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...

  • Jewish Identity Sports Cycling the Desert: New Israel Bike Trail Connects Mitzpe Ramon to Eilat

    Cycling the Desert: New Israel Bike Trail Connects Mitzpe Ramon to Eilat

    As the popularity of cycling continues to increase across the world, Israel is working to develop cycling trails that make the country’s spectacular desert accessible to cyclists. The southern segment of the Israel Bike Trail was inaugurated on Feb. 24 and offers for the first time a unique, uninterrupted 8-day cycling experience after six years of planning and development. The southern section of the Israel Bike Trail stretches over 300 kilometers in length and is divided into eight segments for mountain biking, [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Theater Forthcoming Major Action Movies Inspired by Jewish Comic Artist Jack Kirby

    Forthcoming Major Action Movies Inspired by Jewish Comic Artist Jack Kirby

    JNS.org – With the recent Oscars in the rearview mirror, Hollywood’s attention now shifts to the rest of this year’s big-screen lineup. Two of the major action films coming up in 2015—Avengers: Age of Ultron, which hits theaters in May, and the third film in the Fantastic Four series, slated for an August release—have Jewish roots that the average moviegoer might be unaware of. As it turns out, it took a tough Jewish kid from New York City’s Lower East [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Jewish Identity When Torah Teaches Life and Life Teaches Torah (REVIEW)

    When Torah Teaches Life and Life Teaches Torah (REVIEW)

    JNS.org – Rabbi Gordon Tucker spent the first 20 years of his career teaching at the Conservative movement’s Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) and the next 20 years as the rabbi of Temple Israel Center in White Plains, N.Y. I confess that when I heard about the order of those events, I thought that Tucker’s move from academia to the pulpit was strange. Firstly, I could not imagine anyone filling the place of my friend, Arnold Turetsky, who was such a talented [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Oscars 2015: Reflecting on Love at First Sight

    Oscars 2015: Reflecting on Love at First Sight

    JNS.org – I’m in love, and have been for a long time. It’s a relationship filled with laughter, tears, intrigue, and surprise. It was love at first sight, back when I was a little girl—with an extra-terrestrial that longed to go home. From then on, that love has never wavered, and isn’t reserved for one, but for oh so many—Ferris Bueller, Annie Hall, Tootsie, Harry and Sally, Marty McFly, Atticus Finch, Danny Zuko, Yentl, that little dog Toto, Mrs. Doubtfire, [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Book Reviews Examining America’s First Foray into the Middle East (REVIEW)

    Examining America’s First Foray into the Middle East (REVIEW)

    At the turn of the 21st century through today, American involvement in Middle Eastern politics runs through the Central Intelligence Agency. In America’s Great Game: The CIA’s Secret Arabists and the Shaping of the Modern Middle East, historian Hugh Wilford shows this has always been the case. Wilford methodically traces the lives and work of the agency’s three most prominent officers in the Middle East: Kermit “Kim” Roosevelt was the grandson of president Theodore Roosevelt, and the first head of [...]

    Read more →
  • Relationships US & Canada Seniors at Los Angeles Jewish Home Give Witty Dating Advice Ahead of Valentine’s Day (VIDEO)

    Seniors at Los Angeles Jewish Home Give Witty Dating Advice Ahead of Valentine’s Day (VIDEO)

    Residents of the Los Angeles Jewish Home give dating advice to a young Jewish man in a comedic video posted Monday on YouTube just in time for Valentine’s Day. Jonathan, an associate at the Jewish home, quizzes the senior citizens on an array of topics including having sex on the first date, kissing a girl, who should pay for dinner and whether online dating is a good idea. When the 28-year-old asks a male resident named Lee about his experiences [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish History Kutsher’s Documentary an Amazing, and Tragic, Look at the Past (REVIEW)

    Kutsher’s Documentary an Amazing, and Tragic, Look at the Past (REVIEW)

    Anyone who spent time in the Jewish Catskills hotels – especially those like me, who returned for decades – must see the new documentary,”Welcome to Kutsher’s: The Last Catskills Resort.” Not only will the film transport you back to the glory days of your youth and thousands of memories, but it will also make you long for a world that is now lost forever. I returned to Kutsher’s one last time in the summer of 2009, but by then, the [...]

    Read more →
  • Education Jewish Identity Lifestyle Riding the Wave of Change in Part-Time Jewish Education

    Riding the Wave of Change in Part-Time Jewish Education

    JNS.org – Amid the numerous studies and analyses regarding Jewish American life, a simple fact remains: part-time Jewish education is the most popular vehicle for Jewish education in North America. Whenever and wherever parents choose Jewish education for their children, we have a communal responsibility to devote the necessary time and resources to deliver dynamic, effective learning experiences. The only way we can do this is by creating space for conversations and knowledge-sharing around innovative new education models. That also [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.