No one should doubt the towering intellectual and oratorial skills and abilities of Sir Gerald Kaufman.
He has been both shadow Foreign and shadow Home Secretary.
But that was all some time ago.
At some point, Sir Gerald, never shy to proclaim he is a Jew, fell out of love with Israel and Zionism and espoused the Palestinian cause.
Well, nothing wrong there. He is quite entitled to believe that Israel’s policies towards the Palestinians is flawed, oppressive or however he preceives it.
As an MP and a prominent British Jew, and also as person of considerable intellectual talent (Queen’s Oxford), he also has a duty to be fair, reasonable and see the conflict in its proper historical context.
What he fails to grasp, it seems, (and he is by no means the only British public figure or even Jew to do so) is that he is fatally compromised by not condemning or declaring that Hamas is the root cause of the Gaza situation. By meeting prominent Hamas leaders in Gaza in 2009 he sanctions their actions against Israel and their own people in Gaza. He also ignores an essential point and it is this: Hamas want to destroy not just Israel, but all Jews; they are virulently anti-Semitic and Jews who support them are probably a source of great amusement and ridicule.
Yesterday, during the debate in Parliament on the Queen’s Speech he took advantage of parliamentary privilege to make a long (over long) speech in which he accused the (Muslim) Liberal Democratic candidate for Gorton of running an anti-Semitic campaign against him during the run-up to the General Election.
Sir Gerald accused his opponent of targetting Muslim voters and directing them not to vote for Kaufman simply because ‘he is a Jew’. He also accused his opponent of telling Muslim Labour supporters to remove posters from their windows because they should not vote for a Jew.
I have no idea if these accusations are true; only a full investigation by the Lib Dems (I nominate Baroness Tonge for the task) could find the truth.
Sir Gerald praised the vast majority of his Muslim constituents for not bowing to the bigotry of the Lib Dem candidate and on that point I can wholeheartedly agree – good on them.
However, the irony is lost on Sir Gerald. Here was, allegedly, a Muslim telling other Muslims not to vote for a Jew regardless of his track record on Gaza, Palestine and Israel. And this is exactly what all Islamists or fundamentalists or whatever you want to call them, believe: namely, all Jews must die. It’s quite simple; they want to eradicate Jews because that is what they believe their religion teaches them, because that is what radical Imams preach, because they have drunk from the same poisoned well as the Nazis. Israel must perish not just because Jews have ‘stolen’ Muslim land but quite simply because they are Jews.
I am content for Sir Gerald to fight for Palestinian rights, but I a not content for him to ignore the true intention of Hamas and support a regime who wish him dead as much as they wish to see any Jew dead, except in his case he is still useful to them.