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.

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139 thoughts on “Gerald Kaufman

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  • Merkin Scot

    Gerald Kaufmann MP said it very well when he said ‘My grandmother did not die to provide cover for Israeli soldiers murdering Palestinian grandmothers in Gaza. The present Israeli government ruthlessly and cynically exploits the continuing guilt from gentiles over the slaughter of Jews in the Holocaust as justification for their murder of Palestinians.’

  • Ronno da Humpe

    John Simpson wrote a book, I forget the name, in which he said that when he as a very young reporter attempted to ask Harold Wilson a question, Kaufman who was walking behind Wilson punched him in the stomach for no apparent reason. I don’t have much time for Simpson, but I doubt he made it up out of nothing.

  • Brianfujisan

    I Did Not Know much of Gerald..But i Got the Feeling he was a good one.. in the Heart.

    it reminds me of his Honesty..

    And METHOD AND MADNESS: The hidden story of Israel’s assaults on Gaza”

  • Juliet46

    I think the taxpayer will have paid for your sandwich. Kaufman will have been certain to claim it in his expenses.

  • TH

    He was a great humanitarian, while I didnt knew much about him I remember watching that above video of him when Israel bombed Gaza.

    Unfortunately people like Kaufman is too humanitarian for this cruel world. People defamning this man with antisemitic accusations just proves that point very well.

    RIP Gerald Kaufman.

    • Brianfujisan

      Unfortunately people like Kaufman is too humanitarian for this cruel world

      This is What they Want..AND Getting thier Evil way…But Why

      • craig Post author

        Indeed. I am always puzzled by those who think you cannot admire somebody unless all their political policy views are identical to your own.

        • Anon1

          Voting for the Iraq war (and against an inquiry into it) has to be a pretty big blot on the copybook for a “great humanitarian”.

          I appreciate that his campaigns against Israel that were of no interest or importance to the concerns of his constituents absolves him of all sins in your eyes but I can’t admire Kaufman in any way after his obscene expenses claims. He claimed £8,865 for a Bang & Olufsen Beovision 40in LCD television. £225 for a biro.

          • bevin

            So far as I know Gorton has a well established and substantial Jewish population. I seem to recall that Konni Zilliacus-there was a man!- represented the constituency.

          • Sid F

            For a man of such self-styled integrity, CM is easily bribed – by a breakfast roll or a free glass of champagne in the first class carriage.

          • Richard Gadsden

            The larger Jewish population in Manchester is in the North these days – Gorton is East Manchester.

            Ardwick (his constituency 1970-1983) has some Jewish population, but the big numbers have moved up into Prestwich and Kersal and Crumpsall.

          • Habbabkuk

            “So far as I know Gorton has a well established and substantial Jewish population. I seem to recall that Konni Zilliacus-there was a man!- represented the constituency.”

            There was a man, indeed. Such a man with such a big pair of balls that this card-carrying Communist didn’t stand for Parliament on the interest of the CPGB but as member of the Labour Party. And was elected as such.

            When Atlee and the Labour govt had had a few years of Zilliacus in action (ie, at his disloyal best), Zilliacus was expelled from the party.

            Atlee was Bevin’s boss – given the sort of guff our “Bevin” writes I think that’s quite funny.

          • bevin

            Interesting that Habba is so much in favour of expelling ‘disloyal’ members from the Labour Party.
            To understand Zilliacus’s position- he and several other MPs fought against German re-armament and the Cold War. Looking back they were quite correct in just about all that they said. Namely that the USSR was not a threat to the peace but very desirous of rebuilding a shattered country after a devastating war in which it had lost in the region of 25 million, mainly men of productive age.
            Atllee on the other hand and Ernest Bevin were determined to join in the Cold War, not least because they understood their doing so to be the price that the US would extort for The Marshall Plan and loans needed to rebuild Britain’s economy. Theirs was a cynical trade off, which, in hindsight, helped condemn the world to a long period of imperialist wars under the rubric of ‘containment.’
            One of the incidents that led to the expulsions of MPs from the Party was a refusal to agree to support the right wing faction in the Socialist Party led by Craxi, who later mentored the famous socialist Berlusconi. Zilliacus and other Labour MPs supported Nenni who wanted the Socialists to join with the PCI (Communists) and form a broad popular government.
            This was not what the CIA, who were buying the election, wanted and they told Attlee so in no uncertain terms.
            Kicking dead people is a nasty business- it has the superficial attraction of being easy. But it leaves a musty stench on a chap’s jackboots that no amount of polish can completely banish.
            Thanks to Richard Gadsden for correcting my vague and ancient impression of Gorton.

      • Brianfujisan

        Maybe he was Too Undo all the Msm LIES .bbC..Ect War Crimes.. The man had Vision … and Hope.

    • Anon1

      Will be interesting to see how much of that 24,000 majority in Manchester Corbyn’s Labour Party can throw away. I know it’s donkey-with-red-rosette territory but look at Copeland: 82 years a Labour constituency. Nothing is safe now from Jez and his bid to drive the Labour Party into oblivion.

      • Sharp Ears

        For Anon1’s pipe for the smoking of.

        John McDonnell says ‘soft coup’ launched against Corbyn
        56 minutes ago

        Shadow chancellor John McDonnell (centre) warns of “dark arts”

        The Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell, has said “a soft coup” has been launched against Jeremy Corbyn by “elements in the Labour Party”.

        Mr McDonnell accuses unnamed “plotters” and the “Murdoch media empire” of a “coordinated and fully resourced” coup.

        In an article for Labour Briefing, he said “the plotters” were using “an exceptionally well resourced dark arts operation” to “destroy Jeremy Corbyn”.

        One former Labour minister described Mr McDonnell’s comments as “unhinged”.

        In his article, Mr McDonnell accuses “the coup perpetrators” of “a covert strategy” to destabilise Mr Corbyn because they had failed to dislodge him directly through a leadership election.
        Don’t give up, Corbyn urges Labour
        Three problems facing Labour after Copeland
        The churn in Corbyn’s shadow cabinet
        He said their tactics included “daily and constant behind-the-scenes non-attributable briefings against Jeremy”.

        The former minister quoted was probably Bradshaw (LFoI and HJS remember) or one of other BLiarites.

      • bevin

        Copeland was a marginal seat and, as one dominated by the nuclear industry, quite atypical. It still is a marginal seat; if the CLP can slough off its Blairite bosses and nominate a socialist running on a socialist platform Labour will win it back next time.

        • Anon1

          Lol. Amazing how you spin one of the worst by-election results for an opposition party in history – only the fourth seat to be claimed by a sitting government from the opposition in a by-election since WW2 and the first since 1982. A 31% fall in the Labour vote since 2015 and a Tory gain in a seat where the last Tory to win was born in 1879 and which has been a safe Labour seat since 1931.

          Keep going, bevin. I know you’ll see this through all the way to the bitter end.

          • bevin

            There is an interesting piece in the Morning Star-if you are into reading- which details the decline of the Labour vote in Copeland, a constituency in which a once vibrant economy has been reduced to dependence on the industry that brought us Chernobyl and Fukushima.
            The reality is that Labour’s vote has been sliding steadily since 1997 when Blair and his acolytes came to power. As the Star points out if you really want to see what Blairism leads to you only have to look at what happened in Scotland when Jim Murphy took over and performed the electoral magic of disappearing the once dominant party in one short campaign.
            Perhaps Murphy should take over from Blair? Certainly someone with politics indistinguishable from his will be the next challenger.

      • D_Majestic

        And even less is safe now that the sitting-tenant Neocon entryists have been trying to get rid of democratically- elected Corbyn for a year now-and have failed miserably. They are running out of options now. Watch this space.

    • Habbabkuk

      Mr Kaufman may have been kind to Craig, but surely we are entitled to know, from the Trougher Hunter- General, whether Mr Kaufman was a “trougher”?

    • Facts count

      I’ve read some silliness or plain dishonesty in my life, but pseudo-“Bevin” on the start of the cold war beats most. Seems the USSR was “not a threat to peace” but just “desirous of rebuilding its shattered country”. Really? An objective that included: (a) the destruction of what might have been a birth of post-1945 democracy in nearly all of eastern Europe (notably, Czechoslovakia–Jan Masaryk just tripped over a carpet before falling out of a window, didn’t he?); (b) imposition of Russian imperialist rule in its place, complete with one-party puppet states, enforced by imprisonment or execution of any of their citizens rash enough to disagree; (c) the attempt in 1948 to drive the western allies out of their position–previously agreed by Stalin–in West Berlin, only prevented by the ‘Berlin airlift’ (and not by some threat of force from our side). All this (plus the later, 1956, armed invasion of Hungary, and eventually Czechoslovakia too in 1968) was necessary to rebuild Russia, was it? And did the wretched Konni Zilliacus protest? Oh no, he was far too busy trying to prevent western Europe being rebuilt with American money but not by puppet governments (de Gaulle was an American puppet was he, in 1945-46 and later, post-1958?). OK, one can honestly disagree about this or that aspect of the cold at, but isn’t 2017 a bit late for the regurgitation of Stalinist myths?

  • michael norton

    I have a few friends, who “were” Jewish,
    I’ve never been able to understand, why people hate Jews.

      • D_Majestic

        I worked closely with Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs for years and never had any problems at all. Also with R.C.’s. similarly.

        • Herbie

          Yeah, but they were probably real Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs and Catholics.

          Not the screaming lunatic fake ones that suddenly appear all over media when we fancy a war with them

          I think Kaufman’s criticisms of fascism in Israel should be seen in light of similar statements that have been made quite recently to the same effect by military and defence personnel in Israel itself.

          International supporters of israel have been murmuring such things about Netanyahu since the 90s at least.

          Kaufman was being quite mainstream in his criticisms at least in terms of Zionists outside Israel.

          They had a different vision of israel than Bibi.

          Seems he’s won.

  • nevermind

    Thank you very much for this Craig, it reads like a mirror showing all that the FoI twin aims and objectives stand for, a deliberate ploy to divert our foreign policy goals in favour of another agenda, the video and subsequent reaction to Gerald Kaufmann’s truth speaking makes it crystal clear.

  • Phil Espin

    Wow, what an incredibly powerful speech. Your best friends are the ones who will tell you home truths like this.

  • T Lomax

    When, if ever, will the dislike of Israel be separated from my and most people’s total disinterest in British Judaism. Unlikely for some time, as it is an easy way to counter all anti Israel statements by crying anti semetism. Gerald Kaufman was an honest man and a Jew. People like him are few and far between in parliament, he will be sorely missed.

    • Anon1

      From your blog:

      “There is not ANY major part of British public life that is not overseen and dominated by J**ish money.”

      Just needed to check where you’re coming from.

        • Herbie

          Good point.

          They’ve done the Catholics, the Jews and now they’re doing the Muslims.

          Why don’t they go and do the phreakin Scientologists, or Satanists.

          And leave the decent people alone.

  • Ian

    Well said, Craig. One of the few who stood up against the bullies, and spoke out when others refused to. Ignore the zealots who decry him.

  • David

    I’ve never voted Labour and never would, but Gerald Kauffman always struck me as a decent honest and hardworking MP. He is a great loss to British Democracy.

    Rest In Peace Gerald.

    • Anon1

      Love the way he described the £1,461 antique Persian imported from Manhattan as a “second-hand rug replacing 24-year-old carpet”.

  • Kerch'ee Kerch'ee Coup

    I wa particularly struck by the viciousness and hatred in the comments on the article on his passing in ‘The Times of Israel’.

    • Habbabkuk


      “I wa particularly struck by the viciousness and hatred in the comments on the article on his passing in ‘The Times of Israel’.”

      Yes, it was almost up to the high standard of viciousness and hatred shown on this blog on the death of Margaret Thatcher.

      • Republicofscotland

        Indeed Thatcher caused untold suffering in Britain, but looked after her close friend General Pinochet.

        Now I know why George Osborne cried profusely at her funeral, poor soul.

  • Republicofscotland

    I take my hat off to Mr Kaufman, that speech was brave, concise and to the point. Pity Mr Kaufman, never became the Israeli PM, for we wouldn’t, in all honesty, be talking about Israels continued oppression of the Palestinian people.

    There are I’m sure good men and women out there, such as Mr Kaufman, who feel as he did, that the solution to the Israeli/Palestinian, crisis does not lie at the end of a barrel of a gun.

    It’s a pity that the waters to peace are being clouded by the unjust promotion in certain quarters of anti-Semitism, but then again it’s a means to a end for those who promote them. As long as they do it will shift the axis away from the real point of contention, which is the promoting of peace and understanding between Israeli and Palestinian, Mr Kaufman I believe, knew this only too well.

    • lysias

      Albert Einstein, who opposed not only the worst atrocities of the Zionists like Deir Yassin but even the creation of a separate Jewish state (he wanted Palestine to be a binational state for both Palestinians and Jews), was offered the presidency of Israel but turned down the offer. The presidency of Israel may be a post without power, but someone with the moral authority of an Einstein might have been able to turn Israel away from the dark paths on which it had already entered when the offer was made in 1952.

      • Republicofscotland


        Indeed, others have pointed out Israel’s terrible misgivings, such as Norman Finklestein.

        This is a interesting article, as Chomsky, speaks about Finklestein, warning him that he will be shunned if he asks too many awkward questions.

        It’s called – The Fate of an Honest Intellectual.

  • Republicofscotland

    It’s always interesting to see (in here) that those who promote or condone or defend, Israeli activities (unfairly against Palestinians) quickly turn against their own, when a particular person or group speaks out against those unjust activities.

    Those people including Mr Kaufman, (who had the accusation thrown at him) are quickly described by the defenders as “self loathing J**s”.

  • Kerch'ee Kerch'ee Coup

    I do not think there ws any comment in this blog on the recent passing of Tam Dalyell, who I regarded as the very best example of what a single MP could achieve and one who, in contast to my current representaive, replied thoughtfully and with consideration to correspondence.

  • John Riordan

    That’s a great speech. Most significantly(and from a Jew who had family ruthlessly killed by Nazis) it recognises that the lesson Israel learnt from the Holocaust was how to be more appalling, ruthless Nazis and get away with it.

  • John Goss

    Kaufman’s speech is a prime example of absence of bigotry and racism. He was a good man. And I do not care if he travelled first-class on the train. RIP.

  • Republicofscotland

    Gerald Kaufman, really giving it to Israel here infront of a parliamentary committee. I can’t think of too many people who could’ve said what Mr Kaufman said on Israeli activities, in this two minute clip, and not have a orchestrated smear campaign in full flow put against them, or worse still.

    • Brianfujisan


      Cheers For the Utube clip.. Just Brilliant Humanity on show there..The follow up video is Just as Eloquent..

      as I mentioned earlier Most of this is very minutely Documented in Professor Finkelstein’s ‘ Method and Madness: The Hidden Story of Israel’s Assaults on Gaza,

      P.s And O.T.. RoS you recently spoke of Faslane Jods Ect ..

      if you have time this might be of interest and informative to you..Two weeks ago We were at the ‘ Life After Trident ‘ Conference in Helensburgh. it was murder for me cos of the sound ..but Independence Live were there –

      • Republicofscotland

        You’re welcome Brian.

        Thank for the livestream link, I’ve watched quite a few since 2014. ?

  • K Crosby

    For a rich Englishman, Kaufman had some good points but let’s not get carried away, he claimed the style and dignity of Jew and yet supported the occupation of Palestine, just not as brutally as some of his detractors. It is commendable that he made half the mental leap necessary to repudiate the occupation by secular, fascist antisemites but regrettable that he didn’t finish it.

  • John Spencer-Davis

    Gerald Kaufman’s speech without question breached the detailed guidance on the definition of anti-Semitism now adopted by the Conservative Government. Had he made that speech today outside the floor of the House of Commons, or had anyone not an MP made such a speech today, he or they could have faced a successful criminal prosecution. Reductio ad absurdum?

    • Republicofscotland

      Yeah right.

      Sir John Major attacks “unreal” Brexit vision

      And he said the costs of leaving would be “substantial” and “unpalatable”.

      Britons are being offered an “unreal and over-optimistic” vision of what Brexit will look like, Sir John Major has warned.

      • Habbabkuk

        I have heard it said that Sir John Major was once Prime Minister of the UK. Can someone confirm or was it just one of those rumours which become more convincing with the passage of time?

          • michael norton

            The old values – neighbourliness, decency, courtesy – they’re still alive, they’re still the best of Britain. They haven’t changed, and yet somehow people feel embarrassed by them. Madam President, we shouldn’t be. It is time to return to those old core values, time to get back to basics, to self-discipline and respect for the law, to consideration for others, to accepting a responsibility for yourself and your family and not shuffling off on other people and the state.

        • Republicofscotland

          I’m sure you have a point, somewhere in that comment, or are practicing your sarcasm techniques? If it’s the latter, you have a long way to go. ?

    • Anon1

      Leaving the ERM would be a “betrayal of our future”.
      – John Major, Sept 1992

      Within days, the UK left the ERM and enjoyed 15 years of solid growth.

  • Anon1

    Looks like the Oscar was switched to make sure the gay black film won for reasons of political correctness, but something went horribly wrong with the change round as it was left in the hands of a couple of Hollywood geriatrics, resulting in a hilarious and spectacular fuck up.

    • Laguerre

      I rather agree with Moon of Alabama that it was probably a deliberate error, in order to ramp up the front-page articles.

  • Brianfujisan

    The Genocidal Maniacs Never let up do they Bastards Sorry, Cowardly BASTARDS.. –

    Desperate children leaving school in Rafah this morning, scared by the huge explosions following the Israeli bombings in the area, again those poor innocent souls are destined to suffer of psychological distress, forgotten by the world and unable to get appropriate treatment due to the inhuman blockade.

  • Peter Kyle

    Hi – can you change the image FB chooses to show? It shows the anti Tweet and gives the wrong impression – thanks.

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