UK Labour Party head condemns MP’s ‘Jewish money’ remarks
UK Labour Party head and Opposition Leader Jeremy Corbyn has condemned an MP for an “unacceptable and deeply regrettable” anti-Semitic speech, in which he claimed that “Jewish money” had taken over the governing Conservative Party.
“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,” Corbyn said, according to the Jewish News.
“I have always implacably opposed all forms of racism, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia and will continue to do so. At my request, the Chief Whip has met Sir Gerald and expressed my deep concern,” Corbyn added.
The condemnation was in response to comments by Kaufman at a recent pro-Palestinian event in parliament.
Speaking to an audience at the event sponsored by the Hamas-linked Palestine Return Council, Kaufman accused Israel of “executing” innocent Palestinians and planting knives on their bodies to frame them as terrorists, and offered an “answer” to a question he posed as to why the Conservative Party was becoming “more and more pro-Israel.”
“I’ll tell you (why) because I can tell you in a way which perhaps nobody else in this room can tell you. It’s Jewish money, Jewish donations, to the conservative party as in the general election in May, support from the Jewish Chronicle, all of those things, bias the conservatives,” he said.
Kaufman is Jewish by birth, but has stoked controversy repeatedly via his extreme anti-Israel stance and with periodic anti-Semitic comments, including to a fellow MP who he once heckled by muttering “here we are, the Jews again” when she got up to speak in parliament.
Jewish community organizations welcomed Corbyn’s condemnation, but a leading anti-hate group said it didn’t go far enough.
“The fact that Mr Corbyn has distanced himself from Sir Gerald’s despicable comments is in itself a welcome intervention,” Jewish Leadership Council Chairman Simon Johnson told Jewish News. “We await a response from the Chief Whip as to whether any further disciplinary action will be taken and, of course, if Sir Gerald will apologize.”
But the Chairman of the Campaign Against Antisemitism dismissed Corbyn’s comments as “a week late and is far short of what is warranted.”
Gideon Falter said that only actual disciplinary action against the extremist MP “will do if Jewish people are to have any faith that the Labour Party’s ‘implacable opposition’ is anything more than a soundbite.”
The Labour Party has come under close scrutiny for its ties to anti-Semites and far-left extremists following Corbyn’s election as party leader earlier this year, due to the former backbench MP’s links to a variety of political and religious extremists.