(JTA) – Two British groups condemned a Jewish member of the UK parliament who reportedly said that Jewish money dictates government policy on Israel.
Gerald Kaufman, a Labour MP who has called for applying international sanctions against Israel for its treatment of Palestinians, reportedly made the statement at a meeting in London on Tuesday organized by the Palestine Return Council. Kaufman attended along with several other lawmakers and the blogger David Collier, who has posted an account of Kaufman’s speech.
“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,” Kaufman is quoted as saying. “There is now a big group of Conservative members of Parliament, who are pro-Israel whatever government does and they are not interested in what Israel, in what the Israeli government does.”
Kaufman had reportedly begun his speech by claiming that half of the recent stabbings in Israel were “fabricated.”
“The speech delivered by Sir Gerald Kaufman, as reported by David Collier, is anti-Semitic and the Labour Party should investigate immediately,” Gideon Falter, chairman of Campaign Against Antisemitism, said in a statement Wednesday.
Kaufman is the longest serving MP in the House of Commons. In 2011, he apologized for remarking: “Here we are, the Jews again” during a debate about Israel with another Jewish MP who disagreed with his attitude to Israel.
Simon Johnson, the chief executive of Britain’s Jewish Leadership council, said the comments attributed to Kaufman on Tuesday “refer to all the old-fashioned anti-Semitic tropes.” Kaufman, he added, “owes the Jewish community a significant apology.”