Editor’s note: The following comprises the third chapter of The Jews, by Hilaire Belloc (published 1922).
(Continued from Chapter 2: The Denial of the Problem)
CHAPTER III: THE PRESENT PHASE OF THE PROBLEM
I said in my last that the old solution of ignoring or denying the Jewish problem was bound to break down and had broken down, and this was tantamount to saying that the problem persists. But I said one must go farther and state the full nature of that problem as it stands at this moment before one could attempt a practical solution.
It is not enough to say that a person who imagines himself immortal and immune from disease is, as a fact, dangerously ill, and that the break-down of his health has disproved his theory. One must go on to find out exactly what is the matter with him, and, if possible, what the cure for the trouble may be.
The Jewish problem in its larger sense I have defined in the first chapter of this book, and that as I think every one defines it, including all the many Jews who have discussed the matter. It is the presence within one political organism of another political organism at friction with it: the strains set up by such an unnatural state of affairs; the risk of disaster to the lesser body and of hurt to both if it remain unremedied. The true solution therefore is only to be discovered in some policy which will permanently relieve the strain and re-establish normal relations. The end of such a solution should be the functioning, as far as possible, of both parties, at their ease and without disturbance one to the other.
But this general statement of the problem—that it is the presence to each party of an alien body and the consequent irritation and friction on each—is not enough. We must pursue it more closely and develop it in greater detail, describing how the friction and the irritation are increasing: insisting that they have even become a menace. Then only can we set out to discover as far as possible by analysis what exact character the disease bears and why it is of this character. Only after all this can we explore a remedy.
When we look round the modern world, say the last twenty years, we discover, in widely separate places, and among very different interests, and inhabiting the most diverse characters, the presence of what is for many a new political feeling: it runs from irritation to exasperation, from grumbling to invective; it is everywhere directed against the Jews. One activity after another, in which the Jews are variously in the right or in the wrong, or indifferent, has aroused hostility in varying degrees—but increasing—and though the danger-spots are still, as I have said, dissociated in the main, yet they are beginning to coalesce and to form large areas inimical to Israel.
It is objected of the Jew in finance, in industry, in commerce—where he is ubiquitous and powerful out of all proportion to his numbers—that he seeks, and has already almost reached, dominion. It is objected that he acts everywhere against the interests of his hosts; that these are being interfered with, guided, run against their will; that a power is present which acts either with indifference to what we love or in active opposition to what we love. Notably is it said to be indifferent to, or in active opposition against, our national feelings, our religious traditions, and the general culture and morals of Christendom which we have inherited and desire to preserve: that power is Israel.
These feelings grew as one example after another of the Jewish strength, the Jewish cohesion, arrived to feed them. How violent they were to become might be seen by taking as a special example their extreme form, called “Anti-Semitism.” When we come, later in this book, to examine that modern phenomenon, we shall find it to be not only a proof of the insistence and gravity of the problem we are trying to solve, but also some explanation of its nature.
Upon a world thus already exasperated, and in some large sections exasperated to the point of unreason—for the anti-Semitic drive was, and is, full of unreason—there suddenly fell the double effect of the Bolshevist revolution: a revolution which struck both at the benevolent who would hear no harm of the Jews, and those who had hitherto shielded or obeyed them as identified only with the interests of large Capital. It was a blow in flank under which staggered both the supporters of Jewish neutrality and the dependants upon Jewish finance.
The old Liberal policy still officially held the field; but when this shattering explosion came it compelled attention. Bolshevism stated the Jewish problem with a violence and an insistence such that it could no longer be denied either by the blindest fanatic or the most resolute liar.
Such was, in its largest lines, the recent historical sequence leading up to the state of affairs we now find. Let us trace that sequence in more detail and from a little farther back.
A lifetime ago, when the Liberal policy was founded and when conditions were favourable to its establishment, the populace might still nourish its traditional antagonism to the Jew, but in the West of Europe his numbers were very limited (only a few thousand in France and England combined, and hardly as many in Italy).
He belonged for the most part to the classes that did not come into direct competition with the poor of the large towns. From the countrysides he was absent. He had not attempted to govern his hosts as a politician, nor, in any large measure, to indoctrinate them through the Press. The rapid decline of religion at that time broke down one barrier, and the transformation of the governing classes from the old territorial Lords to the modern plutocracy broke down another. The convention that the Jew was indistinguishable from the citizens of the country in which he happened to live, or, at any rate, from that in which he had last lived, was further fostered by the break-up of that cosmopolitan aristocratic society which had marked the eighteenth century, and which could note and register the movements of prominent individuals from nation to nation. The new industrial fortunes and the new international finance both contributed to the same end, while the Jew also began to compete successfully in every one of the liberal professions without as yet dominating any of them. No conflicts had arisen between the Jewish race and the national interests of any European people, with the exception perhaps of the Poles; and these were subject and silenced.
Throughout all this time, from the years after Waterloo to the years immediately succeeding the defeat of the French in 1870-71, the weight and position of the Jew in Western civilization increased out of all knowledge and yet without shock, and almost without attracting attention. They entered the Parliaments everywhere, the English Peerage as well, and the Universities in very large numbers. A Jew became Prime Minister of Great Britain, another a principal leader of the Italian resurrection; another led the opposition to Napoleon III. They were present in increasing numbers in the chief institutions of every country. They began to take positions as fellows of every important Oxford and Cambridge college; they counted heavily in the national literatures; Browning and Arnold families, for instance, in England; Mazzini in Italy. They came for the first time into European diplomacy. The armies and navies alone were as yet untouched by their influence. Strains of them were even present in the reigning families. The institution of Freemasonry (with which they are so closely allied and all the ritual of which is Jewish in character) increased very rapidly and very greatly. The growth of an anonymous Press and of an increasingly anonymous commercial system further extended their power.
It is an illusion to believe that all this great change was Jewish in origin. The Jew did not create it, he floated upon it, but it worked manifestly to his advantage, and we find him at the end of it represented on the governing institutions of Western Europe fifty or one hundredfold more than was his due in proportion to his numbers. The Jews intermarried everywhere with the leading families and, before any sign that a turn of the tide had taken place, they had already achieved that position in which they are now being assailed and to oust them from which such strong efforts are preparing.
Perhaps the first event which cut across this unbroken ascent was the defeat of the French in 1870-1. Not that its effects were immediate in this field, but that a nation defeated is the more likely to raise a grievance, real or imaginary; in seeking a cause for social misfortunes following on its military disasters, it will naturally fix upon an international rather than a national one, and blame its alien population rather than its own. Moreover, the date of the French defeat was also the date on which was overthrown the temporal power of the Papacy. In this also the Jews had played their part. It gave them the opportunity to play a still greater part in the immediate future of the new Italy. Within a few years Rome was to see a Jewish Mayor who supported with all his might the unchristianizing of the city and especially of its educational system.
One small but significant factor in the whole business of these 70’s and early 80’s—the beginning of the last quarter of the nineteenth century—was the rise to monopoly of the Jewish international news agents, among which Reuters was prominent, and the presence of Jews as international correspondents of the various great newspapers, the most prominent example being Opper, a Bohemian Jew, who concealed his origin under the false name of “de Blowitz,” and for years acted as Paris correspondent for The Times, a paper in those days of international influence.
The first expression of the reaction that was at hand was to be found in sundry definitely anti-Semitic writings appearing in Germany and France, most noticeable in the latter country.
Their effect was at first slight, though they had the high advantage of extensive documentation. The great majority of educated men shrugged their shoulders and passed such things by as the extravagancies of fanatics; but these fanatics none the less laid the foundation of future action by the quotation of an immense quantity of facts which could not but remain in the mind even of those who were most contemptuous of the new propaganda. In these books special insistence was laid upon exposing what the Jews themselves call “crypto-Judaism”—that is, the presence everywhere throughout Western Europe of men in important public positions who passed for English, French or what not, but were really Jews.
In many cases (I have already quoted the poet Browning and the distinguished family of Arnold) these people were not hiding their religion but had simply drifted from the original Jewish community of which their ancestors had been members, but in most others there was more or less present an element of conscious secrecy. It was evidently the object of those who produced the literature I am describing to attack that secrecy in particular and to undo its effects; and, as I have said, even where their fanaticism was most ridiculed, the vast array of facts which they marshalled could not be without its effect upon the memory of their contemporaries.
There next appeared a series of direct international actions undertaken by Jewish finance, the most important of which, of course, was the drawing of Egypt into the European system, and particularly into the system of Great Britain.
Of more effect upon public opinion was the excitement of the Dreyfus case in France and, immediately afterwards, of the South African War, in England.
The characteristic of the Dreyfus case was not the discussion upon the guilt or innocence of the unfortunate man from whom it takes its title, but the immense international clamour with which it was surrounded. This local affair was made an affair of the whole world, and men took as passionate an interest in it in the remotest corners of civilization as though they had been the principals actually engaged.
Such a phenomenon could not but astonish the mass of onlookers who had hitherto not given the Jewish question a thought, and when there was added to it the great ordeal of the South African War, openly and undeniably provoked and promoted by Jewish interests in South Africa, when that war was so unexpectedly prolonged and proved so unexpectedly costly in blood and treasure, a second element was added to the growing feeling, not yet, indeed, of antagonism to Jewish power (half cultured France was Dreyfusard, and much more than half England favoured the Boer War at its origin), but of interest in the Jewish question, of curiosity, on the part of the average citizen, who had not hitherto heard of it.
The original minority which had begun to oppose Jewish power, with their extreme left wing of Anti-Semites, and their core of men whose quarrel was rather with the financial control of the modern world than with any racial problem, tended to grow. As always happens with a growing movement, events appeared to suit themselves to that growth and to promote it.
The Panama scandals in the French Parliament had already fed the movement in France. The later Parliamentary scandals in England, Marconi and the rest, afforded so astonishing a parallel to Panama that the similarity was of universal comment. They might have passed as isolated things a generation before. They were now connected, often unjustly, with the uneasy sense of a general financial conspiracy. They were, at any rate, connected with an atmosphere essentially Jewish in character.
Meanwhile there had already begun one of those great migratory movements of the Jews which have diversified history for two thousand years and which are almost always the prelude to each new disturbance in the equilibrium of the Jews and each new resuscitation of the Jewish problem in its most acute form.
The great reservoir of the Jewish race was, of course, that country of Poland which had so nobly succoured the Jews during the persecutions of the late Middle Ages. Poland had made itself an asylum for all the Jews who cared to go to it, and was now, after the infamous partition inaugurated by Prussia, still the home of something like half the Jews of the world. The hatred of the Jews entertained by all classes of Russians, the persecutions they suffered from the fact that Russia, since the partition, governed that part of Poland where they were most numerous, started the new exodus. The movement was a westerly one, mainly to the United States, but there also arose in connection with it a novel growth of great ghettoes in the English industrial towns, more particularly in London, while New York was slowly transformed from a city as free of Jewish population as London and Paris had been in the past, to one in which a good third or more of its inhabitants became either entirely Jewish or partly Jewish.
This vast immigration, which was in full swing just before the outbreak of the great war, and which was adding so active a leaven to the increasing ferment, which had even planted the beginnings of a ghetto in Paris and which was affecting the whole of the West, was supplemented by one more factor of the first importance.
Modern capitalism, by which the Jew had so largely benefited, but which he did not originate and in which prominent, though few, Jewish names, were so immixed, had for its counterpart and reaction the socialist movement. This, again, the Jews did not originate, nor at first direct; but it rapidly fell more and more under their control. The family of Mordecai (who had assumed the name of Marx) produced in Karl a most powerful exponent of that theory. Though he did no more than copy and follow his non-Jewish instructors (especially Louis Blanc, a Franco-Scot of genius), he presented in complete form the full theory of Socialism, economic, social, and, by implication, religious; for he postulated Materialism.
After Karl Marx came a crowd of his compatriots, who led the industrial proletariat in rebellion against the increasing power of the capitalist system, and began to organize a determined revolt.
Before the Great War one could say that the whole of the Socialist movement, so far as its staff and direction were concerned, was Jewish; and while it took this purely economic form in the West, in the East—in the Russian Empire—it took a political form as well, and the growing revolutionary force in that Empire was equally Jewish in direction and driving power.
Such was the situation on the eve of the Great War. Men were beginning to be thoroughly alive to what was meant by the Jewish problem. The old security was dispelled for ever; but as yet only a minority, though now a large one, was prepared to deal with that problem and to discuss it openly. All that was official, and particularly the Press, with its vast influence, had as yet refused in any department to face the realities of the position. The convention forbidding public allusion to the Jewish question was still very strong. On the surface it seemed as though the old Liberal policy still stood firm and, indeed, unshakeable. The Jews were in every place of ‘vantage: they taught in the Universities of all Europe; they were everywhere in the Press; everywhere in finance. They were continually to be found in the highest places of Government and in the chanceries of Christendom they had acquired a dominant power which none could question. But the challenge against this unnatural position necessarily worked against great odds, it remained private and had great difficulty in finding expression. None the less, it extended, and by 1914 had become serious.
The immeasurable catastrophe of the war—with which the Jews had nothing to do and which their more important financial representatives did all they could to prevent—fell upon Europe. It seemed at first as though, in the face of that overwhelming tragedy, what had been so rapidly growing—I mean the debate and conflict upon Jewish claims—would be silenced. The Jews were found fighting gallantly in all the armies. Their services were generously acknowledged, though the cruel ambiguity of their situation was hardly realized. Considering that they had no national interest in the fight, it must have seemed to them a mere insanity, crucifying their nation to no purpose. For Zangwill put the matter well indeed when he said that those who eagerly and spontaneously joined the first recruiting (and these were numerous) did so “for the honour of Israel.” The sacrifice was not without fruit. In its presence many a complaint was silenced and much was revealed which, but for it, would have remained unprobed. The Christian family in its bereavement saw at its side a Jewish neighbour who had lost his son in what was no concern of his race; the Christian priest witnessed the agony of the young Jewish soldier. The defender of the Western nations saw at his side not only the Jewish conscript (who should never have been called) but the Jewish volunteer. Thus, the first to enlist from the United States was a Jew, later promoted, whom I had the pleasure and honour of meeting on Mangin’s staff at Mayence. I hope he may see these lines.
It looked as though in the presence of such a suffering, which the Jews shared with us, the growing quarrel between them and ourselves would be appeased. Men who had been prominent not only for their discussion of the Jewish problem, but for their direct and open antagonism to Jewish power and even to the most legitimate of Jewish claims, were now compelled to silence. Reconciliation was in the air … when, in the very heat of the struggle, came that factor, incalculably important, which now rules all the rest; I mean the factor of what is called Bolshevism.
This new Jewish movement changed the whole face of things and, coming on the top of the rest, has transformed the problem for all our generation.
Henceforth it was to be discussed quite openly. Henceforth it could only become, more and more, the chief problem of politics and give rise to that menacing situation upon a solution of which depends the security of our future.
For the Bolshevist movement, or rather explosion, was Jewish.
That truth may be so easily confused with a falsehood that I must, at the outset, make it exact and clear.
The Bolshevist Movement was a Jewish movement, but not a movement of the Jewish race as a whole. Most Jews were quite extraneous to it; very many indeed, and those of the most typical, abhor it; many actively combat it. The imputation of its evils to the Jews as a whole is a grave injustice and proceeds from a confusion of thought whereof I, at any rate, am free.
With so much said let me return to the affair.
What is called “Labour,” that is, the direction of the proletarian revolt against capitalist conditions, had, as we have seen, been directed in the main by the Jew. His energy, his international quality, his devotion to a set scheme, prevailed. All this was not peculiar to Russia but present throughout the industrialized areas of the West.
By the word “directed” I do not mean any conscious plan. I mean that the Jews, with their perpetual movement from country to country, with their natural indifference to national feeling as a force counteracting class feeling, with their lucid thought and their passion for deduction, with their tenacity and intellectual industry, had naturally become the chief exponents and the most able leaders. They formed, above all, the cement binding the movement together throughout the world. It was they, more than any others, who insisted on a clear-cut solution upon the lines which their compatriot Karl Marx had copied from his greater European contemporaries, and made definite in his famous book on Capital.
But there was all the difference in the world between this intellectual leadership, this organization of socialism by Jews while Socialism still remained a mere theory, and the control and actual management of it in a great State when it passed from theory to practice.
The words “social revolution” were still but words in 1914 and men did not take them too seriously. But when in 1917 a socialist revolution was accomplished suddenly at one blow, in one great State, and when its agents, directors and masters were seen to be a close corporation of Jews with only a few non-Jewish hangers-on (each of these controlled by the Jews through one influence or another), it was quite another matter. The thing had become actual. The menace to national traditions and to the whole Christian ethic of property was immediate. More important than all, so far as the Jewish problem is concerned, many who had remained silent upon it on account of convention, avarice or fear, were now compelled to speak. From that moment, in early ’17, it became the chief political problem of our time: coincident with, intimately mixed with, but in all its implications superior to, the great economic quarrel on to which it was now grafted.
The story may be briefly told. The Russian State, ill-equipped for modern war, had passed during the end of the year 1916 through a strain which it had found intolerable. Russian Society, after the mortal losses sustained, was upon the eve of dissolution, and the formidable revolutionary movement which had for years left its direction and organization in Jewish hands broke out, for the third time in our generation: but this time successfully.
After rapidly accelerating phases it settled into the situation which has endured from the early part of 1918 to the present day. In the towns the freely-elected Parliament was repudiated and a “Dictatorship of the Proletariat” was declared. The workshops were in future to be run by Committees, in the Russian “Soviets,” and similar organizations were to control agriculture in the villages, where the peasants had already seized the land and were streaming back from the dissolved armies to their homes.
In practice, of course, what was set up was no proletarian Government, still less anything so impossible and contradictory in terms as a “dictatorship” of proletarians. The thing was called “The Republic of the Workmen and Peasants.” It was, in fact, nothing of the sort. It was the pure despotism of a clique, the leaders of which had been specially launched upon Russia under German direction in order to break down any chance of a revival of Russian military power, and all those leaders, without exception, were Jews, or held by the Jews through their domestic relations, and all that followed was done directly under the orders of Jews, the most prominent of whom was one Braunstein, who disguised himself under the assumed name of Trotsky. A terror was set up, under which were massacred innumerable Russians of the governing classes, so that the whole framework of the Russian State disappeared. Among these, of course, must specially be noted great numbers of the clergy, against whom the Jewish revolutionaries had a particular grudge. A clean sweep was made of all the old social organization, and under the despotism of this Jewish clique the old economic order was reversed. Food and all necessities were controlled (in the towns) and rationed, the manual labourer receiving the largest share; and none any share unless he worked at the orders of the new masters.
The agricultural land was in theory nationalized, but in practice the Jewish Committees of the towns were unable to enforce their rule over it, and it reverted to the natural condition of peasant ownership. But the Jewish Committees of the towns were strong enough to raid great areas of agricultural production for the support of themselves and their troops and of their dependants in the cities, who had come close to starvation through the breakdown of the social system.
What followed later is of common knowledge: the attempts at counter-revolution, led by scattered Russians and other military leaders, all failed because the peasants believed that their newly-acquired farms were at stake and eagerly volunteered to defend them, the greatly increased misery of the towns, the slow decline of industrial production (in spite of the most rigid despotism, enforcing conscript labour), and the general deliquescence of society.
If the motives of the men who thus brought the whole of a Christian State into ruins within a few weeks were analysed, we should, it is to be presumed, discover something of this sort: their main motive was the pursuit of the political and economic ideals of which they were the spokesmen and which already so many of their compatriots, the Jews, throughout the rest of Europe, had espoused—communism so far as property was concerned; the Marxian doctrine of socialist production and distribution; the Socialist doctrine imposed by arbitrary and despotic arrangements, favouring those who had in the past been least favoured. In this economic and political group of motives the leading motive was probably enough, the doctrine of Communism in which these men, for the most part, sincerely believed.
To this must be added an equally sincere hatred of national feeling, save, of course, where the Jewish nation was concerned. The conception of a Russian national feeling seemed to these new leaders ridiculous, as, indeed, the conception of a national feeling must seem ridiculous to their compatriots everywhere; or, if not ridiculous, subsidiary to the more important motives of individual advantage and to the righting of such immediate wrongs as the individual may feel. The Christian religion they naturally attacked, for it was abhorrent to their social theory.
They also had a certain crusading, or propagandist, ideal running through the whole of their action—the desire to spread Communism far beyond the boundaries of what had once been the Russian State. It is this which has led them to intrigue throughout Central, and even in Western, Europe, in favour of revolution.
Though these were the main motives, other motives must also have been present.
It is impossible that Committees consisting of Jews and suddenly finding themselves thus in control of such new powers, should not have desired to benefit their fellows. It is equally impossible that they should have forgone a sentiment of revenge against that which had persecuted their people in the past. They cannot but, in the destroying of Russia, have mixed with a desire to advantage the individual Russian poor the desire to take vengeance upon the national tradition as a whole; it has even been said—but denied, and I know not where the truth lies—that Jews were among those guilty of the worst incident which we now know in all its revolting details—the murder of the Russian Royal family—father, mother and girls, and the unfortunate sickly heir, the only boy. Further, it is impossible, with Jewish Committees thus in control of the Russian treasury and of Russian means of communication, that they should not have had some sympathy with their compatriots who were so largely in control of Western finance. However sincere their detestation of capitalism (for probably in most of them the opinion is held sincerely enough), it is in the nature of things that one of their blood and kind should, however misguided they may think him, appeal to them more than one of ours. And it is this which explains the half alliance which you find throughout the world between the Jewish financiers on the one hand and the Jewish control of the Russian revolution on the other. It is this which explains the half-heartedness of the defence against Bolshevism, the perpetual commercial protest, the continued negotiations, the recognition of the Soviet by our politicians, the clamour of “Labour” in favour of German Jewish industrialism and against Poland: all that has taken place wherever Jewish finance is powerful, particularly at Westminster.
But, be this as it may, the tremendous explosion which we call Bolshevism brought the discussion of the Jewish problem to a head. The two forces which had hitherto held back the discussion of that problem were that Liberal fiction which had ruled for more than a generation, according to which it was indecent even to mention the word Jew, or to suggest that there was any difference between the Jew and those who harboured him; and, secondly, the fact that the Jews were erroneously regarded by most of the well-to-do people in the West—that is, by most of those who had the control of the Press and therefore of all public expression—as so controlling wealth that they were at once the natural guardians of property and so placed that an attack upon them jeopardized the wealth of the critic. The man who had gone into the City, or who had his life spent upon the Bourse in Paris, or who was negotiating any great capitalist enterprise, who had to do in whatever capacity with the running of the great banks or with the international means of communication by sea and land, even the man who got his precarious living by writing—each and all had hitherto felt that a public silence upon the Jewish problem was necessary to his private welfare.
Those who recognized the gravity of the problem had hitherto been moved by fear to be silent upon it, at least in public, though in private they were often voluble enough. Those who recognized it in a lesser degree had also been affected by the same fear. Lastly, you had the large class who were under no necessity for restraint, whether from fear or any other cause, but who were quite content to leave things as they were so long as they received their regular salary or dividends, and who were profoundly convinced that any interference with the Jew would imperil those dividends or that salary.
The Jewish Bolshevist movement put an end to that state of mind. The people who had hitherto been silent through avarice, convention, or fear, now found themselves between an upper and a nether millstone. Hitherto they had at least believed that to keep silence was to secure or to advance their economic position. Now they found, suddenly risen upon the flank of that position, a new and formidable Jewish force determined upon the destruction of property. There was no longer any reason to keep silent. There was a growing need to speak. And though the old habit, the old secrecy, was still strong upon them, the necessity for combating Jewish Bolshevism was stronger still. All over Europe the Jewish character of the movement became more and more apparent. The leaders of Communism everywhere proclaimed that truth by adopting the asinine policy of pretending that the revolution was Russian and national; they attempted—far too late—to hide the Jewish origins of its creators and directors, and made a childish effort to pretend that the Russian names so innocently put forward were genuine, when the real names were upon every tongue. Yet at the same time they were receiving money and securities of the victims through Jewish agents, jewels stripped from the dead or rifled from the strong boxes of murdered men and women. In one specific instance the promise of a subsidy to a Communist paper in London was traced to this source; it was proved that the Englishman involved was a mere puppet and that the Jewish connections of the family through marriage were the true agents in the transaction. In another a Trade Deputation was pompously announced under Russian names, which turned out upon inspection to consist, as to its first member, of a man engaged all his life in the service of a Jewish firm, as to the other, of a Jew who was actually the brother-in-law of Braunstein! The diplomatic agent nominated and partially accepted by the British Government to represent the new authority of the Russian towns was again a Jew, Finkelstein, the nephew by marriage of a prominent Jew in this country. He passed under the name of Litvinoff. So it was throughout the whole movement, in every capital and in every great industrial town.
We must not neglect the very obvious truth that in all this there was ample fuel for the flame. The industrial proletariat throughout the world was equally disgusted and equally ready for revolt. The leadership of the movement may be Jewish but its current was not created by the Jew. To imagine that is to fall into the most childish errors of the “Anti-Semite.” The stream of influence arose from the sufferings and the burning sense of injustice which industrial capitalism had imposed on the dispossessed mass of wage earners. They were (and are) naturally indifferent as to whether those whom they hope may be their saviours come from Palestine, Muscovy or Timbuctoo. They are interested in economic freedom: in the doctrine of socialism and in its results, not in the personality of those who guide them.
Their position is comprehensible enough: but my point is, that the directing minority of Western European capitalism which had hitherto been silent upon the Jewish problems from the motives I have described were now released; they were free to speak their mind, and began to speak it. The volume of their protest cannot but increase. The cat, as the expression goes, is out of the bag, or, to put it in more dignified language, the debate will now never more be silenced. It is admitted that the revolutionary leadership is mainly Jewish. It is recognized as clearly now as it has long been recognized that international finance was mainly Jewish; and even those who would tolerate silence upon the one peril will certainly not tolerate it upon the other.
The danger is, indeed, not over. The debate will take place—that is no peril, but a good; the danger is rather that, as restraint is gradually removed, the natural antagonism to the Jewish race, felt by nearly all those who are not of it and among whom it lives, may take an irrational and violent form, and that we may be upon the brink of yet one more of those catastrophes, of those tragedies, of those disasters which have marked the history of Israel in the past.
To avert this, to discover some solution of the problem while there is yet time, to prevent deeds which would bring us to shame and that small minority among us to suffering, should be the object of every honest man.