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Peer: I will not be silenced on Israel

    Liberal Democrat peer Lord Phillips of Sudbury is embroiled in an argument over his views on Israel following comments he made at a Palestine Solidarity Campaign meeting.

    Last week the Board of Deputies, the Jewish Leadership Council and the Community Security Trust made a formal complaint to Nick Clegg over the peer's apparent comment that America was in the grip of the "Israel lobby".

    He was also alleged to have said that Europe was unable to think straight about Israel because of the Holocaust.

    But in a blog on the JC website, Lord Phillips wrote: "I emphasised that I believe 'passionately' in the right of Israel to exist in freedom and security, adding that I believed in a similar right for Palestine.

    "I did not also say, but could have, that I volunteered to fight for Israel in 1973.

    "Israel is in my view destroying its long-term security and harmony inter alia and particularly by its military occupation and colonisation of the West Bank [now extending to 42 per cent of that territory, according to the latest Foreign Office estimate].

    "I will not be deterred from speaking out against that self-defeating, provocative and illegal policy, and its awful impact on the Palestinians."

    The PSC meeting had heard eyewitness accounts from members of a convoy to Gaza and featured speakers who took part in the flotilla incident in May.

    A lawyer, Andrew Phillips was made a life peer in 1998 and led the Lib Dem opposition to identity cards and counter-terror legislation.

    The Lib Dems are yet to respond to the complaint.

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