Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

Former British Cabinet Member: Margaret Thatcher Was ‘Untouched by Antisemitism’

April 8, 2013 7:45 pm 9 comments

Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

Margaret Thatcher, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, died at the age of 87 after suffering a stroke Monday. Thatcher represented the Conservative Party and in 1987 famously said, “There is no such thing as society.” The “Iron Lady,” as she was nicknamed, also forged close relations with Britain’s Jews.

In 1959, when Thatcher was a rising politician, she sided with local liberals in a fight against a golf club that was excluding Jewish members. Even earlier, during the Second World War, Thatcher’s family hosted an Austrian-Jewish teenager hiding in the UK from Nazi persecution.

As UK Prime Minister from 1975-90, Thatcher assembled many Jewish cabinet members such as Malcolm Rifkind, Keith Joseph, Leon Brittan, and Nigel Lawson. “She was completely untouched by anti-Semitism. She took individuals on their own merits and recognized ability where she found it,” Lawson told London’s Jewish Chronicle.

“Baroness Thatcher was a giant who had a transformative impact on Britain. I first got to know her early on in my life when she was the local MP. She was loved and admired by many in the Jewish community who will miss her deeply. Few people in my lifetime have left such a personal imprint on British life,” said Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth Lord Jonathan Sacks.

Thatcher’s relationship with the Israeli government during her term was more strained. She described Menachem Begin, prime minister of Israel for two periods in the 1980s, as the “most difficult” man she had to work with.

9 Comments

  • Please see the UK Zionist Federation’s statement on Baroness Thatcher here: A statement I wholeheartedly agree with. You can also view it at this link http://zionistfederation.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/baroness-thatcher-was-true-friend-of.html:

    BARONESS THATCHER WAS A TRUE FRIEND OF ISRAEL AND THE JEWISH PEOPLE

    We were deeply saddened to learn of Baroness Thatcher’s death. The ZF offers its sincere condolences to her family.

    Margaret Thatcher, the Conservative MP for Finchley and Golders Green from 1959-1992 and Prime Minister from 1979-1990 was a true friend to the Jewish people and to the State of Israel.
    She was the first Prime Minister to make an official trip to Israel and energetically opposed the Arab boycott.

    Thatcher claimed her greatest accomplishment was her work as a child to help save a Jewish teenager in Austria from the Holocaust. In 1938, after correspondence with Margaret Thatcher’s sister, Muriel Roberts, Margaret and her sister set about raising funds for Edith, so she could move to England and escape the mass genocide of Jews in World War Two. During her time as Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher frequently condemned Soviet Union officials for their treatment of Refuseniks.

    Paul Charney, Chairman of the ZF said, “Margaret Thatcher was a loyal friend to the Jewish people and the State of Israel. Her continued defence of freedom and democracy worldwide was at one with Israel, the only stable and mature democracy in the Middle East.”

  • Like Reagan it’s hard to remember what Margaret Thatcher was actually for. All she ever was was ‘against.’ Most female conservatives are like this. That’s why they leave such a negligible footprint aside from sourness once they pass on.

  • People like Margaret Thatcher don’t come around every year. Jews around the world should mention her in their prayers with thanks in their hearts

  • Ms. Thatcher’s comment about Begin being, “the most difficult man….” is a true compliment to him (even though he made great policy errors that reverberate to this day)in light of the “flexibility” (better, pliability) of Israel’s current leadership.

  • “It’s a mystery to me why Jews vote for highly centralized governments when you consider the recent governments of Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia” Chicago economist Milton Friedman.

    “When it comes to politics Jews are simpletons” Zionist Vladimir
    Jabotinsky

    Toddah Rabbah for PM Thatcher.

    A goy,

    Gerry Mullen

  • a true friend to all the Jewish residents of the UK and a great visionary who enabled many to achieve their dream of owning property and fulfill aspirations.May she rest in the peace she was denied at the end of her career

  • glenda urmacher

    I will miss Margaret Thatcher.
    She proved that women were just as strong in making major national decisions, and tough enough to go head to head with some of the most despicable world event’s leaders of her time.
    I am sure she and her family paid the price, and they made the ultimate sacrifices, so that she could do her job.
    And that she did quite well.
    Rest in Peace , Madame Prime Minister

  • Mireille Mechoullam

    She should rest in peace. She was quite a lady.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Blogs Features Israel and the Apartheid Narrative: 2 South African Student Leaders Weigh In

    Israel and the Apartheid Narrative: 2 South African Student Leaders Weigh In

    JNS.org – About two-dozen people file into Dodd 175 at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) campus on a Thursday night, scouting out seats and picking at the kosher pizza in the back of the lecture hall. Miyelani Pinini knows the drill. A former student president of the University of Cape Town in South Africa, she’s attended and even organized her share of free-pizza events. But now she and a fellow South African student leader were the stars of this […]

    Read more →
  • Food Spirituality/Tradition The Brewish State: Israel Taps Into Growing Craft Beer Bazaar

    The Brewish State: Israel Taps Into Growing Craft Beer Bazaar

    JNS.org – It’s widely known that Israel has penetrated the wine market, with some of its sophisticated Israeli blends surpassing historically excellent wines from areas such as the Napa Valley or Bordeaux. But what about beer? For decades, Israel has offered solely the Maccabi and Nesher brands. Not anymore. “There is a huge push of people making beer at home. The country is approaching over 30 craft breweries in the last year or two, making nearly 200 beers,” says Avi Moskowitz, […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Natalie Portman Says She Behaved Like ‘Average Everyday Jewish Mother’ on Set of Latest Movie

    Natalie Portman Says She Behaved Like ‘Average Everyday Jewish Mother’ on Set of Latest Movie

    Actress Natalie Portman acted like a typical “Jewish mother” on the set of her latest movie, Jane Got a Gun, the Israeli-born star told the New York Post‘s Page Six on Sunday. The 34-year-old, who also co-produced the western, said she made it her job to look out for everyone involved in the project, because the film has had to overcome “so many obstacles,” such as losing its director early on. She explained: “Actors changed. We suffered financial and legal challenges. We endured so many replacements. There were delays. […]

    Read more →
  • Israel Music Scorpions Lead Singer Sends Message to Israel Ahead of World Tour, Tel Aviv Performance (VIDEO)

    Scorpions Lead Singer Sends Message to Israel Ahead of World Tour, Tel Aviv Performance (VIDEO)

    “We’re looking very much forward to coming back to Israel this summer,” said the lead singer of the German rock band Scorpions in a video on Monday. “Make sure you don’t miss it because we rock you like a hurricane!” said a jovial Klaus Meine, quoting the band’s seminal 1984 anthem, “Rock You Like a Hurricane.” The hard rock band lands in Israel for a show at the Menorah Mivtachim Arena on July 14 as part of its 50th anniversary tour. It will be the band’s third time […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Book Reviews The Collected Works of Primo Levi, Edited by Ann Goldstein (REVIEW)

    The Collected Works of Primo Levi, Edited by Ann Goldstein (REVIEW)

    Primo Levi and Elie Wiesel were the two most immediate and authentic literary voices who gave witness to the Holocaust. Wiesel was an extrovert and a very public figure who wrote initially in French. Levi was a modest retiring chemist who wrote in Italian. Whereas Wiesel was rooted in the Eastern European Jewish Hassidic world, Levi was the product of an assimilated, secular Italian society that saw itself as Italian first and Jewish as an accident of birth. As Levi himself said, “At Auschwitz I […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Lifestyle Wine Brings Judea and Samaria to Tel Aviv

    Wine Brings Judea and Samaria to Tel Aviv

    JNS.org – Wine has long been considered a social lubricant, and it’s Nir Lavie’s hope that wine from his Har Bracha Winery in the Samarian hills will serve as a social lubricant between the city-goers of Tel Aviv and the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria, two locales split geographically, and often politically, on the left and right of the country. The new flagship store of Har Bracha has recently popped its corks on 190 Ben Yehuda Street in Tel Aviv, […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Gentile Actor Zachary Levi Says He’s Denied Roles for Being ‘Too Jewish’

    Gentile Actor Zachary Levi Says He’s Denied Roles for Being ‘Too Jewish’

    Actor Zachary Levi said casting directors have denied him roles for being “too Jewish,” despite the fact that he is not a Jew, the New York Daily News‘ Confidenti@l reported on Wednesday. “I guess they were looking for more of a corn-fed, white boy look,” he said. “My family is from f****** Indiana! Come on, I’m like dying here!” The Thor star clarified that he is Welsh, and that Levi is actually his middle name, while his real last name is Pugh. He said he […]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Spirituality/Tradition Tracing Chabad’s History and Success (REVIEW)

    Tracing Chabad’s History and Success (REVIEW)

    The secret of Chabad’s worldwide success is revealed by veteran Chabad shliach (emissary) Rabbi David Eliezrie in his new book, The Secret of Chabad. The Chabad movement was founded by Rabbi Schnur Zalman of Liadi, Belarus, in 1775. Years later it came to the US with the arrival of Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn in 1940, after his escape from Nazi-occupied Warsaw. Upon his arrival in New York, a number of his co-religionists advised him that there was no place for traditional […]

    Read more →