London – Baroness Tonge, a former Liberal Democrat MP, told a Lords debate on antisemitism today that Israel’s actions were to blame for the rise in Jew-hate.
The peer described how statistics showed “a surge in violent antisemitic activity during and after Operation Protective Edge in 2014”, which she labelled “a vicious and deadly attack on Gaza by Israeli armed forces”.
In an allegation she has made on previous occasions, she added: “These events are not quickly forgotten, and I suggest that some, if not many people who commit antisemitic acts, do not distinguish between ordinary Jewish people…and the Zionist Israeli government of what now is called the Jewish State of Israel. It is too difficult a distinction for many people to make.”
Baroness Tonge was sacked as the party’s health spokesperson in 2010 after demanding an investigation into allegations that IDF aid workers in Haiti were harvesting organs.
In 2016, she was suspended from the party after she hosted an event at the House of Lords where audience members compared Israel to Isis terrorists and suggested Jews were to blame for the Holocaust. She subsequently resigned from the party. In 2017, she shared a post on Facebook which referred to the “Jewish lobby” and included a neo-Nazi caricature of a Jewish person in the bottom right hand corner.
She told her fellow peers that she was “sick of the filthy abuse I get online, and I am sick of the accusations of antisemitism being levelled against me, and I am appalled that I never get any apology.
“I am not antisemitic, I have never ever been antisemitic, and I never will be antisemitic. I have Jewish and gentile friends who will vouch for me.”