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The Israel lobby – the real bullies in British politics

Standing up to the bullies

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The big row over allegations that British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is a bully serves as a timely reminder that bully-boy tactics are endemic in politics. Most party “hacks” cave in under the pressure of stick or carrot, and go for the juicy carrot.

By Stuart Littlewood
Against the background of allegations that British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is a bully, Stuart Littlewood remind us that bullying is endemic in politics, as shown by the UK Liberal Democratic Party leaders’ bullying of Jenny Tonge for speaking the truth, and the continual bullying of UK politicians by the Israel lobby.

Mardi 23 Février 2010

The Israel lobby – the real bullies in British politics
A few, fortunately, stand up to bullies, and get a lot of stick.

One such is Baroness Jenny Tonge, often insulted, smeared and bullied; and recently sacked for the second time by her party's leadership.

In 2006, she was publicly rebuked after telling a fringe meeting at her party’s conference: “The pro-Israeli lobby has got its grips on the Western world, its financial grips. I think they have probably got a certain grip on our party.” It was so obviously true, but the Liberal Democrat leader at the time, Menzies Campbell, said he dissociated himself from her “offensive remarks” and “their clear anti-Semitic connotations”.

Who was being bullied here – Campbell by the Israel lobby? Or Tonge by Campbell? Both, I would say; and what a pathetic spectacle!

Back in 2004 Jenny Tonge was talking about Palestinian suicide bombers and said: "If I had to live in that situation – and I say that advisedly – I might just consider becoming one myself." Charles Kennedy, the then party leader, dismissed her from her front-bench spokes job, saying her remarks “are completely unacceptable. They are not compatible with Liberal Democrat Party policies and principles. There can be no justification, under any circumstances for taking innocent lives through terrorism." 

He clearly knew and cared nothing about the “circumstances” in the occupied territories or who was responsible for most of the killing.

Readers will already know that a few days ago, as speculation mounted in the media about Israel’s past involvement in human organ theft and their unexpected presence in Haiti’s earthquake zone with state-of-the-art field medical facilities, she suggested "the IDF [Israel Defence Forces] and the Israeli Medical Association should establish an independent inquiry immediately to clear the names of the team in Haiti”. Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg called her comments "wrong, distasteful and provocative ... wholly unacceptable" and expressed concern for "the deep and understandable distress they have caused to the Jewish community..." 

She was summarily sacked from her party spokes job in the House of Lords.

A petition, addressed to Clegg, asks for her to be re-instated: click here. Some of the signatories' comments are well worth reading and I hope Clegg and his senior colleagues take them on board. Here are a random sample:
“Please be clear about what Jenny Tonge has requested. It is essential not to be intimidated into reducing free speech.”

“Those who speak the truth are often vilified by those who would rather not hear it spoken.”

“...The allegations about organ theft from young Palestinians by Israel in 1991-92 require a meticulous international investigation.”

“This action against her is cowardly and despicable. Reinstate her to her post, with apology!”

“If there is to be peace in the Middle East (specifically in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict) it's vital we have a political party in the UK which is seen to uphold truth and impartiality rather than the 'usual suspects' who bend to pressure from Israel.”

“Israeli foreign policy will never change unless we stop turning a blind eye to the truth. Israel was incessant in it's tracking down of holocaust perpetrators but no-one dares to point out their own war crimes.”

“Don't allow the Israeli state to claim it speaks for all Jews – it doesn't. Its war crimes must be exposed.”

“If Israel have nothing to hide then they should be happy to investigate. The daily harassment of Palestinians and international NGOs working on the West Bank continues and the world stands by. Let those who speak out to request investigations of human rights violations by Israel be applauded not condemned.”

“No one should fear the cleansing light of truthful inquiry, unless they are despicable dwellers in deception and deceit.”

“I fully endorse this petition and am gravely disturbed by the fact that foreign powers should be allowed to meddle in the internal affairs of this country and its political structure.”

“High-tech IDF field hospitals with operating theatres, the lot, in Haiti when same IDF has targeted ambulances in Gaza, refused them access to the dying and injured, blown up hospitals, blasted the brains out of babies.”

“Nick Clegg ... please ... instead of targeting and blacklisting Baroness Tonge, please initiate an investigation into Israel's countless human rights violations. I am sick and tired of successive British governments' double standards and ongoing, unquestioning support for the State of Israel.”

“It's shocking politicians lack the moral backbone to confront the abuse shown to the Palestinans by the Jewish nation. It's a sickening betrayal of the Jews, murdered in WW2, that the nation of Israel is now doing the same thing...”

Stuart Littlewood is author of the book Radio Free Palestine, which tells the plight of the Palestinians under occupation. For further information please visit www.radiofreepalestine.co.uk.

Mardi 23 Février 2010

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