Sir Gerald Kaufman: "Just as Lord Ashcroft owns most of the Conservative Party, right-wing Jewish millionaires own the rest"
One might think it quite incredible that a Jew could be into such anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.
Or is it his ethnicity which permits him to get away with it?
According to The Jewish Chronicle, he and another Labour MP (Martin Linton) made their rather inflammatory comments at a meeting in Parliament held by the ‘Friends of Al-Aqsa’.
Has there been a meeting in Parliament for the ‘Friends of the Wailing Wall’?
What would be the consequences for a parliamentary candidate from any party who suggested: ‘Unite owns most of the Labour Party and left-wing Muslims own the rest’?
Mr Linton, MP for Battersea (and Chairman of ‘Labour Friends of Palestine’), said at the meeting: "There are long tentacles of Israel in this country who are funding election campaigns and putting money into the British political system for their own ends."
Does he think Unite are funding Labour’s election campaign for altruistic purposes?
He added: "You must consider over the next few weeks, when you make decisions about how you vote and how you advise constituents to vote, you must make them aware of the attempt by Israelis and by pro-Israelis to influence the election."
Does Mr Linton not realise that we live in a democracy, and that any ‘lobby group’ has the legal right to express their concerns, campaign for a candidate and put their money where they wish?
Or are Jews uniquely barred from this process?
According to the JC, Mr Linton initially denied making the ‘tentacles’ remark. Presented with the evidence, he apologised, professing complete ignorance of the anti-Semitic precedent for the image of a Jewish octopus stretching its tentacles around the world. He said he was drawing on the findings of a Channel 4 programme on political donations and lobbying in the Conservative Party.
Sir Gerald Kaufman has not apologised. Presumably, he stands by his comments.
Cranmer rather wishes the JC had not referred to these two as being ‘anti-Zionist’. The distinction which many draw between Zionism and Semitism muddies the waters and permits racists to crouch behind a complex veil of geo-political obfuscation.
The Board of Deputies of British Jews have asked the Labour Party to consider dismissing both candidates.
Perhaps if they had Tweeted their comments, they would have been.
Or is it permissible for a Jewish knight of the realm to warn voters about the insidious influence of the ‘Israel lobby’?
Board president Vivian Wineman said: "We note that Mr Linton has apologised but we are surprised that, as a seasoned politician, he was not aware of the anti-Semitic nature of his remarks. Gerald Kaufman's reference to ring-wing millionaires plays to traditional anti-Semitic stereotypes and is unacceptable. We are raising this with the Labour Party. We think it should consider their suitability as candidates."
The JC explains the shameful history of their comments:
One cover of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion portrayed octopus tentacles interwoven with the Star of David. A notorious cartoon of an octopus straddling the globe was also used in the Nazi newspaper Der Sturmer in the 1930s. It can also be seen in British antisemitic portrayals of the Rothschild banking family in the 19th century.
Danny Stone, director of the all-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism, said: "It is shameful to see members of Parliament using classic conspiracy theory language. Both the Labour Party and the Conservative Party have previously indicated to us their intentions to crack down on any and all racist language or behaviour – I hope we will see swift action taken."
Stuart Polak, director of the Conservative Friends of Israel, said: "These comments are as ignorant as they are preposterous. The MPs' records on the Israeli/Palestinian issues are one-sided and not balanced and therefore cannot remotely be taken seriously.''
Is it not ironic that, at a time when Labour criticise David Cameron for sitting beside ‘xenophobes’, ‘anti-Semites’ and ‘homophobes’ in their new European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group in the European Parliament, that we find they have a few within their own ranks?
Neither candidate has been dismissed. All we have received is an official announcement from a Labour Party spokesman who distanced the party from the remarks. He said: "These alleged comments are not the view of the Labour Party."
One wonders why they didn’t simply put out such a statement in response to Stuart MacLennan's Tweets.
Could it be that Labour are more offended by a few generalised, derogatory comments about the elderly and John Bercow than they are by the colossal evil of anti-Semitism, anti-Zionism and anti-Israel prejudice?