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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 81.djvu/82

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76
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY

Dr. Fishberg concludes that there is nothing racial, moral or religious about this phenomenon. It is all explained by the Ghetto and by the nature of the occupations in which the Jews are engaged. Their freedom from crimes of violence is due to their weakness and cowardice; their proneness to mercantile crimes is due to their rapacity in business. As they emerge from the Ghetto and become physically more robust, crimes of violence too increase among them. That the terrible struggle for existence in the restricted areas to which they are confined in Europe is the cause of much transgression against the laws of property is probable; but weakness and cowardice explain nothing. The weakest and most cowardly are often the most quarrelsome and the most cruel among themselves. Jackals fear the lion, but they have no fear of one another. Dr. Fishberg has written a book about the Jews, as a people who are not a race or a nation, in his opinion, but scattered communities unified by religion, yet their religion has had no effect upon their lives, and its only outcome has been the Ghettos that Christians have forced them to live in!

As one proceeds through the multitude of figures, assertions and arguments in Dr. Fishberg's book, one becomes doubtful as to what he is really driving at. It would seem, offhand, that he wished to convince us of the fact that the people now called Jews are not descendants of the same original stock. "Ethnologically," he says, "there are practically no differences between Jews and other Europeans. Both consist of conglomerations of various racial elements blended together in a manner that makes it. impossible to disentangle the components, or even the predominant race out of the ethnic chaos." But if his aim was to prove this, what was the use of wasting so much zeal and labor? On page 135 we are told, "One thing is certain, however, the original stock of the Jews was not made up of a single and homogeneous race, as is supposed by some." And again on the same page we read that the Bible itself records inter-marriages between Jews and gentiles and "that some of these races were not of Semitic stock has been established recently by archeological research." Why was it necessary to produce more evidence; why worry about blonds and long heads and short heads, if the Jews never were Jews?

But why should we be concerned whether the Jews are, or ever were, a "pure race"? What is a pure race? Would Dr. Fishberg know one if he saw one? If there ever was a pure race how did it come into existence? Was it born pure, or did it issue pure from the Hand of God? "Religion," says Dr. Fishberg, "the Jewish as well as the Christian and Mohammedan, with the assistance of the state, artificially created the types of the Jew at the beginning of the nineteenth century. There is nothing unusual that an isolated community should evolve peculiar characters." Does Dr. Fishberg know any other way