Are there any historical references to Edmund Burkes' views on anti-Semitism? His works specifically deal with the British governance, and legal systems' that could guide the UK through the turbulent times of revolutions (like the French Revolution). What exactly are his views on anti-Semitism? Can any light be shed on Burkean thought in this respect? Any references appreciated!

  • 3
    Note, the fact that Burke is constantly hating on the gentlemen of Old Jewry in Reflections on the Revolution in France isn't anti-semitism; it's just the name of a meeting house where radicals met.
    – lazarusL
    Mar 12, 2015 at 18:31

1 Answer 1


We have the following statements in Burke's writings:

They [leaders of previous revolutions] were not like Jew brokers contending with each other who could best remedy with fraudulent circulation and depreciated paper the wretchedness and ruin brought on by their degenerate councils.

(Reflections on the Revolution in France)

We have in London very respectable persons of the Jewish nation, whom we will keep; but we have of the same tribe others of a very different description, - housebreakers, and receivers of stolen goods, and forgers of paper currency, more than we can conveniently hang."

(Letter to a Member of the National Assembly)

And from a secondary source:

In Burke's Reflections we see a deliberate blurring between family, land, country, loyalty and religion, which raised the question whether Jews can become loyal subjects.

So it seems fair to say that his views on Jews were pretty prejudiced.

On the other hand, he did condemn the British mistreatment of the Jews of St. Eustatius during the American revolution:

If Britons were so injured, Britons have armies and laws to fly to for the protection and justice. But the Jews have no such power and no such friend to depend upon. Humanity then must become their protector.

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