Anti-Israel British lawmaker to step down

Baroness Jenny Tonge, notorious for anti-Israel statements, will step down from House of Lord but continue her pro-PA activism.

Elad Benari ,

British parliament
British parliament

Anti-Israel British lawmaker Baroness Jenny Tonge is to step down from the House of Lords on February 19, the UK Jewish News reported on Sunday.

Tonge, who resigned from the Liberal Democrats after being suspended for comments deemed to be anti-Semitic, made clear she will continue her activism for Palestinian Arabs even after retiring.

“I have always promised myself and my family that I would retire when I am 80 years old which is in mid- February. I informed the authorities some months ago,” she told Jewish News.

“Indeed I think many of us should retire from the Chamber at my age—there are far too many people in the Lords. However, I shall continue to campaign for justice for the people of Palestine,” added Tonge.

Tonge has repeatedly spoken out against Jews and Israel.

In 2004, she said that she would consider becoming a suicide bomber if she were an Arab living in the Palestinian Authority.

In 2006 Tonge said that “the pro-Israeli lobby has got its grips on the western world, its financial grips. I think they've probably got a grip on our party.”

Four years later, in 2010, Tonge accused Israel of being the “cause of terrorism” and said that the West's treatment of Muslims was caused by what she called “Holocaust guilt” and the “power of the pro-Israel lobby”.

In 2012, she resigned from her position of party whip, a task equivalent in the United States to speaker, after she spoke about Israel’s demise at an event promoting the boycott of the Jewish state.

In 2016, Tonge was suspended by the Lib Dems after hosting a meeting at the House of Lords in which one audience member blamed Jews for the Holocaust and Israel was compared to the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist group.

The following year, she accused the Community Security Trust (CST), which authored a report finding a rise in the number of anti-Semitic incidents in Britain, of displaying “a perpetual victim mentality” and of failing to help “real decent Jewish people”.

More recently, she took to Facebook to claim that the Chief Rabbi of Britain “must be dancing in the street” after the UK general election which saw the Labour party headed by Jeremy Corbyn suffer its worst defeat since the 1930s.

The post raised the ire of fellow lawmakers who urged Tonge to apologize for the post.

Tonge’s retirement was welcomed by Paul Charney, chairman of the Zionist Federation, who cited her repeated controversies and said that it “should be clear to the reasonably-minded that her activism in support of the Palestinian people had morphed into anti-Semitism long ago.”

“Our House of Lords should never provide a platform for its Peers to espouse such hateful and outrightly anti-Israel and antisemitic comments whatsoever. We hope the House will be a better place for all without her,” he added.