Jenny Tonge: A ‘Woman of Substance’

Perhaps the principled Baroness Tonge sums up the dilemmas of those with more malleable backbones than hers, when she said:

“The pro-Israeli lobby has got its grip on the western world, its financial grips. I think they’ve probably got a grip on our party.” Slapped down again, by the then Leader of her Party, Sir Menzies Campbell for “unacceptable” comment, she emphasized that she was citing: ” .. the Israeli lobby in politics … a big distance from being about anti Jewishness or anti-Semitism.”

Those whether temporarily or over decades, denied a voice, need the courage of those who can speak out on their behalf, seek redress – even if to dispel an allegation which may have no substance. That is democracy.

Jenny Tonge and her like are an endangered parliamentary species, world wide, as are those they seek to speak for. Perhaps fellow travelers should call Survival International.

– Felicity Arbuthnot is a journalist and activist who has visited the Arab and Muslim world on numerous occasions. She has written and broadcast on Iraq, her coverage of which was nominated for several awards. She was also senior researcher for John Pilger’s award-winning documentary, “Paying the Price: Killing the Children of Iraq”. She contributed this article to

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