A Jew of standing, Dr. Oscar Levy, well known in English literary circles and a lover of his people, has had the honesty and the wisdom to meet the Jewish Question with truth and candor. His remarks are printed in this article as an example of the methods by which Jewry can be saved in the estimation of Twentieth Century Civilization.
The circumstances were these: George Pitt-Rivers, of Worcester College, Oxford, wrote a most illuminating brochure entitled, “The World Significance of the Russian Revolution,” which is published and sold for two shillings by Basil Blackwell, Oxford. The book is the result of unprejudiced observation and study and agrees with the statements made in THE DEARBORN INDEPENDENT about the personnel of Bolshevism. The manuscript was sent to Dr. Oscar Levy, as a representative Jew, and Dr. Levy’s letter was subsequently published as a preface to the book.
That the reader may understand the tenor of Mr. Pitt-Rivers’s book, section XVI, pp. 39-41, is herewith given in full, and is followed by Dr. Levy’s comments. The italics throughout are intended to remind the reader of remarks on similar lines made in this series:
It is not unnaturally claimed by Western Jews that Russian Jewry, as a whole, is most bitterly opposed to Bolshevism. Now although there is a great measure of truth in this claim, since the prominent Bolsheviks, who are preponderantly Jewish, do not belong to the orthodox Jewish Church, it is yet possible, without laying oneself open to the charge of anti-Semitism, to point to the obvious fact that Jewry, as a whole, has, consciously or unconsciously, worked for and promoted an international economic, material despotism which, with Puritanism as an ally, has tended in an ever-increasing degree to crush national and spiritual values out of existence and substitute the ugly and deadening machinery of finance and factory. It is also a fact that Jewry, as a whole, strove every nerve to secure and heartily approved of the overthrow of the Russian monarchy, which they regarded as their most formidable obstacle in the path of their ambitions and business pursuits. All this may be admitted, as well as the plea that, individually or collectively, most Jews may heartily detest the Bolshevik régime, yet it is still true that the whole weight of Jewry was in the revolutionary scales against the czar’s government. It is true their apostate brethren, who are now riding in the seat of power, may have exceeded their orders; that is disconcerting, but it does not alter the fact. It may be that the Jews, often the victims of their own idealism, have always been instrumental in bringing about the events they most heartily disapprove of; that perhaps is the curse of the Wandering Jew.
Certainly it is from the Jews themselves that we learn most about the Jews. It is possible that only a Jew can understand a Jew. Nay, more, it may be that only a Jew can save us from the Jews, a Jew who is great enough, strong enough—for greater racial purity is a source of strength in the rare and the great—and inspired enough to overcome in himself the life-destructive vices of his own race. It was a Jew who said, “Wars are the Jews’ harvest”; but no harvest so rich as civil wars. A Jew reminds us that the French Revolution brought civil emancipation for the Jews in Western Europe. Was it a Jew who inspired Rousseau with the eighteenth century idea of the sameness of man according to nature? Dr. Kallen, a Zionist author, writes: “Suffering for 1,000 years from the assertion of their difference from the rest of mankind, they accepted eagerly the escape from suffering which the eighteenth century assertion of the sameness of all men opened to them . . . . They threw themselves with passion into the republican emancipating movements of their fellow subjects of other stocks.” It was a Jew, Ricardo, who gave us the nineteenth century ideal of the sameness of man according to machinery. And without the Ricardian gospel of international capitalism, we could not have had the international gospel of Karl Marx. Moses Hess and Disraeli remind us of the particularly conspicuous part played by Jews in the Polish and Hungarian rebellions, and in the republican uprising in Germany of ’48. Even more conspicuous were they in the new internationalism logically deducible from the philosophy of Socialism. This we were taught by the Jew Marx, and the Jew Ferdinand Lasalle, and they but developed the doctrine of the Jew David Ricardo.
It was Weininger, a Jew—and also a Jew hater—who explained why so many Jews are naturally Communists. Communism is not only an international creed, but it implies the abnegation of real property, especially property in land, and Jews, being international, have never acquired a taste for real property; they prefer money. Money is an instrument of power, though eventually, of course, Communists claim that they will do away with money—when their power is sufficiently established to enable them to command goods, and exercise despotic sway without it. Thus the same motives prompt the Jew Communist and his apparent enemy, the financial Jew. When owners of real property in times of economic depression feel the pinch of straightened circumstances, it is the Jewish usurers who become most affluent and who, out of goodness of their hearts, come to their assistance—at a price.
To these and other statements, Dr. Levy, as a Jew, made this reply:
Dear Mr. Pitt-Rivers:
When you first handed me your MS. on The World Significance of the Russian Revolution, you expressed a doubt about the propriety of its title. After a perusal of your work, I can assure you, with the best of consciences, that your misgivings were entirely without foundation.
No better title than The World Significance of the Russian Revolution could have been chosen, for no event in any age will finally have more significance for our world than this one. We are still too near to see clearly this Revolution, this portentous event, which was certainly one of the most intimate and therefore least obvious, aims of the world-conflagration, hidden as it was at first by the fire and smoke of national enthusiasms and patriotic antagonisms.
It was certainly very plucky of you to try and throw some light upon an event which necessarily must still be enveloped in mist and mystery, and I was even somewhat anxious, lest your audacity in treating such a dangerous subject would end in failure, or what is nearly the same, in ephemeral success. No age is so voracious of its printed offspring as ours. There was thus some reason to fear lest you had offered to this modern Kronos only another mouthful of his accustomed nourishment for his immediate consumption.
I was, I am glad to report, agreeably surprised—surprised, though not by the many new facts which you give, and which must surprise all those who take an interest in current events—facts, I believe, which you have carefully and personally collected and selected, not only from books, but from the lips and letters of Russian eye-witnesses and sufferers, from foes as well as from friends of the Great Revolution.
What I appreciate more than this new light thrown on a dark subject, more than the conclusion drawn by you from this wealth of facts, is the psychological insight which you display in detecting the reasons why a movement so extraordinarily bestial and so violently crazy as the Revolution was able to succeed and finally to overcome its adversaries. For we are confronted with two questions which need answering and which, in my opinion, you have answered in your pamphlet. These questions are: (1) How has the Soviet Government, admittedly the government of an insignificant minority, succeeded not only in maintaining but in strengthening its position in Russia after two and a half years of power? and (2) Why has the Soviet Government, in spite of its outward bestiality and brutal tyranny, succeeded in gaining the sympathies of an increasing number of people in this country? . . . .
You rightly recognize that there is an ideology behind it and you clearly diagnose it as an ancient ideology. There is nothing new under the Sun, it is even nothing new that this Sun rises in the East. . . .
For Bolshevism is a religion and a faith. How could these half-converted believers ever dream to vanquish the “Truthful” and the “Faithful” of their own creed, these holy crusaders, who had gathered round the Red Standard of the Prophet Karl Marx, and who fought under the daring guidance of these experienced officers of all latter-day revolutions—the Jews?
I am touching here on a subject which, to judge from your own pamphlet, is perhaps more interesting to you than any other. In this you are right. There is no race in the world more enigmatic, more fatal, and therefore more interesting than the Jews.
Every writer, who, like yourself, is oppressed by the aspect of the present and embarrassed by his anxiety for the future, MUST try to elucidate the Jewish Question and its bearing upon our Age.
For the question of the Jews and their influence on the world past and present, cuts to the root of all things, and should be discussed by every honest thinker, however bristling with difficulties it is, however complex the subject as well as the individuals of this Race may be.
For the Jews, as you are aware, are a sensitive Community, and thus very suspicious of any Gentile who tries to approach them with a critical mind. They are always inclined—and that on account of their terrible experiences—to denounce anyone who is not with them as against them, as tainted with “medieval” prejudice, as an intolerant Antagonist of their Faith and of their Race.
Nor could or would I deny that there is some evidence, some prima facie evidence of this antagonistic attitude in your pamphlet. You point out, and with fine indignation, the great danger that springs from the prevalence of Jews in finance and industry, and from the preponderance of Jews in rebellion and revolution. You reveal, and with great fervor, the connection between the Collectivism of the immensely rich International Finance—the Democracy of cash values, as you call it—and the international Collectivism of Karl Marx and Trotsky—the Democracy of and by decoy-cries . . . . And all this evil and misery, the economic as well as the political, you trace back to one source, to one “fons et origo malorum”—the Jews.
Now other Jews may vilify and crucify you for these outspoken views of yours; I myself shall abstain from joining the chorus of condemnation! I shall try to understand your opinions and your feelings, and having once understood them—as I think I have—I can defend you from the unjust attacks of my often too impetuous Race. But first of all, I have to say this: There is scarcely an event in modern Europe that cannot be traced back to the Jews. Take the Great War that appears to have come to an end, ask yourself what were its causes and its reasons: you will find them in nationalism. You will at once answer that nationalism has nothing to do with the Jews, who, as you have just proved to us, are the inventors of the international idea. But no less than Bolshevist Ecstasy and Financial Tyranny can National Bigotry (if I may call it so) be finally followed back to a Jewish source—are not they the inventors of the Chosen People Myth, and is not this obsession part and parcel of the political credo of every modern nation, however small and insignificant it may be? And then think of the history of nationalism. It started in our time and as a reaction against Napoleon; Napoleon was the antagonist of the French Revolution; the French Revolution was the consequence of the German Reformation; the German Reformation was based upon a crude Christianity; this kind of Christianity was invented, preached and propagated by the Jews; THEREFORE the Jews have made this war! . . . . Please do not think this is a joke; it only seems a joke, and behind it there lurks a gigantic truth, and it is this, that all latter-day ideas and movements have originally sprung from a Jewish source, for the simple reason, that the Semitic idea has finally conquered and entirely subdued this only apparently irreligious universe of ours.
. . . . There is no doubt that the Jews regularly go one better or worse than the Gentile in whatever they do, there is no further doubt that their influence today justifies a very careful scrutiny, and cannot possibly be viewed without serious alarm. The great question, however, is whether the Jews are conscious or unconscious malefactors. I myself am firmly convinced that they are unconscious ones, but please do not think that I wish to exonerate them on that account . . . . A conscious evildoer has my respect, for he knows at least what is good; an unconscious one—well, he needs the charity of Christ—a charity which is not mine—to be forgiven for not knowing what he is doing. But there is in my firm conviction not the slightest doubt that these revolutionary Jews do not know what they are doing; that they are more unconscious sinners than voluntary evildoers.
I am glad to see that this is not an original observation of mine, but that you yourself have a very strong foreboding about the Jews being the victims of their own theories and principles. On page 39 of your pamphlet you write: “It may be that the Jews have always been instrumental in bringing about the events that they most heartily disapprove of; that maybe is the curse of the Wandering Jew.” If I had not the honor, as well as the pleasure, of knowing you personally, if I were not strongly aware of your passionate desire for light and your intense loathing of unfairness, this sentence, and this sentence alone, which tells the truth, will absolve you in my eyes from the odious charge of being a vulgar anti-Semite.
No, you are not a vulgar, you are a very enlightened, critic of our Race. For there is an anti-Semitism, I hope and trust, which does the Jews more justice than any blind philo-Semitism, than does that merely sentimental “Let-them-all-come Liberalism” which in itself is nothing but the Semitic Ideology over again. And thus you can be just to the Jews without being “romantic” about them.
You have noticed with alarm that the Jewish elements provide the driving forces for both Communism and capitalism, for the material as well as the spiritual ruin of this world. But then you have at the same time the profound suspicion that the reason of all this extraordinary behavior may be the intense Idealism of the Jew. In this you are perfectly right. The Jew, if caught by an idea, never thinks any more in watertight compartments, as do the Teuton and Anglo-Saxon peoples, whose right cerebral hemisphere never seems to know what its left twin brother is doing; he, the Jew, like the Russian, at once begins to practice what he preaches, he draws the logical conclusion from his tenets, he invariably acts upon his accepted principles. It is from this quality, no doubt, that springs his mysterious force—that force which you no doubt condemn, but which you had to admire even in the Bolshevists. And we must admire it, whether we are Jews or whether we are Christians, for have not these modern Jews remained true to type, is there no parallel for them in history, do they not go to the bitter end even in our day? . . . .
Who stirred up the people during the late war in Germany? Who pretended to have again the truth, that truth about which Pontius Pilate once shrugged his shoulders? Who pleaded for honesty and cleanliness in Politics, that honesty which brings a smile to the lips of any experienced Pro-consul of today? Writers, who were mostly Jews: Fried, Fernau, Latzko, Richard Grelling—the author of “J’accuse.” Who was killed and allowed himself to be killed for these very ideas and principles? Men and women of the Jewish Race: Haase, Levine, Luxemburg, Landauer, Kurt Eisner, the Prime Minister of Bavaria. From Moses to Marx, from Isaiah to Eisner, in practice and in theory, in idealism and in materialism, in philosophy and in politics, they are today what they have always been: passionately devoted to their aims and to their purposes, and ready, nay, eager, the shed their last drop of blood for the realization of their visions.
“But these visions are all wrong,” will you reply. . . . . “Look where they have led the world to. Think, that they have now had a fair trial of 3,000 years’ standing. How much longer are you going to recommend them to us and to inflict them upon us? And how do you propose to get us out of the morass into which you have launched us, if you do not change the path upon which you have led the world so disastrously astray?”
To this question I have only one answer to give, and it is this: “You are right.” This reproach of yours, which—I feel it for certain—is at the bottom of your anti-Semitism, is only too well justified, and upon this common ground I am quite willing to shake hands with you and defend you against any accusation of promoting Race Hatred: If you are anti-Semite, I, the Semite, am an anti-Semite too, and a much more fervent one than even you are . . . . We (Jews) have erred, my friend, we have most grievously erred. And if there was truth in our error 3,000, 2,000, nay, 100 years ago, there is now nothing but falseness and madness, a madness that will produce an even greater misery and an even wider anarchy. I confess it to you, openly and sincerely, and with a sorrow, whose depth and pain an ancient Psalmist, and only he, could moan into this burning universe of ours . . . . We who have posed as the saviours of the world, we who have even boasted of having given it “the” Saviour, we are today nothing else but the world’s seducers, its destroyers, its incendiaries, its executioners . . . . We who have promised to lead you to a new Heaven, we have finally succeeded in landing you in a new Hell . . . . There has been no progress, least of all moral progress . . . . And it is just our Morality, which has prohibited all real progress, and—what is worse—which even stands in the way of every future and natural reconstruction in this ruined world of ours . . . . I look at this world, and I shudder at its ghastliness; I shudder all the more as I know the spiritual authors of all this ghastliness . . . .
But its authors themselves, unconscious in this as in all they are doing, know nothing yet of this startling revelation. While Europe is aflame, while its victims scream, while its dogs howl in the conflagration, and while its very smoke descends in darker and even darker shades upon our Continent, the Jews, or at least a part of them and by no means the most unworthy ones, endeavor to escape from the burning building, and wish to retire from Europe into Asia, from the somber scene of our disaster into the sunny corner of their Palestine. Their eyes are closed to the miseries, their ears are deaf to the moanings, their heart is hardened to the anarchy of Europe: they only feel their own sorrows, they only bewail their own fate, they only sigh under their own burdens . . . . They know nothing of their duty to Europe, which looks around in vain for help and guidance, they know nothing even of their own great ancestor to whose heart the appeal of pity was never made in vain: they have become too poor in love, too sick at heart, too tired of battle, and lo! these sons of those who were once the bravest of soldiers are now trying to retire from the trenches to the rear, are now eager to exchange the grim music of the whistling shells with that of the cowbells and vintage songs in the happy plain of Sharon . . . .
And yet we are not all Financiers, we are not all Bolshevists, we have not all become Zionists. And yet there is hope, great hope, that this same race which has provided the Evil will likewise succeed in supplying its antidote, its remedy—the Good. It has always been so in the past—was not that fatal Liberalism, which has finally led to Bolshevism—in the very midst of that dark nineteenth century, most strenuously opposed by two enlightened Jews—Friedrich Stahl, the founder of the Conservative Party in Germany, and by Benjamin Disraeli, the leader of the Tory Party in England? And if these two eminent men had no suspicion yet that their own race and its holy message were at the bottom of that unfortunate upheaval, with which their age was confronted: how eager, how determined, how passionate will be the opposition of the Disraelis of the future, once they have clearly recognized that they are really fighting the tenets of their own people, and that it was their “Good,” their “Love,” their “Ideal,” that had launched the world into this Hell of Evil and Hatred. A new “Good” as new Love, a true Love, an intelligent Love, a Love that calms and heals and sweetens, will then spring up among the Great in Israel and overcome that sickly Love, that insipid Love, that romantic Love, which has hitherto poisoned all the Strength and all the Nobility of this world. For Hatred is never overcome by Hatred: it is only overcome by Love, and it wants a new and a gigantic Love to subdue that old and devilish Hatred of today. That is our task for the future—a task which will, I am sure, not be shirked by Israel, by that same Israel which has never shirked a task, whether it was for good or whether it was for evil . . . .
Yes, there is hope, my friend, for we are still here, our last word is not yet spoken, our last deed is not yet done, our last revolution is not yet made. This last Revolution, the Revolution that will crown our revolutionaries, will be the revolution against the revolutionaries. It is bound to come, and it is perhaps upon us now. The great day of reckoning is near. It will pass a judgement upon our ancient faith, and it will lay the foundation to a new religion. And when that great day has broken, when the values of death and decay are put into the melting pot to be changed into those of power and beauty, then you, my dear Pitt-Rivers, the descendant of an old and distinguished Gentile family, may be assured to find by your side, and as your faithful ally, at least one member of that Jewish Race, which has fought with such fatal success upon all the spiritual battlefields of Europe.
Yours against the Revolution and for Life ever flourishing,
OSCAR LEVY, ROYAL SOCIETIES CLUB, ST. JAMES STREET, LONDON, S. W., JULY, 1920.
[THE DEARBORN INDEPENDENT, issue of 30 April 1921]