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British Jewry and the Holocaust: With a New IntroductionWith a New Introduction$
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Richard Bolchover

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9781874774808

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781874774808.001.0001

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Social and political philosophies

(p.77) Introduction
British Jewry and the Holocaust: With a New Introduction

Richard Bolchover

Liverpool University Press

This chapter presents an overview of the social and political philosophies of the Anglo-Jewish community. A community of some 385,000 people with such a polygenetic communal background as that of Anglo-Jewry cannot be said to have thought with one mind on any issue, even on those which directly and explicitly concerned Jewry. Most particularly, this period saw a certain liquefaction of the Anglo-Jewish political system caused by political and social circumstances. Despite this, a communal consensus on many issues did emerge, mainly because the ramifications of the nineteenth-century struggle for emancipation continued to dominate Anglo-Jewish political thought. Indeed, commonly held ideologies regarding emancipation and the non-Jewish world confined the scope of ideological divergencies within the community to a very narrow range. The community saw the civic equality which resulted from emancipation as a gift, and the hospitality bestowed upon Jews by the British as one side of a contract demanding in return loyalty and gratitude. Beneath it all they still feared that they were aliens. As a result, public controversy with the government was assiduously avoided by all Jewish leaders — political invisibility was the goal. British Jews took civic loyalty to mean conformity. Consequent to this, virtually all self-identified Jews pursued a policy of what is today called 'acculturation' — of social integration and acceptance.

Keywords:   Anglo-Jewish community, Anglo-Jewry, Anglo-Jewish political system, Anglo-Jewish political thought, emancipation, non-Jewish world, civic equality, political invisibility, acculturation, Jewish leaders

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