David Ward (l) censured for anti-Israel remarks on Twitter
David Ward censured for anti-Israel remarks on Twitter

Liberal Democrat chiefs have stripped an MP of party membership over Twitter comments about Israel.

David Ward, who represents Bradford East, had the party whip withdrawn after he told his followers: "Am I wrong or are am I right? At long last the #Zionists are losing the battle - how long can the #apartheid State of #Israel last?"

It followed an outburst against Jews on Holocaust Memorial Day in January when Ward blasted Israel for "inflicting atrocities" on Palestinians.

Lib Dems chief whip Alistair Carmichael said that Ward had brought the party into disrepute.

In a letter to the MP, he said: "It is immensely frustrating for us to find ourselves constantly responding to questions about disproportionate and imprecise language from you.

"These interventions cause considerable offence rather than addressing questions of political substance about the plight of the Palestinian people and the right of Israel's citizens to live a life free of violence.

"It is extraordinarily difficult to gain traction in that debate at an effective political level if the expression of our concerns is undermined by the way your language misrepresents the view of our party."

He continued: "Nick [Clegg], Simon [Hughes, party deputy leader] and I have a consistent track record of being outspoken about illegal settlement activities of Israeli governments and the threat this poses to the two-state solution for which the party has long argued."

IBTimes UK is waiting for a response from David Ward's office.

Jewish group, the Board of Deputies, blasted the LIberal Democrats for a "token" gesture. Ward is set to regain his place in the party when MPs return from summer holiday, on September 3.

Vice President Jonathan Askush told IBTimes UK: "We are glad that the Liberal Democrats have at last taken action to address the completely inappropriate and offensive comments that he has made.

"However, suspension of the whip for just two months when Parliament is not sitting is too little, too late. It is a token and frankly an empty gesture."