British Fascist Antisemitism and Jewish Responses, 1932-40 by Daniel Tilles

By Daniel Tilles

This publication explores using antisemitism via Britain's interwar fascists and the ways that the country's Jews reacted to this, analyzing the 2 along each other for the 1st time and finding either in the broader context of up to date occasions in Europe.

Daniel Tilles demanding situations present conceptions of the antisemitism of Britain's most appropriate fascist supplier, the British Union of Fascists. He demonstrates that it used to be a much more crucial point of the party's concept than has formerly been assumed. This, in flip, can be proven to be attribute of the broader dating among interwar eu fascism and antisemitism, a so far rather overlooked factor within the burgeoning box of fascist reports. Tilles additionally argues that the BUF's chief, Sir Oswald Mosley, faraway from being a reluctant convert to the anti-Jewish reason, or just a cynical exploiter of it, as a lot of the present scholarship indicates, used to be conscious of the position antisemitism could play in his fascist doctrine from the beginning and remained answerable for its next improvement.

These findings are used to aid the suggestion that, opposite to triumphing perceptions, Jewish competition to the BUF performed no half in upsetting the fascists' adoption of antisemitism. Britain's Jews did, however, play an important function in shaping British fascism's direction of improvement, and the wide-ranging and powerful anti-fascist job they pursued represents an enormous replacement narrative to the dominant photo of Jews as mere sufferers of fascism.

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Extra info for British Fascist Antisemitism and Jewish Responses, 1932-40 (A Modern History of Politics and Violence)

Example text

Although scholars have recognized that occasional attacks on Jews crept into BUF rhetoric at this time, and that the party harboured influential antisemitic members, the consensus is that it was not until after the dramatic events of mid-1934 that its leadership committed the party to an antisemitic course. This perception, moreover, is used to support the prevailing belief that Jews themselves, who were involved in attacks on the BUF, particularly over the summer of 1934, helped push the party – and convert Mosley – to an antisemitic position, which was announced in the autumn.

8 These statements were not anomalous, or simply provoked by Jewish anti-fascists in the crowd. Prior to the meeting, Mosley had issued a statement clarifying his new party’s attitude towards Jews. 9 Thus, at its very formation, the BUF had chosen to single out Jewish involvement in ‘subversive activity’, and had demonstrated a proclivity for conspiracy theories that tied together ‘Jewish’ finance and communism. Furthermore, it had already laid down the primary foundation upon which its antisemitism would be built: that Jews themselves – by opposing the BUF and involving themselves in the types of ‘antinational’ activity that fascism opposed – were to blame for the movement’s growing antagonism towards them.

Anglo-Jewry was, Kushner concludes, ‘caught in a vice’ between these two conflicting gentile perceptions, causing severe ‘neuroses’ and inhibiting the formation of a positive identity. 13 The most recent – and, in terms of scope, ambitious – thesis has been put forward by Julius, who traces four distinct traditions of English antisemitism: the ‘radical prejudice of defamation, expropriation, and murder’ that prevailed during medieval times, culminating in the Jews’ expulsion from England in 1290; the literary antisemitism that emerged during the subsequent absence of Jews and continues to ‘flourish’ to this 20 British Fascist Antisemitism and Jewish Responses day; the ‘modern anti-semitism of insult and partial exclusion’ that developed after the Jews’ readmission, becoming ‘pervasive but contained’, never preventing emancipation or economic advancement; and, finally, contemporary anti-Zionism, which ‘now constitutes the greatest threat’.

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