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Sir Gerald Kaufman

KAUFMAN, SIR GERALD (1930– ), British politician. Originally a journalist, Kaufman served as a staff writer for the London Daily Mirror (1955–64) and the New Statesman (1964–65) as well as parliamentary press officer for the Labour Party (1965–70) before becoming a Labour Member of Parliament for a Manchester seat in 1970. He held junior ministerial posts in Labour's 1974–79 government. During Labour's long period in opposition (1979–97) Kaufman held senior posts in the shadow cabinet and was shadow home secretary (1983–87) and shadow foreign secretary (1987–92). Originally on the left of the party, in the 1980s he was increasingly attacked by Labour's militant extreme left. In latter years Kaufman was outspokenly critical of Israel's policies toward the Palestinians, especially after the fall of the Barak government, for which he was heavily criticized by the Manchester Jewish community. Kaufman was also one of the leading critics of the "dumbing down" of the BBC, and is the author or editor of several books. A backbench member of Parliament since Labour's return to power in 1997, he was recognized as a respected elder statesman and received a knighthood in 2004.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.