Gerald Kaufman: "Here we are, the Jews again"
Gerald Kaufman was born a Jew: it is his ethnic identity as well as his religion. The word is used hundreds of times in the Bible, and always refers to ethnic Jews (Israelites, in contrast to Gentiles). Perhaps being one of the Tanakh’s ‘Treasured People’, to whom was bequeathed the Law of God, privileges him to offend all Jewry. It’s just a pity that he can’t do it with the charismatic charm and disarming flair of Rabbi Blue.
It is reported that during a debate yesterday in the House of Commons on the Government’s plans to change the law on universal jurisdiction (which would sensibly prevent any Tom, Dick or Harry seeking an arrest warrant for any suspected war criminal), at the point the Jewess Louise Ellman MP rose to speak, Gerald Kaufman uttered from a sedentary position: "Here we are, the Jews again."
Now, Ms Ellman and Sir Gerald don’t quite see eye-to-eye on certain issues, principally the question of ‘Palestine’. And she happens to chair the Jewish Labour Movement and is Vice Chairman of Labour Friends of Israel. Such exuberant and unashamed Judophilia evidently makes her an evil Zionist in Sir Gerald’s eyes, which are firmly fixed on Al-Aqsa to the glory of Hamas.
But ‘Here we are, the Jews again’ is a curiously self-loathing complaint.
Can you imagine Sayeeda Warsi saying to Sajid Javid or Sadiq Khan: “Here we are, the Muslims again.” Or Anne Begg saying to Paul Maynard: “Here we are, the disabled again.” Or Chris Bryant saying to Nick Herbert: “Here we are, the gays again.”
Such comments do not only offend members of these minority groups; they manifest a prejudice which may offend all. Gerald Kaufman’s comment appals not only because it evidences a bigotry which will aggrieve many Jews, but because it is blatantly anti-Semitic and disgusts Gentiles as well.
In a statement released by the Labour Party, Sir Gerald said: "I regret if any remarks I made in the chamber caused offence. If they did, I apologise."
But a carefully-worded conditional apology is insufficient: there ought to be consequences, not least because this is not the first time Sir Gerald has spouted such bile: a year ago, he outrageously alleged: "Just as Lord Ashcroft owns most of the Conservative Party, right-wing Jewish millionaires own the rest." And only last December, he pleaded God’s forgiveness on the Coalition Government for their ‘complicity in Israeli war crimes’.
He plays on all the traditional anti-Semitic stereotypes which can only exacerbate racial and religious tensions. Perhaps the matter ought to be taken up by the All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Anti-Semitism. Certainly, if he were to make such comments outside of the Chamber, venturing without the protective canopy of parliamentary privilege, he would probably be arrested for inciting hatred.
And one has to wonder, on ‘universal jurisdiction’, why Gerald Kaufman can support the action taken against Israel’s former foreign minister, Tzipi Livni, who had a warrant issued for her arrest for ‘war crimes’ in December 2009, but he is not calling for the immediate arrest of Libya’s former foreign minister Moussa Koussa, who has arrived in the UK today to a hero’s welcome, despite being a close confidant of Gaddafi during his 30-year bloody and tyrannical rule; despite being expelled from the UK in 1980 for threatening political assassinations; and despite being linked by intelligence sources to the Lockerbie bombing.
Is it ‘cos ‘a is Arab, Sir Gerald?