Monday, 15 August 2016
But was this huge amount of give of the Jewish side met by a reciprocal level of give on the Gentile side?
Whenever change occurred, it failed to uproot well-entrenched view about Jewish otherness, neither erasing the stigma of Jewishness nor ushering in an era of unconditional social acceptance. Jews became "less Jewish" but opposition to their full acceptance persisted. Some claimed this was because Jews were still "too Jewish": they had changed too little, thus failing to uphold their end of the emancipation contract.
Perhaps we just didn't go far enough. A bit more would surely have tipped the scales? Endelman thinks not:
From a later vantage point, however, it seems that no amount of change would have been sufficient to undo the legacy of centuries of Christian contempt and disparagement ... The perception that Jews were different in kind from non-Jews was too well entrenched, too rooted in Western culture and thought, to disappear when the religious doctrines that engendered it in the first place weakened.
All over - really, everywhere?
As a result, Jews everywhere, even in liberal states like Britain, France and the United States, found that being Jewish remained problematic to one degree or another. In the best circumstances, Jews still faced social discrimination and cultural stigmatisation; in the worst, legal disabilities, verbal abuse and physical violence.