Britain / 11-09-2016

Meet Lady Jenny Tonge, a leading UK antisemitic inciter

Source: Arutz Sheva

By Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld


Much attention has recently been given to the incitement against Israel and the Jews by elected officials of the British Labour Party.[1]Yet, probably, the main anti-Israeli hate monger in the British Parliament is Lady Jenny Tonge. This former Liberal parliamentarian is nowadays an independent member of the House of Lords. Her so-far latest antisemitic remark in the House of Lords is “The treatment of the Palestinians by Israel is a major cause of the rise of extreme Islamism and Daesh [ISIS].”[2]  


A few months ago the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) accepted a definition of antisemitism. This required the agreement of the 31 member countries of the IHRA, among which is the UK.[3]The definition has greatly facilitated identifying this and other statements of Tonge as antisemitic.

Tonge said in 2004 that if she were Palestinian, she would consider becoming a suicide bomber.[4] This fits an example of antisemitism from the definition – “calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist view of religion.”


The IHRA definition includes among other examples of antisemitism, “making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective.” Tonge did so when in 2006, while still a Liberal MP, she alleged that the “pro-Israeli Lobby has grips on the Western World, its financial grips. I think they’ve got a certain grip on our party.”[5] – as well as other similar remarks in 2012 about the power of the pro-Israel lobby in the UK and US.[6]


Another IHRA definition example of what is antisemitic is, “accusing Jews as a people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single Jewish person or group, or even for acts committed by non-Jews.” In a letter to the Independent in 2006 Tonge blamed Israel for suicide bombings in Iraq, writing, “Israel's security wall is forcing them to export themselves to another arena to fight in this ridiculous ‘war’ against terrorism being waged by the donkeys who lead us in the West.”[7] She has also blamed the treatment of the Palestinians by Israel as “the root cause of terrorism worldwide.”[8] This in addition to the aforementioned accusation of Israel’s responsibility for the rise of extreme Islamism and Isis”[9]  


In 2009, at an anti-Israel rally in London during the Gaza war Tonge said that “Jewish people should be totally ashamed of themselves that they are not doing more to stop Israel.” She added that it is “absolutely disgusting.”[10] In 2015 she has called on Jewish leaders in Britain to condemn Israel.[11] Her statements seem to imply “accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations.” This is another example of antisemitism stated in the IHRA definition.


The IHRA definition mentions as a further example of antisemitism, “accusing the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust.” Tonge accuses Jews of “using the Holocaust” as she questions whether Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians is allowed to continue because of “Holocaust guilt.”[12]


The IHRA definition mentions furthermore that it is antisemitic to deny “the right of Jewish people to self-determination.” Tonge attended an anti-Israel event at Middlesex University in 2012 where she stated that “Beware Israel. Israel is not going to be there forever in its current performance… Israel will lose its support and then they will reap what they have sown.”[13]


Tonge also used a contemporary anti-Israeli version of the old blood libel by calling for an inquiry into invented charges that Israeli medical teams harvested organs when they came to Haiti in 2010 to help people in the aftermath of the earthquake.[14] 


Beyond the definition of antisemitism, there are also many matters which are peripheral to antisemitism but can not be included in any definition of antisemitism. For instance, Tonge brought the Palestinian Muslim cleric Raed Saleh to the British Parliament. He has propagated the libel that Jews use the blood of non-Jews to bake their Shabbat bread.[15] In July 2016 Tonge shared an article by the anti-Israeli hate monger Gilad Atzmon on “Jewish Power.”[16]


The above analysis can serve as a model for how to use the IHRA definition in exposing antisemitic slurs. Israel and Jewish communities should train as many people as possible to undertake similar analyses of many other cases of antisemitism.


And an afterthought: the sizable list of antisemitic smears by Tonge is currently not more than the utterances of a marginal figure in the British Parliament, yet the collection of her slurs illustrates how she makes Israel and the Jews responsible for many of the world’s evils. This is the same as what the powerful Roman Catholic Church did concerning Jews over many centuries, which caused huge suffering. Joshua Trachtenberg summarized how medieval Christendom saw the Jew: as “sorcerer, murderer, cannibal, poisoner, blasphemer.”[17] One can thus imagine that if Tonge represented society’s majority rather than being in the periphery, how frightening that would be.  







[5] Ibid.












[17] Joshua Trachtenberg, The Devil and the Jews (Cleveland: Meridian, 1961), 159.


Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld has been a long-term adviser on strategy issues to the boards of several major multinational corporations in Europe and North America.He is board member and former chairman of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and recipient of the LIfetime Achievement Award (2012) of the Journal for the Study of Anti-Semitism.