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.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Book Reviews Personalities How a Jewish Leader With 3 Months to Live Created a ‘Seminar’ on Life

    How a Jewish Leader With 3 Months to Live Created a ‘Seminar’ on Life

    JNS.org – What would you do if you found out that you had only three more months to live? Gordon Zacks was a successful businessman, a leader of Jewish life, and a confidante and adviser to President George H.W. Bush. He knew that he had prostate cancer, but doctors advised him that it was very slow-growing and nothing to worry about. Then came the day when the doctors told him his cancer metastasized to his liver, and that he had [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Theater 10 Things I Learned From My Play About Holocaust Denial

    10 Things I Learned From My Play About Holocaust Denial

    Last month, my one-man show Hoaxocaust! Written and performed by Barry Levey with the generous assistance of the Institute for Political and International Studies, Tehran ran in the New York International Fringe Festival, where it won an Overall Excellence Award. The play has now been selected to run in the Fringe Encores Series at Baruch College’s Performing Arts Center, for four performances which started on Thursday, September 11. Getting the play to the stage was not easy, however. Here are [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Israel Israeli Music Producer Racks Up Over 535,000 YouTube Hits – in Two Days

    Israeli Music Producer Racks Up Over 535,000 YouTube Hits – in Two Days

    Phenomenon: Tel Aviv-based musician and “sampler” extraordinaire, Kutiman (aka Ophir Kutiel) has hit another one out of the park with “Give It Up,” a fully-functioning song in its own right, assembled from hundreds of ameteur and instructional music videos. The Jerusalem-born musical prodigy is best know for his diverse online musical projects. In the latest video, uploaded to YouTube on Sept. 12th, Kutiel thanked most of the musicians and individuals he chose to include in the meticulously-edited clip, which opens with [...]

    Read more →
  • Theater US & Canada Behind-the-Scenes Reel of Ridley Scott’s Moses Epic Shows Scenes Using 4000 Extras (VIDEO)

    Behind-the-Scenes Reel of Ridley Scott’s Moses Epic Shows Scenes Using 4000 Extras (VIDEO)

    A recently released behind-the-scenes reel of Ridley Scott’s upcoming film Exodus: Gods and Kings shows just how far the director has gone to portray one of the Bible’s most famous narratives. In the clip, which shows scenes involving up to 4,000 extras, the visionary director discusses what drew him to the biblical tale of Moses. “The Moses story was a massive challenge, which I really love. I wanted to explore the complexity of his character and I was stunned by [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish Identity Turner Classic Movies Showcases ‘Broad Sweep’ of the Jewish Experience on Film

    Turner Classic Movies Showcases ‘Broad Sweep’ of the Jewish Experience on Film

    JNS.org – Since 2006, the Turner Classic Movies (TCM) cable and satellite TV network has hosted “The Projected Image,” a month-long showcase examining how different cultural and ethnic groups have been portrayed on the big screen. At last, after previously covering African Americans, Asians, the LGBT community, Latinos, Native Americans, Arabs, and people with disabilities, the annual series is delving into Jewish film this month. “The Projected Image: The Jewish Experience on Film,” whose first segment aired Sept. 2, runs [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Jewish Identity An Inside Look at the Hasidim (REVIEW)

    An Inside Look at the Hasidim (REVIEW)

    The sight of young girls in pinafores and young boys wearing peyos – sidelocks – dangling over their ears is a sure sign that you have entered the enigmatic precincts of the Hasidim – the pious ones. Veteran New York Times journalist Joseph Berger’s new book, THE PIOUS ONES: The World of Hasidim and their Battles with America, takes the reader on a journey into the enclaves where various sects of Jews live a seemingly outmoded way of life in [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish Identity How Jewish Television Pioneer Milton Berle Inspired Modern Comedy Stars

    How Jewish Television Pioneer Milton Berle Inspired Modern Comedy Stars

    JNS.org – Today’s comedy superstars, especially those whose careers are driven by television, may very well owe their success to pioneering Jewish entertainer Milton Berle. Born Mendel Berlinger in Manhattan in 1908, Berle became America’s first small-screen star. Aptly nicknamed “Mr. Television,” he influenced and helped promote the work of hundreds of younger comics. “Milton Berle was deceptively successful and very Jewish,” says Lawrence Epstein, author of The Haunted Smile: The Story of Jewish Comedians in America, published the year [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Sports Jewish ‘Hoops Whisperer’ a Secret Weapon for NBA Stars

    Jewish ‘Hoops Whisperer’ a Secret Weapon for NBA Stars

    JNS.org – Idan Ravin’s friends chipped in to buy him a humble but life-changing bar mitzvah gift—a basketball hoop his father attached to the roof of his garage. Little did his friends know that years later, he would be the personal trainer of National Basketball Association (NBA) stars Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard, and Stephen Curry. Ravin’s new book, “The Hoops Whisperer: On the Court and Inside the Head of Basketball’s Best Players,” details his rise from a Jewish upbringing [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.