Controversial British Baroness Who Resigned From Liberal Democrat Party Over Antisemitism Allegations Doubles Down on ‘Jewish Lobby’ Comments, Accusations That Israeli Treatment of Palestinians Behind Global Terrorism
British Baroness Jenny Tonge, who was suspended and then resigned from the UK Liberal Democrat party in October over allegations of antisemitism, doubled down Sunday on her accusations against the “Jewish lobby” and against Israel for being the “root cause” of global terrorism.
In an interview on Jewish Internet station J-TV‘s program “Current Affairs” — moderated by the UK-based Henry Jackson Society founder and executive director Dr. Alan Mendoza — Tonge said she has not “read great tomes” on Israel.
But, she argued, “The core problem here is not…what literature you’ve read, or what you can spout on the history of a particular country. It’s the fact that a great injustice has been done to the people who were in Palestine for centuries before the state of Israel was created.”
Professing that she was “a great enthusiast for the state of Israel to be created;” is a believer in “Israel’s right to exist;” and wishes it “every success,” Tonge stated, “But it cannot go on with its present policies of injustice towards the Palestinian people, who in many cases… have been there long, long, long before any of the people in Israel have been there.”
Challenging her previous dismissal of the relevance of knowledge of the past in shaping one’s current opinions, Mendoza said, “But you just referenced history…”
Tonge then said that she has, in fact, “augmented her knowledge” by reading books, for example by Ilan Pappé — the radical Israeli professor who heads the European Centre for Palestine Studies at the University of Exeter in the UK.
“Now you’re going to tell me that I haven’t read books written by the right people,” she rebutted, going on to claim that she “has never been a spokesman for foreign affairs in my party.”
“I have spoken out when asked, and I have been misquoted time and time and time again,” she said.
Mendoza proceeded to offer up one of her quotes, reading aloud: “The pro-Israeli lobby has got its grips on the Western world — its financial grips.”
“Accepting” that “of all the things I’ve said…[this] was a bit over the top,” Tonge went on to say that British funds “could be” being funneled to this Jewish aim.
“I’m making the allegation and I’m asking people to prove that I’m wrong,” she said. “It is up to the lobby to clear their own name. It’s not up to me to clear their name.”
When Mendoza responded by saying that she must, then, “believe in guilty until proven innocent, which is not the basis of the legal system in our country,” Tonge said, “That’s a good point.”
Moving on to the topic of terrorism, Tonge responded to Mendoza’s quoting of her statement, “The treatment of Palestinians by Israel is the root cause of terrorism worldwide,” by rewording it as follows: “Root cause of extremism, which leads to terrorism.”
Mendoza pressed the point by asking her whether Al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden and ISIS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi were spurred by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“I think it has all been fueled by what has happened to the Palestinians,” she retorted, adding, “I think you’re making assumptions, too. How do you know that [there isn’t] a link [between them]?”
As The Algemeiner reported in July, a few months before her resignation from the Liberal Democrats, Jewish and pro-Israel groups in Britain called for her expulsion from the party, following what they viewed as an antisemitic address she delivered to the House of Lords.
In her speech, Tonge accused Israel of “creating a generation of terrorists who will have a justified grudge against [it] and the countries who support [it]… I’ve heard it said these actions [terrorism] are caused by incitement, by the Palestinians themselves…I question that.”
She also called IDF soldiers “wimps” for fending off “children throwing stones and sticks or carrying scissors.”
In 2012, Tonge was suspended from the Liberal Democrat Party after coming under fire for saying Israel “is not going to be there forever” and that the country would “reap what it’s sown” in the Middle East. In 2010, she was fired from her position as a health spokesperson after accusing Israeli troops sent to Haiti following a major earthquake of trafficking human organs. In 2004, when still an MP, Tonge was asked to resign by her party as a children’s spokesman after she said she “might consider becoming” a suicide bomber if she were Palestinian.
Watch excerpts from the interview with Baroness Jenny Tonge below: