UK Politics

Lords of All Parties Condemn Tonge

The Times September 23, 2006

Sir, We condemn the comments made by Baroness Tonge in a meeting at the Liberal Democrat Party conference on Wednesday.
Baroness Tonge evoked a classic anti-Jewish conspiracy theory when she said: “The pro-Israel lobby has got its grips on the Western world, its financial grips. I think they have probably got a certain grip on our party.” In addition, she repeated her past comments of sympathy for suicide bombers living in the Palestinian territories.

Two weeks ago the All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Anti-Semitism reported a disturbing rise in anti-Semitic incidents and discourse in the UK. Baroness Tonge’s remarks demonstrate the reasoning behind the report’s concerns about the creeping acceptance of anti-Jewish prejudice within mainstream politics and media. The report warned that anti-Israel discourse evolves all too quickly into anti-Semitic rhetoric. We believe that the language deployed by Baroness Tonge, as a member of the House of Lords, was irresponsible and inappropriate.

Everyone has the right to disagree with all or some of the policies of the Israeli Government, as do some of the signatories of this letter. That should be a mature debate, in considered, robust and responsible political language. It should not be done by purveying myths, or by deploying offensive language.

LORD CAREY OF CLIFTON
LORD CARLILE OF BERRIEW (LD)
LORD FEARN (LD)
LORD JACOBS (LD)
BARONESS LUDFORD, MEP (LD)
LORD ARCHER OF SANDWELL (Lab)
LORD CLARK OF WINDERMERE (Lab)
BARONESS DEECH (Crossbench)
LORD FOULKES OF CUMNOCK (Lab)
LORD HARRISON (Lab)
LORD HASKEL (Lab)
LORD HOGG OF CUMBERNAULD (Lab)
LORD JANNER OF BRAUNSTONE (Lab)
LORD KALMS (C); BARONESS MILLER OF HENDON (C)
LORD MITCHELL (Lab)
BARONESS O’CATHAIN (C)
BARONESS RAMSAY OF CARTVALE (Lab)
LORD STERLING OF PLAISTOW (C)
LORD TAYLOR OF HOLBEACH (C)
LORD STEINBERG (C)
LORD TURNBERG (Lab)
LORD WEDDERBURN OF CHARLTON (Lab)
LORD YOUNG OF NORWOOD GREEN (Lab)

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