British lawmaker asks party to condemn members for vilifying Jews

(JTA) — Robert Halfon, a British lawmaker for the Liberal Democrat Party, has urged party leader Nick Clegg to condemn recent statements by party members about Jews.

“Will my honorable friend take action against those MPs who use the conflict in Israel to make inflammatory statements about Jews,” Halfon – the descendent of Libyan Jews, according to the Jewish Chronicle — said in Parliament this week. 

Halfon was referring to statements by two Liberal Democrat lawmakers, David Ward and Chris Davies, who on the eve of International Holocaust Remembrance Day last month suggested Israel should be judged according to special standards because of the Holocaust.

At the time, Ward said in statement: “I am 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.”

After being reprimanded by his party whip, Ward said he should have written “the Jewish community” instead of “the Jews,” a comment that could lead to further disciplinary action, according to the Jewish Chronicle. 

Davies, who represents the party in the European Parliament, wrote on Twitter: “Why do people who have suffered so much now inflict suffering upon Palestinians?”

In his filmed address in Parliament this week, Halfon added of Clegg, “Does he not realize that his party is getting a reputation, sadly, amongst some of its senior members for being hostile to Jewish people?”

Clegg replied: “I am unambiguous in my condemnation of anyone, from whatever party, including my own, who uses insensitive, intemperate, provocative and offensive language, to describe a long-running conflict.”

He did not say if the two lawmakers would face disciplinary action.

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