Promoting anti-semitism is not covered by Lords code of conduct

All MPs and peers today received the CST’s Antisemitic Incidents Report. The CST received many supportive replies. Then there was this appalling response from Baroness Tonge ……..

“Do you NEVER consider that the actions of the Israeli government are contributing towards this rise.? Sadly, many people do not distinguish between Jewish people and Mr Netanyahu and his colleagues. If CST and the Board of Deputies spoke up against the abuse if [sic] human rights, flagrant disregard for International law and the Geneva Convention they would do much to improve the situation there.

The perpetual victim mentality of your organisation is counter productive and does not help real decent Jewish people..

We want a country free of all racism.

Yours sincerely, Jenny Tonge

Nearly two weeks ago I described how Baroness Jenny Tonge posted an anti-semitic article on her Facebook page. The article claims that the President of Israel made anti-Semitic Jew/Nazi comparisons. Shortly after this, Baroness Tonge posted what appeared to be ‘fake news’ alleging that ‘one of the most senior figures in the Zionist lobby’ had emailed Sir Eric Pickles MP to tell him that ‘Jewish support for the Conservative Party at the next General Election is at risk’ because of UK support for Resolution 2334.

Baroness Tonge is already under investigation by the House of Lords Commissioner for Standards. Initially she was under investigation on two counts: alleged failure to act on personal honour and alleged breach of rules on House facilities. However the first charge has been dropped.

I wrote to the Commissioner asking that Tonge should be investigated for the anti-semitic and the fake posts. The response I got was that “… the House of Lords Code of Conduct does not extend to members’ performance of duties unrelated to parliamentary proceedings; and it is outside my remit to consider complaints about members’ expression of views or opinions. I interpret that as covering members’ posts on social media.”

But Baroness Tonge speaks about Israel and puts questions about Israel constantly in the Lords. In January 2017 she asked 13 questions in written form and 1 in oral form about Israel. In December 2016 she asked 24 written questions about Israel. There is no question but that her social media posts are directly related to her participation in proceedings in Parliament. And there is no question that – with anti-Semitism running at record levels fuelling racism should be covered by the Code of Conduct of the House of Lords.

The Commissioner has used her judgment — but has come to entirely the wrong conclusion. Should you wish to add your voice to the complaints, the Commissioner (Lucy Scott-Moncrieff CBE) can be contacted on this email address:

About the Author
Jonathan Hoffman is a blogger who has written for United With Israel, CiFWatch (now UK Media Watch), Harrys Place and Z-Word.
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