Baroness Jenny Tonge, who was sacked from the British House of Lords over the weekend for alleged ‘anti-Israeli comments,’has criticized ‘the Israeli attitude towards the Palestinians.’
The Liberal Democrat health spokeswoman, an outspoken critic of Israel’s inhumane conduct against the Palestinians, was promptly removed from her post on Saturday for comments she made to the Jewish Chronicle about Israel’s role in human organ trafficking from the quake-stricken Haiti.
Tonge had called for an inquiry into claims that the Israeli troops and aid workers deployed in Haiti were involved in trafficking human organs.
Tonge said in an interview with Press TV that she saw people humiliated on a daily basis in the West Bank during a “life-changing” visit to the region in 2003, as if the attitude was to “make them crawl, make them suffer whenever you can.”
She said witnessing the injustices there had made her very angry, adding that she did not believe the Balfour Declaration had ever envisaged Israeli soldiers driving people away at gunpoint.
Asked about her controversial comments in 2004, when she expressed an understanding of a suicide bomber after being subjected to the constant humiliations the Palestinians go through, she ridiculed media allegations that she was inciting acts of terror.
“The constant humiliation that has gone on for decades in Palestine….Even after a week, I was feeling depressed and angry, humiliated myself. And I thought that if I was in that situation trying to bring up my family and that happened every day…, I might, if I had been a Palestinian and a Muslim, which of course I am neither of those, I might have considered being one [suicide bomber] myself actually."
“It is absolutely useless condemning acts of terror, like cold suicide bombing without actually going to the roots and understanding why they do it.”
She stressed that she had never regretted that statement and that she had received thousands of support letters.
She added that she had received a telephone call from the then-Liberal Democratic leader, Charles Kennedy, and had been told that unless she withdrew her comments she would be removed from the frontbench.
Tonge believes she was under pressure from the Israeli lobby, which were very active in all British politics, while “practically running American foreign policy.”
She said that the Israeli lobby had a lot of influence with all of the country’s three major parties, all of which are inevitably linked to a huge organization called ‘the Friends of Israel.’
She was also asked what she thought about the fact that Cherie Blair, the wife of the former British premier Tony Blair, had retraced similar comments about understanding the impulse of a suicide bomber.
Tonge responded that she believed it was very sad that the freedom of speech was often undermined in the political circles concerning the Palestinian resistance.
She also expressed disagreement with the British policy over the Gaza blockage and that the iron ring alone had caused “a whole generation” to suffer from malnourishment, stunted growth, bed-wetting, and attention disorder.
In explaining the British government’s stance on the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, Tonge said, “Some thing that we always seem to do in this country is to follow America, and secondly, they are gurgling along with Europe and there are European countries like Germany, who are absolutely terrified of anti-Semitism."
“I mean, we haven’t mentioned that word yet, but it drives policy, because of the holocaust, which I have read a lot about it and I think was one of the worst things that mankind has ever perpetrated on other human beings.”
She then noted, “So a lot of European countries, and Germany in particular, are overwhelmingly guilty about that an terrified of “anti-Semitism” leveled at them…..And that added to adhering to the American foreign policy, which is run by the Israel lobby, according to [American scholars] Walt and Mearsheimer, these two factors mean we do what we do.”
Tonge emphasized, “I think that that is very very short sighted, and I think that it is very short-sighted for Israel to think that the country has any long term future at all if it carries on like this, because sooner or later they (the Palestinians) are going to fight back."
Tonge was elected to the House of Commons in 1997 and in the same year she was also elected as the Shadow Secretary of State for International Development. She was elevated to the UK House of Lords in 2005.