The Political Conservatism of the Jews in Britain

Geoffrey Alderman

in Studies in Contemporary Jewry: XI: Values, Interests, and Identity

Published in print May 1996 | ISBN: 9780195103311
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199854585 | DOI:

Series: Studies in Contemporary Jewry

The Political Conservatism of the Jews in Britain

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This chapter examines the phenomenon of political conservatism among British Jews since 1945. The study of Jewish political preferences is now long established, and can of course be justified on its own terms. However, the political conservatism of modern British Jewry needs to be set as well in two complementary historical contexts. The first is that in the diaspora communities of Western Europe, Australia, and North America, Jews—particularly immigrant Jews—gravitated toward the politics of the center or the left rather than those of the right. The second is to be found in the continuing propensity of Britain's Conservative Party to fall victim to a populist xenophobic or antisemitic discourse, which often translates into policies that, superficially at least, hardly seem capable of attracting Jewish support. Put another way, whereas the judgment of history should have ensured a reaction against conservatism by the Jews of modern Britain, an opposite development occurred; and this calls for explanation.

Keywords: political conservatism; Jews; Britain; diaspora; Conservative Party; politics; xenophobia; antisemitism

Chapter.  8660 words. 

Subjects: History of Religion

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