CST Blog

'The power of the Jewish lobbies'

30 April 2010

Two weeks ago, we wrote on this blog about some politicians using problematic language about Jewish lobbies and their supposed political or financial influence, and promised to highlight any further examples of this happening. We note, therefore, this article in today's Jewish Chronicle, about comments made by Madeleine Kirk, Liberal Democrat candidate for York Outer:

A Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate in Yorkshire told a hustings meeting that “the power of the Jewish lobbies in Washington and Britain” are the reason a full arms embargo has not been imposed on Israel.

Madeleine Kirk, standing for the party in the new seat of York Outer, was speaking at the York University event on Wednesday afternoon.

A question was asked about whether the candidates believed arms sales to Israel should be banned.

Ms Kirk, a long-standing local city councillor, replied that an embargo should be in place, but was not, "because of the Jewish lobby”.

She then went on to back disgraced Lib Dem peer Jenny Tonge’s call for an inquiry to disprove allegations that Israeli army medical teams in Haiti “harvested” organs of earthquake victims.

Baroness Tonge was stripped of her role as the party’s health spokeswoman in the Lords following her comments in February.

When contacted by the JC, Ms Kirk said: “I apologise unreservedly for any offence caused by my remarks.

“I recognise that the allegations against the IDF's humanitarian operation in Haiti are completely unfounded and utterly reprehensible. I was not aware of the allegations when asked about them at the hustings and responded without considering their full implications.”

Ms Kirk has been a regular critic of Israel. In January last year she spoke at a rally against the Gaza conflict organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

She told the crowd: “I wholeheartedly condemn the attack on Gaza by the Israeli forces.

“The vicious attack is completely out of all proportion to the threat posed by Hamas in the region and will only serve the militants in both the Gaza strip and Israel.”

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