Social and political philosophies
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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