Gerald Kaufman: Wikis

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The Right Honourable
 Sir Gerald Kaufman
 MP


In office
11 June 1987 – 11 April 1992
Leader Neil Kinnock
Preceded by Denis Healey
Succeeded by Jack Cunningham

In office
11 June 1983 – 11 June 1987
Leader Neil Kinnock
Preceded by Roy Hattersley
Succeeded by Roy Hattersley

Member of Parliament
for Manchester Gorton
Incumbent
Assumed office 
9 June 1983
Preceded by Kenneth Marks
Majority 5,808 (19.9%)

Member of Parliament
for Manchester Ardwick
In office
18 June 1970 – 9 June 1983
Preceded by Leslie Maurice Lever
Succeeded by Constituency Abolished

Born 21 June 1930 (1930-06-21) (age 79)
Leeds, England, UK
Nationality British
Political party Labour
Alma mater Queen's College, Oxford

Sir Gerald Bernard Kaufman (born 21 June 1930) is a British Labour politician, who has been the Member of Parliament for Manchester Gorton since 1983, and was both a government minister during the 1970s, and a member of the Shadow Cabinet in the 1980s.

Contents

Early life

Born in Leeds to a Jewish parents, the son of Louis and Jane Kaufman, and educated at Leeds Grammar School[1], Kaufman graduated with an MA in philosophy, politics and economics at the University of Oxford (Queen's College). He was assistant general secretary of the Fabian Society from 1954 to 1955 and a political journalist on the Daily Mirror (1955–1964) and the New Statesman (1964–1965). he became Parliamentary Press Liaison Officer for the Labour Party, between 1965–1970, and was eventually a member of Prime Minister Harold Wilson's informal "kitchen cabinet".[citation needed]

In the 1955 general election Kaufman had unsuccessfully contested the safe Conservative seat of Bromley, and in the 1959 general election, Gillingham.

He became a writer, contributing to the satirical television comedy programme on BBC Television, That Was The Week That Was in 1962 and 1963, along with many other names,[1][2] where he was most remembered for the "Silent men of Westminster" sketch.

In 1999, he became Chairman of the Booker Prize Judges.[1]

Member of Parliament

Kaufman was elected MP for Manchester Ardwick at the 1970 general election and has represented the Manchester Gorton constituency since the 1983 election.[3] He was a junior minister throughout Labour's time in power from 1974 to 1979, first in the Department for the Environment (1974–1975) under Anthony Crosland, then in the Department of Industry under Eric Varley (Minister of State, 1975–1979). He was made a member of the Privy Council in 1978.

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Shadow Cabinet

In opposition, he was the Shadow Environment Secretary, (1980–1983), Shadow Home Secretary (1983–1987) and Shadow Foreign Secretary (1987–1992) for the Shadow Cabinet.[1]

He famously dubbed the Labour Party's left-wing 1983 election manifesto "the longest suicide note in history".[4] In 1992 he went to the back benches and became Chair of what was then the National Heritage Select Committee.

Influential back-bencher

He chaired the Select Committee for Culture, Media and Sport [formerly the Select Committee on National Heritage], between 1992–2005, and was a member of the Parliamentary Committee of the Parliamentary Labour Party(PLP), between 1980–1992, of the Labour Party National Executive Committee, between 1991–1992, and of the Royal Commission on House of Lords Reform, in 1999.[1]

As Chairman of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee Kaufman's style of strong cross-examination and withering remarks to witnesses gained some renown. They are evident in particular when he alleges cultural elitism. In 1997 in committee Kaufman criticised the then Chief Executive of the Royal Opera House Mary Allen over her inability to account for cost over-runs of a costly lottery funded refurbishment of the venue that would result in both fewer seats and the costly cancellation of scheduled performances, and condemned her low public standards – an event that contributed to her tendering her resignation.

Kaufman has never voted against the Labour Government. He voted with the government on the 2003 invasion of Iraq saying in Parliament "Even though all our hearts are heavy, I have no doubt that it is right to vote with the Government tonight".[5]

He was awarded a knighthood for services to Parliament in the Queen's Birthday Honours in 2004.[6]

Expenses controversy

The Daily Telegraph argued Kaufman's expense claims were including £1,461 for a “second-hand rug replacing 24-year-old carpet” and £389 for “customs duty on rug”, that he imported from a the Showplace Antique + Design Centre[7] on West 25th Street in Manhattan, New York for a $2,750 receipt, a rejected claim of £8,865 for a Bang & Olufsen Beovision 40 in LCD television since the "item falls within the not allowable category of luxurious furnishings" so he was paid £750. Gordon Rayner further argued he claimed £1,262 for a gas bill covering the period March 2006 to May 2008 which was £1,055 in credit. In one document, an official in the fees office noted that invoices Sir Gerald had submitted took him to “within 6p” of his annual limit. Kaufman also claimed for a £225 Viceroy Barley pen. Most of his expenses were spent on repairs of his second flat in Regents Park, London which he depicts as a "decrepit" and "old flat" with "out of date" facilities that had “not carried out any repairs/maintenance for 32 years”.[8]

According to a report in The Independent, Kaufman has since blamed a 'self-diagnosed obsessive compulsive disorder' for making 'bizarre and extravagant' expenses claims.[9]

Opinions

Kaufman is the writer of books and articles. Some are political – How to be a Minister (1980), is an irreverent look at the difficulties faced by ministers trying to control the civil service, in much the same vein as the television series Yes Minister. Some are cultural – Meet Me in St Louis is a study of the 1944 Judy Garland film. He contributed a chapter about John Hodge Labour Member of Parliament for Manchester Gorton elected in 1906, to Men Who Made Labour, edited by Alan Haworth and Diane Hayter.

Kaufman is an outspoken opponent of hunting with hounds. In 2004 he was assaulted by a group of pro-fox hunting campaigners and claimed that he was subjected to anti-Semitic taunts. These he said he found ironic as he had recently been accused of being a self-hating Jew by member of the Board of Deputies of British Jews.[10]

Criticism of Israel

Kaufman, who is himself Jewish, is a member of the Jewish Labour Movement, formerly Poale Zion,[11][12] a pro-Zionist group affiliated with the Labour party in Britain. He has become one of the leading critics of Israel. Kaufman has called for economic sanctions and an arms ban against Israel, citing the success of such measures against apartheid South Africa.[13] He has called Israel a "pariah state", which has turned away from its original image as a beacon, criticized the Israeli labour party for working with Shimon Peres, who he termed as a "right-wing thug",[14] and called Israel's senior politicians "war criminals."[15][16] In 2002 he created a BBC television documentary,[17] The End of the Affair, in which he recounted his youthful infatuation with Israel and his eventual disillusionment.[18]

In April 2002 during Israel's controversial military operation codenamed Defensive Wall, Kaufman gave a speech to the House of Commons, saying in part:

It is time to remind Sharon that the star of David belongs to all Jews, not to his repulsive Government. His actions are staining the star of David with blood. The Jewish people, whose gifts to civilised discourse include Einstein and Epstein, Mendelssohn and Mahler, Sergei Eisenstein and Billy Wilder, are now symbolised throughout the world by the blustering bully Ariel Sharon, a war criminal implicated in the murder of Palestinians at the Sabra and Shatila camps and now involved in killing Palestinians once again.[19]

In 12 July 2004, Kaufman wrote a proposal, including economical sanctions against Israel, The case for sanctions against Israel, What worked with apartheid can bring peace to the Middle East, in Guardian.[20]

In January 2009, during the 2008–2009 Israel–Gaza conflict, Kaufman gave a speech to the House of Commons where he stated: "The present Israeli government ruthlessly and cynically exploits the continuing guilt from Gentiles over the slaughter of Jews in the Holocaust as justification for their murder of Palestinians."[21][22][23][24]

About his own family experience he said: "My grandmother was ill in bed when the Nazis came to her home town. A German soldier shot her dead in her bed. My grandmother did not die to provide cover for Israeli soldiers murdering Palestinian grandmothers in Gaza."[21]

Kaufman also made a comparison between Hamas members in Gaza to the Jewish resistance during World War II, saying: "The spokeswoman for the Israeli army, Major Leibovich, was asked about the Israeli killing of, at that time, 800 Palestinians. The total is now 1,000. She replied instantly that '500 of them were militants'. That was the reply of a Nazi. I suppose the Jews fighting for their lives in the Warsaw ghetto could have been dismissed as militants."[21] He said, "Hamas is a deeply nasty organisation, but it was democratically elected, and it is the only game in town. The boycotting of Hamas, including by our Government, has been a culpable error, from which dreadful consequences have followed."[23] And he said: "It is time for our government to make clear to the Israeli government that its conduct and policies are unacceptable and to impose a total arms ban on Israel.”[25]

He was the leader of a large European parliamentary delegation to Gaza in January 2009 during which he said that Israeli officials who authorized the use of white phosphorous in densely populated Gaza should be tried for war crimes,[26]

Publications

His publications include:

  • How to Live Under Labour (1964) as coauthor
  • The Left: A symposium (1966) as editor
  • To Build the Promised Land (1973)
  • How to be a Minister (1980) as editor
  • Renewal: Labour's Britain in the 1980s (1983)
  • My Life in the Silver Screen (1985)
  • Inside the Promised Land (1986)
  • Meet Me in St Louis (1994).

References

  1. ^ a b c d e The Papers of Sir Gerald Kaufman Churchill Archives Centre, Cambridge; the National Register of Archives, London and Janus Project
  2. ^ The International Who's Who 2004
  3. ^ "Manchester Gorton". The Guardian. http://politics.guardian.co.uk/hoc/constituency/0,,-1112,00.html. 
  4. ^ Mann, Nyta (14 July 2003). "Foot's message of hope to left". BBC News Online. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/3059773.stm. Retrieved 18 january 2009. 
  5. ^ Department of the Official Report (Hansard), House of Commons, Westminster (26 Feb 2003). House of Commons Hansard for 26 Feb 2003 (pt 16). The Stationery Office Ltd. ISBN 0215650298. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200203/cmhansrd/vo030226/debtext/30226-16.htm#30226-16_spnew7. Retrieved 18 january 2009. 
  6. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 57315, p. 1, 12 June 2004. Retrieved on 2009-03-08.
  7. ^ Showplace Antique + Design Centre
  8. ^ Expenses controversy Daily Telegraph, 16 May 2009 by Gordon Rayner, Chief Reporter
  9. ^ Expenses controversy Independent, 06/06/2009
  10. ^ "Larcenous, racist scum". Guardian Unlimited. 30 September 2004. http://politics.guardian.co.uk/labour2004/comment/0,14991,1315928,00.html. Retrieved 18 january 2009. 
  11. ^ "Jewish Labour Movement History". http://www.jlm.org.uk/cgi-bin/sitetools.cgi?task=servepage&id=33. 
  12. ^ Notable Jewish Individuals Supporting a Free Palestine
  13. ^ Kaufman, Gerald (12 July 2004). "The case for sanctions against Israel". Guardian Unlimited. http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,3604,1259087,00.html. 
  14. ^ "UK MP calls Israel 'pariah'". BBC News. 15 March 2002. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/1874459.stm. Retrieved 4 January 2010. 
  15. ^ "Sharon 'a war criminal' says MP". BBC News. 17 April 2002. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/1933309.stm. Retrieved 4 January 2010. 
  16. ^ Littlewood, Stuart. "Could the Rising Anger of British MPs Shake America’s Complacency?". Middle East Online. http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/?id=29784. Retrieved 2009-01-18. 
  17. ^ "Kaufman pessimistic over Israel's future". BBC News. 6 September 2002. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/2219194.stm. Retrieved 4 January 2010. 
  18. ^ "The End of the Affair". BBC Video (Real Audio required). http://news.bbc.co.uk/olmedia/cta/progs/02/end_affair/30aug.ram. 
  19. ^ Littlewood, Stuart (14 january 2009). "Could the Rising Anger of British MPs Shake America’s Complacency?". Middle East Online. http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/?id=29784. Retrieved 18 january 2009. 
  20. ^ The case for sanctions against Israel, What worked with apartheid can bring peace to the Middle East Guardian 12 July 2004
  21. ^ a b c MP Kaufman likens Israelis to Nazis, Jewish Telegraphic Agency, January 16, 2009.
  22. ^ Robert Pigott, Fault-line between Jews over Gaza, BBC, January 17, 2009.
  23. ^ a b Text of Kaufman speech 15 January 2009
  24. ^ "UK Jewish MP: Israel acting like Nazis in Gaza". Youtube. 16 january 2009. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qMGuYjt6CP8. Retrieved 2009-01-18. 
  25. ^ "UK’s Jewish MP calls it Nazi-like operation". Agence France-Presse. 16 january 2008. http://www.dawn.com/2009/01/16/top12.htm. Retrieved 16 january 2008. 
  26. ^ "British MP: Israel and Egypt's blockade of Gaza is 'evil'". Haaretz.com. 16 january 2010. http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1142941.html. Retrieved 27 January 2010. 

External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Leslie Maurice Lever
Member of Parliament for Manchester Ardwick
19701983
Constituency abolished
Preceded by
Kenneth Marks
Member of Parliament for Manchester Gorton
1983–present
Incumbent
Political offices
Preceded by
Roy Hattersley
Shadow Home Secretary
1983 – 1987
Succeeded by
Roy Hattersley
Preceded by
Denis Healey
Shadow Foreign Secretary
1987 – 1992
Succeeded by
Jack Cunningham

Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Sir Gerald Bernard Kaufman (born June 21, 1930) is a British Labour Member of Parliament who was a government minister during the 1970s.

Sourced

In April 2002 during Israel's controversial military operation codenamed Defensive Wall, Kaufman gave a speech to the House of Commons, saying in part:

It is time to remind Sharon that the star of David belongs to all Jews, not to his repulsive Government. His actions are staining the star of David with blood. The Jewish people, whose gifts to civilised discourse include Einstein and Epstein, Mendelssohn and Mahler, Sergei Eisenstein and Billy Wilder, are now symbolised throughout the world by the blustering bully Ariel Sharon, a war criminal implicated in the murder of Palestinians at the Sabra and Shatila camps and now involved in killing Palestinians once again.[1]

In January 2009, during the 2008-2009 Israel-Gaza Conflict, Kaufman gave a speech to the House of Commons[2][3] , saying, in part:

My grandmother was ill in bed when the Nazis came to her home town of Staszów. A German soldier shot her dead in her bed. Madam Deputy Speaker, my grandmother did not die to provide cover for Israeli soldiers murdering Palestinian grandmothers in Gaza. The present Israeli government ruthlessly and cynically exploit the continuing guilt among Gentiles over the slaughter of Jews in the Holocaust as justification for their murder of Palestinians. The implication is that Jewish lives are precious, but the lives of Palestinians do not count. On Sky News a few days ago, the spokeswoman for the Israeli Army Major Livovich was asked about the Israeli killing of, at that time, eight hundred Palestinians. The total is now a thousand. She replied instantly, "Five hundred of them were militants." That was the reply of a Nazi. I suppose the Jews fighting for their lives in the Warsaw Ghetto could have been dismissed as militants.

and

Hamas is a deeply nasty organisation, but it was democratically elected, and it is the only game in town. The boycotting of Hamas, including by our Government, has been a culpable error, from which dreadful consequences have followed.

and

It's time for our government to make clear to the Israeli government that its conduct and policies are unacceptable and to impose a total arms ban on Israel. It is time for peace, but real peace, not the solution by conquest, which is the Israelis' real goal, but which is impossible for them to achieve. They're not simply war criminals; they're fools.

References

  1. Littlewood, Stuart, "Could the Rising Anger of British MPs Shake America’s Complacency?", Middle East Online, 14 january 2009. URL accessed on 18 january 2009.
  2. UK Jewish MP: Israel acting like Nazis in Gaza. Youtube (16 january 2009). Retrieved on 2009-01-18.
  3. UK’s Jewish MP calls it Nazi-like operation. Dawn (16 january 2008). Retrieved on 16 january 2008.

External links

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