Gerard Kaufman is a well-known and oft-admired, if rather controverisal, Labour MP. Kaufman is a member of the Jewish Labour Movement (previosly known as Poale Zion), a pro-Zionist group affiliated with the Labour party.
Kaufman, who was awarded a knighthood for services to Parliament in 2004, has never voted against the Labour government. He voted strongly in favour of introducing ID cards and in support of Labour's anti-terrorism laws. Disappointingly, he also voted very strongly in favour of the Iraq war and very strongly aginst an investigation into the war.
I say all of that to demonstrate that Kaufman is no left-wing, anti-Israel, Islam-fearing, war-shy dove. That makes his comments in the House of Commons yesterday all the more suprising:
My grandmother was ill in bed when the Nazis came to her home town of Staszow. 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. The current 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 Leibovich, was asked about the Israeli killing of, at that time, 800 Palestinians—the total is now 1,000. She replied instantly that
That was the reply of a Nazi. I suppose that the Jews fighting for their lives in the Warsaw ghetto could have been dismissed as militants.
...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.
...It is time for our Government to make clear to the Israeli Government that their 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 it is impossible for them to achieve.
Regardless of Kaufman's views on this matter, it seems to me that he is spot-on with this statement: "The current 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." It seems to me that the current Israeli government is not the only group of people to be doing this. It's surely more than a coincidence that Dispensational theology had its greatest growth-spurt following World War 2. It's holocaust guilt.
That guilt then frames a theology that is adopted by the majority of US Christians, who make up the majority of the US voting populace. Is it any wonder that Israel is given a free-pass on actions that would be labelled "War crimes" if performed by anyone else?
Alongside this turn-a-blind-eye gentile guilt, are those within the Jewish community who intentionally and regularly use it to their advantage. That reminds me of a black friend I once had who used to joke about all of the things that he got away with, because if he was questioned he would cry, "racism!" I remember thinking at the time that he was being far more racist than any of the people whose jobs he threatened. His actions and words denied his own worth and mocked the issue of race discrimination in the work-place.
Perhaps the only thing worse than gentile guilt and Israeli culpability is the limits on free-speech that fear of "anti-semitism" produces. We daren't say anything critical of Israel, past, present of future, because we're nervous of being accused of anti-semitism, or being labelled a Nazi. Maturity expects more of us.
I am not a male chauvinist pig (or even an anti-feminist) just because I think Germaine Greer often talks a load of crap. I'm not a white supremicist because I think Louis Farrakhan is best avoided. And I'm not anti-semitic because I think Israel should be held accountable for her actions.
Too many Christians, particularly in the US, seem to think that if we love Israel we should never stand against her or criticise her actions. The opposite, in fact, is true.