Israeli minister cites Baroness Tonge over link between BDS and antisemitism
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Israeli minister cites Baroness Tonge over link between BDS and antisemitism

Gilad Erdan presented a report titled “Behind the Mask” during a conference in Brussels, referencing the former Lib Dem peer's social media activity

Baroness Tonge
Baroness Tonge

Israel’s public security minister cited controversial posts by peer Jenny Tonge, during a presentation at a conference on Wednesday, highlighting 80 examples of what he called antisemitism by key European promoters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel.

Gilad Erdan presented the report, titled “Behind the Mask” during a conference in Brussels, Belgium, on Wednesday.

Citing examples of anti-Israel rhetoric straying into the territory of alleged antisemitism, he cited a social media post in April from Jenny Tonge, a peer in the House of Lords.

The post asked on Facebook whether the wounding of 27 Palestinians, including a baby, in clashes with Israeli troops was “all to celebrate the Passover?”

Blood libels involving the trope that Jews use blood to bake matzah for Passover have for centuries been a motif of antisemitism in Europe.

Baroness Tonge has repeatedly courted controversy over social media posts, which has seen her quit the Liberal Democrats after being suspended, investigated by Commissioner for Standards in the House of Lords, and forced to stand down as patron of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

In another, Robert-Willem van Norren, a promoter of BDS in the Netherlands, is seen holding up a caricature of the Israel flag with a cockroach instead of the Star of David.

The Israeli minister Gilad Erdan sat alongside Elan Carr, the U.S. envoy against antisemitism, and Rabbi Menachem Margolin, director of the European Jewish Association in Brussels, while presenting the report. Each speaker had a cracked mask next to him, emblazoned with terms such as “freedom” and “solidarity.”

“BDS leaders who use antisemitic language and images that also prove their principles, of boycotting the Jew among the nations, Israel, are antisemitic,” Erdan said.

Erdan also protested the hosting in July of a conference of BDS promoters with alleged links to the PFLP terrorist organisation. Erdan said the European Union offers funding to groups involved in promoting antisemitism.

Promoting BDS is illegal in France and Spain. Earlier this year, the German Bundestag passed a motion defining the movement as antisemitic.

Elan Carr, the U.S. envoy against antisemitism, said that BDS is “classical old antisemitism, repackaged and re-branded, cloaked poorly as anti-Israel rhetoric.”

Margolin said that BDS “is responsible” for some antisemitic attacks in Europe.

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