Quaker Studies

The End of the Affair? Examining the Relationship between Quakers and Jews in Britain at the Start of the Twenty-first Century

Quaker Studies (2018), 23, (2), 239–254.

Abstract

A particularly close relationship had been generally understood to exist between the Quaker and Jewish communities in Britain as a consequence of the relief work undertaken by Quakers in Germany during the Holocaust and through initiatives such as the Kindertransport. That closeness continued until around the end of the twentieth century. However, triggered by domestic debates over Israel/Palestine, it shifted from a positive to an at times antagonistic relationship. This paper argues that, whatever the proximate cause, current tensions actually arise from the ending of the super-equivalent treatment of Jews by Quakers, and a growing existential concern among the British Jewish communities about the return and rise of anti-Semitism. It concludes that the previous close relationship is unlikely to be re-established.

The End of the Affair? Examining the Relationship between Quakers and Jews in Britain at the Start of the Twenty-first Century

Abstract

A particularly close relationship had been generally understood to exist between the Quaker and Jewish communities in Britain as a consequence of the relief work undertaken by Quakers in Germany during the Holocaust and through initiatives such as the Kindertransport. That closeness continued until around the end of the twentieth century. However, triggered by domestic debates over Israel/Palestine, it shifted from a positive to an at times antagonistic relationship. This paper argues that, whatever the proximate cause, current tensions actually arise from the ending of the super-equivalent treatment of Jews by Quakers, and a growing existential concern among the British Jewish communities about the return and rise of anti-Semitism. It concludes that the previous close relationship is unlikely to be re-established.

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Bailey, B., A Quaker couple in Nazi Germany: Leonhard Friedrich survives Buchenwald. York: William Sessions, 1994. A Quaker couple in Nazi Germany: Leonhard Friedrich survives Buchenwald Google Scholar

Greene, G., The End of the Affair (repr.), London: Vintage, Random House, 2012 [1951]. The End of the Affair Google Scholar

Klug, B., ‘Springtime in Chicago: a pattern of politics and prejudice’, Patterns of Prejudice 22/3 (1988), pp. 36–46. ‘Springtime in Chicago: a pattern of politics and prejudice’ Patterns of Prejudice 22/3 36 46 Google Scholar

Kotzin, C., ‘Christian responses in Britain to Jewish refugees from Europe, 1933–1939’, PhD thesis, University of Southampton, 2000. ‘Christian responses in Britain to Jewish refugees from Europe, 1933–1939’ Google Scholar

Kushner, A., Journeys from the Abyss: the Holocaust and forced migration from the 1880s to the present. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2017. Journeys from the Abyss: the Holocaust and forced migration from the 1880s to the present Google Scholar

Kynaston, D., Till Time’s Last Stand: a history of the Bank of England 1694–2013. London: Bloomsbury, 2017. Till Time’s Last Stand: a history of the Bank of England 1694–2013 Google Scholar

Masters, S., Darbyshire, J., Bruyneel, S. et al., ‘Quakerism and Judaism’, Friends Quarterly 43/4 (2015). ‘Quakerism and Judaism’ Friends Quarterly 43/4 Google Scholar

Schama, S., Belonging: the story of the Jews, 1492–1900, London: Bodley Head, 2017. Belonging: the story of the Jews, 1492–1900 Google Scholar

Seaton, J., ‘The BBC and the Holocaust’, European Journal of Communication 2/1 (1987), pp. 53–80. ‘The BBC and the Holocaust’ European Journal of Communication 2/1 53 80 Google Scholar

Staetsky, D., Antisemitism in Contemporary Great Britain: key findings from the JPR survey of attitudes towards Jews and Israel, London: Institute for Jewish Policy Research, 2017. Antisemitism in Contemporary Great Britain: key findings from the JPR survey of attitudes towards Jews and Israel Google Scholar

Zornberg, I., Jews, Quakers and the Holocaust; the struggle to save the lives of 20,000 children. Seemingly self-published; accessed in the library of Woodbrooke Quaker Studies Centre, 2016. Jews, Quakers and the Holocaust; the struggle to save the lives of 20,000 children Google Scholar


Details

Author details

Stoller, Tony