Tonge: Investigate IDF stealing organs in Haiti

By Simon Rocker and Martin Bright, February 11, 2010
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Lim Dem Baroness Jenny Tonge has called for an inquiry into the IDF in Haiti

Lim Dem Baroness Jenny Tonge has called for an inquiry into the IDF in Haiti

Baroness Tonge, the Liberal peer, said this week that Israel should set up an inquiry to disprove allegations that its medical teams in Haiti “harvested” organs of earthquake victims for use in transplants.

Her call has been sharply criticised by fellow LibDems, but party leader Nick Clegg has refused to act against her.

The organ theft claims were published last week in the Palestine Telegraph, an online journal based in Gaza of which Baroness Tonge is a patron.

In a statement to the JC, she said the Israel Defence Forces were “to be commended for their fantastic response to the Haitian earthquake”.

But she added: “To prevent allegations such as these — which have already been posted on YouTube — going any further, the IDF and the Israeli Medical Association should establish an independent inquiry immediately to clear the names of the team in Haiti.”

Ed Fordham, the Lib Dem candidate for Hampstead and Kilburn, said: “It’s abhorrent that anyone should suggest that something as perverse and sick as this should be investigated.”

Monroe Palmer, chairman of Liberal Democrat Friends of Israel, added: “Whilst I welcome Tonge’s approval of Israeli actions in Haiti, she is misguided to call for any investigation. On this basis, there could be calls for an investigation to discover the ‘truth’ in the The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.”

Matthew Harris, Lib Dem parliamentary candidate for Hendon, called it “perverse in the extreme to suggest that there needs to be an investigation of allegations to which she gives no credence”.

Baroness Tonge’s position on Israel has in the past caused embarrassment to the Liberal Democrats, but leader Nick Clegg has consistently refused to discipline her.

A spokesman for Mr Clegg said neither Baroness Tonge nor the Lib Dem leader gave the allegations “any credence whatsoever. We do not believe there is a need for an investigation and we understand why the idea would be offensive to the Jewish community”.

An Israeli Embassy spokesman dismissed the allegations as “not fit to grace even the sickest of publications”.

The allegations came in an article titled Focus on Israel: Harvesting Haitian Organs by an American researcher, Stephen Lendman, who accused Israel of a “crime against humanity”.

Mr Lendman referred to a “damning” YouTube video cited by Al Manar, the pro-Hizbollah Lebanese TV station. The video offers no evidence to support the claims against Israel. It has a warning from ‘T West’, a member of an American group, AfriSynergy Productions, that Haitians should be careful because the “IDF has participated in the past in stealing organ transplants [sic] from Palestinians and others”.

Sameh Habeeb, the Palestine Telegraph’s founding chairman, said that Mr Lendman’s article represents “him and his views. Some people believe in this and some don’t”.

Last updated: 4:47pm, February 11 2010