An Unfortunate Coincidence: Jews, Jewishness, and English Law

ISBN : 9780199229765

Didi Herman
208 Pages
166 x 241 mm
Pub date
Jan 2011
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This book examines how English judges discuss and depict Jews and Jewishness in the 20th and 21st centuries. It is a study of legal judgments in a range of areas, tracing continuities and discontinuities in representations of Jews and Jewishness over time. The book shows the part played by racial and religious understandings in legal decision-making, addressing the place of a minority with a long history in England and within the English cultural imagination. It considers the complex and often contradictory approaches to Jews and Jewishness within judicial discourse, challenging both assumptions about tolerance and neutrality in English law and any simple narrative of 'antisemitism'. While its focus is on the distinctive character of the English context, the book has resonance for thinking more generally about racial and religious representations in law.


1. Introduction
2. 'An Unfortunate Coincidence': Race, Nation, and Character
3. If Only I Knew: Race and Faith in the Law of Trusts
4. 'She is and Will Forever Remain a Jew': Children and the Courts
5. 'We Live in the Age of the Holocaust of the Jews'
6. 'The Wandering Jew Has No Nation': Jewishness and Race Relations Law
7. 'The Christian Church Will Admit Children Regardless of Who Their Parents Are': The Jewish Free School Case and Other Final Thoughts

About the author: 

Didi Herman is Professor of Law & Social Change at the University of Kent, UK. She has published widely on the subject of Jews, Jewishness and English law, and is also the author of Rights of Passage: Struggles for Lesbian and Gay Legal Equality, (University of Toronto Press, 1994), The Antigay Agenda: Orthodox Vision and the Christian Right, (University of Chicago Press, 1997), and, with Doris Buss, Globalizing Family Values: The Christian Right's International Activism (University of Minnesota Press, 2003).

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