“I’ve heard it said these actions [terrorism] are caused by incitement, by the Palestinians themselves…I question that,” she said, adding that Israeli soldiers are “wimps” for defending themselves against what she called “children throwing stones and sticks or carrying scissors.”
Tonge’s comments prompted outcry from prominent Jewish groups in Britain, who called for her immediate dismissal.
Marie van der Zyl, vice president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, said in a statement, “Another House of Lords debate and another outrageous speech from Baroness Tonge on the Middle East. It is time for Liberal Democrat Leader Tim Farron to expel her once and for all from the party.”
Jonathan Sacerdoti, director of communications at the Campaign Against Anitsemitism, said, “By suggesting there would be Palestinian ‘terrorists with a justified grudge’ against Israel she is effectively justifying the terrorism that is aimed at Jewish people in Israel and around the world by Hamas and other terrorist organisations.”
“We cannot expect her to apologize, as she means it, and has a long history of antisemitism which has seen her forced to resign from the Parliamentary Liberal Democrat Party. It is now time for her to be expelled from the Liberal Democrat Party entirely, and from the House of Lords.”
Thursday’s remarks are not the first time Tonge has found herself embroiled in controversy for offending Jewish sensitivities.
In 2012, Tonge resigned from the Liberal Democrat Party after coming under fire for saying Israel “is not going to be there forever” and that the country would “reap what it’s sown” in the Middle East. In 2010, Tonge was fired from her position as a health spokesperson after accusing Israeli troops sent to Haiti following a major earthquake of trafficking human organs. In 2004, when still an MP, Tonge was asked to resign by her party as a children’s spokesman after she said she “might consider becoming” a suicide bomber if she were Palestinian.
Author: Lea Speyer