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Parliament, press and prejudice : the "Jewish Question" in Britain, 1890-1905.

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Chung, Helene (1969) Parliament, press and prejudice : the "Jewish Question" in Britain, 1890-1905. Unspecified thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Abstract

Part One attempts to outline the PROBLEM, for despite formal
Emancipation, 'The Jewish Question' persisted in Britain in the 1890s.
The term 'alien' was synonymous with 'Jew'. A prejudice clouded the
attitude of natives towards the East European immigrants, whose forebears
had recorded a long and chequered history in their country.
At the same time, proud of Britain's heritage as the land of freedom,
statesmen denounced the rampant anti-semitism of the Continent. But
a comparison between their lenient immigration policy with the austere
regulations governing 'The Jewish Treatment' elsewhere posed the
question: was Britain therefore the dumping ground for the 'undesirables'
of the world? "The Jewish People" considers the Jews
themselves and the sometimes tenuous but insoluble bond uniting
established Anglo-Jewry with their immigrant brethren. The dilemma
confronting the former as individuals, in their religion and in their
approach to Zionism, was reflected in Parliament and the Hebrew press.
Part Two, on the clash of ATTITUDE to the problem of immigration,
is an analysis of conventional anti-alien warfare. The stereotype
propaganda against "Aliens" alleged overwhelming numbers, poverty,
disease, displacement and crime. All serious charges, they were
either found exaggerated or misleading or they simply evaporated
under scrutiny. "Anti-aliens" and "Pro-aliens" concentrates on the
leaders of the campaign, in which traditional party roles were
reversed, for Conservatives usually advocated reform while Liberals
upheld the status quo. Although the Unionist Government showed
Initial reluctance to accept the anti-immigrant allegations, they ultimately fought for legislation. On the Opposition side, whilst
some Voted with the Government, the controversy gained virtual
unanimity of support for tradition. Whereas the daily newspaper
press divided between pro- and anti-alienism, with The Times leading
Conservative opinion, the thoughtful journals fell more heavily towards
the Liberal cause.
The OUTCOME of this conflict in attitude was firstly, intense.
and constant pressure for "Legislation"; secondly, "The Aliens Debate"
which disrupted the Sessions of 1904 and 1905; and thirdly, "The
Aliens Act" of 1905. The issue was raised each year from 1890, the
agitation being excited primarily by Howard Vincent; and from 1898
by Evans-Gordon, whose East End constituency housed the majority of
Jewish immigrants. Despite a barrage of questions, Amendments to the
Address and four proposed Aliens Bills, the Government failed to implement
restriction. Only in desperation did they finally decide to
appoint a Royal Commission in 1902, almost as a pact with their
resolute extremists. In a tacit agreement, the .anti-aliens undertook
to quieten their efforts on the understanding that legislation
would result from the Royal Commission.
After what appeared to be an interminable delay, the Commissioners
eventually presented a Report of over a thousand pages. It
constituted a positive exoneration of Jews from the impeachment of
anti-aliens, yet recommended control of the most stringent nature.
This contradictory character was mirrored by the Commission's chairman,
Lord James of Hereford who, before the House of Lords, refuted
charges of Jewish destitution and crime yet voted for restriction. After years of vacillation, the Government seized the aliens question to Introduce, reform on the eve of the Elections: With the force
of the 'guillotine,' they carried a Bill to establish elaborate and
expensive machinery that opponents demonstrated:would be futile in
excluding the worst 'undesirables', but which would inevitably operate
against Jewish refugees; the bulk of alien immigrants.
The General Elections of 1906:nevertheless proved an outstanding
vindication of Liberal pro-alienism. With one exception, East End
reformers were rejected for the guardians of tradition. The new
Liberal Ministry was now compelled to administer an Act with few
genuine supporters -- principally the outcome of a political manoeuvre
by a defunct Conservative regime.

Item Type: Thesis (Unspecified)
Keywords: Jews, Antisemitism
Copyright Holders: The Author
Additional Information:

Thesis (M.A.) - University of Tasmania, 1969

Date Deposited: 25 Nov 2014 00:41
Last Modified: 11 Mar 2016 05:56
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