Gerald Kaufman 139

When I was just a junior diplomat organising a trip for a group of parliamentarians, Gerald Kaufman MP, then a shadow cabinet member, nipped into a shop and bought me a snack because he knew I had missed my breakfast. I was tied up trying to sort out a replacement bus for them. His was a tiny but surprising act of kindness. You perhaps learn more truth about public figures from such behind the scenes moments than their public life. I may be wrong, but I doubt Tony Blair spent or spends much time worrying whether junior functionaries have eaten.

He always seemed one of the most intelligent figures in British politics, and I am sorry for his death, albeit at a good age.

I am still more sorry because Kaufman became a victim of the current ludicrous, but media-supported, campaign to whip up accusations of anti-Semitism against any critic of Israel. In one extraordinarily horrible manifestation of this, Tal Ofer, Labour Progress member and a member of the board of Deputies, sought to have Gerald Kaufman, a Jewish MP, excluded from the parliamentary Channukah celebrations. That seems to me extraordinarily graceless and unpleasant and the polar opposite of Kaufman’s own kindliness.

In the last year of his life Kaufman, whose grandmother was shot in her bed by the Nazis in Poland, became one of the victims of the fake extreme zionist charity “The Campaign Against Anti-Semitism”, which is now rather belatedly under investigation by the Charity Commissioners for England. As the chairman of the Charity Commission, William Shawcross, made his career as an extreme pro-Israel propagandist, and is a former trustee of both the ultra neo-con Henry Jackson Society and the Anglo-Israel Association, I do not hold out much hope for this investigation.

I am sure there are still many people in the British Jewish community who admired a man as intelligent, able and honest as Gerald Kaufman. But that such a prominent and generous-minded Jewish man could be accused of anti-Semitism by pro-Israeli activists, would I hope serve to give pause to those in the mainstream media who amplify their views (except of course this campaign has gained such a media boost purely as a stick with which to beat Jeremy Corbyn).

I am sorry for Gerald Kaufman’s death. Please do him the honour of listening to this short speech in parliament, as a remembrance of a decent man. It will not feature in any mainstream media obituaries.

Allowed HTML - you can use: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

139 thoughts on “Gerald Kaufman

1 2
  • RobG


    “LONDON—Britain’s inquiry into historical child sex abuse scandals, some involving celebrities and politicians, finally opened its first public hearing on Monday, Feb. 27, after a sleuth of problems that led to three chairmen quitting in the three years since its launch.

    The inquiry is one of the largest and most expensive ever undertaken in Britain. It was set up in July 2014 by now-Prime Minister Theresa May in her former role as interior minister after a series of abuse scandals that dated back decades and shocked the public.

    It is expected to take some five years to complete.

    In a number of cases, victims have complained of cover-ups at the behest of powerful establishment figures including senior lawmakers, spies and police officers.

    “This is an important day for the work of the inquiry,” said chairman Alexis Jay, who oversaw a 2014 investigation into wrongdoing in the northern English town of Rotherham which revealed some 1,400 children had been abused.

    The inquiry heard evidence on Monday about the sexual abuse of youngsters, many in state care, who were sent to former colonies such as Australia, Canada and New Zealand under Britain’s child migration programme that ran until the 1970s.

    In 2010, then-British prime minister Gordon Brown apologised for the “shameful” policy which saw children being sent abroad from orphanages and other institutions, often without their parents knowledge.

    Henrietta Hill, a lawyer to the inquiry, said there were “allegations of widespread and systematic sexual abuse.”

    David Hill, who was sent to Australia aged 12, broke down as he detailed the suffering of some child migrants.

    “Many never recover and are permanently afflicted with guilt, shame, diminished self-confidence, low self-esteem, fear and trauma,” he said, adding Britain had continued to send children despite concerns being raised.

    The multi-million pound inquiry has been riven by setbacks since it began in the wake of 2012 revelations that the late BBC television star Jimmy Savile, once one of Britain’s most-loved celebrities, was also one of its most prolific sex abusers.

    The first three figures appointed to lead the investigations stepped down while its most senior lawyer quit in September.

    The inquiry will examine abuse at institutions including churches, schools and council bodies across Britain and will also consider whether allegations were covered up by police or politicians.

    Critics say its scope is too wide, making it impossible to work effectively, while victims, many of whom have waited decades to tell their story, fear that the crimes they suffered will again be covered up by the establishment.”

    • Laguerre

      The question of child sexual abuse is very difficult to penetrate. On the one hand, the establishment wants to protect the guilty. On the other, the method they use is to accuse others, mainly dead, of whom the guilt, after a while, can be disproved, in order to discredit all the accusations. It’s very nasty.

      • RobG

        I include this of course because Kaufman is one of the accused.

        Britain is now a tin pot lunatic asylum, but in America Pizzagate is really starting to get traction.

        Of course, the presstitutes regularly cover-up the rape and murder of children; that’s what they do, along with endlessly screaming for war (does anyone here seriously doubt what I’m saying?).

        The mainstream media are history. There’s a huge movement at the moment to get the Washington DC paedos brought to trial.

        The Establishment will of course try to ignore this.

        Watch what’s going to happen over the next few months.

        • Laguerre

          Hmmm. Pedophilia is not that common, about as common as other sexual variants, such as being strung up and whipped to an inch of your life.

          English Public School boys, by their experience, have a tendency towards sexual variance. It’s not always pedophilia. There are lots of other possibilities.

    • Sharp Ears

      RobG Thanks. Dreadful. The elderly man who was sent to Australia as a child found it hard to give his evidence, as overwrought as he was.

      The critical sentence in your quote is ‘It is expected to take some five years to complete.’ By which time, the long grass into which the ball was kicked has grown long and lank.

      The other day I read this about Carey’s son. That’s George Carey, the former A of C, who defended Ball against charges of abuse.

      aanirfan also commented.

      Not sure if the Pinochet reference within is correct.

  • Winston Smith, 1984

    Good thing paying someone a lunch.., as well as spending two cents for the Palestinian. Which might be proper and due in an obituary.., that is, if the eulogy was stopping there. If instead the idealization is overstretched, then for a public figure the account deserves some re-sizing.. As from his Wiki-page:

    Besides his “self diagnosed obsessive compulsive disorder”, the late Gerald seems having been affected by an Orwellian Doublethinking.

    “Honesty”: syndrome shows by playing Cato denouncing others’ financial misconduct and then getting red handed in the “2009 expense scandal”..

    “Palestinians’ advocate”: cause spoused after the fight against “hunting with hounds”: first things first.. That is, which fits the context, while flirting with WMD meme & voting for War in Iraq

    “Antisemitic name calling”: it would seem idiosyncratic the lament at the receiving end, while not minding same bashing out when felt convenient.

    As for the listening of his speech.., by all means.., revealing:

    “The present Israeli government ruthlessly and cynically exploit the continuing guilt among Gentiles over the slaughter of Jews in the Holocaust as justification for their murder of Palestinians”

    As if “the present government” was any different from the preceding ones, those when he BenGurion & GoldaMeir’s pal, while proudly sporting the tie-clip cast from Tsahal’s medals!

    -“My family came to Britain as REFUGEES (??) from Poland [wiki: prior to WWI…??]
    -most of their family were subsequentely murdered by the Nazis.
    -My grandmother was ill in bed when the Nazis came to her home town of Staszów. A German soldier shot her dead in her bed….”

    For all three counts, one has his word for it… Which he is not shy to capitalize upon. “Ruthless and cynical exploit…” quoting his speech, as the actress said to the bishop?

    “A decent man..” Maybe, but doublethinker with vengeance.

    Food for thought:
    “The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum – even encourage the more critical and dissident views. That gives people the sense that there’s free thinking going on, while all the time the presuppositions of the system are being reinforced by the limits put on the range of the debate.”   Noam Chomsky

  • fedup

    RIP Gerald, and may your good deeds be an example for others. We all shall remember that despite all the pressures brought on you, you steadfastly held onto your humanity, and denounced the genocidal maniacs who are sitting atop of piles of dead skeletons and proclaiming immunity. The said mad bad and ugly bunch whilst committing the worst atrocities possible; theft, genocide, oppression in all its shapes and forms, attributing their inhumanity for the sake of the nameless dead bones they have perched upon

    It is disgusting to see the comment section of this blog turned into an express and DM comments sections!

    • RobG

      Kaufman was implicated in the Westminster child sex abuse scandal. I’m not saying that Kaufman was guilty or not, because it’s yet to be proved, but the fact that you’re championing this person, along with Craig, makes me doubt your credentials.

      I’m not sure how many times I have to say that we’re talking about the rape and murder of children here.

      • Laguerre

        Kaufmann could have been one of those who were used to spread the blame, as I remarked above.

        Even if not so, it would be better to use the French principle, the private life is not the affair of the electorate.

      • Salford Lad

        RobG,Have you considered that these allegations against Kaugmann have been planted to discredit him. Especially because of his criticism of Zionist attacks on Palestinians ,which he labelled as Nazi methods.
        It is known that the Zionists play very dirty indeed. The blackening of a mans name is small beer for them.considering their history.

        • K Crosby

          Politics is inherently insincere so speculation about corrupt motives is inevitable but that’s all it is.

          • michael norton

            Agreed, difficult to seem more than a former leader of New Labour
            Tony Blair.

            Far from Jeremy Corbyn strangling the Labour Party, he shines honesty,
            the demise of the Labour Party, is because of the lies of Blair.

      • glenn_uk

        @RobG: “Implicated in” is a very, very long way from “charged with”, and yet further still from “found guilty of”, or “had incriminating evidence showing that”. I’d be a bit more careful before bandying around slurs like that, even if it’s about someone I didn’t like. Particularly when insinuating anyone expressing regret at this MP’s passing is somehow associated with the crimes you spontaneously produced!

        That last paragraph of yours – just in case people participating on this blog need to be prodded before appreciating that child murder and paedophilia is actually a serious matter – is a slur on everyone here, so screw you for your hysterical BS. As if we were somehow lazily indulging such activity. What the hell is your problem, RobG?

  • Paul O'Hanlon

    I well remember writing to Gerald Kaufman on a matter unrelated to Israel/Palestine. The issue I brought up was the disgraceful British government support for the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia in the 1980’s and 1990’s. After Pol Pot and his gang were thrown out of Cambodia by the Vietnamese in 1979 the West including Britain recognised them as the legitimate government of Cambodia in exile. This support included Britain voting for Pol Pot three years in a row at the United Nations. Even worse there was British military training for the Khmer Rouge which continued until it was exposed by John Pilger.
    I recall how Gerald Kaufman answered my letter positively – in just 3 days – remarkable courtesy as he was not my member of parliament. By contrast the then Foreign and Commonwealth Office took over a month to reply and even then their response was just a standardised letter of denial.
    Mr Kaufman’s efforts for human rights on a variety of fronts should be remembered with affection and respect.

    • John Spencer-Davis

      Well documented in Pilger’s “Distant Voices”, and not exactly a staple of the speeches in fulsome praise of Margaret Thatcher on her decease, that paragon of freedom, democracy and the market.

  • giyane

    We lived in Rusholme M14 in the ’60s, long before my political interests were activated by the spleen of Mrs T.
    I remember from that time that my parents always had every respect for Gerald Kaufmann, who was a moderate and civilised voice in politics, from a moderate and civilised Manchester, from a religious community that was also admired for its moderation and civilisedness. That impression has never been altered about the man, or the constituency, in my lifetime of listening to the news.

    Does anybody have a seamless and smooth personal life? Mrs Thatcher was a personal friend of Jimmy Savile who was blasting Rusholme with Top of the Pops from the Dickenson Road. Her savage politics connects with Savile’s . Until I read this obituary, I have never connected Kaufmann’s name with the slightest impropriety or with the slightest waft of Israeli extremism. A very long-serving voice of reason and a proper servant of the people as an MP. The sort of man that Blair’s lies were unfortunately able to deceive.

  • Sharp Ears

    Unlike most of his colleagues on the green benches, he had very little to declare in his Register of Interests going back to 2000 when the entries first began, No £thousands from property developers and the like. Just a couple of tickets for Glyndebourne and some trips abroad, including one to Gaza in 2010.

    Another obituary.

    Gerald Kaufman, the Zionist who turned on Israel in disgust
    Jewish Labour MP, who died on Sunday aged 86, was known for decades of opposition to Israel’s government

  • giyane

    War criminal William Hague in his Times slot apparently advises Jeremy Corbyn to resign at a time of his own choosing , like him. Or even like Cameron if the truth were told. But unlike Hague Corbyn has not wrecked the richest country in Africa, which was about to set up an interest free bank for Africa, and handed it over to agents of the CIA as a reward for services rendered. The Qur’an dispatches any idea that these self-described correcters of Islam are anything but bullies, power-mongers and trouble-makers in the first few verses of the second chapter, Surah Baqarah.

    If and when Jeremy Corbyn ever achieves the sheer volume of malice, oppression and bloodshed that Hague has achieved in the world, then it might be time for him to plan an exit strategy. Why does the Times give this hypocrite the space to air his poisonous opinions?

  • michael norton

    Where are
    The White Helmets? = some are in Homs

    What I did notice, which was very interesting, is in the corporate media reporting of this incident, we saw the appearance of actually the White Helmets and their video footage was used by the majority of corporate media. This is interesting because it is one of the few times that I have seen them actually inside Homs and filming a terrorist operation, so to me this demonstrates the fact that the White Helmets will be used alongside with the rebranding of this terrorist group to basically protect the terrorist group by calling in for the ‘no-fly zone’ and in an attempt to derail the Syrian Arab Army activity that is effectively to cleanse the area of the terrorist factions.

    • michael norton

      RT: What are your thoughts about the documentary on The White Helmets having been nominated for an Oscar?
      VB: I think it will be a victory for propaganda, basically. They should be congratulated maybe on their acting skills rather than their humanitarian skills. Myself, and actually Lizzie Phelan of RT were actually in East Aleppo at pretty much the same time during its liberation from Nusra Front-led occupation. And afterward for the many celebrations of liberation leading up to Christmas. And both of us independently in different districts of East Aleppo, as they were being liberated, were speaking to civilians as they were emerging from four and a half years of imprisonment, we were both asking these civilians what they knew of the White Helmets. Now the first point to make was, when I used the term the White Helmets, which is the label that is given to them by their marketing campaign managers and by the corporate media in the West, most of the civilians didn’t have a clue who we were talking about. When we then expanded on the theme, we mentioned that they were civil defense, then almost immediately, the response was: “Oh, you mean Nusra Front civil defense.” And that was entirely unprompted by these Syrian civilians, literally as they were leaving the liberated districts. We also accrued a number of testimonies that basically attested to the fact that they worked alongside the terrorist organizations inside East Aleppo, they worked in facilitating and sometimes even participating in the various terrorist atrocities that were carried out both at East Aleppo and in the Aleppo countryside and then in Idlib…

      Nusra Front is synonymous with al-Qæda

      The White Helmets are supported by America to the tune of $100000000

    • Anonymous

      Where are the White Helmets?

      Some are in Idlib, some are elsewhere in Syria and some have got out while the going is good.

      Aleppo chef ([along with others from Syria] recreates his restaurant in Gaza after fleeing Syria

      “Qatarji says he buried 15 bodies himself with rescue teams in Aleppo during the fighting. When he decided to escape from his city dozens of refugee camps near the ‘Bab Salama’ crossing with Turkey were not in welcoming additional refugees so he decided to travel to Cairo instead. “But the instability and exploitation posed to Syrians in Egypt prompted me to escape to Gaza, and today I feel comfortable here,” he says.”

      ” Back in the 24-square-meter restaurant, lovers of new flavors also enjoy some rare artifacts Qatarji brought from Syria with him. The ancient artifacts survived the destruction of his original restaurant and were successfully smuggled from Aleppo to southern Jordan then brought through the Sinai and then passed through a tunnel to Gaza, in a trip that cost Qatarji more than $3,500.”

      Color me suspicious. Color me White and put a Helmet on my head.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Mixed feelings about Kaufman; on the one hand he was a staunch supporter of Blair, and voted – probably reluctantly – for the Iraq war. On the other, he was implacable in his defence of Palestinian rights, to the point of being called a ‘self-hating J*w’ by the Board of Deputies. His later remarks on the sources of undue influence within the UK body politic and elsewhere, are adequately supported (eg) by this:

    Which I think would have incensed him.

  • Conjunction

    Thankyou for this post Craig, and what a memorable speech.

    I know this will sound sanctimonious, but reading a few of the comments to this post, how astonishingly graceless are a lot of people who think of themselves as right on and left wing.

    No wonder so many people vote Conservative.

    • Old Mark

      Seconded Conjunction

      The speech by Kaufman that Craig linked to was powerful (in part thanks to the personal reminiscences that Kaufman included) and well argued.

      De Mortuis Nil Nisi Bonum is a Latin precept that can be stretched to cover all sorts of sins, but for commenters here to breach that precept by harping on about Kaufman’s expense claims, and regurgitating tittle tattle about his alleged affiliation to the Westminster Paedo crew, is graceless and mean spirited. Kaufman was far from perfect (as his support for the Iraq War showed) and he had no compunctioin about using the dark arts in defence of his political hero, H Wilson, but his fundamental decency is clear to see both in the speech reproduced here, and in the consideration he showed our blog host a couple of decades back.

  • Hmmm

    Seemed like a genuine prick to me. I remember him on a news programme, hostile interview, he got all shirty and stormed off saying something like ” I’m head of a royal commission!”

  • mike

    Today’s Guardian editorial praises former US President George W Bush. It does not mention Iraq once, but it does tell us that Dubya did an “awful lot” to polarise the USA.

    “It says a lot about the United States that Mr Bush can be seen now as a paragon of virtue,” states this revisionist encomium.

    And so the man who has done more than any other living individual to destabilise an entire region, who lied to start a war in which a million died and which gave birth to ISIS, is sanitised by the UK’s main “left wing” newspaper.

    What next – ‘Cooking with Kissinger’ in their Saturday supplement?

    The liberal elites are in a ferment over Trump. Hillary probably has books on art in her many houses and is familiar with many different varieties of mushroom, as well as being a champion of identity politics. She’s sophisticated. And she’s a woman. The fact that she’s also a psychopathic warmonger and liar is a minor detail that can be overlooked. Trump, as well as being coarse and orange, probably eats burgers while watching the game. How disgusting.

    And well done to al Qaida for winning an Oscar. Good work, guys. Unless they meant to give it to someone else. Maybe Oliver Stone with his new one on Ukraine…

    • Anonymous

      I would like to see the out-takes from the ‘documentary’ – where WH members help ISIS bury people they have just executed, or WH members say the dump dead SAA troops in the trash, or the WH members in WH outfit one minute, and ISIS takfiri outfits the next, etc, etc.

      • Old Mark

        I also second that statement Lysias- it was on and off so quickly I missed the cinema screening, but caught up with it recently as an in flight entertainment option; thank you Emirates!

  • mike

    Fantasy and identity politics win the day.

    Snowden “happened” on President Smooth’s watch.

    The glitterati don’t want to be reminded that fascism has been brewing in the US for 16 years.

  • mike

    Scratch that – 19 years, since 1998, when the neocons forced Slick Willie to sign the Iraq Liberation Act so he could see out his second term. That’s when fascism first got its hands on the White House.

  • Ian Fantom

    I found that a very touching speech by Gerald Kaufman at the time. I had an elderly Jewish friend, who was generally supportive of Israel. Shortly before he died in 2012 he said to me, “We’re all brainwashed. I expect I am on some things”. I respect the moral courage that Gerald Kaufman had in standing up to the mob, and I was very sorry to hear of his passing.

  • Chris Walford

    Thanks Craig; could you add the date of Gerald’s speech clip, for context

  • Anon1

    The most fascinating thing about this blog post from Craig is how it did not even dawn on him that people could be upset with Kaufman’s expense claims.

    This is because Craig has never had much experience of life outside state employment as a career diplomat. It simply does not occur to him that people might be pissed off that their taxes go towards placing an £8k TV on Kaufman’s wall, signed off with a £225 biro.

    It doesn’t bother him because at heart he is an elitist and a deep believer in the magic money tree. Money is just there to be granted to “intellectuals” like himself to throw away at their pleasure, as long as they are on message. As long as they oppose Israel it doesn’t matter what else they do.

  • tony greenstein

    you are absolutely right Craig. This is one of the most powerful parliamentary speeches ever made: ‘My Grandmother did not die (at the hands of the Nazis) to provide cover for Israeli soldiers to murder Palestinian grandmothers in Gaza.’ This of course is ‘anti-Semitic’ under the new ludicrous definition of anti-Semitism that this fake charity is touting. But it was a powerful reminder of the connection between past evil and the present.

    The despicable Campaign Against ‘Anti-Semitism’ even after his death has attacked Kaufman. I shall be bloggin shortly on this utter disgrace.

1 2

Comments are closed.