David Ward MPHouse of CommonsLONDONSW1A 0AA26
February 2013Dear DavidI refer to your meeting last night with Nick Clegg, Simon Hughes and myself.Nick wished it to be quite clearly understood that the party recognises your right to expressyour legitimately and sincerely held views on the conditions in which Palestinians live,especially on the West Bank and in Gaza.He was equally clear, however, that the language in which these views are articulated mustnot be generalised and indiscriminate in its nature. Liberal Democrats believe in fearlesscriticism where it is justified, but abhor generalised condemnation of a whole people where itis not. In particular your use of 'the Jews' in the article posted on your website on 24thJanuary and your reference to 'the Jewish community' as a possible alternative, as reported in'The Jewish News' on 7th February, is unacceptable and must not be repeated.At the meeting you undertook to work along with Liberal Democrat Friends of Israel andSimon Hughes MP to identify and agree language that will be proportionate and precise inyour future interventions in this debate. We would also hope that this would allow you toachieve a better understanding of the legitimate concern that your comments has causedwithin the wider Jewish community.I am not clear how much time this work will require although it will involve other peoplemaking time available to work with you and their availability is at present unknown. In thecircumstances, therefore, the disciplinary process currently stands adjourned and a date willrequire to be fixed at which progress can be reviewed and it can be concluded.In the meantime you have undertaken to remove the article of 24th January from yourwebsite and subsequent articles as a mark of your good faith in undertaking this process. Inrelation to the letter from Leslie Bravery while it in itself is not objectionable you haveundertaken to assure yourself and us that it is not linking you to other statements that wouldcause offence.