The Guardian and The New Statesman jump to Tonge’s defence…but only after misquoting her.

What a week. Jenny Tonge resigned the Liberal Democrat whip on Wednesday thanks to some footage I took of her speaking at last Thursday’s anti-Israel event at Middlesex University in Hendon, North-West London.

Thank you for the supportive tweets, texts, calls, emails and comments. All a bit embarrassing as all I did was hold up a camera (albeit under threat of being hauled out by the university’s security guards for doing so).

Some far bigger players took up the cause, as Martin Bright generously describes in his Jewish Chronicle report of the week’s events:

“It is certainly true that she was brought down by an irresistible pincer movement of right-wing bloggers. First, the neo-cons at the Commentator picked up on the footage of the Middlesex University event posted by the redoubtable Richard Millett and then passed the baton to the conservative attack dogs at Guido Fawkes.”

As Rubin Katz commented, it was doing what was right, not necessarily right-wing.

Since Tonge’s resignation some in the mainstream media have tried to jump to her defence, but have based their articles on a completely false premise.

Tonge said:

“Israel is not going to be there forever in its present performance because one day the United States of America will get sick of giving $70bn a year to Israel to support its, what I call, ‘America’s aircraft carrier in the Middle East’. That is Israel. One day the American people are going to say to the Israel lobby in the USA ‘enough is enough’. Read that book by Walt and Mearsheimer called The Israel Lobby. But, it will not go on forever, it will not go on forever. Israel will lose its support and then they will reap what they have sown.”

But The Guardian‘s Michael White, The New Statesman‘s Mehdi Hasan and Yahoo‘s Ian Dunt all misquoted her as saying Israel “is not going to be there forever in its present form“, instead of “in its present performance“, so allowing them to give Tonge’s words a more benign interpretation than they warrant.

White then argues that a two-state solution involving land-for-peace trades would change Israel “in its present form” (White also concurs with her ridiculous $70bn figure. It’s actually $3bn).

Dunt refers to Tonge as the “victim” of a “trick” by Israel’s defenders and goes on to describe the phrase “in its present form” as one “which almost all people, including Israelis, would accept given the negotiations which would have to take place for a two-state solution to be accomplished”.

Hasan defends Tonge by suggesting “in its present form” was merely an assessment of the threat to Israel’s future as “a Jewish and democratic state”. To back himself up he uses the spurious argument that Jews and Arabs will eventually reach parity in the area under discussion (there will never be anywhere near parity as this study shows).

But Hasan is against Israel’s existence, anyway. In his last paragraph he says he “reluctantly” supports “the one-state solution”.

But Tonge didn’t say “in its present form“. She said “in its present performance“, by which she clearly meant Israel’s present behaviour. She ended with the threat that Israel “will reap what they have sown”, which relates back to that performance/behaviour.

Tonge thinks Israel has massacred and ethnically cleansed Palestinians and so her “will reap what they have sown” must mean that she thinks that the same will eventually happen to Israel’s Jews.

No reasonable person can defend such sentiments. If White, Dunt and Hasan listen again to what Tonge actually said then, surely, they must have serious second thoughts about their articles.

Here it is again:

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33 responses to “The Guardian and The New Statesman jump to Tonge’s defence…but only after misquoting her.

  1. “As Rubin Katz commented, it was doing what was right, not necessarily right-wing.”

    Love it! When a Leftie calls you “right-wing” you can be sure that it’s his own self-justification for doing nothing to counter the Israel-haters …

    • richardmillett

      Bit unfair. I think he’s exposed a hell of a lot of extremism and has been constantly defamed as Islamophobic due to it, especially by Ken.

  2. Yep. Just like the gay communist Pim Fortuyn was suddenly “right-wing” for criticising islam (which demonisation led to his assassination).

    Please do no get your hopes up for Mehdi Hasan. Here is describing jews and christians and hindus as “cattle” and “people of no intelligence”.

    That’s more supremacist than anything Pim Fortuyn said. Imagine if Professor Pim had said “muslims are animals and have no intelligence”.

    Mehdi Hasan is the socialist who has defended right-wing homophobia: http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/mehdi-hasan/2011/01/baroness-warsi-wing-tory Clearly his views change depending on whether or not it aids his fellow fifth-columnists.

    Mehdi Hasan is the muslim who exculpated that behaviour of the would-be assassin of Stephen Timms MP. Hasan describes the assassin as “not the sharpest tool in the box” (was that a deliberate pun or just poor editing by the editor of the New Statesman?) http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/mehdi-hasan/2010/11/iraq-lectures-thought-stephen

    Mehdi Hasan wilfully ignored the evidence of Roshonara Choudhry’s teachers at King’s College London, who had predicted she would get a first class degree.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1326208/Roshonara-Choudhry-knifed-MP-Stephen-Timms-smiles-gets-life.html

    So, don’t expect someone like him to apologies for supporting such a vile jew-hater. As for The Guardian, it will go down in history as the most anti-semitic newspaper in Britain, read only by muslims and members of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party. Funny how muslims were such supporters of Hitler in WW2, isn’t it?

  3. Sharon Klaff

    Walid Shoebat asks: “Why is it that on June 4th 1967 I was a Jordanian and overnight I became a Palestinian?” He further says: “When I finally realized the lies and myths I was taught, it is my duty as a righteous person to speak out!” and: “The Israeli Arab Conflict is not about geography but about Jew hatred; Throughout the Islamic as well as Christendom’s history Jews have been persecuted, the persecution of Israel is just the same as the old Antisemitism.” and: “No one (Arab or Jew) has a “right of return” Jews who fled Arab persecution from 1948 to 1956 should have no right of return to Arab lands, and Arabs who ran away in 1948 and 1967 should have no right of return either. This should end all argument. Yet the Jews accept this judgment, while the Arabs reject EVERYTHING.”

    Isn’t it time that those Westerners who only learned of the Middle East before breakfast learned a little from a Jordanian who was stripped of his citizenship by the PLO at a stroke to be reclassified as a Palestinian? That’s the true Apartheid – classification of people for political purposes! So the PLO charter recognizes all descendants of Arabs born in pre 1948 Israel as Arab Palestinians, but only Jews born in pre 1948 Israel are Palestinian, their descendants being Jewish nationals of the country they were born in.

    It defies logic that so called educated people can buy this clap trap and peddle it as fact!

  4. Sharon Klaff

    Sorry – link:

    http://www.shoebat.com/

  5. Michael Cohen

    Well and truly on form Richard

  6. Empress Trudy

    It’s present form being the home of Jews. That’s what they mean.

  7. Brian Goldfarb

    “No reasonable person can defend such sentiments. If White, Dunt and Hasan listen again to what Tonge actually said then, surely, they must have serious second thoughts about their articles.”

    The assumption that Richard makes is that White, Dunt & Hasan are “reasonable person(s)”, which, given who they write for and what they, consistently, say, must be open to doubt. As the saying goes, “past performance is a good indicator of future behaviour”. The best one could hope for is that they would interpret Tonge as really meaning what they said she said. It’s an old trick and one we might expect them to pull, depsite the exposure of what she said and they chose to write.

  8. Pingback: Jenny Tonge Goes at last - ScrollPost.com

  9. We also have Owen Jones who also thought Dunt “had something” and got quite upset when i asked him if he supported what Tonge had said.Why are the left big on equality,unless of course its Israeli Jews????

  10. I don’t think anyone should be belittling this achievement by Richard Millett, himself included. In these days when wars are won and lost as often in the media as they are on the battlefield, “holding a camera” is sometimes the most important and occasionally the most heroic act that a person can do.

    Regarding the sentence:

    “Israel is not going to be there forever in its present performance because one day…” I actually suspect this might have been a Freudian slip and she may well have meant to say, “form” rather than “performance”. I say this because what she did say was gibberish, what does existing in your performance mean?

    Nor does Richard’s interpretation, namely, that she meant “Israel’s present behavior” leave me any less confused. What does, “Israel is not going to be there forever in its present behavior…” mean?

    Either way, on the eve of Purim the latter day female Haman got what she deserved and Richard emerges as the Mordechai (or perhaps Esther) of this charming holiday tale. Such a pity there was no tree.

    • richardmillett

      Typical. I just knew you’d dispute my interpretation and you weren’t there!
      Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

  11. Tonge’s ‘performance’ was two-fold: her comments about Israel and the fact that she continued to share a platform with O’Keefe during his rant. Any right-thinking person would have left at that point but the fact is that Jenny has some form that is not a million miles away from O’Keefe’s perspective. Speaking in December 2009 during Operation Cast Lead she 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.”

    http://hurryupharry.org/2010/02/13/defending-jenny/

    Your role in booting this old harridan out of British politics is greatly appreciated, Richard! She got away with this for far too long.

  12. Guttwoch to everyone!

    Richard, you must not hold it against Daniel, he means well. Its an automatic reaction as a result of his talmudic training, where you look at and analyse things from all different angles, in a sharp-witted discourse. Known in those circles as ‘pilpul’. This method of study is very good for sharpeing the brain. As a young man, I indulged in it myself a little. In the ‘old country’ it used to be said that Jewish mental powers developed as a result of this discipline. No hard feelings, Daniel…

    • I’m sure Richard took my comments in the spirit they were made. There was certainly nothing there to detract from his wonderful achievement.

      Interesting that you mention Talmud as even my study partner had heard of this Jenny Tonge creature and her getting he push.

  13. Sharon Klaff

    Tonge is putting it about that anything she said untoward was a reaction to the disturbances from her “non-supporters” in the audience. This is blatantly not true. She spoke first – she was insulting from the outset and in her quiet passive aggressive manner stoked the temperature in preparation for O’Keefe – he took the baton and ran with it. Karmi came in to the finish line with claims that living in Golders Green and having Jewish friends is evidence enough that she is not a Jew hater. I know one of her latent Jewish friends who has distanced from Karmi as she couldn’t reconcile her support of Hamas with its genocidal charter and her friendship with a Jew.

    The evidence is clear – these three shared a platform as they share a common hatred that they unashamedly peddle whenever the opportunity arises. The law says that if we feel discriminated against then that is sufficient evidence that the crime of racial hatred has been committed. It is not for Tonge to say that she did not provoke that feeling when she gave her very well planned talk. Indeed she moved on a few nights later to continue where she left off and no doubt will continue into the future to tell the fabrications and lies to massage her hatred. She now needs to lose her title and her entitlement to be part of the law making process int he UK. Lets get that done and the job will be complete.

  14. Sharon Klaff


    4k&feature=youtube_gdata_player

    Does this look like an apartheid state. Is Tonge so blinded by her J we hatred that she never came across this school on her numerous visits to Israel?

  15. I m not sure why the need to analyse the” did she didn’t she ” debate . It is patently clear what she meant . Whether Israel will not continue to exist in its current form or performance , it’s readily apparent she means it will not exist as an independent Jewish state . Just to reinforce that, she took her place on the panel alonside two rabidly antisemitic speakers one of whom has the repugnant indecency of daring to pronounce on who or who might not be considered a Jew . The last ideology to do that were the Nazis who made similar grand pronouncements .
    Tonge is an antisemite . There can be no equivocation over this . Her remarks concerning Israeli doctors partaking in the trafficking of human organs transplants is a base antisemitic trope . And she knew it . Her contemptible apologies and withdrawal afterwards was sheer hypocrisy . The damage was done .
    Ironically I rather have one out and out in your face antisemite such as okeefe than a sly weasel such as tonge . Anyway she’s down . Swords too received her come uppance .
    Let them be the first of many this year .

    • Harvey,

      To be clear I was not defending the lady, but since there seems to be a consensus about the matter I promise I shall analyze it no more.

      I think that you may be exaggerating just a tincy wincy, and I’m not sure that the last ideology to pronounce who is or is not a Jew was Nazism, but what the hell? She seems most decidedly to be a Jew-hater and that’s good enough for me.

      I agree about preferring the less hypocritical brand of ant-Semite who just admits to hating Jews, but sadly they’re as rare as hen’s teeth. Even those who call us Kikes or shout Itbach al Yahud have become as slippery as eels and later on explain that they were only referring to Israelis (the Jewish ones) or Zionists. Just try googling and looking for an antisemitic site, they don’t exist. Whatever happened to all the honest Jew-haters?

      Plenty of rain here.

      • richardmillett

        Please can people stop directly accusing people of being Jew haters. I am sure that those you have named are nothing of the sort. It just means I now have to edit the comments!

      • Plenty of rain here.

        I love to read that.

  16. Richard, I don’t think there’s any semantic basis for saying “performance” when one means “form”. I know Daniel has closed the subject but “form” can mean “sentence served”. Nothing I know about Tonge suggests that her view of Israel is as mild as that.

    And – amazing work!

  17. Adriane:

    I had no intention of closing the subject, and you’re right that “form” can mean “sentence served”, as in:

    A: Who do you fancy for the bank job gov?

    B: Well, Ronnie Bloggs looks quite tasty, and he’s certainly got form.

  18. Referring to that Karmi woman, I’ve always been suspicious of anyone who resorts to the old ruse of having Jewish friends; the classic one is ‘some of my best friends are Jews’.

    Apropos who is a Jew, I thought this was decided on in these columns not so long ago by the Muslim Brother Kamal El-Baradawy. As a scholar in comparative religion he is qualified, he claims, to define who is a Jew and who isn’t. According to him the Neturei Karta clowns, whom he very much approves of, are the real Jews, but not Zionists like Shimon Peres!

    This brings to mind Hermann Goering, the architect of the Nazi Nuremberg Racial Laws. When rumours emerged that his half-brother might be of Jewish descent, he retorted “I decide who is a Jew!” He is also on record of having said that when he hears the word ‘intellectual’ mentioned, it makes him want to reach for his gun! Goering was a monster, but I wonder if the likes of El-Helbawy come under his definition of an intellectual…?

  19. Sorry, it should have been El-Helbawy.
    Not that there is much difference between the two. Baradawi was Iran’s figleaf for years, who did a lot of damage by covering up for Iran and got a Nobel Price for it. Can it get anymore cynical than that?

  20. Daniel Marks

    I’m not sure to what extent the matter was reported yesterday, but Avigdor Liebermann our foreign minister said that the Israel should consider lending humanitarian support to the victims of the massacre taking place in Syria. Interesting Zehava Galon of Meretz (the most Left-wing Zionist party) supported this. Liebermann also made the obvious point:

    “The question arises that if the entire world cannot end the terrible massacre, the bloodshed, what is the value of all the promises of the world community to Israel that they will guarantee our security?”

    With the passing of days ad weeks and months, I feel ever more ashamed that 130 miles from my home innocent people are being murdered by day and by night and I am continuing with my life as if all is well waiting for the new drier to be delivered. I have no idea whether the opposition to Assad would be “better or worse” for the Syrian people or for us, but the situation as it is today should not be allowed to continue.

    If we can do nothing else, at least we should all speak out loudly and clearly, both to ourselves and to the Heavens, and condemn this terrible senseless waste of those, who like us, were created in the image of Almighty G-d.

    They should be in our thughts and prayers.

    • Sharon Klaff

      Daniel, you are so right. We listen to excuse after excuse here in the UK as to why barging into Libya was justify able, but Syria is so different. Be that as it may, but surely the people fcought up in the cross fire are no different in Libya, Syria or Israel. May God bring some sense to all of this so that people can live decent lives despite their so called leaders.

    • richardmillett

      Wow what a powerful comment from Meretz of all parties. Thanks, Daniel.
      Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

    • as a subscriber to the excellent free of charge newsletters the Israeli Foreign Ministry provides to the interested wherever they may be I was of course aware.

      Now I am waiting that I read a “laudatio” of it on any of those blogs which habitually “advice” Israel on how to ameliorate her Hasbara.

  21. Daniel:

    I agree about preferring the less hypocritical brand of ant-Semite who just admits to hating Jews, but sadly they’re as rare as hen’s teeth. Even those who call us Kikes or shout Itbach al Yahud have become as slippery as eels and later on explain that they were only referring to Israelis (the Jewish ones) or Zionists. Just try googling and looking for an antisemitic site, they don’t exist. Whatever happened to all the honest Jew-haters?

    ‘… Just try googling and looking for an antisemitic site, they don’t exist.’ Only if you’re wilfully blind or have mushy peas for a brain. Loudly and proudly antisemitic groups and sites are very easy to find. In the US they’ve been grouped together on a rather comprehensive site, the world-wide renowned Southern Poverty Law Center, with its handy ‘hate map’ which features plenty of Neo-Nazi antisemitic hate fests. Nought easier than finding their websites…

    In Europe the situation is slightly different: almost all of the European Far Right racist parties, with the almost sole exception of the Hungarian Jobbik, have renounced their ‘former’ antisemitism, in order to better pursue their anti-Muslim bigoted agendas. Clearly another feather in Zionism’s cap.

    On Jenny Tonge you’re also dead wrong. I don’t frequent Jenny’s circles but have it on good authority she has a least half a Jew for breakfast and a whole one for Sunday roast (it’s not clear whether Y’shire puds are included). She’s a Jew KILLAH, man!

  22. Sharon Klaff

    Its shocking that the three journalists mentioned in this blog (and to tht we can add Max Hastings) together with politicans like Tonge, pundits like Ben White, propagandists like O’Keefe and Karmi and all of those who tag along this line with them can only talk of fabricated Israeli outrages that don’t exist whilst ignoring the real atrocities in the Islamic world to the extent that they cannot even bring themselves to empathize with the victims. They live in a zone somewhere between Alice and Sheer Khan!

    http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/why-golda-meir-was-right-ii-.aspx?pageID=449&nID=15397&NewsCatID=398#.T1fd3O6wuHQ.facebook