General Antisemitism

Guardian publishes letter by Jenny Tonge on the issue of antisemitism

Guardian editors recently decided that Jenny Tonge’s views on the topic of anti-Jewish bigotry were especially thought-provoking and worthy of publication.

Baroness Jenny Tonge EditedAmong the letters published at the Guardian on Oct. 8 in response to news regarding the Daily Mail, Ralph Miliband and charges of antisemitism – and Jonathan Freedland’s thoughtful response to the row at ‘Comment is Free’ – was the following by Tonge:

Jonathan Freedland’s article (Antisemitism does not always come doing a Nazi salute, 5 October) rightly pointed out how Jewish people and other ethnic and religious groups are discriminated against and criticised in many subtle ways. It is always deplorable. Whether or not the Daily Mail intended to be antisemitic we shall probably never know, but I wholeheartedly condemn that newspaper for its story about Ralph Miliband and its insensitivity towards his family.

What Freedland and many other commentators refuse to accept, however, is that criticism of Israel and Zionists who support that country is not antisemitism. It is anti-Israeli government, pure and simple. When I refer to Israel and the Israel lobby I mean just that. For me it has nothing to do with Jewish people in general. We are drawing attention to Israel’s disregard of international law and its apartheid system at home, causing huge suffering to the Palestinians and danger to the wider Middle East.

Freedland does no favours to Jewish people worldwide to look for antisemitism where none exists. Many of them deplore the policies of the Israeli government as much as I do. To accuse people of antisemitism in these circumstances does a disservice to Jewish people and protects Israel from the condemnation it deserves.
Jenny Tonge
House of Lords

For those unfamiliar with the ideological persuasion of the disgraced Baroness (and Palestine Solidarity Campaign patron), here are a few of her more notorious comments:

  • In 2004, at a Palestine Solidarity Campaign meeting, Tonge said that if she was a Palestinian, she would consider becoming a suicide bomber herself.
  • In 2006 Tonge blamed Israel for suicide bombings…in Iraq!
  • In 2006, Tonge said: “The pro-Israeli lobby has got its grips on the Western World, its financial grips. I think they’ve probably got a certain grip on our [The Liberal Democrat] party”.
  • In 2009, at an anti-Israel rally in London during the Gaza war, Tonge said: “The way Israel behaves is just not kosher. Jewish people should be totally ashamed of themselves that they are not doing more to stop them. It’s absolutely disgusting.”
  • In 2010, during a speech in the House of Lords, she said the West’s treatment of Muslims was due to the power of the pro-Israel lobby and “Holocaust guilt”. 
  • In 2010, she said that Israel should set up “an inquiry” over allegations that its medical teams in Haiti “harvested” organs of earthquake victims for use in transplants.
  • In 2011 Tonge helped bring Islamist cleric Raed Salahpromoter of the antisemitic charge that Jews use the blood of non-Jews to bake their “sabbath bread” – into Parliament.
  • In 2012, at a meeting which took place in Parliament with the Palestine Return Centre, she asked: “How can the Israelis treat the Palestinians the way they do after what happened in the Holocaust?”
  • In 2012, Tonge (at an anti-Israel event at Middlesex University) said 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”. She also sat silently by at the same event while Ken O’Keefe claimed the Mossad was “directly involved” in 9/11, and compared Jews to Nazis.

Tonge has clearly demonstrated a malign obsession with Jews and the alleged power of the ‘Israel lobby’, and the decision by the Guardian to provide her a forum to weigh on the extremely serious issue anti-Jewish racism is, in a word, “deplorable”.

39 replies »

  1. Tonge and her ilk seem to think that just saying “I’m not anti-Semitic” makes it true. I wonder if she’s ever thought a little deeper about why she’s so frequently accused of anti-Semitism, rather than assigning it to Israel-protectionism.

  2. We are drawing attention to Israel’s disregard of international law and its apartheid system at home, causing huge suffering to the Palestinians and danger to the wider Middle East.

    Yes. I know Jenny. But how to you explain your obsessive interest in Israel alone to the complete exclusion of Tibet and Northern Cyprus. And why do you continually associate yourself with other will known anti Semites like O’Keefe.

  3. Tonge has “evolved” from an embarrassment to an abomination. Her previous comments aside, in this letter she even has the cheek to pretend she’s writing in Jewish interests!

    Then there’s this:

    What Freedland and many other commentators refuse to accept, however, is that criticism of Israel and Zionists who support that country is not antisemitism.

    Freedland never suggested that all criticism of Israel constitutes anti-Semitism.
    In fact: nobody does, of course!

    Tonge’s a legless dog barking up the wrong tree. Not a pretty sight.

  4. It’s disgusting how Tonge uses the “apartheid” libel. I would love to see Kenneth Meshoe embarrass and confuse her with facts.

  5. “As for the familiar proposition it’s not antisemitic to be critical of Israel, I like the idea that those who want Israel to be closed down are being ‘critical’; ‘critical’, a word we associate with measured argument, cool analysis and fine distinction. I know about critical, it’s my job, I am a critic. Being critical is when you say ‘the book works here but doesn’t work there, good plot, bad characterisation, enjoyed some parts, hated others’. What being critical is not is saying ‘this is the most odious book ever written, worse than all other odious books ever written, should never have been published in the first place, must be banned and in the meantime should not be read’. For that we need another word but critical.” Howard Jacobson at a conference hosted by anti-boycott group Engage in 2007.

  6. One letter was from Andrew Phillips (Lord Phillips of Sudbury -Lib-Dem):
    I recall an article he wrote in the guardian at the time of the financial crisis,
    “The Ghettos of Greed”, where he managed only to mention banks with “Jewish”
    sounding names, Lehmann Bros, Goldman Sachs etc:, none of our nice Scottish or
    Northern speculators included: he is, I think, a member of Palestine Solidarity.
    Do you think he was trying to tell us something ?

    So eclectic the way the Guardian makes up its letter page

  7. Tonge is disingenuous and a liar. She does not merely criticize Israel’s government – she has openly expressed desire for the eradication of the state of Israel, not to mention her desire to kills Jews as a suicide bomber.

  8. Good to know that the Guardian has experts on antisemitism like Tonge.
    We don’t have to worry anymore our case is in very good hands.

      • And we can trust her judgement: When an Antisemite says there is no Antisemitism then there is none, `cause it`s here, ah, her.

      • I suggest to the Komment Ist Frei to hire some more experts in order to avoid future embarrassments:
        On Holocaust denial: Mahmood Ahmadinejad, Roger Faurisson and David Irving
        On antisemitism in the British theater: Caryl Churchill
        On the Jewish voters in London: Ken Livingstone
        On Judaism: Gilad Atzmon
        On the Jenin massacre they don’t need anyone – they have Rusbridger on the payroll
        On advertising at the Wailing Wall: Richard Silverstein
        On how to understand an antisemite: Ben White
        On how to prevent terrorism they have an excellent one already: Simon Jenkins
        On the Hamas charter and Anne Frank: Berchmans
        And not to forget – On animal rights and geography: Harriett Sherwood

    • Yes, you are absolutely correct. Tonge is indeed an expert on antisemitism, because she is a professional Jew hater. The notion that she alone knows what is best for the Jews, who have “nothing to do with Israel and the Israel lobby”, is a classic. What I really wonder about is why, like most antisemites, she seems to have nothing else to worry about. She is a physician, perhaps her time would be better spent thinking about improving healthcare, or just about anything aside from some tiny country that never did her any harm and is full of people she would prefer to see dead. I’m talking about the Jews, of course.

      I also wonder what qualifies her as a Baroness, why she wastes anyone’s time as a member of the House of Lords, and perhaps most important, what she is doing on PressTV – the government-sponsored television station of a nation hostile to the UK and the US. Oh, and which is desperately trying to acquire nuclear weapons and routinely threatens to destroy Israel.

      • In the immortal words of Martin Tyler, when Tony Adams smashed home Arsenal’s 4th goal against Everton to seal the Premiership crown in 1998 … “That sums it all up!”

  9. It is beyond the realms of imagination of any contemporary anti-Semitie to recognise that their malign views about Jews are for anything other than the good of humanity and the progress of universal justice. (An intellectual and moral position that every European anti-Semite has taken from time immemorial). Their prejudice is normal. How could they possibly dislike the Jewish national project, or those that support it for anything other than the correct ideological reasons?

    • Groovy Times, I’m sorry to be picky.
      BUT when you write “An intellectual and moral position that every European anti-Semite has taken from time immemorial”
      I have to put it on record that anti-Semitism can never be confused as being ‘intellectual or moral’.
      It is despicable and the antithesis of either intellectual or moral.

      • Gerald, I agree with you. Anti-Semitism is the antithesis of morality and intellectual thought. But those who indulge in this inversion of morality often claim with arrogance and self-deluded satisfaction, that they are the vanguard of European progress. Tonge is among them.

  10. Either the Guardian is trolling us at this point or they really are straight up Nazis. Pick one.

  11. Jenny Tonge says.
    We are drawing attention to Israel’s disregard of international law and its apartheid system at home, causing huge suffering to the Palestinians and danger to the wider Middle East.

    My Comments.

    The Palestinians are never discriminated .
    Only the ones the IDF catches while on their way TO COMMIT MURDER AND MAYHAM

    That is Defence against Palestinian Islamo Fascists, NOT DISCRIMINATION

    What would you do if some Arab tried to murder your baby slitting its throat while asleep in his home bed?

    As horrid a the PA giving accolades to a man who shot a 9 year old Jewish girl? Or Fatah glorifying Palestinians murdering Jews in buses, shopping malls, disco’s pizzeria’s etc.

    PA television gives time to girls reciting poetry that calls Jews pigs and monkeys.

    The PLO machine funds, fosters and allows terrorism against Israel while they negotiate. In the mean time they have raised generations of racist haters.

    Palestinians go into talks with no intention of ending the conflict, then they have threatened violence regarding the failure of such talks? This is the Arabs mentality.

    The old Joke is.
    Arab scientists have invented a time-travel device that can transport an entire country back to the middle ages.
    They’re calling it ‘Islam’.

  12. So Jenny Tonge firing rockets on Israeli cities is what? An act of diplomacy? Blowing up buses, Passover Seders and hijacking airliners. A PR statement? You don’t get more criminal than this. But its your beloved pallys doing it so I guess they can literally get away with murder.

    There is perhaps no society on earth with as dark a history of promoting a child death cult, sacrificing its children, encouraging its children to seek death, praising those who die than the Palestinians. Any serious investigation here will not go well for the Palestinians and Jenny

    The Palestinians indeed ghoulishly exploit the children whose deaths they cause by using them as human shields and strapping bombs on them, telling them if they kill Jewish children they will get 72 virgins.

  13. When you think about it, the Muslims need Jews more than any other population group on earth. Without Jews, who will the Muslims have to blame for the excesses and failures of their death cult?

    • Islam a “death cult”?

      KK has posed similar bigoted propaganda here before.

      His comments are not deleted. What’s more – they get plenty of support BTL!

      • Well, jihad certainly is a deatz cult, but not Islm.
        KK is wrong when he writes “the Muslims”, but a lot of them supports, may it be the majority of the Muslims, the death cult of Djihad.
        The question remains how central the concept of Djihad is for the Islamic main stream, and the belief.

    Wednesday, September 11, 2013
    Once again, Palestinian Arab support for terrorism is the highest in the world

    Pew Research just released their latest Global Attitudes report on how the Muslim world views extremist groups and terrorism.

    Once again, Palestinian Arab Muslims are found to support terrorism and have a higher regard for terrorist than any other group. By far.

    Pal Arabs show more than twice the support compared to any other Sunni population surveyed!

    Here is how they compare to other groups over the past 11 years:

    Similarly, Palestinian Arab Muslims rank highest – by a significant margin – in their support for Al Qaeda:

    Palestinian Arab support for Hezbollah is also the highest, along with Lebanese Muslims. (If you factor in Christians, clearly the Palestinian Arab numbers would be even higher than Lebanese.)

    Even the Taliban get more support from Palestinian Arabs than any other Muslim group!

    These results have been consistent for years. But they make no dent in the brains of enlightened Westerners who really, truly believe that Palestinian Arabs are moderate, that they want peace, and that they do not support terror.

    Mere facts and figures cannot displace the enormous amount of emotional investment in the false religion of the “peace process” – which necessarily requires a belief in the fairy tale that the Palestinian Arab side loves peace.

    The truth cannot be discarded when it is inconvenient, but that has been exactly the attitude of the West regarding Palestinian Arabs for some forty years now.

  15. Having the Guardian have Jenny Tonge write about anti-Jewish bigotry is like putting Charles Manson as head of the NYPD to stop crime in NY.

    Or putting the Unibomber, Ted Kaczynski as head of homeland security to stop terrorism.

    It is too bad the Columbine shooters are not still alive to write editorials in the Guardian on how to stop school violence and school shootings.

  16. I once wrote to Tonge – when she made that speech about sympathising with the suicide bomber. She replied saying that she had loads of Jewish supporters. Unfortunately so did Hitler….at least to start with.

    The British are wonderful at compromises. Kennedy, who was then leader of the LibDems removed Tonge from the front bench in the Commons as LD spokesperson on children. Then she ‘retired’ from the Commons possibly under some pressure. However, as a compromise, Kennedy put her up for a peerage. So now she has the ‘authority’ of a peer of the realm in addition to the privilege of speaking in the Lords in order to promote her crusade. By such means the British establishment unwittingly gives succour to international terrorism and Judeophobia. The less charitable amongst us might argue that the actions of the British establishment are not so unwitting.

  17. First neither the Palestine Arabs nor the Israeli state wants the “West Bank” and Gaza Arabs to be Israeli citizens so stop moaning that they do NOT have citizens’ rights in Israel. As things are: for self proclaimed enemy aliens they have a lot of access to Israel’s job markets, medical care and to enjoy the beaches.

    Secondly the fallacious differentiation between anti-Zionists and Antisemites goes back a long way. Already in the 30’s Weizmann quipped that, “Antisemites do not like having Jews around, and in the case of anti-Zionists they do not like Jews in Palestine.”

    Incidentally there are reckoned over 33 million US citizens with an Irish connection and similarly 7 million UK citizens of Irish connection or descent besides several million other diaspora Irish in Australia besides other countries – well over the 5 million inhabitants of the island of Ireland or the 4 million citizens of the Irish Republic. Now given the diaspora Irish in general do very well for themselves, who dares challenge the right of the Irish Republic to exist given it is economically unnecessary and a complication to the politics of the British Isles?

    It is time the Palestine Lobby answered why it refused the state it pretends to need six times since first offered in 1937? Further why is it that the Arabs in general have run a (civil) war in every Arab country or with non- Arab neighbours since 1945.