Lord Wallace


By MatthewHarris
April 21, 2010
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I have to declare an interest. Although I do not know William Wallace very well, I have met him a few times, and I both like him and respect him. When I heard that he had addressed the Board of Deputies on Sunday, I was naturally very interested to hear what he had said as he is my party's Deputy Leader in the Lords and a foreign affairs spokesman. Especially amid claims of a "walk out by Deputies". Well, one friend says that six out 150 Deputies walked out; Jonathan Hoffman writes that it was four. Is four Deputies leaving out of 150 a "walk out"?

On Monday, at a very enjoyable joint election reception for Lib Dem Dem Friends of Israel, Ed Fordham (our candidate for Hampstead and Kilburn) and I, I was given a printed, partial transcript of what Lord Wallace had said. I read it with great interest. I have always viewed William Wallace as a constructive critic of Israel who, as a senior foreign policy academic, has much to say that is both useful and interesting. He describes himself as a critical friend of Israel. He engages intellectually with the long-term challenges facing Israel. As a friend of Israel myself, I find a great deal to agree with in William's words. I know a great many other friends of Israel who will agree with me on that, including some Israeli friends and relations who have themselves served valiantly in the Israeli armed forces, and whose loyalty to Israel is therefore beyond question.

I do dissent from parts of what Lord Wallace said about Baroness Tonge. While I agree with him in his criticisms of her, he has been misinformed about what happened between the JC and the Baroness regarding the story about Haiti and I disagree with his defence of her (I also defend the JC as being a great newspaper with robust editorial processes).

I think that he possibly makes the mistake of thinking that because he is a person of good will himself, then so is Baroness Tonge; I believe that Baroness Tonge is someone who deliberately says provocative things in a bid to secure publicity. Where William is right is in describing her approach as "over-emotional"; it is precisely because she approaches problems emotionally, rather than logically, that she falls into saying the appalling things that she has said.

While I disagree with some parts of what Lord Wallace said, I also agree with large parts of it.

Here is the full transcript of what he said: http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/30873/lib-dem-lord-wallace-his-controv...

Matthew Harris is the Lib Dem candidate for Hendon.

This blog is part of the JC.com's On The Campaign Trail blog for the Election 2010 where candidates in key Jewish areas have been invited to blog. Read more on our Election 2010 page

COMMENTS

Jon_i_Cohen

Wed, 04/21/2010 - 14:37

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"why I will defend Jenny "

As soon as I saw those words, that's it - no need to read any more.

Unfortunately for you Matthew you are "flogging a dead horse" on this web-site as there is no denying the fact that the senior leadership of the Lib Dem's are anti-Israel - right up to your new TV superstar / Tony Blair impersonator, Mr Nick Clegg, who has called for Israel to be disarmed.
Whatever is said about Jenny Tonge, whilst she remains a Director of The Palestine Telegraph, the terrorist newspaper), you, your party are wasting your time trying to defend her.

Whilst the Jewish vote is small compared to the Muslim vote, we do have influence and in the likely event of a hung parliament eveything will be done to lobby against Mr "super smooth / TV personality" Clegg becoming Foreign Minister.


Jonathan Hoffman

Wed, 04/21/2010 - 17:00

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There were a lot fewer than 150 there - maybe 100 - because it was held far from London.

And as you know full well, it takes a lot to move the average Deputy to walk out of a Plenary.

"I also agree with large parts of it".

Which parts?

That the EU should put conditions on Israel's trade agreement?

That attempts are made to stifle criticism of israel by labelling it "antisemitic"?

That Israel practises "collective punishment?"

That Israel should be held to a different standard than many other countries?

Matthew Offord will be so pleased to read this.


Ben Abuyah

Wed, 04/21/2010 - 17:06

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Matthew, any chance of posting a copy of that transcript?


MatthewHarris

Wed, 04/21/2010 - 17:15

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Thanks - I did post the transcript, but the JC removed it, for very good editorial reasons (which were explained to me, and with which I agree, but which I won't go into here, for reasons that will eventually become apparent...). Ben, I shall email you the transcript.

I am fascinated, having read the transcript, to read Jonathan's "interesting" interpretation of what was actually said! The full transcript will be very publicly available in the near future, at which point people can judge for themselves.


Jonathan Hoffman

Wed, 04/21/2010 - 17:25

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Matthew

What am I falsely accusing Lord Wallace of saying:

- That the EU should put conditions on Israel's trade agreement?

- That attempts are made to stifle criticism of israel by labelling it "antisemitic"?

- That Israel practises "collective punishment?"

- That Israel should be held to a different standard than many other countries?

Please do tell us - bearing in mind that there is a recording ..........


Jonathan Hoffman

Wed, 04/21/2010 - 17:27

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http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/30643/lib-dem-lords-deputy-leader-caus...

Substantial sections of the address are reproduced verbatim here


Jonathan Hoffman

Wed, 04/21/2010 - 17:40

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Please email me the transcript as well, Matthew.

I assume it is the one taken verbatim from the recording?


Jonathan Hoffman

Wed, 04/21/2010 - 17:58

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Thanks for the transcript. All my points are there.


Jonathan Hoffman

Thu, 04/22/2010 - 00:19

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http://www.thejc.com/blogpost/the-lib-dungs

Stop Press: The publication of which Baroness Tonge is a Patron is featuring a neo-Nazi Jew-hating video from David Duke.


Joshua18

Thu, 04/22/2010 - 11:11

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"I read it with great interest. I have always viewed William Wallace as a constructive critic of Israel who, as a senior foreign policy academic, has much to say that is both useful and interesting. He describes himself as a critical friend of Israel."

A friend? Utter rubbish. With friends like that the Jewish people really do not need enemies.

A Jew would have to be stark raving mad to vote for your loathsome party.

"As a friend of Israel myself, I find a great deal to agree with in William's words. I know a great many other friends of Israel who will agree with me on that,"

Yes, but those few misguided individuals hold those views because they love their country. Liberal Democrats hold those views because they hate the Jewish state.

Given Britain's role in the Holocaust, her conduct in post-war Palestine and the countless thousands of innocents killed by British forces in conflicts in the Malivinas, Serbia, Iraq, Ireland and Afghanistan, there is also something really rather hypocritical about such "criticism" which in reality has more to do with the deligitimisation of the Jewish state.

You know, nothing is more guaranteed to get up the noses of Jews than the sight of some overweight, red-faced Brit with his naturally haughty air and sneering manner upbraiding the Jewish state for this and that. It reminds us too well of the Brits who prevented our brothers and sisters escaping from Europe and also of those members of your military machine who took such delight in beating and shooting us in Palestine.

"While I disagree with some parts of what Lord Wallace said, I also agree with large parts of it."

Which parts do you agree with?

--------

Pieces about Lord Wallace's appalling comments

Engage: Senior Lib Dem defends his antisemitic colleague [do read the very interesting comments)

http://tinyurl.com/2g5aerm

Harry's Place: Lord Wallace Defends Tonge

http://tinyurl.com/275fq27


Yvetta

Thu, 04/22/2010 - 12:50

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Do you also agree with your party's animosity towards faith schools, Matthew?


MatthewHarris

Thu, 04/22/2010 - 14:57

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Well, I'm Jewish myself and I have a number of Jewish friends and relations who are voting Lib Dem across the country...My party does not have any animosity towards faith schools. I spoke in defence of faith schools in this debate: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7930628.stm in which we voted to retain state faith schools. I arranged for Vince Cable to speak for faith schools in the same debate. Here's a thought: when did you last see a news story about a debate at Labour or Tory conference? My party actually debates things and allows elected Conference Reps to vote.


Jon_i_Cohen

Thu, 04/22/2010 - 15:30

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http://www.paltelegraph.com/
Does your party support this?
Or is Jenny Tonge a lone Liberal voice,
Silly me, forgot about Lord Wallace defending said Jenny Tonge and your new "Blair impersonator Mr TV superstar" Clegg calling for Israel to be disarmed, as for Menzies/Ming or is it Minge Campbell, I think we can put his views down to senility.
Of course not everyone is going to vote in a UK domestic election on the basis of a parties view on the Middle East - but please dont insult us by blogging on this site purporting that your party is a friend of Israel, because the leadership are clearly not.


Yvetta

Thu, 04/22/2010 - 16:42

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Matthew, your party has a visceral hatred of faith schools, it seems - that's why Christian leaders have expressed real fear over the last few days. Your party has proved that it is neither Liberal nor Democratic by wishing to prevent faith schools from deciding on whom to admit as pupils. And that spells the effective end of faith schools.
Any practising Jew who cherishes the idea of Jewish continuity and of Israel's security should give your party the widest of wide berths.


Jonathan Hoffman

Thu, 04/22/2010 - 16:50

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http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/election-2010/7612485/General-Election-2...

Matthew you need to read your Party's manifesto!

“We will ensure that all faith schools develop an inclusive admissions policy and end unfair discrimination on grounds of faith”


MatthewHarris

Thu, 04/22/2010 - 17:17

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Thank you, Jonathan, but you have been misinformed, the manifesto actually reads:

"Allow parents to continue to choose faith-based schools within the state-funded sector and allow the establishment of new faith schools. We will ensure that all faith schools develop an inclusive admissions policy and end unfair discrimination on grounds of faith when recruiting staff, except for those principally responsible for optional religious instruction."

So the reference to ending "unfair discrimination on grounds of faith" is referring to staff, not pupils. Not people who teach religious instruction, but people who teach non-religious subjects or who work as caretakers, etc. Quite right too. Should a Christian school be allowed to refuse me employment as a secretary because I am not a Christian! No way.

Having spoken in favour of faith schools in the debate which framed the policy that's in the manifesto, I can tell you what "inclusive" means. It's a reference to the fact that some Christian faith schools have been widely accused of abusing a faith-based admissions policy to only take middle-class children, excluding poorer children in a bid to boost a school's place in the exam league tables. In many parts of the country, this is a big local issue, and it has nothing to do with Jewish schools.

Lib Dems are very concerned about ensuring that faith schools do not, for example, implicitly discriminate against children who are eligible for free school meals - some schools (not Jewish ones) have done this and it is wrong. It's nothing to do with a school's right to have a faith-based admissions policy, it's a reference to social inclusion, which is a huge issue in this country.

Not everything is always about us, guys!


MatthewHarris

Thu, 04/22/2010 - 17:18

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Hmm, it seems I know how to bold text, but not how to unbold it! Never mind.


DLeigh-Ellis

Thu, 04/22/2010 - 17:53

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I have had the same issue re the unbolding problem matthew,

but yes... Jonathan has many times made it clear that he has misunderstood things put to him... Don't worry about it, he thrives on anger and misinformation.


Jonathan Hoffman

Sat, 04/24/2010 - 21:11

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Yes I was misinformed, by that Telegraph article which was a blatant misquote from the manifesto.

When I am wrong I say so!


Ben Abuyah

Sat, 04/24/2010 - 22:49

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To end bolding, use the unbold tag (open angle bracket, forward slash, b, close angle bracket).


scampben

Mon, 04/26/2010 - 23:08

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It was 5 Deputies out of around 60 (I counted them as they left). And the whole event was like watching a car crash in slow motion. Wallace was awful and obviously had the Deputies down as a bunch of nutty neo-cons.

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