Big Issue founder tells Lords Israel to blame for rising antisemitism across the world

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Big Issue founder tells Lords Israel to blame for rising antisemitism across the world

Lord John Bird told peers in a debate on Gaza hunger alleviation 'The amount of antisemitism you see around the world is because Israel is thinking not about the next five or 10 years but only immediately'

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Lord Bird blames Israel for rising antisemitism
Lord Bird blames Israel for rising antisemitism

Big Issue founder Lord John Bird has claimed in the House of Lords that “Jewish people throughout the world” are going through “hell” because of Israel’s military action in Gaza.

Speaking during a debate on hunger alleviation in Gaza, the crossbench peer added:”The amount of antisemitism you see around the world is because Israel is thinking not about the next five or 10 years but only immediately.”

In a controversial intervention he told peers on Monday:” I can honestly say that most of the people I meet and talk to, people from all walks of life, are appalled at what Israel is doing.

“Is somebody going to tell Israel about the damage it is doing not only to its own people but to people throughout the world?
“Jewish people throughout the world are having a hell of a time because of what is happening there. 

“This is the worst form of foreign policy ever; it is terrible. The amount of antisemitism you see around the world is because Israel is thinking not about the next five or 10 years but only immediately.”

Nominated by the House of Lords Appointments Commission as a non-party political People’s Peer” in 2015, he was created Baron Bird, of Notting Hill in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

During the same debate Conservative peer Lord Leigh suggested  Israel “has never denied Gaza humanitarian aid” and that allegations to the contrary are “disinformation.”

Lord Leigh added:”I visited Kerem Shalom, as disclosed in my register of interests. 

“All the operatives we met have either been killed or abducted and the equipment destroyed. 

“However, Israel—which has never denied Gaza humanitarian aid—now has the capacity to pass 44 trucks per hour into Gaza. On 10 March, 150 lorries passed through, supplying 3,750 tonnes of food, equivalent to four pounds per person. 

“If we are to seek peace, reconciliation and a ceasefire, does the Minister not agree with me that it is very important not to have disinformation, particularly about Israel? It has always sought to ensure that humanitarian aid is supplied wherever it can. The problem has been the UNRWA distribution thereof.”

Responding the Minister for the Middle East Lord Ahmad told peers “we have been very clear about the importance of aid entering Gaza unimpeded. ”

He added:”There have been claims and counterclaims. The United Kingdom has been very clear that Israel is not letting enough trucks through the crossing. 

“The number that my noble friend quotes is factual, but it is also true that 500 trucks were entering before the war. Some statements have been made that commercial items were included within that. Yes, they were, but there was also food grown in Gaza, which is no longer possible. That is why there is an acute need. The 500 that is consistently stated is not a high threshold but the minimum threshold, and it is needed now.”

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