Posted Thursday, October 30, 2003

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David Irving comments:

AN ironic American correspondent writes to me: "Howard is a charming Jewish name, somewhat like Straw. Where did Mahathir get the crazy idea that the Jews rule the world by proxy?"
   It is true that Howard and Straw were both born Jews, though Jack Straw (who went to the same school as I) claims to have disavowed the religion. For that matter Disraeli also somewhat improbably claimed not to be a practising Jew.
   Howard's Romanian immigrant father's name was Hecht; he changed it to Howard on arrival in the UK. ("Leslie Howard" the film actor and British agent was also a changeling, László Hórváth). Michael "Howard" was born on July 7, 1941.

IN fact Howard would have been my choice as Conservative leader, and I am sure I have lost several friends by saying so; he is a first rate orator, and opposition ministers quail before his ready sarcasm and lightning repartee in the House.
   True, like Winston Churchill's schoolfriend and Cabinet adviser (and father of the Balfour Declaration), the late Leo Amery, Howard publicly conceals his Jewish origins, but he was the only European interior-minister to refuse to sign his country up to the odious "Holocaust Denial" legislation when the Conservatives were in power.
   Doesn't mean he won't change his spots however.


Tel Aviv, Thursday, October 30, 2003

British Tories may elect Jew to head Conservative Party

By Sharon Sadeh,
Haaretz Correspondent

LONDON - For the first time in more than 100 years, the British Conservative Party could have a Jewish leader. The party's ousting of Iain Duncan Smith now paves the way for Michael Howard to take over the leadership as a compromise candidate meant to avoid an internal party fight.

Not since Benjamin Disraeli has a Jew headed the Tories. Howard, the son of a Romanian-Jewish immigrant to England, belongs to St. John's Wood synagogue in London.

Many Tories' hopes appear to rest on Howard, 62, a respected veteran lawmaker who served as home secretary, Britain's top law enforcement official, under former prime minister John Major. Born in Wales, he is regarded as a Thatcherite who believes strongly in the free market and private enterprise, and is wary of closer British involvement in the EU. Howard sought the Tory leadership in 1997, but failed. He has been the shadow government's finance minister.

Political commentators give Howard little chance of actually leading the party to victory in elections scheduled two years from now. They say he has a problematic image, but many believe his analytic capabilities, combined with rhetorical skills, could help him consolidate the party toward electoral success in 2009.

Known as warmly pro-Israel and a great defender of the country when it comes under attack, Howard's Jewish roots are almost never mentioned in British politics, where references to such matters are taboo.

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