Review of Peoples of the Book: Philosemitism in England, from Cromwell to Churchill in The American Spectator

Roberts, Andrew, "Profiles in Courage." The American Spectator. March 28, 2012.


At a time when physical attacks on synagogues, cemeteries, and individual Jews have been increasing exponentially year-on-year across the United Kingdom, it is heartening to hear from one of America’s foremost intellectuals that it was not always thus. When Jewish history is almost constantly—and understandably—written in the context of anti-Semitism, that foul bacillus that finds its origins in all that is most repulsive in the fetid recesses of human nature, it is rather wonderful occasionally to read an extended essay on its antithesis: philosemitism. I fear that the reason that this book is only 155 pages long, however, is that Professor Himmelfarb had simply too few significant Britons to praise for their philosemitism, despite casting her historical net as wide as the three centuries that separated Oliver Cromwell from Winston Churchill. A Briton’s sole consolation might be that the histories of philosemitism in France, Germany, Russia, and elsewhere would be even shorter.

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