“The Jewish Guardian”, one of the three Anglo-Jewish weeklies appearing in London, (the other two are the “Jewish Chronicle”, the oldest Anglo-Jewish publication in the world, and the “Jewish World”, a companion-publication, appearing from the same office and under the same editorship) has stopped publication. No further issues will appear after that which came off the press this evening bearing tomorrow’s date.
The “Jewish Guardian” began publication on October 3rd, 1919, and has, therefore, been appearing for nearly twelve years. It came into existence largely to provide a platform for a section of the Anglo-Jewish Community which opposed the Zionist views championed by the “Jewish Chronicle” and “Jewish World”. Its founders included the late Sir Charles Henry, the late Lord Swaythling, the late Dr. Israel Abrahams, Sir Philip Magnus (whose son, Mr. Laurie Magnus has been the editor from the beginning) Dr. Claude G. Montefiore, and other prominent members of the Anglo-Jewish Community identified with the League of British Jews.
Dr. Claude G. Montefiore has been Chairman of the Board since 1925, and a Director since the beginning.
Our task is done, and it is time to say goodbye, the fare-well editorial in the last issue says. For twelve years of transition and doubt, in the exceptional conditions since the War, we have tried to keep an even keel between contrary currents of opinion and to maintain what we have called the middle way of safe and certain progress. For twelve years of searching experience, we have guarded Judaism sans phrase, Judaism unlabelled, as we have called it, against the enthusiasts and extremists who would have deflected it into shallow channels. Along the broad stream of historic Judaism, into which all the shallow channels flow, we have sought conciliation, moderation, union, charity, faith. In our view, that task is done. Other men, with other resources, may have to resume it at another time. For us, with our resources, at this time, the immediate need is relaxed. The transition from the old to the new, from pre-War to post-War, is accomplished. To each generation its own burden.
Certain boundaries were moved in Judaism, certain bulwarks were broken, after the War. The work of repair is not finished, but it has been well begun. In the twelve years, bridges have been built across the gulf between the old world and the new, and it has been our privilege to bring bricks. For this generation, the task is done. It is for others to complete the work.
The cause which we defended is secure, the editor concludes. The specific task of the “Jewish Guardian” is done.
CLAUDE G. MONTEFIORE ON WHAT THE “JEWISH GUARDIAN” STOOD FOR
The “Jewish Guardian”, Dr. Claude G. Montefiore writes in an article in the last issue, came into existence at a time when the excitements and heady wine of Zionism caused a danger lest even in England, the Jews should be regarded as a people who, precisely, were and ought to be ‘reckoned among the nations, –regarded, not at best and most, as a peculiar and religious ‘people, or brotherhood, united by common history, common sufferings, common religious beliefs and aspirations, and, even, to some extent, by blood, but as a nation such as the Danes or the Swedes, long deprived of their own country, and about to be restored to it. If that were so, if that were the right way of regarding the Jews, then the English Jew was scarcely an Englishman of the Jewish faith, so that the essentially Jewish thing about him was his religion, while the essentially English things about him were his nationality, his citizenship, his patriotism. He might rather be considered as a man domiciled in England, a ger, a ‘resident alien’, who might claim toleration or even ‘rights, but who could hardly reckon himself, and be reckoned by others, as one with England in bone and spirit. This was a real danger. There was also a danger lest the Zionistic enthusiasm should lead many Jews to wish or to work for a Jewish State in Palestine, and not for a Palestinian State, wherein Jews and Arabs should help to build up a new Palestinian nation and nationality. The dangers of Jewish nationalism, as distinct from, but allied to, and fostered by, Zionism was very great: its evils were pressing and manifold. Those dangers and evils are by no means dead, but in England, at any rate, they are considerably less than they were. The majority of Zionists who count, at least in this country, are more temperate than they were. They have shed their cruder nationalism, and the idea of a Judenstaat, that out-of-date survival of the past, has been handed on to the revisionists. Is it going too far to hope that they are on the road to believing that the only Zionism worth having is a spiritual Zionism, and that the Jews are essentially a religious people; that, in other words, it is religion which unites, or should unite, them; not descent, not blood? Nationalist Zionism is going down; cultural or spiritual Zionism is in the ascendant. In these circumstances the purpose of the “Jewish Guardian” has, to a very fair extent, been attained. It would be idle to deny that I, personally, view its cessation with anything but profound regret, but though its work is not finished, much has been achieved. It would be idle to deny that my own personal views about Zionism, and my fear that it may undermine the continued truth, desirableness and permanent validity of the ‘ideas of ’48’ in their fulness and their purity, differ somewhat from the views and degree of fear of the honoured editor of the “Jewish Guardian”. But as regards Jewish nationalism and its dangers, as regards the peculiar and religious nature of the Jewish ‘people’, if people we be, there is no difference of opinion. And in bringing these dangers, and in bringing the essentially religious character of the Jewish ‘people’ or brotherhood to the forefront of the Jewish consciousness, the “Jewish Guardian” has done work which appears to have become fairly secure. For our community in this country now seems to look upon much for which the “Jewish Guardian” has pleaded and stood as obvious and sure. To a large extent, the “Jewish Guardian” has, in this country, gained its points, and, perhaps, there is no present or urgent need to keep on pressing them. So with this issue it ends its life.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.