Sunday, February 14, 2010
The presumption of innocence
It's as if the UK can't do enough to prove the validity of the hypothesis I floated a few weeks ago. The latest in a series of such proofs is a member of the House of Lords - Baroness Jenny Tonge - who has come out in tacit support of yet another blood libel against the Jewish State and her citizens.
Let me start at the beginning:
It seems that a Boston blogger named Stephen Lendman (yes, a Jew!) recently claimed to have seen some youtube clips that support the idea that Israeli medical teams sent to Haiti had engaged in the harvesting of organs from earthquake victims and had engaged in the trafficking of these organs.
Ever eager to pass along such juicy stories, and unfettered by any semblance of journalistic ethics, the Gaza-based Web site, 'The Palestine Telegraph' (which I was shocked to find is financed largely by the generosity of the above-mentioned British Baroness) published the Haitian organ harvesting/trafficking story to a receptive audience who have yet to hear/read a blood libel about Jews or Israel that they deemed too implausible to trust.
Baroness Tonge, has a long history of anti-Israel agitation including illegal (under British Law) meetings with Hamas, and the incredible statement about Palestinian suicide bombers that, "If I had to live in that situation - and I say that advisedly - I might just consider becoming one myself".
When called on the carpet about that statement she said, "I was just trying to say how, having seen the violence and the humiliation and the provocation that the Palestinian people live under every day and have done since their land was occupied by Israel, I could understand..." [emphasis mine]
And just so the reader doesn't think I'm trying to unfairly portay the Baroness as a racist based on an isolated remark or two taken out of context, in 2006 she made a statement that could well have come directly from her personal copy of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion: "The pro-Israeli lobby has got its grips on the western world, its financial grips. I think they've probably got a grip on our party."
She has also participated in numerous anti-Israel demonstrations and calls for boycotts, and was aboard a 'blockade busting' boat that sailed to Gaza in November of 2008 with a bunch of other useful idiots. Apparently trying to isolate Israel is perfectly legal, but isolating a terrorist regime in Gaza is a war crime.
Several months after her little bit of maritime theater she made an impassioned speech to the House of Lords in which she said:
"Is the Minister aware that Mrs Pillay, the new UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, has spoken of war crimes being committed in Gaza? Will the Government, therefore, show leadership and call for the immediate—and I mean immediate—establishment by the United Nations Security Council of an independent fact-finding commission to Palestine to investigate all breaches of international law?"
So while her latest slur against Israel and its citizens is not particularly surprising or out of character, it shows yet another example of how the demonization of the Jewish State has become mainstream in the UK... and why the Jewish Community in the UK might find it prudent to keep its collective head down.
Obviously some things are beyond the pale... even in the UK, so Tonge has suffered what amounts to a slap on the wrist for her 'imprudent' remarks. Even though she will remain a life Peer and a member in good standing of the House of Lords (with all privileges thereof), the Baroness has been dismissed - sacked, to use the local term - by Liberal Democrat party leader Nick Clegg from her position as Health Spokesman for the House of Lords.
That must have come as a terrible blow. [ /sarcasm]
In her own defense, Tonge used the excuse preferred by most bigots; that she didn't believe or support the accusations, but rather that she thought it would be in Israel's interest to conduct a full internal investigation to be able to clear itself of suspicion.
By that logic, if I were to accuse the Baroness of being a cross-dressing victim of a botched gender correction operation (an accusation I categorically reject and would never dream of making, mind you!), it would be incumbent upon her 'ladyship' to bring proof to the contrary, right?
While not specifically found in the Magna Carta, the presumption of innocence is a cornerstone of British law, and it is an obscene miscarriage of justice that a former Member of Parliament and current member of the House of Lords should be allowed to conveniently 'forget' this whenever it fits her personal agenda, without suffering anything more serious than the forfeiture of a purely administrative assignment.
Over the past half-century, smarter people than I have cast about for a proper working definition of anti-Semitism... or at least for a litmus test that would help differentiate anti-Semitism from its more socially acceptable cousin; anti-Zionism. I honestly don't see why this has proven such a tough thing to work out.
Quite simply, an anti-Semite is anyone who deliberately withdraws or sets aside a Jew's - or Israel's - presumption of innocence in the face of libels and/or criminal charges.
To anti-Semite Baroness Jenny Tonge (and her ilk), I would paraphrase the words that former British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli directed at Daniel O'Connell in 1835 in response to O'Connell's unflattering references to Disraeli's Jewish ancestry:
"Yes, I am a Jew, and when the ancestors of the right honourable [Lady] were brutal savages in an unknown island, mine were [present] in the temple of Solomon".
Note: The source for all quotes and background material not found in the news article I have linked above can be found here.
Posted by David Bogner on February 14, 2010 | Permalink
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I live in the UK and I've seen the "honourable" lady on TV a number of times. What strikes me as particularly vile about this woman is the fact that, even when she is demonstrably shown to be completely incorrect, she persists. This not just being thick (stupid), or even thick-skinned, this is implacable bigotry of the sort that allowed Nazi ideology to flourish.
David, you say the UK Jewish comunity keeps its head down. Ok, some of that is to do with us seeing ourselves as British first, Jewish second and has its roots well before the founding of the 1948 State of Israel, some of it is due to self-imposed isolation of Jewish communities in the UK, but perhaps most of it is to do with the level of anti-semitism that is prevalent in this country in so many forms, obvious and not so obvious.
Even when you want to do something about that, such as protest against the rise of the far-right and the British National Party, you find that there is anti-semitism within the anti-racist movement!
Much of this seems to stem from what is perceived as the Middle East conflict, and believe me, most people here only see it in the context of the artificial 60-70's Palestinian 'crisis' and frame their perception of everything after that as the appropriate context. Very few have any understanding of the significance of the 1948, 1967 or 1973 attacks upon Israel as being extensions from recent history. Even less understand the more historical and biblical accuracy and right of Israel to exist.
The notion that there has been any harvesting of organs or anything else by Israeli medical teams would be laughable were it not for the fact there are so many willing to believe it, and not just in Palestinian circles.
The fact of the matter is that ZAKA had a team there helping to save lives and treat the dead with honour, and it may even be this that Mr Lendman 'saw' on YouTube, though how trafficking is deduced from that is beyond me, and ZAKA's efforts will go completely unreported as usual, and not just by the British press and media.
The quote from Benjamin Disraeli is apt (and I'll have to remember it for later use), but he also encapsulates something about British Jewry inasmuch as I understand he put politics before faith, race or identity.
Unusual for me to make such a contribution, I mostly just come along to watch, but the recent observations you made following Limmud hit home.
Next time you are in London, try Beavis Marks restaurant which is part of the Sephardic synagogue, much better than Golders Green!
Posted by: Ken | Feb 14, 2010 2:27:55 PM
Thanks Ken for your insightful comment.
Posted by: Ilana-Davita | Feb 14, 2010 5:34:58 PM
I simply adore how, while sacking Our Lady of Gaza, Nick Clegg said he did not believe Tonge, a known Israel-hater, was anti-Semitic or racist. Uh-huh.
Posted by: Alissa | Feb 14, 2010 5:41:49 PM
Might I suggest a glossectomy for her Ladyship. In layman's terms, a Tonge-ectomy. The hag.
Posted by: QuietusLeo | Feb 14, 2010 6:07:06 PM
The sad thing is that she has enough support to continue to this shameful behavior. A slap on the wrist to make it appear as if they care and it is back to business as usual.
Posted by: Jack | Feb 14, 2010 10:06:27 PM
The presumption of innocence usually occurs inside a criminal investigation or a court; There is no thought that an investigation presumes guilt. Calling for an investigation isn't necessarily giving up the presumption of innocence.
Repeatedly calling for investigation on different grounds is one way to issue blood libels while pretending to be fair. That's the case here.
With fools like Tonge, though, I worry they'll be exposed as Zionist agents making our enemies look even worse.
Posted by: Fred | Feb 14, 2010 10:17:47 PM
Er, is she wear a skinned pig as a coat in that picture?
Posted by: Jacob Da Jew | Feb 15, 2010 12:45:09 AM
http://tongelashing.blogspot.com/ shows how it can be done by putting up blog posts pretending to call for an "investigation" of "so-far unfounded rumors of her unhealthy interest in young Palestinian children." and showing that a google search reveals "13,500 for Jenny Tonge molest."
Posted by: Sabba Hillel | Feb 15, 2010 1:08:50 AM
Uh, you mean she's (he's?) not a cross-dressing victim of a botched gender correction operation?
After seeing that pic, my only question was this: Dustin Hoffman or Robin Williams?
Posted by: psachya | Feb 15, 2010 4:13:10 PM
I have been a thorough-going supporter of Israel since coming of age, and if you finance-controlling Jews could see your way clear to sending me a little of that money I'd be much obliged. Thank you. ;o/
Posted by: Wry Mouth | Feb 18, 2010 10:37:30 AM