Saturday, December 1, 2012

Edward I and the Jews in 1290 / Chesterton

Wikipedia tells us something interesting:  

Chesterton faced accusations of anti-Semitism during his lifetime, as well as posthumously.[23] In a work of 1917, titled “A Short History of England,” Chesterton considers the year of 1290, when by royal decree, Edward I expelled Jews from England, an edict not rescinded until 1655. In writing of the official expulsion and banishment of 1290, Chesterton writes that Edward I was “just and conscientious” a monarch never more truly representative of his people than when he expelled the Jews, “as powerful as they are unpopular.” Chesterton writes Jews were “capitalists of their age” so that when Edward “flung the alien financiers out of the land,” he acted as “knight errant,” and “tender father of his people.”[24] In The New Jerusalem, Chesterton made it clear that he believed that there was a "Jewish Problem" in Europe, in the sense that he believed that Jewish culture (not Jewish ethnicity) separated itself from the nationalities of Europe.[25] He suggested the formation of a Jewish homeland as a solution, and was later invited to Palestine by Jewish Zionists who saw him as an ally in their cause.


We learn here, that Edward I expelled Jews from England in 1290.  This edict was not rescinded until 1655.  Chesterton approves of this edict because the monarch was protecting his people from powerful, capitalistic and unpopular people.  He did right to fling "alien financiers out of the land."

I hadn't heard this before.  Nor is it often mentioned that Isabella and Ferdinand of Spain cruelly had expelled the Jews from their land which caused untold misery to the affected families.  They were not allowed to take any goods with them and often perished.  (The other day, I read a book by a Roman Catholic apologist on the inquisition.  He never mentioned the treatment of the Jews.)

All of these expulsions happened before Luther let himself be carried away into his famous tirade.  However, the circumstance related to Jews in Europe during the centuries were always complicated due to segregation and money lending.

Please refer back also to this previous post on the subject. 

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