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Friday, 12 February 2010

Nick Clegg right to sack Baroness Tonge

Nick Clegg has sacked Baroness Tonge as the Lib Dem Health spokeswoman in the House of Lords. I strongly endorse his actions, which make me proud to be a Liberal Democrat. The Jewish Chronicle broke the news of this sacking.

Baroness Tonge had called for an inquiry into allegations that Israeli relief forces had harvested people's organs in Haiti. This grotesque conspiracy theory about Israeli organ trafficking has been commonplace among extremists for some time. It is an echo of the "blood libel" - the antisemitic myth that Jews kill non-Jewish children so as to use their blood in fiendish rituals. The blood libel has echoed down the centuries as a major theme of murderous anti-Jewish hatred, from the Middle Ages to the Holocaust and beyond. Its entry into anti-Israel discourse is an appalling feature of recent years.

Baroness Tonge's suggestion that the Haiti organ smear is sufficiciently credible as to merit an inquiry is totally incompatible with Liberal Democrat values. That's why Nick Clegg has sacked her, and I commend him for  doing so. Nick Clegg has been absolutely clear in calling her comments "wrong, distasteful and provocative".

I am proud to have been quoted in the Jewish Chronicle's initial coverage of this story, making clear my utter condemnation of Baroness Tonge's comments.

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