Eric Moonman memorial: Tributes to ‘terrific friend and politician’

Eric Moonman memorial: Tributes to ‘terrific friend and politician’

Those close to the former Labour and SDP politician gathered in Westminster to remember his life and work

Eric with his wife Gillian
Eric with his wife Gillian

Politicians, family members and friends this week paid tribute to former Essex MP Eric Moonman, who died last December.

Speaking during a Parliamentary reception, Eric’s wife Gillian movingly recounted how his “powerful personality transformed the outlooks of so many under his influence”.

She said: “Eric was a passionate, opinionated and supportive man who always said what he meant and never said what he didn’t mean.

“He was a polymath, excelling in whatever venture he turned his hand to. He cared deeply for mental health, the decline of the newspaper industry, children in care and the plight of Soviet Jewry. His was a life of great energy, enthusiasm and optimism.”

The former Labour and SDP politician served twice as Board of Deputies senior vice president and chaired the Zionist Federation between 1975 and 1980. He also served on the board of the British-Israel Public Affairs Committee in 1986, and in recent years was known as an expert on security and counter-terrorism issues.

Eric’s wife Gillian speaking during the event

Louise Ellman MP praised Eric as a “terrific man” who “affected people for the good in so many different areas of life.”

She recalled: “Over the years as an MP, Eric was such a wonderful friend. He supported me through difficult times whenever I needed advice.”

Holocaust survivor and educator Ben Helfgott at the event to remember Eric Moonman

The Labour MP added that Moonman was one of the few MPs who did something positive for Israel in Parliament, primarily through the Lobby Day for Israel, which he organised alongside Christian Friends of Israel.

Other tributes came from Lord Hoyle, who praised Eric as a “wonderful person who always gave 150 percent”.

Dr Lionel Kopelowitz, former Board president, added that Moonman was “totally reliable in every possible way” and a “very great Jew and a very great Zionist.”

Alan Aziz, who organised the event on behalf of the family, said: “Eric was a mentor to me and helped me formulate my methods of how to navigate this very complicated world we live in.”

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