JWR Wandering Jews

In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Nov. 10, 2003 / 15 Mar-Cheshvan, 5764

The chosen person

By Melanie Phillips

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https://www.jewishworldreview.com | The British Conservative party has elected Michael Howard as its first Jewish leader — and potential Prime Minister — since Benjamin Disraeli led the Tories in the 19th century.

This has occurred when much of the Jewish community in Britain feels besieged by an upsurge of anti-Jewish hatred. So how can a country whose deep vein of prejudice is once again open and flowing be sanguine about the possibility of a Jewish Prime Minister?

Some Jews see no problem in Britain — quite the reverse. Howard's rise demonstrates, they purr, that Britain has changed, that it has developed a new maturity, that British Jews have finally become truly accepted. From which Panglossian optimism, one can only marvel at the infinite human capacity for self-delusion.

For Britain is where the veteran Labour MP Tam Dalyell claimed a 'cabal' of Jews was controlling Tony Blair and George Bush — and was then promptly excused as a lovable eccentric. Where the following day, the BBC TV current affairs show Newsnight concluded that Dalyell had a case, and a 'tightly-knit' group of Jews really did control US foreign policy.

Where Israel is repeatedly dehumanized and delegitimized as an apartheid or Nazi state. Where almost two thirds of the public believe it is the biggest threat to world peace. Where attacks on Jews have increased. And where friendships between Jews and non-Jews founder over claims by the latter that the Jews are all-powerful, and that the establishment of Israel was a terrible mistake.

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In this hostile climate, however, Michael Howard has climbed to the top of the greasy Tory pole after the sacking of the previous party leader, Iain Duncan Smith. So how does one explain the apparent contradiction?

The situation of diaspora Jews has always been characterized by many such ambiguities and nuances, by a profound ambivalence in the general population and a precarious balancing act over Anglo-Jewish identity.

Howard's triumph is an astonishing turnaround. As Home Secretary in the last Conservative government in the 1990s, he became the most unpopular politician in Britain, as much because of his personality as his tough policies. He was widely viewed as sinister and menacing, leading his colleague Ann Widdecombe to make her infamous claim that he had 'something of the night' about him.

So what was she getting at? Howard provoked a notable repugnance not associated with other, even harder men of the right. This was clearly because he was viewed as an unctuous, oily, slippery, devious, too-clever-by-half lawyer — all epithets associated in the public mind with Jews.

True, under Margaret Thatcher's earlier regime there were no fewer than five Jews in the Cabinet. But this was an aberration, caused by Mrs. Thatcher's personal admiration for the Jews which was not shared by her colleagues, who objected that there were 'more Estonians than Etonians' in the government.

Now, though, Howard is being hailed as the savior of his party which is falling over itself to describe him as charming, decent, honorable, upright, fair, fastidious and virtuous.

So have the Tories suddenly learned to love the Jews? Not quite.

The Conservatives are in the grip of a protracted nervous breakdown, because they've been out of power for six years and the country regards them as a hopeless joke. So lacking are they in talent, and so bad is their disarray, they would have elected a Martian if they thought he might win the general election.

Howard is by far the most successful politician they've got. He has authority and experience, and through his forensic approach does serious damage to the Labour government in House of Commons debates. He is therefore the Conservatives' only reliable weapon. And the Tories will do anything to win power.

Crucially, moreover, Howard's Jewish profile has always been low. True, in his leadership bid he drew attention to the fact that he was the child of immigrants. True, he says Jewish values are still 'an important guide and influence on my life', and he attends a (Liberal) synagogue on the high holydays. But he has never made much of his Jewishness. His wife, the former model Sandra Paul, is a member of the Church of England; and his son Nick not only became a Christian, but provoked controversy as a student when he started trying to convert Jews to Christianity as well.

Despite the gushing compliments about Howard in the media in the past week, there have still been uncomfortable reminders of the prejudice lurking below the surface. With the press going overboard to describe how his father fled the Nazis in Transylvania, there was also a reference to Howard posing as a 'proper English gentleman 'who stood for 'those very Anglo-Saxon virtues of fair play and decency' — whereas according to his enemies, he was a 'chilly, calculating, heartless, ruthless, ambitious, calculating political machine, bent on passing himself off as something he wasn't'. In other words, not an English gentleman at all.

On Newsnight (again), the renowned anchor Jeremy Paxman asked another Tory MP: 'What makes you think the country is ready for a man of Transylvanian origins?' And in an apparently subliminal link, he followed this by saying Howard might as well have 'something of the night' emblazoned on his forehead.

When Howard was asked by a newspaper what he had felt about this extraordinary line of questioning, he displayed a rare unease and muttered something about Paxman's reputation for disobliging remarks. His reticence tells you everything you need to know about Britain's supposed 'maturity' towards Jews.

For Howard surely knew that for a Jew to complain about anti-Jewish prejudice in Britain is to provoke that very thing. That is the true measure of Anglo-Jewish status: you are accepted as long as you never come into conflict with the values of the surrounding community. Whatever they hit you with, you are supposed to take it in silence — the defining characteristic of the diaspora Jew.

And this surely lies at the very heart of the terrible bitterness over British attitudes towards both Israel and the Jews. For the British think there's nothing wrong with the Jews as long as they agree with the generally accepted view that Israel is the cause of world terror because it is an apartheid or even a Nazi state.

Those Jews who agree with this analysis, and also agree that claims of resurgent British anti-Semitism are a figleaf to conceal the crimes of Ariel Sharon, are the Good Jews. They are welcomed at the most fashionable dinner tables; they are lionized in the universities, publishing or the media.

Those Jews who say Israel is defending itself against an attempt to destroy it, that its dehumanization by the media breaks the bounds of legitimate criticism, and that Jew-hatred of a kind that was assumed to have vanished forever is now horrifyingly respectable, are the Bad Jews. They are not merely socially and professionally ostracized. They are regarded as not really British at all.

Anti-Semitism is now the prejudice that dare not speak its name. Everyone knows that 'real' anti-Semitism was what caused Howard's father to flee Transylvania for Britain. Everyone also 'knows' that the victims of the Nazis have now turned into Nazis, that anti-Semitism is history, and that it exists today only as a shroud waved by whingeing Jews.

In other words, the newly 'mature' British like Jews as long as they dump upon Israel, and deny the now rampant public prejudice against them. The British like Jews as long as they turn the other cheek when people commit mass murder against them. They are the good Jews: the Jews who die, just like Michael Howard's picturesque relatives. The bad Jews are the Jews who fight back.

The British believe they are not anti-Jew but anti-Israel. (So do many British Jews on the left, who encourage them). But they are not merely against the government of Israel. The agenda now is that the creation of the Jewish state itself was the big mistake that has led to world terror, and that the very idea of a Jewish state is racist. People now say this to me all the time.

So what would happen if Howard were to speak up loudly and firmly in support of Israel's measures for self-defense, and against the new anti-Semitism? He would be taking a big risk of being fingered for double loyalty. For what troubles the British even more than the individual Jew is the collective Jew. Jews who publicly identify with each other are considered suspect. The British public will overlook a politician's Jewish heritage as long as it's kept to the level of something consenting adults do in private, and as long he doesn't identify with Jewish peoplehood.

The idea that British Jews are not really 'one of us' is deeply rooted in British society. Even though prejudice based on Jewish identity went underground after the Holocaust, the successful dehumanization of Israel by the media has legitimized the revival of the ancient canard of world Jewish power and other familiar tropes of Jew-hatred. British Jews, who have always trodden an existential tightrope, nevertheless believed until very recently that they were as British as anyone else. Now, they find themselves in the hideous position of being forced to denounce their own or bite their tongues as the price of social acceptance.

Michael Howard has said: 'Being Jewish is no bar to playing a very important part in public life in this country'. True, but at a price. A Jewish politician who is determined to become Prime Minister would be brave indeed if he put his head above this particular parapet. Whether such a situation constitutes a 'new maturity' to be celebrated about Britain is quite another matter.

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Melanie Phillips is a British journalist and author. She is best known for her controversial column about political and social issues which currently appears in the Daily Mail. Awarded the Orwell Prize for journalism in 1996, she is the author of All Must Have Prizes, an acclaimed study of Britainís educational and moral crisis, which provoked the fury of educationists and the delight and relief of parents. Her ideas have influenced politicians in both government and opposition, who follow her battles in the culture wars with fascination. Styled a conservative by her opponents, she prefers to think of herself as defending authentic liberal values against the attempt to destroy western culture from within. Click here to visit her site. Comment by clicking here.

© 2003, Melanie Phillips