Last week, in my blog, I addressed a short speech by Gerald Kaufman that included ‘accusations’, that ‘Jewish money’ directs British foreign policy and a statement that Israel has fabricated most of the terror attacks to cover up the murder of Palestinian civilians.
The story was covered widely in the Jewish press, both here and abroad, with all of the major Jewish papers covering the issue. Of the non-Jewish national papers only the Independent ran the story, and did so as a dry non-committal report on what Kaufman had said. There is only silence from the Labour Party, the Government and the British press. Personally I do not know if Kaufman is an antisemite and my intention is not to make that accusation, I am addressing the words that were spoken, the actions and responses, and the general atmosphere of the evening, rather than the actual mindset of the individuals concerned.
I have an extremely thick skin, it takes quite a lot to rock me and I am far more comfortable talking the conflict issue with Arabs actually involved, than I am with their European supporters. My opinions are fairly moderate and I am more than willing to join in sometimes when Israel is criticised (don’t ever get me started on their electoral system). I sat through 2 days listening to anti-Zionists at Exeter and another 2 days at SOAS, so when I walk out of an event feeling this disturbed, then whatever has just passed should not be easily dismissed.
I am a Zionist, I do not need to like the politics of the Arabs that oppose Israel, but somewhere between us lies the land that will provide a solution to the conflict. We are enemies, but we are enemies that will have to learn to both talk and listen. I am also a Jew, I do not like antisemites but there is no ground in the middle. I will not accept them and believe that society needs to continually stay alert to ensure they remain in the dark corner; and on that there is no room for negotiation. It is vitally important both for Arabs and Jews that this poison is not allowed to further develop amidst the already complex disagreements between us.
Kaufman’s statement at the PRC meeting was wrong, of that there is little doubt. ‘Jewish money’ does not exist. Kaufman himself is a Jew, so is he suggesting his money also controls British Foreign policy? What of Gilad Atzmon’s or Ilan Pappe’s? What of the many non-Jews who support Israel? If what Kaufman meant was that most Conservatives have an ideological outlook favourable to Israel, then he should have said so, but he didn’t. He went even further than simply accusing the tail of wagging the dog, he suggested the entire tail was of a different ethnicity from the rest of the animal. Natural ideological affiliation was replaced with an insidious ‘anti-democratic’ conspiratorial element. Jewish control (as a collective) of the Government and British foreign policy.
Taken from the European Forum of Antisemitism (working definition of antisemitism)
“Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective — such as, especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions.”
Kaufman also suggested that because of Jewish financial control these people did not care what their own government wants but rather would be used to provide a shield to all and any Israeli action.
Also taken from the European Forum of Antisemitism (working definition of antisemitism)
“Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations.”
But that is only the first part of the picture. Before he made the point of ‘Jewish money’, Kaufman had already read from an email that suggested the Israelis were ‘executing Palestinians on the streets and then fabricating the stabbing story’. The email claimed that over half of these ‘attacks’ were definitely fabricated, with doubts cast over many of the rest. Kaufman’s ‘friend’ suggested that the Israeli Jews had ‘murdered’ 52 Palestinians in ‘the last few days’ (by counting every death as a murder this effectively entirely negates Israel’s right to self-defence). Kaufman went on to suggest Israelis do not understand ‘morality’, using the story of the US loan guarantees to provide an explicit example of what Israelis do understand (money).
Just in case he had not reinforced his point strongly enough, Kaufman also wanted to pass the buck onto all Israelis by specifically stating ‘that people should not just blame their government, (because) that government is in office because of the voters of Israel’. This vile position would attach personal responsibility on me for all the actions of the UK government (regardless of my political position or activity). Yet worse still, if we follow this argument through, the connection is made between the Jewish money (that blinds UK foreign policy) and the accusation of random executions and fabrications of terror attacks. In so doing we bring moral responsibility for alleged demonic actions of the state of Israel back onto the (collective of) Jews in the UK, who both finance and deliberately protect such ‘illegal’ activity.
Also taken from the European Forum of Antisemitism (working definition of antisemitism)
“Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel.”
This ‘demonization’ was supported by both the other British politicians in the room, Andy Slaughter MP, the Justice Minister in Corbyn’s shadow cabinet, and Martin Linton, who was Labour MP for Battersea until 2010. Kaufman’s speech saw him applauded and congratulated by his audience and political peers, and not one of his party’s leadership since the event has even passed comment.
Following the event, Andy Slaughter MP was contacted by the Jewish Chronicle to find out what he made of Kaufman’s remarks. This from the JC report:
He (Slaughter) had spoken about British foreign policy at the meeting but had been unaware of Mr Kaufman’s remarks until the JC raised them. He said: ‘I am responsible for what I say; I am not responsible for what anyone else says…..I would not endorse those comments. If you showed me that and said would you agree with that, I would say ‘no’…..Obviously I would not endorse or be associated in any way with those comments.’
Yet when reviewing the audio for the evening, in a speech lasting 7 minutes, Slaughter references Kaufman several times, ‘associating himself’ with the main parts of Kaufman’s speech. The first sentence of note is this one.
‘’And the good news is, we have lots and lots of MP’s, mainly labour MP’s, I have to say, there are very few Liberal MP’s and Gerald is right to say there are very few (little) Tories”.
Yet Gerald Kaufman only spoke for about 10 minutes and half of that was the reading of an email on the current situation in Israel. In fact, Kaufman only referenced the Tory party once in his entire speech, whilst making a single point, and it was to make the point about ‘Jewish money’ and the influence it has on British Foreign policy. So if Slaughter was referencing Kaufman’s only mention of the Tory bias, it does suggest Slaughter was both present and paying attention during the ‘Jewish money’ comment.
The second reference of note refers specifically to Kaufman’s accusation of Israel fabricating stories, when Kaufman read from a letter he received from a friend in Jerusalem.
‘It is deliberate policy. I found this slightly ironic that given that the British Government seems to be moving towards what we used to think of as an American/ Israeli policy, in terms of targeted assassinations, obviously think of the drone strikes in Syria, we are sort of catching up with the Israelis in that way, the Israelis have moved on. And what (is being?) described very clearly is that now it is take anybody out, young people, could be people who are just going about their ordinary business, and then as Gerald says, fabricate, invent a reason as to why…’
So Slaughter explicitly references and agrees with Kaufman’s accusations of Israeli fabrication of terror attacks (he personally extended this fabrication to include events in Gaza). So given this, I would be interested in understanding just which parts of Kaufman’s speech, Slaughter does not want to be associated with? From the comments in the JC, he clearly finds something distasteful, but from his own comments at the event, I find it difficult to identify precisely what that would be. I would also be interested to hear why ‘justice’ doesn’t actually seem to matter to a ‘Justice Minister’, who thinks part of his duty is to throw outrageous accusations at Israeli soldiers based on little more than unsubstantiated and biased reports from sources that have in the past been shown to be manipulative, unreliable and sometimes willing to manufacture entire events themselves. Or in this case, outrageous and unsupported accusations made in an email from a ‘friend of a friend’. Is that how ‘justice’ works in Corbyn’s shadow cabinet?
But in agreeing with Kaufman that Israel is fabricating attacks, Slaughter is also adding fuel to the demonization process, an avenue that the other politician present, Martin Linton, reinforced further when he personally suggested what Israel does is ‘totally immoral and unpardonable’. Linton also suggested that Israel’s greatest achievement was its expert use of propaganda, making the clear moral equation that Israel’s greatest achievement is being able to explain away its ‘immoral and unpardonable’ crimes.
As is usually the case, it took the more astute Arab members of the audience to tell their ‘friends’ in the room that to simply express a Jew hatred is not enough and to this end we saw questions from 2 members of the Arab audience that addressed this:
a, One rather depressingly pointed out that the politicians are not actually helping or talking about Palestinians at all but focusing on Jews, Jewish power and money. What is the point of the evening – (Good question I thought).
b, Another argued that the money excuse isn’t strong enough. That Labour have a long history of supporting Israel too and other factors such as (I would love to have been in the heads of the politicians when their balloon was popped so thoroughly) culture, history, ideology and the relationship between Christianity and Judaism are just a few of the many complex reasons why Conservatives support Israel. What you describe one said “is not enough to turn the wheels of power”.
Understand this well: We are inside Westminster in 2015 and it is two of the *ARABS INVOLVED IN CONFLICT* acting as a moderating force against the venom of *BRITISH POLITICIANS* from the Labour party. How is it that things become so twisted when Israel and the Jews are involved?
By this time both Kaufman and Slaughter had left the room and the atmosphere in the room was palpable. Hearing British politicians speak of Jewish money, power and demonic Israel has a habit of bringing the rats out from the corner. Suddenly we are faced with a question of Jewish manipulation, not of the Tory party, but of the US federal reserve and of Jewish power controlling money itself. It is like Europe of 100 years ago and I am in the halls of power listening to people regurgitating the Protocols and in the heart of Westminster, with a politician present, this man gets *thanked* for his contribution to the evening. How can a British politician listen to this *and choose to not say a word*? Martin Linton, why did you not speak out?
And there we were, (two Jews in the room). Had we declared our ethnicity at this point, what would have happened? With talk of classic Jewish conspiracy tales (Protocols of Zion style), amongst British politicians, a room full of delegates and nobody did anything but thank, listen or applaud every venomous statement. And in reality it is in the final question, the one that implies secret Jewish control of global money that we can see one of the antisemites in the room fully feed off Kaufman’s comments. And here lies the truth of the unacceptability of the entire evening. Even if one or more comments were no more than borderline antisemitic, when placed together, when placed in context, the evening reinforces and strengthens antisemitism to the point that it sings out loudly as a chorus to every available ear in the room. This is how the disease spreads and we are in an incubation chamber in the heart of the British democratic estate.
The Jews were blamed for everything. Here in the UK, in Israel and even in 1913 America. You cannot put aside the dangers of people within the room feeling helpless against the ‘power of the Jew’ and wanting to take action against those Jews in the UK community that were linked to the ‘demonic’ Israeli actions, nor can you put aside how antisemites feed off each other. This was an event held by the Palestine Return Council who wanted to meet and discuss their issues, their problems, their world, and all they received in return were artificial supporters, several politicians amongst them, who turned up to explain away Israel as a demon state incapable of morality and in turn directly place blame back onto the Jews of the UK. If those from the PRC were being told, the cause is helpless because of UK Jews, why would they not begin to view UK Jews as the enemy? As politicians, do these people actually believe they provided a service to the community through the comments that they made? Do they have an understanding of responsibility at all? So I ask this of Jeremy Corbyn. You lead the Labour party. Is this now the acceptable face of Labour? Is this what awaits the Jews if you ever hold power in this country?
The Plague, communism, capitalism; throughout history people have looked at their enemy and blamed the Jews for being the driving force behind it. It isn’t about the money at all, it is about the power of the devil amongst us. The power of the Jew. Kaufman’s comments were disgraceful and the atmosphere of the evening fed off them. Each of the politicians there continued to feed the monster, until in the end even the true conspiracy theorist felt comfortable airing his views in the room. As Jews in the UK, looking around at the faces present, feeling the hatred, receiving no support from the politicians, it felt as if we have been down this road before.