Liberal Democrat peer Jenny Tonge has resigned from her party after she was suspended for hosting a House of Lords meeting where guests heard that Jews were accountable for their own fate during the Holocaust.
Baroness Tonge sat as an independent peer but was still a member of the Lib Dems until Thursday afternoon, when she was suspended and then quit in quick succession. She was Lib Dem MP for Richmond Park from 1997 to 2005, but has sat as an independent in the House of Lords since she was suspended in 2012 for allegedly anti-Semitic comments.
As Breitbart Jerusalem reported, the cause of her departure from the Lib Dems came after she sat and listened silently when an audience member claimed Jews “antagonised Hitler” and that the Holocaust was caused by “Judea declaring war on Germany”. Another participant added: “If anybody is antisemitic, it’s Israelis themselves”.
The meeting was organized by the Palestinian Return Centre, which live-streamed it on its Facebook page. The Israeli embassy in London said the gathering was a “shameful event which gave voice to racist tropes against Jews and Israelis alike”.
Baroness Tonge was accused of “baiting Jews” by the Campaign Against Antisemitism which also called for her to step down from the Lords. It said:
“We are pleased that she is no longer a member of the Liberal Democrat party, but it shames the Party that she was allowed to remain a member for so long, despite her comments.
“Attention will now turn to Baroness Tonge’s ongoing membership of the House of Lords, which she used on Tuesday to host an event at which attendees compared Israel to ISIS and claimed that Jews “provoked” their own genocide in the Holocaust.
“It is high time that Baroness Tonge was stripped of her peerage.”
But speaking to the Press Association, Baroness Tonge defended her actions and insisted she did not hear the full “rant”. She said:
“I was chairing, I did not make any speeches, I introduced the speakers and in the course of that meeting there was a great rant.
“I remember the rant very well but I don’t remember hearing very much of it. It was a rant. I didn’t know what this person said.
“You do get ranters at these meetings and I think the best way of dealing with them – if you challenge them they go on and on and on and on – the best way is to just say ‘yes, thank you very much, next speaker’.”
Simon Johnson, chief executive of the Jewish Leadership Council said: “It is high time that Baroness Tonge has been suspended from the Liberal Democrats and I welcome this step by the party. It is long overdue. Baroness Tonge’s anti-Israel hatred is there for all to see.”
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