Gerald Kaufman MP: ‘they are treated like dirt by the Israelis’

9:27 am - January 17th 2009

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On Thursday 15th January in the House of Commons, Gerald Kaufman MP (Manchester, Gorton, Labour), gave an impassioned speech on the conflict in Gaza. We reproduce it in full here. A video of the debate is at the end.

I was brought up as an orthodox Jew and a Zionist. On a shelf in our kitchen, there was a tin box for the Jewish National Fund, into which we put coins to help the pioneers building a Jewish presence in Palestine.

I first went to Israel in 1961 and I have been there since more times than I can count. I had family in Israel and have friends in Israel. One of them fought in the wars of 1956, 1967 and 1973 and was wounded in two of them. The tie clip that I am wearing is made from a campaign decoration awarded to him, which he presented to me.

I have known most of the Prime Ministers of Israel, starting with the founding Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion. Golda Meir was my friend, as was Yigal Allon, Deputy Prime Minister, who, as a general, won the Negev for Israel in the 1948 war of independence.

My parents came to Britain as refugees from Poland. Most of their families were subsequently murdered by the Nazis in the holocaust. My grandmother was ill in bed when the Nazis came to her home town of Staszow. A German soldier shot her dead in her bed.

My grandmother did not die to provide cover for Israeli soldiers murdering Palestinian grandmothers in Gaza. The current 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. The implication is that Jewish lives are precious, but the lives of Palestinians do not count.

On Sky News a few days ago, the spokeswoman for the Israeli army, Major Leibovich, was asked about the Israeli killing of, at that time, 800 Palestinians—the total is now 1,000. She replied instantly that: “500 of them were militants.”

That was the reply of a Nazi. I suppose that the Jews fighting for their lives in the Warsaw ghetto could have been dismissed as militants.

The Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni asserts that her Government will have no dealings with Hamas, because they are terrorists. Tzipi Livni’s father was Eitan Livni, chief operations officer of the terrorist Irgun Zvai Leumi, who organised the blowing-up of the King David hotel in Jerusalem, in which 91 victims were killed, including four Jews.

Israel was born out of Jewish terrorism. Jewish terrorists hanged two British sergeants and booby-trapped their corpses. Irgun, together with the terrorist Stern gang, massacred 254 Palestinians in 1948 in the village of Deir Yassin. Today, the current Israeli Government indicate that they would be willing, in circumstances acceptable to them, to negotiate with the Palestinian President Abbas of Fatah. It is too late for that.

They could have negotiated with Fatah’s previous leader, Yasser Arafat, who was a friend of mine. Instead, they besieged him in a bunker in Ramallah, where I visited him. Because of the failings of Fatah since Arafat’s death, Hamas won the Palestinian election in 2006.

Hamas is a deeply nasty organisation, but it was democratically elected, and it is the only game in town. The boycotting of Hamas, including by our Government, has been a culpable error, from which dreadful consequences have followed.

The great Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban, with whom I campaigned for peace on many platforms, said:

“You make peace by talking to your enemies.”

However many Palestinians the Israelis murder in Gaza, they cannot solve this existential problem by military means. Whenever and however the fighting ends, there will still be 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza and 2.5 million more on the west bank.

They are treated like dirt by the Israelis, with hundreds of road blocks and with the ghastly denizens of the illegal Jewish settlements harassing them as well. The time will come, not so long from now, when they will outnumber the Jewish population in Israel.

It is time for our Government to make clear to the Israeli Government that their conduct and policies are unacceptable, and to impose a total arms ban on Israel. It is time for peace, but real peace, not the solution by conquest which is the Israelis’ real goal but which it is impossible for them to achieve. They are not simply war criminals; they are fools.

Video of the debate

From TheyWorkForYou. The full debate is here.

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Reader comments

That was the reply of a Nazi. I suppose that the Jews fighting for their lives in the Warsaw ghetto could have been dismissed as militants.

Here Kaufman asserts equivalence between the Nazis and the state of Israel conducting its defence .What is the point of such absurd views beng published ?

What a horrific and flawed outburst from Kaufman.

Unfortunately, Kaufmann is spot on.

Since the late 1960s, ETA, the Basque separatist group have killed almost 900 people, civilians, soldiers, police, judges, politicians.

Although they are vastly reduced in number, they are still striking. In the last 12 months they killed three people and detonated scores of bombs. On average three and a half per month.

That’s without counting the hundreds of injured, the unexploded devices, the constant threats, the extortion racket in the Basque country.

Now, would the Spanish government EVER be allowed to bomb the shit out of the Basque Country with the justification that ETA find cover within ordinary people?
Would they?
Can you picture Spain killing 1,000 people in 15 days? Using white phosphorous, shelling entire villages and towns?

Or imagine Britain shelling entire towns in Ulster on the grounds that at the end of the day the civilians were giving IRA cover?

Britain and Spain never did it because it’s unacceptable. And above all, politically daft. It’s not useless. It’s counterproductive. Israel are sowing the seeds for a new generation of terrorists.

There is no excuse for the type of reaction Israel is carrying out. I said it before. They’re blaming Hamas now, but like Kaufmann rightly argues, it’s not like Israel were being particularly gentle when Arafat was in charge!

And yes, the anti-semitic reactions around the world are vile, useless, stupid, you name it.
And it makes me wonder what diversion the Israeli propaganda machine would use if no protester made use of the word Holocaust or any connection to WWII or between Israel and HItler’s Germany. That would be an intersting one to watch, wouldn’t it?

But that doesn’t change the fact Israel is killing people like ants. When they say that they have to for poltical reasons, how is that different from when Islamic fanatics do the same?

The actions currently carried out by the Israeli government, in the current scale, at the current rate, would NOT be tolerated anywhere else.

Nothing honorable nor right about this “gentleman”. His grandmother died because no one was there to defend her. In Israel, even after eight years of living with rockets, they have been patient but Sir Gerald did not speak out in all those years after thousands of rockets fell on “his people” . He does not call Hamas, Nazis or any other name. He is a coward who hides because as a Jew he may be implicated by association so he is willing to sell his soul for political gains. As with Hamas who hide among their own, he hides behind a cloak of “decency”, they as downtrodden. He feels better when Jews are killed because it is “comfortable”
I am certain that his grandmother and others are turning in their grave in shame at this coward’s comparing Jews defending themselves to Nazis who had a “final solution” for Jews like Gerald and his grandmother.
The anti semitism he has just stirred may one day consume him…..and who will defend him? His muslim constituents?

When Gerald Kaufman was a notable MP — somebody who got the 8:10 am interview on the Today programme — I didn’t like him. He is a lousy MP for Manchester and despite his clear intellect, he hasn’t achieved much in parliament.

So I never thought that I would ever defend Kaufman. Thirty days ago, when Israel attacked Gaza, I believed that the government and IDF had a rational motive. I was wrong and I’ll back Kaufman 100%.

Or imagine Britain shelling entire towns in Ulster on the grounds that at the end of the day the civilians were giving IRA cover?

Idiotic nonsense . Can I remind you that the British Army did not have to invade N Ireland because the British Army were already in N Ireland which was and is a functioning part of the UK in which the RUC were active is rooting out the IRA albeit with mixed success . I can see some distant parallels but to actually serve these situation up as like for like is quite ridiculous as anyone without a fixed bias against Israel can see .

In Israel, even after eight years of living with rockets, they have been patient but Sir Gerald did not speak out in all those years after thousands of rockets fell on “his people”

Oh really? And did you speak out about the blockades and the illegal settlement. Its easy to throw stones when you’re trying to discredit something in the debate. Please try and address his points rather than play ‘whataboutery’.

Congratulations to GK for a brave speach. His feelings echo mine and I am sure many others. We have seen the opressed become the opressors. We still apply rose tinted glasses in looking at Israel. The Gaza situation should act as a wake up call.

What a Hero Sir Gerald is. To have the guts to actually speak the truth, and in doing so, vent also the feelings of many British people.
This savage and barbaric mass murder carried out over these past weeks, against the Palestinian civilian population, will be revealed as war crimes.
Israel has revealed itself to what it truly is. A contemptuous, lying state, that is openly practicing apartheid, and ethnic cleansing.
Well done Sir Gerald, wish all our MPs were like you.

They could have negotiated with Fatah’s previous leader, Yasser Arafat, who was a friend of mine

(Remind you of Gallaway at all?)

They did of course . He walked out having been offered 90% of what the Palestinians say they want .The scrupulously fair minded Clinton blamed him , not the Jews . Kaufman expresses his opinion that conquest is the true aim of Israel but with no evidence . Does anyone doubt that it is the aim of Hamas together with the extermination of Jewry which they make quite clear.
Israel can only afford to lose once and far from perfect though it may be Kaufman has , in this piece slipped into the role of pantomime villan role that seems reserved for all left wingers in their dotage . Benn , Toynbee , George Galloway et al.

The moderate world turns its collective back on this sort of raving nonsense

it’s quite telling how you dish out insults and patronising sentences but you NEVER actually discuss the actual topic in question.
Simple easy peasy question. Is Israel doing the right thing as we speak?
How many thousands of dead in how many weeks will suddenly turn it into “too much”?

Whta have they actually achieved?
Hamas are still firing rockets, aren’t they?

I did discuss the topic in question , there is no “right ” thing and you are right Hamas have once again broken the cease fire . This is because Hamas are terrorists and they want this killing to continue . You wish to reward them.
What did negotiating achieve ? Israel have already offered these people 90 % of what they claim to want . No-one likes the position but if you ignore whose fault it is you might just as well conclude the Allies were morally inferior iot he Nazis because they killed more of then than visa versa .

Parallels to WWII are trite.
So are clapped out sentences like “You wish to reward Hamas”. How exactly? I actually happen to believe that Hamas are scum. S-C-U-M. I hope that-s clear.
But that doesn’t mean that a “democratic” government can casually pound Gaza and murder 1,200 people in three weeks Absolutely pointless. No, I stand corrected. It did have a result. That of radicalising more people.

“What did negotiatiating achieve?”
Well, what exactly did bombing achieve ???? Tell me something it may have achieved… aside from the fact that the conflict is still stuck in a rut and currently appears to have hit its lowest point! And I’d rather see pointless negotiations than a pointless war.

You still haven’t answered: “How many thousands of dead in how many weeks will suddenly turn it into “too much”?”

After reading the whole article- filled with anti-semitca (Comparing Jews/Isreae to Nazis is such under the EU Commission guidelines: Attn Legal dept a Guardian), I then realized why he spent three paragraphs posting his his Jewish credentials/innoculating himself..

His article a complete Lie and defamaton.

“Isreal was born out of…” Resolution 181 creating Both Israel and Palestine.. NOT Terrorism.
When the palestinian state is finallacted by the Arabs, IT will certanly however be ablt to accused of the latter “Terrorism”.
The acts for which they are famous.

He alos bizarrely turns history on it’s head suggesting Israel didn’t negotiate with Arafat.
Can he not remember even back to year 2000 (Barak) when the negotiations with Arafat’s rejection.. the stilll ruinning ‘counteroffer’ during which 6000 have died?

A Deeply disturbing bit oif revisionsim and Bias.. not that uncommon among some liberal/Left Jews. Another topic,.

Thank you

Jim McMullan

You still haven’t answered: “How many thousands of dead in how many weeks will suddenly turn it into “too much”?”

Interesting question but you cannot adress it only to Israel

“He walked out having been offered 90% of what the Palestinians say they want ”

No, thats what Israel said they did in the negotiations. Clinton said it was his own plan, not Israels, and the Palestinians deny any such offer was made.

As you weren’t there, you have no idea what happened, and you should stop automatically assuming one side’s version of events constitutes historical truth.

17. Sam Turecki

Gerald Kaufman is a self hating Jew ashamed of being born as one hence his vitriiolic outbursts against Israel purely to endear himself to his gentile friends.
No need for him to be ashamed of Israel since for me as a proud Israeli, I treat him only with the contempt he deserves and as far as I am concerned relate to him the same way I relate to Hamas, an enemy
Not even worth while wasting the time of day on this pathetic species of a man, and believe me with so called Jews like him who needs enemies.

‘Thou shall not co(n)vert thy neighbor’s house (into rubble)’ (Exodus 20:2-17)

” That was the reply of a Nazi. I suppose that the Jews fighting for their lives in the Warsaw ghetto could have been dismissed as militants”

Kaufman’s statement is perfidious. I don’t recall any instance of an Israeli soldier soldier shooting someone’s grandmother while she lay in her bed. In fact, the Israelis called the Palestinian citizens of Gaza on their cell phones warning them of impending attacks. The phone numbers were provided by Fatah, by the way.
Every recount of the Warsaw ghetto fighters that I have read tells me that the Warsaw ghetto was under seige by the Nazis not because the Jews of the ghetto had fired missiles into Germany but for the sole reason that they were Jews.
The deplorabe manner in which Hamas and other Jew haters of their ilk use the Paletinian Arabs as chum in order to draw Israeli retaliatory fire is one of the cruelest ploys in the history of warfare.
For Kaufman to conflate Israeli efforts at self defense with purposeful acts of Nazis diminshes the murder of his grandmother, if it happened as he claims that it did, and the millions of other victims who perished as a result of their hate filled ideology.

60 years ago” Israel” did not exist, why should it now? How many more Jews are going to move to the Middle East in the future? Where are they going to live? What apology and compensation is going to be offered to the Palestinians, whose lands have been stolen ?
Why has the world apologised to every other indigenous people for all the centuries of colonial violation, the American Indians, Aboriginal people, Maori, African slaves, but not to the Palestinian people for ongoing inhuman treatment?
If the United Nations is incapable of determining war crimes in Gaza and judgement is left to the perpetrators to investigate, who, in the future , will be able to stop further ethnic cleansing in Gaza and the removal of the refugee camps, in order to allow Israel to extend their territory to the coast. One and a half million human beings could find life too difficult, without water, food, medical supplies and adequate sewage systems, disease could spread and the will of the people be shattered. Sir Gerald Kaufman is correct when he describes Israel no longer believing the Palestinians deserving of any self respect, a dignified living for their families and a continuation of their ancient culture.
Land and a water supply is needed and a vast economic structure replaced to recreate a society for future generations. Immediate peace and reconstruction in Gaza are essential to save the lives of British troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Gerald Kaufman speech on 15th January hails a coragous man who clearly his familey suffered from the nazies as the people of Gaza did and as a Jew who understands that the crimes of the Israelies is not the crimes of the Jewish people and in order to establish the difference between the two.Most of the Jewish population round the world are mislead by the sloagans of the Zionists in Israel that state is to protect the jewish people infact its the opposite they are distroying the reputation of such great religion and of most of who like Gerald Kaufman are decent.In gerald Kuafman speech was only facts and vision for a great peace in which we can build on and remove the blood thirsty indivisuals on both sides and establish peace, dignity and security for both sides.

I salute you Mr Kaufman for your speech and the courage in stating facts. Such facts that many do know, but few like you have have courage to speak out.
History tells us that Jews have lived in peace under Islamic rule.
large numbers of Jews were exiled from Roman Palestine. The Jewish community in Palestine revived in subsequent years. Under Muslim rule, it is estimated to have numbered as many as 300,000 prior to the Crusades, about 1000 AD. The Crusaders killed most of the Jewish population of Palestine or forced them into exile, so that only about 1,000 families remained after the reconquest of Palestine by Saladin. The Jewish community in Palestine waxed and waned with the vicissitudes of conquest and economic hardship. A trickle of Jews came because of love of Israel, and were sometimes encouraged by invitations by different Turkish rulers to displaced European Jews to settle in Tiberias and Hebron. At different times there were sizeable Jewish communities in Tiberias, Safed, Hebron and Jerusalem, and numbers of Jews living in Nablus and Gaza. A few original Jews remained in the town of Peki’in, families that had lived there continuously since ancient times.
Jews who read history, like Mr Kaufman, have no fear of seeking co-existance with Palestinians.They do understand that peace and security for Jews shall never be achieved through the superior IDF, but through delivering justice to the Palestinians.

23. Richard Wicks

Let if be known that if Zionists which to confuse anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism, that the anti-Zionism will prevail as the world becomes better educated as to what Zionism is. Simply put, Zionism has the same ideals and the same goals of Apartheid, of the Klu Klux Klan, of the Nazi regime. If Zionists want to equate that with Judaism, they place all Jews at risk at the inevitable backlash which is certain to come.

When Zionists attacked Carter for explaining the situation as a holocaust denier, as an anti-Semite, as a liar – their credibility vanished. Now they face their greatest moral dilemma – will they purposely implicate world wide Jewry in their crime for their own evil goals or will they abandon their evil goals?

Kaufman recognizes the dangers of gaining and maintaining support by dishonesty and lies through omission. Most people, and by that I mean that most people are not bigots that would give preferential treatment to Jews over Arabs, would ever support Israel if they knew what was going on and what has gone on. They don’t know what the Irgun is. They don’t know who Count Bernadotte was. They don’t know Yitzhak Shamir ran the Irgun at one time or what created the Likud Party. They don’t know what UN Resolution 194 is or when it was passed or what it said. The don’t know Joan Peters was a liar that Norman Finkelstein demolished and that it was her lie that is most often repeated justifying Israel’s right to exist – a land without a people for a people without a land. They don’t know anything. They think it was just a bunch of Jewish people who moved to an empty spot who are being attacked simply because they are Jewish and when they discover that’s not true, it may be these people are too dumb to distinguish Zionist from Jew.

24. Shmushki Fresser

Its 1938 and old Adolf is warming up the ovens, now its 2009 and a islamofascist is developing a final solution mark 2. And here we have a classic self hating Jew performing his sick ritual. If he lived in Israel he could march with pride with his like minded men friends, wereas in Gaza his like are thrown from high buildings.
At aged 78 he should retire from public life and watch his £ 8,800 B& O TV. Paid for from his fiddled expenses.

In reply to Shmushki with regard to Mr Kuafman claim for an expensive TV is not a fiddle and by no means fraud.Mr kuafman served this country for many many years and claiming for a TV within his right is a legitmate claim and he deseved it.He never claimed for an imaginary morgage or made profit out of his second home so that does not change the view of all decent people in this hounrable man who stood and spoke with all courage against a facist state who killed thousands of inoscent children.

26. Anthony Wegwood

Anti Zionism allows the liberal left to hate Jews. I know from bitter experience you are only 3 drinks away from a Jew hater. O how they love their drink.

27. Shmushki Fresser

Nadif, mate £ 8,8000+ for a T.V. my local Tesco sells t.v’s for £ 39.95. good enough for our Geraldine.

28. Shmushki Fresser

Stop with the censoring.

Well £39.95 TV are only good enough for people on benifits not for people worked hard all their lives.Also Yasser Arafat was not thrown from the top of high building in Gaza when he condemed sucide bombers killing children but he was saluted and cheered by the crowds of Gaza.

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