July 2008 marks the 150th anniversary of the passing of the Oath Act which enabled Jews to become members of parliament without taking the Oath of Allegiance "on the true faith of a Christian". Lionel de Rothschild was the first to be allowed to swear on the Old Testament, using less contentious wording. Since that time there have been just over 200 Jewish MPs and to mark the anniversary Lord Janner and Derek Taylor are writing a history of their work and achievements. The book describes the background to the political scene and includes a short biography of each of the MPs. Among the many Jewish MPs of particular renown have been Rufus Isaacs, Herbert Samuel, Leslie Hore-Belisha, Manny Shinwell, Harold Lever, Keith Joseph, Leon Brittan, Nigel Lawson, Malcolm Rifkind and Michael Howard. There have, however, also been Jewish MPs who have won the VC., created the House of Commons Jazz Club and been famed for the quality of the catering they supervised in the House. There have also been three crooks. Jewish MPs have been responsible for the Aldermarston marches, the abolition of stage censorship and capital punishment, changes in the law on defamation and many other important pieces of legislation. They have created Shell and ICI. They have also supported all the Jewish institutions and given massvely to national and Jewish charities. The book illustrates how a small minority can play a full part in the service of their country while still retaining their own faith. In a multi-cultural society this is an important lesson.
Publication Date: 7/22/2008