I have tried for many years to stop MPs and Peers booking rooms in Parliament for anti-semitic meetings. Six years ago, for example, at one such meeting, Martin Linton said “there are long tentacles of Israel in this country who are funding election campaigns and putting money into the British political system for their own ends”.
At the same meeting Gerald Kaufman said “Just as Lord Ashcroft owns one part of the Conservative Party, right-wing Jewish millionaires own the other part.”
Jeremy Corbyn has hosted several of these meetings.
Last week Baroness Tonge hosted a meeting where an audience member stood up and suggested that the responsibility for the Holocaust lay with Jews themselves. They had so “antagonised” Hitler with their demands for a boycott of Nazi Germany that he had gone “over the edge” and decided to kill them all. Tonge failed to correct him and indeed he was applauded.
It is completely unacceptable that MPs and Peers can book meeting rooms in Parliament where anti-semitic discourse runs free.
At present there is no approval process for booking rooms in Parliament. This is clearly unsatisfactory. I hope Jewish News readers will write to their MPs to support the implementation of such a process — so that racist meetings like that hosted by Tonge will never again be held in Parliament.
The free use of meeting rooms in Parliament is a privilege – not a right. Events have proved that the booking process must be subject to oversight.
If Parliamentarians must host anti-semitic meetings, let then book a venue at a commercial rate. Here is one possible venue – though whether the Bridge Café (made famous in The Apprentice – and appropriate for anti-semites, as it is where the losing team goes) is prepared to host racist meetings is unclear.