“spectator” Cites England’s Benefits from Jewish Emancipation

Using the career of the late Lord Reading as a springboard, the “Spectator,” influential conservative weekly, publishes an article in which it is asserted that the Jewish problem has been solved in England to the satisfaction of both Jews and Englishmen and to the benefit of Great Britain.

“The lamented death of Lord Reading must have set many thinking about the benefits which Great Britain has reaped from the policy of Jewish emancipation,” the journal writes. “It is not a very old policy; its completion, so far as concerns Jews of Jewish faith, dates back no farther than 1860, the year of Lord Reading’s birth. It has come down to us, like so many other policies which still serve us well, from the days when liberty became our national watchword. We made British Jewry at home in the British household, not by compelling it to come in, but by removing all restrictions on its freedom to enter. Can anyone doubt that we have gained enormously by doing so? And can any sensible person fear that we shall have cause to repent it?

“It is quite true (the Nazis are right there),” the journal goes on, “that the Jewish mentality is a distinctive thing. Even those Englishmen who are most deeply attached to their Jewish friends must feel at times a profound sense of the generic, and not merely individual, differences which mark them off. One would not wish England to be represented in the world solely or even mainly by Jewish minds; for in truth then she would cease to be England. But a great nation, sure of itself, will not harbor the fear. England has absorbed into her community one foreign stock after another–often foreign refugees who brought with them precious additions to her culture. Despite them all she has carried down through the centuries her unmistakable national character. Few nations do so little self-questioning, because few are so sure of themselves.”

Turning to the contrast afforded by Nazi Germany, the “Spectator” declares that “Germany has descended to Jew-baiting, because she is not sure of herself. War and post-war years have shattered her nerves. The voice of thunder in which the Nazi enthusiast proclaims the superiority of his Nordic type is a poor substitute for the quiet confidence that would have taken it for granted and never troubled to talk about it. The nation of Lessing has renounced Lessing’s teaching through fear. It persecutes the Jews because it dreads them; and it dreads them as a neurotic man starts at shadows or suspects malign influence in the most harmless objects.”

The journal goes on to suggest that “if Germany wishes to continue to rank as a civilized country, she must pursue her purpose in a civilized way. Pogrom methods and Ghetto-making ought to cease; there should be an ordered transfer of population; for this Germany should not merely welcome the League’s co-operation, but invite it; and she ought to be ready to bear the cost.

“After it has been effected and the Jews have gone, what then? The Nazis of today may point in history to many previous expulsions of Jewry. They will have difficulty in pointing to one where it has benefited the expelling country; and there are instances like Spain’s, where it did immense harm. In Germany’s own instance it means uprooting a section of the people which has made contributions to science, medicine, learning, and literature out of all proportion to its number.

“We in England are not likely at any time to copy such an example; but our reaction to it should not stop at that point. Occupying as the British Empire does so large a portion of the earth’s surface, and trustees as we are in particular for the development of Palestine, a large opportunity and responsibility belong to us and our kin. We ought not to be backward in acknowledging it, and we need not fear that we shall lose by doing so. The country which sent us Lord Reading’s forbears lost Lord Reading, and we gained him. Many such gains for the future must be there today for the taking among the highly gifted stocks of German Jewry.”

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