Picture the scene in the House of Commons. MPs are debating a bill intended to reduce the chances that Israeli politicians visiting London will be arrested (though not tried) on war crimes charges. If the bill becomes law, a private prosecutor will no longer be able to obtain an arrest warrant for a crime of universal jurisdiction-one that can be tried by the English courts although committed abroad-without the consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
The reform is opposed by a number of backbench Labour MPs, led by Ann Clwyd. While addressing the Commons on March 30, another MP seeks to intervene. Louise Ellman is Jewish and a supporter of Israel. As she gets to her feet, a third Labour MP barks out something in a stage whisper that is presumably intended to throw her.
"Here we are: the Jews again," this MP growls. It turns out to be Sir Gerald Kaufman, 80, a bitter opponent of Israeli government policies and, by his own account, a victim of anti-Semitism at the last general election.
Kaufman's remarks, made while he is seated, are not reported in Hansard. But they are clearly audible on the online archive recording. As if to explain his comments, he adds something like "we're going to get anti-Semitism again".
Is he accusing Jews who support Israel of provoking anti-Semitism? Or is it sufficient merely to stand for parliament against a Muslim opponent?