The Dread of the Jew
The Dread of the Jew.—The Dreyfus affair and the furious passions that it has awakened have their ultimate foundation in dread and hatred of the Jews. There is a Jewish question, more or less acute, in every continental country, and we are told by pessimists that before long we shall have an anti-Jewish movement in the East End of London. These facts naturally suggest an inquiry into the causes of the dread and hate which the Jews inspire, and the asking once again whether there are any good grounds for regarding the Hebrew race as a menace to the Christian world. The main fact about the Jews on the Continent which emerges from a study of the present situation is that for some reason or other they inspire terror. That this terror is as absurd and as unreasonable as is the terror caused respectively by Jesuits and Freemasons, we ourselves do not doubt for a moment, but that does not alter the fact that the sense of terror exists. It is hardly too much to say that the majority of people on the Continent honestly believe that unless the Jews are in some way or other curbed, controlled, and kept down, something very dreadful will happen. In Russia the vast Slavonic population and its leaders believe that unless the Jews are impounded in the Polish Pale they will swamp the true Russian, and utterly ruin and destroy the Russian nationality and the Russian ideal. In Austria it is believed that if the Jews are allowed to go on as they are going on they will get everything into their hands—the land of the peasants, the sources of public information and the press, and the nerves by which trade and commerce are moved. In Germany it is much the same story, and there the Jews are believed, unless stopped in time, to be about to monopolize the universities. In France it is thought that the Jews, if not put down with the strong hand, will capture the whole administration, as well as "strangle commerce by their octopus grip." The Jews are called a "parasitic race," whatever that may mean. It is said that the Jew never becomes an agriculturist, that he is a usurer and a bloodsucker, that he is a gross materialist, and that he has no ideals beyond the precious metals; and that they habitually act together to further their own racial interests and to injure those communities which have been foolish enough to trust them. To take the charge of want of patriotism first. How is it substantiated? We can not say that we have ever seen any real evidence of want of patriotism in the Jews. Look at the ease of France at present. There is something extremely pathetic in the way in which the French Jews cling to their nationality in spite of all the hatred they inspire. The truth is, the Jew is a sort of expert in patriotism. Did not the Maccabees teach the world one of its first lessons in patriotism? Depend upon it, if the Jew is only allowed to be a patriot he will not fail here. The charge, indeed, is like that so often made in Russia against the Jews. They are accused of not tilling the soil, their accusers ignoring the fact that no Jew is allowed to buy, or to lease, or to occupy land, and is, in fact, excluded by law from acting as a farmer. Take next the charge of "aloofness." Probably this charge is well founded, but what can be expected of a people so newly freed from the Ghetto? If you treat a race for centuries as lepers, and visit its members with dire penalties, if they do not keep "aloof" they are likely to remain for some time disinclined to free intercourse. The third charge is, in reality, that the Jews of the world, having obtained control of cosmopolitan finance, act together in the interests of their race, and inflict grievous injuries upon the nations. But what proof is there of this? Curiously enough, Mr. Arnold White—though in other ways he seems to encourage this charge—accuses the great Jewish financiers of not doing this very thing. He tells us that after the Russians had driven the Jews into the Pale they wanted to raise a loan. One would have expected the great Jewish loanmongers to have absolutely refused to help the enemy of the race. Instead they basely, as we think, found Russia the money she wanted. But though this was a base act, it certainly is not consistent with the charge that the Jews control the international money market for tribal ends. We believe, in fact, that this whole charge is a pure delusion. The great financiers, whether Jew or Gentile, look for a profit, and not to deep and mysterious racial aspirations. The charge that the Jews are steeped in materialism, and so are a demoralizing element in the community, is equally unfair and absurd. Many Jews may be fond of pomp of a vulgar kind, and may aflect what we confess personally to finding very disagreeable forms of Asiatic luxury; but these are externals. In essentials and as a race the Jews are no more materialistic than their neighbors. And can we say that they are a demoralizing element when it is universally confessed that the Jews are among the best fathers, sons, and husbands in the world?
- From an article In the London Spectator.