Jenny Tonge: Pressure from Zionist lobby

Baroness Jenny Tonge has given an interview to Iranian channel Press TV, and wrote an email to a pro-Palestinian activist defending her comments to the JC about alleged IDF organ-trafficking

By Jessica Elgot, February 15, 2010
Baroness Tonge: sacked for calling for an investigation into the IDF trafficking organs in Haiti

Baroness Tonge: sacked for calling for an investigation into the IDF trafficking organs in Haiti

Baroness Tonge, who was sacked from her post as Liberal Democrat health spokesperson for the House of Lords, has criticised the Israeli lobby in British politics in a Press TV interview.

She also wrote an email to pro-Palestinian activist Deborah Fink, blaming the JC for spreading the organ-stealing allegations.

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg sacked Baroness Tonge after she told the JC she believed there should be an independent inquiry into allegations of organ trafficking by the IDF while they helped the earthquake victims in Haiti.

According to Mr Clegg, Lady Tonge was “very sorry” for her remarks, and recognised that they were offensive.

But she told the Iranian-sponsored Press TV that she had found herself under pressure from the Israeli lobby, “which has a lot of influence within Labour, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats”.

She added: “A lot of European countries and Germany in particular, are terrified of ‘antisemitism’ levelled at them.

Over the weekend, pro-Palestinian activist Deborah Fink received an email from Baroness Tonge, which she then posted on the Liberal Democrat Voice blog and the Telegraph website.

The email read: “This is total rubbish, as usual! Palestine Telegraph last week had a long piece by a Jewish American on the subject of organ donation – not an editorial piece.

It is quite ludicrous – organs would be useless in that situation anyway

Baroness Tonge

“It said there were postings on YouTube about organ harvesting in Haiti by the large team sent out by Israel to help.

“The JC asked for a comment, as I am a patron of the Palestine Telegraph. I actually congratulated Israel for their prompt response to the disaster and said that if allegations were being made they should conduct an inquiry to dispel any rumours. OK?

“It is quite ludicrous – organs would be useless in that situation anyway and it is a nonsense suggestion.

“Trouble is he [the JC’s editor Stephen Pollard] has now spread a silly allegation and done untold damage to a really great effort by the Israelis.”

The Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Jewish Leadership Council have issued a joint statement praising Nick Clegg for his action against Baroness Tonge.

The statement called Baroness Tonge’s words “outrageous and a calumny”.

It read: “Baroness Tonge has promoted this libel against Israel by utilising historic themes that are classically deployed to attack the Jewish people.

"She has dishonoured the noble efforts of Israeli soldiers and civilians who engaged in a selfless humanitarian effort to save lives in Haiti.

“Whatever her motives, Jenny Tonge's persistent use of antisemitic tropes has no place in British politics. Nick Clegg has responded swiftly and correctly.

“Nevertheless, any further use of antisemitic rhetoric must result in Tonge's expulsion from the party and loss of the whip.

Linda Jack, the Liberal Democrat prospective parliamentary candidate for Mid-Bedfordshire, defended Baroness Tonge on her blog and echoed her call for an investigation into the IDF in Haiti.

She wrote: “Nick plays into the hands of the Zionists.

“Of course it is beyond belief that human beings sent to help a country in distress would do such a thing, but human beings do terrible things to each other.

“I am not suggesting I believe these allegations, just challenging the idea that we assume some people are automatically beyond reproach.”

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Last updated: 2:07pm, February 15 2010