by David Baron
(Originally published in 1901)
There are many difficult problems grouped around the name "Jew" powerfully affecting the world and the Church, and as, in Europe especially, the issues involved become intensified from year to year, the nations of Christendom, in the midst of whom the mass of the Diaspora has been located since the destruction of the second Temple, are earnestly beginning to find solutions, and it is more and more obvious that " the Jewish question" is fast becoming an international one.
To the Bible student, with the key of the future in his hand, it is very interesting to watch some of the more recent phases in the development of this "question," and to observe how the great God is, in His providence, now rapidly preparing the way for its final and only possible solution. Anti-Semitism, though no doubt a symptom of the diseased moral, political, and economic systems of Christendom, for which Jew and Gentile must bear equal blame, is nevertheless of great significance, and an unmistakable sign of the times when viewed from a Scriptural standpoint.
What is anti-Semitism?
Before me lies the 17th edition of the "Anti-Semiten-Katechismus," a small book of four hundred closely-printed pages compiled by Theodor Fritsch, and published in Leipzig. It is one of the very vilest products of the nineteenth century, and carries its condemnation within itself.
The first part is in the form of a catechism, containing twenty-one questions and answers, and the first question is, " Was Versteht man unter Antisemitismus?" (What is to be understood by anti-Semitism?) And then the answer, "Anti" means against, and "Semitism" describes the character of the Semitic race. Anti-Semitism, therefore, signifies waging war with Semitism. As in Europe the Semitic race is almost exclusively represented by the Jews, we understand the term Semites as referring in its narrower sense to the Jews. An anti-Semite, therefore, in our case means an opponent of the Jews ("Judengegner“).
Into the long indictment which this oracle of anti-Semitism contains I will not enter. The fact is that the professional "Judengegner" on the Continent, has been morally blinded by his hatred and prejudice to the extent of being no longer able to distinguish between light and darkness, truth and falsehood, and often allows himself to be carried by his passions to the greatest lengths of injustice and villainy. In the eyes of the anti-Semite it is not only a question whether Jews, like other men, are sinners, or are greater sinners than others, but the Jew himself, from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head, his very existence is an unpardonable crime. His very virtues are brought up as accusations against him, and the whole literature of the world, from the writings of Cicero down to the ravings of the unspeakable Edouard Drummond of Paris, are ransacked, and often misquoted, in order to prove that every Jew who has ever had the impudence to live, has been nothing else than an unmitigated rascal, to whom all the woes which have ever come upon the uncircumcised are to be traced.
For samples of anti-Semitic accuracy in quoting ancient or modern writers commend me to the collection of passages from Talmudic works and from the Bible which takes up a good part of this handbook. The promises of God to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and passages from the prophets, are quoted as proofs of Jewish pride and arrogance, and when the prophets utter curses and scathing denunciations on account of sin, it is still brought up in proof against the Jews that they are, and ever have been, the very worst nation under heaven. It reminds one of the story told of the Roman Emperor, who, walking one day with his retinue, happened to meet a poor Jew on the roadside, who most humbly bowed and saluted. The Emperor stopped and cried out, " What, you, a Jew, have the impudence to salute the Roman Emperor! Off with his head !" A little further on he met another Jew, who, observing from a distance what had been done to his unfortunate brother, simply stopped on the roadside, and in fear and trembling allowed the tyrant to pass by without saluting, whereupon the Emperor turned round and cried: "What, you, a Jew, have the impudence not to salute the Roman Emperor! Off with his head!"
An instance how an anti-Semite reads Jewish history is supplied by the brief summary of the life of Joseph, who in words of Scripture is made out to be first an ungrateful profligate, who immorally assaulted the chaste and virtuous wife of his master Potiphar, and later on robbed and despoiled the famished Egyptians for his own ends, and for the enrichment of his tribe.
How is it done ? Very easily : all you have to do is to string together some half-sentences broken off from their context, and quote a lie as if it were a truth, and the thing is done. But, as an instance how the anti-Semitic Diabolus can quote Scripture for his own ends, I will translate the section on Joseph verbally just as it stands.
“Joseph in Egypten.”
The Hebrew slave which thou hast brought unto us came in unto me to mock me ; and it came to pass as I lifted up my voice and cried that he left his garment with me and fled."
.. Let him appoint officers over the land, and take up the fifth part in the seven plenteous years (without payment)."
... And Joseph gathered corn as the sand of the sea very much until he left off numbering, for it was without number."
... And Joseph gathered up all the money that was found in the land of Egypt and in the land of Canaan for the corn which they brought."
... Joseph said, Give your cattle, and I will give you for your cattle if you have no more money.”
... We will not hide from my lord how that our money is spent; my lord also hath our herds of cattle ; there is not ought left in the sight of my lord but our bodies and our lands."
... And he made it a law that they should give from everything a fifth. And so Israel dwelt in the land of Egypt in the country of Goshen, and they ruled over it and grew and multiplied greatly.?
It is a sad fact that perhaps ninety-nine out of every hundred " Christian " readers of this vile production in Germany and Austria are so ignorant of Bible history that they are taken in by these parodies of Jewish characters as if they were actual history. I may mention that my first acquaintance with this "Antisemiten-Katechismus'' was in the drawing-room of a Christian Hospitz in Berlin, where it was evidently kept for the enlightenment of benighted Christian travellers. But is there no ground for the accusations of anti-Semites? I am not one to hide up the sins of my people. There were no greater patriots than the prophets, yet they speak of Israel as "a sinful nation; a people laden with iniquity," and many centuries of wanderings and oppressions have not tended to ennoble them. No, Israel in a state of apostasy from their God are not a blessing among the nations as they yet shall be (Zech. 8.), but this I say, that false accusations by anti-Semites through the ages, of crimes which they knew in their conscience they were not guilty of, has been Satan's chief means of hardening Israel's heart into a Pharisaic self-consciousness, and of blinding their eyes to their real state of need before a holy God.
The true underlying causes and effects of modern anti-Semitism have been well summarized by Dr. Herzl in that remarkable pamphlet, " Der Juden Staat," which has given birth to the Zionist movement. " Modern anti-Semitism," he says, " is not to be confounded with the religious persecution of the Jews of former times. It does occasionally take a somewhat religious bias, but the main current of the aggressive movement has now changed. In the principal countries where anti-Semitism prevails it does so as a result of the emancipation of the Jews.
"When civilized nations awoke to the inhumanity of exclusive legislation, and enfranchised us, our enfranchisement came too late. It was no longer possible legally to remove our disabilities in our old homes. For we had, curiously enough, developed while in the Ghetto into a bourgeois people, and we stepped out of it only to enter into fierce competition with the middle classes. Hence our emancipation set us suddenly within this middle-class circle, where we have a double pressure to sustain, from within and from without. The Christian bourgeoisie would not be unwilling to cast us as a sacrifice to Socialism, though that would not greatly improve matters. At the same time, the equal rights of Jews before the law cannot be withdrawn where they have once been conceded. Not only because their withdrawal would be opposed to the spirit of our age, but also because it would immediately drive all Jews, rich and poor alike, into the ranks of the revolutionary party.
"Nothing effectual can really be done to our injury. In old days our jewels were seized. How is our movable property to be got hold of now? It is comprised in printed papers which are scattered over the world, locked up maybe in the coffers of Christians. It is of course possible to get at shares and debentures in railways, banks and industrial undertakings of all descriptions, by taxation, and where the progressive income-tax is in force, all our realised property can eventually be laid hold of. But all these efforts cannot be directed against Jews alone, and where they have nevertheless been made, severe economic crises, with far-reaching effects, have been their immediate consequence. The very impossibility of getting at the Jews nourishes and embitters hatred of them. Anti-Semitism increases day by day and hour by hour among the nations; indeed, it is bound to increase, because the causes of its growth continue to exist, and cannot be removed. Its remote cause is our loss of the power of assimilation during the Middle Ages ; its immediate cause is our excessive production of mediocre intellects, who cannot find an outlet downwards or upwards—that is to say, no wholesome outlet in either direction. When we sink, we become a revolutionary proletariat, the subordinate officers of the revolutionary party; when we rise, there rises also our terrible power of the purse.
Effects of anti-Semitism
"The oppression we endure does not improve us, for we are not a whit better than ordinary people. It is true that we do not love our enemies ; but he alone who can conquer himself dare reproach us with that fault. Oppression naturally creates hostility against oppressors, and our hostility aggravates the pressure.
"It is impossible to escape from this eternal round. 'No!' some soft-hearted visionaries will say; 'no, it is possible! Possible by means of the ultimate perfection of humanity.' Is it worth while pointing out the sentimental folly of this view ? He who would found his hope for improved conditions on the ultimate perfection of humanity would indeed be painting a Utopia!
"I referred previously to our 'assimilation.' I do not for a moment wish to imply that I desire such an end. Our national character is too historically famous, and, spite of every degradation, too fine, to make its annihilation desirable. We might, perhaps, be able to merge ourselves entirely into surrounding races, if these were to leave us in peace for a space of two generations. But they will not leave us in peace.
"For a little period they manage to tolerate us, and then their hostility breaks out again and again. The world is provoked by our prosperity, because it has for many centuries been accustomed to consider us as the most contemptible among the poverty-stricken.
"It forgets, in its ignorance and narrowness of heart, that prosperity weakens our Judaism and extinguishes our peculiarities. It is only pressure that forces us back to the parent stem ; it is only hatred encompassing us that makes us strangers once more.
"Thus, whether we like it or not, we are now, and shall henceforth remain, an historic group with unmistakable characteristics common to us all."
To turn again to the oracle of anti-Semitism to which I have already referred, in answer to the question, " Wie soil die Judenfrage nun gelost werden ? " (How shall the Jewish Question be solved?) we have the following paragraph: " Either the Jews must procure some territory for themselves—best if it were out of Europe (means they have plenty) and be allowed a definite period, say ten years, to depart from our midst, or, if they remain, the following enactment should be made: 'The Jews are only allowed to occupy themselves with agriculture or productive manual labour, in which they are to have only Jews as their assistants. From every other sphere and occupation they must be excluded, and for a non-Jew to be in any way in the employment of a Jew should be highly punishable to both parties.'
" The laws emancipating the Jews, and which granted them civil rights, should be repealed, and they should only be allowed to exist as aliens under special law" (" Judenrecht").
I hold in my hand three curios of modern anti-Semitism. One is an exact imitation of a German railway ticket. On the front we read these words : " Nach Jerusalem (to Jerusalem). There, but not return, 4th class, 20 mark." Across one end the route and date are as usual indicated, which are " Germany—Palestine," and across the other end, which usually has the initials of the railway company, the word " Isaac " is spelt out. Turning it over, on the reverse side we find the following inscription. First, in large letters, there is the Hebrew word "Kosher" ("clean"), a word with which things lawful for Jews to eat are usually sealed, and then this admonition, " Fahre hin mit 100,000 Deiner Bruder and taufe in Jordan Dich doch—Kehre niemals wieder" ("Go with 100,000 of thy brethren and immerse thyself in the Jordan, but never return “).
The second curio is an anti-Semitic bronze medal bearing the arms of the city of Berlin, with the date, beneath which are the words, " Hep ! Hep ! " On the obverse side are the names of the three best known and most violent German Jew-haters, for whom it calls " Hoch ! " (" Hurrah!") " Vivant sequentes." The third is a ticket to a public concert in Vienna, the price of which is a florin, but beneath there is this saving clause, " Fur Juden ist diese karte ungiltig," which is equivalent to " Jews are excluded."
The first of these curios expresses the aim and object of anti-Semitism, which is to drive them out of Christendom : " Go to Jerusalem, and never return ;" and the other two show us the weapons of anti-Semitism, by which they seek to accomplish their object, namely, by insult and exclusion, and if that will not answer, then " Hep! Hep ! " This apparently harmless word is the symbol of blood and death to the Jews. It is formed as already explained, 1 of the initial letters of the Latin phrase, " Hierosolyma est Perdita ! " and was the watch-cry of the Crusaders in their attacks and wholesale massacres of the Jewish communities in their bloody march to the East.
The Dreyfus case and the cries of " A bas les Juifs !" " Mort aux Juifs ! " which have so recently rung through the streets of the city which calls itself " the mother of civilisation," are but symptoms of the implacable hatred of the Jew which underlies anti-Semitism. Nor are Paris and Berlin alone in their attempt to revive the cry of "Hep! Hep!"
During several recent visits to Austria I had occasion to observe the consternation manifested in large Jewish circles at the developments of the anti-Jewish campaign in that tottering Empire. In Vienna a great municipal war which has helped to demoralise all the political parties, has ended, in spite of interpositions of the 1 See page 114. Emperor, in the repeated election of a burgomaster and a vast majority of councillors who are avowedly pledged to make the life of the 125,000 in that city, and the nearly two million Jews in the Empire generally, as wretched as possible. Mr. Arnold White, in his "Modern Jew," speaks of the leader of the anti-Semites in Austria " as a man of great personal charm." This is a matter of taste, but his spirit in relation to the Jews may be judged from some of his public utterances, which breathe of fire and sword.
It is not so long ago that a notorious Roman Catholic vicar near Vienna ended a series of weekly harangues against the Jews, delivered in his parish church, with the words, " Verbrennt die Juden zur Ehre Gottes. Amen." (" Burn the Jews to the glory of God. Amen.") " No one can deny the gravity of the Jews' situation," says Dr. Theodore Herzl, in that statesmanlike pamphlet from which I have already quoted. " Wherever they live in perceptible numbers, they are more or less persecuted. Their equality before the law, granted by statute, has become practically a dead letter. They are debarred from filling even moderately high positions, either in the army or in any public or private capacity. And attempts are made to crowd them out of business also. ' No dealing with Jews!'
"Attacks in Parliaments, in assemblies, in the press, in the pulpit, in the streets, on journeys—for example, their exclusion from certain hotels — even in places of recreation, become daily more numerous ; the forms of persecution varying according to the countries in which they occur. In Russia, impositions are levied on Jewish villages; in Roumania, a few human beings are done to death; in Germany, they get a good beating when the occasion serves ; in Austria, anti-Semites exercise terrorism over all public life; in Paris, they are shut out of the so-called best social circles and excluded from clubs. Shades of anti-Jewish feeling are innumerable. But this is not to be an attempt to make out a doleful category of Jewish hardships ; it is futile to linger over details, however painful they may be.
"I do not intend to awaken sympathetic emotions on our behalf. That would be a foolish, futile, and undignified proceeding. I shall content myself with putting the following questions to the Jews: Is it true that in countries where we live in perceptible numbers the position of Jewish lawyers, doctors, men of science, teachers, and officials of all descriptions, becomes daily more intolerable ? True that the Jewish middle classes are seriously threatened ? True that the mob are incited against our wealthy representatives ? True that our poor endure greater sufferings than any other proletariat ?
"I think that this external pressure makes itself felt everywhere. In our upper classes it causes disagreeables, in our middle classes continual and grave anxieties, in our lower classes absolute despair.
"Everything tends, in fact, to one and the same conclusion, which is clearly enunciated in that classic Berlin phrase : 'Juden 'raus!' ('Out with the Jews !’).
"But what is the meaning of anti-Semitism in relation to Israel's future ? A full answer to this question is given us in the Word of God. In Ps. 105., which sings the story of Israel's future redemption as prefigured by their past history, we have these words : "Israel also came into Egypt, and Jacob sojourned in the land of Ham, and He increased His people greatly, and made them stronger than their enemies. He turned their heart to hate His people, to deal subtly with His servants, He sent Moses His servant, and Aaron whom He had chosen." Then there follows a list of the plagues which He poured out upon Egypt, culminating in the slaying of all the firstborn in their land, " the chief of all their strength," so that " Egypt was glad when they departed, for the fear of them fell upon them. . . . For He remembered His holy promise, and Abraham His servant And He brought forth His people with joy and His chosen with gladness."
It is remarkable how history repeats itself, and in relation to Israel the words of the preacher may especially be applied : "The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be ... and there is nothing new under the sun."
If we substitute the word "nations" for Egypt we have an epitome of the origin, development, and issues not only of the ancient but also of the modern phase of the Jewish Question in the three or four verses of the psalm which I have quoted.
1. The origin of the Jewish Question in Egypt is summed up in the words : " He increased His people greatly, and made them stronger than their enemies." This is brought out still more clearly in the original account in Exodus, where we read : " And the children of Israel were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed exceedingly mighty, and the land was filled with them." It was on that account that the new Pharaoh who knew not Joseph became alarmed and took counsel with his people, saying, " Come on; let us deal wisely with them," the results of which were measures of repression, and when these did not answer, the promulgation of an edict for their extermination.
The modern phase of the Jewish Question originated and becomes from year to year intensified from the same cause.
We have already seen how since the commencement of the nineteenth century, the Jews are multiplying at a rate which is perfectly marvellous. Look, for instance, at the following comparative table in reference to Austria, where the Jewish problem is assuming a more and more acute phase :–
Jews in Austria at various times (exclusive of Hungary").
Maria Theresa's Reign ......... 200,000.
1830 ..... ............. 355,000.
1850 .................. 476,000.
1869 .................. 822,000.
1880 .................. 1,000,000.
According to the same authority there were in Hungary in the reign of Joseph II. 25,000 Jews; at the end of the last century there were 50,000; in 1830, 100,000; in 1847, 270,000; in 1870, 500,000; in 1883, 700,000; whilst at the present time the number has reached 1,000,000.
And not only is it in point of numbers that God is again causing His people "to increase greatly," but by their superior wits and energy and by their habits of frugality and thriftiness He makes them " stronger than their enemies," so that in those regions where the bulk of the nation is to be found, wherever the Jew has a fair chance he naturally places his Gentile neighbor in a less favorable position in the struggle for existence. The superior ability of the Jew is openly acknowledged by anti-Semites, and often appealed to as a ground for the restrictive and repressive laws which are in vogue against them in some countries.
The following is taken from a chapter which summariszs "the case for Russian anti-Semitism" in a work from which I have already quoted (" The Modern Jew," by Arnold White).
"But there is still another element which the rulers of Russia are constrained to take into their consideration. The intellect of the Jew is masterful. His assiduity, his deadly resolve -to'get on, his self-denial and ambition surmount all natural obstacles. If all careers in the Russian Empire were thrown open to the Russian Jew not a decade would go by before the whole Russian administration from Port Arthur to Eydtkuhnen, and from Archangel to Yalta, must pass into Hebraic hands. This is a sober statement of facts."
The same is true of other Continental countries. The following is a passage from an apology for anti-Semitism in Austria, which, though somewhat exaggerated, is largely true :— " The Jews are all powerfully represented in every walk in life that leads to influence and fortune. In the professions of law, medicine, and literature their numbers are out of all proportion to their quota of the population. Finance and commerce are practically in their hands. The great business houses, the banks, the railways that do not belong to the State, are all controlled by them. The Produce Exchange, and of course the Bourse at Vienna, Prague, or Budapest, are deserted on Jewish holidays. The press, with the exception of the Czech organs, is almost exclusively in the hands of Jews."
The proportion of Jews in the Austrian Universities is far in excess of what might be expected from their actual number in the country. For instance, in the Vienna University in 1887-88, out of 6,530 students there were 2,500 Jews— i.e., 40 per cent. In Vienna itself one person in every ten is a Jew, but the proportion of the Jewish population in the whole Empire is only 5 per cent. It is a notorious fact that an increasingly large proportion of the great specialists and best known Professors in Vienna are Jews or of Jewish origin. At the end of 1887, out of 660 qualified attorneys in Vienna 350 were Jews. Indeed, the faculty of law may almost be said to be a monppoly of the Jews in Austria, and also in Germany, where they form not only a large percentage of the attorneys, but also of the judges of the highest courts, and have, as in England and France, supplied from their ranks ministers of justice and judges of appeal. In Berlin 120 of the Professors and Privatdocenten are Jews, and in the whole of Germany there are about 400 Jewish Professors.
2. The next step in the old Jewish Question in Egypt was that " He turned their heart" (that is, of the Egyptians) " to hate His people, to deal subtilly with His servants." This is how the great God causes the wrath of man to praise Him, and when His purpose is accomplished "restrains the remainder." Pharaoh and his councillors said, "Come on, let us deal wisely with them," and attempted to solve the Jewish Question in their own way, namely, by persecution and extermination ; but God turned the wisdom of the Egyptians into foolishness. " The more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew." Instead of succeeding in drowning them in the Nile, Pharaoh and his host were in the end drowned in the Red Sea. But what is the meaning of His "turning their heart to hate His people"? It had a double significance.
(a) In relation to Israel it was the means which God employed to stir up their nest and to make them willing to leave the land in which, until the persecutions broke out, they had been content to live for centuries. " For He remembered His holy promise, and Abraham His servant," and the time had come according to His own Divine forecast to Abraham (Gen. xv. 13, 14) that they should come out of Egypt, and takes possession of the lands of the Amorites, whose iniquity was now full.
(b) In relation to Egypt it was "an evident token of perdition " and precursor of the plagues which came upon it. The judicial hardening of the heart of Pharaoh and the Egyptians was in itself part of the punishment from a righteous God upon a cruel nation sinking lower and lower to the most contemptible depths of idolatry. God has often chastened His people " with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men," but He has no pleasure in the scourge which He employs, and as a rule uses for the chastisement of His people men or nations whom He designs to give up to destruction for their wickedness.
Now, in these respects, too, the ancient Jewish Question in Egypt finds its parallel in the modern phases of the problem which are accentuated by anti-Semitism. The millions of the poor and less cultured orthodox Talmudic Jews in Russia, Galicia, and Rou-mania have long ago been convinced that these lands cannot much longer remain their resting-places, and that it is about time for them to "arise and depart" toward that land for which they have never ceased to cherish a yearning desire ; hence the many colonising schemes and the more than thirty Jewish colonies which already exist in Palestine, consisting almost entirely of Russian and Roumanian Jews. The remarkable thing is that, as the result of the newest phases of the anti-Jewish movement on the Continent, the more cultured, wealthy, and rationalistic Jews are at last digesting the truths that it is not by the so-called "reform" movement which aims at assimilation with the nations that the Jewish Question will be solved ; for, after all their efforts in this direction for more than half a century and their desperate eagerness to strip themselves of all that is true and false in orthodox Judaism, as a kind of peace-offering to the mysterious, deep-seated antipathy of the Gentiles, they find that it is just against themselves, more even than against the less cultured of their brethren in Russia and Eastern Europe, that the bitterest animosity is manifested, and that Christendom, though it is itself for the most part apostate from truth and from the faith of Christ, is even less reconciled to the rationalism and neology of the modern cultivated " Israelite," than it is to the Talmudism of the more consistent orthodox "Jew" who still wears his kaftan and peyoth.
What is this but a repetition of the warning words which God in His providence has so often spoken to Israel: " And that which cometh into your mind shall not be at all ; in that ye say, We will be as the nations, as the families of the countries."
And in relation to the nations it is again an omen of approaching judgment which will culminate in the overthrow and destruction of the armies of the great confederacy, as shown in another part of this volume. "Jehovah frustrateth the counsel of the nations: He maketh the devices of the peoples of none effect. The counsel of Jehovah standeth for ever, the thoughts of His heart to all generations."