Rowena Mason — The Guardian Nov 3, 2015
Jeremy Corbyn has condemned one of his Labour MPs, Sir Gerald Kaufman, for making “completely unacceptable” remarks about the Jewish community.
Kaufman, the longest-serving MP in the Commons, was hauled into a meeting with the Labour whips after he talked last week about how “Jewish money” was influencing the Tories.
“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,” Kaufman said. “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.
“They’re not interested in the fact that Palestinians are living a repressed life, and are liable to be shot at any time. In the last few days alone the Israelis have murdered 52 Palestinians and nobody pays attention and this government doesn’t care.”
The Board of Deputies of British Jews condemned Kaufman’s comments as “outrageous” and called on the Labour party to “initiate disciplinary proceedings to investigate his disgraceful words”.
On Tuesday, Corbyn released a statement saying Kaufman’s remarks were “completely unacceptable and deeply regrettable”. “Such remarks are damaging to community relations, and also do nothing to benefit the Palestinian cause,” he said. “I have always implacably opposed all forms of racism, antisemitism and Islamophobia and will continue to do so. At my request, the chief whip has met Sir Gerald and expressed my deep concern.”
The controversy comes after Corbyn was forced to defend himself during the leadership campaign over accusations that he had failed to condemn people who had engaged in antisemitic rhetoric.
Ivan Lewis, a former shadow cabinet minister, at the time said Corbyn had shown, at the very least, “poor judgment” in his actions.
Corbyn also faced fierce criticism from the Jewish Chronicle, which claimed he had associated with “Holocaust deniers, terrorists and some outright antisemites”.
Corbyn rebutted these criticisms, dismissing as “ludicrous and wrong” any suggestions he would knowingly have associated with such people