Jews: The Controversy Over Religious
Methods of Slaughter
It seems probable that there were a few Jews in Britain in Roman times, 1 but the earliest establishment of Jewish communities here occurred in the wake of the Norman Conquest. 2 French Jews crossed the Channel to operate as financiers and moneylenders in England and they played an important role not only as bankers to the Crown but also in expanding and developing an unsophisticated economy. 3 As usurers, they attracted considerable popular hostility and regularly needed royal protection. On the other hand, a succession of Angevin kings gravely exploited them until the time eventually arrived when they were no longer of much economic value to the Crown, 4 whereupon they were banished from the realm by a decree from Edward I in 1290, an act which amounted to a clear abuse of the royal prerogative. 5 During this medieval period of settlement the Jews had been granted a large measure of autonomy in the legal regulation of their internal affairs, being entitled to rely upon the application of Talmudic law in their own courts in matters such as marriage, succession, and contracts. 6 However, their total numbers were small, never exceeding 5,000. 7
The middle of the seventeenth century witnessed the re-settlement of Jews in England, following representations to Oliver Cromwell seeking their re-admission. Although Cromwell gave no formal permission for them to re-enter the country, in the light of formidable English opposition, he personally favoured their return (for both political and economic reasons) and he intimated informally that if they behaved inconspicuously no official action would be taken against them. 8 No fundamental____________________
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Book title: Ethnicity, Law, and Human Rights:The English Experience. Contributors: Sebastian Poulter - Author. Publisher: Clarendon Press. Place of publication: Oxford, England. Publication year: 1998. Page number: Not available.
This material is protected by copyright and, with the exception of fair use, may not be further copied, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means.