Anti-Israel Tweets Could Cost Lib Dem His Whip, Says Jewish Minister

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Minister Lynne FeatherstoneCredit: U.K. Home Office / flckr

Controversial MP David Ward could lose his position as Liberal Democrat whip because of his anti-Israel and anti-Jewish tweets, the party's most senior Jewish minister said, according to the Jewish Chronicle.

Ward, the MP from Bradford East, tweeted last summer during Israel's war in Gaza, "The big question is – if I lived in #Gaza would I fire a rocket? – probably yes." He later apologized, saying, "I utterly condemn the violence on both sides in Israel and Gaza."

Ward is treading a "thin line" with his offensive attacks on social media, Crime Prevention Minister Lynne Featherstone said. Ward lost the party whip in 2013 as a result of disciplinary action after he posted comments critical of Jews and Zionists.

Ahead of Holocaust Day in 2013, he accused "the Jews" of afflicting "atrocities on the Palestinians," according to the Jewish Chronicle.

"He might lose it again if he's not careful. There's a thin line between free speech and hate speech and incitement," Featherstone told the Jewish Chronicle.

"Obviously the party takes these matters very seriously. It won't be tolerated. When that line is overstepped then I expect party officials to step in."

Last month, Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg condemned an anti-Netanyahu tweet that Ward made regarding the Israeli prime minister's participation in the Paris march following the Charlie Hebdu massacre. He said that Ward "clearly doesn't speak for the party on this at all and I cannot be more unambiguous in condemning what I think is a highly insensitive way of behaving.

Still, no disciplinary action has been taken against Ward for any of his social media postings since the summer.

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