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An unhyphenated people [Interesting take on British attitudes towards Jews]
JERUSALEM POST ^ | Jun. 14, 2006 | JERUSALEM POST

Posted on 06/13/2006 6:31:01 PM PDT by Sabramerican

An unhyphenated people ashley perry, THE JERUSALEM POST Jun. 14, 2006

People often ask me where my family is from. I reply Britain, and they invariably ask me where my grandparents came from, and I reply again, Britain. Sometimes they will ask where my great-grandparents or great-great-grandparents came from and the reply is still Britain.

This answer is usually met with incredulity as most assume that Anglo-Jewry is in the main no more than two or three generations old and has its origins in Eastern Europe. When I tell these same people that I am in fact 17th-generation British, I am met with disbelieving and astonished looks.

The fact is my family has been in Britain for 350 years and, unlike most of Anglo-Jewry today, we are Sephardim (Jews of Spanish and Portuguese ancestry). My ancestors were admitted to England shortly after the English Civil War, when the Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell, having won a raging battle against the Monarchists, needed financiers to reinvigorate the war-torn English economy.

Rabbi Menassah Ben Israel of the Amsterdam community petitioned Cromwell to readmit Jews to a land which had not officially seen a Jew in over 360 years. Cromwell accepted the petition but only after a heated exchange with those who sought to prevent Jews from being readmitted.

The first Jewish community in Britain for centuries consisted of no more than a handful of families who arrived from the thriving Sephardi Jewish community in Amsterdam to try their luck in London. After a few more years and the addition of new families, the first synagogue was built, namely Bevis Marks, which still stands, although sadly under-used, in the City of London.

My rich Sephardi-Anglo background, with its honorary titles and coats-of-arms, leaves me somewhat divided. While on the one hand I am proud of what British Jewry has achieved, on the other I am saddened by what being British has made the Jews.

"Britishness" is a hotly debated subject in those Isles today; many are asking what British means and how one attains this appellation. As opposed to some other parts of the world, it is not done to apply an adjective to your nationality. You cannot be "African-British" or "Asian-British." It is far more simple than that, you are either British, or you are not.

UNLIKE MOST other minorities, Jews can hide all elements of their heritage and become "British." This has led to a quandary for many Jews, especially in this generation. Jews no longer want to be outsiders in any way, and with help from a certain amount of antipathy they have morphed into the British cultural and social landscape with few, if any, discernible characteristics.

British Jews, unlike their American counterparts, have anglicized their names and their customs. My father and grandfather both felt it necessary to change their name from the foreign-sounding Pereira-Perez to Perry as they went off to fight "Johnny-Foreigner" in the two world wars.

Anglo-Jewry has literally had to take its kippa off its head, as Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks suggested due to security concerns a few years ago.

I have my own personal opinions as to why British mistrust and suspicion of the Jews is so different and perhaps at a higher social level than most other forms of world-wide anti-Semitism.

The British consider themselves the height of civilization, the founders of democracy and the force that brought culture to much of the world. However, there is one people that has lived with the British for many years, reminding them that their civilization is relatively new.

A good example of this was a retort by prime minister Benjamin Disraeli to an anti-Semitic remark aimed at him in the House of Commons: "When the right honorable gentlemen's ancestors were savages on an unknown Island, mine were priests in the Temple of Solomon," Disraeli responded.

FOR THE BRITISH, who like to look down their noses at most nations in the world, there is one people among them who constantly remind them of their humble beginnings. I do believe that this rankles the British upper and literary social set, which finds its manifestations in the so-called chattering classes.

A few years ago Penelope Wyatt reported in the Spectator the remark of a peer in her upper-middle class social milieu: "Thank God, we can once again say what we want about the Jews."

While in most Western countries anti-Semitism is usually the bastion of the underprivileged and those from the lower-socioeconomic classes, in Britain its strongest protagonists are to be found at the opposite end of the social spectrum.

As Anglo-Jewry celebrates 350 years since its readmittance, I look back on my own familial Anglo-Jewish narrative with a mixture of pride, interest, and a heavy dose of consternation. Anglo-Jewry faces an uncertain future as it struggles for its own identity.

As for me, I have made my choice. From my side of the family, at least, there will not be an 18th British generation. I have returned to Israel, where my roots extend far deeper than those of my sojourn in the British Isles.

The writer is development coordinator for the Jewish People's Project at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. He made aliya five years ago and lives in Efrat.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Foreign Affairs; Israel; United Kingdom; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: antisemitism; british; israel; jewish

1 posted on 06/13/2006 6:31:03 PM PDT by Sabramerican
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To: MrCruncher

Just the right day for this to show up.


2 posted on 06/13/2006 6:31:55 PM PDT by Sabramerican (Bandar Bush in 08: Continue the Legacy)
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To: Sabramerican
And what the author is saying to Britain is "after 17 generations in Britain, I still consider my homeland and my primary my allegiance remains elsewhere"
3 posted on 06/13/2006 6:39:58 PM PDT by SauronOfMordor (A planned society is most appealing to those with the arrogance to think they will be the planners)
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Comment #4 Removed by Moderator

To: SauronOfMordor

He should have stayed because Britain is so hospitable to Jews. Just as long as they don't acknowledge that they are Jews.


5 posted on 06/13/2006 6:42:32 PM PDT by Sabramerican (Bandar Bush in 08: Continue the Legacy)
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To: SauronOfMordor

What leads you to believe that?


6 posted on 06/13/2006 6:47:29 PM PDT by thoughtomator (A thread without a comment on immigration is not complete)
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To: Liz

FYI


7 posted on 06/13/2006 6:50:25 PM PDT by raybbr (You think it's bad now - wait till the anchor babies start to vote.)
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To: SauronOfMordor
Right-o. Aren't you jealous, too?

For his allegiance is in the end, towards G-d. Which one gathers, yours is not. Can understand why you'd be jealous. Richard the Lionhearted would understand the pilgrim's position, Richard went to Jerusalem to live too. Left England in a rot, too. Robin Hood and all that, eh?

8 posted on 06/13/2006 7:03:17 PM PDT by bvw
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To: A. Pole

rootless cosmopolitan bumpski


9 posted on 06/13/2006 7:05:33 PM PDT by dennisw (We should return to calling them Muhammadans -- Worshippers of Muhammad and maybe Allah)
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To: SauronOfMordor

Hence the writer moved to Israel.


10 posted on 06/13/2006 7:25:38 PM PDT by rmlew (Sedition and Treason are both crimes, not free speech.)
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To: thoughtomator
"What leads you to believe that?"
His [author's] own words at the very end of the article. One needs not "be led to believe", it is right there in plain text.
11 posted on 06/13/2006 7:33:42 PM PDT by GSlob
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To: bvw
For his allegiance is in the end, towards G-d.

The same was true of John Walker Lindh and Richard Reed, but they were still traitors. This guy might not be a terrorist or an enemy combatant, but he's still badmouthing what he should consider his homeland in a foreign paper and it doesn't speak well of him.

I have Jewish relatives who emigrated to Israel myself and I don't think badly of them for it, but so far as I know they didn't take it upon themselves when they got there to put down America. The UK may have it's problems, but on the whole it is still a good and honorable country.

12 posted on 06/13/2006 7:35:15 PM PDT by elmer fudd
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To: 1st-P-In-The-Pod; A_Conservative_in_Cambridge; af_vet_rr; agrace; ahayes; albyjimc2; ...
Menasseh ben Israel's plea to Oliver Cromwell

FRmail me to be added or removed from this Judaic/pro-Israel/Russian Jewry ping list.

Warning! This is a high-volume ping list.

13 posted on 06/13/2006 7:35:40 PM PDT by Alouette (Psalms of the Day: 83-87)
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To: All
Sorry, I ruined joke. It should be:

So the clerk ask: "What new name do you wish to have?"

"Ivan Ivanovich Ivanov"

14 posted on 06/13/2006 7:44:38 PM PDT by A. Pole (Joanne Senier-LaBarre: "We Wish You a Swinging Holiday!")
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To: elmer fudd

No the same was not true of the killers and terrorists -- Lindh, Reed, Al Queda, Hamas, etc. Not by my G-d, at least, who recognizes the difference between good and evil. Would you be approaching some onset of a moral-relativism flu of of spirit? For your sake I hope not.


15 posted on 06/13/2006 7:47:34 PM PDT by bvw
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To: SauronOfMordor

You haven't made a peep about Iraqui Americans who returned to Iraq, have you?


16 posted on 06/13/2006 7:50:00 PM PDT by sheik yerbouty ( Make America and the world a jihad free zone!)
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To: Sabramerican
As opposed to some other parts of the world, it is not done to apply an adjective to your nationality. You cannot be "African-British" or "Asian-British." It is far more simple than that, you are either British, or you are not.

I seriously doubt that a Scot would be asked or tolerate being asked if he is a Scot or British.

17 posted on 06/13/2006 7:56:02 PM PDT by Polybius
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To: bvw

If your allegiance to "G-d" causes you to insult your homeland publicly in a foreign country then you're a dirtbag. The one exception being if you come from some despotic hellhole like North Korea or Sudan. However even refugees from these godawful places usually still love their country. They generally just hate their governments.


18 posted on 06/13/2006 8:02:56 PM PDT by elmer fudd
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To: elmer fudd

Yeah, where that Ambassador publicly wondered why everybody has to pay so much attention to that sh!!!y little country... And then there's the islamicization of England. I can certainly understand why this fellow didn't feel welcome, even after 350 years.


19 posted on 06/13/2006 8:17:43 PM PDT by ichabod1 (Let us not flinch from identifying liberalism as the opposition party to God.)
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To: ichabod1

That was France, not the UK.


20 posted on 06/13/2006 8:29:06 PM PDT by elmer fudd
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To: Sabramerican

"British Jews, unlike their American counterparts, have anglicized their names and their customs."

The author evidentally has not met any assimilated, southern Jews in the United States, whose families go back to Colonial days on this continent.


21 posted on 06/13/2006 8:32:34 PM PDT by RegulatorCountry
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To: RegulatorCountry

Are there many left? As a kid, I read a book called Mr. Benjamin's Sword, about Judah P. Benjamin, and it inspired me to go looking up the history of Jews in the US. Turned out that a large percentage, from what I gathered even the majority (until maybe the late 19th or early 20th century) were in the South.

If you could tell me a bit more, I'd be grateful.


22 posted on 06/13/2006 8:38:20 PM PDT by Alexander Rubin (Octavius - You make my heart glad building thus, as if Rome is to be eternal.)
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To: dennisw; Cachelot; Nix 2; veronica; Catspaw; knighthawk; Alouette; Optimist; weikel; Lent; GregB; ..
If you'd like to be on or off this middle east/political ping list, please FR mail me.
Articles on Israel can also be found by clicking the keyword or topic Israel.

---------------------------

23 posted on 06/13/2006 9:00:44 PM PDT by SJackson (The Pilgrims—Doing the jobs Native Americans wouldn’t do!)
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To: Alexander Rubin; RegulatorCountry
Jews in the Civil War
24 posted on 06/13/2006 9:23:59 PM PDT by Alouette (Psalms of the Day: 83-87)
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To: Sabramerican

Yep.


25 posted on 06/13/2006 9:25:38 PM PDT by MrCruncher
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To: SauronOfMordor
"after 17 generations in Britain, I still consider my homeland and my primary my allegiance remains elsewhere"

Well, he made good on his declarations and moved to the Holy Land. What would you have preferred?

My family goes back 5 generations in the United States. Yes, we are all proud Americans, but my children have also chosen paths that led them to Canada, Israel, and Russia.

26 posted on 06/13/2006 9:26:57 PM PDT by Alouette (Psalms of the Day: 83-87)
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To: Sabramerican

None can squelch a twit quite like an Englishman. With his telling of the Disraeli squelch, the author makes most clear his essentially English weltanschaung.


27 posted on 06/13/2006 10:22:52 PM PDT by GladesGuru (In a society predicated upon Liberty, it is essential to examine principles, - -)
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To: A. Pole

Okay, so I am not going crazy... :)


28 posted on 06/13/2006 10:30:39 PM PDT by DennisR (Look around - God is giving you countless observable clues of His existence!)
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To: Sabramerican

Some Americans make the false accusation that British Jews in general are not loyal to the UK. I suspect that the allegiance of those Americans is to Rome.


29 posted on 06/13/2006 11:42:55 PM PDT by familyop ("The Romans and their Empire were but a bauble in comparison to the Jews." --President John Adams)
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To: elmer fudd; ichabod1
elmer fudd wrote:
"That was France, not the UK."

It's interesting as to how things change.

French sympathies swing towards Israel
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1648740/posts

And the British UN Deputy-Secretary General recently made some interesting comments about our USA.

America angry over "hypocrites" remark [Bolton got into it with British UN official.]
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1646070/posts

'Stop the sniping at the UN' [Says UN Deputy Secretary-General to USA.]
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1646073/posts
30 posted on 06/14/2006 12:01:51 AM PDT by familyop ("The Romans and their Empire were but a bauble in comparison to the Jews." --President John Adams)
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To: Sabramerican
Well we have some nutter's over here who hate Jews, often the very visible skinhead neo Nazis - but it really isn't an issue as far as most Brits are concerned. I have only heard one anti-jewish statement my whole life (now 50 years old) - 'Hitler was much misunderstood". Other than that nothing.

kind regards.
31 posted on 06/14/2006 1:15:57 AM PDT by vimto ("I've seen the future of Islam, Guess what? We won!")
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To: elmer fudd
An insult or a warning? This is not some Dixie Chickie or a John Kerry bad-mouthing the US of A whilst in France-- this is thoughful and considerate -- a fair warning to England. A warning. Inappropriate to cast it as insult.

Why did the Chief Rabbi of London have to warn English Jews not to wear skull-caps in public?

32 posted on 06/14/2006 3:36:13 AM PDT by bvw
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To: Sabramerican
"Britishness" is a hotly debated subject in those Isles today; many are asking what British means and how one attains this appellation. As opposed to some other parts of the world, it is not done to apply an adjective to your nationality. You cannot be "African-British" or "Asian-British." It is far more simple than that, you are either British, or you are not.

All European nations are tribal. It's not necessarily bad, but for someone who considers immigrating, United States (or Canada or Australia) would be a better choice.

33 posted on 06/14/2006 6:37:47 AM PDT by Feldkurat_Katz (What no women’s magazine ever offers to improve is women’s minds - Taki)
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To: elmer fudd
If your allegiance to "G-d" causes you to insult your homeland publicly in a foreign country then you're a dirtbag.

Where did he insult his homeland? What he did was point out that antisemitism pervades the British upper classes. That's a criticism, not an insult.

34 posted on 06/14/2006 7:01:57 AM PDT by LexBaird ("Politically Correct" is the politically correct term for "F*cking Retarded". - Psycho Bunny)
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To: Sabramerican; dennisw; SJackson; Cachelot; Yehuda; Nix 2; veronica; Catspaw; knighthawk; ...
This reply contains corrected version of the joke.

People often ask me where my family is from. I reply Britain, and they invariably ask me where my grandparents came from, and I reply again, Britain. Sometimes they will ask where my great-grandparents or great-great-grandparents came from and the reply is still Britain.

It reminds me a Russian joke:

Some guy comes to the civil records office and ask for change of his name.

The clerk says: "It will cost you a lot"

The guy answers: "I don't care. I have to change my name".

So the clerk ask: "What new name do you wish to have?"

"Pyotr Petrovich Petrov"

Clerk writes it down and asks: "Good, and what is you present name?"

"Ivan Ivanovitch Ivanov"

Clerks stares at the customer with curiosity, and says:

"Ivan Iwanovich Ivanov is a very good Russian name! Why do you want to change it?"

"Because people always ask me - what was your previous name?"

35 posted on 06/14/2006 7:37:19 AM PDT by A. Pole (Joanne Senier-LaBarre: "We Wish You a Swinging Holiday!")
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To: vimto

The linked story merits a second look after reading this author's opinion.

Why would the British Monarchy be jealous of the success of the Jews?

http://209.157.64.201/focus/f-news/1591071/posts


36 posted on 06/14/2006 7:59:28 AM PDT by Sabramerican (Bandar Bush in 08: Continue the Legacy)
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To: Sabramerican
Thanks for the link and psot, I hadn't read that article - missed me completely and the media hasn't flagged it up!?

Prince Philip is a straight talking man well out of step with today's prissy society.

Many people were taken in by fascism, It was clearly 'attractive' to many people (sadly it still is) The myth of the Jewish conspiracy was also rife. Philip comes across as a man of his times and is honest enough to say so.

I must qualify what I said above however, about Brits not being anti-Jewish. I've certainly not seen much of it, but some leaders (notable the ever-popular Ken Livingstone) is certainly antisemitic.
37 posted on 06/14/2006 9:28:32 AM PDT by vimto ("I've seen the future of Islam, Guess what? We won!")
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To: Sabramerican
Rabbi Menassah Ben Israel of the Amsterdam community petitioned Cromwell to readmit Jews to a land which had not officially seen a Jew in over 360 years. Cromwell accepted the petition but only after a heated exchange with those who sought to prevent Jews from being readmitted.

I LOVE Oliver Cromwell. A SMART man, as well as a (necessarily) brutal bastard when he needed to be.

If only a NEW Cromwell would emerge to send those welfare cases from the House of Windsor-Hanover-Saxe Coburg to the gallows.

38 posted on 06/14/2006 9:30:58 AM PDT by Clemenza (The CFR ate my bilderburgers! Time to call for a trilateral commission to investigate!)
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To: vimto

Yeah, I spent the last year in Britain and didn't encounter any anti-Semitism. Only the contrary, if possible. Then again, I was in the countryside, in what could very well be considered flyover/redneck (or, in the case of Eastbourne, chav) country Britain.

Perhaps if I was in London, it might be otherwise, but then I suspect most anti-Semitism wouldn't come from the British right (except maybe a few inbred aristocrats), but from the British left, and particularly among immigrants. Likely belonging to a certain religion of peace and tolerance.


39 posted on 06/14/2006 10:42:42 AM PDT by Alexander Rubin (Octavius - You make my heart glad building thus, as if Rome is to be eternal.)
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To: vimto

He should get points for honesty. And Ken Livingstone should be tarred, feathered and rode out of London on a rail.


40 posted on 06/14/2006 10:43:58 AM PDT by Alexander Rubin (Octavius - You make my heart glad building thus, as if Rome is to be eternal.)
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To: Alouette

How many of those old Jewish families are left in the South, though, was my question. ;)


41 posted on 06/14/2006 10:51:46 AM PDT by Alexander Rubin (Octavius - You make my heart glad building thus, as if Rome is to be eternal.)
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To: Sabramerican

Right. And as a British Jew by origin, I'd much happier that my ancestors lived in fairly tolerant Britain than in France, Germany or anywhere else in Europe...


42 posted on 06/14/2006 1:18:24 PM PDT by propertius
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To: vimto

There's a very good book by the Anglo-Jewish playwright, Bernard Kops, called "The World is a Wedding." It's about his terrible childhood in the East End during the second world war. When he wasn't being bombed to hell by the Germans, he was being bombarded by hate speeches by Oswald Mosley. What a nightmare!


43 posted on 06/14/2006 1:27:54 PM PDT by miss marmelstein
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To: miss marmelstein
I haven't read the book but I guess it would be pretty harrowing. Certainly there are times and seasons of antisemitism. But my parents who lived through the war (my dad on the railway trains) considered Mosley's Blackshirts a joke. I know some Jewish graves have been desecrated all over Europe. They keep it quiet to stop it growing, I have spoken to police who have told me of this.
44 posted on 06/15/2006 12:48:30 AM PDT by vimto ("I've seen the future of Islam, Guess what? We won!")
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To: vimto

I can see why gentiles might have thought Mosley was a joke. But can you imagine being a Jewish child and hearing Mosley's diatribes out your window every Sunday? Yikes!

We get desecrations too. Mostly on Long Island in the state of NY for some reason!


45 posted on 06/15/2006 3:42:44 PM PDT by miss marmelstein
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To: familyop

Couldn't resist a little gratuitous Catholic-bashing, eh? Nice to voice unfounded "suspicions" so that you can kill a couple of birds with one stone. Jews and Catholics are the two groups everyone seems to feel safe bashing these days...


46 posted on 06/15/2006 3:53:06 PM PDT by austinTparty
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To: austinTparty
In my comment #29? I was referring to Ancient Rome. And spare me the victimology where none is needed. Most people of once-Protestant sects are now more than friendly with Catholicism.
47 posted on 06/15/2006 9:22:33 PM PDT by familyop ("Either you're with us, or your with the terrorists." --President Bush)
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To: miss marmelstein
Yes, I can imagine the real distress Mosley caused. Yet opposition sometimes breads publicity for fascists and swells their numbers and their heads. They hate being laughed at. In the end maybe ridicule was the more potent response - without taking anything away from the horror fascism can bring.

I hate all totalitarian politics to my bones.
48 posted on 06/15/2006 11:38:54 PM PDT by vimto ("I've seen the future of Islam, Guess what? We won!")
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To: miss marmelstein
Yes, I can imagine the real distress Mosley caused. Yet opposition sometimes breads publicity for fascists and swells their numbers and their heads. They hate being laughed at. In the end maybe ridicule was the more potent response - without taking anything away from the horror fascism can bring.

I hate all totalitarian politics to my bones.
49 posted on 06/15/2006 11:38:57 PM PDT by vimto ("I've seen the future of Islam, Guess what? We won!")
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