Ed, David and Glenn
By Gilad Atzmon
A few days ago, in a New Statesman special Jewish edition article, Labour leader Ed Miliband explored his Jewish heritage.
As expected, Ed Miliband confessed that his father, the Marxist historian Ralph Miliband, and his mother, Marion, “raised him to appreciate various aspects of his Jewish heritage. “
But what is Jewish heritage for Ed Miliband, is it the Torah, the Ten Commandment or any particular ethical universal teaching? Not at all, Ed is not a religious Jew and is actually innocent enough to admit that his “relationship with Jewishness is complex.” In fact, it amounts to a combination of suffering mixed with Woody Allen and matzo balls.
On the one hand we follow the standard trail of Jewish anguish and trauma.
“So how can my Jewishness not be part of me?” he says. “It defines how my family was treated. It explains why we came to Britain. I would not be leader of the Labour Party without the trauma of my family history.”
But for Ed suffering is just part of the story, Ed’s Jewishness has some cultural elements in it too:
“My mum got me into Woody Allen; my dad taught me Yiddish phrases, and my grandmother cooked me chicken soup and matzo balls.”
Young Miliband is also deeply immersed in Jewish ‘rituals’. Like Zoey, Dictator Aladdeen’s Wife in Sacha Borat Cohen’s new Hasbara film, Justine, Ed’s new wife, also “broke a glass” under their wedding canopy.
I actually think that we have too many Milibands in British politics. It was revealed that David Miliband was an Israeli Hasbara author though Ed does seem to be slightly more careful than David, at least for the time being. However, I must admit that I don’t oppose all Milibands. I actually respect the eldest Miliband brother, trombone player Glenn Miliband. And you know what? I am In The Mood for a Moonlight Serenade.