Israeli Ambassador Daniel Taub has accused a Member of Parliament of “justifying acts of terror” in a letter to Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.
The serious accusation, which could yet have legal ramifications, was levelled against Liberal Democrat MP David Ward on Tuesday, together with a damning assessment of the party, which Taub said gave Ward “impunity”.
It comes after the anti-Israel politician took exception to the presence of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Paris solidarity rally, tweeting: “Netanyahu at Paris march – what!!!! Makes me feel sick.” He then tweeted: “Je suis Palestinian.”
Party bosses took a dim view of the remark, saying that Ward “does not speak for the party on this issue” before adding that it was “clearly in bad taste”.
But for Taub, and for many in the Jewish community, it was the final straw, and his hard-hitting letter to Clegg pulled no punches.
“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,” he said.
“Mr Ward’s comments are offensive and shocking, but more shocking still is the continued impunity that he seems to enjoy from your party.
“I was heartened to read of your promise to the Jewish community at your Hannukah reception only three weeks ago to speak out against the politics of vitriol, blame, grievance and hatred. I urge you to take forceful and immediate action to implement this commitment fully within the party you lead.”
The letter was delivered on the same day the controversial Bradford East MP visited a “moving” Anne Frank exhibition, and a day after Clegg announced that he would safeguard government funding for the Holocaust Education Trust’s ‘Lessons from Auschwitz’ programme.