Kennedy defends Mid-East record

By Stephanie Brickman, March 12, 2009

Former Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy defended his record on Israel when he addressed 120 members of the Glasgow Jewish community at Calderwood Lodge School on Sunday.

The Ross, Skye and Lochaber MP kept his lecture on world affairs and human rights issues brief to devote a large part of the meeting to audience questions.

Asked why he was not more pro-Israel, Mr Kennedy replied: “I would rather be known as a candid friend of Israel than tell people what they want to hear. My record speaks for itself.

“I sacked a member of my front bench over this,” a reference to his dismissal of Jenny (now Baroness) Tonge in 2004 after she had expressed sympathy for Palestinian suicide bombers.

The event was held under the aegis of the Scottish Jewish Educational Forum and organiser Tony Tankel intends to bring “other people of interest” to the forum. He has a promise from Foreign Secretary David Miliband to speak in the near future.

Last updated: 2:04pm, March 12 2009