Pickles urges Lords to look into Tonge’s ‘puppet master’ remark

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Pickles urges Lords to look into Tonge’s ‘puppet master’ remark

Board of Deputies says the controversial peer's 'latest foray into antisemitism is no slip-up', as Lord Pickles calls for parliamentary authorities to take action

Jack Mendel is the former Online Editor at the Jewish News.

Baroness Jenny Tonge (Screenshot from Parliament TV)
Baroness Jenny Tonge (Screenshot from Parliament TV)

One of Britain’s most senior politicians has called for the House Lords to investigate an anti-Zionist peer, who said Israel is America’s “puppet master”.

Lord Eric Pickles called on authorities to look into remarks made by Jenny Tonge  during a motion which she proposed, discussing Donald Trump’s peace plan.

She said politicians must “not allow our country to fall under the shadow of the United States of America and its puppet master, Israel”.

She said: “Many have dismissed the proposals as yet another plan in the decades-old series of talks which have never produced any benefit for the indigenous people of Palestine but have served as a smokescreen for the relentless expansion of Israel into Palestinian lands.”

Tonge added, the proposals will “make sure that Israelis do not ever have to come into contact with Palestinians. Many people have described that as apartheid.”

The peer has repeatedly courted controversy which has led to her being suspended by her former party, the Liberal Democrats, investigated by the Commissioner for Standards in the House of Lords, and forced to stand down as patron of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

The Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl criticised Tonge’s language, saying her “latest foray into antisemitism is no slip-up.”

“The Baroness knows exactly what she is doing, by stating that the Jewish state is a ‘puppet master’, with global powers such as the USA in its control. That she had to resign from the Liberal Democrats is some comfort, but that she still has a platform for her repugnant views in the House of Lords is shameful.”

Lord Eric Pickles, the government’s special envoy for post-Holocaust issues, told Jewish News after the debate has “not the slightest doubt that she has breached IHRA [International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance]’s modern definition of Antisemitism.

It is shameful that the only place where Jew-baiters are immune from the consequences of their bigotry is the Chamber of the House of Lords. The House Authorities must address this anomaly.”

Lord Palmer, chair of Liberal Democrat friends of Israel criticised Tonge, saying: “The truth is that antisemitism in the UK and elsewhere existed long before the emergence of the state of Israel. The lies about Jews and their supposed control is not new. You can go back to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a tsarist forgery published before Israel was even a tear in Theodor Herzl’s eye.

“So linking the two or saying that the victim is responsible is absolutely wrong.

Other contributors included Baroness Altmann, a Jewish peer and ex-government minister, and Lord Ahmad, the Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Department for International Development, who condemned attacks by Hamas and Hezbollah against Israel.

Jenny Tonge declined to comment.

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