The Coordination Forum for Countering Antisemitism

Baroness Tonge implies discussing persecution of Jews is antisemitic

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In a Facebook post yesterday, Baroness Jenny Tonge stated:

“…We would all like a safe haven to run to when the going gets tough, but we stay on and ask why it is getting tough. Why have the Jewish people been persecuted over and over again throughout history. Why? I never get an answer. If we discussed this we would be accused of anti Semitism, so better not, and so it goes on!…”

Tonge’s post was responding to a video produced by The Israel Institute of New Zealand in which a Jewish Kiwi, Juliet Moses, presents a brief history of the Jewish homeland, affirms the indigeneity of the Jewish people and outlines the involvement of the United Nations in Israel’s establishment.

The video went viral shortly after its August 2017 release, and has had more than 560,000 views from the Israel Institute of New Zealand Facebook page alone.

It is preposterous to imply that discussion of why Jews have been persecuted in itself should be considered antisemitic. This is a question historians and scholars, among others, have grappled with throughout the ages. However, it IS antisemitic to suggest that Jews are persecuted because they bring it upon themselves, just as it would be to suggest that any other people of a particular race, ethnicity or religion, deserve bigotry, discrimination or persecution, and that they are to blame, not the perpetrators.

Blaming Jews for antisemitism is something Baroness Tonge has done before. In February, 2017, she suggested that a record number of antisemitic incidents was because the Jewish community did not speak out enough against Israel. Mark Gardner, CST director of communications, said Baroness Tonge’s comments “typifies how Israel hatred causes some on the anti-racist liberal left to wilfully ignore, pervert and ridicule the concerns of British and world Jewry about antisemitism.” Her “victim mentality” jibe was “repulsive”, he said.