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A Comprehensive Book Review: Jews, God and History by Max Dimont

Updated: Jul 9


A Comprehensive Book Review: Jews, God and History by Max Dimont
FILE PHOTO: The book cover of Jews, God and History and Moses Breaking the Tablets of the Law by Rembrandt © Penguin Publishing Group / Public Domain

BOOK DATA Max Dimont


English Title: Jews, God and History

Author: Max Dimont

ISBN: 0451529405, 9780451529404

Language: English

Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group

(2004)


Max Dimont’s masterpiece, Jews, God and History (2004) not only depicts the entire four-thousand history of Jews, but it also analyzes the history of anti-Semitism. Undoubtedly, the best book to recommend for readers to correctly understand points of the ongoing Israeli-Hamas War in Gaza and beyond. 

 

July 4, 2024:


In their phone call, Netanyahu also discusses his decision earlier in the day to send a negotiating team to participate in indirect talks with Hamas around a hostage release-for-ceasefire deal. Mossad chief David Barnea is expected to take off soon for talks, Channel 13 reports.

Netanyahu also offers his greetings for US Independence Day, and tells the president that “without the US, there is no freedom in the world.” Biden responds that without Israel, there is no safety for Jews in the world, according to the PMO.



The Mosaic Code laid down the first principles for a separation of church and state.


Jews established the first democracy in the world, four hundred years before the Greeks.


‘Christianity’ had existed at least two hundred years before Jesus, its greatest and noblest spokesman, but not its originator. (P.130)

 

Jesus Christ is Greek for ‘Joshua the Messiah,’ and the word ‘messiah’ comes from the Hebrew word mashiah, meaning ‘one who is anointed,’ that is, a messiah.


Nothing Jesus preached, taught, or said was in contradiction to what other Jewish prophets, rabbis, or sects said or taught. Jesus was not in danger from the Jews. He was in danger from the Romans. (P.133)



Unlike anti-Semitic media campaigns, the historical ties between the United States and Israel are not results of ‘imperialism’ of any kind, but the unbroken ties are simply due to the four-thousand-year Jewish history between the closest nations. The United States as the world center of Diaspora Jews; Israel as the safe haven for Jews around the world.  Furthermore, Zionists and non-Zionist Jews are basically Israelis and Diaspora Jews. This is the point. Thus, two great Democracies must unite against global anti-Semitism and the Arab-Iran-Soros-Hamas-Jihadist terrorist camp, no matter what happens next.  This is civilization versus barbaric terrorism, humanity versus greedy terrorism, and democracies versus old-fashioned theocracies, autocracies in the Middle East.

 

The True Formidable Hoe: The Global System of Mass Hysteria and Hatred

 

Simply, the Arab-Iran-Soros-Hamas-Jihadist terrorist camp is reversing the sinful role of being true and real Nazi collaborators during World War II, Arabs in Palestine. In this global manipulation of today, ridiculously, Jews, the victims of their terror, are depicted as Nazis. Not only this sheer historical fact, but also everything is reversed in everything of historical revisionism. Other examples of the unhistorical reverses are ‘Israelis – true natives of the land of Palestine - are depicted as old or new greedy unlawful colonialists,’ ‘Israelis – real victims of Arab terrorism - are depicted as violent aggressors, mass punishers, and irrational warmongers,’ and ‘Israel – the only Democracy in the Middle East - is depicted as a theocrat state.’ There are still many other reversed rhetoric can be seen on media every day.  


In the ethnic aspect, ‘the global system of hysteria and hatred’ against Russia and Israel has common ground. That is the Jewishness shared between Russia and Israel. The anti-Semites are behind the campaigns of the same powerful system in the two ongoing wars. Moreover, Vladimir Jabotinsky (1880-1940) was and still is undoubtedly the best personification of the inner ties between Russians and Israelis in history. Readers must remember his name because his name is repeatedly cited by most Israeli leaders in many books. He was an early figure in creating the Jewish military forces, the State of Israel, and the fight against Arab terrorism on the soil of the Jewish ancestral land of Palestine. 


In contrast to physical weapons, the most formidable one against these countries is the global system of psychological, epistemological, and cognitive annihilation of Jews and Israel, because its presence is ubiquitous, not physically limited, in either Ukraine or Gaza. To counter the Global System of Mass Hysteria and Hatred created in the two wars, we must learn history to mitigate the damage and distortions caused by the system. What the system actually does is an epistemological genocide of a particular nation. In those two cases, Russians and Jews. Furthermore, it’s easy to assume that Chinese (PROC) will be the next round of their major target. 


Although the author’s optimistic view on the Clinton administration was fatally wrong, as history proved, Bibi’s biography provides the subsequent historical accounts as an equilibrium of sequel to this book. Remember, the US administration is not completely unified on the Israeli-Palestinian issue, as we can see in the historical records of pro-Palestinian Presidents like Clinton and Obama.

 

Point 1: The Historical Legacy of the 20th Century: The Origins of the Israeli-Palestinian Question in the Light of the First World War

 

The Jews and Christians who remained in Palestine welcomed the Persian victors in 614, but they barely had time to become acquainted when, in 638, they had a new set of masters, the Muslims. The subsequent five-hundred-year Arab rule was broken by the Crusaders when they captured the Holy Land in 1100. For almost two hundred years, the Crusaders held on to their precarious toehold, until they were ousted by an incredible species of men known as Mamelukes – the Arab name given to the Turkish slaves in Egypt. The Mamelukes rebelled against their Egyptian masters in 1250, seized power in Egypt, defeated the Crusaders, made Palestine an Egyptian province, stopped the Mongol invasion of Genghis Khan, and held the frontiers of Egypt intact for 267 years. They were fine horsemen, but incapable of political organization. Forty-seven Mameluke sultans, either illiterate or insane, held the throne of Egypt for an average tenure of less than six years each, and as a rule vacated the throne the way they had acquired it by assassination. Yet they built magnificent universities and mosques, made Cairo the showplace of the world, and without effort reduced the populations of Egypt and Palestine by one third. Their end came in 1517 when the Ottoman Turks annexed Egypt and Palestine to their ascending empire.

 

A century of magnificent Turkish rule brought tranquility and Jews back to Palestine. Marranos, Kabbalists, Talmudists flocked to that country to build businesses, establish schools, write books. Then, the Ottoman Empire, aided by corruption and privilege, settled on a course of steady decline. Jewish hopes for an amelioration of conditions revived briefly in 1798 when, having bypassed Lord Nelson’s fleet in a Mediterranean fog, Napoleon landed in Alexandria with 32,000 men, the number Alexander the Great had used in conquering the ancient Eastern world. Napoleon captured Jerusalem and drove north to Acre but was forced to retreat when he could not take that strong hold. Palestine was recaptured by the Turks, and by 1860 the ‘land of milk and honey’ was a barren desert which could barely support 12,000 Jews. It was at this juncture of Jewish Diaspora history that the idea of transforming the Palestinian desert back into a land of milk and honey took hold. Under the stimulus of Zionism, the Jews again became active agents in Palestinian history. But it was not until the 1920s, when the Ottoman Empire was disbanded by the Allies after World War 1, that the Arabs, too, became active agents in Palestinian history.

 

Source:

Bibliographic information; Author, Max I. Dimont; Publisher, New American Library, 1962; ISBN, 0451161793, 9780451161796; Length, 472 pages; Subjects. Religion, pp. 414-415.

 

Point 2: Jews are definitely not 'invaders' or 'colonialists': legal purchases of Palestinian land were made before the founding of the State of Israel

 

The Zionists decided to redeem Palestine by buying land on a grand scale for all Jewish settlers. Suddenly, the scraggy soil of Palestine, neglected for fifteen centuries by its alien custodians, acquired value. Though prices asked by Arab and Turkish landholders were outrageous, the Zionist Jewish National Fund paid them. By 1948, when the State of Israel was founded, the Jews had paid millions of dollars for 250,000 acres of desert land, had settled 83,000 Jews on the land, had planted 5,000,000 trees on soil on which but fifty years previous had been barren. Before 1880 there had been about 12,000 Jews in Palestine, mostly the pious and orthodox who had come to live out their days and be buried in the Holy Land. From 1880 until World War 1, Hess’s Rome and Jerusalem, Smolenskin’s the Eternal People, Pinsker’s Auto-Emancipation, and Herzl’s The Jewish State motivated 115,000 Jews to settle in Palestine. The ‘intellectuals’ and ‘motivators’ had done their work. After World War 1 the ‘politicals’ took over.

 

World War 1 almost killed the Zionist movement. Britain had counted on Turkey to come into the war on the side of the Allies. Instead, the Ottoman Empire sided with the Germans, portending calamity for both the British and the Jews. To Britain it meant that her Suez Canal lifeline was in danger. To the Palestinian Jews it spelled physical disaster. Every Jew suspected of sympathy with the Allies – the knowledge of a little English was considered proof of sympathy – was hanged; 12,000 Jews were deported because they were not Turkish citizens; and Zionism itself was declared illegal.

 

During World War 1 the now famed Balfour Declaration was born. It was an expression of gratitude from the British government to the Jewish people for the part they played in the Great War.

  

Source:

Bibliographic information; Author, Max I. Dimont; Publisher, New American Library, 1962; ISBN, 0451161793, 9780451161796; Length, 472 pages; Subjects. Religion, pp.420-421. 

 

Point 3: Different Interpretations of Britain's Land Programs for Jews and Arabs During World War I

 

During World War 1, in exchange for the promise of an Arab revolt against the Ottoman Empire, Britain secretly also gave her qualified support for Arab independence. The artificial boundaries in the Arab world that we now regard as engraved in stone did not exist until after World War 1, when the Ottoman Empire was neatly dismembered by England and France in a series of clinical lessons known as ‘peace conference.’ The divisions were not made for sound ethnic or geographical reasons but as repayment for favors granted and promises made during the war. Thus, the Middle East was subdivided like pastureland for suburban development into lots called Syria, Lebanon, Trans-Jordan, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia by a series of treaties anchored in oil wells and tied to Britain and France. This carving up of the Middle East complicated the Palestinian question, but not nearly as much as did the Arabs themselves when they exploded a diplomatic bombshell by making public the secret correspondence between the King of Hejaz and the former British High Commissioner in Egypt, Sir Arthur Henry McMahon. In this correspondence the British guaranteed the Arabs certain Middle Eastern territories if they would revolt against the Turks, which they subsequently did under the leadership of the famed Lawrence of Arabia. The Arabs insisted that Palestine was part of the promise, though the McMahon correspondence did not mention Palestine by name.

 

There is no reason to doubt the good faith of either the Arab or the British claims. The confusion stemmed from the wording in the correspondence, which can be interpreted either way. Neither is there any merit in arguing which took precedence, the Balfour Declaration, or the McMahon correspondence, they were documents of equal validity. The subsequent course of Palestine history would have been essentially the same even if neither had existed.

 

The fundamental issues boil down to this: The Arabs claimed the right to be the sole rulers of Palestine by virtue of Muhammad’s conquest of that country in the seventh century and by virtue of constituting most of the population at the end of World War 1. The Jews claimed the right to Palestine by virtue of their conquest of that country in the twelfth century B.C., by virtue of having been a majority in that country far longer than the Arabs. All else is rationalization.

 

Source:

Bibliographic information; Author, Max I. Dimont; Publisher, New American Library, 1962; ISBN, 0451161793, 9780451161796; Length, 472 pages; Subjects. Religion, pp.422-423. 


PREFACE

 

Most history books about Jews are written by Jews for Jews, or by scholars for scholars. (P.11)

 

Jewish history cannot be told as the history of Jews only, because they have nearly always lived within the context of other civilizations. The destiny of the Jews has paralleled the destinies of those same civilizations, except in one important respect. Somehow the Jews managed to escape the cultural death of each of the civilizations within which they dwelled. Somehow the Jews managed to survive the death of one civilization and continue their cultural growth in another which was emerging at the same time. How did they survive? (P.12)

 

Many dates in Jewish history are subject to controversy, but as long as the logic of Jewish history itself is not affected we have arbitrarily chosen one date without interrupting the flow of the narrative to debate the merits of other dates. So, for instance, we begin Jewish history with 2000 B.C., around which time Abraham was reputed to have left the city of Ur, though some scholars place this event several centuries later. We date the beginning of the Jewish sojourn and subsequent captivity in Egypt from 1600 to 1200 B.C., the beginning of the settlement Canaan after 1200 B.C., and so on, again with the full awareness that these dates are still debated by some historians. As a rule, the dates favored are those used in The Standard Jewish Encyclopedia.  (P.13)

 

IT HAPPENED ONLY ONCE IN HISTORY

 

‘…the four thousand years and six civilizations which have cradled the Jewish people…’ (P.1)

 

The Jewish contributions to the world’s list of great names in religion, science, literature, music, finance, and philosophy is staggering.  […] From this people sprang Jesus Christ, acclaimed Son of God by more than 850 million Christians, the largest religious body in the world. From this people came Paul, organizer of the Christian Church. The religion of the Jews influenced the Muhammadan faith, second-largest religious organization in the world, with over 400 million adherents claiming descent from Abraham and Ishmael. The Mormons say they are the descendants of the tribes of Israel. (P.3)

 

The Chinese, Hindu, and Egyptian peoples are the only ones living today who are as old as the Jewish people. […] They have had a continuous living history for four thousand years and have been an intellectual and spiritual force for three thousand years. They survived three thousand years without a country of their own yet preserved their ethnic identity among alien cultures. They have expressed their ideas not only in their own language, but in practically all the major languages of the world. (P.4)

 

To read Jewish literature and science one has to know not only Hebrew and Yiddish, but also Aramaic, Arabic, Latin, Greek, and virtually every modern European language. […] The paradox is that those people who left only monuments behind as a record of their existence have vanished with time, whereas the Jews, who left ideas have survived.  […] What saved them were the ideas with which they responded to each of the dangers encountered. (P.5)

 

The Jews met this challenge [ethnic assimilation and absorption] with the creation of a religious-legal code – the Talmud – which served as a unifying force and a spiritual rallying point. (P.6)

 

ONE   

THE PORTABLE GOD

 

1: THE GRAND ILLUSION

 

They went through no Stone or Bronze Age. They had no Iron Age. For the first eight hundred years of their existence, they wandered in and out of the great civilizations surrounding them. […] Jewish history dates from the day, four thousand years ago, when a man named Abraham had an encounter with God, known to him as Jehovah. The dialogue between Jew and God begins then. This continuing dialogue is the history of the Jews, with the rest of the world as interested eavesdroppers. […] History gave birth to two civilizations at the same time, both Semitic, one to the northeast of Palestine, the other to the southwest of it. It took twenty-five hundred years before these civilizations – Mesopotamian and Egyptian – found out about each other. After that, the fight was on, with Palestine paying the price for being a buffer state.  (P.17)

 

…about the year 2000 B.C., when a new and restless Semitic tribe, the Assyrians, lean and hungry, began to challenge the soft and rich life of the Babylonians a man named Terah took his son Abraham. Abraham’s wife, Sarah, and his grandson Lot, the nephew of Abraham, and emigrated from the cosmopolitan city of Ur in Babylonia. (P.18)

 

Terah and his family group become the first people in the Bible identified as Ivriim, of which the English version is ‘Hebrews,’ the people ‘who crossed over,’ the people ‘from the other side of the river.’ (P.19)

 

From a historical viewpoint, it makes no difference whether it was Abraham who projected this experience onto an imaginary Jehovah or a real Jehovah who proposed it to Abraham. The fact remains that after four thousand years the idea of a covenant between the Jews and Jehovah is still alive and mentioned daily in prayers in synagogues throughout the world. Though many aspects of Jews and Judaism have been changed or modified during their subsequent four-thousand-year history, this idea of a covenant with God has remained constant. This in turn gave rise to a will to survive as Jews, which has been the driving force in Judaism. Without it there can be no Judaism and no Jews. (P.20)

 

From the ingathering of the Jews into Egypt by Joseph in the sixteenth century B.C. until the out gathering of the Jews from Egypt under Moses, in the twelfth century, there is a four-hundred-year silence. The Bible compresses these fateful four centuries into a few sentences. This silence raises many perplexing questions.

 

[…] Not all the Jews left Canaan to go into Egypt with Joseph. Many remained behind, surviving the famine and keeping their covenant with Jehovah, this remnant of Jews, still known as Hebrews, remained freemen while their brothers were enslaved in Egypt. (P.23)


2: THE RELUCTANT PROFET

 

In the early sixteen century B.C., unidentified Asiatic tribes known as Hyksos probably Semitic, conquered Egypt. They established themselves as that country’s rulers, founded a new dynasty, and built a new capital, Avaris, near the Palestinian border. It was the Hyksos Pharaoh who had invited the Jews and other peoples hard hit by the famine to settle in Egypt. A century and a half later, the tide of history turned. The Egyptians overthrew their Hyksos masters and enslaved them as well as the peoples they had invited into the country. Ramses II, one of the new Egyptian Pharaohs, did indeed, as the Bible tells us, set about rebuilding Avaris into a new capital which, with due modesty, he named Ramses. (P.25)

 

The Ten Commandments of Moses are the pillars upon which Judaism rests, yet the only visual image the Jews have of him is a statue, not by a Jew, but by a Renaissance Christian, Michelangelo. (P.25)

 

It is here in the Sinai desert that Moses gives his people the Ten Commandments and the other Mosaic laws, which serve as a framework for the Jewish democracy and nationhood to follow. (P.26)

 

In Genesis, the book dealing with their history before their entry into Egypt, the Jews are, with one exception, referred to as Hebrews, not as Israelites. After their exodus from Egypt and in the other Books of Moses, the Jews are referred to mostly as Israelites, very seldom as Hebrews. After the exodus, it is the pagans who usually refer to themselves as Israelites. (P.27)

 

In the first, God changes the name of Jacob to Israel, meaning ‘man who fought God,’ from the Hebrew Yisro-el. Thereafter Jacob, and Jacob only, is referred to as Israel. (P.27)

 

A challenging and perplexing duality runs through the Five Books of Moses in the Old Testament. There are not only two peoples, the Hebrews and the Israelites, but also two Moses, the Levite Moses and the Midianite Moses. There are also two Gods, one referred to as ‘Jehovah’ (translated as ‘Lord’) and the other named ‘Elohim’ (translated as ‘God’). Later in the Old Testament we read of two kingdoms, fused into one, then broken in two. There are two rival temples, one in the kingdom of Judah, in Jerusalem, the other in the kingdom of Israel, in Bethel. (P.28)        

 

What evidence does there exist in the Bible for Freud’s supposition that Moses may not have been a Jew, but was perhaps an Egyptian? According to the Bible, Pharaoh’s daughter gave him the name Moshe (or Mose), of which ‘Moses’ is the Greek rendition, because, as she explained, ‘I drew him out of the water.’ This presupposes that she knew the finer points of esoteric Hebrew grammar. Language experts, however, have pointed out the word is not Hebrew at all, but Egyptian for child, found in such famed Egyptian names as Ramses (Ra-mose, ‘child of Ra’), or Thotmose (Thot-mose, ‘child of Thot’), names formed much the same way as some names are formed today, like Johnson, the ‘son of John.’ (P.30)

 

What made Jewish history was the fact that the Jews accepted the ideas in the covenant no matter how or by whom they came about. The fact also remains that with Moses, whether Jew or Egyptian, the form and content of the previous Judaism changed. Moses was the first in a series of men of God – to be known as Prophets – who universalized the Jewish Godhead. (P.32)

 

Next the Hebrews are given a new name, the People of Israel. Finally, the new law, the Torah, is revealed to them.  […]  The Sumerians, whose written code of laws dates back to 2500 B.C., were probably the first people on earth to have a written code, but it lacked the passion for justice of the Mosaic laws. Five hundred years later, the Sumerian code was augmented and incorporated by the Babylonians into the Code of Hammurabi, but again this body of laws did not have the democratic spirit of the Torah. A written judicial code applicable to all without favoritism was totally unknown to the Egyptians until 300 B.C. We know of no written Roman laws until the second century B.C.

 

The laws of Moses anticipate the statehood God promised the Israelites. Though at this juncture of their history the Jews are still nomads, the Code of Moses is not for a nomadic people. These laws of Moses are designed to safeguard a national entity, not merely the family unit, though individual rights are never subordinated to the needs of the state.   […]  The Mosaic Code laid down the first principles for a separation of church and state…  […]  The Ten Commandments, for instance, list only three dos’ but seven don’ts.   […]  According to the Jews, Hillel, who lived 100 years before Jesus, said, ‘Do not do unto others what you don’t want others to do unto you.’ (PP.34, 35)

 

By making God spiritual instead of material the Jews were left free to change the spirituality of God instead of merely altering his physical appearance. (P.36)

 

Not until the nineteenth century A.D., when Jews began disregarding the Second Commandment the way the Christians had been doing for two thousand years, did they, too, begin to develop painters, sculptors, and architects. However, by the nineteenth century the Jewish character had already been formed, and their expansion into the fields of plastic arts does not seem to have affected this ‘Jewish character.’ (P.37)

 

3: JUDGES, KINGS, AND USURPERS

 

Over and over again the Jews were to pay for this error of judgement by being decimated in battle, sold into slavery, or deported to alien lands. Yet they showed up persistently at the same old place, building anew their little strip of real estate which has been alternately called Canaan, Palestine, Israel, Judah, Judea, and now again, Israel. (PP.37-38)

 

The exodus from Egypt had been led by Moses; the return to Canaan, the Promised Land, was led by his appointed successor, Joshua. (P.38)

 

The Canaanite civilization fell because the Jews did away with the abominable Canaanite religious practices on which it was based – the human sacrifice to the god Moloch, the lewd rites demanded by the local Canaanite god known as Baal, and the unrestrained orgies and sacred prostitution in the name of a female goddess called Asherah, or Baala. As the Canaanite resistance died, the first rough boundaries of what eventually became Palestine were formed. (P.38)

 

The emigrant Israelites from Egypt were coming back to Canaan after a four-hundred-year absence to be reunited with their brethren, the Hebrews, those descendants of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob who had not accepted Joseph’s invitation four centuries earlier to come to Egypt. This integration of the Israelites from Egypt with the Hebrews in Canaan took close to two hundred years. (P.38)

 

With the settlement of Canaan, the Jews ceased being a nomadic people, and a peculiar political institution, which has no counterpart in history was born. It was the Shoftim, or Judges, who were thought of as divinely inspired men, accountable to God by God. They established the first democracy in the world, four hundred years before the Greeks. (P.39)

 

The new nation consisted of the biblical twelve tribes. The Elders dispensed justice within each tribe, just as municipal and state courts dispense justice within each state. However, above the authority of the Elder was that of the Judge, just as above the authority of the state is the federal Constitution. The Judge was the Commander in Chief in times of war and the Chief Executive in times of peace. (P.39)

 

It is not by accident that American democracy so closely resembles the first government by the Jews, for the founding fathers were brought up by the Bible, and many were conversant enough with Hebrew to be able to read the Old Testament in the original. Many scholars now hold the Palestine government under the Judges not the democracy of Greece, served as the blueprint for the American Constitution. (P.40)

 

It was during this period also, between 1300 and 800 B.C., that the written alphabet, mankind’s most useful tool was invented by either the Phoenicians or the Hebrews. Until recent times, scholars have been wonted to credit this invention to the Phoenicians, but late archaeological findings lend greater and greater credence to the theory that it may have been a Hebrew invention. In the Old Testament Hebrews refer to their language not as Hebrew or Israelite but as the language of Canaan. (P.40) The new mode of living in houses and towns, instead of on the backs of mules and in tents, finally did force a change in government structure. The Jews met this challenge by establishing a constitutional monarchy, and the first Jewish dynasty came into existence. The constitutional monarchy formed by the Twelve Tribes of Israel about 1000 B.C. was the first of its kind in the world. It was a form of government used for a brief period by the Greeks and Romans, then fated to disappear until the signing of the Magna Carta, after which it was honored more in the breach than the observance for several hundred years. (P.41)

 

Saul was the first anointed king of Palestine, though he was such in name only. The first actual king of Palestine was David, and the second his son Solomon. David extended the kingdom by war; Solomon preserved it by peace. Though David was a warrior king, his claim to fame among Jews rests on three achievements totally unconnected with war. He made Jerusalem the political capital of Palestine; second, by earmarking the Temple for that city; and third, by enshrining the Ark in Jerusalem. […]  David planned all too well. Jerusalem became not only the symbol of Judaism, but the symbol of two other religions – Christianity and Islam. When David died, he left a kingdom which, to the Jews, looked like an empire. (P.41)

 

The Jebusites who had given Jerusalem its name, were driven out, but not vanquished; the Philistines, who had given Palestine its name, were subdued, but not shattered. No sooner had David been buried than the Jebusites and Philistines joined other nations defeated by the Jews and rebelled against Palestine to regain their lost lands.  […]  Solomon had to assert ‘federal power’ over ‘tribal power.’ He had to break the political might of the tribes because of their ability to maintain their own armies and their ability to tax themselves sufficiently to remain financially independent. (P.42)

 

…through heavy taxation and enforced labor, he created a large landless class, forcing people to move to the cities so that workers would be available for the new commercial and industrial establishments.  […] As time went on, the evils of too rapid an industrialization became all too evident. At the time of Solomon’s death, the nation was plagued by some of the same social and economic ills which plague nations today – landless farmers, forced labor, unemployment, absentee-landlordism, a small class of rich oppressing a large mass of poor. (P.43)

 

Palestine, even in the days of King David, had never had a strong centralized government. It was weakly fused dual kingdom, Israel in the north and Judah in the south. The king of Judah could not govern in Israel without the consent of Israelites. (P.44)

 

During his first thousand years, the mask of the Jew was that of a nomad and tiller of the soil, living by his wits, preferring peace, and taking to the sword only when forced to do so. In the second millennium of his history the nomadic mask was discarded. […] unlike the Greeks who remained passive after their defeat at the hands of the Romans, the Jew rose time and again in armed rebellion against their oppressors, striking for their freedom and religious liberty. (P.45)

 

David and Solomon are the two most generally known Jewish kings, and little interest is shown in the many, many other kings who ruled Israel and Judah after the breakup of Palestine. […] The history of the two independent kingdoms of Judah and Israel resembles that of Italy under the Medici in its incredible succession of intrigue, treachery, usurpation, assassination, and regicide. (P.45)

 

The throne of Israel was a precarious post, offering the ruler an average occupancy of eleven years. Altogether nine separate dynasties rose and fell during the 212-year period of its monarchy, one dynasty lasting as little as seven days. (P.46)

 

The Assyrian technique for conquest resembled that of Nazi Germany. She blackmailed the smaller nations into subjugation. Tiglath-Pileser threatened to march his armies against Israel unless the Israelites paid him a huge sum as tribute. This demand divided the people in Israel into pro and anti-Assyrian factions; the former advocated paying Assyrians the tribute demanded, while the latter exhorted the nation to spend ‘millions’ for defense but not one cent for tribute. […] Assyria was mightier, larger, and more formidable in relation to Israel than Russia to Finland. Yet, it took the Assyrians ten years and three kings to vanquish Israel. (P.48)

 

The Israelites inflicted several bitter defeats on Tiglath-Pileser, who, for all this vaunted ferocity, was only able to wrest several minor provinces from Israel. His successor, Shalmaneser V, had no more luck. Finally, Sargon II, who succeeded Shalmaneser, captured Samaria, the capital of Israel, in 722 B.C. If historians look upon this as a minor battle, Sargon, who was there, did not. To be sure that he never again would have to face so formidable a foe, which for ten years had humiliated the Assyrians by holding at bay the armies of her mighty empire, Sargon deported the entire population. The kingdom of Israel was over. The history of Judah uncannily parallels that of Israel. Though the Davidic line was to rule Judah from the time of the split (933 B.C.) until her own defeat 347 years later, that country’s throne was as precarious as a post as Israel’s. Twenty kings held it for an average of seventeen years each; all, however, were of the same dynasty. (P.49)

 

The civil war between Judah and Israel came to an end at last after a hundred years of bloodshed. […] When the carnage was over, the great pro-Assyrian-versus-anti-Assyrian debate which had torn Israel apart now began to rip Judah to pieces. As in Israel, two parties were formed in Judah, one pro-Assyrian, cautioning the country to continue to pay the tribute demanded by the Assyrians, and the other, a pro-Egyptian party, advocating an alliance with Egypt and Syria to fight Assyria. The pro-Egyptian faction finally won. (P.50)

 

The Babylonians, the first people defeated by Assyria, rebelled. They sacked Nineveh, the Assyrian capital (612 B.C.). An Assyrian general tried to save a remnant of the Empire, but at the Egyptians, Babylonia annihilated the Assyrian forces. The Assyrian nation ceased to exist. The former Assyrian Empire fell into the hands of Babylonia, and with it, Judah. But submission was no more in the make-up of the people of Judah than it had been in the people of Israel. The end of Judah was equally inevitable. It was a tragedy in three acts. After a few years of Babylonian rule, Judah staged its first rebellion in 600 B.C. King Nebuchadnezzar (also known as Nebuchadnezzar) sent an army of irregulars to quell the uprising.  […] Jerusalem was besieged and finally fell in 597 B.C. Nebuchadnezzar took the eighteen-year-old King Jehoiachin into captivity and deported 8,000 of the country’s leading citizens – all who might possibly foment another uprising. He did not sack Jerusalem at this time or devastate the country. Instead, he appointed twenty-one-year-old Zedekiah, the last king of the house of David, to the throne of Judah as puppet ruler. No sooner had Nebuchadnezzar, the Babylonian king, withdrawn his armies from Judah, then an anti-Babylonian intrigue got under way. Judah aligned herself with Egypt to strike for independence. (P.51)

 

After three wars and three defeats, the kingdom of Judah was finished – 136 years after the fall of Israel. (P.52)


4: RELIGION IS PACKAGED

 

With the death of Israel and Judah, according to the Spenglerian concept of history, it was time for the Palestinian civilization to die. Moses, Joshua, and the Judges had ushered in the spring of her civilization; David and Solomon had represented her summer stage. […] As history goes, Palestine had lived a full life. But was the Jewish state founded at Mount Sinai in 1200 B.C. really dead? (P.52)

 

The Ten Tribes of Israel never reappeared in the pages of history after their defeat at the hands of the Assyrians. When the Babylonians exiled the Jews of Judah, it looked as if this would be the end of them, too. But it did not turn out that way. Something happened in the interim between the defeat of Israel in 722 B.C. and the defeat of Judah in 586 B.C. which made it possible for the latter to survive and to germinate a new phase of Jewish life. […] Why did the Jews of Judah survive whereas the Jews of Israel did not? The political and economic interpreters of history give the answer. The Assyrian policy was to break up conquered nations into small segments in order to destroy national and ethnic unity, in contrast to the Babylonian policy of keeping exiled peoples intact. (PP.52-53)

 

…the fall of Israel and the fall of Judah a spiritual reawakening of the people of Judah took place. A new Jewish character and a new concept of Jewishness itself was forged. We have seen how Judah, after the fall of Israel, was divided into bitter factions. […] The first idea was the canonization of part of Holy Scripture, making it the word of God. This gave the world first the Old Testament, then the New. The second idea was the ‘packaging’ of Jewish religion for export. This gave the world first Christianity, then Islamism. (P.54)

 

The Prophet in Jewish history was concerned with preserving the purity of the Jewish religion. This led him into the field of man’s moral corruption and to the idea that the Jews, who were the Chosen People of God, must set an example for the rest of mankind. By doing this, the Prophets set in motion a series of forces which transformed not only the Jewish religion and the Jews, but also their concept of Jehovah. (P.57)

 

…they would need an ‘exportable Jehovah,’ a religion so resilient that it would be able to flourish on foreign soil. Not having it, they were assimilated and disappeared. (P.57)

 

Judaism, which began its life as the exclusive property of a few Jewish families, enlarged by Moses to include all the tribes of Israel, expanded by Josiah to bind the Jewish nation, was now made universal by the prophets. […] Through synagogue and prayer, the Jew no longer was tied to any specific priesthood, temple, or country. (P.58)

 

After four millenniums of Semitic civilizations, Asia Minor fell under the rule of a new people, the Persians, and a new race, the Aryans, latecomers to the circle of culture bearers. In the sixth century B.C., when Babylonia stood at the height of her power, there was no Persia. (P.59)

 

The founding of the Persian Empire is the accomplishment of one man, Cyrus the Great. In 560 B.C. he became king of a petty city-state in the Middle East hinterland. Ten years later he was king of Media, a small kingdom south of the Caspian Sea. […] As the inheritor of a ‘Jewish problem,’ Cyrus took an action that literally stunned the Jews. He gave them permission to return to their homeland. True, it was not loving kindness which promoted him to give them their freedom. He felt that a tribute-paying nation would be more profitable than a devastated country. If he could induce the Jews to return to Jerusalem; he was sure they would rebuild the city and the country and turn the desolation into a profitable source of revenue. […] Not many American Jews migrated to Israel when it became an independent state in 1948. Like the American Jew today, the Babylonian Jew said, ‘I am a good Babylonian [American]. Why should I go?’ (P.60)

 

A wag once defined Zionism as a movement of one Jew sending a second Jew to Palestine on a third Jew’s money. This remark could very well have originated in Babylonia, because wealthy Babylonian Jews began subsidizing the return to Jerusalem of less fortunate Jews, and in this way, there was a continuous trickle of Jews back to the homeland after the first mass exodus. Jerusalem became once prosperous again. (P.61)

 

Palestine, however, never became a theocracy because of the balance of power in Jewish democracy. […] The leaders of the first exodus from Babylonia had set the political boundaries for their homeland. (P.62)

 

In the year 458 B.C., with the permission of the Persian king, Ezra headed the second mass exodus of eighteen hundred Jews from Babylonia to Jerusalem. Here Ezra joined hands with Nehemiah. The first move of this alliance between priest and aristocrat was a ban on intermarriage between Jews and non-Jews, the first in Jewish history, and the first such ban on intermarriage in the world. (P.63)

 

Palestine and Babylonia rivalled each other in scholarship and intellectual ferment for many centuries until, three hundred years after the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem by the Romans, Babylonia became the sanctuary and repository for Jewish learning for a thousand years. The Babylonian Jews also introduced the concept of the synagogue into Palestine… […] The new love for study brought Jews of all social and economic classes into closer communion. This common respect for knowledge rapidly changed the function of the synagogue. Because its use became threefold, the synagogue itself was known by three names, depending upon which service it performed – Beth Tephila, ‘the House of Prayer’; Beth Hamidrash, the ‘House of Study’; and Beth Haknesseth, the ‘House of Assembly.’ (The word Knesseth is the name for the parliament of Israel today). This expansion of the Jewish religious framework to include prayer, learning, and government set the pattern for yet other concepts to come – namely, standard prayer books and liturgy, universal education, freedom of assembly, and self-government in exile; all instituted first by the Jews and later adopted by other nations. (P.65)

 

TWO

THE AGE OF THE ‘APIKORSIM’

 

5: THE BAITED PIN-UP CULTURE

6: THE FIGHT THAT FAILED

7: ROME, CAESARISM, AND REBELLION

8: THE SEALED COFFIN

9: THE CONQUERING WORLD

10: A NEW DEAL FOR DIASPORA

 

THREE

MOSES, CHRIST, AND CAESAR

 

11: MESSIAH AND APOSTLE

 

Manuscripts dating back to 100 and 200 B.C. bearing a striking resemblance to the Christian creed were discovered. The so-called ‘Dead Sea Scrolls’ had been found, and with them the mystery of the origin of early Christianity may have been solved.  […] Palestine was in a crisis. The defunct League of Nations’ Mandate of Palestine was about to end. The British, who had administered that Mandate since World War I, were preparing to leave the following spring, and the Arabs were threatening to invade the moment the British left. Practicing for invasion day, the Arabs were snipping at the Jews and the Jews were meeting fire with fire. As the British sided with the Arabs, the Jews sabotaged the British to hasten their departure. The British hanged the saboteurs and the Jews reciprocated by hanging British soldiers. Palestine was a proverbial power keg. […] Eventually these scrolls found their way into the hands of competent biblical scholars, who identified them as genuine Old Testament manuscripts and as hitherto unknown works of Essene writings. What astounded the scholars was the incredible resemblance of this Essene Judaism as revealed in these scrolls to early Christianity. Subsequent expeditions to the scene led to the discovery of other caves and other scrolls. Even more incredible the ruins of early Jewish Essene monastery were found in the vicinity where John the Baptist and Jesus had preached. The resemblance of early Christianity to the Essene religion grew into a mirror image. (P.128)

 

‘Christianity’ had existed at least two hundred years before Jesus, its greatest and noblest spokesman, but not its originator. (P.130)

 

Jesus Christ is Greek for ‘Joshua the Messiah,’ and the word ‘messiah’ comes from the Hebrew word mashiah, meaning ‘one who is anointed,’ that is, a messiah. As scholars disagree about the dates of Christ’s life, we will give only approximate ones. Depending, then, upon what authority is used, Jesus was born between 7 and 4 B.C. either in Bethlehem or Nazareth during the reign of Herod the Great in Judea, and was crucified either in 30 or in 33 A.D. (P.131)

 

After his visit to Jerusalem at the age of twelve, Jesus disappears from the pages of the Gospels until he reappears somewhere between 28 and 30 A.D., at the age of thirty, at which time he is baptized by John the Baptist, so-called because John taught in accordance with the Essene creed, that men could cleanse their souls symbolically through ‘baptism’ that is, through immersion in water. This was not an unorthodox or heretical one or another the Jews, who for centuries had practiced one or another form of water purification ritual. (P.132)

 

Nothing Jesus preached, taught, or said was in contradiction to what other Jewish prophets, rabbis, or sects said or taught. Jesus was not in danger from the Jews. He was in danger from the Romans. (P.133)

 

New Testament readers forget, or are not aware of, is that it was the Prophets who began the reformation of the Temple cult, eight hundred years before Jesus. In the days of Jesus there existed, side by side, two Judaism, one the Judaism of temple and sacrifice, the other the Judaism of synagogue and prayer, just as two Christianity exist side by side today, one Catholic, the other Protestant. Jesus then, was not the first reformer of the Temple cult. (P.134)

 

…those Jews who wanted these services were as outraged as Christians would be today if someone were to storm into their churches during Easter services, smash the candles and crosses offered for sale, and drive the gentlemen passing the collection plates down the church steps. […] Yet the Jews did not arrest Jesus at this time. They wanted no trouble with the Romans and hoped the incident would be forgotten. […] The adherents of Jesus were now for the first time beginning to speak of him openly as ‘king of the Jews’ and as ‘the Messiah,’ further arousing the suspicions of the Romans. The Jews, according to the Gospels, arrested Jesus on the third day after his appearance at the Temple. (P.135)

 

All the internal evidence points to a Roman atrocity, not a miscarriage of justice, Jews never in their history crucified anybody nor ever demanded crucifixion for anyone. In fact, the Jews came out in the defense of the Christians, as evidenced in the New Testament itself. (P.137)

 

In the first two decades after the death of Jesus from 30 A.D. to 50 A.D., all Christians were Jews, and Christianity as a Jewish sect differed little from the many other Jewish sects. […] The great schism between Christians and Jews did not occur until after 50 A.D., when the Christian sect was taken to the pagans and made a world religion. This was both the decision and accomplishment of one man, another Jew, the real builder of the Christian Church. His name is Saul of Tarsus, generally known by Christians as Paul. (P.138)

 

Paul did more than take Christianity away from the Jews. Slowly he changed early Christianity into a new Pauline Christology. […] Paul also shifted the early emphasis from Jesus the Messiah to Christ the redeemer of sin. (P.141)

 

12: THE CHURCH TRIUMPHANT


So powerful was the Pauline appeal to the pagans, that within fifteen years they outnumbered the Jews in the Christian sect. The Jewish Christians, now a minority became known as the Ebionites - ‘poor ones’ – and soon fell into obscurity. Christianity was no longer a Jewish sect for Paul had abandoned the Mosaic tradition. The Romans no longer looked upon the Christians as Jews, but as members of a distinct and separate religion of no specific nationality. […] At the time of Paul’s death in Rome in 62 A.D., when according to tradition he was beheaded by order of Emperor Nero. Christianity was a world movement to be reckoned with by the Roman Empire. (P.142)

 

It is said that grass never grew again where the Hun cavalry passed. For the first and only time in recorded history Europe was in danger of becoming an Asiatic, tribute-paying colony. The Visigoths and Vandals, who a hundred years earlier had invaded France and had been looked upon as the scourges of mankind, came to the rescue of Europe. They defeated the Huns at the crucial Battle of Troyes, also known as Battle of the Catalaunian Plains, in 451. (P.149)

 

The Jews were the only undigested remnant of non-Christians in a sea of Christianity which engulfed them. What should the Christians do? Baptize them forcibly, if need be, as they had done with those barbarians who did not accept the true faith? Or leave them alone, which might constitute a danger to Christian faith? This dilemma of the Christians and the precarious position of the Jews became the paramount Jewish problem in the Middle Ages. (P.150)

 

It was the generation following the destruction of the Temple which brought about a final rupture between Jews and Christians. Though Paul had taken the Jewish Christian sect to the pagans, the Christians flocked to Jewish synagogues in the Diaspora for protection against the Romans. […] The alienation process was completed; Judaism and Christianity became strangers to each other. (P.151)

 

Generally speaking, in the three centuries from 300 to 600, four sets of laws were passed containing discriminatory provisions against the Jews in the Roman Empire - the Laws of Constantine the Great (315 A.D.), as noted above; the Laws of Constantius (399 A.D.), forbidding intermarriage between Jewish men and Christian women; the Laws of Theodosius II (439 A.D.), prohibiting Jews from holding high positions in government; and the Laws of Justinian (531 A.D.), prohibiting Jews from appearing as witnesses against Christians. On the face of it, these laws do appear discriminatory, disparaging, and derogatory. But if we are to get a true picture and understanding of Jewish life in the ensuing Middle Ages, we must first clearly understand the intent of these laws so as to perceive the difference between these and the laws passed a few centuries later. To properly evaluate these laws, they must be viewed with a sixth-century mind, not with the hindsight of the twentieth century, these laws did not apply to Jews alone, but, in the words of their framers, they applied equally to Jews, Samaritans, Manichaeans, heretics, and pagans. These laws had two purposes: to protect the infant religion from the competition of other religions; and to protect key posts for coreligionists. When Jews are singled out by historians as the only victims of these laws, we are given a false picture of their intent. (P.153)


FOUR

THE INVISIBLE WORLD OF THE TALMUD

 

13: THE ‘IVY LEAGUE’ YESHIVAS

 

The Talmud was the instrument for Jewish survival and exercised a decisive influence in directing the course of Jewish history for fifteen hundred years, as it meandered through the Sassanid, Islamic, and feudal civilizations. It was the drawbridge which connected the Jewish past in the East to the Jewish future in the West. (P.163)

 

The Bible had created the nationalist Jews; the Talmud gave birth to the universally adaptable Jew, providing him with an invisible framework for the governance of man. (PP.163-164)

 

Enriched with Platonic thought, Aristotelian logic, and Euclidian science, Jewish scholars approached the Torah with new tools. They developed more sophisticated and scientific method of stretching the Mosaic cloth to fit Hellenistic existence. They proceeded to add Greek reason to Jewish revelation. This refined method was called Mishna, the Hebrew word for ‘repetition.’ (P.166)

 

Though the Jews recovered quickly from the devastation of the Hedrianic reprisals in the aftermath of the third unsuccessful revolt in 135 A.D., Palestinian intellectual life itself was dealt a death blow. In the same way that Nobel prize winners under Hitler’s domination of the European continent fled to America, where they enriched the fury of Hadrian’s rage fled Palestine to Babylon, where they enriched that country’s scholastic life. Palestine nevertheless produced one more great man before she went into a two-thousand-year political slumber, from which she was finally awakened by Zionism, her nineteenth-century suitor. This man was Judah Hanasi, the scholar friend of a Roman emperor, presumably Marcus Aurelius Antoninus. (P.167)

 

Zoroastrianism, the enlightened religion of the Persians and Sassanians, founded in the eighth century B.C., had been strongly influenced first by the Judaism of the Prophets. (P.169)

 

FIVE

THE INVISIBLE WORLD OF THE TALMUD

 

14: BIBLIOSCLEROSIS OF THE TALMUD

 

Talmudism, which began in fifth-century Persia and traveled through Grecian, Roman, Islamic, and feudal history until 1800 A.D., had the function of cementing the Jews into a unified religious body and a cohesive civic community. (P.173)

 

During all these centuries the Talmudic concept of government underwent a change parallel to that of the changing concept of Jehovah. The Prophets changed Jehovah from a Jewish God into to a Universal God. The Talmudists changed the Jewish concept of government for Jews exclusively to ideas applicable to the universal governance of man. (P.177)

 

Rashi’s commentaries and biblical exegesis had a great influence on Christian theologians, especially Nicholas de Lyra, who made extensive use of Rashi’s writings. Lyra’s theology in turn had a profound effect on the religious development of young Martin Luther. (P.179)

 

The historic function of Maimonides was to restore Prophetic Judaism as a spiritual lifeline to the Jews. (P.181)

 

Anything in the Talmud came to be regarded as Judaism itself, any deviation was viewed with a horror usually reserved for apostates. It became a straitjacket constricting the universal ideas of the Jews. But paradoxically, it also saved the Jews for a place in the sun when Napoleonic imperialism shattered the walls of the ghetto. (P.183)

 

 FIVE

 

MUHAMMAD, ALLAH, AND JEHOVAH

 

15: HISTORY TRAVELS TO MECCA

 

Marxist and other materialist historians would be hard put to explain the phenomenon of the eruption of a Muhammadan empire in the Arabian desert in the seventh century A.D. […] Muhammadanism (Islam) was the creation of such a man – Muhammad. […] Abraham may have been a Babylonian merchant prince before he set out for his journey to Haran, but the Old Testament made him a sheepherder. Moses may have been brought up as a prince in the Egyptian court, but when he receives the divine call, he is a hired hand tending his father-in-law’s flocks. Jesus was a carpenter. And Muhammad was a camel driver. Muhammad is one of history’s more improbable figures, an Arab imbued with the fervor of Judaism, proclaiming all Arabs descendants of Abraham, and calling for Jews and Christians alike to join him in a true brotherhood of man in the name of Allah. (P.189)


Arabia is the world’s largest peninsula, attached through Israel to Egypt, and through Syria to Turkey. […] The religion of Arabs was a diffused nature worship, democratically including heaven, stars, trees, stones – anything capable of being elevated to divinity by man’s ingenuity. […] The trickle of Jews ingo Arabia beginning after 70 A.D. reached the proportions of a flood in the fifth and sixth centuries, when a power struggle between the Sassanid and Byzantine empires squeezed Jews out of Syria and Palestine into Arabia. […] Jews, Syrians, Lebanese, and others who had the misfortune to live in the disputed areas suffered the classic fate of all civilians caught in the path of clashing armies – inglorious, impersonal deaths. (P.191)

 

In gratitude for the sanctuary given them, the Jews joined the Arabs in defeating invading Christian armies which came to proselytize and to plunder. […] The Arabs called the Jews ‘the People of the Book,’ and Jew and Arab lived side by side in peace. (P.191)

 

Like Moses, Muhammad dreamed of uniting the dissident, warring tribes into one people, giving them a unifying religion, and raising them to an honored position in the world. […] As unto Abraham, Moses, Jesus, so God manifested Himself unto Muhammad, in the form of the angel Gabriel. The Koran written by Muhammad, says that Gabriel showed Muhammad a tablet, which, though he was illiterate, he suddenly could read at Gabriel’s command. (P.192)

 

Muhammad first sold his new religion to his wife, then to his relatives, and then to his more distant cousins, and finally to strangers. […] But when the Jews firmly rejected his offer to join him, Muhammad turned against them. […] It was Abu Bekr who carried the Koran to a world which was not waiting for it, but which heeded the swish of the scimitar that spread it. (P.193)

 

In the sixth century the Arabs were desert nomads, in the seventh century they were conquerors on the march, in the eighth century they were masters of an empire that made the Mediterranean an Islamic Lake, and in the ninth century they were the standard-bearers of a dazzling civilization, leaders in art, architecture, and science, while Western Europe was sinking deeper and deeper into a dark morass of its own making. One by one, countries in the path of the Arabs fell before their onslaughts – Damascus in 635, Palestine in 638, Syria in 640, Egypt in 641. The defeat of the Sassanid Empire in 636 deserves a sympathetic footnote. (PP.193-194)

 

The Jews, on the other hand, produced a Golden Age during this period, generating great names in philosophy, medicine, science, mathematics, linguistics – in every area of human endeavor except art, which the Jews did not enter until the Modern Age. (PP.194-195)

 

Technically, all non-Muslims had to pay a head tax for protection, which exempted them from military service and denied them the right to hold public office. But as far as the Jews were concerned, these were neglected laws, for the Jews seldom had to pay such a head tax. (P.195)


16: THE JEWISH RENAISSANCE IN MUFTI

 

The image modern man holds of the Jew in the Islamic Age in no way corresponds to reality. He differed from the biblical Jew as much as the New York ‘Café Society’ Jew differs from the ghetto Jew. A renaissance – reawakening – had transformed the biblical Jew into a totally new individual, bearing little resemblance to the past. In this age, he was a hedonist and philanderer, a bon vivant and sophisticate, a worldly philosopher and scientist, a secular writer and poet. Yet, there was something strange about this renaissance of the Jews – it was not Jewish. Hidden underneath the new Muhammadan mufti was not Judaism, but Hellenism. The ‘Jewish Renaissance’ was not a reawakening of Judaism, but a resurgence of Hellenism. (P.197)

 

…in rescuing Greek works for the Arabs, the Jews became imbued for the first time with the true essence of Hellenism, […] When the Arabs heard of this wealth of knowledge, they encouraged its translation into Arabic, and the task fell mainly to the Jews, the cosmopolitans of that age, who spoke Hebrew and Arabic, Greek, and Latin, Syriac, and Persian, with equal facility. […]  One of the earliest and most prominent of these Jewish intellectuals imported by the rulers of Western Europe, was Ibn Daud, who not only translated Hebrew, Greek, and Arabic literature into Latin, but also introduced Arabic numerals and the concept of the ‘zero’ into European mathematics. Euclid’s Elements and the works of the Babylonian Talmudist Saadyah Gaon found their way into Latin through Jewish scholars who sat side by side with Muslims and Christians in synagogue, mosque, and church, translating Plato and Sophocles, Arab mathematicians and astronomers, Jewish philosophers and poets, into the language of the Holy Roman Church. (P.198-199)

 

The Jews could resist everything except their own intellectual curiosity. Now that there was no danger of being absorbed into Hellenism, they began to examine more closely the ‘idea of Hellenism.’ (P.199)

 

They coined a poetic metaphor, ‘Exiled Jew,’ which through the ages became the stereotypes ‘Wandering Jew,’ striking the Christians with awe and the Jews with fright. […] This idea took hold of the Jews like an obsessive neurosis, and they lost their political initiative until Zionism, in the nineteenth century, shifted the burden from God back to the shoulders of the Jews. […]  The Age of Reason in Europe, born in the eighteenth century with the French Encyclopedists, collapsed in the twentieth century revolutionary age of totalitarianism. (P.200)

 

The power and influence of the Khazars lasted for 250 years, until, finally, the permutation of events brought forth a weak king in Khazar and a strong duke in Kiev. In 969, Duke Sviatoslav defeated the Khazars and incorporated their territory into the new Russian state he was founding. His mother, Princess Olga, had twice been converted to Christianity – some scholars say this was to be sure it would take; others say it was to give her an excuse to make the journey twice to gay Constantinople – but as both she and her son considered Christianity the prerogative of nobles, the Russian muzhiks (peasants) remained pagan. Sviatoslav’s successor, Vladimir, did not share this attitude, and he gave Christianity to all the Russian people, for which a grateful Church bestowed sainthood upon him. And so, it came about that the former Jewish kingdom of Khazar became part of Mother Russia, and its people made the sign of the cross to the Russian Orthodox formula Gospodi pomilooy instead of bowing reverently to the Hebrew Shema Yisroel. The conversion of the pagan Khazars to Judaism forms the theme in Halevi’s poem. King Bulan, in search of a new religion, listen to a Muslim and a Christian arguing for their respective faiths. His interest is aroused when both refer to Judaism as the Father religion. (P.203)

 

The spirit of Halevi’s new ‘social contract’ with God caught the imagination of the Jewish people, and it grew into an irresistible force for survival. A new idea had seized them, that of a Jewish destiny which must find its fulfilment in Jerusalem. Their new ‘idea of Jewish history’ created a new Jewish history. (P.203)


17: THE RISE AND FALL OF THE JEWISH PROTESTANT REVOLT

 

The country people did not need the complex Talmudic laws so necessary for sophisticated city life. Talmudism to them was nothing but layers of trickery compiled by city rabbis to separate them from the Torah, there was a longing to return to the simplicity of the Five Books of Moses, to the explicit meaning of the ‘Word,’ not its derived interpretation. (P.205)

 

…the Jewish saga in the Islamic Empire ends. It was conceived by fate, supported in splendor, nourished by intellect, and buried by fate. By the fifteenth century, Jewish life in the East emptied into Western Europe at a juncture of Jewish history and retrace our steps to sixth-century Europe, where we left the Jews after the fall of the Roman Empire, it is only fitting that tribute be paid the magnificent Arabic people who wrought a dazzling and enlightened civilization out of the desert. Though the Muhammadan Empire is dead, the human element which shaped its grandeur is still living. The Arabic culture was not built on the plunder of other countries and the brains of other men. It sprang from deep wells of creativity within the people themselves. For seven hundred years Arab and Jew lived side by side in peace and with mutual respect. If Jews today in the Arabic world live under the most squalid conditions, it is not because Arabs pushed them there. These conditions were created for Jew and Arab alike by subsequent conquerors.   (P.209)

 

Astute statesmanship can relax the present Israeli-Arab tensions, because they are not caused by deep-rooted racial and religious antagonisms but by temporary political expediencies. History has shown that Jew and Arab can live together without strife and with mutual profit. (P.210)


SIX

 

THE PRINCE AND THE YELLOW STAR

 

18: CRUSADES, RENAISSANCE, AND REFORMATION

 

The medieval world developed essentially three overlapping attitudes toward the Jews. The first one began to crystalize itself in the sixth century and faded out in the eleventh. The second embraced four hundred years – the two centuries of the Crusades and the two centuries of the Renaissance. The third began with the Reformation and spanned the three centuries between 1500 and 1800. […]  After the conquest of Judah by Pompey, Jews and Romans became ‘inseparable.’ (P.215)

 

By the sixth century, the invading barbarians, the Ostrogoths, Visigoths, Vandals, Huns, Franks, and Burgundians had accomplished most of their damage. Ignorance was universal, rights of man had disappeared […] Toward the end of the eighth century, roughly, four European kingdoms, now known as Italy, France, Spain, and Germany, were emerging. […] Vandals, mixed with Franks and Burgundians, formed the first Frankish kingdom and were converted to Catholicism in the late fifth century under Clovis. (P.216)

 

…rights of man had become crimes against Church and state, and poverty had progressed to squalor. (P.218)

 

When the Muslims conquered Spain and granted everyone religious freedom, many of these forcibly converted Jews did not return fully to the Mosaic religion. […] The Church had maneuvered itself into this paradoxical impasse by the force of its own logic. Because the civilization of the Middle Ages was religiously oriented, it was important that the Jews be converted to Christianity. […] if the Church exterminated his people, as it had the heathens, then the Church could never claim that the Jews had acknowledged Christ divine. […] To prevent his religion from infecting the Christian believer with doubt, the Jew, therefore, was excluded from the feudal system. The Church did not realize that with this act it had jailed its own people and set the Jew free. (P.219)

 

To prevent too great an intermixing between Jews and Greeks, Palestinian law forbade a Jew to sell land to a non-Jew. (P.220)

 

A great many of the Crusaders were pious Christians fired with the idea of freeing the Holy Land from the infidel and turning Jerusalem into a Christian shrine. Many others were in quest of loot and the opportunity to kill with impunity. […] …to stir up zeal for a Crusade in an age where no universal conscription existed, serfs were promised freedom, criminals were offered pardon, sinners were granted absolution. As a result of this propaganda barrage unruly mobs, full of ardor and energy but low on discipline and supplies, sprang up all over. Long before the Crusaders reached the Holy Land they ran out of provisions. […] The looting now became general, Christians too became victims, and the fighting spread. More Crusaders died en route to the Holy Land than lived to fight for it. […] As the nature of the Crusades shifted from that of freeing the Holy Land from the infidel to that of pillaging the rich Byzantine Empire, the enemy became the Greek Orthodox Catholics instead of the Muslims. What had started out as desultory looting of Jews ended up as a bloodbath for Christians. (PP.221-222)

 

It was a triple blessing for the Jews that they were expelled from the Byzantine Empire before the start of the Crusades. They escaped massacre, they escaped the blame, and they escaped those chroniclers who would have chalked up the fracas as another manifestation of Jewish persecution. (P.222)

 

The fifth Crusade met with indifferent success. With the sixth and seventh the zeal was gone. After the eighth Crusade, the fire was extinguished. Christian and Jew alike rejoiced that it was all over. But the Crusades, ironically, had the opposite effect from the one intended. It had been hoped that the capture of Jerusalem would rally the faithful into a more closely knit Christian community. Instead, the faith of the Christians in their own superiority was badly shaken. Thousands had been exposed to the superior culture of the Muslims. Serfs, freed during the Crusades, did not want to go back to the farm after they had seen Constantinople and the splendor of the Saracen (the Roman name for the Arab). […] …for the Renaissance, […] Not all of Italy was involved in this humanistic resurgence. It was boxed in a rectangle bounded by Naples in the south, Milan in the north, Venice in the east, and Genoa in the west. It was ushered in by humanists (Dante, Petrarch, Boccaccio) and died with artists (Cellini, Titian, Michelangelo). To make the grade in between, one had to have such names as Leonardo da Vinci, Fra Filippo Lippi, Bellini. The melancholy task of the Jewish historian is to record the fact that no Jew qualified. (P.223)

 

In Italy, the Renaissance took essentially a nonreligious course, with the accent on the individual. In Northern Europe, the Renaissance, running a hundred years behind, took essentially a religiously oriented course, as exemplified by Johann Reuchlin in Germany. (P.223)

 

Scholars are in agreement that it was the reintroduction of Greek learning into the stream of European culture which gave birth to the Renaissance, and they generally credit Petrarch with this work. But it is more than a curious coincidence that the Renaissance sprang to life in just those areas where Jewish life had been and again became most active. The Renaissance did not originate in England, in France, or in Germany: it originated in that geographic area where Jews had been engaged most heavily for three centuries in the translation of Greek, Arabic, and Hebrew classics into Latin. We must remember it was to Naples, a Renaissance center, that Frederick II had invited the Jews to translate the works of the Greeks and to teach Hebrew to Christian scholars. (P.224)

 

The highest estimated number of Jews killed during the two hundred years of the Crusades is 100,000. (P.225)

 

Throughout North Africa, Egypt, and the Ottoman Empire, the Jews enjoyed almost complete religious and economic freedom for several centuries. […] After the main body of Jews had been banished from Spain and had fled from Portugal, the Inquisition was turned against converted Moors, who were expelled from all of Spain in 1502. (P.229)

 

The solid edifice of Catholic Church and feudal state received its first jolts from the Crusades and the Renaissance. The Crusades, as we have seen, freed the body of the serf from the manor and lord; the Renaissance freed the mind of man from dogma and scholasticism. The freed serfs settled in towns and changed their occupations from tillers of the soil to producers and sellers of goods. They sold these goods for money in free markets at a profit. This had been the function of the Jews previously. This shift in Christian occupation marked the end of feudalism and the beginning of capitalism. (P.234)

 

The marketplace, not the Church, now determined morality. (P.235)

 

…the Western, Catholic, and feudal countries did not want the Jews for religious reasons, and, having no economic need of them, did not readmit them, whereas the Protestant countries, having an economic need of the merchant Jews, did readmit them. The East European states, though still Catholic, readmitted the Jews wherever they had banished them, because their economies had not at that time, developed a middle class which could take over the functions of the Jews. […] as the Jews served the nobles, they became identified as an exploiting class by the serfs, and when the wave of revolutions hit Eastern Europe, Christian nobles and Jewish merchants were slaughtered with equal hatred. (P.236)


19: CONCERTO FOR VIOLENCE

 

The Babylonians, Assyrians, and Persians had only asked them to be nice tax-paying Jews. […] The Muslims may have looked down upon both Christians and Jews for their inability to perceive the superiority of Allah over Christ and Jehovah. But the Muslims never made it their mission in life to convert Christians and Jews to Islam. […] The Jews were all for leaving the Christians alone. The trouble was that the Christians would not leave the Jews alone. (P.239)

 

…the Old Testament was not translated into the languages of the people until the sixteenth century. (P.240)

 

By the fifteenth century, the ritual-murder accusations had died out, although they were briefly revived in seventeenth century Poland and late czarist Russia. (P.241)

 

The interesting aspect about Talmud burning is not that the Talmud was sent to the stake, for in the Middle Ages translations of the New Testament in languages other than Latin were consigned to the flames more frequently than the Talmud. The interesting aspect is that the Old Testament in Hebrew was never sent to the stake. Though Torah scrolls often were trampled underfoot by screaming mobs looting synagogues, or burned with the synagogue itself, such acts were never sanctioned by the Church, and the Torah was never officially condemned. Though Judaism was reviled as a blasphemy, though Jews were killed for being unbelievers, the Torah itself was looked upon with respect for it was the Law of God. (P.242)

 

It is of interest to note here that these anti-Jewish ritual murder accusations, Host-desecration libels, and Talmud burnings all were first conceived by converted Jews. A dissection of their motivations for turning so bitterly against their former brothers would make an interesting psychological study. Perhaps such a study would give us a clue why the New Testament writers, some of them converted Jews, inveighed so bitterly against those Jews who were not baptized with them. (PP.242-243)

 

As the Reformation slowly changed from a religious revolt to an economic revolution, the nature of anti-Jewish violence shed more and more of its religious coloration and took on more and more of an economic overtone. By the sixteenth century, coincidentally with the Reformation, and as a result of the successive Jewish banishments from the West, Jewish life had shifted preponderantly to the East. Because the history of Jewish persecution in Eastern Europe between 1000 and 1800 is more or less a recapitulation of the history of Jewish persecution in Western Europe between 600 and 1600. (P.245)

 

The first pogroms, that is, organized attacks against Jews, broke out in Poland around 1500. (P.246)

 

The harder Russia tried to get rid of her Jews, the faster she acquired them. […] Russia, as we know it today, did not come into being until 1700, with Peter the Great. In its earlier centuries, Russia was a mammoth crazy quilt of dukedoms, with Tatars and Cossacks all over the place. Jews settled in the various dukedoms and cities along the western periphery and lived there in peace until 1500. […] This new Russian Judaism became so popular in Moscow’s court circles that even the daughter-in-law of the Duke of Moscow became a Jewess. The frightened Russian Orthodox Church decided to stamp out this Jewish heresy as ruthlessly as the Roman Catholic Church had stamped out the Albigensian heresy in France. (P.248)

 

Though Peter was as fearful of the Jews as his ancestors had been, he protected their rights and liberties. […] Catherine and her successors gave up the struggle. They also realized that the Jews were essential to the economies of the newly conquered territories. (P.249)

 

It is generally assumed that in the eighth century Jews resided in such cities as Magdeburg, Worms, and Augsburg, but documentary evidence of flourishing Jewish communities in most large German cities dates from about the tenth century. As in the rest of Europe, we hear very little of any persecution of Jews until the Crusades. (P.250)


20: THE YELLOW BADGE OF COURAGE

 

The last movement in the concerto, the psychological andante, began with the seventeenth century. By this time history had taken the Jews back to Western Europe. This ‘return to the West’ began with Jews settling in the Netherlands (1593) … […] Even though the origins of psychological anti-Semitic sentiments are embedded in the Jewish Middle Ages, its full effects were not felt until the modern period. As a new class emerged in Europe with the Industrial Revolution, personal anti-Jewish hostility, motivated by economic considerations, slowly changed into anti-Semitic race prejudice, motivated by deep-seated, psychological anxieties. (P.252)

 

None of these restrictions applied to the Jews. They were free to come and go, marry and divorce, sell and buy as they pleased. Whoever ‘designed’ the feudal system had forgotten to provide for tradesmen, artisans, merchants, doctors, bankers. The priests were excluded from work, the nobles did not want to work, and the serfs were not allowed to enter the bourgeoise or middle-class professions. There was no one left to do this work expect the Jews, who therefore became indispensable. (P.254)

 

The confusion stems from the indiscriminate use of the word ‘ghetto’ as opposed to ‘Jewish quarter.’ There is a great difference between these two ways of life. The Jewish quarter was voluntary and self-imposed. The ghetto was involuntary and imposed from without. One spelled freedom; the other brought imprisonment. (P.255)

 

The average American thinks of the Puritan fathers as having invented the ideas of the town hall, with its bell summoning the free to exercise their inalienable right to vote. The Jews in Prague were a little ahead of them, for already in the fifteenth century they had their own town hall in their Judenstadt, including a large bell which summoned them to special town hall meetings to vote upon laws not covered by the Responsa. (P.256)

 

…in medieval days all cities were walled, and the gates locked at night. Jews did not protest against this feature until 1700, when it disappeared from Christian life but was retained for the ghetto. Ghetto life could easily have degenerated into slum life, but Talmudic laws and farsighted rabbis prevented it. Just as much slum property in African American neighborhoods today is owned by wealthy white men, so most ghetto property in medieval days was owned by wealthy Christians. Had the Jews would have become millstones around their necks. […] Except in a few large cities in Poland, the ghetto did not exist in the non-German-speaking countries in Eastern Europe. Here most of the Jews lived in villages or small towns known as shtetls. (P.259)

 

By 1700 the list had shrunk considerably, as legislation drove more and more Jews out of even the humblest of trades, until 1800 peddling and petty shopkeeping became the two chief occupations. (P.260)

 

It must not be supposed that the majority of the Christians hated the Jews. Quite the contrary. Only a small segment were Jew-baiters. […] By and large, most of the ghettos and shtetls were not affected by pogroms or general maraudings. In spite of the outward semblance of sameness in life, a vast psychological gulf separated ghetto and shtetls Jews. The ghetto represented urban, cosmopolitan life, and the shtetl represented rural village life. […] The Jews in the West were aware of the new scientific achievements; they were embroiled in the new political movements. The Jews in the East were sinking deeper into mysticism and superstition. (PP.262-263)


21: THE GHETTO CAPITALIST

 

In the Pagan Age, it was in religion, in the Greco-Roman Age it was in humanism, in the Muhammadan Age it was in philosophy, in the Modern Age it is in theoretical science. In the Modern Age it was in economics, and some Christian scholars even credit the Jews with having originated capitalism at that time. (P.263)

 

Whatever ‘stigmas’ may attach to Christianity, capitalism, and communism are more ‘Christian stigmas’ than Jewish ones, since Christians embrace these three philosophies in greater numbers and percentages than do the Jews. (P.264)

 

In the Middle Ages the Jews were outside the framework of the feudal system. We must again stress that the feudal system had only three estates – clergy, nobles, and serfs – and the task of providing a merchant class fell to the Jews. But because they did not own land, because they were not backed by the power of the state (but only individually as chattels of the king), the Jews had to create an ‘abstract economy,’ which functioned outside the feudal state machinery, in contrast to their former ‘concrete economies’ in other civilizations, which functioned within the state organism. (P.265)

 

Instead of going into tedious details as to why such a system of negotiable securities permits greater flexibility and a greater accumulation of wealth, just imagine what would happen today in the Western world if all financial transactions were based on Roman and medieval laws – no checks, no drafts, no notes, no installments, no financing. (P.266)

 

Maimonides, incidentally, held the view that the lending money for equitable interest was a prerequisite for modern (1300 A.D.) business. […] A far-flung Jewish commercial network was already in existence by the tenth century, Not only were the Jews in Europe North Africa, and the Near East, but they had trading posts in India and in faraway China. […] In fact, in the eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth centuries, most Mediterranean seaports were beehives of Jewish commercial activity. (P.267)

 

By 1500, before the Jews were banished from Spain, they were predominant in the wool, and silk trades, and they were chief importers of sugar, pepper, and other spices. Before the Jews of Italy were banished or placed in ghettos, they dominated that country’s silk and dyeing industries and carried on vast commercial dealings with India. […] Soon the Jews had developed inland trade routes, competing with even the mighty Hanseatic League; and cities in East Europe such as Warsaw, Prague, and Vienna became important trading centers. […] W. E. H. Lecky makes the point that for many centuries the Jews were, if not the only, then the most important segment in keeping international trade moving of their organized systems of monetary exchange, their knowledge of the needs and products of countries, and their willingness to risk their capital in long-term investments. […] Yet moneylending was perhaps the most important contribution by the Jews to medieval society. Without it the entire feudal system might have collapsed. (P.268)

 

When the Jews were dispossessed from their occupations by the rising Christian middle class, the Jewish professions, which had been so scorned in previous generations, became respectable. One of the first professions the Christians went into was moneylending, […] But no sooner had the Jews been banished than up went the money rates, so much so that Popes themselves openly accused the Christian moneylenders of being heartless. […] Communities in England, France, Italy petitioned their kings and princes to allow the Jewish moneylenders to return. […] Out of the debris of the Thirty Years War rose a new economic class which built a new social order. Economists generally date the foundations of capitalism from this period. (P.270)

 

When much capital was needed to build this country’s productive arsenal, the great moral stress was on thrift and saving, exemplified by Benjamin Franklin’s motto ‘A penny saved is a penny earned.’ Today, when it is of paramount importance that we consume the vast amounts of goods turned out by our productive machinery, spending becomes a virtue, not saving. (P.271)

 

The Thirty Years’ War, being not only a religious war but also a social revolution, gave rise to a new concept of state, which happened ideally to suit the rising middle classes. The social ideal changed from loyalty to one’s religion to loyalty to one’s state. (P.272)

 

Jews were recalled to the West, and there they created international banking institutions that made history. But this phase of Jewish history in the West properly falls in the Modern Age. (P.273)


22: KABALA AND KINNANHORRA

 

With the appearance of the Zohar, Kabalism did not continue for long to course through Jewish life as a unified current but branched out into two streams. One stream sought out the rational and the scientific and became metaphysical in its orientation. This current led to Spinoza and the rationalist school of Western philosophers and scientists, finding adherents among both Jewish and Christian scholars. (P.277)

 

A new metaphysical philosophy was injected into Kabalism in the sixteenth century by one of the great Kabalistic scholars, Issac Luria (1534-1572), known as Ari, ‘thelion.’ Luria held that all matter and thought evolved through a three-stage cycle – tzimtzum, literally ‘contradiction’ or thesis; shevirat hakeilim, literally ‘breaking of the vessels’ or antithesis; and tikkun, literally ‘restoration’ or synthesis. Western philosophy and science, which had died with the Greeks and Romans in the second century A.D., was reborn in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. (P.279)

 

There is no reason to doubt that Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Newton, Bacon, Descartes, Locke, Leibnitz, and others familiar with both Kabalistic thought and the scientific writings of the Jews.  […] One outstanding fact about the Scientific Revolution is that its initial and, in a sense, most important stages were carried out through before the invention of the new measuring instruments, the telescope, and microscope, thermometer and accurate clock, which were later to become indispensable for getting accurate and scientific answers to the questions that were to come to the forefront of science. (P.280)

 

…...Jewish life shifted between the thirteenth and sixteenth centuries from Western to Eastern Europe, and that Jewish history was now being shaped in the East, not the West. (P.281)

 

The Jews survived because they never thought of giving up. Judaism is not a religion of defeatism. (P.292)


SEVEN

 

ONE THE HORNS OF MODERN ‘ISMS’

 

23: ANATOMY OF EMANCIPATION

 

The pattern of political power shifted from the ecclesiastic to the secular, from faith to reason, from noble to banker. Medieval Jewish history ended in England in 1300, in France in 1400, in Spain in 1500…

 

[…] The ideas which engulfed the Christians also engulfed the Jews. The devaluation of religion found its adherents among both. Christians and Jews fought side by side for democracy.

 

[…] Modern Jewish history can be viewed as an existentialist syndrome in five symptoms – a West European illusion, an East European regression, and American amnesia, a Nazi nightmare, and an Israeli awakening. (P.299)

 

We must break Jewish history into arbitrary component parts and examine each in turn before we unify it in Israel, a state created mainly by direct Jewish action. (P.300)

 

By 1602 she had formed the Dutch East India Company, the chief arm of her imperialism. By 1650, she was the commercial center of Europe, and her capital, Amsterdam, was the financial center of the world. Uncannily, this rise of Dutch supremacy coincides with the arrival of the Jews and their proliferation in trade and finance during this period. The first Jews to arrive in the Netherlands in 1593 from Spain were the descendants of those Jews who, rather than leave Spain in the expulsion of 1492, had converted to Christianity and then, in turn, had become Marranos. (P.301)

 

Dutch supremacy in world commerce came to an end, however, in the middle of the seventeenth century, with the ascent to power in England of Oliver Cromwell, a plain man in ill-fitting clothes, who combined revolt, reformation, and capitalism into a single victory Cromwell served the capitalist cause in England in the same way Luther had served it in Germany. Under the mantle of his Ironsides – as his soldiers were called – free enterprise entrenched itself in British life. Cromwell became Lord Protector – another name for dictator – of England. (P.302)

 

As the Jews were forced to stay out of retailing by law, they went into banking, financing, and international trade; and, as in the Netherlands, the Jews in England quickly rose to high posts. Soon they had far-flung commercial enterprises, sat on the Royal Exchange, acquired great wealth. Soon Britain began challenging the Dutch. After her navy had defeated rival fleets, she surpassed all other European powers in trade. (P.303)

 

There was no need in France at this time for the Jews, and their specialized skills, because France at this time was neither Protestant nor capitalist. (P.304)

 

By 1800, Jewish life in Austria had hardened into three strata: a great mass of ghetto Jews who, though free to leave, were tied to the ghetto by poverty; a small, brilliant coterie of Salon Jews; and an even smaller number of converted Jews who had gained entry into the clergy, nobility, and government.

 

[…] It was during the reign of the Great Elector, Frederick William (1640-1688), that the first Jews settled in Berlin, and in 1712 the Jews in Berlin formally dedicated their first synagogue. (P.306)

 

It selected Moses Mendelssohn (1729-1786), a hunchback from the ghetto of Dessau, to reintroduce a knowledge of Judaism to the Christians, and, even more incredibly, to sell Christian cultural values to the ghetto dwellers.

 

[…] At the age of fourteen, Moses Mendelssohn hitchhiked to Berlin for a secular education. Here he was swept into the German Enlightenment (Aufklärung), which, influenced by Rousseau and Voltaire, revolted against all traditional beliefs. He became a friend of Immanuel Kant and of Gotthold Lessing, then Germany’s foremost dramatist, Lessing’s play inspired by him, Nathan the Wise, swept the European stage and changed the popular image of the Jew from that of a ghetto dweller to that of the proud Jew of former days, the inheritor of a rich culture. (P.307)

 

The German language was to be the tool whereby the Jews would lift themselves out of the ghetto. (P.308)

 

Four eighteenth-century French intellectuals, non-Jewish, were changing the thinking of Europe. Voltaire’s slashing wit undermined the foundations of the Church, Diderot’s Encyclopedia of reason, science, and art undermined the value of faith, Rousseau’s Social Contract undermined the old concepts of state, and Condorcet’s philosophy of the ‘infinite perfectibility of man’ gave hope for a new rational human being. (P.310)

 

Robespierre was beheaded by his own party because he had not been corrupted by the Revolution. (P.311)

 

Of the sixty districts in Paris, fifty-three voted overwhelmingly for Jewish equality. In 1791, the 70,000 Jews of France became citizens with equal rights. (P.311)

 

How did all this affect the Jews? The Jews in the Middle Ages, it must be remembered, were a separate corporate entity, almost completely self-governing. As no one had equality in the Middle Ages, it is meaningless to assert that the Jews did not have equality. But they did have their own courts, their own police, judges, and taxation system. As such they acted as a state within a state… (P.312)

 

Inside, Christian and Jewish liberals fomented the Revolution of 1848, which blew the royal sit-downers off the lid and out of power, restoring to the Austrians their former gains. An ironic footnote is the fate of Prince Metternich, whose hand had guided the Congress of Vienna. Threatened with a rope by the revolutionaries, Metternich beseeched the help of Baron Salomon Rothschild one of the century’s last Court Jews, who helped him escape and subsidized him in exile. (P.317)

 

TWENTY-FOUR

 

24. REHEARSAL FOR RACISM

 

Toward the end of the nineteenth century, we come face to face for the first time with a unique phenomenon which, more than any other single factor, has influenced the course of Jewish history since 1850. This is the phenomenon of anti-Semitism. (P.323)

 

anti-Semitism did not come into being until 1800. The word ‘anti-Semitism,’ in fact, did not exist until 1879, when it was coined by a German to fit the emergence of an entirely new historic pattern of Jewish-Christian relationships. (P.324)

 

Four qualities distinguish anti-Semitism from anti-Jewish violence. Anti-Semitism is illogical and irrational, and stems from unconscious forces. First comes the prejudice; then follows the rationalized justification for that feeling. Anti-Jewish violence, on the other hand, stems from logical, rational, and conscious motivations. First comes the motivation, then comes the act of retaliation. Second, anti-Semitism is directed toward the ‘Jewish race’ and has nothing whatever to do with the individual Jew, his faults, or his virtues. Anti-Jewish violence is directed toward the Jew as an individual, in the same way and for the same reasons that violence is directed toward individuals of other religions and nationalities. Third, anti-Semitism deliberately seeks out Jews, and Jews only, for its targets, excluding all others who might be equally ‘guilty’ of whatever the Jew is accused of. Anti-Jewish violence often is only an incidental factor in the general violence committed by the attacker. Forth, anti-Semitism does not seek a solution, does not hold out ‘redemption’ to the Jew, and does not offer an alternative for being Jewish. In anti-Jewish violence, which is directed specifically at Jews, the object is to convert them to the religion of the attacker. […] To the true anti-Semite, the crux of anti-Semitism is the ‘crime’ of being Jewish. (PP.324-325)

 

The Jews had never rebelled against Germany, spread no heresy, annexed no German territory. They had, in fact, contributed greatly to her culture and fought valorously side by side with non-Jewish Germans in World War I. The ‘crime’ of the Jews existed only in the mind of the Nazis. (P.326)

 

Irrational race anti-Semitism, as we have seen, was unknown in the pagan, Grecian, Roman, Islamic, and medieval cultures in which the Jews lived from 2000 B.C. to 1800 A.D. We have seen how during these 3,800 years Jews were slain, massacred, tortured, sold as slaves – but who was not treated much the same way in those days?  […] The history of anti-Jewish violence in the Middle Ages was more complex than in the previous ages, but it was not irrational anti-Semitism, embodying the four points in our definition. Medieval Christian anti-Jewish violence stemmed from the refusal of the Jew to become Christian. Anti-Semitism is based upon the complete reverse of this concept. The anti-Semite hates the idea of Jewishness, not the individual Jew. Since it is a concept he hates, the conversion of the Jew alters nothing in his mind. […] First, the soil for modern anti-Semitism was mulched in a new insecure social class created by changing economic conditions. Second, nationalism was manipulated into racism to give this new social class a philosophy of superiority. Third, to quell the inner anxieties of this new class, anti-Jewish feeling was distilled into anti-Semitism and used as a political tranquilizer. (P.327)

 

By 1800, capitalism and colonialism were in full flowering. Another development had also taken place, the Industrial Revolution. It is a little difficult to realize today that the Industrial Revolution is barely two hundred years old. It is also a little difficult to realize that in 1850 the average industrial enterprise employed fewer than fifty people. With the growth of industrialism, intimate personal relationships between worker and owner disappeared. Foremen and department managers now stood between them. Absence management appeared. The multiple plant developed. Employees became estranged from each other. (P.328)

 

The insecurity of the declassed was explained not in terms of social and economic conditions but in terms of Jewish evil doing. The Jew was held up to them as the exploiting capitalist when it was capitalism the declassed feared, or as the plotting communist when it was communism they feared. If not for the Jew, these arguments ran, every member of the declassed would be an important pillar in society. This was the beginning of anti-Semitism. It was not a political movement, as someone once remarked, but a political weapon. (P.330)

 

In addition, anti-Semitism was given a scientific veneer by three books which had the quality of transforming disturbing anxiety into respectable hate. The three race theories were Count Arthur de Gobineau, a Frenchman; Friedrich Nietzsche, a German; and Houston Stewart Chamberlain, an Englishman. The authors of the three pseudoscientific books were Edouard Drumont, a Frenchman; Sergei Nilus, a Russian; and Alfred Rosenberg, a German. ‘Race thinking’ was not born in Germany; it began in the early 1800s, festering on the exposed body of European nationalism. […] Nationalism was conceived by honorable parents with good intent – Rousseau, Burke, Jefferson, Fichte, Locke, Mazzini – none of whom were Jewish. […] Pseudointellectual parasites fastened themselves onto these philosophies of nationalism… (P.331)

 

The first of these race philosophers, Count Gobineau, was a minor official in the French diplomatic service, embittered at never having advanced to a post of importance. In his book The Inequality of Human Races, published in 1853, he advanced what may have been the first systematic theory of white racial supremacy. (P.332)

 

The origin of Nulus’s notorious Protocol of the Elders of Zion published in 1903, is so fantastic that the truth itself is hardly unbelievable. As it became increasingly difficult to convince the ignorant Russian peasants of the necessity to kill innocent Jews in order to alleviate their one miserable condition, Czar Nicholas II commissioned Nilus, a monk, to come up with something to damn the Jews. Nilus forged a set of documents, based on a French novel which had no Jew in it. (P.334)


TWENTY-FIVE

 

WESTERN EUROPE: THE NEW ENLIGHTENMENT

 

The Jews in the West produced a Westernized culture, the Jews in the East a Jewish culture.  […] Unhistorical people are acted upon by events. Historical people act upon events. (P.341)

 

In this period tower also the Jewish figures of Marx, Freud, Bergson, Einstein. This age also viewed the paintings of Pissarro, Soutine, Chagall, Modigliani. It heard the music of Mendelssohn, Offenbach, Saint-Saens, Bizet, Mahler. It read Heine, Proust, Maurois, Romains. It witnessed the development of theoretical physics, known as Judenphysik by the Germans, and followed with interest the advance in medicine through the works of Wassermann, Ehrlich, and Schick. During this time the Jews helped extend the frontiers of mathematics, biology, and chemistry, and were awarded more Nobel prizes than any other national group. They became viceroys, prime ministers, generals, and avant-garde intellectuals who helped shape the map of Europe and chart the course of world history. All this in spite of the fact that the Jews in Western and Central Europe at this time constituted less than one half of one percent of the total population. (P.342)

 

Some of the currents in Spinoza’s philosophy – the need for piety, the passion for freedom and justice, the rational ordering of all thought, and the conception of an all-embracing science of the universe – were in turn personified by four great, modern Jewish thinkers: Leopold Zunz, Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, and Albert Einstein. […] The spirit of the age demanded a scientific foundation for Judaism, a Spinozian presentation of Judaism as an evolving system of the mind, as a form of universal reason. (P.345)

 

The fourth in the Spinozian quartet, Albert Einstein (1879-1955), was another product of the German-Jewish Enlightenment. It was he who completed the work of Spinoza by destroying the mechanistic concept of the universe which Spinoza had undermined. Einstein clearly saw the ideological ties binding him to Spinoza. […] ‘The logic of theory,’ said Einstein, ‘must stem from an inner coherence, not because external evidence makes it the most logical over other theories.’ (P.349)

 

The modern chemical and dye industries rest on German-Jewish achievements. (P.351)

 

It was in Germany that Ferdinand Lassalle organized the world’s first trade-union movement. (P.353)

 

As early as 1812, the Jews were predominant on the Berlin Stock Exchange, and two of its first four presidents were Jewish. The Rothschilds made the stock market international. (P.353)

 

This Jewish influence in European banking and finance lasted until the end of the century, after which governments slowly began to take over many of the functions formerly carried on by private banking. (P.354)

 

Jewish history in the Middle Ages began in the West and rolled slowly and inexorably toward the East. Jewish history in the Modern Age began in the East and rolled slowly and inexorably back to the West. (P.356)

 

It attached itself to politics and created Zionism. Zionism fused the Jews in Eastern and Western Europe with the Jews in the United States and created the State of Israel. (P.357)

 

Five thousand years of recorded history has produced only four great literary period – the prophetic writings of the Jews in biblical days, the Greek tragedies in the Periclean Age, the poetic dramas of the reign of Elizabeth, and the soul-searching novels of the nineteenth-century Russians. (P.360)

 

The function of Zionism, as he saw it, was to solve not only the political but also the spiritual problem of Judaism – the problem of a continuing and unifying Jewish culture. (P.360)

 

The Enlightenment of the West and the Haskala of the East revived the Jewish will to survive. This new expression of the will for survival as Jews was born with Zionism. And it was Zionism which fused Jewry in Eastern and Western Europe with Jewry in the United States. For two and a half centuries the Jews in America had played a minor role in Jewish world affairs, but in the twentieth century they became a force in Jewish destiny. As the history of the American Jews now mingled with that of the European, we must cross the Atlantic Ocean for a closer view of this American segment of the Jewish people, as it vies for the leadership of Diaspora Judaism. (P.368)

 

Jewish history in America is a strange mixture of the familiar and the prophetic. It arrived in South America in the sixteenth century with the Hispanic exploration and flowed to North America in the seventeenth century with the tides of Anglo-Dutch colonial expansionism. For its first 250 years, Jewish history in America was a curious reversal of Jewish history in Europe. From 1650 to 1900, American Jewry was spiritually and intellectually dependent upon European Jewry, producing no new ideas of its own. Just as America before 1900 was regarded by nineteenth-century European Jews looked upon American Jews as intellectual inferiors. And just as America after World War I and II began to assume leadership of the Western world, so the Jews in America in the twentieth century began to grope for leadership of world Jewry. (P.369)

 

……between 1880 and 1920 when history washed ashore 2,000,000 despised, poverty-stricken Russian Jews, Jewish intellectual life suddenly took root in America. With the fourth immigration wave, which carried on its crest 300,000 German Jews made homeless and stateless by the Nazi terror, American Jewish intellectual life began to flourish. The center of Jewish intellectual life shifted from the Old World to the New, just as the center of Jewish intellectual life in biblical days had shifted from Palestine to Babylonia after the fall of Judah in the sixth century B.C. (P.370)

 

Jewish history in the Colonies is the history of individuals rather than communities, for during this period entire Jewish communities did not emigrate from Europe, only individuals and families. […] …This absorption was facilitated by two conditions, one the nature of America’s social structure, the other the nature of Puritanism. Because the Colonies never developed a feudal corporate state, there was no need for an especially exempt ‘Jewish middle class.’ The colonialists themselves made up the middle class. […] The Puritans compared their flight to America to the flight of the Jews out of Egypt, and they thought of the Massachusetts Bay Colony as the New Jerusalem. (P.373)

 

The founding fathers of the American people had a steadfast belief in the Old Testament. […] American Jewish communities were slow to form in the colonial period, developing haphazardly, without plan or organization. There were Jewish settlements as early as 1621 in Virginia, 1649 in Massachusetts, and 1658 in Maryland. By 1733, with the settlement in all thirteen colonies. The colonial period participated on both sides, as did the other colonists, but, as in Europe, most joined the side of freedom. (P.374)

 

The West was opening up and becoming agricultural, The East was investigating its agricultural profits in industry. The country needed farmers to settle the West and a merchant class to service both East and West. The Christian refugees, mostly peasants, headed westward and became farmers. The Jewish refugees, mostly middle class, became free enterprisers. (P.375)

 

The slavery issue divided the Jews the way it divided the rest of the country. Though a few dealt in slaves, most were strongly abolitionist. Southern Jews fought for the South, not because they believed in slavery, but because they loved the South. […]  When the war was over, there were nine Jewish generals and hundreds of Jewish field officers in the Union Army. […] There was a vacuum – which nature is said to abhor – in the retail field, however, and the immigrant Jews were sucked into that vacuum. As a consequence, most American Jewish fortunes were made not in industry but in retailing. […]  Most of modern America’s giant department stores are outgrowths of these early Jewish peddlers’ work and ingenuity. (P.376)

 

These Russian Jews were Luftmenschen whose skills had been essential for survival in Russia, where the czars had disenfranchised them from land and job and then had taxed them on what they had been robbed of. (P.378)

 

…American newspapers, hammering away at the miserable plight of these people, shamed the German Jews into action. After their initial shock, they rushed to aid the penniless immigrants with a generosity unequaled anywhere, any time. They established relief organizations, vocational schools, recreational centers, hospitals, and old folks’ homes. The social agencies and services they created at this time served as models for many New Deal agencies during the Great Depression. (P.379)

 

The Christians who fled Russia, Poland, Romania, Hungary, were peasants and workers. The rich, the intellectuals, and the aristocrats did not leave their countries. With the Jews it was a different story. The entire community was oppressed; therefore, entire communities fled – rich man, poor man, worker and scholar, orthodox and radical – taking their entire culture with them. They were not uprooted. They were transplanted. (P.380)

 

…with the Depression of 1929 anti-Semitism crept into American history. Until 1880 anti-Semitism in American had been practically nonexistent. […]  Anti-Semitism flared up briefly during the agrarian depression of 1880-1890, but quickly died out when the slump in farming ended. […]  The anti-Semitism of the Great Depression of 1929 was entirely different. It was manufactured in Germany and imported by American Nazis of German descent as part of plot to undermine the American will to fight Hitler’s brand of fascism. (P.381)

 

In the thirteen-year period between 1943 and 1955, after the flight of Germany’s intellectuals to America, twenty-nine Americans received prizes in these categories. In Germany, it was the reverse. […] For the next thirty-five years, these figures are even more revealing. From 1955 to 1990 one hundred and thirty-two Nobel prizes were awarded to Americans with only thirteen going to Germans. […] The European contribution was almost exclusively intellectual, whereas the American tended more toward the popular arts. (P.382)

 

Today all three main branches of Judaism – Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform – are one interlocked faith without any serious, weakening schisms. (P.388)

 

In the sixth century B.C. the Babylonians destroyed the Palestinian center of Judaism just as in the twentieth century A.D. Hitler destroyed the European center of Judaism. […] American Judaism is the first and only noncoercive Judaism in Jewish history. (P.389)

 

TWENTY-EIGHT

 

THE BROWN-SHIRTED CHRIST KILLERS

 

…because the Nazis shouted, ‘Kill the Jews,’ the world blinded itself to the murder of Christians. […] The figure usually quoted for the number of Jews murdered by the Nazis is 6,000,000, but facts tend to support a figure of 5,000,000. Justice Jackson at the Nuremberg trials cited 4,500,000 Jews killed by the Germans. Today, the highest estimate is 5,600,000, the lowest 4,200,000. This difference is accounted for by guessing Jewish losses in territories held by the Soviet Union. (P.392)

 

World War I brought devastation not only to Germany but to Eastern Europe as well. The Jews especially fared badly. They had tactlessly chosen to live in a sector of land where German and Russian armies locked for four years in a gigantic struggle for power. When the Russians retreated in bitter defeat, they killed Jews for being German sympathizers. When the Germans were forced to make ‘tactical withdrawals,’ they killed Jews for being Russian informers. (P.393)

 

The specter of a communist danger was dangled before the declassed, who were told over and over again that if the ‘Jewish problem’ was solved, then the problems of the declassed would be solved. The worried and impoverished white-collar class welcomed this soothing political philosophy. The Jews were legislated out of the professions and out of industry so that the aristocrats could take over jobs they had formerly despised. As economic conditions worsened, anti-Semitic legislation was increased. […] Between the years 1918 and 1925, right-wing terrorist organizations murdered more than three hundred prominent liberal men in office – Catholics, Protestants, and Jews. (P.394)

 

The career of Hitler the Fuhrer had begun. Without the help of Junkers, industrialists, and militarists who made the error of thinking he was their tool, it would have been impossible. […] By outlawing communism, by exterminating the Jews, and by repudiating the Versailles Treaty he would make Germany great again. In increasing numbers, the declassed voted for Hitler’s party, which, with each election, increased its representation in the Reichstag. In 1929. The aged General Paul von Hindenburg – a symbol of Kaiser, Junker, and Herrentum – was taken out of mothballs and trotted out as a candidate for president to run against Hitler. Hindenburg won the election, but four years later he yielded to the threats of Hitler and made the former Austrian house painter Chancellor of Germany. (P.395)

 

It is interest to note that Hitler considered the Jewish strain four times stronger than the Aryan. […] ‘The fact that German anti-Semitism had evolved into anti-Christianity must be considered a highly significant symptom,’ said the Russian Orthodox Catholic theologian Nikolai Berdyaev. This basic anti-Christianity of German Nazism is something that is almost totally overlooked by popular historians and journalists. Though Nazi ideologies had proclaimed anti-Christian doctrines ever since the party was formed in 1919, only anti-Semitic slogans were stressed in world headlines. (PP.396-397)

 

They held that ‘Aryan Christianity’ had been betrayed by St. Paul; they contended that Christian churches were a sham and a fraud; and they preached that the Catholic Church was the most dangerous of all because it was both Jewish and international. […] The first concentration camps were collection points where the Gestapo – the German secret police – could send people they wanted to terrorize into submission. Most early inmates were the so-called ‘politicals’ – communists, socialists, liberals, republicans, ordinary Germans who opposed Hitler’s policies of violence, including, of course, the personal enemies of high Nazi functionaries. During the first five years of the Nazi regime, therefore, most concentration camp inmates were Christians. Jews were relatively late arrivals, the result of German anti-Semitism, which progressed in five stages, picking up at each stage a momentum of violence from its own inner dynamics. The first stage began in 1933, with the Nazi accession to power, and consisted mostly of the looting of Jewish shops, occasional beatings, and a boycott of Jewish businesses. The second stage set in with the enactment of the Nuremberg laws in 1935. The third stage began in 1939 with the mass arrest of 20,000 Jews, bringing with it the first systematic physical violence and the first mass detentions in concentration camps. Until 1939, Jews had been allowed to leave Germany upon the payment of a ransom to the German state, and by that year 300,000 of Germany’s 600,000 Jews had left the country. In 1939, the ante for emigration was raised to the total wealth possessed by each individual Jew. At this time Nazi statesmen also conceived the idea of holding Germany’s remaining 200,000 Jews as hostages for the payment by world Jewry of a ransom one and a half billion Reichsmarks. Negotiations were begun in Geneva, but with the invasions of Czechoslovakia and Poland, Germany broke off all talks. The fourth stage began in 1940 with the deportation of all German and Austrian Jews to specially created ghettos in Poland, where they were allowed to die of disease and starvation. The fifth and last stage, the so-called ‘final solution,’ was instituted by Hitler himself. It was after the invasion of Russia in 1941 that the purpose of the concentration camps changed from that of detention to that of extermination, and murder became a full-time occupation for Germans. (P.398)

 

Why did the Jews not fight back? The answer is not as complicated as some psychologists and sociologists have made it out to be. This ‘pacifism’ of the Jews has been attributed to such diverse causes as a Jewish death instinct, collective guilt complexes, self-hatred obsessions, and self-punishment wishes. Such answers betray the inner anxieties of the writers more than they illuminate the dilemma of the Jews. The fact is that the Jews, as well as the rest of the world, were at first totally unaware of the existence of the ‘final solution,’ which was kept in strictest secrecy by the Nazis. When the horrible truth did begin to seep out, the Jews, along with the rest of the world, refused to believe that anyone could be so inhuman. Not until 1943 did the Jews begin to realize that the rumors of death camps were all too true. But by this time, it was too late for effective resistance. Jewish communities had been broken up. (P.402)

 

The most spectacular of several such rebellions was that of the Warsaw ghetto in 1943. Warsaw was one of the collection points for Jews from Eastern Europe. Just as the Romans during the siege of Jerusalem built a wall around that city, so the Germans built a wall around the Warsaw ghetto, sealing it off tightly. (P.403)

 

The Poles hoped that the Germans would solve their ‘Jewish problem’ for them. Little did they realize the surprise the history had in store for them. When, in July 1944, the Polish underground staged its own uprising against the Germans, the Poles begged the Russians to come to their aid. But just as the Poles had refused to come to the aid of the Jews, so the Russians refused to come to the aid of the Poles. The well-armed Polish underground army of 150,000 men was annihilated. The Germans had solved Russia’s ‘Polish problem’ for her. (P.404)

 

Three million Jews perished in these death camps. Most were Jews from Eastern Europe with a small minority from the West. To the glory of France, Belgium, Holland, and Italy, let it be said that they refused to cooperate with Germany in the deportation of their Jewish nationals. […] Quite different was the story in Eastern Europe. Poland’s action was the most shameful. Without a protest she handed over 2,800,000 of her 3,300,000 Jews to the Germans. Poor Poland was to discover that the Germans had even more contempt for her than for the Jews. The Germans slaughtered like cattle over 1,5,000,000 Poles. In Romania and Hungary, the picture was almost equally dismal. Half the Jews perished in these two countries; only the arrival of the Soviet troops saved the remainder. (P.406)

 

At no point, however, did the Russian people or government abandon Jews to the Germans. (P.407)

 

The Germans, who time after time had complained to the world that they were destitute and had begged America and England for money, somehow found USD272,000,000,000 to spend for their six-year war. Hitlers did not come cheap. […] Those who collaborated most with the Nazis in the end became their victims. (P.408)

 

The ratio of contemplated mass killing was no longer 1.4 Christians for every Jew, but 5.3 Christians for every Jew. Nazi future plans called for the killing of 10 million non-Germanic people every year. […] If the Christian reader dismisses what happened in Germany as something which affected a few million Jews only, he has not merely shown his contempt for the 7 million Christians murdered by the Nazis but has betrayed his Christian heritage as well. […] Once out of the Nazi cul-de-sac, Jewish history regrouped its forces and continued toward its previously announced goal of creating a new Jewish state. The motivating force behind this course was Zionism, which had its origins in the Haskala and Western Enlightenment. (P.409) 


TWENTY-NINE

 

THE WILL TO WIN: FROM ZIONISM TO THE STATE OF ISRAEL

 

May 15, 1948, was a bad day for the United Nations. On that day the armies of five Arab countries – Egypt, Transjordan, Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon – invaded Israel with the avowed intention of annihilating that new state, which only the day before had so proudly proclaimed its independence. […] What, indeed, had happened? The Jews had had no armies of their own since 135 A.D., when bar Kochba had led them in their third uprising against Rome. Where had these Jewish armies advancing on Cairo come from? Since the sixth century A.D. the Jews had been a minority in Palestine. Now they were fast becoming the dominant majority. As late as 1900, Palestine had been a barren, stony, cactus-infested patch of desert.  […] Contrary to popular opinion, revolutions are not started by the oppressed masses, nor are they overnight phenomena. They are generated by the intellectuals who come from the bourgeoisie or the aristocracy. Revolutions also have long incubation periods, which often take half a century before the infecting idea breaks out into the rash of revolt. Before a successful revolution can deliver its promised state, it must undergo three stages of gestation, each in charge of a set of specialists whom we shall call ‘intellectuals,’ ‘politicals,’ ‘bureaucrats.’ (P.411)

 

Robespierre, Danton, and Marat in France; Adams, Jefferson, Hamilton, Madison, and Franklin in America; Lenin, Trotsky, and Stalin in Russia – none, incidentally, workers or peasants. The task of the bureaucrats, who sooner or later must supplant the politicals to ensure the success of the revolution, is to restore tranquility and to institutionalize the radical new ideas into a normal way of life. […]  The Zionists were fully aware that there were not enough Jews in Palestine to establish a nation. The historic task of the Zionist motivators was to motivate enough Diaspora Jews to migrate to Palestine to assemble the parts for a new Jewish state. (P.412)

 

Actually, ‘Zionism’ was a new name for an old ideology; it simply signifies ‘a return to Zion’ – that is, a return to Jerusalem. The idea of such a return has permeated Jewish thinking over since the earliest days of the Diaspora. […] Until modern Zionism, most Jews had always thought that a messiah would lead them back to the Promised Land. The Zionists shifted this responsibility from the shoulders of a messiah to the shoulders of the Jews. […] Zion was the original name for the Jebusite stronghold in Jerusalem. When the city was captured by Kind David, he made ‘Zion’ a symbol for Jerusalem itself. (P.413)

 

Palestine, after six hundred years of Western influence under the Greeks and the Romans, was taken back to Orientalism by the Byzantine Empire, as the eastern half of the Roman Empire was then called. During two and a half centuries of Byzantine rule, the Jewish population in Palestine for the first time dwindled to a minority through death and migrations. Palestine became a battleground for clashing Byzantine and Persian armies, a stage for warring Christian sects, and the scene of an intense relic hunt. (P.414)

 

The chain reaction from the idea of Zionism to the reality of Israel was touched off about 1860, at which time the messianic concept of a ‘return to Zion’ began to change into the political concept of a ‘return to Palestine.’ This change in Jewish outlook coincided with the beginnings of the transformation of the anti-Jewishness of the Middle Ages into the anti-Semitism of the Modern Age. (P.416)

 

During World War I, in exchange for the promise of an Arab revolt against the Ottoman Empire, Britain secretly also gave her qualified support for Arab independence. The artificial boundaries in the Arab world that we now regard as engraved in stone did not exist until after World War I, when the Ottoman Empire was neatly dismembered by England and France in a series of clinical lessons known as ‘peace conferences.’ (P.423)

 

By 1930 the trend toward higher living and health standards for the Palestinian Arabs was well established and constituted a clear and present danger for the feudal system throughout the Middle East. Feudal Arab leaders, afraid of losing their privileges, embarked on a program to destroy the seat of democratic infection, cleverly using the forces of emerging Arab nationalism. The British sat by and did nothing, not because they were anti-Semitic – which they were not – but because they had an empire to preserve. The course of British policy would have been no different had the Jews not been Jews, but Frenchmen or Italians. The historic fact was that the Jews in 1918 had been confronted with a monumental challenge and had committed a monumental blunder. They underestimated the force of nascent Arab nationalism and followed the British lead in opposing it. Even before the end of World War I, some Zionist leaders had foreseen the impending struggle for power and realized that even if the Jews were to conquer Palestine with the hoe, they would have to hold it with the gun. The establishment of a Jewish army, they argued, was absolutely essential. The father of such an army was colorful, Russian-born Vladimir Jabotinsky (1880-1940), who, in his British officer’s uniform, pince-nez, and riding crop, was the image of a Kipling pukkah sahib. […] It was the remnants of these combat-tested companies which Jabotinsky used to form the Haganah, the Jewish army in Palestine, and in 1920 it repelled the first Arab attack on the Palestinian Jews. (P.425)

 

Accordingly, Arab leaders in Palestine made a secret alliance with the Nazis. In exchange for German money and arms. Arab leaders promised to support Hitler in case of open conflict between Germany and England. Britain sat back and waited, having every expectation that Jews and Arabs would exhaust themselves, leaving the British in control. But such was not to be the case. The expected violence flared up in 1936. Well supplied with arms by the Nazis, the Mufti and his forces struck with fusillades of rifle fire in city and countryside. On street and highway, from buses and cars. All Palestine was an armed camp, but the official Zionist policy was to use the Haganah for defense only, not for counterattacks. Jabotinsky violently disagreed with this policy, urging the Jews to strike back at both Arabs and British. He organized an underground paramilitary force known as the Irgun, whose threefold aim was to fight the Arabs to a standstill by taking the war to them, to force the British to leave Palestine, and boldly to declare Palestinian independence. As Arab terror increased, the ranks of Jabotinsky’s Irgun swelled. (P.426)

 

The Peel Commission took a long look, found the British Mandate unworkable, and recommended that Palestine be partitioned into separate Jewish and Arab states. The Jews accepted the recommendations with misgivings and the Arabs rejected it with gunfire. To prevent a partition of Palestine, the British quickly came up with a compromise solution, the White Paper of 1939, which was accepted with reluctance by the Arabs rejected with gunfire by the Jews. This White Paper proposed that Jewish immigration be limited to 15,000 a year for five years and then stopped altogether. The White Paper led to the first open Jewish defiance of the British. […] When the curtain rose again in 1945 on the Palestinian drama, the actors sprang to life, taking the same parts they had in 1941; British policy was still the White Paper; Arab policy was still to oppose all Jewish immigration; and Jewish policy remained that of unrestricted immigration. (P.427)

 

On November 29, 1947, the General Assembly voted 33 to 13 for partition. The Jews accepted the decision; the Arabs defied it. After twenty-six turbulent years, the British Mandate had come to an end. (P.428)

 

The State of Israel was officially born at 4:00 P.M., Friday, May 14, 1948, at the Tel Aviv Museum, where the Jews listened to Ben-Gurion proclaim the independence of the State of Israel. (P.429)

 

Israel, pressured into giving up the Sinai and Gaza, was left holding a bagful of empty promises. Before the next war, Israel was to face the establishment of the Palestine Liberation Organization in 1964; the first PLO raid into Israel in 1965; and continuing Arab rhetoric threatening to annihilate it. (P.437)

 

Never before in history had the vanquished threatened a new war and the victors begged for peace. (P.439)

 

The Arabs tripled the price of oil, making huge sums of money – not to improve the life of their people, but to purchase arms to finance terrorism, and to finance their leaders’ luxurious lifestyles while keeping the Palestinians in refugee camps. (P.445)

 

…it is hard to understand why the world could watch Arabs threaten and murder and terrorize each other as well as Israelis and Westerners but often only object when Israel fought back. (P.448)

 

VIII

 

CONCLUSION: A CULTURAL MOSAIC

 

During the four-thousand-year odyssey of the Jewish people, from the twentieth century B.C. to the twentieth century A.D., they struggled, fought, fell, revived, regressed, and advanced over four continents and through six civilizations surviving against all odds. (P.453)

 

…as in the past, the State of Israel today is a citadel of Judaism, a heaven of refuge, the center of Jewish nationalism where dwell only 3,750,000 of the world’s 17,500,000 Jews. The Diaspora, although it has shifted its center through the ages with the rise and fall of civilizations, still remain the universal soul of Judaism. (P.457)

 

Though constituting but 1.5 percent of Russia’s population, in 1970 Jews were estimated 12 percent of Russia’s top scientists, intellectuals, and scholars. With the demise of communism, Russia seems, for the moment, an unlikely site for the next dominant civilization. But we cannot know what fifty of five hundred years will bring. Since 1967 almost a million of Russia’s Jews have gone to Israel and to America, but some will remain, and only time will tell how strongly the spark of Judaism burns among the ostensibly agnostic Russian-Jewish youth. Nor is it beyond possible that a Diaspora center could establish itself in China. In the tenth century, China played host to a flourishing Jewish community in Kaifeng, important enough for Marco Polo to mention. This community fell into decay by the nineteenth century, when history served its ties with the Western Diaspora. […] South America’s Jews are today as dependent on the ideas and culture of the Jews of the United States as the latter were dependent upon the ideas of European Jewry before 1900. Although Judaism in South America today is diffused and decentralized. (P.458)

 

…two thirds of the civilized world is already governed by the ideas of Jews – the ideas of Moses, Jesus, Paul, Spinoza, Marx, Freud, Einstein. (P.460)

 

APPENDIX

 

THE RECENT HISTORY OF PALESTINE / ISRAEL

 

Their numerous wars, Arab-Israeli and Arab-Arab, have not solved the problems. (P.461)

 

Palestine before 1914, and during 1914 to 1917 includes the present status of Israel and Jordan until noted otherwise. (P.462)

 

Britain partitions Palestine at Jordan River and recognizes Transjordan (March 27, 1921), giving Arabs approximately 80 percent of Palestine. Arabs believe entire Middle East was promised to them. Armed rebellion in effort to gain remaining 20 percent of Palestine. Hereafter, Palestine will refer only to this remaining 20 percent – not because this is historically accurate but because it has become common usage. (P.464)

 

The Arabs, nevertheless, created an advisory panel to serve as a liaison between the Palestinian delegation and the PLO, and insisted on discussing a Palestinian state before they would discuss an interim agreement, they refused to renounce the state of war that has been maintained by the Arab states against Israel since 1948. (P.489)

 

 

 


 

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