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Trials of the Diaspora is a ground breaking book that reveals the full history of anti Semitism in England Anthony Julius focuses on four distinct versions of English anti Semitism He begins with the medieval persecution of Jews which included defamation expropriation and murder and which culminated in 1290 when King Edward I expelled all the Jews from England Turning to literary anti Semitism Julius shows that negative portrayals of Jews have been continuously present in English literature from the anonymous medieval ballad Sir Hugh or the Jew's Daughter through Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice to T S Eliot and beyond The book then moves to a depiction of modern anti Semitism a pervasive but contained prejudice of insult and exclusion that was experienced by Jews during their readmission to England in the mid 17th century through the late 20th century The final chapters detail the contemporary anti Semitism that emerged in the late 1960s and the 1970s and continues to be present today It treats Zionism and the State of Israel as illegitimate Jewish enterprises and in Julius's opinion now constitutes the greatest threat to Anglo Jewish security and morale A penetrating and original work Trials of the Diaspora is sure to provoke much comment and debate

10 thoughts on “Trials of the Diaspora

  1. says:

    Of great value is the focus on anti semitism inEnglish literature especially since it was raisedby a GR relating to Wilde Surgically studied areChaucer Shakespeare Dickens who go far beyond asides and have created classic major characters that still cause tremors for anti semitism is ugly and ignorantOthers under rumination are Trollope Thackeray GeorgeEliot James Joyce Graham Greene Virginia Woolf the list runs on OW is cited once in a positive wayw his epigram on charity This scholarly hefty bylawyer writer who needs a good editor piles updocumentation Footnotes extend over 100 pagesa book unto themselves

  2. says:

    Trials of the Diaspora is at least three books packed too tightly into one Anthony Julius’s aim is to trace English anti Semitism from its medieval roots to the present a Herculean task which has obviously involved him in massive amounts of research about 250 pp of endnotes His medieval investigation follows the accepted narrative in considering persecutions massacres and above all the ‘blood libel’ culminating in the expulsion of 1290 We then move into nearly four centuries of ‘anti Semitism without Jews’ a literary form most famously represented by Chaucer’s ‘Priestess’s Tale’ Marlowe’s Jew of Malta and Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice followed by an effort to continue noting developments arising through the 18th 19th and 20th centuries It’s in middle of the book that things become somewhat muddled for as Julius admits ‘Modern English anti Semitism is often ambiguous in its expression and when named as anti Semitic is often defended as humorous or ironic in intention’ Jews might be excluded from golf clubs and garden parties sneered at and joked about behind their backs never really considered ‘wholly English’ – but nor have they in modern times been subject to pogroms or state organized mass murderJulius’s investigation of this modern non violent Anglo Saxon mode of anti Semitism is laden with anecdotes and literaryprint media references At one point he engages in a detailed analysis of Leopold Bloom the Jewish co hero of Joyce’s Ulysses at another he attempts to corral English anti Semites into four categories; he jumps back and forth in time – from a mid 20th century newspaper account to an 18th century play to something said by George Eliot Nothing ever feels uite finalized An example would be his uick look at Kingsley Amis who privately with unfunny silliness could write about someone he disliked being ‘a joooo’ who opined that ‘the great Jewish vice is glibness fluency also possibly just bullshit as in Marx Freud Marcuse’ and that ‘being a Jew no matter what you do or don’t do you can’t help being one’ Amis also wrote that ‘anti Semitism in any form including the fashionable anti anti Semitism must be combated’ Anti anti Semitism? Julius does not elaborate on these comments merely concluding that Amis ‘could not be considered a ‘programmatic anti Semite – he hated too indiscriminately and too weakly’Finally the last two sections of the book devoted not to the prejudice faced by Jews within the UK but to contemporary anti Zionism take a completely new turn arguing controversial points about the relationship between political criticism of the State of Israel generalized anti Zionism and anti Semitism The author becomes less detached and polemical; the reader is no longer gathering information but being called upon to take a position on the stickiest issues in the tangled geopolitical mess that is the Middle East For a newcomer to the general discussion of anti Semitism this book may be overwhelming and indigestible unless read very slowly Those with experience will find interesting thoughtful and useful examples to add to their knowledge but may be frustrated by assumptions made in the last uarter And I would have appreciated a bibliography

  3. says:

    Anthony Julius has written a thorough scholarly and penetrating history of anti Semitism in Britain from the medieval rise of the blood libel and the expulsion of the Jews in 1290 through recent history He is particularly good on the persistent theme of anti Semitism in English literature Julius shows that after Jews returned to Britain anti Semitism mostly took the form of social exclusion and verbal hostility From the time of the late Renaissance forward it did not manifest itself in pogroms or other physical violence Nevertheless he clearly demonstrates its pervasiveness The last chapters of the book address the degree to which hostility to Israel is in his view largely repackaged anti Semitism Those chapters are not as centered on the UK and have a tacked on uality to them But while I found them weaker it doesn't detract from my view that this is serious and important history brilliantly done

  4. says:

    An incredibly exhaustive examination of anti semitism in England With close to 300 pages of notes Every facet is covered from religion to literature to politics If you thought you knew everything about anti semitism in England you'll be surprised when you do learn something But the author is a lawyer and unfortunately he writes like one which I found obscured a lot of what he was trying to conveyThis is a very compelling subject and the book succeeds despite itself But I wish it had been written in clearer simpler language It would have made for a very fascinating read As it is reading it feels like a duty or an assignment

  5. says:

    More bad news Author is a famous attorney Well organized and thoughtful catalogue Parts of it read like an old college blue book compare and contrast Fagin and Shylock but he does tell us that that is what he did at school I found the discussion of British attitude to modern Israel most interesting I have often wondered about this after listening to BBC's coverage of IsraelPalestine

  6. says:

    Although I had some minor problems with the author's analysis of certain varities of contemporary anti Semitism over all the book is a valuable addition to the study of the irrational hatred of Jews and Judaism Moreover apart from the author's overuse and misuse of the word comprise hint it means to be made up of or to consist of; it's not a synonym for euivalent to is or constitute this volume was uite well written

  7. says:

    Skimmed rather than read but at than 500 pages on the theme of how appalling people can be to each other reading the whole thing would have had me reaching for a bottle of Lexapro and downing the whole thing in one gulp

  8. says:

    I found that the book included an extensive amount of information It thoroughly covered the subject

  9. says:

    As others have noted this book is exhaustive in its examination of English antisemitism Not an enjoyable read but fascinating and well written

  10. says:

    This is the ultimate resource on British Jewish history