It really was just a matter of time before the Guardian published a defense of Liberal Democrat Peer Jenny Tonge, who recently resigned from her Party after refusing to apologize for remarks morally justifying the Jewish state’s demise at Middlesex University’s campus in North West London.
The Guardian’s Deputy Editor Michael White, Jenny Tonge’s Israel remark simply stated an immutable law of history, March 1, wrote:
Jenny Tonge, a GP and local councillor who got lucky in 1997 when she became a Lib Dem MP (now a peer), has a track record of idiotic public pronouncements in her support for the Palestinian cause.
Among the “idiotic” pronouncements he’s likely referring to are Tonge’s remarks, in 2004, that she might have been a suicide bomber had she been born a Palestinian, as well as Tonge’s call for Israel to “investigate” the IDF in light of charges they were stealing organs in Haiti.
White then added:
But should she have been effectively kicked out of her party over her latest controversy, the one in which she said Israel “is not going to be there for ever in its present form“?
Of course, White seems to not have seen the video (widely available on YouTube thanks largely to Richard Millett), as Tonge actually uses the word “performance“, not “form“. But, moreover, the last sentence in Tonge’s anti-Zionist fantasy is strangely omitted by White:
Tonge warned that eventually Israel “will lose its support and then they will reap what they have sown.”
Moreover, White’s subsequent passages would have you believe that Tonge was merely elucidating soberly on the historical evolution of nation-states, rather than prophesying for the end of the Jewish state.
With the possible exception of imperial China, no state lasts for ever,
Britain is not the state it was 100 years ago – those 26 Irish counties have gone their own way –
We can all cite such examples, the world is a restless place. So why be so neurotic about a not very important Lib Dem peer…shooting her mouth off on Middlesex university’s London campus?
But, more importantly, Tonge sat there in silence as Ken O’Keefe, an anti-Zionist activist who was on board the Mavi Marmara Gaza “aid“ ship, compared Jews to both the Nazis and to the German people whom, he suggested, collaborated with Nazi leaders.
So if Israel is inherently a racist state, if it is inherently an apartheid state, then I want no part of Israel. It has no place in this world. And it must in its current form, if you want me to use some inflammatory language, in its current form should be destroyed.
the Jewish state of Israel is, therefore, acting on behalf of the Jewish people. You, like the Nazis, have now a special obligation.
“The decent Germans, the so-called decent Germans of World War Two Nazi Germany, what did they do, what did the decent Germans do when the Nazis came to power and started to institute their policies, what did they do? They didn’t do enough, did they?
“Did they do enough to stop the Nazis? No, they didn’t. And what are the Jewish people doing right now? Are you doing enough to stop your racist apartheid genocidal state?
“If you think that you are I beg to differ. You have a special obligation brought upon you just like the Nazis brought upon the decent Germans. Good luck to you because the way of Israel, the way of Palestine is the way of the world. And you can mouth at me all you want. Good luck to you, because guess what, you are making enemies of all the people, not just me and the falsely accused anti-Semites.”
O’Keefe also said Israel and the Mossad were directly involved in 9/11.
The real issue is here is surely free speech. If anyone – say Abu Qatada or the chap with the hook whose name I usually manage to forget – incites violence against Israelis or anyone else the law is there to have them arrested, charged and (with luck) convicted. But vulgar abuse and historical prediction – especially when stating an immutable law of history – should be things we can live with.
There’s a larger point here as well as the narrow local politics and their geopolitical ramifications where the ever-helpful peer ventured – on a university campus – that the US will eventually “get sick of” providing $70bn (£44bn) a year to support what she called its floating aircraft carrier in the eastern Mediterranean.
I have no idea where Tonge got this erroneous number from, and why White repeated it, as the amount of aid Israel gets from the U.S. is around 3.2 billion per year. But, as a colleague pointed out, “What’s an extra $67 billion when it comes to demonising Israel?”
Further, the issue has nothing to do with free speech. Tonge wasn’t arrested or even fired. She was asked to apologize by her party leader, refused, and then resigned.
White’s post represents supreme journalistic dishonesty – consistent with reports and commentaries at the Guardian regarding politically inconvenient information about antisemitism – in curiously omitting O’Keefe’s analogy between Israelis and Nazis.
Does White not find it offensive, or of journalistic relevance, that the Baroness sat there and didn’t register the slightest objection as O’Keefe engaged in such ugly antisemitic smears and conspiracy theories?
Of course, given his own record, it’s certainly possible that White doesn’t find associations with extremists, terror supporters or antisemities morally concerning.
And, White is no stranger himself to expressions of extreme anti-Israel bias. During a discussion on BBC Radio London’s Breakfast Show, concerning the physicalvulnerability of political leaders, he said:
“In Israel they murder each other a great deal. The Israeli Defense Forces murder people because they don’t like their political style...”
In contextualizing Jenny Tonge’s comments that perhaps the Jewish state doesn’t deserve to exist in a manner meant to make the narrative appear more benign, and completely omitting relevant information about explicit Jew hatred by Tonge’s co-panelist, Michael White is simply continuing in the long Guardian tradition of antisemitic sins of omission.
Whether reporting about Raed Salah, Khadar Adnan, or Gilad Atzmon, the Guardian’s selective reporting is supremely adept at providing cover for antisemites, just as long, of course, as their hatred of Jews maintains the requisite thin veneer of mere opposition to Israel’ existence.