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|Purpose||Political organisation and publishing instrument|
|Key people||Henry Hamilton Beamish
John Henry Clarke
The Britons was an anti-Semitic and anti-immigration organization founded in July 1919 by Henry Hamilton Beamish. The organization published pamphlets and propaganda under the imprint names of the Judaic Publishing Co. and subsequently the Britons Publishing Society. These entities engaged primarily in disseminating anti-Semitic literature and rhetoric in the United Kingdom, and bore hallmarks of the British fascist movement. Imprints under the label of the Judaic Publishing Co. exist for the years 1920, 1921, and 1922.
The scholar Sharman Kadish writes:
The group was founded in London in 1919 by Henry Hamilton Beamish, who had developed an antisemitic viewpoint when he spent time in South Africa. Beamish became involved with the Silver Badge Party, although by 1919 he had left Britain altogether after losing a libel case brought by Sir Alfred Mond.
Despite the disappearance of Beamish, the Britons continued under John Henry Clarke, a homeopath who served as Chairman and Vice-President (with the Southern Rhodesia-based Beamish continuing as President) from the formation of the group until his death in 1931. Clarke helped the party to work with the right wing of the Conservative Party, and the Britons attracted such members as Arthur Kitson and Brigadier-General R.B.D. Blakeney.
The group claimed that its only aim was to get rid of all the Jews in Britain by forcing them to emigrate to Palestine. Only those who could prove English blood up to grandparent level were allowed membership (despite the name 'Britons'). Eschewing the street politics of predecessors such as the British Brothers League, group activities centred mainly on publishing, with journals such as Jewry Uber Alles, The British Guardian and The Investigator (which began publishing in 1937 and used a swastika as its emblem with the motto 'For Crown and Country, Blood and Soil) appearing regularly. They also published a number of books on the topic, including an imprint, allegedly a translation by Victor E. Marsden into the English language, of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. It is to be noted that Marsden had died on 28 October 1920. The Britons had ceased publication of their previous version of this imprint, and Norman Cohn states that the Marsden version first came out in print in 1921. However, the earliest imprint bearing the name of Marsden and held by the British Library bears the date of 1922, and the Library's online catalogue shows that it was imprinted by the Britons Publishing Society. There is no scholarly work on Marsden, a former correspondent for The Morning Post, and there has not yet been an accounting of how precisely his name came to be associated with the publication of the The Protocols. And it is at this time that this notorious text was exposed as a plagiarism, conclusively, in August 1921, by Philip Graves. The previous translation was made allegedly by George Shanks for Eyre & Spottiswoode.
Known from 1922 onwards as the Britons Publishing Company, this publishing entity produced material for such groups as the British Union of Fascists. It was largely inactive during World War II, although the group continued to exist until the late 1940s.
- Anonymous translator (George Shanks), The Jewish Peril, (a.k.a. the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion) (London: The Britons, 1920)
- Robert Benewick, Political Violence and Public Order, (London: 1969)
- Sharman Kadish, Bolsheviks and British Jews, The Anglo-Jewish Community, Britain and the Russian Revolution, London, (1992)
- Gisela C. Lebzelter, Political Anti-Semitism in England 1918-1939 (New York: Holmes & Meier Publishers, Inc., 1978)
- Ibid., (London: Macmillan, in association with St. Antony’s College, Oxford, 1978)
- Paul Cox, 1999, Mad Dogs and Englishman, Part One: The so-called fifth column