We offer peace and amity to all the neighbouring states and their peoples, and invite them to cooperate with the independent Jewish nation for the common good of all. The State of Israel is ready to contribute its full share to the peaceful progress and development of the Middle East. (From Proclamation of the State of Israel, 5 Iyar 5708; 14 May 1948)

Friday, 15 February 2013

Anti-Antisemitism, Nick Clegg-style

Described early in his political career by Lord Macaulay as "the rising hope of the stern and unbending Tories," the famous Victorian Liberal Party statesman William Ewart Gladstone (1809-98) served no less than four terms as Britain's prime minister, a dour foil at Westminster for the colourful Tory "Hebrew conjuror," Benjamin Disraeli.

In 1896, Sir Samuel Montagu (later Lord Swaythling), Liberal MP for Whitechapel, sent Gladstone a copy of Theodor Herzl's Der Judenstaat, translated into English by Sylvie d'Avigdor, daughter of a well-known Jewish communal leader.  The pamphlet appeared in April, and Gladstone received it hot off the press.

In a postcard to Sir Samuel, Gladstone gave a verdict of sorts contained in the following extract (his entire reply was reproduced in facsimile form in the Jewish Chronicle, 29 May 1896):
"The subject of your enclosure is most interesting: not easy for one outside to form an opinion on: impertinent, perhaps, to speak it were it formed.  I am surprised, however, to see the misery of the Jews so broadly stated.  Of course, I am strongly anti-anti-Semitism."
Fast forward to 2013.  Conservative MP Robert Halfon, mindful of the shocking antisemitism openly manifested in recent times by certain members of the Lib Dem party, asked party leader Nick Clegg (on whom, so to speak, the mantle of Gladstone has fallen) whether he would "take action" against party members who bring such offence and distress to Jewish people.  Was Clegg's answer as robust as might have been wished?  You decide (hat tip: reader Ian):

4 comments:

  1. BBC reported yesterday that Ward has been called to see Clegg and full disciplinary proceedings will take place.

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  2. log onto http://blog.thecst.org.uk/?p=4102 which is the website of the Community Security Trust (the defence organisation of the UK Board of deputies of British Jews) and the latest on David Ward MP. He's permitted to be posted on his personal website a damning article from something called zenpolitics. Mark Gardner of CST both links to the article and deconstructs it superbly. It is very much worth a read.

    How david Ward can remainan MP after this beggars belief.

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    Replies
    1. I'm heading to the CST site now. Thanks, Brian.

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