Jenny Tonge’s outrageous response to CST report

Yesterday the CST  released their yearly report on antisemitic incidents in the UK.  The results are worrying. 1,309 cases were recorded, the highest ever total, and a 36% increase from last year.  The CST cites widely reported disputes over antisemitism in the Labour Party and the climate of increased racism and xenophobia following the EU referendum as possible factors in this sharp rise.  107 violent assaults were logged last year, and it is likely that underreporting masks the true total.  Although these only account for a small proportion of total incidents, it’s concerning that campus related cases involving students and academics have doubled since last year.

The report is characteristically measured.  There has been much discussion of antisemitism within the UK’s Muslim communities and the CST is very careful to caution against reading too much into the raw statistics about perpetrator identity (where available).

These figures partly reflect the fact that Britain’s Jewish communities tend to live in relatively diverse urban areas, and that street crime offenders (where the most common type of antisemitic incident takes place) make up a younger, and more diverse, demographic profile than the population as a whole (p. 24)

The CST is also extremely careful not to conflate criticism of Israel with antisemitism, while acknowledging the obvious potential for intersection.  Their rationale for including (or rejecting) anti-Israel discourse in their incident report is very clearly laid out on pp.27-8.  This section demonstrates the nuanced and cautious approach adopted by the CST.

Similarly, anti-Israel material that is sent unsolicited to a synagogue at random may be recorded as an antisemitic incident (because the synagogue was targeted simply because it is Jewish and the offender has failed to distinguish between a place of worship and a political organisation), when the same material sent unsolicited to specifically pro-Israel organisations would not be. On the other hand, if a particular synagogue has been involved in public pro-Israel advocacy and subsequently is sent anti-Israel material, it may not be classified as antisemitic unless the content of the material dictates otherwise.

Below you can read Jenny Tonge’s nasty response to the CST’s report – indeed her proud promotion of her initial response.


Where to start? No concern is expressed over the rise in antisemitic violence.  Instead she insists that Jews need to distance themselves from Netanyahu in order to avoid attacks.  If she thinks the CST demonstrates a ‘perpetual victim mentality’ what kind of campaigning community group against antisemitism would she countenance?  Although sometimes Israel is the apparent driver for antisemitism, the CST’s report also contains evidence of Holocaust denial and conspiracism.  And it’s deeply unfair to imply that the CST is not concerned about ‘ALL racism’ – it has worked closely with Tell MAMA to support their project countering anti-Muslim bigotry.

In her recent response to a much criticised interview on J-TV Tonge opined

My own fault I guess for being decent and wanting to connect with Israel’s supporters.

This rings very hollow in the light of her failure to connect with the victims of hate crimes – something which should be easily possible whether or not one is a supporter of Israel.

10 Responses to “Jenny Tonge’s outrageous response to CST report”

  1. Arnaud Says:

    Before this latest incident, the Lords Standards Commissioner was arguing that Tonge’s ‘opinions’ and social media posts were outside her remit. Let’s see how she deals with this latest outrage. If Parliament is serious about tackling antisemitism, Tonge needs to be voted out of the Lords.

    Complaints to

  2. jonathanlesser2013 Says:

    How on earth did she become a Baroness?

  3. Soupy One Says:

    We can only assume that having antisemitic proclivities doesn’t disqualify anyone from a peerage or major gong in the British system. Sad, but that’s where the evidence points.

  4. Jonathan Says:

    Please sign / share this petition to expel Tonge from the House of Lords. Enough is enough.

  5. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    Tonge’s behaviour is typical of a certain type: blame the victims. This is a phenomenon well known to social scientists (at least to those with any degree of sensibility and perception); some, such as, inter alia, Jacqueline Rose (although it is arguable that she isn’t a social scientist) either ignore or are oblivious of this. “If only”, they say (and, among others, both Tonge and Anthony Lerman, twice appointed Director of Jewish Public Policy – the second time only briefly are in this group) “British Jews were less supportive of Israel, then antisemitism in the UK would decline markedly”.

    This is an astonishing claim, given that, without a change in the law and strong government action, it matters not a whit what the despised outsider does, the prejudiced discriminator will continue to persecute them. even if the victims abase themselves and plead to be walked on.

    I have news for them: in 2017, no chance of us pleading for acceptance: their’s is a club no sane individual would want to join, whatever the incentive.

    Sadly, while I will sign the petition above, it’s only Hereditary Peers who risk failing to make the cut: Life Peers are there for life. Which is a great shame: the only group who, whatever their social offence, cannot be expelled for bad behaviour. Unless, pdf course, they have actually committed a criminal offence demanding a jail sentence. Any evidence, anyone…?

    BTW, where is Philip Blue when you want someone to vent your spleen on?

  6. Susan Says:

    This is off-topic, but it does involve McGill University. I would like to see Engage look into this:

    MONTREAL (JTA) — A McGill University student leader who advised on Twitter to “punch a Zionist today” is refusing to resign or retract the comment amid rising Jewish anger on campus against him.

    Council member Igor Sadikov did not relent at what was described as a “tense” meeting of the student union legislative council on Thursday.

    “I have never felt so targeted, disgusted or disappointed in my life,” Jewish McGill student Molly Harris later wrote in a post on Facebook.

    Sadikov, who also is active in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel, has denied he is anti-Semitic, noting that his father is Jewish and his mother is half-Jewish. He said his original tweet, which he later deleted, was meant to criticize a “political philosophy,” not Jews.

    McGill has condemned Sadikov, joining the Jewish groups B’nai Brith, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs and the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

    The university’s undergraduate arts society formally called on Sadikov to resign and B’nai Brith asked police to investigate whether Sadikov had incited hatred.

    But council members voted by a wide margin against censuring Sadikov.

  7. Susan Stein Says:

    I have been catching up on many of the posts on this site that I haven’t read before. No one on either side has talked about the effect on Jewish students on campuses in the UK and America. Whether BDS campaigners are antisemiitid or not it has an anti-Semitic effect on Jewish students everywhere. It affects how students who are visibly Jewish in some way. They have been harassed and threatened. They have been forced to deny Israel’s right to exist.

    I have also wanted to discuss the cooperation between Islamists and the antisemtic right. The Nazi march in Montana was canceled, but a major Hamas leader was scheduled to speak. There was no criticism from the left.

  8. James Says:

    Susan, here is just one article looking at the effect on Jewish students in the UK. I’m sure you’ll be able to find many others.

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