07 November 2003
The Evening Standard
WHEN we were growing up, every Jewish mother wanted her son to become a doctor.
A Jewish mother would look at her newborn child and dream of the day when she would be able to point to him as "My son, the doctor". She would look at the infant's fingers and say, "He could be a pianist with those fingers," but she would really like to say, "He has the hands of a surgeon." Then, with time, the compromises begin.
If he was not so bright, then he could be a lawyer, and if he was even dumber, he could always be an accountant, but a politician - never!
If Mr Howard, now confirmed as the Conservative Party's leader, really wants to be Prime Minister, we have two suggestions. One: play down the Romania connection. Mr Howard's family comes from Romania.
We are sure the Romanians are very fine people and have accomplished great things, but unfortunately we can't think of any of them and thank God they didn't do them in our neighbourhood. The only famous Romanian we know was Dracula, and he's not the sort of fellow you'd invite out for a drink, unless you feel blood loss is a legitimate method of losing weight. And there is also the recipe for Romanian chicken stew that begins, "First, steal a chicken " Two: ditch the Mets. Howard is known for his support for Liverpool, Swansea and Folkestone soccer teams. But he is also a fan of baseball and unfortunately has picked the New York Mets, who have about the same chance of winning the championship as Yasser Arafat has of going to a burlesque show with Ariel Sharon. Support the other New York team, the Yankees.
When they lose, they lose with class. Their losing gets more press than other teams winning. Even Hillary Clinton, who obviously thought the Yankees were a bunch of people who won the Civil War, disturbed her hairdo enough to put on a Yankee cap for the photographers.
As Home Secretary, Mr Howard pressed for a "three strikes, you're out" policy. In baseball, that's certainly the rule (ask the Mets), but in politics, sometimes it's "one strike, you're out". But sometimes even a new player can hit a home run the first time at bat.
Nobody ever heard of a Jewish mugger. The truth is, everyteam- body knows Jews are muggers - but they are called lawyers.
Of all the other available businesses, occupations and professions, in the history of the world no one has ever heard of a Jewish mother wanting her child to be a politician. Mr Howard is both a politician and a lawyer.
IN America, most politicians are lawyers. If, in the public's perception, a Jewish lawyer is really a form of a mugger, then logically the same mother that encouraged her child to be a lawyer should encourage a child to be a politician. A politician can do to a whole country what a lawyermugger can only do to one person at a time. But still, Jewish mothers will not wish their sons into politics.
The most obvious reason why a Jewish mother wouldn't want her child to be a politician, let alone leader of the Conservative Party, is because it is not steady work. A politician gets a job and even if he does it well, after the next election he could be collecting unemployment insurance.
Even Churchill, who did a magnificent job in leading Britain to victory in a war in which his country's very existence was at stake, was himself bombed out of office.
Another question that must occur to a mother contemplating her son's possible future career is: "How much could an ordinary politician steal in a term of office?" In other business, people have a lifetime to develop their skills of deception and thievery and, barring an occasional unforeseen apprehension, could go on happily for their entire lives.
Another reason why Jewish parents do not want their children to become politicians is they feel a politician must, of necessity, call attention to himself. There's an old maxim: "The nail that stands up is the one that gets hit with the hammer."
Recently, but for Florida - which, incidentally, has one of the largest Jewish populations in America - my country came close to having a Jew as its vice president. As a matter of fact, Joseph Lieberman, Al Gore's running mate last time around, received more votes than the that was actually declared the winner, because of America's peculiar system of the Electoral College.
Interestingly enough, many Jews didn't vote for Senator Lieberman because they believed their future was more secure if a Jew were not in the public spotlight, running the country.
Jews have been blamed for everything, from the two world wars to economic collapses to genetic diseases. As it is, in the twisted thinking of some Muslim fanatics, who not only claim that Israel is an aggressor nation and the cause of most of the world's present problems, they even claim that the Jews were responsible for the World Trade Center bombing - that they had advance warning, evacuating the Center before the planes struck. And speaking of lunatics, Hitler claimed as proof that the Jews controlled the American media the fact that the Times backwards spelled "Semit" ( apparently, in addition to his other shortcomings, he couldn't spell) and that Roosevelt's real name was Rosenfeld.
THE longstanding charge was that, in America, Jews controlled the media and, by financing the political parties, were responsible for US foreign and domestic policy decisions.
But America has never had a Jewish leader nationally elected, whereas Britain has had one and could, in the person of Michael Howard, soon have another. Undoubtedly, there will be a charge born out of the twisted logic of fanatics that Michael Howard, if he became Prime Minister, obtained that office by a skein of events whereby the first step was the World Trade Center destruction - of course, caused by Jews.
So what if they were all Muslim fanatics? If it weren't for the Jews, they wouldn't be fanatics, and would all be driving cabs in NYC. After the World Trade Center outrage, Bush declared war on terrorism because of Jewish pressure. Then Tony Blair was sucked into the process, barely surviving with his credibility intact, leaving the door open for Michael Howard to become Prime Minister. It makes perfect geometric logic - if they let a person out of the asylum long enough to make this charge.