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Boris Johnson and the Apotheosis of New York

Laurence Jarvik

Posted on July 24, 2019 14:36

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The family history of incoming British Prime Minister Boris Johnson illustrates Israel Zangwill's message in "The Melting Pot," his play about New York of the 1900s: "America is God's Crucible, the great Melting-Pot where all the races of Europe are melting and reforming... Germans and Frenchmen, Irishmen and Englishmen, Jews and Russians – into the Crucible with you all! God is making the American."

(official photo)

For the first time since World War II, both British and American heads of government are genetically tied to New York.

FDR was born in Hyde Park and Jennie Jerome, mother of Sir Winston Churchill, in Cobble Hill. The International Churchill Society called Sir Winston "a son of America though a subject of Britain." President John F. Kennedy awarded him honorary American citizenship in 1963.

Similarly, Donald Trump was born in Jamaica, Queens, while Boris Johnson was born on the Upper East Side. Johnson enjoyed dual citizenship until 2015, when he surrendered his American passport due to a reported tax dispute

Richard Carrothers-Zurowski's genealogical website lists some ties of the "one-man melting pot" to the Big Apple and America.

Johnson's Russian-Jewish great-grandfather, Prof. Elias Avery Lowe, was a naturalized American citizen and New York resident (he died teaching in Oxford). His great-grandmother, Helen Tracy Porter, came from an old-line Towanda, Pennsylvania family and was the translator of Thomas Mann's Buddenbrooks.

In addition to direct American connections, Johnson's pedigree documents a true child of the melting pot:

"Christian (Anglican, Roman Catholic, and Protestant dissenters, including the founder of the Y.M.C.A., and converts of various kinds), Jewish (including an as yet unconfirmed descent from a long line of Ashkenazic rabbis and scholars), Muslim (Sunnis, both devout and secular); folk from London (north and south of the River), England's North Country, the West Country; Americans (apparently old stock English settlers whose descendants ended up in Pennsylvania), Irish (ex-pats in France and London, as well as the domestic variety), Russian/Lithuanian, Swiss, French (including a large contingent of Indian Ocean island colonists), German, Turkish, English, Circassian; royal (British and foreign), noble (French and German, etc.), humble, yeoman, gentry; free, and slave; journalism, government, theatre, the Church, academe, pharmacy, trade (including a bankrupt); a chess champion and a royal court chamberlain, and a lot of other courtiers and military men; those born in wedlock and "naturally" as they used to say, etc.; and his children's ancestry adds their the inheritance of the East Indian/South Asian bloodlines of their mother's mother, Dip Singh."

This is also reminiscent of President Trump, who has German, Scottish, Slavic, Protestant, Catholic, Jewish and other identities among his ancestors, descendants and collateral mishpucha.

Johnson's Muslim Turkish line is particularly interesting. One of Johnson's other great-grandparents was Ali Kemal Bey, Turkish ambassador to London and Madrid, last Interior Minister of the Ottoman Empire, Minister of Education, poet, journalist, and Koranic scholar--murdered by a nationalist mob in 1922.  Johnson's grandfather Osman Kemal changed his name to Wilfred Johnson, converted to Anglicanism, and began the Johnson line.

Uncannily, Boris Johnson's life illustrates Israel Zangwill's message in The Melting Potabout New York of the 1900s:

"America is God's Crucible, the great Melting-Pot where all the races of Europe are melting and reforming... Germans and Frenchmen, Irishmen and Englishmen, Jews and Russians – into the Crucible with you all! God is making the American."

Laurence Jarvik

Posted on July 24, 2019 14:36

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Source: FOX News
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