Editor’s Note: Jenny Tonge has resigned from the Liberal Democrat Party after anti-Israel comments, and is now an Independent member of the House of Lords.
Where to begin with last week’s event at Middlesex University’s campus in Hendon, North West London, sponsored by Interpal?
It was billed as a discussion on “Is Israel an Apartheid State?“, but became an evening of unadulterated Jew hatred.
Jenny Tonge, the Liberal Democrat Member of the House of Lords, famous for once saying she might have been a suicide bomber had she been born a Palestinian, was the star attendee and put in a chilling performance in her usual role as one of Britain’s foremost Israel-haters.
Tonge, who describes herself as an “ethnic Christian” started by telling the audience to beware of the Israel lobby because “once they have decided to go for you, they will go for you. I bear the scars”. She cited the notorious writings of John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, which have been widely discredited for effectively alleging a Jewish conspiracy – a charge that the authors have strenuously denied.
She finished with the dire prediction that “Israel is not going to be there forever” and warned that eventually Israel “will lose its support and then they will reap what they have sown”.
Who are “they” and what exactly does she imply will happen to them? Another chilling threat to Jews from this British Parliamentarian. (See videos embedded)
The atmosphere was threatening. The highly aggressive chairperson Nik Roberts kept insisting on calling security to remove both dissenters and people wanting to film. I could only take limited footage but two “authorised” people did film providing vital evidence of what went on.
There was a Jewish contingent of possibly 30 out of some 150 in the audience and much of the rhetoric seemed to be aimed directly at us. The comments from Tonge’s co-panelists were even more appalling than her own.
Ken O’Keefe, an outspoken anti-Israel activist who was on board the Mavi Marmara Gaza “aid“ ship, compared Jews to both the Nazis and to the German people whom, he implied, as a whole collaborated with the Nazi regime.
I have transcribed the final part of his speech below. After referring to “the Jewish people” O’Keefe, at my count, used “you” or “your” twelve times to personally direct his rhetoric at the Jews in the theatre. He admitted his intent was to inflame:
“So if Israel is inherently a racist state, if it is inherently an apartheid state, then I want no part of Israel. It has no place in this world. And it must in its current form, if you want me to use some inflammatory language, in its current form should be destroyed.
“Just like the UN in its current form should be destroyed, just like the American empire in its current form should be destroyed, just like the British empire in its current form should be destroyed… (next bit inaudible due to applause).
“I make no special bones about Jewish people, but the bottom line is this. The Jewish state, that’s not my expression, the Jewish state of Israel is, therefore, acting on behalf of the Jewish people. You, like the Nazis, have now a special obligation.
“The decent Germans, the so-called decent Germans of World War Two Nazi Germany, what did they do, what did the decent Germans do when the Nazis came to power and started to institute their policies, what did they do? They didn’t do enough, did they?
“Did they do enough to stop the Nazis? No, they didn’t. And what are the Jewish people doing right now? Are you doing enough to stop your racist apartheid genocidal state? (applause)
“If you think that you are I beg to differ. You have a special obligation brought upon you just like the Nazis brought upon the decent Germans. Good luck to you because the way of Israel, the way of Palestine is the way of the world. And you can mouth at me all you want. Good luck to you, because guess what, you are making enemies of all the people, not just me and the falsely accused anti-Semites.” (huge applause)
And, on suicide bombings he said:
“What the so-called suicide bombings did was force the world by shocking the conscience of humanity to pay attention; and the Palestinians have paid a huge price for some within their ranks carrying out those tactics.”
Ghada Karmi, a prominent UK-based activist and writer of Palestinian origin, described Israel as a “gangster state” and gave us her thoughts on what it is to be a Jew:
“Is it somebody who practices the Jewish religion? They have never been able to find an agreed position.
“At the beginning they talked about ‘a person born of a Jewish mother and/or a person who had been converted according to the orthodox system’. That’s it, nobody else.
“Over time, when they saw that they were drying up, they started to make it much more elastic. So, now, anybody who has a Jewish parent or a Jewish grandparent is now Jewish.
“Not only that. Among the million immigrants from Soviet Russia how many of you know that 40 percent of these people are not Jewish? They are not Jews! They go to Greek and Russian Orthodox Churches in Israel, ok? 40 percent!.
“Not only that. They brought in the Ethiopian Jews. They went fishing for Jews in Peru. They’ve gone to India. Anything. You know what the main purpose of it is? It’s that they should be non-Arab. Non-Arab. You can be any sort of person. You can call yourself ‘a Jew’. As long as you’re not an Arab, it’s alright.”
She called for the end of a majority Jewish state and said that Israel treats the Palestinians as “a sub-human species” so when it kills them it “doesn’t have the same impact, as they are already sub-human”.
She finished off by claiming that “if an Ethiopian gives blood to an Israeli blood bank people have objected because they don’t want a transfusion from an Ethiopian”.
So, that is what happened last week at a mainstream British university, an event legitimised by the presence of Jenny Tonge, a well-known member of the Liberal-Democrats – the junior partner in Britain’s Conservative-led government.
Welcome to modern Britain.
*UPDATE: STATEMENT FROM LIBERAL DEMOCRAT FRIENDS OF ISRAEL (LDFI): “LDFI strongly condemns Baroness Tonge’s latest outburst not only because it is wrong but because it is contrary to Lib Dem Party policy. Jenny Tonge is an irrelevant, siren and marginal voice in the Liberal Democrat Party and we call on her to resign the Lib Dem whip. If she truly believes the things she says, how can she justify being a member of a Party whose policies are diametrically opposed to her views on Israel and the Middle East, a subject on which she talks on almost a daily basis.” - Gavin Stollar, Chairman, Liberal Democrat Friends of Israel