In 1916 Emmanuel was conscripted to fight in the British Army in World War One. He refused the service on the grounds that he was a conscientious objector. English law at the time of the war understood conscientious objection to be a religious issue. Pacifists seeking exemption at the military tribunals required a testimonial from a religious minister. This became a difficult issue for Jews, as the Chief Rabbi ruled that there were no specifically Jewish grounds for conscientious objection. Anglo Jewish leadership also wanted to stress the Jewish community’s loyalty to Britain and therefore spoke out against objectors.