Tributes to Liberal peer who was ‘unashamed philosemite and admirer of Israel’
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Tributes to Liberal peer who was ‘unashamed philosemite and admirer of Israel’

Former governor of the University of Haifa 'was always supportive on issues of concern to the Jewish community'

Lord Trevor Smith
Lord Trevor Smith

Tributes have been paid to the former governor of the University of Haifa and peer Lord Trevor Smith following his death aged 83 – with his family saying he will be buried with a kippah on his head.

Professor Emeritus at the University of Buckingham, Geoffrey Alderman, remembered the late Lord Smith of Clifton for his “unashamed philosemitism, rooted in his sense of justice and his warm interaction with Jews of all persuasions”.

The Liberal peer had a distinguished career as an academic,  becoming Foundation Professor in Political Studies at Queen Mary College in 1983, before entering the House of Lords in 1997, which he sat in until retirement in 2019. 

He served as governor at the University of Haifa in Israel from 1988-93, and while vice chancellor of the University of Ulster from 1991 to 1999, he made a major contribution to the Northern Irish peace process. During this time he also appointed Rabbi Baroness Julia Neuberger as Chancellor.

Lord Smith’s family also told professor Alderman, he had been asked to be buried with a kippah on his head. 

The academic told Jewish News, “what I shall remember him for was his totally unashamed philosemitism, which was rooted in his sense of justice and his warm interaction with Jews of all persuasions. When addressing Jewish audiences Trevor could win an argument with an appropriate turn of Yiddish phrase.”

Lord Monroe Palmer, a Liberal Democrat peer and President of its friends of Israel group said “he was always supportive on issues of concern to the Jewish community” and that he was “sad at his passing”.

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