Responding to the reports of anti-Semitism at the event hosted by Baroness Tonge, Lord Polak said:
“Baroness Tonge’s silence in the face of such appalling anti-Semitism speaks volumes. It is simply shocking that such abhorrent views were allowed to go unchallenged in the Houses of Parliament. The Baroness has a shameful record of twisted, anti-Israel rhetoric and the Liberal Democrats’ suspension of Baroness Tonge, once again, is long overdue”.
The Palestinian Return Centre, which live streamed the event on its Facebook page, said the event inside Parliament was part of its Balfour apology campaign – which calls for the UK Government to “officially apologise for its past colonial crimes in Palestine”.
During the event, several offensive and anti-Semitic remarks were made. These were accepted by the panel and many were met with applause. At no point did Baroness Tonge, who chaired the meeting, challenge the remarks as inappropriate.
At one point, an audience member was applauded after suggesting that Hitler only decided to kill all the Jews after he was provoked by anti-German protests led by a rabbi in Manhattan.
The speaker, described on a blog as an ultra-orthodox Jew, said that in the 1930s Rabbi Stephen Wise, whom he described as a heretic, “made the boycott on Germany, the economic boycott . . . which antagonised Hitler, over the edge, to then want to systematically kill Jews wherever he could find them”.
The speaker went on: “As opposed to . . . make Germany free of Jews, a Jew-free land. He became a madman after this boycott. Judea declares war on Germany. In Manhattan they had 100,000 people marching in the economic boycott in 1935, it was the same heretic rabbi who caused that”.
The speaker compared Israel to Islamic State, and said the best way to atone for the Balfour declaration was to prevent such things happening in future: “Just as the so-called Jewish state in Palestine doesn’t come from Judaism, this Islamic State in Syria is nothing to do with Islam. It is a perversion of Islam just as Zionism is a perversion of Judaism”.