By Adrian Needlestone, journalist and author
Having read Andrew Dismore’s reply to my article in the Jewish News.co.uk as to why Jews should not vote for him at the next election, I feel a little less guilty about picking up that particular baton and running with it.
Mr Dismore’s reply demonstrates he is nothing if not a well-trained politician in the art of keeping people on the agenda of his choice. A master of obfuscation with an ability to scatter red herrings around him and fly kites with no chords attached.
First he resorts to the old trick that if everyone dislikes him he must be doing something right. He illustrates this by pointing out Muslims were urged by their leaders not to vote for him at the last general and this cost him his seat.
The truth is very different. First of all Jews do NOT dislike him. He is simply the wrong face, in the wrong place, at the wrong time. At the last election London swung against Labour and it was really only the heavy Jewish vote in his favour that kept the margin of his Tory opponent’s victory to a miserly 106.
This is the reason why he later won his current London Assembly seat. Just 16% of ethnic voters put their cross against the name of a Tory candidate last time around. Only in places like Bradford where ethnic voters are almost in the majority did it sway the result.
On current predictions it appears next time around London will favour Labour no matter what the trend is in the rest of the country. This could see Mr Dismore back in the House Of Commons , especially if the Jewish vote gets behind him again.
Unlike Muslims, where many of the people are first generation and hail mainly from rural areas of the Indian sub continent, the Jewish vote is sophisticated , not homogeneous, and has been around for well over a century.
However some Muslims, all be it a minority, are now seeing the struggle between Israel and the Arabs not as a battle between religions but one of democracy versus totalitarianism. Sadly not enough of them, and not quickly enough.
Following the Great War, many Bundists ( Jewish Communists/Socialists) left comfortable lives in the USA and Britain to join the Great People’s revolution forged by Lenin and Stalin only to end up battered, bewildered, and dying in the Gulag.
Their crime? They were Jews. Their successors are still with us today, proving they learn nothing from history.
Then there are those who believe Judaism commands them to demand impossible standards of Israel as a Jewish country even to the extent of putting its own survival in jeopardy. There are also self-hating Jews who continually try to prove they are more anti than the anti-Semites and finally, there is the majority in the middle.
This group probably know where their interests lie but have yet to decide on the mechanism to best express it. Voting against Ed Miliband where it matters is undoubtedly the only real outlet for this frustration.
Mr Dismore does a good job of trying to defend his boss but it does not wash. On every occasion when a call to the barricades has been broadcast on behalf of the Jewish community, Mr Miliband has sped off in the opposite direction at a rate of knots.
At the end of the day, “by their actions shall ye know them,” and Miliband’s actions must be clear even to the most blinkered among us.
If Mr Dismore were standing in a safe Labour seat I would cheer him home to the rafters. Incidentally I wonder how many Jews and Israeli sympathisers are chosen for safe Labour seats nowadays.
However it is in marginal seats that elections are won and lost. Just a few votes either way can be the difference between a Government sympathetic to Israel’s genuine needs or one bordering on the hostile.
No matter how much I would like to say vote for Andrew Dismore, it is the marginal seat status that is more important. I have no doubt that should he be elected, Dismore would continue to speak out loudly for Israel.
But against the serried ranks of humourless grey faces gathered around him, the Jeremy Corbyn’s and Diane Abbott’s of this world, his voice would be one in a wilderness drowned out by hate and bile.
I also see a future where a series of de-selection plots could well be hatched against him.
I am sorry Mr Dismore but you have to go. The world is an unfair place as we Jews know only too well. .. and that is not being paranoid , perhaps a word you should not use around Jews, who over the years have become resigned to the fact that the worst possible outcome of any crisis is the one most likely to befall them.
If in Hendon and one or two other places we take action where we can make a difference and stop the rot, we will at least be able to say we tried to influence our own destiny and that of our people.