Tag Archives: jenny tonge

Good Jew urgently needed for Liberal Democrat conference in Glasgow.

It is party conference season. There are only seven months to go to the general election and while the National Health Service, the economy and immigration will be important to most parties “Palestine” will be more important to the Liberal Democrats as they try to win votes at the expense of Israel and, more specifically, British Jews.

They will soon be planning their Mezuzah leaflets. There is no political party that fights an election more viciously than the Lib Dems., and Mezuzah leaflets are widely used by them to ensure that no Jewish house gets one of their “pro-Palestinian” leaflets which is full of anti-Israel propaganda.

This is the party that produced Chris Davies MEP who told a Jewish voter that he hoped she enjoyed “wallowing in her own filth”.

This is the party that produced Baroness Jenny Tonge who, inter alia, adores Hamas leader Ismail Haniya.

This is the party that wants to keep Israel as vulnerable as possible. During Operation Protective Edge they called for a ban on weapons being sold to Israel just as Israeli citizens were coming under sustained rocket attack from Hamas.

And this is the party which still has David “the Jews haven’t learned from the Holocaust” Ward as an MP.

And you can imagine the conversation during the planning of this Liberal Democrat Friends of Palestine event being held at their Glasgow conference:

Lib Dem. 1: We need a Jew on the panel.
Lib Dem. 2: Yes, good point. A good Jew though. One that wants a one-state solution and who supports a boycott of Israeli products.
Lib Dem. 1: Ok, then. I’ll try and get hold of one of those nice Jews from Jews for Justice for Palestinians or from Independent Jewish Voices or, even better, from the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network.

You would really hope, wouldn’t you, that in 2014 the Liberal Democrats wouldn’t pin the religion of someone as being their most defining characteristic. But when there are votes to win the Lib Dems. punch hard below the belt.

Having “a Jew” on the panel is important for two reasons. It is more likely to convince the audience of the argument against Israel on the basis that “if a Jew is saying this it must be true”. Second, it allows the Liberal Democrats to convince themselves that anti-Semitism isn’t rife throughout their party because they can now now claim “but we’ve got a Jew on our panel”.

So if you are a “good Jew” reading this then get your train ticket for Glasgow. The Liberal Democrats urgently need you.

Jenny Tonge attacks Israel for not obeying the Ten Commandments.

Baroness Tonge and Manuel Hassassian last night.

Baroness Tonge and Manuel Hassassian last night.

Last night in Parliament (ex-Liberal Democrat) Baroness Jenny Tonge said “If they had only obeyed their own Ten Commandments and half the stuff in the Old Testament…Israel could have been a force for good in the world” (see clip here from 8 mins. 35 secs.)

Tonge was speaking at the Palestine Return Centre event Britain, It’s Time To Apologize for the Balfour Declaration.

Also speaking was Bradford East MP David Ward who in January condemned Jews who “could within a few years of liberation from the death camps, be inflicting atrocities on Palestinians in the new State of Israel and continue to do so on a daily basis in the West Bank and Gaza”.

In July he tweeted that “the Zionists are losing the battle – how long can the apartheid State of Israel last?”. He was temporarily suspended from the Liberal Democrats.

But, last night, he claimed he had been suspended for something he didn’t say:

“I didn’t say Israel shouldn’t exist but that it should never have been created. I said it was an apartheid state. If Israel isn’t an apartheid state then find me one that is.”

And last night he said “Israel are winning. We are losing hands down”. His main concern was that there is no proper plan to counteract this. But it’s certainly quite a change from his July claim “the Zionists are losing”!

Also speaking was Lord Ahmed Nazir who was jailed in 2009 for dangerous driving where another road user died. Nazir then blamed his imprisonment on a Jewish conspiracy.

Last night he claimed that “we have a great moral responsibility” and “a huge burden on our conscience” in light of the Balfour Declaration.

“East Jerusalem is being evacuated slowly, there is ethnic cleansing of Palestinian people. Whether they are Christian or they are Muslim they are being thrown out of their own country,” he continued. (see clip here)

Jenny Tonge added Israel has the right to exist but “it must start behaving properly and treat people in the Middle East the way they want to be treated”. She said Israel is a “threat to world peace and a threat to itself” and continued:

“We must take on the pro-Israel lobby. We will not be silenced. We are not anti-Semitic, we are anti-injustice. What happened to the Palestinians is the greatest injustice in the last 100 years.

They are clever. They call it the Jewish state of Israel so if you criticise the Jewish state they say you are criticising Jews and that you are anti-Semitic. But it is directed against the Israeli government, not the Jewish people. Many Jews join us.

We must boycott Israeli goods. The Israel lobby puts so much pressure on politicians. We must do the same.”

Manuel Hassassian, the Palestinian Authority’s diplomatic representative in the UK, condemned the Balfour Declaration. He said the Palestinians had been denied the right to self-determination and their basic human rights “due to the pledge by Great Britain to the Zionists”.

He said the Palestinian “right of return” was a “sacred right” and that the “non-Judaisation of the state of Israel is our red line”.

Hassassian continued by saying that Israel is acting as a “pariah state” and “let the Israelis go to hell” and that he would only negotiate with the Israelis when they had first drawn Israel’s borders for him.

He finished by saying “together we can march to Jerusalem” where there should be “no monopoly of one religion at the expense of others. Israel’s Jerusalem is a slap in the face of humanity.”

Meanwhile, if I was living in the Bradford East parliamentary constituency I would be flummoxed to see my MP David Ward spending a disproportionate amount of his time attacking Israel. Have the people of Bradford East had all their problems solved?

The 2015 general election is not too far away and Ward has a tiny majority. Maybe it’s time for the people of Bradford East to elect someone who focuses more on them.

British Labour MP: “No justice in Israeli legal sytem. Palestinian children found guilty on flimsy evidence.”

Labour MP Lisa Nandy (Shadow Minister for Children) and Palestine Solidarity Campaign's Sara Apps in Parliament last night.

Labour MP Lisa Nandy (Shadow Minister for Children) and Palestine Solidarity Campaign’s Sara Apps in Parliament last night.

In the House of Commons last night Wigan’s Labour MP Lisa Nandy (Shadow Minister for Children) described how she found herself disturbed by a recent visit to an Israeli military court after seeing how “Palestinian children were treated” and how they were found “guilty on flimsy evidence”. She said there was “no justice in the (Israeli legal) system”. Judging by Nandy’s articles she is no friend of Israel anyway.

The event was commemorating one year since the publication of Children in Military Custody, a report compiled by nine lawyers on a UK Foreign Office funded trip to the West Bank. The nine lawyers reported on:

1. The formal differences affecting Palestinian and Israeli children respectively in Israel’s criminal justice process and

2. The welfare of Palestinian child suspects.

The lawyers hard at work. Jude Lanchin is on the left. (http://www.childreninmilitarycustody.org/background/)

The lawyers hard at work. Jude Lanchin is on the left. (http://www.childreninmilitarycustody.org/background/)

Last night’s event was held to review whether the situation had improved for Palestinian child suspects since last year. You wouldn’t be shocked to hear that the answer given by Jude Lanchin was “not much”.

Lanchin, one of the nine lawyers and who, herself, works for Bindmans solicitors, said that apart from two military orders nothing much had changed on the ground for Palestinian child suspects. She highlighted the main procedural differences still affecting Palestinian and Israeli children respectively in the criminal justice process (see page 7 of the report).

During the Q&A I asked Ms Lanchin whether the procedural differences in the criminal justice process between Israeli and Palestinian child suspects could possibly be attributed to the difference in the nature of offences committed by Israeli and Palestinian children with Palestinian children being mainly arrested for stone throwing; a security/terrorist type offence that can kill and maim Israelis.

Unbelievably, Lanchin responded that there was too little evidence of death or injury caused by stone throwing. As the nine lawyer committee reported last year (see para 46):

We were grateful to receive a response to a comprehensive list of enquiries from the Israeli Government; however, the evidence was limited to one stone-throwing incident in September 2011 which caused the death of an adult and a child, and sight of a photograph of a man with fairly severe facial injuries.

“The evidence was limited” to two deaths? How many more do these lawyers want?

This is the same argument put forward when Israel is accused of acting disproportionately in defending itself against Kassam rockets that have killed relatively few Israelis but which are, still, deadly.

Stones, like Kassam rockets, kill and maim. Ask the family of the murdered “adult and child”: Asher Palmer and his infant son, Yonatan.

Asher Palmer and his son both murdered by a Palestinian stone-thrower.

Asher Palmer and his son both murdered by a Palestinian stone-thrower.

The report also criticises Israel’s welfare treatment of Palestinian child suspects. However, the evidence relied on by the nine lawyer committee is both mainly anonymous AND provided by organisations traditionally hostile to Israel like Breaking The Silence, Btselem and Defence for Children International Palestine, to name but a few.

A main criticism of Israel in the report is Israel’s arrest of Palestinian child suspects very late at night. Israel’s Ministry of Justice responded that “nighttime arrests are necessary for security” (see paras 51 and 52 of the report). The report recommends that a summons should be used instead, but the Ministry of Justice replied that this is not feasible.

Israeli police or soldiers entering a Palestinian neighbourhood during the day to make arrests would have major security risks. As ever, Israel is criticised whatever it does.

Sir Geoffrey Bindman QC, of Bindmans solicitors (Jude Lanchin’s employer), was also on hand last night to condemn Israel as usual. He spoke of “Israel committing outrageous and illegal acts, yet getting away with it” and said it was all part of Israel’s strategy “to maintain the occupation and prevent a Palestinian state being created”.

In summary, the self elected jury of nine lawyers who put the initial report together last year did so while shamefully accepting at face value anonymous evidence from organisations traditionally hostile to Israel while rejecting the legitimate concerns of Israel’s Ministry of Justice.

However, it was the presence of another parliamentarian last night, which really spoke volumes: Jenny “Israel won’t be here forever” Tonge.

Tonge was sat next to Jude Lanchin while Lanchin repeatedly referred to the help that Tonge was offering the nine lawyer committee, especially in trying to get questions asked in Parliament about Israel.

If there was ever evidence of the contempt of court in which this nine lawyer committee should now be held, what more does one need than this?

Middlesex University bans concerned public from Free Palestine Society hate speech event.

middlesexuni

The Facebook page above reads:

“THE UNIVERSITY HAVE RESTRICTED THE EVENT TO MIDDLESEX STUDENTS & STAFF ONLY…PLEASE EMAIL MIDDLESEX UNIVERSITY TO SEEK THEIR JUSTIFICATION FOR THIS UNPRECEDENTED RESTRICTION.”

The event was the Free Palestine Society’s The Case for Boycotting, Divesting, and Sanctions against Israel held last night. The speakers were Lauren Booth, John Rees and Asghar Bukari. The location was Middlesex University in Hendon, a highly Jewish populated suburb of London.

On her blog Booth quotes Gilad Atzmon’s anti-Semitic rhetoric extensively and tries to back him up. For example:

“No Jews do not run the world. They get others to do it for them.’”….This argument is not without example. In 2001 Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, made unguarded comments, about relations with the United States and the peace process.
“I know what America is,” he told a group of terror victims, apparently not knowing his words were being recorded. “America is a thing you can move very easily, move it in the right direction. They won’t get in their way.”

And she directly implicates British Jews in what she sees as Israel’s “crimes” when she writes:

What must also continue, freely and without hindrance are debates into the British Jewish communities role in funding the ethnic cleansing of the West Bank and East Jerusalem via such bodies as the Jewish National Fund.

Bukhari is the founder of the Muslim Public Affairs Committee. MPAC was banned from university campuses in 2004 after being branded anti-Semitic by the National Union of Students and Bukhari, himself, supported and financed Holocaust denier David Irving.

MPAC recently tweeted that Zionism equals Nazism.

Rees has, inter alia, reportedly identified with the Mahdi Army, a terror cell responsible for the deaths of thousands of Iraqis.

We did email Middlesex University to ask why concerned members of the public were banned, but the response bore no relation to the question. Middlesex University responded:

This is a Students’ Union supported society event which is open to students and staff at the University. As a University we have a responsibility to protect freedom of speech within the law and support the rights of our students to meet and discuss issues that matter to them. The University hosts a wide range of events, presenting many different views, and we would not seek to prevent them or influence the content unless there are very strong grounds to do so.

When I contacted Sam Spindlow, of Corporate Communications at Middlesex University and who was responsible for disseminating the statement, even he agreed that the statement did not explain why the public was banned, but said he could go no further than that.

The reality is that at a similar event at Middlesex University last year Ken O’Keefe compared Jews to Nazis, and Jenny Tonge said that “Israel won’t be here forever” for which she was chucked out of the Liberal Democrats.

Middlesex University’s new policy seems to be to allow hate speech to go virtually unopposed. Concerned members of the public are to be banned from anti-Israel events, although whether this policy is legal is open to question with Middlesex University being a taxpayer funded institution.

A few defiant members of Middlesex University’s Jewish Society did attend last night. One walked out in disgust at what was being said about Israel. She said that a pro-Israel question was asked during the Q&A but was dismissed by Lauren Booth as being “too Zionist a question to take seriously.” Another member of the Jewish Society handed out pro-Israel leaflets afterwards.

Jonathan Hoffman and I weren’t allowed in so we waited outside till the end and engaged in discussion with the students as they exited the room. We didn’t get very far though. We were told we were “child killers” and as I left a student shouted at me “Go back to Golders Green*.”

That kind of vile racism has now become the norm at anti-Israel events, but Middlesex University dangerously continues to look away.

*Golders Green is another highly Jewish populated suburb of London.
** Thanks to Stand For Peace for its research on Booth, Bukhari and Rees.
*** UPDATE: What happened behind Middlesex University’s closed doors by Jonathan Hoffman.

Jonathan Hoffman and security outside last night's Free Palestine Society event at Middlesex University.

Jonathan Hoffman and security outside last night’s Free Palestine Society event at Middlesex University.

Former BBC Middle East correspondent Tim Llewellyn: “Zionists are scattered at strategic points throughout British business.”

Milne, Alibhai-Brown, Llewellyn, Rowland listening to Jenny Tonge's rant last night.

Milne, Alibhai-Brown, Llewellyn, Rowland listening to Jenny Tonge’s rant last night.

The reputation of the Jewish community was dragged through the gutter at last night’s book launch of The Battle for Public Opinion in Europe: Changing Perceptions of the Palestine-Israel Conflict. The event was staged by anti-Israel pressure group Middle East Monitor at the University of London’s Senate House.

The panelists were Tim Llewellyn (former BBC Middle East correspondent and now adviser to Council for the Advancement of Arab-British Understanding), Jackie Rowland (Al Jazeera correspondent) and Seumas Milne (The Guardian associate editor). Yasmin Alibhai-Browne (The Independent) chaired the event.

Llewellyn and Rowland described a persistent manipulation of the British broadcast media by a well-moneyed pro-Jewish lobby. Llewellyn said, inter alia, that:

“The BBC is very sparing in the amount of delegations or visitors it allows from the Palestinian side. Whereas from remarks that have been heard from the head of BBC News, Helen Boaden, the British Board of Deputies (of British Jews), for example, practically lives at the BBC. They’re there all the time.”

And:

“I was there (at the BBC) when we weren’t interfered with. But the last 10-12 years, since the beginning of the second Intifada, has coincided with Israel’s decision  to mount a tremendously well organised, careful, assiduous and extremely well financed propaganda campaign in this country, especially in Britain.

The BBC has completely and utterly become feeble and has misreported, in my view; misrepresenting the situation in Israel-Palestine. It has done this maybe because of intense Israeli and pro-Israeli pressure from within this country, from political elements like the Friends of Israel of our three main political parties.

Also through the higher level of pro-Israel Zionists who are scattered at strategic points throughout the British establishment, throughout British business and among the people whose voices are respected.

The propaganda can sometimes be extremely intense, it can be bitter, it can be angry, it could be violent, it can be other forms of coercion. But it’s something the suits at the BBC find very hard to resist. So what has developed over the past 10 years at the BBC, and at other broadcasting institutions like ITN, not so much Channel 4, is a kind of self-censorship.

It is known now by the reporters if they are reporting on an atrocity by the Israelis, in the occupied territories or elsewhere, that they have to add on to the end of their story some kind of appeasing story of how terrible the Palestinians are or how the Israelis have suffered.”

And:

“The pressure of this Israeli campaign has had a tremendous effect, especially at the institutional level of the BBC and inside the political parties. These people are extremely tough, tough minded. I have just read a book by Anthony Lerman called The Making and Unmaking of a Zionist. If you studied the internecine warfare that goes on inside the Jewish community between the different groups; the anti-Zionists, the Zionists, the liberal Zionists, the non-Zionists, it is vitriolic, it is dreadful, I mean what chance have we got outside that community.”

Llewellyn even described Jews as “an alien people”. He said:

“The situation in Palestine now is the direct result of British deviousness, betrayal…dividing Syria in at least three parts; Lebanon, Syria as it is now, and Palestine, and setting the stage for the imposition and the implanting of an alien country, an alien people in that region.”

Rowland described how the BBC’s obligation for accountability, because it is publicly funded, has been “used and exploited by very well organised pro-Israeli, pro-Jewish lobby groups.”

She said that she knew someone who worked in the complaints department of the BBC who told her “that 85% of the complaints he dealt with were complaints by pro-Israeli, pro-Jewish lobby groups complaining about the perceived bias of the BBC’s Middle East coverage.”

She said this gives an idea of “how well organised, well funded people use the idea of public accountability to tie up a lot of BBC resources on one very narrow focus.”

Alibhai-Browne told of how she had been given a rent free home in England by Professor Hugh Blaschko for seven years after she fled Uganda and how he had said to her that “Israel will bring the worst out in us Jewish people”.

Alibahi-Browne also compared Israel to apartheid South Africa.

Milne said “there are well funded and well organised organisations that campaign in support of Israel. If you’re editing in these area you will find pressure and campaigning constantly by those groups.”

During the Q&A I couldn’t resist mentioning, seeing she was in the audience, that I took the footage that contributed to Jenny Tonge’s exit from the Liberal Democrats. In a bizarre outburst right at the end she took to the microphone to announce:

“I’d like to say, I hope he hasn’t gone, a big, big ‘thank you’ to Richard Millett, the Jewish Chronicle, the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the entire pro-Israel lobby who have relentlessly attacked me for eight years but making sure that the Palestinian cause gets heard.”

I have no problem at all with the Palestinian cause getting heard. The main problem for the Palestinians is that it is heard via the likes of Tonge, Milne, Rowland, Alibhai-Browne and Llewellyn.

Meanwhile, it will be interesting to clarify exactly what Helen Boaden did say that led to Llewellyn’s accusation that the Board of Deputies of British Jews “practically lives at the BBC”.

Click HERE for Jonathan Hoffman’s view of last night.

Click HERE for MEMO’s version with photos.

MEMO Talk audio

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:

Mavi Marmara’s Ken O’Keefe compares Jews to Nazis: The Footage.

Tonge stays silent at Middlesex University after O'Keefe's horrendous attack on Jews.

Tonge stays silent at Middlesex University after O'Keefe's horrendous attack on Jews.

Here is the footage from last Thursday’s anti-Israel event at Middlesex University in Hendon, which I blogged about here, when Ken O’Keefe compared Jews to Nazis. Proof, if it was ever needed, that these events are held more out of spite against Jews than out of any concern for the Palestinians.

The event was sponsored by Interpal whose website asks you to “donate” or “sponsor” in order to “join in our efforts to help Palestinians in need”. If only.

Equally disturbing is that Jenny Tonge, a British Parliamentarian, sat on the panel next to O’Keefe all night and stayed silent after O’Keefe’s attack on Jews and his accusation later on when he blamed Israel for 9/11.

There has also been a deafening silence from Middlesex University. No doubt they will explain it all away as “freedom of speech”.

(thanks to Harry’s Place for the edit)