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A Liberal Democrat MP who faces disciplinary action for tweeting that he would most likely fire rockets into Israel if he lived in Gaza has been defended by a colleague - who didn’t really help.
David Ward, who has already been suspended by the party in July 2013 after refusing to apologise for comments he made on Twitter about how "Zionists" were "losing the battle". He has previously made several controversial comments on Israel, most notably in a blog post written on Holocaust Memorial Day in January 2013 where he claimed "the Jews" had failed to learn the lessons of genocide and were persecuting Palestinians.
Last night he was accused of supporting Hamas and inciting violence after tweeting:
Ward added in a later post: “ich bin ein #palestinian - the West must make up its mind - which side is it on?.”
Former Yorkshire & Humber MEP Edward McMillan-Scott soon waded into the row in support of Ward. In a now-deleted tweeted, McMillan-Scott said the Board of Deputies, which represents Britain's Jewish community, was a "frightful bag of disputatious Jews" and that Stephen Pollard, the editor of the Jewish Chronicle, was a "prat".
He has apparently now tweeted an apology for the remarks and stating that he is not anti-Semitic.
David Ward has since been on BBC Radio Leeds, where he declined to apologise for trying to understand "the state of mind" of people in Gaza firing rockets into Israel.
"It's no use just branding Hamas [as terrorists] and therefore [saying] we can never do business with them. That wouldn't have worked in Northern Ireland."
However he said he was happy to apologise if people "misinterpreted what I meant".
Ward went on: "The manufactured outrage transfers onto the issues they want to talk about which is this ridiculous accusation of being anti-Semitic."
The comments came after Conservative MP Nadhim Zahawi reported him to the police for encouragement of terrorism and a spokesperson for the Board of Deputies of British Jews called for Ward to have the Lib Dem whip removed.
"We are also deeply concerned about the comments made by former MEP and vice-president for the European Parliament, Edward Macmillan-Scott, in which he referred to the Board of Deputies as "disputatious Jews" and we consider his subsequent tweeted apology wholly inadequate", they added.