There are about 400,000 known Jews in Britain, and in addition some thousands or, at most, scores of thousands of Jewish refugees who have entered the country from 1934 onwards. The Jewish population is almost entirely concentrated in half a dozen big towns and is mostly employed in the food, clothing and furniture trades. A few of the big monopolies, such as the ICI, one or two leading newspapers and at least one big chain of department stores are Jewish-owned or partly Jewish-owned, but it would be very far from the truth to say that British business life is dominated by Jews.
The Jews seem, on the contrary, to have failed to keep up with the modern tendency towards big amalgamations and to have remained fixed in those trades which are necessarily carried out on a small scale and by old-fashioned methods. I start off with these background facts, which are already known to any well-informed person, in order to emphasise that there is no real Jewish “problem” in England.
The Jews are not numerous or powerful enough, and it is only in what are loosely called “intellectual circles” that they have any noticeable influence.
Yet it is generally admitted that antisemitism is on the increase, that it has been greatly exacerbated by the war, and that humane and enlightened people are not immune to it. It does not take violent forms (English people are almost invariably gentle and law-abiding), but it is ill-natured enough, and in favourable circumstances it could have political results. Here are some samples of antisemitic remarks that have been made to me during the past year or two:
MIDDLE-AGED OFFICE EMPLOYEE: “I GENERALLY COME TO WORK BY BUS. IT TAKES LONGER, BUT I DON’T CARE ABOUT USING THE UNDERGROUND FROM GOLDERS GREEN NOWADAYS. THERE’S TOO MANY OF THE CHOSEN RACE TRAVELLING ON THAT LINE. ” TOBACCONIST (WOMAN): “NO, I’VE GOT NO MATCHES FOR YOU. I SHOULD TRY THE LADY DOWN THE STREET. SHE’S ALWAYS GOT MATCHES. ONE OF THE CHOSEN RACE, YOU SEE. ” YOUNG INTELLECTUAL, COMMUNIST OR NEAR-COMMUNIST: “NO, I DO NOT LIKE JEWS. I’VE NEVER MADE ANY SECRET OF THAT. I CAN’T STICK THEM.
MIND YOU, I’M NOT ANTISEMITIC, OF COURSE. ” MIDDLE-CLASS WOMAN: “WELL, NO ONE COULD CALL ME ANTISEMITIC, BUT I DO THINK THE WAY THESE JEWS BEHAVE IS TOO ABSOLUTELY STINKING. THE WAY THEY PUSH THEIR WAY TO THE HEAD OF QUEUES, AND SO ON. THEY’RE SO ABOMINABLY SELFISH. I THINK THEY’RE RESPONSIBLE FOR A LOT OF WHAT HAPPENS TO THEM. ” MILK ROUNDSMAN: “A JEW DON’T DO NO WORK, NOT THE SAME AS WHAT AN ENGLISHMAN DOES. ’E’S TOO CLEVER. WE WORK WITH THIS ‘ERE” (FLEXES HIS BICEPS). “THEY WORK WITH THAT THERE” (TAPS HIS FOREHEAD).