It seems we expect our politicians to be more loyal to Israel than Israel’s own prime ministers.
David Ward, a member of the British parliament for the Lib Dem party, which is part of the ruling coalition, has upset his bosses with a tweet. Here it is:
Ward was soon in hot water. Douglas Alexander, the opposition foreign minister from the supposedly leftwing Labour Party, called Ward’s comment “vile”, and the Board of Deputies – a kind of weak-kneed British version of AIPAC – said the Lib Dems should expel Ward.
At first, Ward offered what was described as a “partial apology”, stating the mind-boggling obvious:
The comment was about understanding why people are firing rockets. I am not condoning that. In fact, yesterday in the House of Commons I condemned it. I’m saying I understand why people are so desperate that they are doing it.
But then, under threat of disciplinary action, he was forced to issue a more craven apology:
I utterly condemn the violence on both sides in Israel and Gaza. I condemn the actions of Hamas, and my comments were not in support of firing rockets into Israel. If they gave the opposite impression, I apologise.
So what would Ehud Barak, a former prime minister of Israel and much-decorated war hero, make of Ward’s comment about firing rockets? Well, the Board of Deputies might be surprised to learn that he would wholeheartedly agree with the British MP.
Here is what Barak said in an interview in 1998:
If I were a Palestinian, I would have joined a terrorist organisation.