Jack Mendel
Online Editor at Jewish News

The cesspit of celebration for Kaufman’s death

There is something distinctly un-Jewish about celebrating another’s death, as we saw with the passing of Gerald Kaufman.

Kaufman was disliked by many supporters of Israel, because of his views, but also because of the way he placed his identity into so many of his opinions.

He cited his links to Israel’s founders, his family’s experience in the Holocaust and the fact he was Jewish, as the reason why he was right on Israel.

It injected emotion into the debate, and this grated on people.

I was not a fan of him. I disagreed with his views, but to be so crass as to celebrate his death, brings us to a new low as a community.

As web editor of Jewish News, I get to see a live stream of bile emerging when a story of this nature breaks, about someone who divides opinion.

Underneath two stories we published relating to his death, there were some pretty vile remarks:

– “He wasn’t Jewish! He was a scumbag. Good riddance.”
– “Good job we don’t need Jews like him”
– “Burn in eternal hell”
– “Won’t miss him – not much of a loss”
– “Gone and will not be missed- nasty self hating Jew”
– “A vile piece of excrement”
– “A Kapo” (A prisoner in a Nazi camp who was assigned by SS guards to supervise other Jews..)
– “A court Jew. End of.”
– “He looked like a Nazi and behaved like one”
– “Can’t and won’t say I’m sorry, nor will I apologise for saying not a day too soon.”

Whatever your disagreement with his politics, he was Jewish, and a human being.

Calling him a Kapo, a self-hating Jew, a court Jew, is the kind of poisonous rhetoric, which delineates ‘good Jews’ and ‘bad Jews’, instead of just Jew Jews.

This language strips a Jewish person of their identity, which was clearly a strong factor in his politics.

Saying his death was a “good job”, it didn’t come “a day too soon” or that he “behaved like a Nazi”, is no way to talk about someone who, even if you disagreed with, was still one of the tribe (and another human.)

It’s sickening to see a British Jewish politician’s death being revelled in, in this manner.

Celebrating death, denigrating life, is not a joke, or ‘banter’, and standing up to this rhetoric, as I tried to, is not me “losing my sense of humour”, thanks.

It can’t be justified because someone had certain views we disagreed with,  and if it continues, it will make our community look hysterical and extreme.

You don’t win the argument by delegitimising someone’s existence, and I worry it’s only a matter of time before this mainstream hate gets exposed to a wider audience.

About the Author
Jack Mendel is Online Editor at Jewish News UK
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