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Anglo-Saxon-British-Israel Movement

Perhaps the most curious source of Anglo-American cooperation between antisemites came via the Anglo-Saxon-British-Israel Movement, variously called the Anglo-Israelite creed, Celto-Saxon, Destiny of America, Pyramidology or the Kingdom Message.140 This most peculiar of belief systems was a wellspring of transatlantic cooperation that while active in the immediate postwar period actually predated it by some time. The British-Israelite creed dates back as far as the late 18th century and the ideas of Richard Brothers, a British religious zealot who claimed to be descended from King David. They believed that Anglo-Saxons are one of the lost tribes of Israel and that they are God’s chosen people. Using some painfully tortured logic they argue the etymology of the word British was originally berith-ish, berith being Hebrew for covenant and ish meaning man, thus ‘men of the covenant’. Placing logic on the rack once more they argue that England comes from the Hebrew eugle meaning ‘bullock’, which following some etymological acrobatics is said to be the source of John Bull, the symbolic Englishman.141 These ideas were often manifest in antisemitism and a belief in racial superiority as Miss Allen of the Pro-American Vigilantes explained:

Jesus was NOT a Jew, but an Israelite. . . . Abraham and Isaac were Hebrew (notjews): Jacob, son of Isaac, was the first Israelite, because the Lord changed Jacob’s name to Israel: so all sons of Jacob (Israel) were ISRAELITES, as well as Hebrews (but notjews). . . . ISRAEL IS THE ENGLISH SPEAKING PEOPLES (including the Nordic).142

Thus, they believed Jacob, Isaac and Jesus were not Jews, but Anglo-Saxons. As she put it: ‘The Descendents of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were Aryan Hebrews, NOT Jews’.143 The Jews were believed to be remnants of Judah, a nation separate from Israel and a bastard mix of Edomites, Hittites and Canaanites who were never part of God’s supposed scheme.144 The aim of these ideas was intended to show the superiority of the Anglo-Saxons as a chosen Aryan people.145

The British Israel World Federation, whose president in the immediate postwar period was R. Llewelyn Williams, was based in London but had branches all over the Anglo-Saxon world.144’ As well as branches in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and East Africa, the Anglo-Saxon Federation of America had numerous branches such as the active Chicago branch run by Henry Smith.147 However, the headquarters was based in Haverhill, Massachusetts. The figurehead of the Federation was Howard B. Rand, who edited its magazine Destiny, a publication that regularly published articles by Harold Stough, an American based in the UK who was Secretary of the World Federation in London. It also had contributions from Englishmen such as Kenneth de Courcy, an aristocrat who had a monthly column in Destiny called Review of World Affairs.148 The fact that de Courcy was involved in such a strange movement is of distinct interest as at the exact same time he was writing his monthly column for Destiny he was involved in a failed plot hatched with the former King Edward VIII to return to Britain and become regent, thereby pushing aside Princess Elizabeth, now queen, upon the death of her father.149

For those within the British Israel World Federation, Anglo-American cooperation was fundamental to the destiny of mankind. America was said to be modern Manasseh, and England was modern Ephraim. Manasseh would become a ‘Great People’, and Ephraim would become a ‘multitude of Nations’. Thus they believed it was:

part of their Divinely appointed role that they should pursue divergent destinies whilst moving along parallel straight lines which only appeared to meet upon the horizon. Out of the fusion of these two great experiments in human freedom something even greater will yet emerge - the New Order of the Ages. Thus it will be seen that the Anglo-Saxon race is destined to be the basis for a World Commonwealth of Nations.150

The Anglo-Israel movement is evidence that transatlantic links, often based on antisemitism, went well beyond moderate and extreme Holocaust deniers and penetrated even the more esoteric and obscure areas of the far right.

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