The UK’s ambivalent attitude toward Muslim terror
The UK’s ambivalent attitude toward Muslim terror

Once again the world witnessed British ambivalence toward Muslim terror. The United Kingdom looked on in shock when 52 year old Khalid Masood killed four people and wounded 29 on March 22 in front of the Parliament building.[1]

This wasn’t the first lethal attack motivated by the Islamic views of terrorists in the UK. In 2005, bombings in the London Metro and on buses killed 52 people and injured hundreds more.[2] In 2013,  British soldier Lee Rigby was 'mutilated, almost decapitated and murdered' by Michael Adebowale, 22, and Michael Adebolajo, 28, who ambushed him outside the military barracks in Woolwich, South East London.[3]

British ambivalence toward terror is apparent. Despite the horrific nature of earlier events, terrorist supporters are welcome at the House of Lords. On October 27, 2016, a meeting there was hosted by Baroness Tonge, a former Liberal Democrat MP and now an independent peer. Despite the horrific nature of earlier events, terrorist supporters are welcome at the House of Lords.
The attendees of the meeting were members of the Palestinian PRC (Palestinian Return Centre).[4] The gathering launched a campaign for Britain to apologize on the 100th anniversary of the Balfour declaration of 1917 in which Britain pledged support for a home for the Jewish people in Palestine. Without reproach or redress from Baroness Tonge, who chaired the meeting, Israel was compared to ISIS and it was claimed that Jews provoked their own genocide.[5]

On March 15 House of Lords Commissioner for Standards, Lucy Scott-Moncrieff, delivered a verdict that the Baroness acted on her honor despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.[6] A few weeks earlier Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Associate Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, wrote to the Commissioner drawing inter alia attention to a letter Tonge sent to the British Jewish defense organization, Community Security Trust. In this letter she claimed that Israel was the cause of anti-Semitism. Furthermore she wrote that the CST, an organization of British Jews, is obliged to condemn Israeli actions. Cooper had written an article about Tonge’s letter some time earlier.[7] Her statement implied that Jewish people who cannot vote in Israel are to be held responsible for its actions.

The Lords Commissioner should have taken yet another issue into account. The United Kingdom was the first country to accept the anti-Semitism definition of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) for domestic use.[8] If one applies its terms to various statements that Lady Tonge made over the years, one can identify a variety of anti-Semitic remarks.[9] One example of anti-Semitism from the IHRA definition is: “Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel.” Tonge’s letter to the CST comes down to that.

Another example: In 2004 Tonge said if she were Palestinian she would consider becoming a suicide bomber. This fits another example of anti-Semitism from the IHRA definition – “calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist view of religion.”[10]

Tonge also used a contemporary anti-Israeli version of the old blood libel by calling for an inquiry into invented charges that Israeli medical teams harvested organs when they came to Haiti in 2010 to help people in the aftermath of the earthquake.[11]

Another aspect of the meeting chaired by Lady Tonge in the House of Lords concerns her invitees, the Palestinian Return Centre. Dutch veteran journalist Carel Brendel, has investigated the background of the PRC in detail.[12] He quotes the 2011 intelligence service report of the German Ministry of the Interior which writes that “Hamas does not operate openly in Europe. Instead it uses, for instance, the Palestinian Return Centre in London as a forum.”[13] Brendel also quotes intelligence reports of the federal states of Berlin and North Rhine-Westphalia with similar conclusions. Brendel reports that two of the key figures of the conference identify with Hamas and are seen as loyal supporters by the organization.

The Daily Telegraph points out that the PRC in the UK is related to the Muslim Association of Britain, the Muslim Brotherhood’s main declared British affiliate. They also share directors. The PRC has regularly hosted Hamas leaders at its previous annual conferences.[14]

In 2011 the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center published a document about the PRC. It begins by stating: “The Palestinian Return Centre (PRC) is a Palestinian center for anti-Israeli propaganda, established in London in 1996. It is affiliated with Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood and some of its senior figures are Hamas activists who found refuge in Britain. Its foundation was based on rejection of the Oslo Accords and a strong denial of the right of the State of Israel to exist.”[15]

The UK is not the only country that looks away from the terror-supporting character of the PRC. The Dutch government also remains silent about the upcoming “Palestinians in Europe” conference led by the PRC in Rotterdam scheduled to take place on April 15.[16] That however requires another analysis.