Politicians are just old magicians

It seems the triple whammy of another UK election, Trump in the White House and the eclipse, permanent or not, of Marine Le Pen in France arrived just in time to rescue politics as a subject of dinner party chatter. Friends who have long observed the ‘no sex, no religion, no politics’ rule at cosy round-table gatherings are suddenly back on their soapboxes, inspired this time not by the casting of votes but the personalities of the past few years.

The cult of celebrity has much to answer for, but nowhere is its insidious creep more threatening than in this arena. As certain people have shown us, it is no longer enough to have sensible policies that you hope will benefit the people you are striving to represent. You now have to have a gimmick as well. And sometimes you don’t even need the policies anymore – you just pretend you do.

It’s the old magician’s trick: do something with one hand to distract the audience while the other hand is up to something else entirely.

I can think of no way out. The audience has fallen in love with the illusion. I can promise the earth to get elected, enjoy my spell in power, make millions afterwards in fees for after-dinner speeches (or become editor of a newspaper) and leave whoever follows to clean up my mess. Help!

Richard Cosner

By email

If the royals can manage to visit Saudi Arabia, surely they can go to Israel!

Why, I ask Alex Brummer, does no one expect Princes Charles or William to visit Israel, but to ‘make do’ with Andrew or Edward (Jewish News, 11 May)? They have no credibility on the international diplomatic scene.

As an Israeli prime minister, I would find that more insulting than no visit at all. As I said in a recent letter, if the Prince of Wales can do a sword dance with the Saudis, whose human rights record is beneath contempt – yes, I know we need their friendship – he can jolly well go to Israel on state business.

They won’t ask him to dance the Hora.

Barry Hyman,Bushey Heath

Newmark is picking the wrong fight

I read with absolute amazement and horror that Jeremy Newmark, chairman of the Jewish Labour Movement, has decided to stand for Parliament against Mike Freer. He is so bound up in the Labour Movement that he is not aware or understanding of the importance of keeping a true friend like Mr Freer in Parliament.

Sadie Allen, Edgware

Wedding tables have turned

Reading Isaac Cohen’s letter about his lack of success finding suitable Jewish women to date, I felt sorry for him, as he really sounds a nice fellow (Jewish News, 11 May). However, ‘what goes around comes around’.

Going back decades, I recall how young Jewish women often encountered unpleasant questioning when brought to meet prospective in-laws. The man’s families asked the most intrusive questions about her family’s financial status, and it was made plain they alone would bear any wedding costs.

Through pure greediness, many prospective weddings never took place, and many youngsters finished up in mixed marriages. Today we see how another version of the old expression can be applied: ‘What’s good for the goose is good for the gander’.

A W Kaye, Stamford Hill

No link to Oxford Union

In referring to concerns over anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, Sidney Sands mentions “the suppressing of the Oxford Union verdict” [Jewish News, 11 May].

He is, one suspects, referring to the failure to publish Baroness Royall’s report into alleged instances of anti-Semitism within the Oxford University Labour Club, which has no connection to either the esteemed Oxford Union or indeed the entirely separate Oxford University Students’ Union.

Jon Benjamin

By email

Labour’s new adviser is ‘guilty’ of anti-Semitism

Some people would vote Labour if they stuck a red rosette on a donkey, which is not dissimilar to Comrade Corbyn – but at least a
donkey has a use.

All you need to know about a Labour Government with the people surrounding Corbyn is Tim Lezard, a new ‘advisor’ to the Labour leader. He stated: “When anti-Semitism rises as a result of Israel bombing Gaza, should UK taxpayers fund security for synagogues?”

According to the International Definition of AntiSemitism, “Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel” is anti-Semitic.

That is before he has any power.

Russell Ballen, By email

Flying A flag won’t help

The official announcement about flying the Palestinian flag over Dublin City Hall by a vote of 42 to 11 with seven abstentions, includes the curious statement ‘with the Palestinian citizens of Israel denied basic democratic rights and with the over seven million displaced Palestinians denied the right of return to their homeland’ (Jewish News, 11 May).

About 25 percent of Israeli citizens are Arabs and they have the same
legal rights as all other citizens of Israel. In 1937, the British Mandate
offered a two state solution, which was rejected by the Arabs. In 1947 the UN offered a two state solution, but the Arabs rejected it. Israeli Prime Ministers Ehud Barak and Olmert have offered two-state solutions with US support, rejected by the PLO.

Flying the Palestinian flag over City Hall will not solve the Palestinian Authority’s problems.
Joseph Feld

By email