The disgraced peer, Baroness Tonge, has stepped down as a patron of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, after claiming that the actions of the Israeli government led by Prime Minister Netanyahu could be contributing to the rise in antisemitism.
In a Facebook post soon after neo-Nazi Robert Bowers slaughtered eleven people at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Baroness Tonge, who was twice suspended from the Liberal Democrats over allegations of antisemitism and eventually resigned as pressure mounted, responded to the attack with a post declaring: “Absolutely appalling and a criminal act, but does it ever occur to Bibi [as the Israeli Prime Minister is nicknamed] and the present Israeli government that it’s [sic] actions against Palestinians may be re-igniting antisemitism? I suppose someone will say that it is antisemitic to say so?”
The Palestine Solidarity Campaign reportedly told the Jewish News that it had “contacted Jenny Tonge to express our deep concerns at her post and is in the process of considering any further steps”, but she reiterated her view. In a further Facebook post entitled “Reaction to the Pittsburgh Tragedy”, she wrote: “The hounds have been unleashed and are baying for my blood and I suppose I have got used to it, but now a few days have passed and opinions are flying around and I have to reflect too…I am always puzzling about the causes of the apparent rise in antisemitism here and in the USA. I genuinely cannot understand it, but have long thought that the actions of the Israeli government led by Netanyahu could be contributing to the rise. Many of our fellow citizens do not know the difference between the Zionists who currently control the Israeli government and ordinary Jewish people in this country, many of whom do not support that government and are as horrified by its actions as we are. I accept, that to mention this in the same post that expressed horror and sadness for the tragedy was too premature…The other consequence of all of this is to divert us once again from discussing the horrors which occur daily in Palestine and get ignored by the media. We must make up for that and never forget the injustice being perpetrated on the Palestinian people.”
This appears to have been too much even for the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, which has had its own antisemitism problems. In a statement on its website, it wrote: “Baroness Tonge has offered to stand down as a patron of PSC…PSC regards the original post to be deeply troubling. Whilst the post acknowledged that the killings were appalling and a criminal act, it risked being read as implying that antisemitism can only be understood in the context of a response to Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. Such a view risks justifying or minimising antisemitism.”
Baroness Tonge must be removed from the legislature and stripped of her title following her latest outburst on Facebook.
Attempting to blame the Jewish state for the actions of a neo-Nazi terrorist, while the bodies of his innocent victims still laid on the floor of their synagogue, is utterly abhorrent.
We consider that Baroness Tonge’s ongoing membership of the House of Lords and the medical profession are stains on both institutions and we have formally complained to both the House of Lords and the General Medical Council in the past. The Liberal Democrats, which secured Baroness Tonge’s seat in the House of Lords must now campaign for her to be removed from the legislature and stripped of her title.
Baroness Tonge has a long history of using inflammatory, and sometimes antisemitic, language. Her posts on Facebook today and on Saturday must be the line in the sand.