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03 Notable Members of and from the Community

David Haskell Cohen, Political figure

David Haskell Cohen started his life out active in Jewish causes. The torment of the Bengal Famine profoundly impacted him and he sought to build a better world. To do so he, among other young Jewish men, became an active member of the Communist Party of India. He was the editor of Unity, a Communist party magazine that sought to unite its leadership and its ranks through the arts. 

He worked in Delhi at the Party headquarters and represented the Party of India in many venues across the world. A trip to the Soviet Union left him deeply disillusioned with the practice of Communism. He wrote “Tactics or Truth” which 

was a cry of pain because the Communists of whom I had such high hopes as a youth did not have standards or ethics as high as those expected of the children of the Torah……After the article was published, I handed in to the general Secretary’s office a formal letter of resignation, the first time, I believe, that such a letter had been written. I then turned my back on the organization...” (from Angels, Snakes and Ladders, p. 235 – 235)

On leaving the Party he worked for Indian Express as News Editor in Bombay. As a journalist his career spanned London and New Delhi and he worked for the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, The Times of India, PTI/Reuters, The Indian Express (as News Editor) and as a correspondent for L'Humanite.

David eventually settled in London in 1958 where he worked as a copywriter for several advertising agencies till he formed his own agency, Cohen and Company, in Mayfair. He moved to Israel in 1995.

His life came full circle from being a young idealist committed to Communist ideals when in his later life he turned to Jewish spirituality. He has written Angels, Snakes and Ladders: Memoirs of a Jew From British India, Yonaty Publishing, Israel 2013, and Chosen People and Other Poems, Yonaty 2002.