SHAFAQNA-Speaking to IRNA, Tonge said that the Balfour declaration was an important document at the time; because during the first world war, Britain was at war with Germany and ‘we needed’ support against the Ottoman empire who were allies of Germany.
On the other hand she said, there has been pressure for a homeland for the Jews all through the end of 19 century and in to the 20th Century. So Britain at the time had its empire and seemed to think that it was perfectly alright to give away somebody else land to somebody else.
However, “Its quite an extraordinary thing now when you think about it, but that’s the sort of thing that happened at the colonial time. The great powers just thought that, that’s what they could do. So they made this declaration to grant a homeland to the Jewish people.”
She went on saying: But it also said very importantly so long as nothing was done to harm the civil and religious right of the existing people of Palestine. Those existing people were non Jewish people of Palestine compose 90 pc of the population in 1917.
Tonge said: So it’s an added insult that you give away somebody else land to another strange party without consulting 90 pc of the people who live there. That is why British people are divided on this.
The British MP stressed that the there is huge opposition to the government, because they are going to celebrate the balfour declaration without acknowledging the harm that we did to the people that who were already there and the Palestinians since that time suffered miserably.
She said: Britain is increasingly coming round to the opinion that Israel is doing wrong and the Palestinians have their right. Israel is breaking the international law, abusing the human right to Palestinians and our government should do something about it, representing the people of Britain instead of constantly giving in to the Israel lobby in doing what they want them to do.
“It is not questionable why our government feels that they have to do this. Everyone knows the strength of Israel lobby; they are very powerful financially, in trade links.”
Tonge also refered to the anti-Semitism accusation by the Zionist lobby saying that, there is no rise in incident of anti Semitism, there is a rise in the incident of Islamophobia but not anti-Semitism. They (Jews) have been part of community for generations but the British people do not like the action of Zionist government of Israel and reject to be called anti-Semitic.
Asked ‘Does Britain holds the same view point about Balfour declaration as it had 100 years ago’ Baroness Tonge said: ’There is a change mood in the country but not a change of mood in the government. The government is still trying to uphold that declaration and to say it is the right thing having ignored the second half of the declaration. But clearly Britain has not got the power that we had in 1917.
“That does not mean to say that we Britain, it could be argued that we started all of this, should not shout loudly about the injustice of the situation and not doing something about it. “
“It has been the most awful upheaval in the Middle East, I am not saying it is the whole reason, but after the creation of the state of Israel we had none stop war and unrest in the Middle East ever since. “
Asked ‘How is the situation in Parliament around the issue of Israel’, she said that there is an increasing number of people in the house of commons and in the House of Lords who oppose the Israeli government.
“People are afraid of speaking up, but there is an increasing number of people coming forward and speaking up. “
Tonge said: Twelve years ago, I started making comments which was pretty provocative but intentionally so because I wanted to raise the profile of the Palestinians to say to people, look what is going on here. I hope I could continue to do that. I have been accused of anti-Semitism which of course I am not and it is an absolute none sense. I am opposed to the Israeli government and increasing number of people in Parliament are too.
Reporter: Hadi Naderi: IRNA correspondent to UK