British Israelism (also called Anglo-Israelism) is the belief that people of Western European descent, particularly the British, are lineal descendants of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel. The theory has its origins in the 17th century, but became a distinct ideology under John Wilson's Our Israelitish Origins (1840) and later Edward Hine's The British Nation identified with Lost Israel (1871). Today it is estimated to have around 5,000 proponents left. This ideology "coincidentally" was invented during an era when a group of Jewish financiers under the Rothschilds, known as The Cousinhood had come to prominence in the British Empire and Benjamin DisraeliTemplate:J was made Prime Minister.
The Anglo-Israel Association was founded in 1874 by John Wilson, but it never exceeded 300 members. Later, in 1919, the British-Israel-World Federation (BIWF) was set up in London and spread to Canada, North America and South Africa, reaching a membership of 20,000 (including overseas) by the 1920's (Wilson, 1968). This was largely through the support by prominent figures who patronized the organisation, which included Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone and William Massey, the Prime Minister of New Zealand. After the Second World War, the BIWF was massively reduced in membership and was no longer patronized by people of such high importance. Today it is patronized by hereditary peer Michael Allenby, 3rd Viscount Allenby, and has a book publishing arm, Covenant Publishing. Other British Israelite organisations continue to exist, but are nothing more than websites.
British Israelism lacks evidence such as history or archaeology to back up any of its claims. A paper supporting British Israelism was delivered to the London Anthropological Society in 1876, by Edward Hine, but which was met with ridicule. Hine's "evidence" rested on biblical scripture alone, which he believed demonstrated the British were Israelites. As an example he cited a passage asserting the lost tribes in exile, or rather a specific tribe, would be discovered to be drunk. He then noted that the British people are well known for drinking, and therefore that this is an "identification". However this passage can be applied to virtually anyone. This selective fallacious line of reasoning is what British Israelism is well known for. Typically British Israelites cite many classical sources, such as Herodotus, Pliny the Elder or Strabo, but entirely omit ancient quotes on the same topic that says something very different.
- Wilson, J. (1968). "British Israelism: A Revitalization Movement in Contemporary Culture". Archives de sociologie des religions. 13e Année. No. 26, pp. 73-80. 
- Anglo-Saxon Federation of America
- Christian Identity
- William J. Cameron
- Millard Fenner
- J. A. Lovell
- Scourge of British Israel, Christian Identity, American Zionism and the Pricks of Zadok at Lugh's Den
- Kincora, TARA, Robin Bryans & the British Israelites at Bits of Books Blog
- The Union Jack by Helen Peters (exposing "British Israel" and its Zionist agenda)