Lib Dems say sorry over anti-Is­rael post

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY MAR­CUS DYSCH

THE LIB­ERAL Demo­crat Party has apol­o­gised af­ter its Friends of Pales­tine group again posted an­tisemitic ma­te­rial on Face­book.

The group linked to a piece by an­tisemitic Is­raeli mu­si­cian Gi­lad Atz­mon which claimed “the time is ripe to cleanse Bri­tish pub­lic life of Zion­ists and Jerusalemites”.

Mr Atz­mon’s ar­ti­cle re­ferred to Ed Miliband’s speech to Labour Friends of Is­rael last month.

He wrote: “Ed Miliband af­firms his deep Zion­ist af­fil­i­a­tion… He would have been bet­ter suited for a po­si­tion as a lo­cal rabbi or a part-time job as an Is­raeli con­sular.”

It went on to sug­gest Mos­sad had ar­ranged the kid­nap­ping of the three Jewish teenagers in the West Bank.

A Lib Dem spokesper­son said: “That ar­ti­cle was not, and is not the view of the party in any way. It was clearly in­ap­pro­pri­ate and of­fen­sive. We’re of course sorry if there was any of­fence caused.”

The LDFoP group re­moved the link and also apol­o­gised.

Gavin Stol­lar, Lib Dem Friends of Is­rael chair­man, said: “It demon­strates that they are on the fringes. They are not in the main­stream of the party.”

The JC re­vealed in May that the Friends of Pales­tine group had re­peat­edly posted links to a site pro­mot­ing Zion­ist con­spir­acy the­o­ries and Holo­caust de­nial.

On that oc­ca­sion site ad­min­is­tra­tor Miranda Pinch apol­o­gised, but the party did not com­ment.

The con­tro­versy came as a group of leading Lib Dems made a four-day visit Is­rael this week. The del­e­ga­tion, which in­cluded anti-ex­trem­ism cam­paigner Maa­jid Nawaz, and held talks with rep­re­sen­ta­tives of Is­raeli cen­trist po­lit­i­cal party Yesh Atid.

The visit co­in­cided with the news that the bod­ies of the three kid­napped teenagers had been found. Mr Nawaz said: “To be here dur­ing a time of na­tional tragedy re­in­forces the need for us all to reach a last­ing so­lu­tion to this con­flict.”

PHOTO: DAVID BAR­BOUR

Jewish artist Gerry Ju­dah cre­ated a soar­ing 90 me­tre long sculp­ture for the Good­wood Fes­ti­val of Speed. The piece, made of steel and weigh­ing 160 tonnes, marked Mercedes Benz con­tri­bu­tion to mo­tor­sport

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