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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.

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