Topics: Law, Race, Main Topic: Other
Abstract: This paper explores the neglected area of representations of Jews and Jewishness in English legal cases. In considering judicial knowledge of ‘the Jew’, I ask three primary questions. First, how do English judges understand and represent ‘the Jew’ and in relation to what material factors do these understandings and representations change? Second, how do English judges construct racial knowledge, what rhetorical technologies are fashioned and deployed? Third, are the effects of contemporary judicial racializations of Jewishness different in substance from earlier ones? The purpose of this paper is to study the encounter between English judges and ‘the Jew’ in the twentieth century, eschewing a reading that centres ‘antisemitism’ or ‘discrimination’ in favour of one that focuses on the complex and contradictory narratives in these judgments and the kinds of work these narratives do.
Abstract: This paper is intended to contribute to an understanding of how Jews and Judaism have been constructed in English case law. Using an analysis of law as ‘racialised’, the paper observes not just ‘the Jews’ of English law, but also the complex production of ‘Englishness’ (and English law) itself: The specific focus of the paper is upon the law of trusts; in particular, legal judgments adjudicating testamentary dispositions where the Jewish settlor has insisted upon progeny ‘marrying in’ in order to inherit. Jewishness is constructed as both ‘faith’ and ‘race’, and the paper considers these categories and their interaction. While the judges tend to find the wills in question uncertain, it is argued that it is in fact ‘Jews’ and ‘Judaism’ with which the courts are unable to come to terms.
Topics: Law, Main Topic: Other
Abstract: 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.