
I recognise these questions for what they are – expressions of sincere concern and bafflement at a seemingly inexplicable state of affairs. They are based on the understandable misapprehension that the Israeli state, which calls itself “the Jewish state”, represents all Jews. They usually lead to productive discussions about the history of Israel and Palestine, offering me the opportunity to explain that – despite the claims made by and on behalf of state of Israel – very many of us do not identify with Israel and resent the erroneous assumption that we all share its ideology.
Ward would have done better to avoid using the problematic pair of words “the” and “Jews”. As Oxford philosopher Brian Klug has explained, a negative stereotype of “the Jew” is at the heart of antisemitism, projecting an illusory malign and mysteriously powerful figure onto individual Jews and Jewish organisations.
Ward apologised as soon as he realised how his words might be misread. After being dumped by Farron, he offered a creditable account of himself on his Facebook page, indicating that he well understands what antisemitism truly is and realises that generalisations about all Jews are unacceptable.
But he is hardly alone in making unwarranted generalisations. They come most often from people claiming to speak for “the Jewish community” as if this was an undifferentiated mass with no individual opinions. Now that is antisemitic!
If people making comments like David Ward’s express any hostility to Jewish people or give any hint of harbouring hateful feelings against us, I have no hesitation in chastising them for their antisemitism. But there is nothing in Ward’s comments of themselves that even hints at hatred of Jews – and this, as Sir Stephen Sedley reminds us, is what antisemitism is.
I have written to Tim Farron asking him to explain why he has departed from Nick Clegg’s view in 2013 that what David Ward said then was neither racist or antisemitic.
Maybe part of the answer lies with the extreme Zionist Campaign Against Antisemitism, which claimed that it had “worked with outraged Liberal Democrats to raise the issue with Mr Farron when news of Mr Ward’s selection broke.”
The CAA continued gleefully:
“The knockout blow was delivered by Sir Eric Pickles and the Prime Minister during Prime Minister’s Questions. Sir Eric praised the Prime Minister for adopting the International Definition of Antisemitism on behalf of the government, and asked whether she felt that all parties should “not just pay lip service to it, but to actually do something about it”, before attacking Mr Ward’s views.”
Farron obligingly caved in.
I will await with interest the Lib Dem leader’s response to my personal letter, which concluded:
“We are on dangerous ground when we allow proponents of a partisan political (in this case pro-Israeli) stance to determine what may and may not be spoken about. Freedom of expression is seriously at risk here and you, as a Liberal Democrat, should be defending it, not conniving in its demise.”