How my report led to Baroness's exit

By Richard Millett, March 8, 2012
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When I received an early morning email last Wednesday from Raheem Kassam, of TheCommentator.com, asking if he could republish my report of Jenny Tonge and Ken O'Keefe speaking in Hendon, I had no idea of the repercussions. Raheem also persuaded Guido Fawkes' Order-Order.com to publish it and by 4.30pm that day the JC was reporting Tonge's resignation.

The chain of events started six days earlier at Middlesex University. As part of International Israel Apartheid Week, she shared a platform with Ken O'Keefe - an anti-Israel agitator who was on board the Mavi Marmara - and Ghada Karmi, who teaches Islamic studies at Exeter University, to discuss whether Israel was an apartheid state.

Chairman Nik Roberts announced a ban on filming except for two people he had authorised; a practice that is becoming de rigueur at anti-Israel events.

Hostility towards Israel was relentless from the start. Karmi described Israel as a "gangster state", said it treated Palestinians as "a sub-human species," so making it easier to kill them.

There was relentless hostility from the start

O'Keefe called for America, Britain, the UN and Israel to be destroyed, before directly addressing the Jews in the audience. "What are the Jewish people doing right now? Are you doing enough to stop your racist, apartheid, genocidal state?" he said.

Some audience members started hurling abuse at each other and Roberts asked for a pro-Israel person to be removed. Security officials then started to confiscate cameras.

Near the end, I switched on my camera just in time to catch Tonge saying "Israel is not going to be there forever," and "Israel will lose its support and then they will reap what they have sown."

I posted this footage on my blog. Six days later, her comments reached the ears of the Prime Minister, who delegated the issue to
Chancellor George Osborne. Osborne spoke to Nick Clegg, who ordered Tonge to apologise or resign.

Some commentators jumped to Tonge's defence by quoting her as saying "Israel is not going to be there forever in its present form", which, they argued, is not unreasonable considering possible future land swaps with the Palestinians.

But, she never used the word "form". She said "performance". And they ignored her "they will reap what they have sown" and her silence after O'Keefe had made Nazi comparisons.

Richard Millett blogs at http://richardmillett.wordpress.com/

Last updated: 1:23pm, March 8 2012