Labour's Gerald Kaufman MP gets it horribly wrong on Israel

As a Labour member and as a Jew, I’m completely disgusted by Mr. Kaufman’s vile comments on Israel

by Tal Ofer on 21 November 2012 18:18

I read today Gerald Kaufman MP’s Huffington Post article on the situation in Gaza and, as a Labour member, was disgusted that one of our party’s MPs holds such hateful views towards the only democracy in the Middle East, Israel.  The media and politicians quite often discuss the degree of ‘proportion’ in the IDF’s response to the rockets from Gaza; surely Mr. Kaufman’s words are disproportionate to the situation and to reality.

Kaufman, who has previously compared Israel to Nazis (shocking choice of words, considering he is Jewish), started his piece by describing Israel as a “rogue state”. 

A ‘rogue state’ is often defined by a combination of the following features: an authoritarian regime; severely restricted human rights; sponsoring terrorism; and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Now, ask anybody with an ounce of interest in politics and international relations, which country ticks these boxes?

The answer is of course, Iran – the country that brutally killed demonstrators after the last presidential elections, severely restricts human rights, sponsors terrorism, and supplies weapons to places like… Gaza.

Kaufman then claims that “Israel is the aggressor and commits war crimes”. Let’s remind Mr. Kaufman that it was in fact Hamas that launched hundreds of rockets into Israel while Israel managed to display remarkable self-restraint for some time, until eventually exercising its right to defend its citizens and retaliate.

As for the serious allegation of war crimes, it was Judge Goldstone who just a year ago said, “the crimes allegedly committed by Hamas were intentional goes without saying — its rockets were purposefully and indiscriminately aimed at civilian targets.” He goes on to say about investigations that “they also indicate that civilians were not intentionally targeted by Israel as a matter of policy” and concludes by stating that “there has been no effort by Hamas in Gaza to investigate the allegations of its war crimes and possible crimes against humanity”.

Will Kaufman retract his allegations and admit that Hamas is the aggressor and the party guilty of committing war crimes? Will he acknowledge that Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005 and what it got in return is Hamas rockets and attacks on IDF soldiers?

The comments by Kaufman will not surprise anyone who’s been following him in recent years.  He called for a boycott of Israel in event of PRC (organization which is aligned with Hamas), participated in a meeting organized by the Pro-hamas MEMO (Middle East Monitor) which hosts on its website the accusation of dual loyalty against the British ambassador to Israel, support for blood libel tales, and piece after piece by Abdel Bari Atwan, the journalist who has said he would “dance in Trafalgar Square” if Israel were annihilated by Iran in a nuclear strike’ (thanks to for the information). 

As a Labour member and as a Jew, I’m completely disgusted by Mr. Kaufman’s vile comments which do not represent the policy of the Labour Party towards Israel and Palestine. I believe that Ed Miliband, leader of Labour Party, must draw a line and take the whip off Gerald Kaufman, unless he publicly apologises and retract his comments.

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