Jenny Tonge

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Person.png The Baroness Tonge   KeywikiRdf-icon.png
Jenny Tonge.jpg
BornJennifer Louise Smith
19 February 1941
Walsall, England, United Kingdom
Alma materUniversity College London, University of Law
Children3
SpouseKeith Tonge
PartyLiberal Democrats,  Independent Liberal Democrat,  Independent

Employment.png Member of Parliament for Richmond Park

In office
2 May 1997 - 11 April 2005

Jenny Tonge, Baroness Tonge (born 19 February 1941) is a politician in the United Kingdom. She was Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament (MP) for London's Richmond Park constituency from 1997 to 2005, and was succeeded by Susan Kramer.

In June 2005 she was made a life peer as Baroness Tonge of Kew in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, which entitles her to a seat in the House of Lords.[1]

Israel critic suspended

Lady Tonge has long been critical of Israel and vocal in support of the Palestinians, which has led to accusations of antisemitism and to her eventual suspension from the Liberal Democrat group in the Lords on 28 February 2012. Tonge had apparently told a meeting that “Israel will not last forever”, which was then taken to mean that she was denying Israel’s right to exist.

Britain’s Chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks, said Tonge’s remarks were “dangerous, inflammatory and unacceptable…[and] have no place in civil public discourse”.

In fact, what she actually said was “Israel is not going to be there forever in its present form” which in no way infers that it does not have the right to exist. She went on to argue that:

“One day, the United States of America will get sick of giving £70bn a year to Israel to support what I call America’s aircraft carrier in the Middle East – that is Israel. One day, the American people are going to say to the Israel lobby in the USA: enough is enough. Israel will lose support and then they will reap what they have sown.”[2]

Resignations

In October 2016, cross-bencher Lady Tonge hosted a meeting at the House of Lords at which Israel was reportedly compared to terror group Islamic State and Jews were blamed for the Holocaust. The remarks were made by an attendee at the meeting, which was organised by the Palestinian Return Centre, which live-streamed the event on its Facebook page. The Israeli embassy in London said the meeting was a “shameful event which gave voice to racist tropes against Jews and Israelis alike”.

Tory MP David Davies called in the House of Commons for a debate “on the use to which these premises may be put following reports that outrageously a member of the House of Lords presided over an event at which Israel was compared to Islamic State, and the Jews were even blamed for their own genocide”.

Tonge also recently released a letter in which she blamed a rise in antisemitism on Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. She published the letter online and said she had submitted it to The Guardian, which confirmed it had been received on 16 October. The letter said:

“It is surely the case these antisemitic incidents are reflecting the disgust amongst the general public of the way the government of Israel treats Palestinians and manipulates the USA and ourselves to take no action against the country’s blatant disregard of international law and the Geneva conventions.”

On 27 October 2016, Lady Tonge said she had resigned from the Lib Dems “about the same time” as she was suspended as a party member by its leader Tim Farron over the alleged antisemitic comments.[3]

In November 2018, following criticism by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign of her comment in relation to the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting ("Absolutely appalling and a criminal act, but does it ever occur to Bibi and the present Israeli government that its actions against Palestinians may be reigniting anti-Semitism? I suppose someone will say that it is anti-Semitic to say so?"), Baroness Tonge resigned from the PSC.[4]

2016 Richmond Park by-election

In mid-October 2016, Lady Tonge was pictured supporting the official Lib Dem candidate Sarah Olney in the 2016 Richmond Park by-election.[5]

19 February 1941| 

Related Document

TitleTypePublication dateAuthor(s)Description
Document:Israel Stooges Freak Out over Baroness Jenny's Remarks - AgainArticle3 November 2018Stuart LittlewoodBaroness Jenny Tonge: "The Pittsburgh synagogue shooting was an absolutely appalling and a criminal act, but does it ever occur to Bibi and the present Israeli government that its actions against Palestinians may be reigniting anti-Semitism? I suppose someone will say that it is anti-Semitic to say so?"


References

  1. London Gazette| issue=57687 |startpage=8379 | date=28 June 2005 | accessdate=2009-05-29
  2. "Jenny Tonge, Israel and the bounds of 'civil public discourse'”
  3. Sherwood, Harriet (27 October 2016). "Jenny Tonge quits Lib Dems after suspension for alleged antisemitic comments". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 October 2016.Page Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css must have content model "Sanitized CSS" for TemplateStyles (current model is "Scribunto").
  4. Document:Israel Stooges Freak Out over Baroness Jenny's Remarks - Again
  5. "Jihad Jenny joins LibDem by-election campaign"


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