Israel/Palestine,  Vote 2010

Lib Dem candidate warns about power of “Jewish lobby”

It is, unfortunately, hardly a shock.

The Jewish Chronicle reports:

Madeleine Kirk, standing for the party in the new seat of York Outer, was speaking at the York University event on Wednesday afternoon.

A question was asked about whether the candidates believed arms sales to Israel should be banned.

Ms Kirk, a long-standing local city councillor, replied that an embargo should be in place, but was not, “because of the Jewish lobby”.

She then went on to back disgraced Lib Dem peer Jenny Tonge’s call for an inquiry to disprove allegations that Israeli army medical teams in Haiti “harvested” organs of earthquake victims.

Baroness Tonge was stripped of her role as the party’s health spokeswoman in the Lords following her comments in February.

When contacted by the JC, Ms Kirk said: “I apologise unreservedly for any offence caused by my remarks.

“I recognise that the allegations against the IDF’s humanitarian operation in Haiti are completely unfounded and utterly reprehensible. I was not aware of the allegations when asked about them at the hustings and responded without considering their full implications.”

Say what?

Ms Kirk has been a regular critic of Israel. In January last year she spoke at a rally against the Gaza conflict organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

Update: Turns out Kirk is not the only Lib Dem who supports an arms embargo on Israel. None other than Nick Clegg advocated it last year– because, he said, he had “the country’s long term interest at heart.”

Writing at CiF Watch, Jonathan Hoffman cites a number of other, let us say, problematic positions on Israel by leading Liberal Democrats.