Baroness Tonge Ousted: When Foreign Politicians Speak Out Against Israel
Baroness Jenny Tonge, a Liberal Democrat peer, has resigned from her position as the party whip after refusing to back down on comments criticizing Israel, according to U.K. media.
“Beware Israel: Israel is not going to be there forever in its present performance. One day the United States of America will get sick of giving £70 billion [$109 billion] a year to Israel,” she said, addressing a group of students at Middlesex University in London last Thursday.
Israel receives approximately $3 billion annually in grants from the U.S.
Tonge criticized the relationship between the United States and the Jewish state, describing Israel as “America’s aircraft carrier in the Middle East,” adding that there would come a day when the people in the United States would say “enough is enough.”
“It will not go on forever, it will not go on forever and Israel will lose its support, then they will reap what they have sown,” Tonge, who has previously been sacked from the party for remarks similar on the Jewish state, said.
The Liberal Democrats said in a statement to Guido Fawkes website, which first reported her remarks, that Tonge did not speak for the party on the subject of “Israel/Palestine.”
“Her presence and comments at this event were extremely ill-advised and ill-judged,” a sopeksperson for the Liberal Democrats said.
Liberal Democrat chief Nick Clegg, who is the deputy prime minister in the coalition U.K. government, acted after the Guido Fawkes web posting, and urged Tonge to apologize for her remarks or leave the Lib Dem grouping in the House of Lords.
Tonge, The Guardian reported, told the leadership in a phone call that she could not accept Clegg’s ultimatum because she stood by her remarks.
Statements on Israel have cost Tonge in the past.
Following comments in which she said she “just might consider” becoming a suicide bomber if she were Palestinian, Tonge was sacked from the Lib Dem front bench in Parliament.
In 2010, Cleg sacked her as health spokesperson for the party after she called for an inquiry into allegations Israeli troops were involved in organ-trafficking in Haiti. Clegg said her comments were "wrong, distasteful and provocative."
Commenting on her most recent statements, Clegg said: "These remarks were wrong and offensive and do not reflect the values of the Liberal Democrats ... The Liberal Democrats have a proud record of campaigning for the rights of Palestinians, and that will continue, but we are crystal clear in our support for a two-state solution."