A number of points are in need of clarification before we proceed any farther. Firstly, there is no necessary or natural correlation between fascism and anti-semitism. As Zeev Sternhell has noted, racism was not a ‘necessary condition for the existence of fascism’, but was, on the contrary, a factor in fascist ‘eclecticism’. 1 Although the majority of inter war Britain’s fascist parties and groups professed anti-semitic beliefs, there were some that did not. Of the major parties, both the BUF and the IFL adopted an official anti-Jewish policy. For almost the
6 A new anti-semitism?
The research underpinning the historical account in the previous chapter turned
up no evidence to suggest that anti-semitism has played a part in the British left’s
change of perception of the Israel-Palestine conflict. Yet, there have been
persistent allegations that pro-Palestinian sympathy on the left is motivated by
anti-semitism. At the 1982 Labour Party conference, Denis Healey, the party’s
deputy leader, chided delegates for the prominence they gave in the debate on
foreign affairs to Israel’s bombardment of West Beirut and its
This article compares the works of James Baldwin and Jean Améry, a
survivor of the Jewish Holocaust. It attempts to unpack the ethical and
political implications of their shared conception of the temporality of trauma.
The experiences of the victim of anti-Semitism and the victim of anti-Black
racism not only parallel one another, but their mutual incapacity to let go of
the injustice of the past also generates a unique ethico-political response. The
backward glance of the victim, the avowed incapacity to heal, as well as the
phantasmatic desire to reverse time all guide this unique response. Instead of
seeking forgiveness for the wrong done and declaring that all forms of
resentment are illegitimate, Baldwin and Améry show us that channeling
the revenge fantasy that so often attends the temporality of trauma is the
material precondition of actually ending that trauma. This ultimately suggests
that, for both thinkers, anything less than a new, revolutionary humanism
equipped with an internationalist political project would betray the
victims’ attempt to win back their dignity.
Universalism has acted as a stimulus for Jewish emancipation, that is, for civil, political and social inclusion. It has also been a source of anti-Jewish prejudice up to and beyond the classic antisemitism of the modern period. While the experience of Jews is by no means unique in this respect, one of the peculiarities of the 'anti-Judaic' tradition has been to represent Jews in some important regard as the 'other' of the universal: as the personification either of a particularism opposed to the universal, or of a false universalism concealing Jewish self-interest. The former contrasts the particularism of the Jews to the universality of bourgeois civil society. The latter contrasts the bad universalism of the 'rootless cosmopolitan Jew' to the good universalism of whatever universal is advanced: nation, race or class. This book explores debates over Jewish emancipation within the eighteenth-century Enlightenment, contrasting the work of two leading protagonists of Jewish emancipation: Christian von Dohm and Moses Mendelssohn. It discusses the emancipatory power of Karl Marx's critique of Bruno Bauer's opposition to Jewish emancipation and endorsement of The Jewish Question. Marxist debates over the growth of anti-Semitism; Hannah Arendt's critique of three types of Jewish responsiveness--assimilationism, Zionism and cosmopolitanism-- to anti-Semitism; and the endeavours of a leading postwar critical theorist, Jurgen Habermas are also discussed. Finally, the book focuses its critique on left antizionists who threaten to reinstate the Jewish question when they identify Israel and Zionism as the enemies of universalism.
Between 1933 and 1940, Manchester received between seven and eight thousand refugees from Fascist Europe. They included Jewish academics expelled from universities in Germany, Austria, Spain and Italy. Around two hundred were children from the Basque country of Spain evacuated to Britain on a temporary basis in 1937 as the fighting of the Spanish Civil War neared their home towns. Most were refugees fleeing Nazi persecution in Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia. As much as 95% of the refugees from Nazism were Jews threatened by the increasingly violent anti-Semitism of the Nazi regime. The rest were Communists, Social Democrats, Pacifists, Liberals, Confessional Christians and Sudeten Germans. There have been several valuable studies of the response of the British government to the refugee crisis. This study seeks to assess the responses in one city—Manchester—which had long cultivated an image of itself as a ‘liberal city’. Using documentary and oral sources, including interviews with Manchester refugees, it explores the work of those sectors of local society that took part in the work of rescue: Jewish communal organisations, the Society of Friends, the Rotarians, the University of Manchester, secondary schools in and around Manchester, pacifist bodies, the Roman Catholic Church and industrialists from the Manchester region. The book considers the reasons for their choices to help to assesses their degree of success and the forces which limited their effectiveness.
This book provides a clear and accessible guide to the essential features of interwar British fascism. It focuses on the various fascist parties, fascist personalities and fascist ideologies. The book also looks at British culture and develops the knowledge of undergraduate students by providing a solid source of background material on this important area of interwar British history. The focus on fascist culture throws new light on the character of native fascism and suggests a potentially rich vein of new enquiry for scholars of British fascism. The book considers the membership strength of Britain's interwar fascist parties. The ideas of racial Social-Darwinism influenced British fascism in a number of ways. To begin with, hereditarian ideas and biological determinist models contributed to the emergence of racial theories of anti-semitism. The anti-semitism of the Imperial Fascist League was of a very different order from that of the British fascism. Moreover, to Britain's fascists, artistic modernism, with its creative use of distortion, disintegrative images and general disdain for the traditional discipline of the art form, made a virtue of deformity. The search to uncover the anti-liberal and anti-capitalist pre-fascist lineage would become a highly subjective exercise in invention and take the fascists on an imaginative journey deep into the British past.
Chartism was a profoundly politicised response to recent political history, but it did not develop in an economic vacuum. Indeed, in the later nineteenth century, it became commonplace for those who had been Chartists or who sympathised with them to explain the movement and excuse its militancy exclusively as the politics of hunger. The book focuses on political activities because Chartism (for all its compelling cultural dimensions) was nothing if not a political movement. Its emphasis has therefore been upon selected 'lower tier' Chartist leaders because it was at this level that the movement's enduring legacy was so vital. The book shows that Chartism was a movement of small victories. It might also be characterised as having a multiplicity of small endings. The book emphasises the perils of the elegiac mode. Blatant careerism, political charlatanry, and vapid oratory could all be found in Chartism along with casual anti-Semitism, racism and personal dishonesty. There were serious systemic flaws too. O'Connor's alarm at the implications of the new move reflected a creditable concern that Chartism must remain united around the democratic and egalitarian vision of The People's Charter. Yet more than once in the movement's history, O'Connor and other Chartist leaders were confounded, even unnerved, when suddenly faced by truly mass political mobilisation. A gradual transition from a movement that emphatically mobilised whole communities to one which increasingly espoused the male-breadwinner ideal and the politics of respectability closed-off opportunities for women's participation.
Relations between Europe and its Muslim minorities constitute an extensive focus for discussion both within and beyond the Continent. This book reports on the years mainly between 2005 and 2015 and focuses on the exploitation of recent European history when describing relations and the prospects for the nominally 'Christian' majority and Muslim minority. The discourse often references the Jews of Europe as a guiding precedent. The manifold references to the annals of the Jews during the 1930s, the Second World War and the Holocaust, used by both the Muslim minorities and the European 'white' (sic) majority presents an astonishing and instructive perspective. When researching Europe and its Muslim minorities, one is astonished by the alleged discrimination that the topic produces, in particular the expressions embodied in Islamophobia, Europhobia and anti-Semitism. The book focuses on the exemplary European realities surrounding the 'triangular' interactions and relations between the Europeans, Muslims and Jews. Pork soup, also known as 'identity soup', has been used as a protest in France and Belgium against multicultural life in Europe and against the Muslim migrants who allegedly enjoyed government benefits. If the majority on all sides of the triangle were to unite and marginalize the extreme points of the triangle, not by force but by goodwill, reason and patience, then in time the triangle would slowly but surely resolve itself into a circle. The Jews, Christians, Muslims and non-believers of Europe have before them a challenge.