By Daphne Anson
When Jews were readmitted to England under the Cromwellian Protectorate, a decision ratified by King Charles II after the Restoration of the Monarchy in 1660, they came not as ghettoised, medieval people, but as modern citizens indistinguishable, save for the private expression of religion, from everybody else.
On the European continent the situation was different, still rooted in the past, and in the eighteenth century that icon of the French Enlightenment, Voltaire, was repelled by the Jews’ apparent medievalism.
In the infancy of the nineteenth-century, before Napoleon was prepared to guarantee the Jews of France the civic equality that had been ushered in by the French Revolution, Jewish leaders had to satisfy him that their people deserved French citizenship by meeting the requirements of modernity, assuring him, for example, of their repudiation of polygamy (which in fact had not been practised by European Ashkenazim since the early Middle Ages) and that their premier allegiance was to France.
This they were easily able to do, and integrated seamlessly into the fabric of France.
How ironic is the situation today, when in old England medievalism and segregation of the kind the Enlightenment swept away, and which had never existed in modern Britain, flourishes in pockets of the country.
Take, for example, Blackburn, Lancashire, where an seemingly inexorable population replacement is taking place by people who seem in many respects mired in medievalism. We glimpse men strutting ahead of their niqab-clad wives, and hear government adviser Dame Louise Casey fearlessly state what her masters in government apparently did not want to her to express.
Islamophobic? In this video dating to 2016 Melanie Phillips effortlessly routs Roshan Muhammed Salih (who appears regularly on Iran’s Press TV interviewing demonisers of the Zionist Entity such as Jenny Tonge) when he tries to compare “Islamophobia” to antisemitism.
Fear of Islamofascism, says Melanie (around 7:05), is “based on evidence and truth; antisemitism is based on lies”.