Labou­rurged­toac­tonKauf­man

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY JOSH JACK­MAN ANDMARCUSDYSCH

LABOUR MUST take “firm” dis­ci­plinary ac­tion against vet­eran MP Sir Ger­ald Kauf­man fol­low­ing his al­le­ga­tions about “Jewish money” in­flu­enc­ing Con­ser­va­tive pol­icy, com­mu­nal lead­ers have said.

Labour leader Jeremy Cor­byn called Sir Ger­ald’s re­marks “un­ac­cept­able and deeply re­gret­table” on Tues­day, but no fur­ther ac­tion has been taken by the party.

Chief Whip Rosie Win­ter­ton met the 85-year-old Fa­ther of the House of Com­mons this week to dis­cuss his claims that “Jewish money” had made the Tories more pro-Is­rael, and his al­le­ga­tion that Is­rael had “fab­ri­cated” ter­ror at­tacks in or­der to ex­e­cute Pales­tini­ans.

But the lack of for­mal dis­ci­plinary ac­tion or an apol­ogy from Sir Ger­ald prompted Jewish groups to push for a stronger re­sponse.

One se­nior fig­ure in the fight against an­tisemitism said it was “poor” that Labour had taken six days to re­spond af­ter Sir Ger­ald’s com­ments emerged.

There would be sig­nif­i­cant dis­ap­point­ment if no ad­di­tional re­buke was made, one com­mu­nal source said.

The case was also com­pared to that of then Lib­eral Demo­crat MP David Ward, who had the party whip sus­pended af­ter blam­ing “the Jews” for “in­flict­ing atroc­i­ties on Pales­tini­ans” in 2013.

Labour’s sit­u­a­tion would be viewed dimly if its re­sponse to Sir Ger­ald was weaker than the Lib Dem ac­tion taken against Mr Ward, the fig­ure said.

The Com­mu­nity Se­cu­rity Trust called for “firm dis­ci­plinary ac­tion”. Jewish Lead­er­ship Coun­cil chief ex­ec­u­tive Si­mon John­son said Mr Cor­byn’s re­sponse was a “wel­come in­ter­ven­tion”, but said the group was wait­ing to hear whether Sir Ger­ald would apol­o­gise.

Board of Deputies pres­i­dent Jonathan Arkush said he hoped fur­ther “dis­ci­plinary mea­sures” would be im­posed.

Fol­low­ing Ms Win­ter­ton’s meet­ing with Sir Ger­ald, Mr Cor­byn ex­pressed his “deep con­cern”. He said: “Last week’s re­ported com­ments by Sir Ger­ald Kauf­man about the Jewish com­mu­nity, the Con­ser­va­tive Party and Is­rael are com­pletely un­ac­cept­able and deeply re­gret­table.

“Such re­marks are dam­ag­ing to com­mu­nity re­la­tions, and also do noth­ing to ben­e­fit the Pales­tinian cause. I have al­ways im­pla­ca­bly op­posed all forms of racism, an­tisemitism and Is­lam­o­pho­bia and will con­tinue to do so.”

The party re­fused to com­ment on whether fur­ther ac­tion would be taken, and Sir Ger­ald has re­peat­edly de­clined to re­spond when ap­proached about his re­marks.

Sir Ger­ald’s fel­low Jewish MPs had led the con­dem­na­tion of his re­marks, made at a Pales­tine Re­turn Cen­tre event in Par­lia­ment last week.

He was recorded by blog­ger David Col­lier say­ing that the Bri­tish gov­ern­ment had be­come more pro-Is­rael in re­cent years.

The Board, JLC and CST had writ­ten to Ms Win­ter­ton and Mr Cor­byn ask­ing for ac­tion to be taken, and eight Labour MPs had sent their own let­ter call­ing for “for­mal dis­ci­plinary pro­ceed­ings”.

More than 1,500 peo­ple have signed a pe­ti­tion set up by grass­roots group North West Friends of Is­rael that calls for Labour to take ac­tion.

PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES

Ger­ald Kauf­man on a visit to Is­rael in 2010

PHOTO: PA

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