Gerald Kaufman
Jewish British MP Gerald Kaufman walks with speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council Aziz Dweik in the West Bank town of Hebron Getty

Labour has been urged to take action after one of its veteran MPs allegedly claimed that "Jewish money" influences Conservative government policy and Israel fabricated the recent stabbings in the country. Sir Gerald Kaufman, MP for Gorton, is reported to have made the "outrageous" comments while speaking at an event organised by the Palestine Return Centre in London.

Kaufman, who is Jewish himself, was responding to a question on why this government's policy has "got harder and harder, and more and more pro-Israeli".

He said: "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. There is now a big group of Conservative members of parliament, who are pro-Israel whatever the government does and they are not interested 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."

Kauffman, 85, and current Father of the House of Commons, also cited an email from "a friend who lives in East Jerusalem" who said a majority of the recent stabbings in the country are based on "false claims".

He added: "I wanted to say they shoot and then ask questions, but the truth is they shoot and then they fabricate a stabbing story. No questions asked. More than half the stabbing claims were definitely fabricated. The other half, some were true, the others there was no way to tell since they executed Palestinians and no one asked questions.

"Not only that, they got to the point of executing Arab-looking people and in the past few days they killed two Jewish Israelis and an Eritrean just because they looked Arab. They fabricated a stabbing story to justify the killings before they found out they were not Palestinians."

The event on 27 October was attended by blogger David Collier, who reported on the comments on his website. He wrote that while he was aware some of the speakers had been known to be "hostile" towards Israel, he did not expect to be "taken down the route of global Jewish conspiracy theories".

Kaufman has now been accused of making anti-Semitic remarks and urged to withdraw them, and the Labour party to take disciplinary action.

President of the Board of Deputies Jonathan Arkush said: "We condemn Sir Gerald's outrageous comments. We challenge him to travel to Israel immediately to ride around with the emergency services and to see for himself whether it is possible to fabricate knife attacks when victims are lying on the ground with blood pouring from their wounds. We also invite the Labour party to initiate disciplinary proceedings to investigate his disgraceful words."

Gideon Falter, chairman of Campaign Against Antisemitism, said: "The globally-recognised EUMC (European Union Monitoring Centre) definition of anti-Semitism clearly states that it is anti-Semitic to make 'mendacious, dehumanising, demonising, or stereotypical allegations about... Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions'. The speech delivered by Sir Gerald Kaufman, as reported by David Collier, is anti-Semitic and the Labour party should investigate immediately."

Fellow Labour MPs also condemned the comments from Kaufman. Ivan Lewis, MP for Bury South, wrote on Twitter: "Gerald Kaufman should withdraw his inappropriate and unacceptable comments at the earliest opportunity."

Shadow human rights minister Andy Slaughter, who was also at the event, told the Jewish Chronicle: "I would not endorse those comments. If you showed me that and said would you agree with that, I would say: 'No.' Obviously, I would not endorse or be associated in any way with those comments."

A Labour spokesperson said: "The views as reported do not reflect the views of the party."