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Ed Miliband: Mensch or unmensch? (image: Department of Energy, South Africa)

For the first time in five decades, I shall not be voting Labour. I have always been a socialist and I believe in the principles of socialism. I have stood on the hustings beside Neil Kinnock and canvassed for my Aunt Rita in her constituency in Hull. I was, somewhat blurrily, a Blair luvvie and I used my dislike of Mrs Thatcher to fuel some deadly impersonations of her. My late husband, Jack Rosenthal, canvassed for Sydney Silverman in the 1945 General Election. "In them days," said the father in his seminal television play Bar Mitzvah Boy, "they handed you your Labour Party membership just after your circumcision. They gave with one hand and took away with the other.''

I still believe that, until the Iraq debacle, Tony Blair did great work to restore the party's fortunes. I still thumb through Tony Benn's diaries with a fond smile and I am Alan Johnson's number one fan as a politician, a writer and a humane human being. I have all the time in the world for Margaret Beckett and still admire Frank Field. I rather liked David Miliband and have a sneaking suspicion he may return strengthened by his time out in the real world. But this lot? The Chuka Harman Burnham Hunt Balls brigade? I can't, in all seriousness, go into a booth and put my mark on any one of them.

Ed Miliband's leadership coup was as biblical as anything in the book of Genesis, although the unions probably had less sway in those days. He comes from a family of secular Jews but his need for union approval is much greater than his need for Jewish support. We make up less than one per cent of the population, so why should he care if we vote for him or not? At a recent gathering he asked me if I was a practising Jew. I told him I was constantly practising and seldom achieving, but I did my best. "Do you do Shabbat dinners?" he asked. "Yes, when I can," I told him. "Would you like to come?" He expressed enthusiasm to learn more about his religion of his birth. We parted with a promise to ring each other's people. Two days later he was all over the papers, knocking back a bacon sandwich.

Now there is nothing intrinsically wrong with a secular Jew chomping on a thinly sliced, pan-fried pig rump — my late husband, before we were married, had been known to queue up for such a thing from the catering van on an early morning film shoot. That was fine with me. His choice. I just couldn't kiss him. Wouldn't or couldn't or both. Fair choice, I thought: treif or wife?

There is a story about a rabbi who longed to try a pig's head — just couldn't get the thought out of his own head. One day he had cause to travel many miles away and he decided to sneak under nightfall into a small, out of the way restaurant, famous for its pig's heads. The head was delivered steaming to his table, replete with an apple in its mouth. As the rabbi was about to take a large bite out of the pig, the doors opened and in walked one of his congregation. He turned to the incomer and yelled: "Can you believe this farshtinkener place? You ask for an apple and this is how they serve it!"

BLT butty aside, though, I have delayed sending my invitation to Mr Ed because since then, our man has got something else between his teeth: Israel. Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse. Just when the anti-Semitism in France, Denmark, Norway, Hungary is mounting savagely, just when our cemeteries and synagogues and shops are once again under threat. Just when the virulence against a country defending itself, against 4,000 rockets and 32 tunnels inside its borders, as it has every right to do under the Geneva Convention, had been swept aside by the real pestilence of IS, in steps Mr Miliband to demand that the government recognise the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel. 

Cue wild applause from the unions, smiles of approbation from the far Left — and shock horror from the Jewish Board of Deputies. Why would he do this? And why now? Many people on the Left and the Right would like to see a two-state solution if it means peace and mutual respect. I am one of them. Any future Palestinian state will be entirely free of Jews, of course. Yet the Jewish state is labelled "apartheid" with 1.7 million Arabs in residence and represented in parliament.

(1) It is a historical fact that the Arab states refused such an offer in 1937, 1948, 2000 and 2008. They have yet to accept Israel's right to exist and their constitutions and broadcasts to this day extol its destruction. 

(2) How can you recognise a state until its borders are decided?

(3) If you recognise a state you can officially arm that state. Already billions of pounds have been allotted to rebuild Gaza. Ha! Rebuild the tunnels and reequip the arsenal. Oh, how the propaganda has worked on these clever, concerned people again and again and again. If Hamas and Fatah cared one iota for the Palestinians, might they not have built schools and hospitals and streets for their people the first time the billions poured in and were converted into weaponry and hotel suites in Paris and citizens were used as human shields?

I'm an actress, Ed, and I am often commended for my timing. Frankly, my dear, yours sucks. The world is exploding around us. Isis is beheading our civilians while raping and pillaging across Syria and Iraq. Presidents Putin and Assad are playing such heavy-handed games that we don't know which rebel group to support. Hong Kong may be about to see a replay of Tiananmen. Islamist terrorism in every spot on the globe — and if one Jew had been responsible for any of those bombings, there would, I am afraid to say, have been another Kristallnacht. At this point in our history you choose to back these footling backbenchers in this ludicrous piece of propaganda?

And tell me this, Mr Miliband, sir, where are the pictures of the civilian dead from the allied bombings over Iraq? On which front pages can I see them? The daily count of dead and maimed babies? The howling mothers and screaming old women we saw every day, five times a day, from Gaza? May I remind you that no one is tunnelling into Dover or sending rockets into Coventry, yet we seem to have every right to bomb the living daylights out of Iraq. Again. Conclusion: one law for the Israelis, another law for the rest of the world. Plus ça change.

So, come election day, I shall give my vote to another party. Almost any other party. Until my party is once more led by mensches.

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Doubting Rich
May 1st, 2015
12:05 AM
"I have always been a socialist" It always astounds me that people apparently proudly admit to being socialists. It is so obviously an evil, dehumanising ideology. It so obviously treats people as the plaything of politicians and bureaucrats rather than thinking individuals. Yet people do not tear into a person who admits to agreeing with these vile ideas.

January 28th, 2015
2:01 PM
"If Hamas and Fatah cared one iota for the Palestinians, might they not have built schools..." I don't know about Hamas and Fatah. Does it mean that the Israeli government doesn't care about the Palestinians, because they blew up UN schools there?

November 10th, 2014
3:11 AM
barney rubble`s speculative unrealism is not exactly a wonder to behold. Does he have a stockpile of daft questions in a tunnel somewhere ? Zizek`s new book `Total Recoil:Towards a New Foundation of Dialectical Materialism` advocates rethinking not re-acting the 20th century politically and culturally.

barney rubbleb
November 7th, 2014
4:11 PM
") How can you recognise a state until its borders are decided?" does that mean since the borders between Israel and Palestine aren't decided that neither can be recognised ? Would Maureen Lipman justify Hamas's rockets by saying : "May I remind you that no one is blockading Dover or expanding Israeli settlements over Coventry , yet we seem to have every right to bomb the living daylights out of Iraq." - sounds like a similar logic to me - except of course there were no Hamas rockets for years prior to the recent attack by Israel.

November 6th, 2014
6:11 PM
Julie Burchill`s new pro-Israel book `Unchosen:Memoirs of a Philo-Semite` is a timely contribution to this discussion. Will (society of the spectacle `imam`) Self drearily criticising her " moronic,barroom bore " analysis but only revealing it`s him who is the moronic barroom bore on the subject. Cosmo Landesman is more generous and true in his Spectator review of her book. I`m biased as I even like the sound of her voice.

November 4th, 2014
8:11 PM
There is no Hamas only `the Palestinian people` for Jane Jackman,Barney Rubble and Douglas Redmayne ? Are the anti-Lipmans also anti-Douglas Murray ? Standpoint seems to be where actual muslims fear to tread. And yet it couldn`t be easier for them to join the discussion. Miliband,Harman and Clegg in their obscene farce with Elle`s t-shirts sums up what `useful idiot` means these days.

AnonymousDisappointed labour voter
November 4th, 2014
4:11 PM
So true. I do love a bacon butty but I agree with every other word she says. I've cancelled my direct debit and torn up my party card.

November 4th, 2014
1:11 PM
great articl

Brian Goldfarb
November 3rd, 2014
10:11 PM
I'm with Maureen on this one. Our prospective Labour General Election candidate has made it very clear (in personal conversation) that she's with Ed on this one. I have tried to make clear the illogic in this position, to no avail. This constituency (Hornsey & Wood Green) is a Labour/Lib. Dem. marginal - the Tories are nowhere - they have no councillors anywhere in the Borough. The sitting MP is a Lib. Dem, (Lynne Featherstone), who is Jewish and has made abundantly clear her stance on the Mid East: Israel has a right to defend itself from attack, as well as the right to exist in peace and security. We know where our votes are going in May. And like Maureen Lipman, we have, until now, never voted anything but Labour.

Jane Jackman
November 3rd, 2014
10:11 PM
This article makes me so angry I hardly know where to begin. Ms Lipman recycles the same well-worn canards used to defend Israel since the it dispossessed the Palestinian inhabitants in 1948 i.e. that Israel alone is singled out for censure, and that Israel has the right to defend itself from the evil terrorists bent on destroying the Jews. Israel does indeed have a right to defend itself - under the same international law that gives the Palestinian people the right to resist displacement from their lands and subsequent occupation. Moreover, under international law, Palestinian refugees have a right to return, a right that has been consistently refused by Israel, and the reason for their rejection of the peace terms offered by Israel. Sure, a two-state solution would be great, only Israel has so dismembered the land left to the Palestinians, even now stealing land for new Jewish settlements, that it is now a practical impossibility. Oddly enough, Ms Lipman, Ed Miliband's courageous stand on Israeli brutality in Palestine is the reason I might actually vote for Labour at the next election - and you have lost a fan.

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