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The Jewish outlook. (Denver, Colo.) 1903-1913, April 06, 1906, Image 7

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Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn91052361/1906-04-06/ed-1/seq-7/

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Jewish Members in
the New Parliament
It is a remarkable fact that the num
ber of Jews elected for British constit
uencies in the present parliament is ex
actly double that of the Roman Catho
lics. In Ireland, of course, the major
ity of members belong to the Roman
church, but in England, Scotland and
Wales but seven Catholics have been
returned, whereas the Jews who are
less in number, fourteen candidates
have been successful, and as many un
successful. Yet the Catholic emancipa
tion act came long before the Jewish,
and it is not many years since we were
proud of having “Mesumman in the
House of Commons. In the last Parlia
ment, for the first time, we attained to
a ‘Minyan,” and now we are fairly on
our way to a “Kehillah,” and before
long a Jewish chaplain may be needed
in the House. So quickly do our peo
ple, even the immigrants of a few years
standing, take advantage of the highest
civic privileges of Englishmen, and fit
themselves for the most honorable posi
tions in public life.
Seeing that the Liberals, with the aid
of the Irish and labor parties, outnum
ber the Conservatives by nearly three to
one, it is but natural that the majority
of Jewish members are on their side of
the house. The Liberal party indeed
has always attracted to itself the
greater number of our people, for it is
to them that we owe our complete polit
ical emancipation; and they have al
ways stood for freedom and progress,
whereas the Tories of late have moved
backwards on the lines of retrogression.
Their last important legislative meas
ure, the alien's act, of which they had
hoped much, did them no good as a
party with the constituencies, and sin
gularly enough all the Jewish members,
with one single and not very honorable
exception, who had voted for it were
unseated. It would be rash to say,
post hoc, propter hoc, but it is certain
that they would have served themselves
as well if they had served their own
people better. Among the rejected are
Sir Benjamin Cohen, late president of
the board of guardians, and Sir Barry
Samuel, who represented an East End
constituency. Sir Evans Gordon, the
main promoter of the bill, did indeed
hold his seat at Stepney, but the two
other essentially Jewish London seats,
Whitechapel and Mile End, are now
represented by two Jewish Liberals,
Mr. Stuart Samuel and Mr. Bertram
Straus.
THE JEVvISH OUTLOOK
The most prominent of our fourteen
members is Mr. Herbert Samuel, who is
under secretary for home affairs, and
will thus be second head of the depart
ment which has to administer the alien's
act. He is the first Jewish minister
since Baron de Worms, who \fas under
secretary for foreign affairs, and as he
is still young he should go very far be
fore his political career is ended. The
Samuel family is indeed strongly repre
sented in the House, and may one day
rival the Cecils in power. Mr. Stuart
Samuel is a brother; Mr. Edwin Mon
tagu, son of Sir Samuel Montagu, and
though one of the youngest of the M.
P.’s, already marked out for advance
ment, a cousin, .and Mr. Horatio Myer,
who won a London seat, another cousin.
After Mr. Herbert Samuel it will prob
ably be admitted that the most notable
Jewish member is Mr. Rufus Isaacs,
who sits for Reading. He is perhaps
the most brilliant advocate now at the
English bar, and his parliamentary ca
reer bids fair to equal his forensic ca
reer. He may rise, it is suggested, even
to the Woolsack, the second position in
Hie kingdom, although is is still doubt
ful if it is open to a Jew. One of the
most satisfactory results was the elec
tion of Sir Philip Magnus as the mem
ber for London university. University
representatives form a corps d’elite
apart from the common herd, and they
are chosen more for their high ability
and general reputation than for their
party qualifications, so that the honor
is greater. Sir Philip lias well deserved
it, alike by his services to education and
to our community, and he is certain, if
need be, to be a. champion of our race
in the House, such as Sir John Simon
and Sir Julian Goldsmid were of old.
Sir Edward Sassoon and the Hon.
Walter Rothschild, the eldest son of
Lord Rothschild, are among the few
Conservatives who have not been sub
merged by the flood of Liberalism
which has swept the country, and their
success is due rather to their personal
popularity than to their politics. The
Unionists who have held their seats
must have been well-loved of their con
stituents.
On the Liberal benches there will be
quite a number of Jewish men new to
the House. Not one of them actually
belongs to the labor wing, though Mr.
Charles Henry, who is related to a fam
ily not unknown on your side of the
water, came in with an enormous ma
jority at Islip as Liberal and Labor can
didate. The Labor party in the House
is the party of the future, and seeing
that Socialist spirit is so strongly im
pressed in the Mosaic code and that, the
founders of modern Socialism, Lassalle
and Marx, were both of Jewish birth,
it will be strange if it does not soon in
elude a Jewish element. All our four
teen members sit for English constitu
encies; one bold member of the com
munity went down to Glasgow in a
hurry a week before the election and
raised the banner of tariff reform, but
the canny Scots were not to be beguiled
by his eloquence and he polled less than
300 votes. One other feature of the
election deserves remark. Both the
English Zionist Federation and the
Jewish territorial organization endeav
ored to get candidates to pledge them
selves to favor their respective schemes.
They were in many cases successful
and appeared very proud of the fine
names and cordial answers they secured.
For my part, I do not put much store
in promises gained in this way. A can
didate will promise to support any
scheme that is not positively obnoxious
or mischievous, provided it will gain
him more votes than it loses; but once
he is in Parliament he easily succeeds in
forgetting about it. I rather suspect
that many who made promises to one
organization or the other, or both, did
not know the difference between them
and probably did not care about them.
(One of the leaders of the Jewish Ter
ritorial organization in London, Mr.
Lazarus Langdon, K C., was himself a
candidate, but though he made a great
fight he was beaten by Lord Robert
Cecil, the son of the premier, Lord
Salisbury.) There may be a mischiev
ous side in these appeals to Englishmen
to give an expression of opinion in
Jewish schemes. We have of late had
to make many calls for sympathy with
the persecuted, for protest against the
Russian government, for congratula
tions on resettlement aniversaries, that
it seems unwise to have solicited them
yet again during an election. For if,
in the future, we really need their as
sistance we may find them no more loth
to give it in acts because they have been
so free with it in words. With the
aliens act the matter was different. It
was at once a big party question and a
question that closely touched our own
race, and in this case we were right in
canvassing the opinions of Parliamen
tary candidates; but the Zionistic and
J. T. O. schemes are not the concern of
English parties or of Parliament, and
they will not be furthered by the pat
ronage of distinguished persons or the
blessings of candidates eager for votes.
Yet there is one really good omen for
Jewish nationalism in this election, for
it shows clearly that in favorable cir
cumstances we can produce more than
our fair share of able politicians and
statesmen.
The Jewish state, be it in Palestine
or elsewhere, may perhaps show the
world a higher political condition than
it has vet seen.
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