University of London
This Green and Pleasant Land: Britain and the Jews
Online ISSN: 1940-6118 ISBN: 978-0-9819058-3-9.
According to a widely accepted view, Britain has provided generous sanctuary to waves of Jewish refugees fleeing European antisemitism. It has provided a tolerant environment in which they have progressed steadily from exclusion to full integration into British society. This article will demonstrate that there are good grounds for regarding this view as largely inaccurate. Recent events have seen the emergence of an uncomfortable environment for Anglo-Jewry. It might be suggested that this is a new phenomenon, conditioned by current demographic and political factors. However, the historical record makes it clear that much of what is now taking place bears a clear connection to a pattern of wide spread hostility towards Jews, as a cultural and ethnic collectivity, that has existed in Britain for centuries. The current wave of anti-Israel sentiment promoted by many generators of public opinion should be understood as intimately connected to deeply rooted social attitudes towards Jews that have been integral to British history.