Letters to the Editor

Tactless remarks show Paisley in interesting light

IN his letter about the late Lord Bannside (October 8) Colin Nevin writes that the deceased politician once told him of his support for Israel and admiration for Jewish entrepreneurship. It is odd that Mr Nevin is unaware of two incidents which cast the sentiments he attributes to Lord Bannside in an interesting light. The first was the 1966 Belfast Corporation by-election in which the Ulster Unionist candidate was the late Harold Smith, a prominent Jewish businessman. An election leaflet for his opponent in the campaign, Mrs Ian Paisley (now Baroness Paisley), stated that: "The Ulster Unionist Party are boasting that he is a Jew. As a Jew he rejects our New Testament, Protestant principles, the Glorious Revolution and the sanctity of the Lord's Day. Mr Smith is not, and cannot be, a traditional unionist, the Protestant Throne and Constitution are nothing to him."

The leaflet is quoted both in Ed Maloney's Paisley: From Demagogue to Democrat (2008) as well as in the earlier biography of Ian Paisley which Mr Maloney wrote with Andy Pollak.

No member of the Paisley family has ever disowned the views expressed in that leaflet.

The other incident was a documentary made by the Jewish journalist Jon Ronson about a trip to Cameroon he made with Ian Paisley.

Mr Ronson captured on film a car journey in which Ian Paisley repeatedly quoted to him William Joyce's wartime radio call signal "Germany calling. Germany calling." Mr Ronson wrote later that this was tactless.

Some people might think that it was a good deal worse than tactless - indeed to use the call signal of a supporter of Nazism in order to mock a Jewish man seems more like anti-semitism than a mere lapse of taste.

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