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traffic. This, again, was forced upon them rather than of their own seeking; but as in periods of recurrent wars, bad crops, and famine the need for loans and credit was very great, it was generally agreed that the necessary banking business should be turned over to the Jews. Not infrequently, the Jewish money-lender was merely the agent of some Christian merchant or noble, who did not dare lend money in person, for fear of excommunication. At the same time, the growing power of the guilds, each with its patron saint, began, on religious grounds, to force the exclusion of the Jews from most of the principal branches of trade and commerce. The second-hand trade and the banking business were about all that remained. The latter, moreover, was congenial to the Jews; for in that day of persecution and expulsion they were very glad to be able to keep their wealth in a compact, easily hidden, and easily transportable form.
If, therefore, in modern times, the Jews appear to be a people of towndwellers, practising, at the bottom of the social scale, peddling, petty-retailing, pawnbrokerage, the poorer trades, and, at the top of the scale, banking and corporate commerce, the cause, evidently, is less innate than historic. Even the remarkable success of individual Jews in modern finance can perhaps be attributed less to any special racial fitness than to a business tradition, to a freedom from local prejudice, and to the spirit of coöperation clearly visible between scattered Jewish individuals and communities - a coöperation which a coöperation which other peoples have not as yet been able to attain in anything like the same degree. I myself am inclined to subordinate economic anti-Semitism to politi
Their first real specialty was that of slavedealers, in which they were greatly encouraged both by Charlemagne and by the Caliphs.
cal anti-Semitism; for, if the latter were unsustained, the former, I feel sure, would soon cease to exist.
The political argument against the Jews is that they are an ‘international nation,' more attached to the Jewish cause, in whatever part of the world, than to the ideals and interests of the country in which they live, and from which they claim the privileges of protection without according in return their political allegiance. To this is now frequently added, as a corollary, that the Jew is a 'born revolutionist.' We are here, as I have already indicated, at the very heart of the Jewish question; for there is no state, there is no people, so good-natured and so confident of its own strength, that it will unprotestingly tolerate in its midst a body persistently and willfully foreign, especially when this body at the same time aspires to take a leading part in the national economic or political life. That the Jews, after their dispersion, were originally such a tenaciously foreign body, in every community where they settled, is beyond dispute. That they remained so, partly of their own will, partly under compulsion, up to the time of the emancipation, fifty or a hundred years ago, is equally incontestable. The point that remains to be determined is, to what extent, since the emancipation, a true assimilation · of the Jews has been effected in the United States and in the various countries of Western Europe. To this point I shall have occasion to return presently. Meanwhile, the corollary, that the Jew is a 'born revolutionist,' is worthy of careful consideration.
Abstractly, there is certainly something in this assertion-something profound, which reaches to the very centre of the ancient Hebraic religious conception. The sturdy monotheism of Israel, teaching that man shall obey Jehovah alone, carries by implication the idea
that all merely human authority is unjustified and therefore negligible. This independence of conscience and reason is probably developed further in Judaism than in any other religion, for it is considered as binding even on Jehovah himself. The Talmud relates how, in a dispute between rabbis over a point of doctrine, the voice of Jehovah intervened from the void; but no sooner was this divine voice heard to pronounce in favor of Rabbi Eliezir, than Rabbi Josua protested, saying: 'It is not mysterious voices, it is the majority of the sages, who should henceforth decide questions of doctrine. Reason is no longer hidden away in heaven, the Law is no longer in heaven; it has been given to the earth, and it is for human reason to understand and explain it.'
Moreover, implicit in Judaism, is a sentiment, quite different from the resignation of Christianity and of Mohammedanism, that the joy and satisfaction which are the birthright of every man who keeps the Law should be forthcoming, not in some future existence, but here on earth. Even after they have forsworn their religion completely, a tendency has been remarked among the Jews to cling to the idea, not only that all men are entitled to be happy even in this life, but that all men are equal before God, and that none can be held responsible save to his own mind and conscience. A poor man, imbued with this spirit, and looking about him upon the present world, is inevitably exposed to the temptation of becoming a malcontent, or even an agitator. More important, however, than this vague traditional predilection for revolutionary doctrines is the fact that the Jewish people, for more than twenty centuries, has been cosmopolitan, bound to no country and to no lasting patriotism save that of Israel. It is no more than natural that the emancipation should have left a large number of them
internationalists, in the literal sense of the word. If it were not for this cosmopolitan character of the people as a whole, the revolutionary proclivities of a few individuals would perhaps have passed almost unnoticed. Once more, we are brought face to face with the conclusion that the Jewish problem is, above all, a problem of assimilation,
The belief that the Jews are involved in a definite conspiracy for world-revolution arose at the time of the French Revolution, simultaneously with the emancipation of the French Jews by the Constituent Assembly. An intimate relation between the Kabbala and Freemasonry had long been suspected; and now the Catholic Royalists were able to remark that not a few Jews seemed to be active members of the various lodges Masons, Illuminists, Rosicrucians, Martinists-in whose secret conclaves the revolution was supposed to have been planned. The influence of Jewish agitators was again remarked in the uprisings of 1830 and 1848.
But the great reproach that European conservatives hold against the sons of Israel is that Karl Marx and Ferdinand Lassalle, the founders of modern Socialism, were both of Jewish origin. "This descendant of a line of rabbis and doctors,' writes Lazare, of Marx, 'inherited all the force of logic of his ancestors; he was a clear-headed and lucid Talmudist ... . a Talmudist who went in for sociology, and who applied his native qualities of exegesis to a critique of political economy. He was animated by the old Hebraic materialism, which dreamed perpetually of an earthly paradise . . . he was also a rebel, an agitator, a bitter polemist, and he got his gift of sarcasm and invective from the same Jewish sources as Heine.'
The famous Manifesto of 1847 was drawn up jointly by Marx and Engels. The meeting of 1864, which founded the Internationale, was inspired by Marx;
and in the general council, Karl Marx was secretary for Germany and Russia, and James Cohen was secretary for Denmark.
The work of Jewish agitators in the Paris Commune was the subject of much comment. Among the leaders of modern Socialism were not only Marx and Lassalle in Germany, but the Jews Adler and Libermann in Austria, and Dobrojanu Gherea in Roumania; while the rôle of the Russian Jews in the recent Russian Revolution is known to everyone. All these facts have tended to keep alive the old yarn of a Jewish 'world-conspiracy.'
Exact statistics are, of course, unavailable; but there are supposed to be in the world, at the present time, from twelve to fourteen million Jews, of whom about a fourth are in the United States, a fourth scattered in various countries, east, west, north, and south, while the remaining half are concentrated in Eastern Europe, or, more specifically, in Poland, Bessarabia, and the Ukraine. Poland alone is believed to have four or five million Jews, and thus becomes by far the greatest Jewish state of the day. It is precisely in Eastern Europe, moreover, that the Jewish nationality is to be observed in its purest form, for here there is scarcely so much as the beginning of even a political assimilation; though indigenous for centuries, the children of Israel still form a large and entirely distinct foreign minority. The fact that, in Eastern Europe, religion and nationalityas in mediæval times throughout the whole of Europe - are still regarded as practically inseparable, is not a sufficient explanation of this phenomenon. The restrictive measures of the prevailing governments have merely served to accentuate a distinction ardently
desired by the Jews themselves, whose devotion to both the civil and religious aspects of the Jewish Law is here as fervent as it is complete. The net result is that the typical Polish Jew, like the Lithuanian, Bessarabian, and Ukrainian Jew, is a being absolutely apart from his Christian neighbors. The reader should peruse, in this connection, the remarkably intimate and sympathetic studies of Jewish life recently published in Paris by Jean and Jérôme Tharaud, which will unveil to his occidental vision a world undreamed of. When to these vivid distinctions are added the economic and racial differences, which have already been described in discussing the more or less assimilated Western European Jews, it is difficult to find a single remaining trait wherein the Eastern Jews may be said to resemble the Christian Pole, Lithuanian, Russian, or Roumanian. Those who have not seen this community cleavage for themselves can scarcely imagine how thorough it is, or what profound antipathy it instinctively engenders.
So much having been said, a specific explanation of the present revival of anti-Semitism is almost superfluous. In Russia the majority of Jews, for obvious reasons, have rallied to the Soviet government, thus exciting against themselves the always latent hatred of the anti-Bolshevist parties. The Jews of Poland and Roumania, being regarded, not altogether without reason, as foreigners inclining to sympathize with the enemy (Soviet Russia), are subjected to all the consequences that a similar situation provoked in America, during the war, between Americans and Germans. As for the half-assimilated Jews of Hungary, they earned the lasting enmity of the peasants and the administrative caste by flocking in far
too considerable numbers to the disastrous red banner of Bela Kun, in the spring of 1919. In Czechoslovakia, the Jews are subjected to the hatred of the otherwise fairly liberal Czechs, because they are suspected of being pro-German and, in general, anti-Slav.
Coming now to the more prosperous and more completely assimilated Jews of Western Europe and America, one easily perceives that the feeling against the poor ones is an outgrowth of the fear of Bolshevism, while the feeling against the rich ones is a part of the general post-war clamor against profiteers the feeling in both cases being greatly intensified by the popular nationalistic suspicion that the Jews are willfully resisting assimilation.
We are thus, in the end, brought squarely back again to the surmise from which we started, namely, that the Jewish question is, above all, political, and may indeed be reduced to this one inquiry: Is it, or is it not, possible to assimilate the Jews? If it is, time, and liberal measures, will suffice; if it is not, then, so long as nations continue to be nations, and to abhor the presence within themselves of indigestible foreign bodies, there is seemingly no solution.
Some anti-Semites have gone so far as to assert that, the Jews being essentially a race apart, assimilation is neither possible nor desirable. From this view, I differ completely. In the first place, the Jews are not essentially a race apart. Ethnology has long since established that there is no such thing as a 'pure race.' Leaving aside the pertinent inquiry as to whether or not the twelve tribes were themselves racially pure, it is clear that, from the time of the dispersion down to about the sixteenth century, the Jews were exceedingly active in proselytizing, and made many converts in Europe and the Near East. There are at present white Jews in India, black Jews in Cochin-China,
and yellow Jews in China proper, to say nothing of the two great disparate branches of the European Jewish family, the Sephardic and the Ashkenazic, the one speaking Spanish, the other Yiddish; the one black-haired, the other predominantly sandy; the one said to be dolichocephalic, the other brachycephalic. And if, on the one hand, the modern Jew is indubitably of conglomerate origin, on the other, he has sown his blood profoundly through other races, notably in Spain, where the conversions of Jews to Christianity were so numerous, that there is now said to be scarcely a family free from the Jewish strain. The assimilation of the Jews by intermarriage has made noticeable progress also in France, England, Germany, America, and even Hungary.
Obviously, therefore the possibility of assimilating at least some of the Jews is beyond challenge. Indeed, there is no reason to suppose that a mixture of the so-called Aryan and Semitic races gives a result which is other than excellent in any respect. If the Jews have not heretofore been absorbed more rapidly, the causes are rather religious, social, and political than racial.
How can it reasonably be said, moreover, that this mixture is not desirable? The Jews are one of the most remarkably gifted peoples of all time. They have, it is true, the defects of their qualities, but in this they are by no means unique. The Jews are, in fact, generally speaking, sober, adaptable, industrious, and intelligent. For centuries cut off from most forms of handicraft and manual labor, they have been exercising their minds in study and trade. Their achievements in art, letters, and particularly in science and philosophy, if not preeminent, are at least notable. Why any nation should scorn to absorb an element so endowed is difficult to understand.
There is a class of Western Jews, however, who, while approving the theory of assimilation in the abstract, give to the word a meaning quite different from that generally accepted. In the minds of these Jews, it would be a calamity if Israel, by intermarrying with other nationalities, should lose its distinctive character. They assert, therefore, that it is entirely possible for the Jews to remain Jews in every sense of the word, and at the same time become good Germans or Britons, or Frenchmen, or Americans, as the case may be. Roman Catholics, they argue, are forbidden to intermarry with Protestants; why must the Jews be expected to intermarry with peoples of other religions?
But there is in this otherwise fairseeming comparison a slight misconception. If Israel were merely a religion, then, when a Jew ceased to observe the forms of this religion, he would cease to be a Jew. But Israel is not merely a religion, but a nationality as well. The problem of assimilation is not a religious but a political problem; and to shift it arbitrarily to the religious ground is to distort it from its true relations. If the reply be made that the orthodox Jews are absolutely forbidden to marry outside of Israel, I would rejoin merely that this fails to explain why so many unorthodox Jews also hold in horror the idea of marrying Gentiles.
In the present day of intense nationalism, when the forces of interior cohesion are engaged in a silent and bitter struggle with the forces of international dissolution, the Jews, who by their history have become a cosmopolitan race in everything except their devotion to Israel, must make a choice. They
cannot give political allegiance to two banners, even though this double allegiance be defended in the name of religion. The official anti-Semitism of some Eastern European countries of course makes assimilation impossible; but in Western states, where the Jews enjoy the same privileges with everyone else, they must expect to give in return the same undivided loyalty.
This is particularly true in America, who is now being asked to accord her hospitality to thousands upon thousands of Israelites, whose emigration from Eastern Europe is being encouraged by every possible means. Overburdened already with German-Americans whose hearts are in Germany, with Irish-Americans whose hearts are in Ireland, and with numerous other varieties of half-digested foreigners, she would like to be able to count at least on the full allegiance of her Jewish citizens, whose record in the war was excellent, and to feel that, however much they may be drawn by a fellow sentiment with distant coreligionists, their hearts, nevertheless, have been definitely surrendered to the land of their election, even to the point - when no imperious religious reasons intervene of accepting the idea of marriage with non-Jewish fellow citizens.
I myself have great faith in the loyalty of the vast majority of American Jews. To those few who sincerely scruple to give to America, or to any other Gentile state, their single allegiance, a more generous welcome would doubtless be extended in the ports of Palestine, under the flag of Israel itself, than in the gateways of the war-worn Western world.