On 30th of October 1956, during the Suez Canal crisis, 17 Jewish MPs voted to censure the government on a resolution which did not explicitly mention Israel1.

enter image description here

Former Jewish Minister of Defence, Emanuel Shinwell who was absent from the vote, said he had

The utmost contempt for those Jews, including British MPs who, though professional Zionists, claim to see in Israel's action an offence against international law. They ought to be ashamed. Jews defending themselves against persecution and aggression have my full support ... I was reluctant to defy party decisions but I preferred upholding my country's interests."

When he says, his country's interests, what does that mean? Also in Jewish Chronicles, Jewish MPs were reminded that "The Jewish representatives in the Houses of Parliament should not allow themselves to forget their racial origins, irrespective of their political affiliations" (J.C., 16 November 1956)

What was this person then on about in 2011?

Mr Halfon later commented on the matter in an article in the Jewish Chronicle:

‘The subtext, of course is that Jews by nature are not loyal to the country that they serve but are working for foreign powers, This has been the habitual accusation of anti-Semitism throughout the ages.’


  • isn't this a question for the history stack? Oct 1, 2019 at 22:24
  • @dolphin_of_france Maybe – if you think so, you should vote to close as off-topic.
    – divibisan
    Oct 1, 2019 at 22:27

1 Answer 1


Harold Lever was a British MP, and so "his country" would be Britain. The same is true for Ian Mikardo and Emanuel Shinwell.

The description of "former Jewish minister of Defence" for Manny Shinwell is a bit confusing, and would have been perhaps better as "Jewish former Minister of Defence".

  • 1
    OK I understand now I just couldn't align "defy party decision" with "uphold country interest" -- that just means that he doesn't believe that his party decision is in his country's interest.
    – user181157
    Oct 1, 2019 at 21:44

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .