UK Politics

What Baroness Tonge Said

Stephen Pollard, at the Spectator blog, has a report of Baroness Tonge’s speech at the Hamas/Muslim Brotherhood rally, IslamExpo:

She spoke on a panel disussing Palestinian Nakbah: A 60-Year Catastrophe. The other speakers were Azzam Tamimi, Ilan Pepe and Nur Masalha. To understand the gravity of the Baroness’ remarks, one needs first to know what the other panellists said.

Professor Masalha claimed that the “British and the Zionists are equally responsible for this catastrophe…Blair should make a public apology”. He also said that the “Zionist lobby based in London created the Jewish homeland…Israel was created by Christian Zionists”. The Jewish National Fund, he went on, was the “most racist group in the Middle East.” He concluded by saying that the “UK government is silencing the Palestinian Nakbah and apartheid…the apartheid in Israel is worse than that in South Africa” and that “Palestinian ethnic cleansing” is as bad as the holocaust was.

The next speaker was Azzam Tamimi, Hamas’ Special Envoy who praises suicide bombers and whose presence was one reason why the government boycotted IslamExpo. Mr Tammimi said that: “Zionism causes our pain…It is a western colonial project…in the same category as the Holocaust”. He referred to Hamas as “the resistance” and described it as “a national liberation movement, duly elected in the fairest elections in the Arab world.” Palestinian suicide bombers and missile attacks were, he said, simply the actions of people “defending themselves and their country.”

Then came the Baroness. She began by praising those who had spoken before her: “I would like to say a thank you to the three speakers before me…I hope you (audience) realise how much guts it takes to speak like they have…they are very brave and deserve a tribute from all of us.”

She went on to say that “we allowed the creation of Israel due to the holocaust”; and the west is now taking part in a “slow strangling” of the Palestinian people. Then she referred to the Israeli security precautions as an “apartheid infrastructure”. She then moved to the subject of antisemitism and stated that it exists in the world today because of Israel’s behaviour: “how can we stop antisemitism if they [Israel] keep treating the Palestinians like this?” Her explanation of why Israel gets away with these “crimes” was the influence of the “Jewish lobby in the US” in the form of AIPAC, who “make all political parties obey the will of Israel”.

The Palestinian issue, she said, was the main reason for international terrorism and the only difference between a suicide bomber and a bomber pilot was that “the bomber [pilot] is legitimised by his government and the suicide bomber gives his life for his cause.”

Stephen Pollard is very clear about the significance of Baroness Tonge’s expressed beliefs:

Let there be no doubt now about what Baroness Tonge believes. She no longer even bothers hiding behind the ambiguity of ‘understanding’ why people become suicide bombers. As her remarks at IslamExpo show, she now thinks that those who explicitly praise and honour suicide bombers “are very brave and deserve a tribute from all of us.”

He’s right, isn’t he?