Spartacus Blog

The History of Anti-Semitism and British Political Parties

Thursday, 23rd August, 2018

John Simkin

Jeremy Corbyn was first accused of being Anti-Semitic in March of this year when it was discovered that in 2012 he had made a supportive post to street artist Mear One on Facebook. Corbyn responded by issuing a statement on the matter: “In 2012 I made a general comment about the removal of public art on grounds of freedom of speech. My comment referred to the destruction of the mural ‘Man at the Crossroads’ by Diego Rivera on the Rockefeller Center. That is in no way comparable with the mural in the original post. I sincerely regret that I did not look more closely at the image I was commenting on, the contents of which are deeply disturbing and anti-Semitic. I wholeheartedly support its removal."

Corbyn finished his statement with the words: "The Tower Hamlets mural I celebrate is the one which commemorates the mobilization of East London’s Jewish community in the anti-fascist demonstrations against Mosley’s Blackshirts in Cable Street in 1936.” Corbyn's supporters quickly came to his defence. For example, Shadow Transport Secretary Andy McDonald claimed that Corbyn "doesn't have a anti-Semitic bone in his body." (1)

Several of his friends referred to the fact that his mother, Naomi Corbyn, took part in the Battle of Cable Street. This in fact been widely reported in the Jewish press when this information was first disclosed in October 2016. The Jewish News reported: "Jeremy Corbyn has spoken emotionally of his mother’s role in an anti-fascist street fight as hundreds of people marched through the streets of east London to mark its 80th anniversary. The Labour leader told how he had learned all about the 1936 Battle of Cable Street from Naomi Corbyn, who had been present when left-wing demonstrators fought police guarding a planned march by British fascists through a heavily Jewish neighbourhood." (2)

The national press showed little interest in Corbyn's reference to Cable Street. If they did mention it, they only did so to ridicule him. Hugo Rifkind in The Times wrote: "Did you know that Jeremy Corbyn’s mother fought at the Battle of Cable Street? I know it’s a well-kept political secret, a bit like that one about Sadiq Khan’s dad being a bus driver, or that other one about Theresa May thinking Brexit means Brexit and wanting to make a success of it, but apparently it is true. Rifkind then goes on to say that Corbyn must have told this story in public "a mere 300 or so times". (3)

Rifkind, the son of the Conservative Party politician Malcolm Rifkind, is unlikely to be a supporter of Corbyn, but it could be argued that it is a fairly ridiculous argument that because you have an anti-racist mother, you are not yourself a racist. However, he was right to mention the Battle Cable Street in 1936 because it has much to tell us about the current issues of Anti-Semitism in Britain today. It also tells us about the way the media treated racism in the 1930s and gives us insights into the way they deal with it today.

One of my main complaints about Corbyn and his supporters is the inability to make use of history in their arguments. In his original statement Corbyn refers to Oswald Mosley, as the most significant British fascist in the 1930s. However, it could be argued that Harold Harmsworth, the 1st Lord Rothermere, did more to deserve that title. He was the most powerful man in Britain at the time as he owned newspapers such as The Daily Mail, The Daily Mirror, Sunday Pictorial, and The Evening News. By 1930 his empire consisted of fourteen daily and Sunday newspapers, with a substantial holding in another three. (4)

Mosley started his political career in the Conservative Party and was selected for the safe-seat of Harrow. During the 1918 General Election campaign he mounted a fervent anti-German campaign. He called on German aliens to be deported and argued that Kaiser Wilhelm II should be tried for crimes committed during the First World War. Mosley suggested that Germany should be squeezed "until the pips squeaked". He also protested against European immigrants who he claimed "had brought disease amongst them, reduced Englishmen's wages, undersold English goods, and ruined social life." (5)

The result announced a fortnight later (to allow for a postal military vote) gave Mosley 13,950, his opponent 3,007. Aged 22, he became the youngest MP in the House of Commons. The local newspaper reported: "It must be said of the successful candidate that he fought for all he was worth... Buoyed up by an ambition for a political career, for which he gives much real promise, he has triumphantly succeeded." (6)

Mosley was a constant critic of the Conservative government and on 27th March 1924, he crossed the floor of the House of Commons and joined the Labour Party. Its leader, Ramsay MacDonald, was extremely pleased by Mosley decision as it thought his aristocratic background would help the Labour Party to appear "respectable". Mosley immediately joined the Independent Labour Party, the left-wing pressure group in the Labour Party. Some members of the ILP were highly suspicious of his motives. Willie Stewart, a veteran member, commented: "He'll need watching, he's out of a bad nest." Others in the party such as Herbert Morrison and Hugh Dalton "were naturally jealous of a rich recruit who entered with such a fanfare of publicity and felt that their own years of patient toil in the cause had been undervalued by comparison." (7)

In January 1930 unemployment in Britain reached 1,533,000. By March, the figure was 1,731,000. Oswald Mosley proposed a programme that he believed would help deal with the growing problem of unemployment in Britain. According to David Marquand: "It made three main assertions - that the machinery of government should be drastically overhauled, that unemployment could be radically reduced by a public-works programme on the lines advocated by Keynes and the Liberal Party, and that long-term economic reconstruction required a mobilisation of national resources on a larger scale than has yet been contemplated. The existing administrative structure, Mosley argued, was hopelessly inadequate. What was needed was a new department, under the direct control of the prime minister, consisting of an executive committee of ministers and a secretariat of civil servants, assisted by a permanent staff of economists and an advisory council of outside experts." (8)

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Snowden, was a strong believer in laissez-faire economics and disliked the proposals. (9) Mosley resigned from the government and took his case to the parliamentary Labour Party. At a meeting that took place on 21st May, Oswald Mosley outlined his proposals. This included the provision of old-age pensions at sixty, the raising of the school-leaving age and an expansion in the road programme. He gained support from George Lansbury and Tom Johnson, but Arthur Henderson, speaking on behalf of MacDonald, appealed to Mosley to withdraw his motion so that his proposals could be discussed in detail at later meetings. Mosley insisted on putting his motion to the vote and was beaten by 210 to 29. (10)

Oswald Mosley
David Low commented on Mosley resigning in May, 1930

On 20th February, 1931, Oswald Mosley and five Labour Party MPs, Cynthia Mosley, John Strachey, Robert Forgan, Oliver Baldwin (the son of Stanley Baldwin, the leader of the Conservative Party) and William J. Brown, decided to resign from the party. William E. Allen, the Tory MP for West Belfast, and Cecil Dudgeon, the Liberal MP for Galloway, also agreed to join the New Party. However, Brown and Baldwin changed their minds and sat in the House of Commons as Independents and six months later rejoined the Labour Party. (11).

As Mosley was suggesting a socialist programme that was favoured by the left-wing element of the Labour Party, he received no support from the national press that overwhelmingly supported the Conservative Party, who at that time was part of the National Government. In the 1931 General Election the New Party fielded 25 candidates. Mosley obtained 10,500 votes in Stoke-on-Trent but was bottom of the poll. Only two candidates, Mosley and Sellick Davies, standing in Merthyr Tydfil, saved their deposits. The total votes cast for the New Party were 36,377. This compared badly with the Communist Party of Great Britain, which managed 74,824 votes for 26 candidates. Ramsay MacDonald, and his National Government won 556 seats. Mosley told Nicolson that "we have been swept away in a hurricane of sentiment" and that "our time is yet to come". (12)

In December, 1931, Harold Harmsworth, 1st Lord Rothermere, the press baron, whose newspapers had been especially hostile to the New Party during the election, had a meeting with Mosley. According to his son, Nicholas Mosley, Rothermere told him that he was prepared to put the Harmsworth press at his disposal if he succeeded in organising a disciplined Fascist movement from the remnants of the New Party. (13) The details of this meeting was recorded in his diary by Mosley's close friend, Harold Nicolson. (14)

It was very important to Rothermere that this new party would target working-class voters in order that it would help the fortunes of the Conservative Party. Cynthia Mosley disagreed with her husband's move to the right. According to Robert Skidelsky: "Cimmie (Cynthia) was frankly terrified of where his restlessness would lead him. She hated fascism and Harmsworth (Lord Rothermere, the press baron). She threatened to put a notice in The Times dissociating herself from Mosley's fascist tendencies. They bickered constantly in public, Cimmie emotional and confused, Mosley ponderously logical and heavily sarcastic." (15)

The British Union of Fascists (BUF) was formally launched on 1st October, 1932. It originally had only 32 members and included several former members of the New Party: Robert Forgan, William E. Allen, John Beckett and William Joyce. Mosley told them: "We ask those who join us... to be prepared to sacrifice all, but to do so for no small or unworthy ends. We ask them to dedicate their lives to building in the country a movement of the modern age... In return we can only offer them the deep belief that they are fighting that a great land may live." (16)

Attempts were made to keep the names of individual members a secret but supporters of the organization included Harold Harmsworth (Lord Rothermere), Major General John Fuller, Jorian Jenks, Commander Charles E. Hudson, Wing-Commander Louis Greig, A. K. Chesterton, David Bertram Ogilvy Freeman-Mitford (Lord Redesdale), Unity Mitford, Diana Mitford, Patrick Boyle (8th Earl of Glasgow), Malcolm Campbell and Tommy Moran. Mosley refused to publish the names or numbers of members but the press estimated a maximum number of 35,000. (17)

The BUF's first electoral success came in Worthing when Charles Bentinck Budd won the council seat of Broadwater. The national press described the town as the "Munich of the South". Budd reported that over 150 people in Worthing had joined the British Union of Fascists. The greatest intake had come from increasingly disaffected Conservatives. The Weekly Fascist News described the growth in membership as "phenomenal" as a few months ago members could be counted on one's fingers, and now "hundreds of young men and women -.together with the many leading citizens of the town - now participated in its activities". (18)

The Daily Mail and the British Union of Facists

Harold Harmsworth, Lord Rothermere, the press baron, was a great supporter of Adolf Hitler. According to James Pool, the author of Who Financed Hitler: The Secret Funding of Hitler's Rise to Power (1979): "Shortly after the Nazis' sweeping victory in the election of September 14, 1930, Rothermere went to Munich to have a long talk with Hitler, and ten days after the election wrote an article discussing the significance of the National Socialists' triumph. The article drew attention throughout England and the Continent because it urged acceptance of the Nazis as a bulwark against Communism... Rothermere continued to say that if it were not for the Nazis, the Communists might have gained the majority in the Reichstag." (19)

Louis P. Lochner, argues in his book, Tycoons and Tyrant: German Industry from Hitler to Adenauer (1954) that Lord Rothermere provided funds to Hitler via Ernst Hanfstaengel. When Hitler became Chancellor on 30th January 1933, Rothermere produced a series of articles acclaiming the new regime. "I urge all British young men and women to study closely the progress of the Nazi regime in Germany. They must not be misled by the misrepresentations of its opponents. The most spiteful distracters of the Nazis are to be found in precisely the same sections of the British public and press as are most vehement in their praises of the Soviet regime in Russia." (20)

George Ward Price, the Daily Mail's foreign correspondent developed a very close relationship with Hitler. According to the German historian, Hans-Adolf Jacobsen: "The famous special correspondent of the London Daily Mail, Ward Price, was welcomed to interviews in the Reich Chancellery in a more privileged way than all other foreign journalists, particularly when foreign countries had once more been brusqued by a decision of German foreign policy. His paper supported Hitler more strongly and more constantly than any other newspaper outside Germany." (21)

Franklin Reid Gannon, the author of The British Press and Germany (1971), has claimed that Hitler regarded Ward Price as "the only foreign journalist who reported him without prejudice". (22) In his autobiography, Extra-Special Correspondent (1957), Ward Price defended himself against the charge he was a fascist by claiming: "I reported Hitler's statements accurately, leaving British newspaper readers to form their own opinions of their worth." (23)

Lord Rothermere also kept his promise to Oswald Mosley and gave his full support to the National Union of Fascists. He wrote an article, Hurrah for the Blackshirts, on 22nd January, 1934, in which he praised Mosley for his "sound, commonsense, Conservative doctrine". Rothermere added: "Timid alarmists all this week have been whimpering that the rapid growth in numbers of the British Blackshirts is preparing the way for a system of rulership by means of steel whips and concentration camps. Very few of these panic-mongers have any personal knowledge of the countries that are already under Blackshirt government. The notion that a permanent reign of terror exists there has been evolved entirely from their own morbid imaginations, fed by sensational propaganda from opponents of the party now in power. As a purely British organization, the Blackshirts will respect those principles of tolerance which are traditional in British politics. They have no prejudice either of class or race. Their recruits are drawn from all social grades and every political party. Young men may join the British Union of Fascists by writing to the Headquarters, King's Road, Chelsea, London, S.W." (24)

Lord Rothermere with Adolf Hitler
The Daily Mail (22nd January 1934)

David Low, a cartoonist employed by the Evening Standard, made several attacks on Rothermere's links to the fascist movement. In January 1934, he drew a cartoon showing Rothermere as a nanny giving a Nazi salute and saying "we need men of action such as they have in Italy and Germany who are leading their countries triumphantly out of the slump... blah... blah... blah... blah." The child in the pram is saying "But what have they got in their other hands, nanny?" Hitler and Mussolini are hiding the true records of their periods in government. Hitler's card includes, "Hitler's Germany: Estimated Unemployed: 6,000,000. Fall in trade under Hitler (9 months) £35,000,000. Burden of taxes up several times over. Wages down 20%." (25)

Lord Beaverbrook, the owner of the Evening Standard, was a close friend and business partner of Lord Rothermere, and refused to allow the original cartoon to be published. At the time, Rothermere controlled forty-nine per cent of the shares. Low was told by one of Beaverbrook's men: "Dog doesn't eat dog. It isn't done." Low commented that it was said as "though he were giving me a moral adage instead of a thieves' wisecrack." He was forced to make the nanny unrecgnisable as Rothermere and had to change the name on her dress from the Daily Mail to the Daily Shirt. (26)

Lord Rothermere with Adolf Hitler
David Low, But what have they got in their other hands, nanny? (26th January 1934)

The Daily Mail continued to give its support to the fascists. Lord Rothermere allowed fellow member of the January Club, Sir Thomas Moore, the Conservative Party MP for Ayr Burghs, to publish pro-fascist articles in his newspaper. Moore described the BUF as being "largely derived from the Conservative Party". He added "surely there cannot be any fundamental difference of outlook between the Blackshirts and their parents, the Conservatives?" (27)

In April 1934, The Daily Mail published an article by Randolph Churchill that praised a speech that Mosley made in Leeds: "Sir Oswald's peroration was one of the most magnificent feats of oratory I have ever heard. The audience which had listened with close attention to his reasoned arguments were swept away in spontaneous reiterated bursts of applause." (28)

The problem for Rothermere was that BUF's main support came from Conservative supporting rural areas. At first Oswald Mosley devoted a high proportion of his time to speeches in market towns in agricultural counties where he "tapped into the traditional conservatism of a farming community" which had been suffering from intractable economic problems since the end of the First World War. His early campaigns pulled in several disgruntled farmers and ex-Conservatives including Viscountess Dorothy Downe, Richard Reynell Bellamy, Ronald N. Creasy and Robert Saunders. (29)

Mosley's most important recruit was Jorian Jenks, a farmer from Angmering, West Sussex. Jenks was regulator contributor to Action under the pseudonym "Vergillius" and was the agricultural advisor to the party. He organised garden parties to raise funds for the BUF, a fairly common technique amongst the party's more affluent and rural supporters. (30)

Jenks led the attack on Walter Elliott, the Minister for Agriculture. Each week a specific grievance was highlighted in Jenks' "Farmer's Diary". This included imports of lamb, bacon and fruit. He also attacked Elliott for continuing to give subsidies on imported beef. The Potato Marketing Board was also criticized for advising farmers to be cautious over planting, even though potatoes were still being imported. (31)

Jenks and the BUF also condemned those chain stores that were under foreign ownership and were responsible for huge imports of goods produced by cheap foreign labour. As Martin Pugh points out this included: "Marks & Spencer and Montagu Burton as Jewish, Woolworths as American, Unilever as Jewish-Dutch, and the Vesty Meat Trust for dealing in Argentine beef, not to mention Sainsbury, Liptons, Boots and Timothy Whites... All these combines were condemned for crushing small shopkeepers by means of bulk purchases, price-cutting, and bullying the producers into giving large discounts." (32)

Support for the British Union of Fascists was particularly strong in Sussex. Its leader was Commander Charles E. Hudson, a former MI6 agent. A local police report stated: "Of all the counties in the South of England Sussex is the most important from the Fascist point of view. Throughout the country the movement was well organized, led by enthusiastic persons and persistently active... Commander Hudson is the leading man in West Sussex, although he was energetically supported by a number of able subordinates.... The Chief Constable estimated the number of adherents in Bognor as about 300." (33)

Anti-Semitism and the 1905 Alien Act

Lord Rothermere and other financial backers of the BUF were unhappy that the party was taking votes from the Conservative Party. It was therefore decided to change tactics in order to capture support in areas that usually elected Labour candidates. According to David Rosenberg, the author of Battle for the East End: Jewish Responses to Fascism in the 1930s (2011) Anti-Semitism was now "granted a starring role in the theory, strategy and day-to-day activity of Britain's fascist movement... Mosley invited a confrontation with the Jewish community, and challenged its leaders. He accused them of betraying the national interest, capturing and monopolising economic resources and driving Britain to a needless war with Germany." (34)

The unpopularity of the Jewish community in modern times and the growth of anti-Semitism, can be traced back to an event that took place in Russia. On 13th March, 1881, Tsar Alexander II was assassinated by the People's Will group. One of those convicted of the attack was a young Jewish woman, Gesia Gelfman. Along with Sophia Perovskaya, Andrei Zhelyabov, Nikolai Kibalchich, Nikolai Rysakov, and Timofei Mikhailov, Gelfman was sentenced to death. (35)

The People's Will contacted the Russian government and claimed they would call off the terror campaign if the Russian people were granted a constitution that provided free elections and an end to censorship. Tsar Alexander III rejected this proposal and instead decided to blame the Jews for his father's death. The government claimed that 30% of those arrested for political crimes were Jewish, as were 50% of those involved in revolutionary organisations, even though Jews were a mere 5% of the overall population. (36)

As one Jewish historian has pointed out, the assassination of Alexander II heralded an outbreak of Anti-Semitism: "Within a few weeks, impoverished and vulnerable Jewish communities suffered a wave of pogroms - random mob attacks on their villages and towns, which the authorities were unwilling to prevent and were accused of unofficially instigating. In 1881, pogroms were recorded in 166 Russian towns." (37)

Over the next 25 years, more than a third of Russia's Jews left the country, many of them settling in Britain. These people received a hostile reception from the right-wing press. (38) Even traditional trade unions were hostile to the Jewish immigrants. Ben Tillett, described them as the "dregs and scum of the continent" who made overcrowded slums "more foetid, putrid and congested". William Morris, Eleanor Marx, Ernest Belfort Bax and other members of the Socialist League defended them and encouraged Jewish workers to form their own unions. (39)

Three times during the 1890s, the TUC passed resolutions calling for immigration controls. A group of Jewish trade unionists, led by Joseph Finn, published a document called Voice from the Aliens to counter one such resolution at the 1895 congress. "It is, and always has been, the policy of the ruling class to attribute the sufferings and miseries of the masses (which are natural consequences of class rule and class exploitation) to all sorts of causes except the real ones. The cry against the foreigner is not merely peculiar to England, it is international. Everywhere he is the scapegoat for other's sins. Every class finds in him an enemy. So long as the Anti-Alien settlement in this country was confined to politicians, wire-pullers, and to individual working-men, we, the organised aliens, took no heed; but when this ill-founded sentiment has been officially expressed by the organised working men of England, then we believe that it is time to lift our voices and argue the matter out."

The document pointed out: "The average annual immigration of Aliens in England according to the report of the Board of Trade for 1891-1893 has been 24,688, whilst the average annual emigration is put down by the Dictionary of Statistics at 164,000. In face of these figures, we repeat our argument. If immigration over-guts the market then emigration must logically relieve it. And, seeing that emigration is more than six times the immigration, we cannot see why England should cry out so loudly about the foreigner."

Finn states that: "We, the Jewish workers, have been spoken of as a blighting blister upon the English trades and workers, as men to whose hearts it is impossible to appeal, and were it not for us, the conditions of the native worker would be much improved. He would have plenty of work, good wages and what not. Well, let us look at the facts, let us examine the condition of such workers with whom the Jew never comes in contact, such as the agricultural labourer, the docker, the miner, the weaver, the chainmaker, shipbuilder, bricklayer and many others. Examine their condition, dear reader, and answer: is there any truth in the remark that we are a 'blighting blister' upon the English worker?” (40)

Despite these logical arguments The Daily Mail continued its campaign against the arrival of Jews being persecuted in Russia: "On 2nd February, 1900, a British liner called the Cheshire moored at Southampton, carrying refugees from anti-semitic pogroms in Russia... There were all kinds of Jews, all manner of Jews. They had breakfasted on board, but they rushed as though starving at the food. They helped themselves at will, they spilled coffee on the ground in wanton waste.... These were the penniless refugees and when the relief committee passed by they hid their gold, and fawned and whined, and in broken English asked for money for their train fare." (41)

British Brothers' League and the Conservative Party

Several Conservative Party members of the House of Commons from East London, including Major William Evans-Gordon (Stepney), Samuel Forde Ridley (Bethnal Green South West), Claude Hay (Hoxton), Walter Guthrie (Bow and Bromley), Spencer Charrington (Mile End) and Thomas Dewar (Tower Hamlets, St George) launched an anti-alien campaign in 1901. Two Jewish MPs, Harry Samuel (Limehouse) and Benjamin Cohen (Islington East) also called for restrictions on immigration. Evans-Gordon argued against "the settlement of large aggregations of Hebrews in a Christian land". In another article he argued that "east of Aldgate one walks into a foreign town" and the development of a separate community, "a solid and permanently distinct block - a race apart, as it were, in an enduring island of extraneous thought and custom". (42)

According to his biographer, Marc Brodie, Evans-Gordon "was instrumental in the establishment of" the British Brothers' League (BBL), "a purportedly working-class anti-immigration body". (43) Evans-Gordon and other Tory MPs in the area galvanised the poorer local populace into angry street marches calling for an end to Jewish immigration. It was stated that the government "would not have this country made the dumping ground for the scum of Europe" and complained that England should be "the heart of the Empire not the dustbin of Austria and Russia". (44)

William Stanley Shaw was elected President of the organisation. He later recalled "that the first manifesto of the British Brothers' League was issued in February, 1901, but we did not commence enrolling members until May, 1901." In the first year Shaw claimed that BBL had "between ten and twelve thousand members, of which some fifteen hundred had paid the sixpence subscription." (45)

Mancherjee Bhownagree, the Tory MP for Bethnal Green North-East, who had been born in India but had moved to London in 1882, also gave his support to the anti-immigrant campaign and endorsed "any action which might stop this undesirable addition to our population". Most members were "mostly local factory workers and unemployed, convinced by BBL propaganda that their precarious work situation, low pay, overcrowded housing and poor sanitation was caused by immigration. The BBL marched through impoverished East End districts, voicing working class concerns, but wealthier elements ran the organisation from its Gracechurch Street offices nestled comfortably within the City." (46)

The leaders of the British Brothers' League convinced many local workers that the influx of migrants willing to work long hours for low pay undermined their struggle for better conditions. Instead of unionising migrants, the BBL called for restriction of entry. The Liberal MP, Henry Norman of Wolverhampton South, also joined the campaign and advised other nations to "disinfect their own sewage". As a result of their campaign the BBL were able to present a petition to Parliament with 45,000 signatures, mostly collected in east London, calling for immigration control." (47)

British Brothers League poster (January 1902)
British Brothers' League poster (January 1902)

Holding "Britain for the British" banners and Union Jacks, the British Brothers' League took part in intimidating marches through the East End. The Jewish Chronicle observed derisively that "there appears to be very little British and nothing brotherly in the new league." The 1900 General Election campaign saw several Conservative candidates stating their support of the British Brothers League. As a result "the brought into the House of Commons a cadre of Tory MPs representing East End constituencies who were committed to restricting immigration." (48)

Church leaders also joined the campaign against Jews (also referred to as Aliens). In 1902, the Bishop of Stepney, Cosmo Gordon Lang (later the Archbishop of Canterbury) had accused Jewish immigrants of only speaking three English words - "Board of Guardians". Lang went on to say: "I recognize the vigour and intelligence among the aliens but the fact remains that they are swamping whole areas once populated by English people and our churches are continually being left like islands in a sea of aliens." (49)

William Stanley Shaw, the original president of the British Brothers' League resigned in April 1902, and was replaced by Howard Vincent, the Conservative Party MP for Sheffied Central. He claimed that right-wing politicians had turned it into an anti-Semitic organisation. He pointed out in a letter to the East London Observer three months later that the "first condition that I made on starting the movement was the word 'Jew' should never be mentioned and that as far as possible the agitation should be kept clear of racial and religious animosity". He added that other members of the BBL were trying to make people believe that "alien" means "Jew" whereas he insisted it meant "foreigner". According to Shaw "religion had nothing to do with it". (50)

In a letter to the newspaper in September he explained his decision to resign in more detail. He criticised those Tory MPs who were exploiting the subject of immigration and questioned the reasons why "those noble personages who suddenly develop a burning interest in the troubles and perplexities of the masses." Shaw argued that the BBL had "started with the object of benefiting British workers" but had recently become "the pray of outside politicians". He went on to point out that "British workers should remember that this alien influx has been going on for twenty years, to a greater or lesser extent. It is no new discovery. The fault, too lies not with the immigrants in coming here, but with the British Government in allowing them to come. Do not blame the wrong people." (51)

1905 Alien Act

Major William Evans-Gordon was now the main figure in the British Brothers' League, an organisation that now had 12,000 members. Evans-Gordon toured eastern Europe to study the Jewish immigration question, and wrote of his journey in his book The Alien Immigrant (1903). It has been described as an "exhaustively researched and well-received treatise focused on the social political, and economic effects of the mass emigration of Eastern Europeans into Britain." (52) Evans-Gordon concluded his study with the words: "it is a fact that the settlement of large aggregations of Hebrews in a Christian land has never been successful". (53)

Members of the recently formed Labour Party and Jewish trade unionists formed the Aliens Defence League to counteract the British Brothers' League. Evans-Gordon responded by forming a committee of MPs pledged to vote for restriction (the parliamentary pauper immigration committee) and this played an important part in forcing the government to establish a royal commission on alien immigration in 1902. As a member of the commission, Evans-Gordon was "the individual who dominated the whole investigation". Many of the witnesses called by the commission were organized by the BBL. (54)

The commission's report was presented in August 1903 and recommended a range of measures to restrict immigration. It argued that: "Immigrants arrived impoverished, destitute and dirty; practised insanitary habits; spread infectious diseases; were a burden on the rates; dispossessed native dwellers; caused native tradesmen to suffer a loss of trade; worked for rates below the 'native workman'; included criminals, prostitutes and anarchists; formed a compact non-assimilating community, that didn't intermarry; and interfered with the observance of Christian Sunday." (55)

After the publication of this report the government, under pressure from right-wing elements in the Conservative Party, and reactionary newspapers such as the Daily Mail, to do something about immigration controls. Eventually, Arthur Balfour, the prime minister, agreed to introduce an Aliens Act. Aside from anti-semitic sentiments, the act was also driven by the economic and social unrest in the East End of London where most immigrants settled. According to the government, the undercutting of British labour was therefore a central driving force to the passing of the legislation. (56)

In a leading article on 11th December, 1903, The Jewish Chronicle protested that the proposed Alien Act really had nothing to do with the Jews, but was a protectionist measure intended to appease the working classes at a time of unemployment and so help to retain the seats of Conservative MPs. (57) In the next few weeks the newspaper published several articles showing that immigration was declining and pressure on the housing market was easing. (58)

The first attempt to pass the Alien Act in 1904 ended in failure. Howard Vincent, the president of the British Brothers League, complained that members of the Labour Party and the left-wing of the Liberal Party had blocked the measure: "To kill the bill by talk was the avowed object of the Radical obstructionists, and, thanks to them, Stepney and Whitechapel, Hoxton and Tower Hamlets, Poplar and Limehouse, Shoreditch and Bethnal Green, must continue for a while to suffer the evils of unrestricted alien immigration, driving the working-classes from employment and from home, and the townspeople into bankruptcy." However, Vincent claimed that Balfour had assured William Evans-Gordon and Samuel Forde Ridley, two members of the BBL, that he intended to try again to get the measure passed: "From every point of view I think a measure dealing with the subject is of great importance, and no time shall be lost in making an effort, and I think a more successful effort, to grapple with its difficulties." (59)

The novelist, Marie Corelli, gave her support to the campaign of the British Brothers' League: "The evils of overcrowding in London, as well as the large provincial cities, are steadily increasing, and it is hard to see why Great Britain should alone, out of all the countries in the world, be made a refuge for destitute foreigners. The size of the British Islands on the map, as compared with the rest of Europe, is so out of all proportion to the influx of alien population which annually floods our coasts, that this fact alone ought to be sufficient to press home to all reasoning and reasonable minds the necessity of enforcing legislation in such a way that a proper restriction may be set on the immigration of aliens to a country which has not sufficient room for the growth of its own people... Our first duty is to ourselves and the maintaining of our position with honour. British work, British wages and British homes should be among the first considerations of the British Government." (60)

When the Alien Bill was introduced again in 1905, Arthur Balfour claimed that the measure would save money for the country. "Why should we admit into this country people likely to become a public charge? Many countries which exclude immigrants have no Poor Laws they have not those great charities of which we justly boast. The immigrant comes in at his own peril and perishes if he cannot find a living. That is not the case here. From the famous statute of Elizabeth we have taken on ourselves the obligation of supporting every man, woman, and child in this country and saving them from starvation. Is the statute of Elizabeth to have European extension? Are we to be bound to support every man, woman, and child incapable of supporting themselves who choose to come to our shores? That argument seems to me to be preposterous. When it is remembered that some of these persons are a most undesirable element in the population, and are not likely to produce the healthy children... but are afflicted with disease either of mind or of body, which makes them intrinsically undesirable citizens, surely the fact that they are likely to become a public charge is a double reason for keeping them out of the country." (61)

Stuart Samuel, the Liberal Party MP for Whitechapel, accused the government of proposing legislation that would stop Jews who were suffering from religious persecution from entering the country. "The Prime Minister... had laid it down that we were bound by out historical past to refuse admission to the victims of religious persecution upon the ground that to admit them would cost this country a certain sum of money. That sordid and unworthy argument he believed the people of this country would not approve of.... If the right hon. Gentleman thought that he represented the opinions of the people of this country, why did he not appeal to them in that case? The right hon. Gentleman knew perfectly well that up and down the country the people were in favour of religious freedom.... said that if they refused asylum in this country to the victims of religious persecution and threw them back into the country where they were religiously persecuted, they were participating in the wrong." (62)

Balfour claimed that this legislation would help to protect the working-class from immigrants willing to accept lower-wages. This idea was completely rejected by Kier Hardie, the leader of the Labour Party: "The right hon. Gentleman (Arthur Balfour) replied that the Bill proposed to give protection to underpaid British labour against the competition of foreigners. At the present time the workman knew he had no such protection, but if this Bill became law he would relatively be worse off than he was now, because he would have a nominal protection. He would be more liable to competition under the Bill than he was now. Under the Bill no poor workman could come in unless he brought a contract of employment with him, and therefore the whole machinery would be set up for importing foreign workmen under a contract of employment, and it would be easier for the employers who wanted to obtain a gang of foreign workmen to obtain them. Consequently a British workman who was being threatened with a strike or a lock-out would find his position worse under the Bill than he did at present. The Government, had no right to so legislate as to give the employer an unfair advantage over his workman during a trade dispute." (63)

Although the word "Jew" was absent from the legislation, Jews formed the vast bulk of the "aliens" category. Speaking during the committee stage of the Alien Bill, Balfour argued that Jews should be prevented from arriving in Britain because they were not "to the advantage of the civilisation of this country... that there should be an immense body of persons who, however patriotic, able and industrious, however much they threw themselves into the national life, they are a people apart and not only had a religion differing from the vast majority of their fellow countrymen but only intermarry amongst themselves." (64)

The Liberal Party believed that the Alien Act was popular with the electorate and decided not to oppose the bill with any great effort. However, a couple of its more left-wing members, Charles Trevelyan and Charles Wentworth Dilke did warn of the dangers of this legislation. All four Jewish MPs who represented the Conservative Party, including Benjamin Cohen and Harry Samuel, voted for the legislation. Of the four Jewish Liberal MPs, one abstained and three voted against. (65)

As Geoffrey Alderman, the author of Modern British Jewry (1998) has pointed out the role of Chief Hermann Adler in this dispute: "It was not at the Jewish Board of Deputies that the principle of the legislation was condemned, but at the Jewish Working Men's Club, Great Alie Street, Aldgate, and by the Jewish Socialist-Zionist party, Poale Zion... Chief Rabbi Adler was reluctant to condemn it... At the general election of January 1906, in at least one constituency (Leeds Central) Adler's influence was discreetly employed by the Conservative interest." (66)

Britannia: "I can no longer offer shelter to fugitives. England is no longer a free country (1906)
Britannia: "I can no longer offer shelter to fugitives. England is no longer a free country (1906)

The Aliens Act was given royal assent in August 1905. With a great deal of justification, William Evans-Gordon was regarded by Chaim Weizmann, later the first president of Israel, as the "father of the Aliens Act". (67) It was the first time the government introduced immigration controls and registration, and gave the Home Secretary overall responsibility for immigration and nationality matters. The government argued that the act was designed to prevent paupers or criminals from entering the country and set up a mechanism to deport those who slipped through. Alfred Eckhard Zimmern, was one of many who opposed the legislation as being anti-Semitic, commented: "It is true that it does not specify Jews by name and that it is claimed that others besides Jews will be affected by the Act, but that is only a pretence." (68)

1906 General Election

In the 1906 General Election Tory MPs attempted to use the subject of immigration to win them votes. David Hope Kyd, the prospective MP for Whitechapel, told the electorate that Stuart Samuel, the sitting member, was pro-alien and it was "no good sending to Parliament a man who stands up... for the foreign Jews" and what was needed was "someone who could speak for the English in Whitechapel." (69) He was not the only Tory to mount a racist campaign as they appealed to "the British working man" to vote against "Pro-Alien Radical Jews" and "push back this intolerable invasion". (70)

The passing of the Alien Act did not help the Conservative Party in the 1906 General Election. The Liberal Party won 397 seats (48.9%) compared to the Conservative Party's 156 seats (43.4%). The Labour Party, led by Keir Hardie did well, increasing their seats from 2 to 29. In the landslide victory, the prime minister, Arthur Balfour, also lost his seat. Others who failed to get elected included supporters of the British Brothers League such as Samuel Forde Ridley (Bethnal Green South West), Walter Guthrie (Bow and Bromley), Thomas Dewar (Tower Hamlets, St George), Claude Hay (Hoxton), Harry Samuel (Limehouse), Benjamin Cohen (Islington East) and Mancherjee Bhownagree (Bethnal Green North-East). In Whitechapel, its Jewish MP, Stuart Samuel, who campaigned against the legislation, increased his majority over his racist opponent, David Hope Kyd. Margot Asquith wrote: "When the final figures of the Elections were published everyone was stunned, and it certainly looks as if it were the end of the great Tory Party as we have known it." (71)

However, the Alien Act was not repealed by the new Liberal government. As David Rosenberg has pointed out: "The Alien's Act drastically reduced the numbers of Jews seeking economic betterment in Britain who were permitted to enter; it also prevented greater numbers of asylum-seekers, escaping harrowing persecution, from finding refuge. In 1906, more than 500 Jewish refugees were granted political asylum. In 1908 the figure had fallen to twenty and by 1910, just five. During the same period, 1,378 Jews, who had been permitted to enter as immigrants but were found to be living on the streets without any visible means of support, had been rounded up and deported back to their country of origin." (72)

Russian Revolution and the Jews

This campaign against the Jews intensified after the Russian Revolution in 1917. On 5th June, 1918, The Daily Mail launched a campaign against the Home Office's aliens policy. Other sections of Fleet Street quickly joined the bandwagon. This forced the government to take strong measures against those people fleeing from Russia. This included a recommendations of 257 fresh internments and 220 repatriations. (73)

The connection between Jews and international communism was stressed by Winston Churchill in an article in The Illustrated Sunday Herald. He accused them of being part of "this worldwide conspiracy for the overthrow of civilization and the reconstruction of society on the basis of arrested development, of envious malevolence, and impossible equality." He added: "This movement amongst the Jews is not new... It has been the mainspring of every subversive movement during the 19th Century; and now at last this band of extraordinary personalities has gripped the Russian people by the hair of their heads and have become practically the undisputed masters of that enormous empire."

Churchill argued that the revolution would not have taken place without the involvement of Jewish leaders: "There is no need to exaggerate the part played in the creation of Bolshevism and in the actual bringing about of the Russian Revolution, by these international and for the most part atheistic Jews, it is certainly a very great one; it probably outweighs all others. With the notable exception of Lenin, the majority of the leading figures are Jews." (74)

Right-wing newspapers continued to publish propaganda against the Jewish community. In November 1932, the Daily Express, granted space for a sizeable article by Joseph Goebbels, head of the Berlin section of the Nazi Party, and later its Minister of Propaganda, in which he set out his party's case against the Jews. The newspaper justified its action by saying it gave "utmost freedom of expression to both sides of all vital social and political issues." (75)

Even literary figures on the left criticised the Jews in Britain during the 1930s. H. G. Wells claimed that Jewish culture was narrow and racially egotistical, and that Jewish insistence on separation provided a justification for anti-Semitism. "It may not be a bad thing if they (the Jews) thought themselves out of existence altogether." George Bernard Shaw offered the following advice for Jews: "Those Jews who still want to be the chosen race - chosen by the late Lord Balfour - can go to Palestine and stew in their own juice. The rest had better stop being Jews and start being human beings." (76)

In 1935 Oswald Mosley began to make violent anti-Semitic speeches that received praise from Adolf Hitler. Mosley responded by sending Hitler a telegram: "Please receive my greatest thanks for your kind telegram in relation to my speech in Leicester, which was received while I was away from London. I esteem greatly your advice in the midst of our hard struggle. The forces of Jewish corruption must be overcome in all great countries before the future of Europe can be made secure in justice and peace. Our struggle to this end is hard, but our victory is certain." (77)

Hitler also wrote a letter to Lord Rothermere thanking him for an article he had written where he called for Germany to be given back land in Africa that had been taken as a result of the Versailles Treaty. (78) Hitler said "I should like to express the appreciation of countless Germans, who regard me as their spokesman, for the wise and beneficial public support which you have given to a policy that we all hope will contribute to the enduring pacification of Europe. Just as we are fanatically determined to defend ourselves against attack, so do we reject the idea of taking the initiative in bringing about a war. I am convinced that no one who fought in the front trenches during the world war, no matter in what European country, desires another conflict." (79)

The British Union of Fascist decided not to put up candidates in the 1935 General Election. Instead he decided to develop a long-term electoral strategy of supporting anti-Semitic campaigns in Jewish areas. Of the 350,000 British Jews, about 230,000 lived in London, 150,000 of them in the East End. In October 1935, Mosley had ordered John Becket and A. K. Chesterton to promote anti-Semitism in those places with the highest number of Jews. (80) According to Robert Skidelsky, "Sixty thousand or so Jews were to be found in Stepney; another 20,000 or so in Bethnal Green; with smaller numbers in Hackney, Shoreditch and Bow." (81)

After the election result, Mosley complained about the Jewish influence on Parliament. He pointed out that this relatively small minority, comprising barely 0.7 per cent of British society, contributed nearly 3 per cent of politicians in the House of Commons. David Rosenberg points out: "There were eighteen Jewish members; eight Conservatives, six Labour and four Liberals... Significantly though, hardly any Jewish MPs sat in a constituency with a sizeable Jewish vote, and only a small proportion of the Jewish MPs hailed from the East European Jewish immigrants who comprised the bulk of Britain's Jewish community at this time." (82)

Church leaders did little to defend the Jews in London. Some actually joined in the criticism. Canon Patrick Palmer, who had been responsible for building several Catholic churches and schools in the Ilford area, blamed the Jews for the "evils of the unclean film industry" and recommended that "a strict boycott of all picture houses should be considered until such Jewish filth is swept right away." (83)

George Hartland, the Conservative Party MP for Norwich, also complained about the "Jewish control" of the cinema. He argued that: "There are millions of boys and girls in this country... whose souls are being taken from them as blood money for a syndicate of dirty American Jews - the Hollywood magnates." (84)

George Lansbury, the leader of the Labour Party and the M.P. for Bow & Bromley, complained about the activities of the BUF and stated that "unless this thing is put an end to - I have known East London all my life - there will one of these be such an outburst as few of us would care to contemplate." Denis Nowell Pritt, the Labour M.P. for Hammersmith North, feared that if the government did not act there would be "pogroms in this country." (85)

The British Union of Fascists also became active in other cities with significant Jewish populations, including Manchester (35,000) and Leeds (30,000). This stimulated anti-fascist organisations. In September, 1936, a BUF march to Holbeck Moor, clashed with a hostile demonstration of 20,000 people in which Mosley and many other fascists were attacked and injured by missiles. (86)

In response to complaints from local Jewish residents, the Manchester police attended all fascist meetings and kept notes. However, they decided that BUF meetings were "conducted in a very orderly manner and without giving any cause for objection", and argued that trouble only arose if Jews attended and interrupted the speakers. At a meeting in Manchester in June 1936, Jock Houston referred to Jews as the international enemy, dominating banks and commerce and fomenting war between war between Britain and Germany. However, the Attorney General Donald Somervell, told complainants that no criminal offence had been committed." (87)

The Blackshirt continued to make attacks on the Jews. It claimed that this was not Anti-Semitism and had nothing to do with what was going on in Nazi Germany: "In Germany anti-semitism is a symptom, not of fascism, but of Germany... There is only one menacing danger to Jews in England, and the danger arises from the communist company that many of them keep." (88)

The BUF speakers and newspapers attempted to link the Jewish community with socialism and communism and were often described as being "Jewish Reds". William Zuckerman, the author of The Jew in Revolt (1937) argued that both Jewish and non-Jewish socialists represented the "alien nation" and they were more imbued with political and economic concerns than national and racist ideology: "Fundamentally the British Fascists' outburst against the Jews is an outburst against British Labour, Reds, Socialists and Communists. It is more political and economic than national and racial. Its anti-semitism is a guise under which its profounder class feeling is hidden." (89)

Mosley attempted to draw a distinction between "good" and "bad" Jews. "Many Jews have fought for this country, and some of their families, through years and centuries, have proved themselves to be loyal citizens of Britain. Such men have nothing to fear from fascism. On the other hand, the low type of foreign Jew... will be run of the country in double-quick time under fascism... the better type of Jew, who in the course of years has become very British in outlook, will be very glad to see them go." (90)

"Any British citizen, Jew or Gentile who is loyal to Great Britain will get a square deal from us". However, some Jews were "alien drug-traffickers and white slavers who flourish like fat slugs on the decayed body of bourgeois society". Mosley added: "The emotional persecution of Jews in Germany will not be repeated in fascist Britain, but it is high time that the traffickers in misery, those who have bought and sold the well-being of the nation on the stock exchanges of the world, were brought to book." (91) The following month the language depicting "bad" Jews became more menacing. "They... are all traitors to Great Britain. Under a fascist government they will pay for their crimes". (92)

The BUF tended to refer to Jews as "aliens" that had only recently entered the country: "The very lowest types of the modern world have been admitted to our shores by Old Gang governments. The foreign Jew, the Polish criminal, the Lascars who displace Britons in their natural element, the sea, will have no place in Britain under fascism. The alien financier who has used the City of London, to finance our competitors abroad and to damage British industry by financial manipulation, will be deported." (93)

Another article, entitled, Britain for the British. The Alien Menace, in the same edition of The Blackshirt, argued: "A grave alien problem exists in this country... At a time when over 2 million Britons are unemployed, thousands of aliens are enjoyed a good living in our midst... While Britons are unemployed not a single alien should be admitted into this country. More than this: while Britons are unemployed, the aliens who now hold jobs should not be permitted to retain them." (94)

In the USA the American Federation of Labor president William Green, and several leading politicians, including Robert F. Wagner and Al Smith, joined to advocate a strict boycott of goods produced in Nazi Germany. The Jewish War Veterans of the United States also joined the campaign. William W. Cohen stated that "Any Jew buying one penny's worth of merchandise made in Germany is a traitor to his people." (95)

Attempts were made to introduce the boycott in Britain. This encouraged The Daily Express to publish the headline: "Judea Declares War on Germany". (96) The British Union of Fascists responded by attacking Jews involved in this boycott as disloyal: "Jewry in England must decide whether its members are of British nationality or not and must acquaint the world with its decision. If Jewry in Britain is British and places the interests of Britain first, then it is utterly unjustified in interfering with the internal affairs of Germany by declaring a boycott of German goods." (97)

The BUF accused Jews of acting counter to the "national interest" and was if successful, would cause unemployment in places like Lancashire: "Germany can pay for Lancashire goods only through exports, and this is not the moment when Lancashire can find other markets. Nor will they be found for her by her government, bound as it is in the shackles of Jewish international finance... Jews expect to satisfy their hatred of Germany at the expense of 30,000 Lancashire workers." (98)

The Blackshirt accused those newspapers such as the Daily Herald and the Daily Worker, that attempted to defend the Jews as being funded by "Moscow, Jews or both?" When demonstrators were arrested their names would be published and it would be pointed out how many had Jewish names. After one disrupted meeting in Manchester it reported: "The organised corruption of press, cinema and parliament, which is called democracy, but is ruled by alien Jewish finance - the same finance which has hired alien mobs to yell here tonight." (99)

These organisations were often critical of the role played in the resistance to fascism by the Board of Deputies of British Jews and The Jewish Chronicle, whose "editorial policy was closely allied with that of the official leadership and other recognised figureheads of Anglo-Jewry, and gave prominence to their statements." When anti-fascists became engaged with physical encounters with fascists were deemed guilty of "stupid and disgraceful behaviour" and their actions characterised as a "rank disservice to the Jewish people". (100)

When Jews attempted to disrupt public meetings of the British Union of Fascists, the newspaper invoked Jewish theology in condemning Jews involved in the disturbances that were taking place: "Jews who interfere with the full expression of opinion are false to the Jewish teachings of justice and fair play and are traitors to the vital material interests of the Jewish people." (101) Lionel de Rothschild, the former Conservative Party MP and leading exponent of Zionism, and the most significant Jew in Britain, agreed with this approach and refused to make any statements in "opposition to fascism". (102)

The Jewish Chronicle especially resented left-wing groups from campaigning against the Fascists. After the publication of the Communist Party of Great Britain leaflet in Yiddish calling people to join a demonstration against the BUF in Hyde Park the newspaper reported: "We urge Jews who feel strongly to have nothing to do with the protests... stay away and refrain from adding to the sufficiently heavy anxieties of the police. Any Jew guilty of lack of restraint is not a good friend of his people or of the principles he professes to hold." (103) This plea was unsuccessful and an estimated 100,000 people took part in the demonstration. (104)

The Morning Post criticised the Conservative Party for ignoring the activities of the BUF and praised the Labour Party for challenging the policies and activities of Mosley's party. (105) However, it was the Independent Labour Party and the Communist Party of Great Britain who became "the champions of the Jews in the ant-Fascist cause". The Jewish People's Council Against Fascism and Anti-Semitism, established in July, 1936, became the most important organization opposed to fascism. (106)

This organisations was often critical of the role played in the resistance to fascism by the Board of Deputies of British Jews. The leader of the new organisation, Aaron Rapoport Rollin, who was instrumental in establishing the Jewish People's Council, was also the chairman of the Jewish Labour Council, and a trade union leader in the garment industry, pointed out: "The Board of Deputies, constituted as it is on an obsolete and often farcical basis of representation, does not represent the widest elements of the Jewish people in this country... The mass of the Jewish people are not at all yet convinced that a complete and sincere change of heart and mind has taken place in the leadership of the Board. There must therefore be in existence a strong and virile popular Jewish body to act as a driving force in our fight against the dangers confronting us." (107)

The members of the Jewish People's Council, were also critical of The Jewish Chronicle, whose "editorial policy was closely allied with that of the official leadership and other recognised figureheads of Anglo-Jewry, and gave prominence to their statements." When anti-fascists became engaged with physical encounters with fascists were deemed guilty of "stupid and disgraceful behaviour" and their actions characterised as a "rank disservice to the Jewish people". (108)

The Battle of Cable Street

In an attempt to increase support for their campaign, the British Union of Fascists announced its attention of marching through the East End on 4th October 1936, wearing their Blackshirt uniforms. The Jewish People's Council Against Fascism and Anti-Semitism produced a petition that stated: "We the undersigned citizens of East London, view with grave concern the proposed march of the British Union of Fascists upon East London. The avowed object of the Fascist movement in Great Britain is the incitement of malice and hatred against sections of the population. It aims to further ends which seek to destroy the harmony and goodwill which has existed for centuries among the East London population, irrespective of differences in race and creed. We consider racial incitement, by a movement which employs flagrant distortions of the truth and degrading calumny and vilification, as a direct and deliberate provocation to attack. We therefore make an appeal to His Majesty's Secretary of State for Home Affairs to prohibit such matters and thus retain peaceable and amicable relations between all sections of East London's population." (109)

Within 48 hours over 100,000 people signed the petition and it was presented to 2nd October deputation was headed by James Hall, the Labour Party M.P. for Whitechapel, Father St John Beverley Groser and Alfred M. Wall (Secretary of the London Trades Council). (110) George Lansbury, the M.P. for Bow & Bromley, also wrote to John Simon, the Home Secretary, and asked for the march to be diverted. (111) Simon refused and told a deputation of local mayors that he would not interfere as he did not wish to infringe freedom of speech. Instead he sent a large police escort in an attempt to prevent anti-fascist protesters from disrupting the march. (112)

The Independent Labour Party responded by issuing a leaflet calling on East London workers to take part in the counter demonstration which would assemble at Aldgate at 2.p.m. (113) As a result the anti-fascists, adopting the slogan of the Spanish Republicans defending Madrid "They Shall Not Pass" and developed a plan to block Mosley's route. One of the key organizers was Phil Piratin, a leading figure in the Stepney Tenants Defence League. Denis Nowell Pritt and other members of the Labour Party also took part in the campaign against the march. (114)

The Jewish Chronicle told its readers not to take part in the demonstration: "Urgent Warning. It is understood that a large Blackshirt demonstration will be held in East London on Sunday afternoon. Jews are urgently warned to keep away from the route of the Blackshirt march from their meetings. Jews who, however innocently, became involved in any possible disorders will be actively helping anti-Semitism and Jew-baiting. Unless you want to help the Jew-baiters - Keep Away." (115)

The Daily Herald reported that by "1.30 p.m... anti-Fascists had massed in tens of thousands. They formed a solid block at the junction of Commercial Street, Whitechapel Road and Aldgate. It was through this area that Mosley would have to reach his goal, Victoria Park, Stepney and the Socialists, Jews and Communists of the East End were determined that 'Mosley should not pass!' At the time every available policeman - about 10,000 in all - was converging on Whitechapel from all parts of London. Mounted police rode into the huge throng and forced the demonstrators back into the streets. Cordons were then flung across to keep a clear space for the marchers." (116)

By 2.00 p.m. 50,000, people had gathered to prevent the entry of the march into the East End, and something between 100,000 and 300,000 additional protesters waited on the route. Barricades were erected across Cable Street and the police endeavoured to clear a route by making repeated baton charges. (117) One of the demonstrators said that he could see "Mosley - black-shirted himself - marching in front of about 3,000 Blackshirts and a sea of Union Jacks. It was as though he were the commander-in-chief of the army, with the Blackshirts in columns and a mass of police to protect them." (118)

Father St John Beverley Groser, of Christ Church, Watney Street, in Stepney, was a Christian Socialist and was one of the main organisers of the demonstration. He was hit several times by police batons and suffered a broken nose. The Church authorities were very unhappy with his involvement and his licence to preach was removed for a time. He had been previously forced to resign from the church after supporting the trade union movement during the General Strike. (119)

Eventually at 3.40 p.m. Sir Philip Game, the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police in London, had to accept defeat and told Mosley that he had to abandon their march and the fascists were escorted out of the area. Max Levitas, one of the leaders of the Jewish community in Stepney later pointed out: "It was the solidarity between the Labour Party, the Communist Party and the trade union movement that stopped Mosley's fascists, supported by the police, from marching through Cable Street." (120) William J. Fishman said: "I was moved to tears to see bearded Jews and Irish Catholic dockers standing up to stop Mosley. I shall never forget that as long as I live, how working-class people could get together to oppose the evil of fascism." (121)

Battle of Cable Street (film)
Battle of Cable Street (film)

The Manchester Guardian supported the Home Secretary's decision to allow the BUF's march as it demonstrated that the Fascists had the right to hold a procession, but correctly banned it, when it showed signs of getting out of control. (122) The Times condemned the actions of the anti-fascists and concluded, "that this sort of hooliganism must clearly be ended, even if it involves a special and sustained effort from the police authorities." (123) The Daily Telegraph praised the Police Commissioner Hugh Trenchard "as he was on the side of free speech, and those who assembled to resist the march threatened it." (124)

A total of 79 anti-fascists were arrested at during the Battle of Cable Street. Several of these men received a custodial sentence. This included the 21 year-old, Charlie Goodman. One of his prison experiences highlighted the conflict between the conservative Jewish establishment and left-wing Jews: "I was visited by a Mr Prince from the Jewish Discharged Prisoners Aid Society... an arm of the Board of Deputies who called all the Jewish prisoners together." He asked them what crimes they had committed. The first five or six prisoners admitted to crimes such as robbery and he replied, "Don't worry, we'll look after you." When he asked Goodman he replied, "fighting fascism". This provoked Prince into saying: "You are the kind of Jew who gives us a bad name... It is people like you that are causing all the aggravation to the Jewish people." (125)

According to one police report, Mick Clarke, one of the fascist leaders in London told one meeting: "It is about time the British people of the East End knew that London's pogrom is not very far away now. Mosley is coming every night of the week in future to rid East London and by God there is going to be a pogrom." As John Bew has pointed out: "That was not the end of the matter. Labour Party meetings were frequently stormed by fascists over the following months. Stench bombs would be put through a window, doors would be kicked open, and fists would fly." (126)

Anti-Semitism: 1900-1939

It is interesting to compare the way the Labour Party, the Conservative Party, the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the The Jewish Chronicle, and other right-wing newspapers reacted to the wave of anti-Semitism that took place in the early 1900s and in the 1930s. It was of course Tory MPs who founded the British Brothers' League, in an attempt to whip up hatred of the Jews to win seats in the 1906 General Election. It was Kier Hardie, one of only two Labour MPs at the time, who led the opposition to the 1905 Alien Act. As explained earlier, the four Tory Jewish MPs voted for the legislation that had a dramatic impact on Jews attempting to enter the country.

As Geoffrey Alderman, the author of Modern British Jewry (1998) has pointed out it was not the Board of Deputies of British Jews who condemned the legislation but Jewish working-class organizations. (see source 66) The reason for this is the Board of Deputies, as we have seen in recent months, only represent the interests of wealthy Jews. This was something recognised at the time and in the 1906 General Election the Labour Party increased their representation from 2 to 29, and most of the Tories who had been involved in the anti-Semitic campaign lost their seats.

The Liberal Party now formed a new government. However, they had not strongly opposed the Alien Act and once in power failed to repeal it and as a result the number of Jewish refugees fell dramatically over the years that followed. As David Rosenberg has revealled over the next few years 1,378 Jews, who had been permitted to enter as immigrants were rounded up and deported back to their country of origin." (see source 72)

This story was repeated in the 1930s. It was Harold Harmsworth, 1st Lord Rothermere, the press baron, who owned several papers including The Daily Mail, who suggested to Oswald Mosley, that he should form an anti-Semitic fascist party (see sources 13 and 14). Of course, Rothermere was aware that the British Union of Fascists, with our first past the post system, could never form a government. He had two main objectives with his support for this party. One was to encourage the Conservative Party government to adopt right-wing policies. The second was to take votes away from the Labour Party in working-class areas. In fact, it was the same reason why the newspaper gave so much support for UKIP in recent years.

The response to the threat of fascism by the Board of Deputies of British Jews and The Jewish Chronicle, mirrored that of what happened at the time of the British Brothers' League and the campaign for the 1905 Alien Act. It has to be remembered that the newspaper was highly critical of those Jewish people who took part in anti-fascists demonstrations and powerful Jews such as Lionel de Rothschild refused to make any statements in "opposition to fascism" (see sources 100-103). The main reason for this was these two organisations did not want Jews to become associated with anti-fascist groups on the left. That is why the Jewish People's Council Against Fascism and Anti-Semitism had to be formed to resist the activities of Mosley and the British Union of Fascists in London.

When the British of Union of Fascists announced its attention of marching through the East End on 4th October 1936, wearing their Blackshirt uniforms. It was the Jewish People's Council, the Independent Labour Party (the ILP was a left-wing pressure group within the Labour Party in the 1930s, a bit like Momentum today, and the Christian Socialists, led by Father John Groser, that organised the petition against the march that achieved 100,000 signatures in only two days.

The Home Secretary told a deputation of local mayors that he would not interfere as he did not wish to infringe freedom of speech. Instead he sent a large police escort in an attempt to prevent anti-fascist protesters from disrupting the march. The ILP responded responded by issuing a leaflet calling on East London workers to take part in the counter demonstration. The Jewish Chronicle told its readers not to take part in the demonstration (see source 115) but they were ignored and an estimated 200,000 plus people stopped the march taking place.

The main consequence of the Battle of Cable Street was the passing of the 1936 Public Order Act. This gave the Home Secretary the power to ban marches in the London area and police chief constables could apply to him for bans elsewhere. The 1936 Public Order Act also made it an offence to wear political uniforms and to use threatening and abusive words. Herbert Morrison of the Labour Party claimed that this act "smashed the private army and I believe commenced the undermining of Fascism in this country." (127)

Oswald Mosley now decided to use democratic methods to take control of the East End of London. In February, 1937, Mosley announced that the British Union of Fascists would be taking part in London's municipal elections the following month. During the campaign BUF candidates attacked Jewish financiers, landlords, shopkeepers and politicians. Mosley also attacked the Labour Party for not solving London's housing problem. The main slogan of the BUF was "Vote British and Save London".

The election results announced on 6th March 1937 revealed that the BUF won only 18% of the votes cast in the seats they were contesting. Mick Clarke and Alexander Raven Thompson did best of all with winning 23% of the vote in Bethnal Green. This was less than half of those of the Labour candidates. The BUF vote mainly came from disillusioned supporters of the Conservative Party and the Liberal Party rather than that of Labour. This suggested "that Mosley had as yet made little political headway among the ordinary working-class of East London - dockers, transport men, shipyard workers." (128)

Anti-Semitism and the Labour Party

It was not the The Jewish Chronicle or the Board of Deputies of British Jews that defeated fascism in Britain in the 1930s. Nor was it the Conservative Party or those right-wing newspapers, who were in fact encouraging anti-Semitism in order to gain support for its own ideology (at the time people like Lord Rothermere wanted the introduction of the corporate state and a restriction of rights for trade unionists). Fascism was in fact defeated by the organized working-class.

What does the history of anti-Semitism tell us about the current situation? Anti-Semitism is clearly on the increase. The Guardian reported earlier this year: "Antisemitic hate incidents have reached a record level in the UK, with the Jewish community targeted at a rate of nearly four times a day last year, figures indicate. There were 1,382 antisemitic incidents recorded nationwide in 2017 by the Community Security Trust. This was the highest tally that the trust, a charity that monitors antisemitism, has registered for a calendar year since it began gathering such data in 1984. The figure rose by 3%, compared with a total, in 2016, of 1,346 incidents – a tally that itself was a record annual total." (129)

A few months later the newspaper reported that we also have an increasing problem with Islamophobia: "A record number of anti-Muslim attacks and incidents of abuse were reported last year, with women disproportionately targeted by mostly male teenage perpetrators, the monitoring group Tell Mama has said. In its annual report, the group noted a surge in Islamophobic attacks, with 1,201 verified reports submitted in 2017, a rise of 26% on the year before and the highest number since it began recording incidents." (130)

It would seem the media is less interested in Islamophobia than anti-Semitism. For example, recently, Rod Liddle, writing in The Spectator, complained that: "There is not nearly enough Islamophobia in the Tory Party." Although this caused a great deal of comment on social media, it was virtually ignored by the mainstream media. You could have imagined what would have happened if a left-wing journalist had written an article saying "There is not nearly enough anti-Semitism in the Labour Party." (131)

It would seem that the media campaign, especially by the so-called "liberal" organisations such as the BBC and The Guardian, that the Labour Party is anti-Semitic is working. According to a poll carried out by Deltapoll, 51% of the electorate believes that there are "pockets of antisemitism in the Labour party". The report goes on to say "that a third (34%) of voters also believe that Jeremy Corbyn is among those in the party who hold antisemitic views". (132)

How do these people know that the Labour Party has problems with anti-Semitism? What evidence are people using to make their decisions on the subject? Could it be that people are developing views based on the publicity that this issue is being given in the media? If they are really interested in the problems of anti-Semitism in Britain why don't they consult the latest published research on the subject. For example, the recent extensive survey by the highly respected Jewish Policy Research entitled, Antisemitism in Contemporary Great Britain (September 2017). It argued that the main repository of anti-Semitic views in Britain is among supporters of the Conservative Party and UKIP. (133)

Every two years YouGov carries out a study on the subject of anti-Semitism. In August 2017 YouGov asked 1614 adults from across the political spectrum whether 5 different stereotypical anti-Semitic tropes about Jewish people were either "Definitely true" "Probably true", "Definitely not true" or "Probably not true". And, when comparing the responses to those given by 3411 respondents to almost identical questions in 2015, the results were profound. For example, in 2015, 22% of Labour voters agreed with the statement that "Jews chase money more than other people", whereas 31% of Conservative voters agreed with this view. In 2017 the number of Labour voters agreeing with the statement had declined to 14%. Amongst Tories it had declined to 27%.

Contrary to the narrative portrayed by the media furore surrounding Labour’s reported "problem" with anti-Semitism, this data shows that since Jeremy Corbyn became leader of the Labour Party in 2015, anti-Semitic views amongst Labour party voters have actually reduced substantially. "Not only are anti-Semitic views amongst Conservative voters significantly higher than Labour voters in general, the rate of decline for anti-Semitic views amongst Labour voters is more than double the rate of Conservative voters – falling 8% in two years for Labour voters compared to a 3% decline in anti-Semitic views among Tory voters." (134)

Norman G. Finkelstein, a Jewish academic whose family suffered terribly as a result of anti-Semitism in Europe in the 20th century, has attempted to explain what our mainstream media is trying to do. "The current hysteria engulfing the British Labour Party resolves itself into a pair of interrelated, if discrete, premises: Anti-Semitism in British society at large and the Labour Party in particular have reached crisis proportions. If neither of these premises can be sustained, then the hysteria is a fabrication. In fact, no evidence has been adduced to substantiate either of them; on the contrary, all the evidence points in the opposite direction. The rational conclusion is that the brouhaha is a calculated hoax - dare it be said, plot? - to oust Jeremy Corbyn and the principled leftist politics he represents from British public life. Given the fraught history of anti-Semitism, on the one hand, and its crude manipulation by Jewish elites, on the other, an objective, dispassionate assessment could appear beyond reach. Still, it must be attempted. The prospect of a historic victory for the Left might otherwise be sabotaged as, thus far, Corbyn’s supporters, whether it be from fear, calculation, or political correctness, dare not speak the name of the evil that is afoot." (135)

Anyone interested in this subject should read this report by the Media Reform Coalition: Labour, Antisemitism and the News: A Disinformation Paradigm (September, 2018)


(1) Rachel Wearmouth, Huffington Post ( 25th March, 2018)

(2) The Jewish News (9th October, 2018)

(3) Hugo Rifkind, The Times (26th March, 2018)

(4) S. J. Taylor, The Great Outsiders: Northcliffe, Rothermere and the Daily Mail (1996) page 285

(5) The Harrow Observer (29th November, 1918)

(6) The Harrow Observer (3rd January, 1919)

(7) Robert Skidelsky, Mosley (1981) page 130

(8) David Marquand, Ramsay MacDonald (1977) page 539

(9) John Bew, Citizen Clem: A Biography of Attlee (2016) page 149

(10) Martin Pugh, Speak for Britain: A New History of the Labour Party (2010) page 212

(11) Robert Benewick, The Fascist Movement in Britain (1972) pages 66-67

(12) Stephen Dorril, Black Shirt: Sir Oswald Mosley and British Fascism (2006) pages 187-188

(13) Nicholas Mosley, Rules of the Game: Sir Oswald and Lady Cynthia Mosley 1896-1933 (1982) page 205

(14) Harold Nicolson, diary entry (11th December, 1931)

(15) Robert Skidelsky, Mosley (1981) page 284

(16) Oswald Mosley, speech (1st October, 1932)

(17) Robert Benewick, The Fascist Movement in Britain (1972) page 110

(18) Weekly Fascist News (7th January, 1934)

(19) James Pool, Who Financed Hitler: The Secret Funding of Hitler's Rise to Power (1979) page 314

(20) Harold Harmsworth, 1st Lord Rothermere, The Daily Mail (10th July, 1933)

(21) Hans-Adolf Jacobsen, Nationalsozialistische Aussenpolitik (1968) page 334

(22) Franklin Reid Gannon, The British Press and Germany (1971) page 34

(23) George Ward Price, Extra-Special Correspondent (1957) page 34

(24) Harold Harmsworth, 1st Lord Rothermere, The Daily Mail (22nd January, 1934)

(25) David Low, Evening Standard (26th January 1934)

(26) David Low, Autobiography (1956) page 150

(27) Sir Thomas Moore, The Daily Mail (25th April, 1934)

(28) Randolph Churchill, The Daily Mail (27th April, 1934)

(29) Martin Pugh, Hurrah for the Blackshirts (2006) page 140

(30) Graham Macklin, Very Deeply Dyed in Black: Sir Oswald Mosley and the Postwar Reconstruction of British Fascism (2007) page 64

(31) Jorian Jenks, Action (21st February, 1936)

(32) Martin Pugh, Hurrah for the Blackshirts (2006) page 209

(33) S. H. Noakes, General Report of Fascist Activities in West Sussex (26th August, 1940)

(34) David Rosenberg, Battle for the East End: Jewish Responses to Fascism in the 1930s (2011) page 12

(35) Cathy Porter, Fathers and Daughters: Russian Women in Revolution (1976) page 276

(36) Michael Burleigh, Blood & Rage: A Cultural History of Terrorism (2008) page 58

(37) David Rosenberg, Battle for the East End: Jewish Responses to Fascism in the 1930s (2011) page 20

(38) Lionel Morrison, A Century of Black Journalism in Britain (2007) page 170

(39) David Rosenberg, The Guardian (4th March, 2015)

(40) Joseph Finn, Voice from the Aliens (1895)

(41) The Daily Mail (3rd February, 1900)

(42) Colin Holmes, Anti-Semitism in British Society, 1876-1939 (1979) page 27

(43) Marc Brodie, William Evans-Gordon: Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004)

(44) David Rosenberg, Battle for the East End: Jewish Responses to Fascism in the 1930s (2011) page 23

(45) East London Observer (19th October, 1901)

(46) David Rosenberg, The Guardian (4th March, 2015)

(47) David Rosenberg, Rebel Footprints: A Guide to Uncovering London's Radical History (2015) page 94

(48) David Cesarani, The Jewish Chronicle and Anglo-Jewry, 1841–1991 (1994) page 74

(49) Stephen Aris, But there are no Jews in England (1970) page 32

(50) Colin Holmes, Anti-Semitism in British Society, 1876-1939 (1979) page 94

(51) William Stanley Shaw, letter to the East London Observer (27th September, 1902)

(52) Lara Trubowitz, Civil Antisemitism, Modernism, and British Culture, 1902-1939 (2012) pages 29-30

(53) William Evans-Gordon, The Alien Immigrant (1903) page 248

(54) Marc Brodie, William Evans-Gordon: Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004)

(55) David Rosenberg, Rebel Footprints: A Guide to Uncovering London's Radical History (2015) pages 94-95

(56) Bernard Gainer, The Alien Invasion: The Origins of the Aliens Act of 1905 (1972) pages 19-20

(57) The Jewish Chronicle (11th December, 1903)

(58) David Cesarani, The Jewish Chronicle and Anglo-Jewry, 1841–1991 (1994) page 99

(59) East London Observer (27th August, 1904)

(60) Marie Corelli, letter in The Morning Post (2nd May 1905)

(61) Arthur Balfour, speech in the House of Commons (2nd May 1905)

(62) Stuart Samuel, speech in the House of Commons (10th July, 1905)

(63) Kier Hardie, speech in the House of Commons (10th July, 1905)

(64) Geoffrey Alderman, Modern British Jewry (1998) page 133

(65) House of Commons vote on the Alien Act (5th May, 1905)

(66) Geoffrey Alderman, Modern British Jewry (1998) page 137

(67) Bernard Gainer, The Alien Invasion: The Origins of the Aliens Act of 1905 (1972) page 182

(68) Alfred Eckhard Zimmern, The Economic Journal (April, 1911)

(69) Colin Holmes, Anti-Semitism in British Society, 1876-1939 (1979) page 28

(70) Paul Thompson, Socialists, Liberals and Labour: the Struggle for London, 1885–1914 (1967) page 29

(71) Margot Asquith, The Autobiography of Margot Asquith (1962) page 245

(72) David Rosenberg, Battle for the East End: Jewish Responses to Fascism in the 1930s (2011) page 114

(73) David Cesarani, The Internment of Aliens in the 20th Century (1993) page 61

(74) Winston Churchill, The Illustrated Sunday Herald (8th February, 1920)

(75) The Daily Express (6th November, 1932)

(76) David Rosenberg, Battle for the East End: Jewish Responses to Fascism in the 1930s (2011) page 43

(77) Oswald Mosley, telegram to Adolf Hitler (11th May, 1935)

(78) Harold Harmsworth, 1st Lord Rothermere, The Daily Mail (21st March, 1934)

(79) Adolf Hitler, letter to Harold Harmsworth, 1st Lord Rothermere (December, 1933)

(80) Special Branch Report (24th October, 1934)

(81) Robert Skidelsky, Mosley (1981) page 393

(82) David Rosenberg, Battle for the East End: Jewish Responses to Fascism in the 1930s (2011) page 30

(83) The Jewish Chronicle (17th August, 1934)

(84) The Jewish Chronicle (13th May, 1932)

(85) David Rosenberg, Battle for the East End: Jewish Responses to Fascism in the 1930s (2011) page 14

(86) Nigel Copsey, Anti-Fascism in Britain (2000) pages 46-47

(87) Martin Pugh, Hurrah for the Blackshirts (2006) page 225

(88) The Blackshirt (16th May, 1935)

(89) William Zuckerman, The Jew in Revolt (1937) page 75

(90) The Blackshirt (30th September, 1933)

(91) The Blackshirt (5th August, 1933)

(92) The Blackshirt (16th September, 1933)

(93) The Blackshirt (30th September, 1933)

(94) The Blackshirt (30th September, 1933)

(95) The New York Times (21st March, 1933)

(96) The Daily Express (24th March, 1933)

(97) The Blackshirt (18th November, 1933)

(98) The Blackshirt (17th August, 1934)

(99) The Blackshirt (5th October, 1934)

(100) David Rosenberg, Battle for the East End: Jewish Responses to Fascism in the 1930s (2011) page 141

(101) The Jewish Chronicle (15th June, 1934)

(102) David Rosenberg, Battle for the East End: Jewish Responses to Fascism in the 1930s (2011) page 169

(103) The Jewish Chronicle (7th September, 1934)

(104) David Rosenberg, Battle for the East End: Jewish Responses to Fascism in the 1930s (2011) page 144

(105) The Morning Post (22nd October, 1933)

(106) Robert Benewick, The Fascist Movement in Britain (1972) pages 223-224

(107) Aaron Rapoport Rollin, speech at the People's Council Against Fascism and Anti-Semitism Conference (26th July, 1936)

(108) David Rosenberg, Battle for the East End: Jewish Responses to Fascism in the 1930s (2011) page 141

(109) Petition organised by the Jewish People's Council Against Fascism and Anti-Semitism that was presented to the Home Office on 2nd October 1936.

(110) The Daily Worker (3rd October 1936)

(111) The Jewish Chronicle (9th October, 1936)

(112) Nigel Copsey, Anti-Fascism in Britain (2000) pages 54-55

(113) The Daily Worker (3rd October 1936)

(114) Robert Benewick, The Fascist Movement in Britain (1972) page 220-225

(115) The Jewish Chronicle (2nd October, 1936)

(116) The Daily Herald (5th October 1936)

(117) Martin Pugh, Hurrah for the Blackshirts (2006) page 225

(118) William J. Fishman, The Daily Mirror (23rd September, 2006)

(119) Patrick Comerford, Remembering Father John Groser (1890-1966), once the best-known priest in the East End (20th November, 2016)

(120) Kurt Barling, Cable Street: Solidarity stopped Mosley's fascists (4th October, 2011)

(121) Audrey Gillan, The Guardian (20th September, 2006)

(122) The Manchester Guardian (5th October, 1936)

(123) The Times (5th October, 1936)

(124) The Daily Telegraph (5th October, 1936)

(125) David Rosenberg, Rebel Footprints: A Guide to Uncovering London's Radical History (2015) page 271

(126) John Bew, Citizen Clem: A Biography of Attlee (2016) page 209

(127) Stephen Dorril, Black Shirt: Sir Oswald Mosley and British Fascism (2006) page 408

(128) Robert Skidelsky, Mosley (1981) pages 408-410

(129) Nadia Khomami, The Guardian (1st February, 2018)

(130) Sarah Marsh, The Guardian (20th July, 2018)

(131) Rod Liddle, The Spectator (11th August, 2018)

(132) Michael Savage, The Observer (8th April, 2018)

(133) Daniel Staetsky, Antisemitism in Contemporary Great Britain (September 2017)

(134) Tom D. Rogers, Evolve Politics (29th March, 2018)

(135) Norman G. Finkelstein, The Chimera of British Anti-Semitism (19th August, 2018)

John Simkin


Previous Posts

Why was the anti-Nazi German, Gottfried von Cramm, banned from taking part at Wimbledon in 1939? (7th July, 2018)

What kind of society would we have if Evan Durbin had not died in 1948? (28th June, 2018)

The Politics of Immigration: 1945-2018 (21st May, 2018)

State Education in Crisis (27th May, 2018)

Why the decline in newspaper readership is good for democracy (18th April, 2018)

Anti-Semitism in the Labour Party (12th April, 2018)

George Osborne and the British Passport (24th March, 2018)

Boris Johnson and the 1936 Berlin Olympics (22nd March, 2018)

Donald Trump and the History of Tariffs in the United States (12th March, 2018)

Karen Horney: The Founder of Modern Feminism? (1st March, 2018)

The long record of The Daily Mail printing hate stories (19th February, 2018)

John Maynard Keynes, the Daily Mail and the Treaty of Versailles (25th January, 2018)

20 year anniversary of the Spartacus Educational website (2nd September, 2017)

The Hidden History of Ruskin College (17th August, 2017)

Underground child labour in the coal mining industry did not come to an end in 1842 (2nd August, 2017)

Raymond Asquith, killed in a war declared by his father (28th June, 2017)

History shows since it was established in 1896 the Daily Mail has been wrong about virtually every political issue. (4th June, 2017)

The House of Lords needs to be replaced with a House of the People (7th May, 2017)

100 Greatest Britons Candidate: Caroline Norton (28th March, 2017)

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100 Greatest Britons Candidate: Anne Knight (23rd February, 2017)

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100 Greatest Britons: Where are the Women? (28th December, 2016)

The Death of Liberalism: Charles and George Trevelyan (19th December, 2016)

Donald Trump and the Crisis in Capitalism (18th November, 2016)

Victor Grayson and the most surprising by-election result in British history (8th October, 2016)

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The Peasant's Revolt and the end of Feudalism (3rd September, 2016)

Leon Trotsky and Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party (15th August, 2016)

Eleanor of Aquitaine, Queen of England (7th August, 2016)

The Media and Jeremy Corbyn (25th July, 2016)

Rupert Murdoch appoints a new prime minister (12th July, 2016)

George Orwell would have voted to leave the European Union (22nd June, 2016)

Is the European Union like the Roman Empire? (11th June, 2016)

Is it possible to be an objective history teacher? (18th May, 2016)

Women Levellers: The Campaign for Equality in the 1640s (12th May, 2016)

The Reichstag Fire was not a Nazi Conspiracy: Historians Interpreting the Past (12th April, 2016)

Why did Emmeline and Christabel Pankhurst join the Conservative Party? (23rd March, 2016)

Mikhail Koltsov and Boris Efimov - Political Idealism and Survival (3rd March, 2016)

Why the name Spartacus Educational? (23rd February, 2016)

Right-wing infiltration of the BBC (1st February, 2016)

Bert Trautmann, a committed Nazi who became a British hero (13th January, 2016)

Frank Foley, a Christian worth remembering at Christmas (24th December, 2015)

How did governments react to the Jewish Migration Crisis in December, 1938? (17th December, 2015)

Does going to war help the careers of politicians? (2nd December, 2015)

Art and Politics: The Work of John Heartfield (18th November, 2015)

The People we should be remembering on Remembrance Sunday (7th November, 2015)

Why Suffragette is a reactionary movie (21st October, 2015)

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David Cameron's Trade Union Act and fascism in Europe (23rd September, 2015)

The problems of appearing in a BBC documentary (17th September, 2015)

Mary Tudor, the first Queen of England (12th September, 2015)

Jeremy Corbyn, the new Harold Wilson? (5th September, 2015)

Anne Boleyn in the history classroom (29th August, 2015)

Why the BBC and the Daily Mail ran a false story on anti-fascist campaigner, Cedric Belfrage (22nd August, 2015)

Women and Politics during the Reign of Henry VIII (14th July, 2015)

The Politics of Austerity (16th June, 2015)

Was Henry FitzRoy, the illegitimate son of Henry VIII, murdered? (31st May, 2015)

The long history of the Daily Mail campaigning against the interests of working people (7th May, 2015)

Nigel Farage would have been hung, drawn and quartered if he lived during the reign of Henry VIII (5th May, 2015)

Was social mobility greater under Henry VIII than it is under David Cameron? (29th April, 2015)

Why it is important to study the life and death of Margaret Cheyney in the history classroom (15th April, 2015)

Is Sir Thomas More one of the 10 worst Britons in History? (6th March, 2015)

Was Henry VIII as bad as Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin? (12th February, 2015)

The History of Freedom of Speech (13th January, 2015)

The Christmas Truce Football Game in 1914 (24th December, 2014)

The Anglocentric and Sexist misrepresentation of historical facts in The Imitation Game (2nd December, 2014)

The Secret Files of James Jesus Angleton (12th November, 2014)

Ben Bradlee and the Death of Mary Pinchot Meyer (29th October, 2014)

Yuri Nosenko and the Warren Report (15th October, 2014)

The KGB and Martin Luther King (2nd October, 2014)

The Death of Tomás Harris (24th September, 2014)

Simulations in the Classroom (1st September, 2014)

The KGB and the JFK Assassination (21st August, 2014)

West Ham United and the First World War (4th August, 2014)

The First World War and the War Propaganda Bureau (28th July, 2014)

Interpretations in History (8th July, 2014)

Alger Hiss was not framed by the FBI (17th June, 2014)

Google, Bing and Operation Mockingbird: Part 2 (14th June, 2014)

Google, Bing and Operation Mockingbird: The CIA and Search-Engine Results (10th June, 2014)

The Student as Teacher (7th June, 2014)

Is Wikipedia under the control of political extremists? (23rd May, 2014)

Why MI5 did not want you to know about Ernest Holloway Oldham (6th May, 2014)

The Strange Death of Lev Sedov (16th April, 2014)

Why we will never discover who killed John F. Kennedy (27th March, 2014)

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The Allied Plot to Kill Lenin (7th March, 2014)

Was Rasputin murdered by MI6? (24th February 2014)

Winston Churchill and Chemical Weapons (11th February, 2014)

Pete Seeger and the Media (1st February 2014)

Should history teachers use Blackadder in the classroom? (15th January 2014)

Why did the intelligence services murder Dr. Stephen Ward? (8th January 2014)

Solomon Northup and 12 Years a Slave (4th January 2014)

The Angel of Auschwitz (6th December 2013)

The Death of John F. Kennedy (23rd November 2013)

Adolf Hitler and Women (22nd November 2013)

New Evidence in the Geli Raubal Case (10th November 2013)

Murder Cases in the Classroom (6th November 2013)

Major Truman Smith and the Funding of Adolf Hitler (4th November 2013)

Unity Mitford and Adolf Hitler (30th October 2013)

Claud Cockburn and his fight against Appeasement (26th October 2013)

The Strange Case of William Wiseman (21st October 2013)

Robert Vansittart's Spy Network (17th October 2013)

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Paul Dacre, The Daily Mail and Fascism (12th October 2013)

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The Activities of MI5 (9th October 2013)

The Right Club and the Second World War (6th October 2013)

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Ralph Miliband and Lord Rothermere (2nd October 2013)