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Kevin MacDonald
Separation and Its Discontents
Toward an Evolutionary Theory of Anti-Semitism
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This book builds upon my previous work, A People That Shall Dwell Alone: Judaism as a Group Evolutionary Strategy (MacDonald 1994; hereafter PTSDA). While PTSDA focused on developing a theory of Judaism within an evolutionary framework, the present volume focuses on the phenomenon of anti-Semitism. Judaism and anti-Semitism fairly cry out for an evolutionary interpretation. tAnti-Semitism has been a very robust tendency over a very long period of human history and in a wide range of societies with different forms of government, different economic systems, and different dominant religious ideologies. Many anti-Semitic episodes, such as the Iberian inquisitions and the Nazi holocaust, have been characterized by extraordinary intra-societal violence. Moreover, anti-Semitism has sometimes been characterized by a very overt, self-conscious racialism—a phenomenon that immediately suggests the relevance of evolutionary theory.

A principle concern of this work is therefore with ethnic conflict. There is at present an incredible urgency for coming to a scientific understanding of ethnic conflict. As I write this, “ethnic cleansing” and the creation of ethnostates have torn apart Yugoslavia, and there are deep-rooted ethnic conflicts in Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. Opposition to liberal asylum laws has given rise to violence in Germany, and, closer to home, Los Angeles was recently shaken by large-scale urban violence in which ethnic conflict was a prominent feature.

The basic thesis of this book can be summarized by the proposition that Judaism must be conceptualized as a group strategy characterized by cultural and genetic segregation from gentile societies combined with resource competition and conflicts of interest with segments of gentile societies. This cultural and genetic separatism combined with resource competition and other conflicts of interest tend to result in division and hatred within the society.

Nevertheless, as Leslie White (1966, 3) wrote many years ago in his discussion of the Boasian school of anthropology as a politically inspired cult, “One who follows procedures such as these incurs the risk of being accused of indulging in non-scholarly, personal attacks upon whom he discusses. Such a charge is, in fact, expectable and completely in keeping with the thesis of this essay. We wish to state that no personal attacks are intended.”

No personal or ethnic attacks are intended here, either. Nevertheless, the charge that this is an anti-Semitic book is, to use White’s phrase, expectable and completely in keeping with the thesis of this essay. A major theme of this volume, found especially in Chapters 6 and 7, is that intellectual defenses of Judaism and of Jewish theories of anti-Semitism have throughout its history played a critical role in maintaining Judaism as a group evolutionary strategy. Parts of the book read as a sort of extended discourse on the role of Jewish self-interest, deception, and self-deception in the areas of Jewish historiography, Jewish personal identity, and Jewish conceptualizations of their ingroup and its relations with outgroups. This is therefore first and foremost a book that confidently predicts its own irrelevance to those about whom it is written.

Overview

Chapter 1 presents a theory of anti-Semitism based on an evolutionary interpretation of social identity theory—a major approach to group conflict in contemporary social psychology. A major conclusion of PTSDA was that in traditional societies, and continuing well into the modern period, Jews have appeared as a highly visible and impermeable group that has segregated itself from the larger society. Moreover, there has often been resource competition and other conflicts of interest between Jews and gentiles. Social identity theory predicts that such conditions will lead to group conflict as well as to a number of psychological processes in which both Jews and gentiles develop negative stereotypes of the other group. These stereotypes need not be based on accurate information, and they typically result in positive evaluations of the ingroup and negative evaluations of the outgroup.

Chapter 2 describes the ideology and practice of anti-Semitism. Anti-Semitism has been a very common phenomenon in many societies over prolonged periods of history. Anti-Semitism was widespread in the ancient world, and there is evidence that the priestly redactors of the Tanakh anticipated that anti-Semitism would be a chronic problem in the diaspora. Several theoretically important themes of anti-Semitic writings are explored, including Jewish clannishness and cultural separatism, economic and cultural domination of gentiles, and the issue of loyalty to the other groups in the society.

Chapters 3–5 focus on three critical examples of Western anti-Semitic movements: the development of institutionalized anti-Semitism in the Roman Empire in the 4th century, the Iberian inquisitions, and the phenomenon of National Socialist anti-Semitism in the period 1933–1945 in Germany. The common denominator of these movements is that they involved a powerful sense of gentile group cohesion in opposition to Judaism, and it is argued that each of these movements may be profitably analyzed as a reaction to the presence of Judaism as a highly successful group evolutionary strategy. It is argued on theoretical and empirical grounds that powerful group strategies tend to beget opposing group strategies that in many ways provide a mirror image of the group which they combat.

Chapter 6 discusses various Jewish strategies for limiting anti-Semitism during different historical eras. Jewish groups have developed a highly flexible array of strategies in order to minimize the effects of anti-Semitism. Here I emphasize the strategies of crypsis during periods of persecution and community controls emanating from within the Jewish community proscribing Jewish behavior likely to lead to anti-Semitism. I also describe attempts to obtain favorable policies toward Jews by influencing the political process via lobbying and by payments to, personal relationships with, and performing indispensable services for gentile political leaders or elites. I also discuss various image-management strategies, including recruiting gentiles to support Jewish causes as well as controlling the public image of Judaism via censorship of defamatory materials and the dissemination of scholarly material supporting Jewish interests.

Chapter 7 discusses the long history of rationalizations of Judaism, particularly in the areas of historiography, religious apologia, and the development of Jewish theories of Judaism. Examples are provided indicating that Jewish religious and secular ideologies are highly malleable and are thus able to serve immediate needs for developing a positive conceptualization of the Jewish ingroup. These ideologies function to promote group allegiance among Jews as well as to present a positive image of Judaism to gentiles.

Many of the rationalizations of Judaism mentioned in Chapter 7 appear to involve deception and/or self-deception, and these themes are continued in Chapter 8. Jewish self-deception touches on a variety of issues, including personal identity, the causes and extent of anti-Semitism, the characteristics of Jews (e.g., economic success), and the role of Jews in the political and cultural process in traditional and contemporary societies. I argue that Jews, and especially those who strongly identify as Jews, would be relatively prone to self-deception by ignoring or rationalizing negative information about themselves and their ingroup.

Finally, the concluding chapter discusses whether Judaism has ceased to be an evolutionary strategy because of the current levels of intermarriage among some groups of diaspora Jews. Briefly, I argue that reports of the demise of Judaism—the “ever-dying people”—are greatly exaggerated.

Much of this and the previous volume is preparatory to a final book in this series, The Culture of Critique: An Evolutionary Analysis of Jewish Involvement in Twentieth-Century Intellectual and Political Movements. That book will provide a theoretical analysis and a review of data on the phenomenon of the widespread tendency among certain highly influential Jewish-dominated intellectual movements to develop radical critiques of gentile culture that are compatible with the continuity of Jewish identification. These movements have the common feature of attempting to combat anti-Semitism by advocating social categorization processes in which the Jew/gentile distinction is minimized in importance; also, there is a tendency to develop theories of anti-Semitism in which ethnic differences and resource competition are of minimal importance. In some cases, these movements appear to be attempts to develop a fundamental restructuring of the intellectual basis of gentile society in ways conducive to the continued existence of Judaism. Particular attention will be paid to Boasian anthropology, psychoanalysis, leftist political ideology and behavior, the Frankfurt School of Social Research, and attempts to alter the ethnic composition of the United States by influencing immigration policy.

This project has obviously been quite wide-ranging, and I have profited a great deal from the comments of a number of scholars in the areas of history, evolutionary biology and psychology at various stages in the preparation of this book, including C. Davison Ankney, Hiram Caton, David Dowell, Martin Fiebert, John Hartung, Peter LaFreniére, John Pearce, Ralph Raico, J. Philippe Rushton, Frank Salter, and David Sloan Wilson. Regrettably, there are others who have made helpful comments but have asked that their names not appear here. I would also like to give special thanks to Seymour W. Itzkoff, the editor of this series, for his helpful comments on earlier versions of the manuscript, and to James Sabin of Greenwood Publishing for his handling of this project through difficult times.

This is a reprint of the hardcover edition published originally in 1998 by Praeger, an imprint of Greenwood Publishing. The only changes are changes in formatting and pagination.
There is little that I would like to change at this point. However, there are two issues that merit further discussion: psychological mechanisms of ethnic conflict and a reply to Paul Rubin. Rubin, an academic economist, published some negative comments on the ideas contained in Separation and Its Discontents in the journal Politics and the Life Sciences (Rubin 2000). These issues are discussed in the following. I am also continuing to publish material relevant to other themes raised in this book: Jewish ethnocentrism and self-deception (MacDonald 1998/2002; 2003a), the effectiveness of Jewish activism (MacDonald 2003a), anti-Semitism (MacDonald 2001, 2002a, 2002/2003), neo-conservatism as a Jewish intellectual movement (MacDonald 2003b), and an evolutionary perspective on Western culture (MacDonald 2002b).

Psychological Mechanisms of Ethnic Conflict • 6,700 Words

Chapter 1 deals almost exclusively with social identity theory as a way of understanding ethnic relations. I have come to think that there are several mechanisms that are important; this Introduction attempts to rectify this gap.

Ethnicity is not unique in calling for theoretical pluralism. Pluralism of mechanisms devoted to solving the same adaptive problem is common, especially, I suggest, for systems designed to solve problems with very high potential costs or benefits to the organism. For example, an adequate theory of aggression must include universal adaptations whereby aggression is triggered in specific contexts (e.g., sexual jealousy triggered by signs of infidelity; threat to an ingroup; certain types of aversive stimulation) (Berkowitz 1982; Buss 1999). However, we also need theories that can account for sex differences, individual differences, and group differences in aggression. These imply the importance of genetic and environmental influences on a variety of evolved systems, including temperament/personality systems associated with aggression (sensation seeking, impulsivity, and social dominance). Also implicated are emotionality (related to the tendency to exhibit anger and irritability) and sociopathy (related to the inability to experience the emotions of sympathy, empathy, and love [MacDonald 1995a]). Finally, learning mechanisms, such as being exposed to successful aggressive models, and cognitive mechanisms (e.g., tendencies to over-attribute hostile intent) have also been implicated in aggression (Coie & Dodge 1998).

The following discusses four systems underlying the phenomenon of ethnic identity: social identity mechanisms, genetic similarity theory, a racial/ethnic human kinds module, and domain-general problem solving mechanisms.

Social Identity Theory

The first chapter of Separation and Its Discontents emphasized the fundamental importance of social identity theory for understanding ethnic conflict. I recently came across the following quotation from William Graham Sumner who, writing in 1913, expressed all of the essential ideas that have been verified by modern psychology:

Loyalty to the group, sacrifice for it, hatred and contempt for outsiders, brotherhood within, warlikeness without—all grow together, common products of the same situation. It is sanctified by connection with religion. Men of an others-group are outsiders with whose ancestors the ancestors of the we-group waged war. . . . Each group nourishes its own pride and vanity, boasts itself superior, exalts its own divinities, and looks with contempt on outsiders. Each group thinks its own folkways the only right ones, and if it observes that other groups have other folkways, these excite its scorn. (Sumner 1906, 13)

As noted in Chapter 1, social identity research indicates that people in threatened groups develop a psychological sense of shared fate. The fact that social identity mechanisms appear to be highly sensitive to the presence of external threat to the group is compatible with supposing that people continue to track individual self-interest; in the absence of threat people are more individualistic, and in times of threat, group and individual interests increasingly coincide and group members increasingly have a shared fate.

Shared fate in human groups is likely to occur during situations such as military conflicts and other examples of intense between-group competition in which defection is not individually advantageous or is not an option at all. In attempting to develop an evolutionary scenario for these processes, I suggest that warfare is the most likely candidate to meet these conditions. Warfare appears to have been a recurrent phenomenon among pre-state societies. Surveys indicate over 90% of societies engage in warfare, the great majority engaging in military activities at least once per year (Keeley 1996, 27–32). Moreover, “whenever modern humans appear on the scene, definitive evidence of homicidal violence becomes more common, given a sufficient number of burials” (Keeley 1996, 37). Because of its frequency and the seriousness of its consequences, primitive warfare was more deadly than civilized warfare. Most adult males in primitive and pre-historic societies engaged in warfare and “saw combat repeatedly in a lifetime” (Keeley 1996, 174).

Shared fate would be likely in situations where potential defectors were summarily executed or severely punished by the ingroup, or in situations where survivors were summarily executed by a conquering outgroup or lost access to women and other resources. There is little evidence for high levels of discipline and coercion in pre-state warfare, although it occurred at least in some cases (Turney-High 1971). Nevertheless, cowards were often shamed, and courage was a highly valued trait (Keeley 1996, 42–44; Turney-High 1971), so that defection from the fighting group did indeed have costs as a result of social pressure. More important perhaps is that the slaughtering of conquered peoples, especially males, has been a persistent feature of warfare. In their rise to power, the Aztecs probably “slaughtered those who opposed them, as all conquerors have always done” (Keegan (1993, 114). In pre-state warfare, while women were often taken as prizes of warfare, immediate death was often the fate of women and children and the certain fate of adult male prisoners: “Armed or unarmed, adult males were killed without hesitation in battles, raids, or the routs following battles in the great majority of primitive societies. Surrender was not a practical option for adult tribesmen because survival after capture was unthinkable” (Keeley 1996, 84).

There is reason to suppose, therefore, that situations of intense between-group conflict have recurrently given rise to shared-fate situations. Moreover, Boehm (1997) shows that human hunter-gatherer groups are characterized by an “egalitarian ethic” for an evolutionarily significant period—long enough to have influenced both genetic and cultural evolution. The egalitarian ethic implies that meat and other important resources are shared among the entire group, the power of leaders is circumscribed, free-riders are punished, and virtually all important decisions are made by a consensus process. The egalitarian ethic thus makes it difficult for individuals to increase their fitness at the expense of other individuals in the same group, resulting in relative behavioral uniformity and relatively weak selection pressures within groups. Mild forms of social control, such as gossip and withholding social benefits, are usually sufficient to control would-be dominators, but more extreme measures, such as ostracism and execution, are recorded in the ethnographic literature. By controlling behavioral differences within groups and increasing behavioral differences between groups, Boehm argues that the egalitarian ethic shifted the balance between levels of selection and made selection between groups an important force in human evolution.

Although social identity mechanisms are pan-human universals, Chapter 1 argues that Jews have an intense sense of group belonging that has sometimes resulted in martyrdom rather than leaving the group. Such individuals are extremely prone to a sense of shared fate to the point that defecting from the group is not a psychologically available option. Particularly striking is the account of Jewish martyrs during the Crusades of 1096, when men killed their families rather be converted to Christianity (see Ch. 1).

Martyrdom as a response to being required to betray religious law is a recurrent theme of canonical Jewish religious writings, beginning with the “binding of Isaac” in Genesis (i.e., Abraham’s agreement with God’s command to sacrifice his son) and including several stories in the later portions of the Hebrew Bible (Isa:40–55; the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the Book of Daniel), the Apocrypha (e.g., the story of Hannah and her seven sons in IV Maccabees), the writings of Philo and Josephus, Midrashic commentaries, the Mishnah, and the Talmud (Agus 1988; Droge & Tabor 1992). Individual well-being in an afterlife was an important theme of these writings, but there was also an ideology that martyrdom under certain circumstances was critical to the success of the group,: “It was through the blood of these righteous ones, and through the expiation of their death, that divine Providence preserved Israel, which had been ill-used (IV Macc. 17:22).

The discussion in the Babylonian Talmud (b. Sanhedrin 74a–75a) provides conflicting opinions, with one group holding that martyrdom is required to avoid committing transgressions involving idolatry, incest, adultery, and murder, while a stricter group held that if a Jew is publicly required to transgress any law no matter how trivial (including the Jewish custom of wearing white shoe straps rather than the black shoe straps worn by the Romans), “one must be martyred even for a minor precept rather than violate it.” Later, Maimonides (b. 1135) held that while heroic defiance of religious persecution was “a normative ideal” and a “legitimate and noble act” for the Jewish community (Halkin & Hartman 1985, 57, 66), transgressions performed to avoid martyrdom were not required except under certain circumscribed conditions and transgressors could remain members of the community despite past sins (Maimonides 1985, 25). Reflecting the collectivist tendencies of Judaism, Maimonides’ criterion for whether martyrdom or transgression was required was whether the community as a whole would be better off with one strategy or the other.

There is no reason to suppose that such an extreme level of self- sacrifice is a pan-human psychological adaptation; not all of us are so deeply attached to our groups. Indeed, Europeans are much more prone to individualism and seem to generally lack the profound sense of group identity that is so characteristic of Jews (MacDonald 1998/2002). In any case, the existence of significant numbers of people for whom desertion from the group is not a psychologically available option shows that between-group selection must be presumed to have occurred among humans. Even so, the existence of such people is not a necessary condition for groups being a vehicle of selection. Even if all humans were entirely opportunistic and fickle in their group affiliations so that group membership was always contingent on individual self-interest, groups as a vehicle of selection would still be required in order to understand the behavior of coordinated groups (Wilson 2002).

Genetic Similarity Theory

Genetic similarity theory (GST) was also discussed briefly in Chapter 1. My discussion was tentative and cautious, reflecting the decidedly negative reception this theory has received among many evolutionists. GST extends beyond kin recognition by proposing mechanisms that assess phenotypic similarity as a marker for genetic similarity (Rushton 1989). These proposed mechanisms promote positive attitudes, greater cooperation, and a lower threshold for altruism for similar others. GST is the only way to account for the finding that there is a correlation between the heritability of traits and the degree of positive assortment for those traits by spouses and best friends. A recent paper by Rushton (1999) shows that people not only assort positively for a wide variety of traits, but they do so most on traits that are more heritable.

Tooby and Cosmides (1989) argue that even if one could imagine a mechanism that assessed genetic similarity on the basis of phenotypic similarity, it would not be independent of biological relatedness in the real world: “The probability that a Pleistocene human during his lifetime would encounter a non-relative who was substantially more ‘genetically similar’ than the local population average was negligible.” But this is not the critical issue. Pleistocene humans may well have been selected to always favor their relatives (kin selection) but to also assort preferentially in marriage, coalitions, and resource transactions partly as a function of genetic similarity. As long as groups consisted of more than immediate close relatives, it is easy to see that this would be adaptive— for example, by making one more related to one’s children and more compatible with one’s spouse. I agree with Tooby and Cosmides that such a mechanism would not lead to altruism, but it would result in increased benefits for engaging in reciprocally beneficial interactions. Such a mechanism could have evolved as a result of kin selection—as a means of assessing ever more distantly related kin. But there is no reason to suppose that such a mechanism, once evolved, would be restricted only to genes of common ancestry. Indeed, how could it? After all, common genetic ancestry itself could not be assessed, but phenotypic matching would still be a good cue to genetic similarity, and much of what Rushton finds can be interpreted in this manner. Tooby and Cosmides do not address three critical findings that can only be explained by GST: assortative mating, the very powerful effect of similarity that has been documented in psychological research, and the fact that people tend to assort with others on more heritable traits (i.e., there is a correlation between the extent to which friends are similar on a trait and the heritability of the trait).

GST has important implications for theories of ethnocentrism. It implies that the continuum from phenotypic and genetic similarity to phenotypic and genetic dissimilarity is also an affective continuum, with liking, friendship, marriage, and alliance formation being facilitated by greater phenotypic and genetic similarity. This in turn suggests a genetic basis for xenophobia independent of the theory of groups—i.e., independent of social identity theory. It implies that the liking and disliking of others facilitated by this system is independent of whether the other is a member of a socially designated (culturally constructed) ingroup or outgroup.

It is important to qualify these findings by noting that the relationship between similarity and heritability occurs within category— e.g., within the area of cognitive abilities, there is greater similarity among spouses and friends for general intelligence (h=.8) than for specific cognitive abilities (h=.5). These data also support the importance of resource reciprocity in relationships of marriage and close friendship, since, for example, spouses and best friends are more similar in age, attitudes and religion than they are on physical characteristics even though the latter are more heritable. (Age, as opposed to longevity, isn’t heritable at all.) Others who are similar in these ways presumably provide one with more psychological rewards; for example, similar interests and attitudes form the basis of mutual attraction, and similar personality traits such as sensation seeking promote common interests. A common finding in the developmental literature is that friends establish common ground. Children with vastly different interests and attitudes really have nothing to be friends about. Friendship, marriage and other voluntary alliances are fundamentally relationships of reciprocity of valued resources (MacDonald 1996).

There are therefore two complementary evolutionary theories of similarity in human relationships—one based on attraction to genetic commonality in others (e.g., assortatively marrying for intelligence and a variety of other genetically influenced traits) and the other based on reciprocity in the resource value of others (e.g., a beautiful, young woman marrying a wealthy older man from a different ethnic group) (Lusk, MacDonald & Newman 1997).

Because the similarity detecting mechanisms implied by GST assess low levels of genetic relatedness, they would not be expected to produce detectable levels of providing unreciprocated resources to others (altruism), but to affect the cost/benefit structure of self-interested behavior. There is no psychological evidence that relative liking in relationships of friendship, marriage, and alliances typically involves this sort of altruism. Indeed, DeBruine (2002) found that subjects showed greater trust of others in a two-person trust game if the other person’s face resembled their own. However, despite the greater trust in a phenotypically similar other, phenotypic similarity had no effect on selfish betrayals of the partner’s trust in a situation where the partner could not retaliate.

Relationships of marriage, friendship, and ethnic group affiliation fundamentally involve reciprocity, and self-interest is an obvious component of all of these relationships: Assortative mating increases relatedness to children, so that one receives a greater genetic payoff for the same parenting effort. Successful alliances and successful friendships have a greater payoff to self if genetically similar others succeed when you succeed. Successful alliances of any kind with genetically similar others have a lower threshold for trust (DeBruine 2002) and a higher threshold for defection: It remains in one’s self-interest to persevere in maintaining the alliance in the face of other self-interested opportunities. These considerations fit well with views that ethnic groups represent diluted reservoirs of genetic self-interest (Johnson 1997; Salter 2002; van den Berghe 1999).

Ethnic Groups Processed by a “Human Kinds” Module

Gil-White (2001) argues that the human brain is biased toward viewing ethnic and racial groups as biological kinds because they superficially resemble animal species. This tendency is an evolutionary accident—termed an “exaptation”: There was no natural selection for viewing ethnic groups or races as biological kinds, but the brain is fooled into supposing that different ethnic groups and races are biological kinds because they resemble natural kinds in several ways, including normative endogamy (they marry each other), descent-based membership, and the existence of culturally created phenotypic markers (scarification, forms of dress) that make different ethnic groups appear to be of a different kind. According to Gil-White, ethnic groups become a useful essentialist category supporting valid inferences not because of any biological reality to ethnicity but because the cultural markers peculiar to different ethnic groups lower the cost of interactions within the group.

Hirschfeld (1994, 1996) provides several arguments against such analogical transfer models in which human social categories are analogized from naïve biological categories (see also commentary in Gil- White 2001). Hirschfeld notes that developmental data indicate that knowledge of race does not develop in coordination with knowledge of animal species as predicted by the analogical transfer model. He argues for a domain-specific module specific to human social kinds. Hirschfeld posits an interaction between an innate domain-specific module of intrinsic human kinds combined with cultural input that race is the type of human kind that is intrinsic — that it is inherited and highly relevant to identity, more so even than other types of surface physical characteristics like muscularity or occupation. People cannot voluntarily join or leave such a social category. Even 4-year-old children view racial categories as essentialized and natural: “Young children’s thinking about race encompasses the defining principles of theory-like conceptual systems, namely an ontology, domain-specific causality, and differentiation of concepts” (Hirschfeld 1996, 88). “But racial kinds are not natural kinds (at least, not as they have classically been conceived), and they certainly are not kinds whose existence is triggered by external reality” (p. 197).

A third possibility is that we have a human kinds module designed not simply to categorize people in essentialist terms but to specifically categorize people in different racial/ethnic groups in an essentialist manner—as highly relevant to identity and not changeable by the person. Hirschfeld’s results are consistent with such a model because they show that even at very young ages children view race in more essentialist terms than either occupation or body build, although of course they are also consistent with his view that information about race is provided by the culture.

It is noteworthy that part of Mongol folk psychology is that people from other nearby ethnic groups look different and would continue to look different even if they had adopted the culture of another group. Thus Gil-White’s subjects suppose that a Kazakh child adopted into a Mongol family would “not look or behave anything like a Mongol” (Gil- White 2001, 523) even though being reared in a Mongol culture. They suppose that there is something “inside” that makes them different from outgroups despite enculturation in the outgroup.

Gil-White’s subjects may be correct that at least some of the physical and even behavioral differences between ethnic groups (e.g., differences in size as between pygmies and non-pygmies, or a reputation for fierceness or intelligence) would occur even if individuals from those groups were reared in another culture. Their essentializing tendencies may reflect an adaptation sensitive to real genetically influenced differences between the groups—an adaptive response to recurrent encounters with other human groups that differed in observable, genetically influenced traits. From this perspective, the process of essentializing groups that differ only culturally from one’s own group is a misfiring of an adaptive mechanism designed to respond to real genetic differences between groups.

The argument for an adaptation specific to ethnic outgroups is strengthened by evidence showing that our judgments about ethnicity function like a cognitive adaptation—they exhibit information encapsulation (restriction to particular types of input), rapid, unconscious processing, and automaticity—all characteristics that are notably absent from Gil-White’s analysis (Rothbart & Taylor 2001). Implicit, unconscious, and rapid processing are hallmarks of evolved cognitive modules (Tooby & Cosmides 1992). Consistent with this modular proposal, Hart et al. (2000) found that subjects did not report any conscious differences in emotional reaction to racial ingroups or outgroups. However, recordings from their amygdalas tell a different story. Hart et al. (2000) found that both Blacks and Whites showed differential amygdala responses to photographs of racial ingroup and outgroup members as assessed by Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging recordings. The amygdala is known to respond subconsciously to facial expressions of fear and evolutionarily prepared sources of fear such as snakes and spiders (Le Doux 1996; Öhman & Mineka 2001; Whalen et al. 1998). The greater amygdala activation to outgroup faces noted by Hart et al. (2000) occurred during later stimulus presentations; subjects habituated to repeated presentations of ingroup faces but not to outgroup faces. These findings are consistent with Whalen’s (1998) proposal that the amygdala acts as a vigilance system that monitors the environment for potentially threatening stimuli and ceases responding when the stimulus is no longer viewed as threatening. Several other studies show that subjects respond differently to faces of racial ingroups and outgroups (e.g., Fiske 1998). For example, subjects are better able to recall the faces of racial ingroup members (Platz & Hosch 1988; Bothwell et al. 1989).

It is noteworthy that these results are specific to facial features rather than the culturally-imposed ingroup/outgroup markers emphasized by Gil-White (2001). As noted above, DeBruine (2002) found that subjects showed greater trust of others in a two-person trust game if the other person’s face resembled his or her own. Similarly, Heschl (1993) found that politicians in the Soviet Union were more likely to support the party leader if they showed facial resemblance to that leader. These results suggest that people are sensitive to facial similarity as a marker for genetic similarity.

Nevertheless, in the absence of data from cross-cultural samples and from more closely related but different looking ethnic groups, it is premature to conclude that there is an evolved, domain specific module designed to categorize people in different racial/ethnic groups in an essentialist manner. It should also be noted that, unlike prototypical cognitive adaptations, the human kinds module is not encapsulated, since conscious beliefs and attitudes also influence responses to racial and ethnic outgroups (e.g., van den Berghe 1981). However, lack of encapsulation is not a critical problem. For example, the amygdala is known to react to evolutionarily significant sources of fear in a modular, domain specific manner, but is also known to respond to experiential influences, as in the case of learned fears (LeDoux 1996; Öhman & Mineka 2001).

Arguments that humans possess a module the perceives racial and ethnic differences as intrinsic natural kinds based solely on genetically influenced physical features require that human groups had repeated interaction with other races or ethnic groups differing in their genetically influenced physical features in the Environment of Evolutionary Adaptedness (EEA)—the environment that humans evolved in. Such arguments also require that there be valid inferences about races or ethnic groups that could have selected for an essentialist architecture specific to race or ethnicity as a genetically influenced category, and that inferences about ethnic groups or races had fitness consequences in the EEA (see Barrett 2001, 12).

Regarding the first point, Harpending (2002) notes that long distance migrations have easily occurred on foot and over several generations, bringing people who look differently for genetic reasons into contact with each other. Examples include the Bantu in South Africa living close to the Khoisans, or the pygmies living close to non-pygmies. The various groups in Rwanda and Burundi look quite different and came into contact with each other on foot. Harpending notes that it is “very likely” that such encounters between peoples who look different for genetic reasons have been common for the last 40,000 years of human history; the view that humans were mostly sessile and living at a static carrying capacity is contradicted by history and by archaeology. Harpending points instead to “starbursts of population expansion.” For example, the Inuits settled in the arctic and exterminated the Dorsets within a few hundred years; the Bantu expansion into central and southern Africa happened in a millennium or less prior to which Africa was mostly the yellow (i.e., Khoisan) continent, not the black continent. Other examples include the Han expansion in China, the Numic expansion in northern Africa, the Zulu expansion in southern Africa during the last few centuries, and the present day expansion of the Yanomamo in South America. There has also been a long history of invasions of Europe from the east. “In the starburst world people would have had plenty of contact with very different looking people.”

Finally, there was considerable overlap among various Homo species and sub-species during human evolution, as for Neanderthals and modern humans (e.g., Noble & Davidson 1996). The diffusion wave model for the spread of modern humans posits that modern humans emerged as a sub-species that had a selective advantage because of a co-adapted gene complex with N homozygous loci (Eswaran 2002; Eswaran & Harpending 2002). At intermediate values of N (~4–5) mating between moderns and archaics is strongly selected against on the assumption that individuals must have all of the “modern” genes in order to benefit. Offspring of matings between archaics and moderns would be heterozygous at these loci, and only (1/2)N of the grandchildren of such matings will be modern. This would provide strong selection pressure for the evolution of a human kinds module specific to the genetically influenced physical features of human kinds.

Within populations of modern humans, studies show measurable genetic distance even between closely related groups, as between English and Danes (e.g., Salter 2002). Individuals have a greater genetic interest (inclusive fitness) in their tribal and ethnic groups than outgroups and would benefit by mechanisms that fostered discrimination between ingroups and outgroups—the same evolutionary logic underlying social identity theory (see below) or, indeed, Gil-White’s exaptation model.

A putative evolved human kinds module would be expected to exacerbate distrust and animosity between groups because outgroups are viewed as composed of people who are fundamentally and intrinsically different (Hogg & Abrams 1987). Social identity research has indicated that social mobility (i.e., the extent to which group boundaries are permeable) influences ingroup/outgroup attitudes. The perception of permeability reduces perceptions of conflict of interest and reduces the ability of the other group to act in a collective manner, while perceptions of impermeability lead to group strategies involving competition with the other group and negative evaluations of the outgroup. Ethnic groups “tie their differences to affiliations that are putatively ascriptive and therefore difficult or impossible to change” (Horowitz 1985, 147). People are inclined to view those in outgroups as “of a different kind” and therefore not potential members of one’s one group, leading to greater conflict between groups.

Rational Choice Mechanisms

Evolutionary discussions of ethnicity often ignore the fact that humans possess rational choice mechanisms able to make cost/benefit calculations aimed at adaptively attaining evolutionary goals in novel environments. In psychological terminology, these are domain-general mechanisms, such as the g (the general factor of mental ability), classical conditioning, and social learning, that enable humans to make rational, adaptive choices in novel, complex, and relatively unpredictable environments (MacDonald 1991; MacDonald & Chiappe 2002). Applied to the issue of group membership, such mechanisms enable people to join or leave groups opportunistically depending on immediate cost/benefit calculations (see Goetze 1998), to efficiently monitor group boundaries to prevent free- riding, and to regulate relationships with outgroups (MacDonald 1994/2002).

For example, the promise of financial rewards might incline a person to abandon one group for another (e.g., those who converted to Islam during the Turkish occupation of the Balkans). Jewish religious law has highly elaborated regulations regarding Jews who inform on other Jews or endanger the lives of other Jews; these laws were invoked in a steady stream of cases against Jews who betrayed other Jews, often for personal profit (Shahak & Mezvinsky 1999). Rational choice mechanisms also underlie defining and pursuing group interests in constantly changing environments, as, for example, in navigating the institutional structure of modern multi-ethnic democracies.

Discussions of general intelligence emphasize that it is critical to solving novel problems. From an evolutionary perspective, a critical function is the attainment of evolutionary goals in unfamiliar and novel conditions characterized by a minimal amount of prior knowledge (fluid intelligence): “[Fluid intelligence] reasoning abilities consist of strategies, heuristics, and automatized systems that must be used in dealing with ‘novel’ problems, educing relations, and solving inductive, deductive, and conjunctive reasoning tasks” (Horn & Hofer 1992, 88). Research on intelligence has consistently found that more intelligent people are better at attaining goals in unfamiliar and novel conditions characterized by a minimal amount of prior knowledge. Intelligence is “what you use when you don’t know what to do” (C. Bereiter, in Jensen 1998, 111).

The general model is that human evolved motive dispositions may be attained by a variety of mechanisms. It is often noted by evolutionary psychologists that humans are not designed as generalized fitness maximizers—that our adaptations are geared to solve specific problems in specific past environments (e.g., Tooby & Cosmides 1992). However, the model adopted here—the model of domain-general mechanisms aimed at attaining evolutionary goals in novel, unpredictable environments—has quite different implications. That is, humans are conceptualized as potentially flexible strategizers (Alexander 1979) in pursuit of evolutionary goals—ethnic groups as rational egoists (Tullberg & Tullberg 1997).

For example, in the ethnically divided societies of Asia and Africa, ethnic groups typically form political parties in order to advance their interests within the current institutional structure (Horowitz 1985, 293ff). Behaving adaptively in this institutional structure requires domain general problem-solving mechanisms—developing explicit plans based on assessments of the current situation, making alliances, rallying ingroup members, and obtaining resources. Similarly, the interests of minority groups in contemporary Western societies are typically advanced via knowledge of the political and legal process: developing mechanisms for raising money; utilizing and creating social science research to influence media messages; rallying ingroup members and manipulating ingroup and outgroup members; utilizing the internet, etc. Obviously Jews, with their relatively higher mean IQ, greater average wealth, powerful group ties, and overrepresentation in the media and academic world, are the gold standard when it comes to ethnic activism (MacDonald 2003). Because of the linkage between IQ and economic success (Gottfredson 1997; Lynn & Vanhanen 2002), groups such as the Overseas Chinese in Southeast Asia and Jews, with a relatively high IQ— a domain general ability — are able to attain relatively high levels of economic success; they therefore have the resources to support effective ethnic interest organizations and influence the political process. Domain general abilities that evolved to solve novel problems in constantly shifting environments are used to advance evolutionary ancient goals.

Several theorists have argued that ethnic groups are not natural entities but are socially constructed entities typically aimed at achieving the political and economic interests of ethnic leaders (and, I suppose, in at least some cases, their followers). This perspective fits well with the domain-general perspective developed here. Ethnies can indeed appear and disappear; they coalesce and divide, and kinship relationships may be manipulated in a self-serving manner (e.g., Anderson 1983; Horowitz 1985). There is the belief, if not always the reality, of common descent. Nevertheless, there is every reason to suppose that the coalescing and dispersing often reflects evolutionarily comprehensible interests. As van den Berghe (1999, 23) notes, “Ethnic relations always involve the interplay of the objective reality of biological descent and the subjective perception, definition and manipulation of that objective reality.”

Given the importance of biological descent for understanding human interests and the flexibility provided by domain general mechanisms to achieve those interests, we may ask how one might in general develop a biologically adaptive ethnic group given the evolutionarily novel environment of large states with hundreds of millions of people and with a myriad of genetic fault lines. Designing adaptive strategies is nothing new. Among other things, the Old Testament provides a clearly articulated strategy for surviving and prospering economically while maintaining genetic integrity of the ingroup and for specializing in particular economic niches. There are other examples, including the Spartans (MacDonald 1988, 1994/2002) , and several Christian groups that have emulated aspects of Old Testament practices (e.g., Puritans, Mormons, Anabaptists) (Miele 2000; MacDonald 1994/2002; Wilson 2002). Another common pattern reflecting perceptions of rational self- interest has been for ethnic groups to pursue strategies of assimilation with closely related groups in order to increase their strength in a multi- ethnic environment such as those typical of the post-colonial era. For example, when Gabon became an independent nation, the Fang “sensed that, in a political conflict, their clan and dialect divisions were a disadvantage, and they set about recreating their former unity. A prominent part of the Fang revival was played by a legend of common origin and migration, which rested on genuine genealogies but also contained new elements, of dubious historical accuracy” (Horowitz 1985, 70).

An obvious strategy for maximizing individual genetic interests in the contemporary world would be to use domain-general problem-solving mechanisms to discover ideal patterns of association with others depending on their genetic distance from self. Ethnic groups are breeding populations; individuals have genetic interests in ethnic groups by virtue of having a greater concentration of inclusive fitness in their own ethnic group than other ethnic groups (Salter 2002). For example, population genetic studies show that the various European populations are much closer genetically than continentally separated races (Cavalli-Sforza et al. 1994), and that the distances between those populations correspond approximately to what a reasonably well-informed historian, demographer or tourist would expect. All things being equal, Scandinavians have greater overlap of genetic interests with other Scandinavians than with other Europeans, and Europeans have a greater genetic interest in other Europeans than in Africans.

The point is that whatever the fuzziness that characterizes genetic distances, people can creatively decide how best to strategize to promote their genetic interests in the current environment. Reasoning about creating adaptive ethnic groups in the novel environments present in the contemporary world is a problem that is solvable with domain general mechanisms. For example, Goetze (1997) notes that the optimal size of a political unit varies as a function of context: Small states are not viable in a world of hostile empires, and even in the modern world, small states may be the victims of unfavorable regional environments. An ethnic strategizer could look at the map of European genetic distances and decide to promote, organize, and identify with movements of his closest genetic grouping. Thus a Swede might opt for the advancement of the Swedish and Norwegian gene pool. Or such a person could look at the larger map and promote, organize, and identify with the Caucasoid group or could promote, organize, and identify with an alliance between Caucasoids and Northeast Asians. How one decides these issues is a pragmatic matter involving optimizing long-term evolutionary interests best achieved via the decontextualizing and abstraction functions characteristic of domain-general mechanisms.

Given our current knowledge of human genetic distances and human behavior, as well the need to cement powerful alliances able to act effectively on the world stage, some choices are obviously better than others. I suppose that it would be foolish for a Scandinavian-American, for example, to promote Scandinavian-American interests to the exclusion of larger groupings, because larger groupings would have more political clout, especially in a multi-ethnic context as in the United States. I suppose the best strategy would be an analogy with the model of inclusive fitness in which people participate in ethnic groups as a function of genetic distance—at the extreme teaming up with all of humanity against an alien invader.

Notice that there is no one natural place on this genetic landscape where it is rational to direct one’s energy. Different contexts demand different responses and even one’s best choices are made under uncertainty. An effective response for a Serbian living in Kosovo might be quite different than for a Serbian living in the United States. The former feel threatened by a cohesive, non-assimilating European ethnic/religious group (the Albanians), while for the latter, feeling confronted by a polyglot of many different ethnic and racial groups, cooperation with larger divisions of European-derived peoples in the United States might seem an obvious choice. But whatever choices are made, domain general problem solving is critical to the choices that are made.

Conclusion: The Importance of Genetic Distance

Of the mechanisms discussed here, only GST and the putative evolved human racial/ethnic kinds module imply a genetically based assessment of genetic distance. Social identity mechanisms are triggered by crowds of ethnically identical people on opposing sides at football games or even arbitrarily created groups as well as when the outgroup is a different race or ethnic group. According to Hirschfeld and Gil-White, essentialist thinking about race and ethnicity is not the result of real, genetically influenced racial or ethnic differences. And domain general rational choice mechanisms may be utilized in the service of attaining any number of human goals (e.g., social status) in addition to maximizing genetic interests by forming optimal coalitions based on current scientific estimates of genetic similarity.

I suggest that social identity mechanisms were adaptive in the EEA because an important set of outgroups were groups living in nearby areas that did not show detectable physical differences in appearance while nevertheless being on average less genetically similar than ingroups. That is, members of a given tribe or band were more closely related to other members of their ingroup than they were to other tribes or bands even if there were no detectable differences in physical appearance. As a result, mechanisms that result in discrimination in favor of ingroup and against outgroups would also tend to benefit people genetically. Obviously, in multi-racial, multi-ethnic states, social identity mechanisms may often result in maladaptive behavior because ingroups
and outgroups can be manipulated by the media, ethnic leaders, and other elites.

Mechanisms that do not assess genetic distance seem unable to account for the extraordinarily stubborn continuity of ethnic consciousness in many parts of the world. As van den Berghe (1999, 31) notes, many ethnic groupings are remarkably stable; the Flemings and Walloons of Belgium are “almost exactly where their ancestors were when Julius Caesar wrote De Bello Gallica.” It is difficult to imagine how social identity mechanisms could produce such stability given that these mechanisms are triggered even in arbitrarily created groups. Mechanisms for assessing genetic distance, as proposed by GST and built into the putative racial/ethnic human kinds module are the most reasonable candidates for the persistence of the ethnic phenomenon. There is substantial evidence for direct kin recognition mechanisms in a variety of animals and plants (Pfennig & Sherman 1995). Assessing the degree to which these genetically sensitive processes are important in ethnic conflict is difficult because, in actual cases, ethnic differences coincide with a variety of cultural markers, such as language and religion, that would be expected to trigger social identity mechanisms. As a result, it is difficult to know the extent to which judgments of genetic distance are actually relevant to the sense of being part of an ethnic ingroup.

One can imagine a thought experiment in which people are stripped entirely of their consciously held group identities followed by assessment of the extent to which they assort on the basis of genetic distance. The results of GST research indicate that genetically similar others would be preferred as spouses, friends, and as partners in alliances. Such a world is an atomistic world, however; it is insufficient by itself to create ethnic groups. To accomplish that, mechanisms of social identity, including establishing and maintaining group boundaries, are required. The results of social identity research indicate that the boundaries may be drawn in a arbitrary manner and still result in ingroup favoritism and discrimination against outgroups. Nevertheless, the results of GST predict that such groups would lack the rapport and cohesion of ingroups that are more genetically similar compared to the outgroups they are living among. Genetically similar groups composed of similar appearing people would also trigger the putative racial/ethnic human kinds module, thereby leading to a natural sense of “we-ness.”

To that extent, ethnic groups composed of genetically similar others are indeed natural groups, and it is mechanisms of genetic similarity and, quite possible, a racial/ethnic human kinds module that account ultimately for the staying power of ethnicity as a human grouping.

Ethnic Conflict Can Pay: A Reply to Paul Rubin • 5,500 Words

There is much to admire in Rubin’s (2000) analysis of ethnic conflict. I agree that social controls can change the cost structure of behavior within or between groups. Such social controls are a critical aspect of group evolutionary strategies (MacDonald 1994/2002) and are important supports for monogamy in Western societies (MacDonald 1995b). Among Jews, social controls were an important aspect of ingroup economic behavior because they typically restrained Jews from competing with each other in business dealings with outgroups, thereby solving the free rider problem. I also agree that humans are not restricted to a set of psychological mechanisms that evolved to deal with recurrent past challenges. As indicated in the previous section, humans are able to use domain general mechanisms such as learning and general intelligence to achieve our evolved motive dispositions in complex, novel and uncertain environments (Chiappe & MacDonald 2003; MacDonald 1991, 1994/2002).

Rubin dismisses my analysis of between-group hostility because, from the perspective of economics, it “misses the key point about increased gains from trade” (p. 64). However, the key point of an evolutionary analysis is that at the psychological level people did not evolve to be interested in the welfare of the society as a whole or the welfare of other members of the society (apart from relatives). Typically, hostility is most common among those most in competition with each other (MacDonald 1994/2002, Ch. 5). These findings fit well with everything we know about evolved psychological mechanisms (see above and Ch. 1). As a result, it is not in the least surprising, for example, that indigenous merchants and artisans in 20th-century Indonesia displaced by ethnic Chinese or the Polish merchants displaced by Jews from the 16th–20th centuries would have negative attitudes toward ethnic outsiders perceived as compromising their individual interests (MacDonald 1994/2002; Mackie 1988, 237). Their attitudes would not be changed if they were told with absolute certainty that the society as a whole benefited by them losing their livelihoods or accepting a lowered social position. Their hostility would only be amplified if the displacing agents were people from another ethnic group because such a situation would trigger social identity mechanisms of between-group conflict (see Ch. 1).

Rubin ignores the issue of ethnic hierarchy. He presents an idealized model of ethnic group interactions in which the interests of the entire society are maximized by taking advantage of specialization and the division of labor in an atmosphere of free trade. One ethnic group would specialize in making, say, hats and does so with great efficiency, while another ethnic group specializes in making swords and weapons. These two groups then benefit from trade and would suffer from erecting trade barriers.

However, throughout history the most extreme, widespread, and socially disruptive examples of ethnic hostility have occurred when one group was seen as having an economically dominant position in general—when they were perceived as being on the top of the ethnic hierarchy, or they were middlemen in exploitative economic systems in collaboration with an alien elite dominating a subject population. Perceptions of ingroup/outgroup competition are exacerbated in situations where one group is higher in status, wealthier, and far more likely to be in a supervisory role relative to the other group (see Ch. 1). Such situations not only trigger social identity mechanisms of ingroup/outgroup competition, they also trigger evolved mechanisms of social status seeking. From an evolutionary perspective, the motive of desiring high social status evolved because of a strong association between wealth, power, and reproductive success—associations that remained important at least through the 19th century in much of Europe and elsewhere (Betzig 1989; Lynn 1996; MacDonald 1994/2002, Chs. 5, 7).

Just as in the contemporary U.S., where there are chronic struggles regarding affirmative action because some ethnic groups are underrepresented in prestigious and lucrative occupations, it was common throughout Eastern and Central Europe prior to World War II to enact laws limiting Jewish access to education and government jobs and to organize boycotts of Jewish businesses (Hagen 1998). Similarly, ethnic Chinese who had immigrated to Indonesia during the Dutch colonial period displaced the nascent native traders by the early 20th century and eventually came to dominate the economy as a whole (Mackie & Coppel 1976, 5). Throughout the 20th century there was a great deal of tension between the ethnic Chinese and the indigenous Indonesian communities, including anti-Chinese riots and a variety of nationalist economic policies and affirmative action policies that attempted to assert the economic interests of the indigenous population. It is possible that these actions damaged the society as a whole (but see below); however, positive effects on the society as a whole were irrelevant to understanding the emotions of people whose path to upward mobility seemed to be blocked by a cohesive network made up of members of a different ethnic group.

Applying modern economic models showing the social benefits of economic individualism and free trade to historical data is deeply problematic because, quite simply, these models do not describe economic relationships in many traditional and in some contemporary societies. And it is exactly in these situations that ethnic hostility has been most pronounced. In many societies foreign ethnic groups have been imported by ruling elites, especially alien ruling elites, to serve as economic middlemen in exploitative relationships with indigenous peoples. This is a prominent theme in Jewish history (see Ch. 2; see also MacDonald 1994/2002, Ch. 5); it also occurred in Southeast Asia where European colonial powers imported Chinese traders and workers to serve as a middleman group between themselves and indigenous populations (Mackie & Coppell 1976, 5).

Beginning in the ancient world and extending down to the 20th century in Eastern Europe, the role of Jews as willing agents of princely exploitation was a common theme of anti-Semitism:

It was primarily because of the functions of the Jews as the king’s revenue gatherers in the urban areas that the cities saw the Jews as the monarch’s agents, who treated them as objects of massive exploitation. By serving as they did the interests of the kings, the Jews seemed to be working against the interests of the cities; and thus we touch again on the phenomenon we have referred to: the fundamental conflict between the kings and their people—a conflict not limited to financial matters, but one that embraced all spheres of government that had a bearing on the people’s life. It was in part thanks to this conflict of interests that the Jews could survive the harsh climate of the Middle Ages, and it is hard to believe that they did not discern it when they came to resettle in Christian Europe. Indeed, their requests, since the days of the Carolingians, for assurances of protection before they settled in a place show (a) that they realized that the kings’ positions on many issues differed from those of the common people and (b) that the kings were prepared, for the sake of their interests, to make common cause with the “alien” Jews against the clear wishes of their Christian subjects. In a sense, therefore, the Jews’ agreements with the kings in the Middle Ages resembled the understandings they had reached with foreign conquerors in the ancient world. (Netanyahu 1995, 71–72)

It does not follow from the fact that certain functions are needed (or unavoidable) that people in these positions do is optimal from the standpoint of others in the society or the society as a whole. Even if a particular economic niche, such as trader, was in the public interest, the people occupying this niche have conflicting interests with those who
consume their services. Many examples of ethnic hostility involved animosity resulting from the oppressive nature of economic relationships between the ethnic groups—from a perceived need for greater reciprocity and less exploitation. Having merchants and moneylenders may be necessary, but lowering the fraction of total income of moneylenders and their aristocratic patrons would be in the interests of debtors and may also conform to normative notions of economic justice (especially if these are well paid occupations).

Rubin ignores the historical context in which the concentration of Jews in ethnic niches such as moneylending, tax farming, and estate management generated in a great deal of hatred toward them over the ages. In traditional societies these activities were not part of a market economy but an aspect of exploitation by elites. For example, Rubin treats moneylending as a service to debtors benefiting the society as a whole—on the model of buying a house in the suburbs or starting a business by people with a predictable economic surplus and paying 5– 10% interest over a number of years. However, in the Middle Ages and down to the 20th century in much of Eastern Europe, the great majority of loans were made to people living at or near subsistence and they were made at exorbitant rates. There was often no free market in moneylending; in many cases moneylenders obtained the right to engage in these activities as a result of being granted a franchise by a nobleman or a city which received a portion of the profits. The moneylenders then charged whatever they thought they could obtain from their customers, with the exception that interest rates were sometimes capped because of complaints by ruined debtors. In addition, the Church typically acted on behalf of debtors against creditors.

Parkes (1976, 353) finds that interest rates in the Middle Ages ranged from 22–173%. In northern France the rate was capped at 43% in 1206, and compound interest was regulated in an attempt to lower the prevalent rates of 65% plus compounding (Baldwin 1986, 282; Chazan 1973, 84; Rabinowitz 1938, 44). Moneylenders often exceeded legal limitations on interest rates. For example, in Castile moneylenders were allowed 33-1/3% interest “and the constant repetition of these limitations and the provisions against all manner of ingenious devices, by fictitious sales and other frauds, to obtain an illegal increase, show how little the laws were respected” (Lea 1906–1907, I, 97; see also Parkes 1976, 356).

Loans made at such interest rates are simply exploitative, and there is little wonder that they caused hatred on the part of ruined debtors and deep concern on the part of the Church. Moneylending under these circumstances did indeed benefit moneylenders and their aristocratic backers, but, like loan-sharking today, it simply resulted in destitution for the vast majority of the customers—especially the poorer classes (Parkes 1976, 338; Mundill 1998, 247)—rather than economic growth for the society as a whole. Loans were made to the desperate, the unintelligent, and the profligate rather to people with good economic prospects who would invest their money to create economic growth; they were made “not to the prosperous farmer . . . but the farmer who could not make ends meet; not the successful squire, but the waster; the peasant, not when his crops were good, but when the failed; the artisan, not when he sold his wares, but when he could not find a market.

Not unnaturally, a century of such a system was more than any community could stand, and the story of Jewish usury is a continuous alternation of invitation, protection, protestation and condemnation” (Parkes 1976, 360). Towns often paid rulers for the privilege of expelling moneylenders (Parkes 1976, 209)—presumably a recognition that the presence of moneylenders did not benefit the community as a whole. For example, the petition of the French town of Villefranche to King Philip IV at the end of the 13th century complained that moneylenders “are absolutely and utterly destroying the town and district” (in Parkes 1976, 335). When King Charles II of Sicily decreed expulsion of moneylenders from his French possessions in 1289, he acknowledged that he had “enjoyed extensive temporal benefit” from them; in return for expulsion he obtained a tax “as some recompense for the profit which we lose through the expulsion of the aforesaid [moneylenders]” (in Mundill 1998, 283). The historical record seethes with hatred against moneylenders independent of ethnicity. However, moneylenders from a different ethnic group or religion provoked even more hostility, a reflection of the importance of ethnicity as a social category triggering the psychological mechanisms of group conflict discussed above in the previous section.
Rubin suggests that the benefits to the society would accrue even if there were monopolies or cartels maintained by the minority group. He argues that any monopoly could be effectively undercut by simply starting a business to compete with the monopoly. Moreover, if the monopolies were efficient, the society as a whole would benefit because the profit-maximizing price of an efficient monopoly would be lower than an inefficient non-monopoly.

This ignores some important historical realities. In traditional societies, monopolies such as tax farming, estate management, and many examples of moneylending were typically created by franchises or leases and maintained by the power of the state. As a result, there is no reason to suppose that they would be efficient monopolies. Even when this was not the case, there were often daunting hurdles to overcome in breaking ethnic monopolies. For example, Jewish religious law prevented Jews from challenging monopolies held by other Jews, and these laws were observed (see MacDonald 1994/2002, Ch. 6). Moreover, it was not uncommon for Jews to develop vertical monopolies, such as monopolies in raw materials that reinforced monopolies in manufactured products (MacDonald 1994/2002, Ch. 5).

The situation in Thailand shows how hard it is to break ethnic monopolies. Beginning in the nineteenth century and continuing into the present, the ethnic Chinese dominated all retail trade, rice marketing and processing, and the construction trades, while the Thai were mainly small peasant farmers dominated by a numerically small aristocratic political and military elite. The Chinese virtual monopoly on trade and commerce has made it difficult for Thais to gain a foothold. The close ethnic bonds among Chinese businessmen served to lower their costs of doing business because there is greater trust within the ethnic group than between ethnic groups (Landa 1994). “The average Chinese business man is sure of other Chinese business men; he is not quite so sure of the Thai” (Coughlin 1960, 123). Thai retailers receive poorer terms from Chinese wholesalers than do Chinese retailers—higher prices and tighter credit. Because there are relatively few Thai businessmen, they do not have a financial support system when economic times are difficult.

Landa (1994) notes that in general ethnic Chinese traders demand cash in business transactions with indigenous people but accept credit terms from fellow Chinese (because ingroup solidarity eliminates the risk of non-payment). From the Chinese perspective, prospective traders were implicitly ranked in terms of trustworthiness, ranging from near kinsmen, distant kinsmen, clansmen, fellow-villagers, fellow dialect speakers (e.g., Hokkien), non-Hokkien Chinese, and non-Chinese. “The higher transaction costs of outsiders constitute an entry barrier into personalistic markets” (Landa 1994, 108). Obviously, the increasing trust associated with greater genetic overlap reflects evolutionary expectations (see Alexander 1979).

First, the Chinese middlemen are able to appropriate profit expectations as intangible assets with a high degree of certainty, thereby facilitating middleman-entrepreneurship. Second, Chinese middlemen are able to reduce out-of-pocket costs of private protection of contracts; this shifts the total transaction-cost curve of a middleman firm downward. Third middlemen are able to economize on the holding of commodity inventories and money by the creation of an efficient forward market in goods and money within the boundaries of the Chinese middleman economy. The result is the creation of “dual markets”: the existence of forward markets and credit transactions within the Chinese middleman economy side by side with spot markets and cash transactions within the indigenous economy. (Landa 1994, 108)

This suggests that once in place, ethnic networks are difficult to dislodge for purely economic reasons. Given the difficulties in breaking monopolies held by ethnic networks, it seems unlikely that they are efficient monopolies, especially when, as in the case with historical Jewish monopolies, they were protected against competition with other Jews and from outside groups by the power of the crown. We do know that ethnic monopolies have often been a source of hostility by outsiders—presumably because of the tendency for monopolists to raise prices (a failure of reciprocity), but also because of the economically unbalanced relationship in which an ethnic outsider has a superior position.

The Eastern European arenda system is a good example of an inefficient monopoly; it was also a common source of hatred against Jews. In the arenda system, a Jewish agent would lease an estate from a nobleman. In return for a set fee, the leaseholder would have the right to all the economic production of the estate and would also retain control of the feudal rights (including onerous forced labor requirements) over its inhabitants:

In this way, the Jewish arendator became the master of life and death over the population of entire districts, and having nothing but a short-term and purely financial interest in the relationship, was faced with the irresistible temptation to pare his temporary subjects to the bone. On the noble estates he tended to put his relatives and co- religionists in charge of the flour-mill, the brewery, and in particular of the lord’s taverns where by custom the peasants were obliged to drink. On the church estates, he became the collector of all ecclesiastical dues, standing by the church door for his payment from tithe-payers, baptized infants, newly-weds, and mourners. On the [royal] estates . . . , he became in effect the Crown Agent, farming out the tolls, taxes, and courts, and adorning his oppressions with all the dignity of royal authority. (Davies 1982, 444; see also Subtelny 1988, 124)

Such a system approximates slavery, the only difference being that serfs are tied to the land while slaves can be freely bought and sold. In such systems, there is little motivation to work, and productivity is relatively low (e.g., Sowell 1983). Slave economies are notably less productive than non-slave economies (Sowell 1998 168). Moreover, temporary leaseholders would also have no motivation to make capital improvements because they are only temporary holders of the property. It seems likely that such a system would not benefit society as a whole compared to a society where there were free markets in labor, and in any case, it is easy to see that such a system would lead to anti-Jewish attitudes as well as hostility to the non-Jewish elites who employed Jews in the manner. These negative attitudes would be exacerbated because the arendators were from a different ethnic group.

Rubin argues that anti-Semitism itself is maladaptive for the society as a whole, using the Inquisition and Nazism as examples. There are certainly cases where anti-Jewish actions have damaged a society as a whole. The clearest examples are situations where anti-Jewish actions have made enemies of Jews who have then actively opposed the interests of the anti-Jewish government. There are several important historical examples. During the Inquisition, Spanish Jews actively supported governments such as the Dutch who opposed Spanish interests (Castro 1971, 244; Contreras 1991, 132). The anti-Jewish policies of the Russian Czars in the late 19th century provoked widespread anti-Russian activism not only by Russian Jews but also by wealthy Jews and Jewish organizations in Europe and the United States. For example, hostility to Russia’s anti-Jewish policies provoked the American Jewish Committee to lead efforts to abrogate a trade agreement between the U.S. and Russia, and it motivated financier Jacob Schiff to finance the Japanese war effort against Russia in 1905, to lobby to prevent Russia from obtaining financing, and to finance revolutionary movements that eventually toppled the Czar (Goldstein 1990, 26–27; Szajkowski 1967). And, as Rubin notes, Germany’s anti-Jewish policies in the 1930s resulted in the center of research in nuclear physics shifting from Germany to the U.S. These policies also made enemies of American Jewish organizations who called for a boycott of German goods and formed one of the most important pressure groups advocating U.S. entry into World War II against Germany.

Rubin cites my comment that the Inquisition had a chilling effect on intellectual inquiry in Spain to support his view that anti-Semitism has negative effects on the society as a whole. Intellectual stagnation may indeed have a negative influence on society, but it is more difficult to show that, apart from the actions of Jewish groups as described above, anti-Semitism has typically had negative economic effects, at least in the short run. The early years of National Socialist Germany were marked by what has been termed an “economic miracle” that eliminated unemployment without inflation and resulted in widespread popular support despite state sponsored anti-Semitism. There was a 60% increase in the gross national product from 1933–1937, surpassing the pre-depression levels of 1929. By the eve of World War II in 1939, the economy had increased by 124% since 1933 (Haffner 1979, 27; Noakes & Pridham 1984, 296;
Peukert 1987, 69).

Similarly, the age of Spanish conquest and exploration began soon after the Inquisition was launched in 1481 and extended well into the seventeenth century. During this period, Spain became the wealthiest and most powerful country in Europe. Eventually, the main competitors with Spain were Western European countries—especially England—that had expelled Jews in the Middle Ages. One wonders what the history of England would have been if the English Jews had not been subjected to this radical form of ethnic hostility. Historians have noted that Puritan family names indicate a disproportionate number of tradesmen and craftsmen—names such as “Chandler, Cooper, Courier, Cutler, Draper, Fletcher, Gardiner, Glover, Mason, Mercer, Miller, Sawyer, Saddler, Sherman, Thatcher, Tinker, Turner, Waterman, Webster, and Wheelwright” (Fischer 1989, 26). Puritans were also especially prominent in law and commerce (Fischer 1989, 49). If, as in Eastern and Central Europe, Jews had won the economic competition in most of these professions, the nascent middle class of England may well have been suppressed as has occurred in the last 150 years throughout Southeast Asia as a result of competition with the Overseas Chinese. The result of the suppression of the indigenous middle classes in Southeast Asia and in Eastern and Central Europe resulted in chronic conflict between ethnic groups; for example, in Poland in the early 19th century, Jews dominated all areas of the economy except for agricultural labor. Laws restricting Jews to certain areas were aimed at giving non-Jews an advantage in trade, manufacturing, and handicrafts (Mahler 1985, 172, 180). This conflict continues in contemporary times in Southeast Asia, often, as in Eastern Europe in the 19th century, with accusations that the middleman minority group is disloyal (MacDonald 1994/2002; Mackie 1988; Suryadinata 1997).

Because of the importance of ethnicity as a social category, competition between ethnic groups inhibits the development of market economies. Individualism is far more conducive to optimal (individual) utility maximization, but is unlikely to occur if people from one ethnic group fear losing in competition with those from another ethnic group (see MacDonald 1998, Ch. 5). The hypothesis that economic individualism is incompatible with group-based conflict is consistent with Américo Castro’s (1954, 497; see also Castro 1971) perspective that the Enlightenment could not develop in a Spain fraught with ethnic conflict between Jews and non-Jews, as occurred during the Inquisition: “From such premises it was impossible that there should be derived any kind of modern state, the sequel, after all, of the Middle Ages’ hierarchic harmony.”

In the contemporary world, there has been chronic conflict in Southeast Asia between the great mass of indigenous people with the ethnic Chinese who came to dominate the economy of these nations. In this conflict, indigenous elites have tended to side with the ethnic Chinese because they have benefited individually, through so-called “cukong” relationships in Indonesia and similar relationships in Thailand. These cukong relationships essentially purchased protection as well as exclusive access to government contracts and investment credits (Mackie 1976, 138; Mackie 1988, 244)—obviously a form of corruption benefiting the Chinese businessman and his elite indigenous Indonesian patrons, but compromising the interests of the great majority of indigenous Indonesians and deleterious to the society as a whole.

These cukong relationships between Chinese businessmen and elite indigenous government officials and military officers are a common source of complaint among lower-status indigenous people who are prone to blaming the collusion between the government and the Chinese for their woes (Dahana 1997). Because of their status as economically dominant ethnic outsiders, the Chinese are always susceptible to recurrent bouts of economic nationalism, affirmative action policies of ethnic favoritism aimed at benefiting the indigenous population, and resentment at manifestations of ethnic Chinese cultural separatism. These tendencies have been stronger in Indonesia, quite possibly because of the individualistic tendencies of indigenous Thai culture and because the Muslim religion of the indigenous Indonesians exacerbates tendencies to have negative attitudes toward non-Muslims. It is not far fetched to fear the re-emergence of illiberal economic policies as ethnic competition escalates in contemporary Western multi-cultural societies. Affirmative action policies recently sanctioned by the Supreme Court are definitely a step in that direction.

The Costs of Immigration and the Benefits of Ethnic Conflict

Rubin’s economic analysis leads him to discount everything except the benefits of trade. In his view, larger populations lead to larger markets, greater specialization in production and consumption, and greater technological innovation. And because there are socially imposed costs to taking account of ethnic differences and benefits from ignoring them, societies can maximize these gains by increasing immigration of different ethnic groups: “If population growth has slowed or become negative, as is true for much of the developed world, then the only way to realize these gains is to allow members of different ethnic groups to join the society” (Rubin 2000, 64).

Whether replacement migration is needed as a solution to the economic consequences of below-replacement fertility is deeply controversial. The proposed economic benefits to a constantly expanding population ignore potential environmental problems and problems related to long term sustainability because of scarcity of energy, arable land, and water resources (Abernethy 2001; Grant 2001). As Meyerson (2001, 403) notes, “population decline has as many potential advantages as disadvantages, including reduced expenditures on infrastructure such as roads and schools, lower consumption of natural resources, and decreased production of greenhouse gases and other pollutants. In a future world and human society that could be greatly challenged by climate change or other environmental problems, countries with declining populations are likely to have more options for mitigation and adaptation.”

Immigration also lowers native birth rates (Macunovich 1999), implying a direct loss in fitness to the native population. Moreover, as Borjas (1999) notes, immigration has different economic costs and benefits for different groups in the society. The economic benefits from current patterns of immigration to the U.S. are trivial for the society as a whole; the presence of well over 25,000,000 foreign-born increase the average income of people in the U.S. by about 0.1%—less than $30 per native-born person, and the main beneficiaries are employers rather than employees (Borjas 1999, 91). The most important cost is that immigrants drive down wages in sectors where immigrants compete for jobs with natives (Borjas 1999). This acts to reduce native fertility because rising wages and economic optimism are signals to recent entrants into the labor force to increase fertility (marry at a younger age and have more children) (Abernethy 1999, 2001; MacDonald 1999; Macunovich 1999). In addition, given that ethnicity remains a potent force in political behavior, large-scale immigration of non-native ethnic groups has long term political costs to natives, especially as immigrant groups attempt to influence the cost structure of ethnic conflict and discrimination by favoring their own group (see below). At the individual level, therefore, immigration can be a zero-sum game where, under current conditions, natives stand to lose.

Rubin is entirely optimistic that democracies are able to minimize ethnic conflict by simply raising the costs of conflict and discrimination, as has been done in the last 40 years in the U.S. The chronic conflict in Southeast Asia suggests otherwise—that indeed ethnic conflict is a major factor preventing complete democracy and market economies. Ethnic conflict continues in many parts of the world. Bookman (1998) shows that strategies of ethnic conflict in the modern world include manipulating the census, engaging in pro-natalist policies in order to achieve force of numbers—a tactic that is especially effective in democracies, assimilation (including forced assimilation), population transfers (including various forms of ethnic cleansing), boundary changes, economic pressures (including discrimination in employment and education), harassment, selective tax policies, different wage rates, and different ability to own property.

Moreover, the very rapidity with which ethnic conflict has been de- escalated in Western societies by changing its cost structure shows that ethnic conflict may be quickly re-ignited when it becomes profitable for one or more ethnic groups to promote conflict. And the cost structure of ethnic conflict may well change as the United States shifts from a country with a large European-derived majority to a country where Europeans are a nascent minority and thus in a much less powerful political position.

An important issue is whether ethnic conflict pays in a free market situation—that is, a situation in which the state does not influence the cost structure of discrimination and conflict, and in particular in the absence of punishment. According to Rubin, even without punishment, ethnic conflict over land would not pay off because “land is only one asset among many” (p. 66) and because our psychological mechanisms did not evolve to maximize our fitness anyway. Neither of these arguments is convincing. Land is indeed only one asset among many, but an ethnic group able to control an area of land is able to organize the state in a manner to maximize ethnic group interests. Ethnostates are able to regulate immigration policy to ensure that they retain control over their territory; they can encourage ethnic pride by influencing the educational system and media messages; they are able to influence fertility by encouraging a high birth rate, subsidizing families, and paying for fertility treatments of citizens; they can discourage intermarriage with people from other ethnic groups—partly as a result of discriminatory immigration policy; they can regulate scarce resources to favor their own people over ethnic outsiders living as minority groups with the state; they can develop close relationships with co-ethnics in other countries to influence policies that affect them. Bookman (1998) shows that all of these tactics are in fact used by ethnostates. (One wonders whether Rubin would apply his ideas in the case of Israel where his own ethnic group dominates; Israel has adopted all of these policies.)

It is indeed the case that our psychological mechanisms did not evolve to maximize our fitness, but, as Rubin himself notes, we are not restricted to mechanisms that evolved to deal with recurrent past challenges. As described in the previous section, we are able to use domain general mechanisms such as learning and general intelligence to maximize fitness in complex, novel and uncertain environments. Even though we did not evolve to maximize fitness directly, it does not follow that fitness is not a worthwhile goal. Indeed, from an evolutionary perspective, it is the only goal; fitness was an indirect but necessary outcome of our evolved psychology during our evolutionary past. In the modern world the relative costs and benefits of adopting an ethnic group strategy may be assessed using domain general mechanisms—the same mechanisms used to design the cost structure of ethnic discrimination in contemporary society.

This implies that an ethnic group may act to influence the cost structure itself, i.e., it can design a system so that the ethnic group would benefit from discrimination and conflict, as in the example of Israel mentioned above. Similarly, in the United States an ethnic group that had attained a majority as a result of a cost structure that penalized ethnic discrimination may then have enough power to alter the cost structure to discriminate in favor of its own people—affirmative action writ large.

Ethnic groups are breeding populations, and individuals have genetic interests in ethnic groups by virtue of having a greater concentration of inclusive fitness in their own ethnic group than other ethnic groups (Salter 2002). Population genetic studies show that the various European populations are much closer genetically to each other than they are to continentally separated races (Cavalli-Sforza et al. 1994). All things being equal, Scandinavians have greater overlap of genetic interests with other Scandinavians than other Europeans, and Europeans have a greater genetic interest with other Europeans than with Africans.

As indicated in the previous section, whatever the fuzziness that characterizes genetic distances, people can creatively decide how best to strategize to promote their genetic interests in the current environment. Reasoning about creating adaptive ethnic groups in the novel environments present in the contemporary world is a problem that is solvable with domain general mechanisms. Some groups are already organized effectively to pursue their interests in the modern world. For example, Jewish groups around the world maintain an elaborate network of ethnic interest organizations aimed at countering intermarriage, promoting the interests of Israel, advocating self-interested positions on church-state relations, immigration, etc. (MacDonald 1998/2002, 2003). The means used to attain ethnic interests in contemporary post-industrial societies utilize domain-general problem solving mechanisms— knowledge of the political process, how to raise money, how to utilize social science research to influence media messages, how to utilize or censor the Internet, etc. Groups, such as Jews, with a relatively high IQ—a domain general ability—are able to attain relatively high levels of economic success; they thereby have the resources to fund ethnic activist organizations and influence political parties. Again, domain general abilities are used to advance evolutionary goals.

Acknowledgement: I thank Edward Miller (Department of Economics and Finance, University of New Orleans) for his help on the reply to Paul Rubin.

Chapter 1 • A Social Identity Theory of Anti-Semitism • 10,500 Words

And why is it forbidden to deliver a female animal to a heathen woman? Because all heathen women are suspected of whoredom, and when her paramour comes to lie with her, it is possible that he will not find her at home and will lie with the animal instead. Indeed, even if he does find her, he may still lie with the animal. (The Code of Maimonides, Book V: The Book of Holiness, XXII, 142)

The theory of group evolutionary strategies described in A People That Shall Dwell Alone: Judaism as a Group Evolutionary Strategy (MacDonald 1994; hereafter PTSDA) argued that Judaism may be understood mainly as a cultural invention, maintained by social controls that act to structure the behavior of group members and characterized by a religious ideology that rationalizes ingroup behavior both to ingroup members and to outsiders. Although evolved mechanisms of group cohesion are also important, it was shown that social controls acting within the group were able to structure the group to facilitate ingroup economic and political cooperation and resource competition with outgroups, erect barriers to genetic penetration from outside the group, and facilitate eugenic practices aimed at producing high intelligence and high-investment parenting ideally suited to developing a specialized ecological role within human societies. Because of these traits, and particularly an IQ that is at least one standard deviation above the Caucasian mean, Judaism has been a powerful force in several historical eras.

The proposal that Judaism may be usefully conceptualized as a group evolutionary strategy suggests that anti-Semitism be defined as negative attitudes or behavior directed at Jews because of their group membership. This is a very broad definition—one that is equally applicable to anti-Jewish attitudes in any historical era. It is also consistent with a very wide range of external processes contributing to anti-Semitism in a particular historical era, and also with qualitative changes in the nature of anti-Jewish attitudes or the institutional structure of anti-Semitism at different times and places.

One type of evolutionary approach to anti-Semitism considers the possibility that humans have mechanisms that cause them to favor relatives or others who share genes. There is little doubt that kin recognition mechanisms exist among animals (see Rushton 1989), and some evolutionists (e.g., Dunbar 1987; Shaw & Wong 1989; van der Dennen 1987; Vine 1987) have proposed genetic mechanisms based on kin recognition as an explanation for xenophobia, although others have proposed that the genetic mechanism may well depend on learning during development (e.g., Alexander 1979, 126–128). Genetic Similarity Theory (GST) (Rushton 1989) extends beyond kin recognition by proposing mechanisms (possibly based on kin recognition mechanisms) that assess phenotypic similarity as a marker for genetic similarity. These proposed mechanisms would then promote positive attitudes and a lower threshold for altruism for similar others. There is indeed considerable evidence, summarized in Rushton (1989) and Segal (1993), that phenotypic similarity is an important factor in human assortment, helping behavior, and liking others, although whether GST can account for these phenomena remains controversial (see commentary in Rushton 1989).

Mechanisms based on kin recognition and phenotypic similarity may have some role in traditional anti-Semitism, since in traditional societies there would be much more phenotypic similarity among gentiles than between Jews and gentiles, due to differences in clothing, language, appearance (e.g., hair style), and quite often their physical features. Moreover, among Jews, there are anecdotal reports of very high levels of rapport and ability to recognize other Jews which are consistent with the existence of some sort of kin recognition system among Jews.[3]A writer in the Toronto Globe and Mail (May 11, 1993) comments on the incredible sense of commonality he has with other Jews and his ability to recognize other Jews in public places, a talent he says he has heard called “J-dar”. While dining with his prospective gentile wife, he is immediately recognized as Jewish by some other Jews, and there is an immediate “bond of brotherhood” between them that excludes his gentile companion. As Harvard sociologist Daniel Bell notes, “I was born in galut and I accept—now gladly, though once in pain—the double burden and the double pleasure of my self-consciousness, the outward life of an American and the inward secret of the Jew. I walk with this sign as a frontlet between my eyes, and it is as visible to some secret others as their sign is to me” (Bell 1961, 477). Or consider Sigmund Freud, who wrote that he found “the attraction of Judaism and of Jews so irresistible, many dark emotional powers, all the mightier the less they let themselves be grasped in words, as well as the clear consciousness of inner identity, the secrecy of the same mental construction” (in Gay 1988, 601).

However, theories based on phenotypic similarity do not address the crucial importance of cultural manipulation of segregative mechanisms as a fundamental characteristic of Judaism. Indeed, I would suggest that the segregative cultural practices of Judaism have actually resulted in ethnic similarity being of disproportionate importance for Jews in regulating their associations with others. Because of the cultural barriers between Jews and the gentile world, phenotypic similarity between Jews and gentiles on a wide range of traits was effectively precluded as a mechanism for promoting friendship and marriage between Jews and gentiles, and there was a corresponding hypertrophy of the importance of religious/ethnic affiliation (i.e., group membership) as a criterion of assortment.

Moreover, generalized negative attitudes toward dissimilar others seem insufficient to account for anti-Semitism directed against individuals because of their group membership. The mechanisms implied by GST or proposed evolved mechanisms of xenophobia postulate that each individual assesses others on a continuum ranging from very similar to very dissimilar. The important feature of Judaism, however, is that there are discontinuities created by Jewish separatism and the consequent hypertrophy of Jewish religious/ethnic (i.e., group) status as a criterion of similarity. Fundamentally, what is needed is a theoretical perspective in which group membership per se(rather than other phenotypic characteristics of the individual) is of decisive importance in producing animosity between groups.

Creating a group evolutionary strategy results in the possibility of cultural group selection resulting from between-group competition in which the groups are defined by culturally produced ingroup markings (Richerson & Boyd 1997). Boyd and Richerson (1987) show that ingroup markers can evolve as an adaptive response to heterogeneous environments. Groups mark themselves off from other groups and thereby are able to remain reproductively isolated from other groups and adjust rapidly to new and variable environments. Judaism in traditional societies was indeed characterized by a highly elaborated set of ingroup markings that effectively set Jews off from gentile society (PTSDA, Ch. 4). The proposal here is that the process of creating ingroup markings is central to understanding anti-Semitism.

The body of theory that I believe is most relevant to conceptualizing anti-Semitism derives from psychological research on social identity (Abrams & Hogg 1990; Hogg & Abrams 1987, 1993; Tajfel 1981; Turner 1987). Interestingly, social identity theory was pioneered by Henri Tajfel, a Jewish survivor of Nazi concentration camps who regards the group conflict that shaped his own life as having a strong influence on his research interests (see Tajfel 1981, 1–3).

Social identity theory proposes that individuals place themselves and others in social categories (groups).[4]I am greatly indebted to David Dowell, Department of Psychology, California State University-Long Beach, for introducing me to social identity theory as a theoretical approach for understanding group conflict. In the case of Jews, the categories are Jew and gentile, and this categorization into Jew and non-Jew is indeed a fundamental aspect of the social world of Jews. One of Portnoy’s complaints in Philip Roth’s (1969, 76) famous novel is that “the very first distinction I learned from you, I’m sure, was not night and day, or hot and cold, but goyische and Jewish.”

There are several important consequences of this process:

 

The social categorization process results in discontinuities such that people exaggerate the similarities of individuals within each category (the accentuation effect). There is a psychological basis for supposing that given the highly salient cultural separatism that has often been characteristic of Judaism, both Jews and gentiles would sort others into the category “Jew” or “gentile,” and that under conditions of intergroup comparison they would exaggerate the similarity of members within each category (Brewer 1993). By this mechanism, people reconceptualize continuous distributions as sharply discontinuous, and the effect is particularly strong if the dimension is of critical importance to ingroup distinctiveness. When intergroup conflict occurs, the dimensions are likely to be imbued with great subjective importance, so that, for example, Jews would be expected to exaggerate the extent to which gentiles share characteristics and gentiles would be expected to exaggerate the extent to which Jews share characteristics. As T. W. Adorno notes, Jews are perceived “through the glasses of stereotypy” (in Adorno et al. 1950, 617) and even in the ancient world there was a strong tendency among pagan writers “to make facile generalizations about the Jews” (Feldman 1993, 45; italics in text). As indicated below, similar stereotyping processes are evident in Jewish perceptions of gentiles.

Moreover, people also place themselves into one of the categories (an ingroup), with the result that similarities between self and ingroup are exaggerated and dissimilarities with outgroup members are also exaggerated. An important result of this self-categorization process is that individuals adopt behavior and beliefs congruent with the stereotype of the ingroup.[5]For example, in the case of traditional shtetl Jews in Poland in the early 20th century, the self-concept that Jews did not engage in physical labor was so strongly held that even starving Jews would refuse to engage in such labor. The prominent Zionist Arthur Ruppin (1971, 70) recounts an incident in which he observed a Christian chopping wood for a Jew. When the Jew was asked why he did not employ one of the many unemployed Jews in the area, he replied that “A Jew does not undertake such work, even when he is starving; it is not suitable for a Jew.” Jewish avoidance of physical labor was also commented on by gentiles, often with anti-Semitic overtones. The American sociologist Edward A. Ross (1914, 146) wrote that “the Hebrew immigrants rarely lay hand to basic production. In tilling the soil, in food growing, in extracting minerals, in building, construction and transportation they have little part. Sometimes they direct these operations, often they finance them, but even in direst poverty they contrive to avoid hard muscular labor.”

Finally, in situations where there are large proportionate differences in group size (as is typical in cases of Jewish-gentile group comparisons), there is a tendency for the minority group to stand out, with the result that both minority and majority group members tend to overestimate the consensus within the minority group (Mullen 1991). Relatively small ingroups are thus particularly likely to be perceived as homogeneous by the majority group as well as by ingroup members. Thus both Jews and gentiles are expected to be relatively prone to developing stereotypes of Jews as a relatively homogeneous group.

Perceptions of Jewish group homogeneity are quite possibly behind the very prominent theme of much anti-Semitic writing that despite appearances to the contrary, Jews are working together in a vast interlocking conspiracy to dominate gentiles. Such “conspiracy” theories, some of which are briefly described in Chapter 2, tend to overlook the extent to which different elements of the Jewish community have adopted different and even incompatible strategies vis-à-vis the gentile community (see Chapter 6). Such attributions are readily explicable within a social identity theory of anti-Semitism: outgroup members are conceptualized as having a set of stereotypically uniform negative qualities, and majority group members tend to overestimate the consensus within the minority group (Mullen 1991).

In some cases, at least, perceptions of group purpose also occur among Jews, and, from the standpoint of social identity theory, for the same reasons; i.e., as members of a very psychologically salient ingroup, Jews tend to see other Jews as members of a relatively homogeneous ingroup and as having group rather than personal goals. (Nevertheless, there is also evidence that in some cases Jews exaggerate the diversity of ingroup attitudes and behavior; see Chapter 8). Thus Irving Howe (1978) notes that Jewish group identification depends on a powerful sense of shared experience and shared obligations and memories. As a result, individual and group goals are often not clearly separated, not the least because personal experience is filtered through a powerful sense of being a Jew. As Abraham Cahan (co-founder of the Jewish Daily Forward) noted in a discussion of Jewish emigration from Eastern Europe, “Every Jew . . . came to feel he was part of an historical event in the life of the Jewish people” (in Howe 1978, 95).

Indeed, at the extreme, when there is very powerful commitment to the Jewish ingroup, the world becomes divided into two groups, Jews and gentiles, with the latter becoming a homogenized mass with no defining features at all except that they are non-Jews. The prominent Zionist author Maurice Samuel (1924, 150–151) makes the interesting comment that “the unbelieving and radical Jew is as different from the radical gentile as the orthodox Jew from the reactionary gentile. The cosmopolitanism of the radical Jew springs from his feeling (shared by the orthodox Jew) that there is no difference between gentile and gentile. You are all pretty much alike[;] . . . a single temper runs through all of you, whatever your national divisions. The radical Jew (like the orthodox Jew) is a cosmopolitan in a sense which must be irritating to you: for he does not even understand why you make such a fuss about that most obvious of facts—that you are all alike.” Similarly, the Orthodox rabbi Mayer Schiller (1996, 59) states “Sadly it is . . . the granting of humanity to the Gentile either as an individual or as a people . . . that is so often lacking in Orthodox circles. Suffering from a kind of moral blindness, we find it difficult to see the non-Jew as anything more than a bit player in our own drama.”

 

Social identity research indicates that the stereotypic behavior and attitudes of the ingroup are positively valued, while outgroup behavior and attitudes are negatively valued. The homogenization of the perceived characteristics of ingroups and outgroups has strong emotional overtones: people develop favorable attitudes toward ingroup members and unfavorable attitudes toward outgroup members. Consequently, Jews and gentiles are both expected to develop highly negative attitudes regarding the behavior of members of the other group and generally to fail to attend to individual variation among members of the other group. The ingroup develops a positive distinctness, a positive social identity, and increased self-esteem as a result of this process. Within the group there is a great deal of cohesiveness, positive emotional regard, and camaraderie, while relationships outside the group can be hostile and distrustful. Moreover, there is evidence that where there are proportionate differences in group size, individuals in minority groups are generally more prone to ingroup bias than are majority group members (Mullen 1991), suggesting that Jews would be even more strongly inclined toward positive ingroup evaluations than gentiles.

Social identity theorists propose that the emotional consequences of these categorizations of ingroups and outgroups result from the fact that people seek a positive personal identity as a group member. Individuals maximize the difference between ingroup and outgroup in a manner that accentuates the positive characteristics of the ingroup. They do so precisely because of this theoretically primitive need to categorize themselves as a member of a group with characteristics that reflect well on the group as a whole and therefore on them individually. For example, Gitelman (1991, 8), describing Jewish identity processes in the Soviet Union, notes that Jews developed a great curiosity about Jewish history “not merely from a thirst for historical knowledge, but from a need to locate oneself within a group, its achievements, and its fate. It is as if the individual’s own status, at least in his own eyes, will be defined by the accomplishments of others who carry the same label. ‘If Einstein was a Jew, and I am a Jew, it does not quite follow that I am an Einstein, but . . .’.” And Marshall Sklare (1972, 34), writing of contemporary American Jews, notes that “Jews still possess a feeling of superiority, although more in the moral and intellectual realms now than in the area of spiritual affairs. While the feeling of superiority is a factor that has received comparatively little attention from students of the problem, it is of crucial importance because it operates to retard assimilation. Leaving the group becomes a psychological threat: such a move is viewed not as an advancement but as a cutting off from a claim of superiority.”

Moreover, the accentuation effect is greatest on precisely those group characteristics that the ingroup perceives as most critical to this positive evaluation process. Therefore, if, e.g., gentiles evaluated themselves as proportionately less involved in moneylending and more loyal to their country than Jews, and if these categorizations were very important to their positive evaluation of their ingroup, there would be the expectation that gentiles would develop a tendency to exaggerate the extent to which Jews engage in moneylending and are disloyal, even more than they would exaggerate Jewish representation on traits that are more evaluatively neutral, such as type of clothing.

Further, people very easily adopt negative stereotypes about outgroups, and these stereotypes are both slow to change and resistant to countervailing examples. Resistance to change is especially robust if the category is one that is highly important to the positive evaluation of the ingroup or the negative evaluation of the outgroup. In terms of the above example, it would be expected that gentiles would change their categorization of Jews as having dark hair far more easily than they would change their categorization of Jews as usurers or potential traitors, because the former category is evaluatively neutral.

Finally, the stereotypes tend to become more negative and hostile in situations where there is actual intergroup competition and tension. And, as indicated in the following, intergroup competition is an exceedingly likely consequence of the categorization process.

 

The result of these categorization processes is group behavior that involves discrimination against the outgroup and in favor of the ingroup; beliefs in the superiority of the ingroup and inferiority of the outgroup; and positive affective preference for the ingroup and negative affect directed toward the outgroup. Although groups may be originally dichotomized on only one dimension (e.g., Jew/gentile), there is a tendency to expand the number of dimensions on which the individuals in the groups are categorized and to do so in an evaluative manner.

Thus a Jew would be expected not only to distinguish sharply between Jews and gentiles, but to view gentiles as characterized by a number of negative traits (e.g., stupidity, drunkenness), while Jews would be viewed as characterized by corresponding positive traits (e.g., intelligence, sobriety). These processes have been documented in traditional East European Jewish shtetl life:

A series of contrasts is set up in the mind of the shtetl child, who grows up to regard certain behavior as characteristic of Jews, and its opposite as characteristic of Gentiles. Among Jews he expects to find emphasis on intellect, a sense of moderation, cherishing of spiritual values, cultivation of rational, goal-directed activities, a “beautiful” family life. Among Gentiles he looks for the opposite of each item: emphasis on the body, excess, blind instinct, sexual license, and ruthless force. The first list is ticketed in his mind as Jewish, the second as goyish. (Zborowski & Herzog 1952, 152)

As expected, Zborowski and Herzog (1952, 152) found that this world view would be confirmed by examples of gentile behavior that conform to the stereotype, as when gentiles suddenly rose up and engaged in a murderous pogrom against Jews. Moreover, the attributes of the ingroup are superior qualities, and those of the outgroup are inferior. Jews valued highly the attributes that they considered themselves as exemplifying and viewed the characteristics of the gentiles in a very negative manner. There was a general attitude of superiority to gentiles. Jews returning from Sabbath services “ ‘pity the barefoot goyim, deprived of the Covenant, the Law, and the joy of Sabbath. . . .’ ‘We thought they were very unfortunate. They had no enjoyment . . . no Sabbath . . . no holidays . . . no fun . . . .’ ‘They’d drink a lot and you couldn’t blame them, their lives were so miserable’ ” (Zborowski & Herzog 1952, 152; see also Hundert 1992, 45; Weinryb 1972, 96). Or as World Zionist Congress President Nahum Goldmann (1978, 13) stated regarding Jewish perceptions of Lithuanians early in the century, “The Jews saw their persecutors as an inferior race. . . . Most of my grandfather’s patients were peasants. Every Jew felt ten or a hundred times the superior of these lowly tillers of the soil; he was cultured, learned Hebrew, knew the Bible, studied the Talmud—he knew that he stood head and shoulders above these illiterates.”

The negative attitudes were fully reciprocated. Both Jews and gentiles referred to the other with imagery of specific animals, implying that the other was subhuman (Zborowski & Herzog 1952, 157). When a member of the other group died, the word used was the word for the death of an animal. Each would say of one’s own group that they “eat,” while members of the other group “gobble.” “The peasant will say, ‘That’s not a man, it’s a Jew.’ And the Jew will say, ‘That’s not a man, it’s a goy.’ ” (Zborowski & Herzog 1952, 157).

Stories about the other group would recount instances of deception (Zborowski & Herzog 1952, 157), and everyday transactions would be carried on with a subtext of mutual suspicion. “There is beyond this surface dealing . . . an underlying sense of difference and danger. Secretly each [Jewish merchant and gentile peasant] feels superior to the other, the Jew in intellect and spirit, the ‘goy’ in physical force—his own and that of his group. By the same token each feels at a disadvantage opposite the other, the peasant uneasy at the intellectuality he attributes to the Jew, the Jew oppressed by the physical power he attributes to the goy” (Zborowski & Herzog 1952, 67). Indeed, the supreme term of abuse within the Jewish community was goyisher kop (gentile head) (Patai & Patai 1989, 152): the ultimate insult for a Jew was to be at the intellectual level of a gentile.[6]Attitudes of mutual hostility have been common throughout Jewish history. There are numerous examples of mutual hostility and contempt between Greeks and Jews and, later, between Christians and Jews in the Roman Empire in both Jewish and Christian sources (see Ch. 2 and 3). Patai (1977, 380ff) notes a general tendency for Jews to reciprocate attitudes of hostility and contempt toward gentiles in pre-Enlightenment Europe, and attitudes of superiority were particularly characteristic of the Sephardim. This Jewish belief in their own superiority has often aroused hatred among gentiles. The 15th-century anti-Semitic chronicler Andrés Bernáldez stated that “They [Jews and New Christians] had the presumption of arrogance; [they thought] that in all the world there were no people who were better, or more prudent, or shrewder, or more distinguished than they because they were of the lineage and condition of Israel” (in Castro 1971, 71).

These phenomena can be seen in contemporary America, as indicated in the following passage from Charles Silberman, who validates a generalization found in Philip Roth’s Portnoy’s Complaint:

The attributes and values that Jews developed . . . —a distaste for physical combat, for example, and a preference for academic over athletic prowess—were endowed with moral superiority. At high school football games, Portnoy recalls, there was “a certain comic detachment experienced on our side of the field, grounded in the belief that this was precisely the kind of talent that only a goy would think to develop in the first place. . . . We were Jews—and not only were we not inferior to the goyim who could beat us at football, but . . . because we could not commit our hearts to victory in such a thuggish game, we were superior. We were Jews—and we were superior. Indeed the only character in Portnoy’s Complaint who is crippled by feelings of inadequacy is that rebel against Jewish particularism, Alexander Portnoy himself. (Silberman 1985, 81)

Negative attitudes toward gentiles are also prominent in Jewish religious writing (Hartung 1995; Shahak 1994), particularly in the theory and practice of cleanness. There is extensive writing from the ancient world on gentile uncleanness dating at least from the first century b.c. and appearing in the Mishnah, the Talmuds, Tosefta, the Books of Judith and Jubilees, the Acts of the Apostles, and the writings of Josephus.[7]In the Acts of the Apostles 10:28, Peter says “ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath showed me that I should not call any man common or unclean” (in Alon 1977, 154). Thus Tosefta Shabbat ix, (22) states that “it is not permitted to suck either from a Gentile woman or from an unclean beast, but if the child is in danger, nothing stands in the way of saving life” (quote in Alon 1977, 153). Alon explains the passage as indicating gentile defilement, and notes that “the milk of a Gentile woman is likened to that of an unclean beast” (Alon 1977, 153). Gentiles were viewed as intrinsically unclean, not unclean by virtue of anything they did.[8]The authoritative 12th-century Code of Maimonides, Book X, The Book of Cleanness summarizes a vast body of the law of cleanness in which a wide variety of very minimal contacts with gentiles and things associated with gentiles brings uncleanness. For purposes of uncleanness, male gentiles over nine years of age and female gentiles over three years of age are considered “in every respect as men who suffer a flux [i.e., a discharge from the penis]” (p. 9; see also especially p. 213). Such a person is a “Father of Uncleanness” and hence capable of rendering persons, utensils, and garments unclean by contact (p. 25). Regarding men with a flux, “they render utensils unclean by contact; they render unclean the couch, seat, or saddle beneath them, making this also a Father of Uncleanness; and they convey maddaf uncleanness to what is borne above them” (p. 207). (Maddaf uncleanness refers to uncleanness of objects borne above a person with flux in which the uncleanness is conveyed to the foodstuffs and liquids inside the utensil.) Their spittle, urine, and semen are unclean, and any man who has intercourse with a gentile female is rendered unclean. Gentiles therefore are viewed as contaminating these objects so that any Israelite who contacts these objects is rendered unclean.

Gentiles are said not to be able to contract corpse uncleanness, the reason being that “it [the gentile] is like a beast which touches a corpse or overshadows it. And this applies not to corpse uncleanness only but to any other kind of uncleanness: neither Gentiles nor cattle are susceptible to any uncleanness” (p. 9). A further indication of the low status of gentiles is that if thieves enter a house, only the areas trodden by the feet of the thieves are unclean, but if a gentile is with them, the entire house is unclean (pp. 246–247). Thus even Israelite thieves impart less uncleanness than gentiles.

Gentile land is also unclean, as is the airspace over gentile land, so that “as soon as anyone brought his head and the greater part of himself into the airspace of a heathen land he became unclean” (p. 43). Moreover, land in Israel where gentiles have lived also is unclean, because there is a fear that they might have buried their abortions there.
Moreover, gentile uncleanness was not merely theoretical; it restricted actual interactions with gentiles (Alon 1977, 148–149).

 

These tendencies toward ingroup cohesiveness and devaluations of the outgroup are exacerbated by real conflicts of interest (see also Triandis 1990, 96). In a classic study, Sherif (1966) assigned boys randomly to groups that then engaged in a series of competitions. Under these circumstances, group membership became an important aspect of personal identity.[9]A Viennese guidebook during the early 20th century stated that the first question one asks when seeing someone on the street was, “Is he a Jew?” (Gilman 1993, 44). This comment reflects the extreme salience of group membership during this period of ethnic conflict. The groups developed negative stereotypes of each other and were transformed into groups of “wicked, disturbed, and vicious” children (Sherif 1966, 85). Competition was thus proposed as a sufficient condition for the development of hostility and aggression between the groups. Only the development of superordinate goals (i.e., goals that required the cooperation of both groups to achieve ends desired by all) resulted in lowered animosity and the development of some cross-group friendships. Historically, such superordinate goals have not been typical of societies in which Jews have resided. Indeed, a major theme of historical anti-Semitism has involved accusations of Jewish disloyalty (see pp. 60–71).

Resource competition between Jews and gentiles has been a highly salient feature of Jewish-gentile relationships in many societies and in widely separated historical periods. In congruence with the results of social identity research, anti-Semitism is expected to be most prominent among those most in competition with Jews and during times of economic crisis, and least common among gentiles who are actually benefiting from the Jews, such as aristocratic gentiles who often profited from cooperation with them (see PTSDA, Ch. 5). As Jacob Katz (1986a, 7) notes regarding anti-Semitism in post-emancipation Germany, “If . . . one wishes to trace the development of hostility toward the Jews . . . one ought to disregard its ideological foundations and to concentrate on its goal. That goal . . . was determined by the pace of the Jews’ entry into the positions opened up to them. Protests and complaints coincided with the Jews’ progress.”

A focus solely on “resource competition” is perhaps too narrow in its connotations. Humans compete over many things besides simply economic resources. A general point of this volume might be summarized by simply saying that Jews are very good at whatever they do, and that anti-Semitism arises when there are perceived conflicts of interest between the Jewish community (or segments of it) and the gentile community (or segments of it). Because of Jewish within-group cooperation as well as eugenic and cultural practices that have resulted in an average IQ of at least 1 standard deviation above the Caucasian mean (PTSDA, Ch. 7), Jews are highly adept in achieving their goals, whether the goals involve establishing a homeland in the Middle East, developing business and financial networks, competing for positions in prestigious graduate and professional schools, leading political, intellectual, and cultural movements, or influencing immigration policy and the political process. The success of these pursuits and the fact that these pursuits inevitably conflict with the interests of groups of gentiles (or at least are perceived to conflict with them) is, in the broadest sense, the most important source of anti-Semitism.

 

Competition between groups is not a necessary condition for the development of ingroup biases. Biases in favor of ingroups and against outgroups occur even in so-called “minimal group” experiments, where groups are constructed with no conflicts of interest, or indeed any social interaction at all. Even when the experimental subjects are aware that the groups are composed randomly, subjects attempt to maximize the difference between the ingroup and the outgroup, even when such a strategy means they would not maximize their own group’s rewards. The important goal seemed to be to outcompete the other group. As Tajfel and Turner (1979, 39) note, “Competitive behaviour between groups, at least in our culture, is extraordinarily easy to trigger off.” Social categorization by itself is thus a sufficient condition for intergroup competition.

In the case of anti-Semitism, since Jews have throughout the vast majority of their history appeared as a highly distinct group, there is the expectation that this self-imposed cultural separatism is a sufficient condition for developing negative attitudes and competition between Jews and gentiles. Indeed, to the extent that an important aspect of Jewish religious practice and socialization was the inculcation of beliefs in which cultural separatism was positively valued, these effects would be likely to be much stronger among Jews than among gentiles. Since the Jew/gentile categorization process was not central to gentile socialization, except perhaps under conditions of extreme Jewish/gentile group conflict, there is the expectation that gentiles would be somewhat less invested in this categorization process than Jews.

 

People tend to manipulate their social identity in ways that provide positive self-evaluations. Social identity research has indicated that social mobility (i.e., the extent to which group boundaries are permeable) influences ingroup/outgroup attitudes. The perception of permeability reduces perceptions of conflict of interest and reduces the ability of the other group to act in a collective manner, while perceptions of impermeability lead to group strategies involving competition with the other group and negative evaluations of the outgroup. As a result, it is often in the interests of groups to foster the belief that their group is permeable when in fact it is not (see Hogg & Abrams 1987, 56). Jews have often appeared as an impermeable group, at least in traditional societies, thereby exacerbating negative and competitive attitudes toward them. Nevertheless, as discussed in Chapter 6, Jewish groups have not uncommonly acted to minimize surface appearances of impermeability in order to defuse anti-Semitism.[10]In PTSDA (Chapter 4), it was suggested that an important aspect of Jewish religious writings in the ancient world, as well as among some modern apologists, has been to foster the idea that Judaism has been and continues to be highly permeable. The data summarized there and in Chapters 6 and 9 of this volume are highly compatible with the proposition that Judaism has at times presented itself as permeable, thereby mitigating anti-Semitism, while in practice retaining powerful sanctions against crossing group boundaries. See Chapter 9 for a discussion of the permeability of contemporary Judaism. Similar processes would occur among Jews to the extent that the gentile world was perceived as impermeable.

 

People readily adopt a group mentality and engage in collective behavior of an often irrational, intensely emotional sort. In periods of intense group conflict, there is a relaxing of normal standards of appropriate behavior as individuals become prone to act impulsively on immediate stimuli and emotions. Individuals acting as members of groups therefore may perform actions that individuals alone would be ashamed to commit—what one might term a disinhibitory phenomenon. Although there are other theoretical interpretations of this phenomenon, social identity theorists interpret these phenomena by proposing that members of a group adopt a common social identification in which they accept and conform to stereotypical ingroup norms (e.g., anti-Semitic beliefs) and act collectively on the basis of these norms. These findings are of obvious relevance to anti-Semitism, because they indicate that the behavior of groups of anti-Semitic gentiles may well be impulsive, irrational, and relatively disinhibited compared to the behavior of isolated individuals.[11]The finding that crowd members tend to engage in intensely motivated, impulsive collective behavior is highly compatible with the idea of an evolved facultative adaptation for self-sacrificing behavior on behalf of the group. Lorenz (1966) proposed an evolved system that underlies a specialized form of militant, emotionally intense communal aggression in the context of group conflict. The extraordinary susceptibility of crowd members to engage in collective behavior as a member of a group and their tendency to do so in an emotionally intense, impulsive, disinhibited manner strongly suggest an adaptation in which group interests are maximized to the possible detriment of individual interests. The lack of self-monitoring and self-awareness in crowd members (apart from their identity as crowd members) and the impulsive, irrational nature of crowd behavior are difficult to reconcile with selection at the individual level. One might suppose that the interests of the crowd would tend to coincide with self-interest. However, the implication of this research seems to be that individuals caught up in crowd behavior tend to fail to monitor their own interests and get carried along in the group activity. Since the proposed mechanism would not operate in the absence of an ingroup crowd and a perceived emergency, there is no implication that it would lead to a generalized altruism.

Of course, one could also propose that these phenomena are not an evolutionary adaptation but a maladaptive consequence of other evolved mechanisms confronting a novel environment. In any case, whether this type of collective behavior is the result of natural selection for group behavior is irrelevant to the fact that these phenomena are of considerable importance in understanding many historical instances of anti-Semitism; the mechanism is important independent of its putative status as a biological adaptation.

 

There is no requirement that beliefs regarding either the ingroup or the outgroup be true. Irrational beliefs about the ingroup function as “group uniforms” to maintain internal cohesion and separation from outgroups (Bigelow 1969). The best example of such an irrational belief about the Jewish ingroup is the conceptualization of the Jews as a “chosen people” which has been a staple of Jewish theology from its inception. This very powerful idea has even found an important place in contemporary Judaism as a civil religion, despite its incongruity with contemporary intellectual currents (see Woocher 1986, 140–146).

In the absence of tangible, obvious benefits (such as the accomplishment of superordinate goals), cultural segregation is expected to maximize perceptions of conflicts of interest with the alien group, resulting in negative cognitive structures regarding the alien group. These structures may “go beyond the evidence” and may well be based on exaggerated or false information.

The false and even contradictory nature of anti-Semitic beliefs has long been apparent to writers on the subject. Irrational religious beliefs about Jews may well have been a potent source of anti-Semitism beginning in the late Roman Empire (see Chapter 3), and similar processes are clearly at work in the Jewish religious laws of the uncleanness of gentiles summarized above. As Cecil (1972, 72) notes regarding themes of anti-Semitic literature in Germany between 1870 and 1933, “Exaggeration of Germanic virtues and Jewish vices created a distorted picture of the two races [sic] as representing irreconcilable and contrasting cultures.” It is expected that such beliefs would accentuate the differences between gentile and Jew, thereby aiding each group in viewing the other as alien and as having different interests. The cognitive structures not only sharply differentiate Jews from gentiles but result in negative valuations of Jews in general.

Such negatively toned cognitive structures would typically be in the self-interest of the gentiles holding them. Describing late-19th-century anti-Semitic beliefs, Katz (1986a, 7) notes that “for the most part these [anti-Semitic] ideologies employ arguments of different sorts, often in a blend full of contradictions. Their contentions do not, indeed, intend to reflect Jewish realities but rather aim at combating Jewish aspirations or gains already achieved. No argument that can convince oneself or others is scorned here.”

Given the context of mutual suspicion and group competition, individuals are ready to believe the worst about the other group. Thus in describing the attitudes of Christians toward Jews in 13th-century France, Jordan (1989, 257) notes that “ordinary people did not necessarily agree with every aspect of policy or every critical note sounded against the Jews by popular preachers; but they usually had no vested interest in gainsaying it.” Indeed they may have had a vested interest in indiscriminately believing anything negative about the outgroup. Fantastic beliefs about the Jews have been a staple of anti-Semitic propaganda throughout history, particularly during the medieval period (see Langmuir 1980).

One very important role of such negative cognitive structures may well be fostering a sense of group identity among gentiles that serves as the basis of a gentile group strategy in competition with the Jewish group strategy. In Chapters 3–5, I explore the possibility that gentile group strategies having many of the same collectivist, authoritarian, and exclusivist characteristics as did historical Judaism developed as a reaction to the success of Judaism as a group evolutionary strategy. One very clear concomitant of these gentile group strategies is the development of ideologies in which Jews (meaning all Jews or the vast majority of Jews) are portrayed as the very embodiments of evil. The suggestion is that these cognitive structures facilitate resource competition with Jews by aiding in producing a sense of gentile group solidarity and group interest in conflict with Jewish interests. Clearly the actual truth of these ideologies is quite irrelevant to their utility in facilitating resource competition.

In addition to completely fantastic or unverifiable beliefs about Jews, another common aspect of anti-Semitic beliefs is the exaggeration of the “grain of truth” in negative beliefs about a subset of Jews. For example, Lindemann (1991) notes that one of the more sophisticated theories of modern anti-Semitism proposes that anti-Semitism resulted from the irrational angers and frustrations of the losers of economic competition and reorganization consequent to industrialization or the development of capitalism. The “grain of truth” in this case is the fact that Jews were indeed highly overrepresented among the groups that were benefiting from these transformations and actually displaced gentile groups and lowered their place in society during this period. Other examples are the overrepresentation of Jews among radical political movements (e.g., Katz 1991) and the disproportionate representation of Jews in stock market manipulations (Ginsberg 1993, 189–199; Lindemann 1991), etc. The disproportionate representation of Jews in these activities is then viewed as an indictment of Judaism itself. As noted above, the accentuation effect described by social identity research would predict just such a tendency.

A slightly different variant of the “grain of truth” argument provides a clear illustration of the adaptiveness of the accentuation effect in group conflict. While there is good evidence that a great many New Christians in 15th-century Spain were in fact crypto-Jews (see Chapters 4, 6, and 7), some of them were probably sincere Christians. However, several modern scholars (e.g., Netanyahu 1995; Rivkin 1971; Roth 1995) as well as the 15th-century apologists for the New Christians have argued that while there were some crypto-Jews among this group, the vast majority were true Christians. These scholars accuse the Inquisition of uncritically generalizing the behavior of a few crypto-Jews to all New Christians.[12]See discussion of crypto-Judaism in Chapter 6. The analysis of Netanyahu, Rivkin, and Roth is controversial because of their view that the vast majority of New Christians were sincere in their Christian beliefs and became crypto-Jews only as a result of the anti–New Christian prejudices. The point here is that even if their analysis is correct, the anti–New Christian sentiment is entirely rational from an evolutionary perspective. These views are discussed in more detail in the appendix to Chapter 7. The logic of the Inquisition, however, was, in the words of the associates of the Inquisitor General Thomás de Torquemada, that “it is better to burn some innocents than allow heresy to spread: ‘Better for a man to enter heaven with one eye than go to hell with both’ ” (in Johnson 1988, 227). Similarly, Cohen (1967) maintains that the 15th-century rabbis who evaluated the orthodoxy of the New Christians who had emigrated from Spain or Portugal were inclined to err on the side of assuming that they were genuine Christians, since such a judgment coincided with their interests in maintaining orthodoxy among their own constituents.

In the language of statistics, people in this respect behaved as if attempting to minimize the probability of committing a Type II error: In effect, gentiles were considering the null hypothesis “New Christians are not crypto-Jews and do not have group interests which conflict with gentiles.” They behaved as if they were greatly concerned about making the error of accepting this proposition when in fact it is false. They placed less emphasis on making a Type I error, which is the error of rejecting the null hypothesis when it is true. In this case, the Old Christians were rationally avoiding the possibility of a Type II error: by assuming the worst about all of the New Christians, there was less possibility of being deceived by them.

The general principle at work in these cases is that if one knows that at least some members of a group are deceivers but does not know exactly which ones, the safest policy is to assume that all are deceivers, if this policy has no negative consequences to self. In the case of the New Christians, the belief that all New Christians were deceivers not only cost nothing but also rationalized the expropriation of property from the New Christians. Moreover, there is overwhelming evidence that a large subset of New Christians, whatever the sincerity of their belief in Christianity, continued to intermarry predominantly among themselves and cooperate economically and politically (see Chapters 4, 6, and 7). As a result, the possible overattribution of religious heresy to the New Christians was highly adaptive, since it facilitated economic and reproductive competition with the New Christians as an endogamous group whatever their actual religious beliefs. In these cases, even minimal evidence for cultural separatism and competition between groups appears to result in negative beliefs which are easily generalized.

In this regard, it is interesting that Öhman’s (1993) evolutionary perspective on fear and anxiety emphasizes the idea that the systems associated with these emotions have evolved to respond to personal threat. The systems in both animals and humans are biased toward a low threshold for perceiving a situation as threatening, because false negatives are potentially far costlier than are false positives. While the latter represent only wasted energy and perhaps lost opportunities, the overattribution of threat ensures that all potential threats activate the system. And in the case of gentiles vis-à-vis Jews in many historical societies, there is every reason to suppose that potential losses due to false positives were essentially nonexistent because gentiles had nothing at all to gain by supposing that most Jews were actually nonthreatening or nondeceivers, especially if it was known that at least some Jews fit these descriptors. Under these circumstances, it is not surprising that gentiles had a very low threshold for assuming the worst about Jews.

Jews have been quite aware of this tendency for overattributing the negatively perceived behavior of some Jews to the entire group, and of the power of the “grain of truth” to mobilize anti-Semitism. The Paris Sanhedrim, organized by Napoleon in 1807, replied to the general accusation that Jews were involved in usury as follows:

It cannot be denied that some of them are to be found, though not so many as is generally supposed, who follow that nefarious traffic condemned by their religion.[13]This statement is presumably an example of attempted deception, since the condemnation of lending money to gentiles was far from unanimous among Jewish religious authorities. See Chapter 2. In convoking the assembly, Napoleon’s representative noted that “the conduct of many among those of your persuasion has excited complaints, which have found their way to the foot of the throne: these complaints were founded on truth” (Transactions, p. 131; Tama 1807). The editor of the Transactions notes “the enormous usury practised by the Jews, who have been known to take five and six per cent. per month upon bills of landholders, the payment of which was the more secure, as, by the present French laws, landed property is liable to those debts, and a man’s estate may be sold there for the most trivial debt of that nature” (p. 32).

But if there are some not over-nice in this particular, is it just to accuse one hundred thousand individuals of this vice? Would it not be deemed an injustice to lay the same imputation on all Christians because some of them are guilty of usury? (Transactions of the Parisian Sanhedrim; in Tama, 1807, 207)[14]This is essentially a civil libertarian argument and underlines the political importance for Jews of having gentiles perceive them as individuals rather than as a cohesive group. As discussed in The Culture of Critique, a major strand of Jewish intellectual activity in the 20th century for combating anti-Semitism is to attempt to be perceived by the rest of society as a set of individuals rather than as a cohesive group.

During the McCarthy era, when it was well known that Jews were disproportionately involved in communism, there was a tendency to generalize the Jewish/Communist connection to all Jews, or at least it seemed that way to Jewish observers: Arnold Forster, general counsel of the Anti-Defamation League, stated that “there was an evident quotient of anti-Semitism in the McCarthy wave of hysteria. Jews in that period were automatically suspect. Our evaluation of the general mood was that the people felt that if you scratch a Jew, you can find a Communist” (in Navasky 1980, 112).[15]Navasky (1980, 116) describes a memo by Andhil Fineberg of the American Jewish Committee (AJCommittee) staff on the repercussions of the fact that the great majority of communist spies were Jews. In a comment that reflects an unconscious understanding of social identity theory, Fineberg suggested that the best way to combat this threat to Jews was to de-emphasize Jewish group identity of “good Jews” like Bernard Baruch as well as bad Jews like the communist spies. Identifying people like Baruch as Jews “reinforces the concept of group responsibility” and “the residue in the mind of the average person whom the editorial is intended to influence, is likely to be, ‘But why is it all those atomic spies are all Jews?’” (in Navasky 1980, 116). Fineberg argued that an attempt by Communist Party members to portray their persecution as anti-Semitism would be “devastating” to Jews generally and recommended that the AJCommittee reply to charges linking Jews and communism to the effect that “criminals operate as individuals, not as members of religious or racial groups” (p. 116). Good advice.

Undoubtedly as a result of this tendency, Jews have often placed a very great importance on restraining behavior that could result in negative stereotypes about Jews (see pp. 197–201). Jews have been quite aware that gentiles are overly prone to developing negative stereotypes of Jewish behavior on the basis of a few exemplars of negatively evaluated behavior.

This overattribution of negatively perceived behavior has probably been exacerbated during periods, such as during the period of the Spanish Inquisition, when society itself was organized in a corporate (group) manner. Faur (1992, 39) notes that the punishment of groups rather than individuals was a central feature of the corporate structure of medieval society. This ideology was explicitly incorporated in the expulsion order of 1492:

Because when a grave and horrendous crime is committed by a member of a college or university [=corporation], it is reasonable that the [said] college or university should be dissolved and annihilated, and that the young should be punished on account of others. And that those who pervert the well-being and honest living of the cities and villages, and who, by their contamination, may harm others, must be expelled from the country. (In Faur 1992)

Though they often functioned in an adaptive manner, there are circumstances in which negative attributions about a strategizing outgroup may be maladaptive, and this can be the case even if these attributions facilitate competition with the outgroup. Thus if gentiles incorrectly perceive that Jews are causing a specific problem (e.g., loss of a war or economic malaise among the gentiles), successful anti-Semitic actions facilitated by these attributions may have negative effects on the Jews but would not be effective in solving the problem (the scapegoating phenomenon). Opportunistic gentiles may be able to benefit by coloring their opponents with the taint of Jewish association, and individuals can be manipulated into believing that a certain policy advocated disproportionately by Jews was ipso facto against their interests.

This type of maladaptive anti-Semitism appears to have been historically important. Anti-Semitism has often been a useful weapon against liberal political movements with strong Jewish involvement (see Ginsberg 1993, 56–57), as in the case of opposition to socialism in pre–World War I Germany, at a time when the founders and leaders of international socialism were Jews (Pulzer 1964, 259). The facts that Judaism has tended to thrive in individualistic, liberal societies (see also Ch. 5 and PTSDA, Ch. 8) and that Jews backed liberal political views in Germany during the Weimar period prompted the conservative intellectual Edgar Jung to state that “the Jew needs only to get hold of the party of enlightenment and individualism in order to undermine from within the structure of the German social framework” (in Pulzer 1964, 311).

In addition, there are cases in which novel ideas were attributed to Jewish subversion in order to discredit them and thus maintain the status quo. The Inquisition had a very chilling effect on intellectual endeavor in Spain for centuries; one of its common techniques was to discredit new ideas as Jewish subversion. For example, Castro (1954, 637; 1971, 576) describes the complaint of a biblical exegete in 1584 that any nonstandard interpretation of the Bible was considered to be Jewish subversion. The result was that “culture and Judaism eventually became synonymous terms, and, as a result, scientific research, study, and teaching became impossible or fell into disuse in the seventeenth century” (Castro 1971, 576; see also Haliczer 1989).[16]The involvement of Conversos in modernizing intellectual movements was real enough. Conversos were intimately involved in the University of Alcalá as a bastion of nominalism in the sixteenth century (González 1989). Nominalism was widely viewed as subversive of religion at a time when the intellectual basis of religion had become identified with Aristotle and Aquinas. Opposition to nominalism eventually came to be a matter of Catholic religious orthodoxy. Heredia (1972) essentially argues that the intellectual atmosphere of University of Alcalá was the result of a conspiracy by Converso-Nominalists to control the intellectual life of Spain. Intellectuals entered the fields of jurisprudence or theology and avoided science in order to evade all suspicion of Judaism (Castro 1971, 551). Copernican astronomy remained prohibited as contrary to biblical doctrine. Even in the late 18th century—more than 300 years after the onset of the Inquisition, a prominent Spaniard stated in opposition to a plea for scientific freedom, “Why does anyone have to pay attention to any heretical dogs, atheists, and Jews like Newton, who was a terrible arch-heretic . . . , [like] Galileo de Galileis, whose very name implies that he must have been an arch-Jew or proto-Hebrew, and others whose names cause people to shudder?” (in Castro 1971, 577).[17]Several authors (e.g., Crespo 1987; Haliczer 1989; Lea 1906–1907) have attributed the decline of Spain and Portugal to the extreme level of thought-control and social conformism (i.e., a collectivist, anti-individualist from of social structure) resulting from the Inquisition. Crespo (1987, 185) notes the “intellectual endogamy” brought on by the Inquisition, with its resulting “intellectual fossilization.”

It gravely weakened the principle of academic authority and strengthened official, institutional authority as the sole criterion of truth. As a consequence, the censors’ successive confrontations with the most innovative schools of thought of the period such as mysticism, humanism, philological criticism, Erasmianism, Hebraism, rationalism, the Enlightenment or the first manifestations of bourgeois liberalism, were carried out not from the perspective of an intellectual struggle but from a dogmatic position supported by a powerful judicial institution.

An Evolutionary Interpretation of Social Identity Processes and Collectivism • 3,300 Words

The empirical results of social identity research are highly compatible with an evolutionary basis for group behavior. Current evidence indicates that the minimal group findings can be generalized across subjects of different ages, nationalities, social classes, and a wide range of dependent variables (Bourhis 1994), and anthropological evidence indicates the universality of the tendency to view one’s own group as superior (Vine 1987). Moreover, social identity processes occur very early in life, prior to explicit knowledge about the outgroup. An evolutionary interpretation of these findings is also supported by results indicating that social identity processes occur among advanced animal species, such as chimpanzees. Van der Dennen (1991, 237) proposes, on the basis of his review of the literature on human and animal conflict, that advanced species have “extra-strong group delimitations” based on emotional mechanisms. I would agree and suggest that one emotional mechanism is in fact the self-esteem mechanism proposed by social identity theorists. Other emotional mechanisms that may be involved are the social conscientiousness/guilt mechanism discussed in PTSDA (Ch. 7) and the experience of psychological relief obtained by individuals who join highly collectivist, authoritarian groups (Galanter 1989a; see below). These latter mechanisms, although not considered by social identity theorists, would result in strong positive feelings associated with group membership, and feelings of guilt and distress at the prospect of defecting from the group.[18]Research supporting the importance of self-esteem as underlying the motivation for social identificatory processes has not been entirely supportive (e.g., Hogg & Abrams 1993). Hogg and Abrams (1993) attempt to elaborate the motivational basis of social identity theory by proposing that ingroup membership reduces subjective uncertainty (by agreement with other ingroup members), with concomitant increases in positive mood and feelings of power and control, self-efficacy, a sense of personal meaning, self-esteem, etc. An evolutionary approach would emphasize the importance of evolved emotional systems as central to motivation generally (MacDonald 1991), but there are a variety of emotion systems that could be involved, including those mentioned by Hogg and Abrams. Evolved motivational systems often include both positive and negative emotions (e.g., anxiety in the presence of danger and relief consequent to deliverance [MacDonald 1995a]). I suspect that studies of naturally occurring groups with a very high degree of group commitment (such as Judaism) would reveal not only very strong positive emotions associated with group membership but a strong role also for negative emotions, such as guilt, for motivating non-defection from the group and compliance with group goals. Indeed, Baumeister and Leary (1995) and Trivers (1971) emphasize the importance of positive emotions of affection, intimacy, and empathy as well as the negative emotion of guilt for cementing ingroup relationships and preventing defection.

The powerful emotional components of social identity processes are very difficult to explain except as an aspect of the evolved machinery of the human mind. I have noted that the emotional consequences of social identity processes are a theoretical primitive in the system. As Hogg and Abrams (1987, 73) note, this result cannot be explained in terms of purely cognitive processes, and a learning theory seems hopelessly ad hoc and gratuitous. The tendencies for humans to place themselves in social categories and for these categories to assume powerful emotional and evaluative overtones (involving guilt, empathy, self-esteem, relief at securing a group identity, and distress at losing it) are the best candidates for the biological underpinnings of participation in highly cohesive collectivist groups.[19]Freeman (1995, 130ff) has also proposed specific adaptations that function to make individuals into cohesive groups. He stresses the role of music in producing emotionally intense group identification, as in many preliterate societies and in evangelical congregations.

An evolutionary perspective is also highly compatible with the falsity and contradictory nature of many anti-Semitic beliefs. Evolution is only concerned with ensuring accuracy of beliefs and attitudes when the truth is in the interests of those having those beliefs and attitudes (Krebs, Denton & Higgins 1988). In the case of anti-Semitism there is no expectation that specific anti-Semitic beliefs will be accurate, but from the standpoint of evolutionary theory, these beliefs may be eminently adaptive in promoting evolutionary goals. Similarly, truth is not a requirement for the effectiveness of the rationalizations, apologia, and self-deceptions so central to maintaining positive images of the Jewish ingroup throughout history. These phenomena are the topics of Chapters 7 and 8.

Finally, the fact that social identity processes and tendencies toward collectivism increase during times of resource competition and threat to the group (see Hogg & Abrams 1987; Triandis 1990, 1991) is highly compatible with supposing that these processes involve facultative mechanisms triggered by between-group conflict. As emphasized by evolutionists such as Alexander (1979) and Johnson (1995), external threat tends to reduce internal divisions and maximize perceptions of common interest among group members. Under conditions of external threat, human societies expand government and there is an increase in cooperative and even altruistic behavior. Such changes presumably reflect a species-wide facultative strategy of accepting higher levels of external authority and becoming more group-oriented under conditions of external threat.

Students of anti-Semitism have often noted that anti-Semitism tends to increase during periods of political and economic instability. The suggestion is that during periods of perceived external threat, gentiles are more prone to form cohesive, cooperative groups directed against outgroups, and especially against outgroups perceived as being in competition with the ingroup. This will be a major theme of Chapters 3–5.

Much remains to be done in attempting to develop an evolutionary perspective on mechanisms of between-group competition. As is the case for many other psychological adaptations (MacDonald 1991, 1995a; Wilson 1994), there appear to be important individual differences in social identity processes. Thus Altemeyer (1994) finds associations among attraction to cohesive groups, authoritarianism, feelings of ingroup superiority, hostility toward outgroups, ethnocentrism, a heightened concern for social identity, and religious fundamentalism. Congruent with the present perspective, there is evidence that Jews are high on ethnocentrism. Using an instrument designed to measure ingroup bias—an indicator of ethnocentrism, Silverman and Case (1995) found that Jews had the highest bias toward their own ethnic group among groups classified as White Anglo-Saxon Protestants (WASPs), Asians, Italians, Other Europeans, and Blacks, with the only significant difference between Jews and WASPs.

The theory and data related to social identity are also highly compatible with research on individualism and collectivism (Triandis 1990, 1991). Individualism/collectivism constitutes a dimension of individual differences, with group (cross-cultural) differences in the trait resulting in differences between societies in the extent to which emphasis is placed on the goals and needs of the ingroup rather than on individual rights and interests. For individuals highly predisposed to collectivism, ingroup norms and the duty to cooperate and subordinate individual goals to the needs of the group are paramount. Collectivist cultures develop an “unquestioned attachment” to the ingroup, including “the perception that ingroup norms are universally valid (a form of ethnocentrism), automatic obedience to ingroup authorities [i.e., authoritarianism], and willingness to fight and die for the ingroup. These characteristics are usually associated with distrust of and unwillingness to cooperate with outgroups” (Triandis 1990, 55). Like social identity processes, tendencies toward collectivism are exacerbated in times of external threat, again suggesting that the tendency toward collectivism is a facultative response that evolved as a mechanism of between-group conflict.

The existence of such a mechanism implies that the group has been the vehicle of selection, in Wilson and Sober’s (1994) terms. It is an important theoretical question whether such adaptations for between-group competition are compatible with selection at the individual level. Given that these mechanisms appear to be highly sensitive to the presence of external threat to the group, they may also track individual self-interest, since in times of threat, group and individual interests increasingly coincide. One could conceptualize a person as choosing between a self-sacrificial act that helps a group with whom one shares a significant genetic overlap, and a selfish act that is very unlikely to help an individual confronted by a menacing group and would also be likely to cause the group as a whole to fail. Under such circumstances, it is better to hang together than hang separately. The unit of analysis is the group, and the psychological mechanisms are the result of between-group conflict. However, such a mechanism is compatible with supposing that people have an algorithm that attempts to balance the costs and benefits to the individual of continued group membership with costs and benefits to be gained by deserting the group and engaging in an individualist strategy.

There appear to be examples of people who are so extremely collectivist that defecting from the group is not a psychologically available option. Especially striking has been the phenomenon of individuals who readily undergo martyrdom or mass suicide rather than abandon the group. We see examples periodically in modern times, and there are many historical examples, ranging from Christian martyrs in ancient times to a great many instances of Jewish martyrdom over a two-thousand-year period.

There is little doubt that Jews tend toward the extreme end of the collectivism dimension, and Triandis (1990, 57) regards Judaism as a collectivist culture. Indeed, it is instructive to review the discussion of Jewish “hyper-collectivism” presented in Chapter 8 of PTSDA. There it was noted that Jewish groups have had a tendency to retain genetic and cultural separatism even when cut off for centuries from other Jewish groups, and even in the presence of prolonged intense anti-Semitism and enforced crypsis. In the ancient world, Jews alone of all the subject peoples in the Roman Empire engaged in prolonged, even suicidal wars against the government in order to attain national sovereignty. Many authors have noted the religious fanaticism of the Jews in the ancient world and their willingness to die rather than tolerate offenses to Israel or live under foreign domination. For example, Josephus, the first-century Jewish historian and apologist, stated that

[we face] death on behalf of our laws with a courage which no other nation can equal. (Against Apion, 2:234)

And from these laws of ours nothing has had power to deflect us, neither fear of our masters, nor envy of the institutions esteemed by other nations. (Against Apion, 2:271)

Although not all Jews were willing to die rather than betray the law, “story after story reveals that this generalization is true” (Sanders 1992, 42). “No other nation can be shown to have fought so often in defence of its own way of life, and the readiness of Jews to die for their cause is proved by example after example” (Sanders 1992, 239). Jewish political activity against the Romans often included threats of martyrdom if external signs of Roman domination were not removed from Jerusalem and the Temple (Crossan 1991, 103ff). In recent times, the members of the Zionist Stern Gang who fought the British for control of Palestine “conceived of the final battle with the British as an apocalyptic catharsis out of which they could expect only death” (Biale 1982, 101).

It should also be noted that Hasidic and other ultra-Orthodox groups (haredim) are a prominent and increasingly powerful force within contemporary Judaism, amounting to at least 650,000 Jews worldwide (see Landau 1993, xxi) and representing 23 percent of the Israeli electorate in the 1996 elections. Historically, the type of social organization represented by these groups has been far more the norm than the exception, so that even in late-19th-century Poland the great majority of Jews were organized in ultra-Orthodox Hasidic congregations dominated by their rebbes (e.g. Litman 1984, 6). These groups are extremely collectivist in Triandis’s (1990, 1991) sense. They rigidly adhere to traditional exclusivist practices, such as dietary and purity laws, and have very negative views of outsiders, including more liberally inclined Jews. The authoritarian nature of these groups is particularly striking: “A haredi . . . will consult his rabbi or hasidic rebbe on every aspect of his life, and will obey the advice he receives as though it were an halachic ruling” (Landau 1993, 47). “The haredim’s blind obeisance to rabbis is one of the most striking characteristics of haredism in the eyes of the outside world, both Jewish and Gentile” (Landau 1993, 45). Famous rebbes are revered in an almost god-like manner (tzaddikism, or cult of personality), and indeed there was a recent controversy over whether the Lubavitcher Rebbe Schneerson claimed to be the Messiah. Many of his followers believed that he was; Mintz (1992, 348ff) points out that it is common for Hasidic Jews to view their rebbe as the Messiah.

As an example of the intensity of group feeling among traditional Eastern European Jews, Zionist leader Arthur Ruppin (1971, 69) recounts his visit to a synagogue in Galicia (Poland) in 1903:

There were no benches, and several thousand Jews were standing closely packed together, swaying in prayer like the corn in the wind. When the rabbi appeared the service began. Everybody tried to get as close to him as possible. The rabbi led the prayers in a thin, weeping voice. It seemed to arouse a sort of ecstasy in the listeners. They closed their eyes, violently swaying. The loud praying sounded like a gale. Anyone seeing these Jews in prayer would have concluded that they were the most religious people on earth.

Later those closest to the rabbi were intensely eager to eat any food touched by the rabbi, and the fish bones were preserved by his followers as relics.

Another measure of collectivism is community control over individual behavior. Controls over individual behavior are a highly salient feature of mainstream Judaism, apparent throughout PTSDA. Shaw (1991, 65) provides a particularly well-described example from Jews in the Ottoman Empire. The community very precisely regulated every aspect of life, including the shape and length of beards, all aspects of dress in public and private, the amount of charity required of members, numbers of people at social gatherings, the appearance of graves and gravestones, precise behavior on the Sabbath, the precise form of conversations, the order of precedence at all social gatherings, etc.[20]It is interesting that among the psychological traits found in collectivist societies is a bifurcation of the real and the social selves (Triandis 1991). Here the ritualized form of conversation among Jews in a traditional society suggests that the social self was completely conventionalized and socially prescribed. The rules were enforced “with a kind of police surveillance,” and failure to abide by the rules could result in imprisonment or, at the extreme, in excommunication.

The suggestion is that Jews tend toward hyper-collectivism. Moreover, the reputation of Jews as willingly suffering martyrdom rather than deserting the group suggests that among Jews there is a significant critical mass for whom desertion is not an option no matter what the consequences to the individual. Consider, for example, the response of groups of Ashkenazi Jews to demands to convert during the pogroms surrounding the First Crusade in Germany in 1096. Behavior in this instance was truly remarkable.[21]. A modern case: On March 25, 1997, the Los Angeles Times (p. A29 OC) reported that Avi Kostner, a Jew from Hackensack, New Jersey, had pleaded insanity after saying that he killed his two children because his ex-wife intended to raise them as Christians. The defendant failed in his plea and was sentenced to life in prison. When given the choice of conversion or death, a contemporary Jewish chronicler noted, that Jews “stretched forth their necks, so that their heads might be cut off in the Name of their Creator. . . . Indeed fathers also fell with their children, for they were slaughtered together. They slaughtered brethren, relatives, wives, and children. Bridegrooms [slaughtered] their intended and merciful mothers their only children” (in Chazan 1987, 245).

It is very difficult to suppose that such people have an algorithm that calculates individual fitness payoffs by balancing the tendency to desert the group with anticipated benefits of continued group membership. The obvious interpretation of such a phenomenon is that these people are obligated to remain in the group no matter what—even to the point of killing their own family members to prevent the possibility of becoming a member of the outgroup. Such examples suggest that there are no conceivable circumstances that would cause such people to abandon the group, go their own way, and become assimilated to the outgroup.

I do not suppose that such an extreme level of self-sacrifice is a pan-human psychological adaptation.[22]Galanter (1989a, 85ff; see also Wenegrat 1989) proposes that the tendency to form cohesive groups as typified by religious cults is a universal, innate psychological adaptation among humans. While I agree that there is a universal mechanism underlying group conflict, my perspective differs in that I also emphasize individual differences in the trait, including genetic and environmental sources of variation. The proposal is that Jews are higher than average on this system, and that in general there are individual differences in the extent to which people are attracted to highly collectivist groups and the extent to which threatening circumstances give rise to the desire to join such groups. People from individualist societies, as typified by Western societies generally (see PTSDA, Ch. 8), are expected to be relatively low on this system compared to Jews. However, it may well be the case that a significant proportion of Jews are extremely prone to collectivism, to the point that they do not calculate individual payoffs of group membership. The proposed model is that over historical time, average group standing on the trait of collectivism increases among Jews, because individuals low on this trait (in this case, individuals who do not conform to expected standards of group behavior) are more likely to defect voluntarily from the group or be forcibly excluded from it (see PTSDA,Chs. 7 and 8).

Given the importance of conformity to group norms for Judaism, it would be expected that individuals who are low on collectivism would be disproportionately inclined to abandon Judaism, while successful Jews who are the pillars of the community and thus epitomize the group ethic of Judaism would be disproportionately likely to be high on group conformity and also likely to be reproductively successful. For example, Jordan (1989, 138) notes that Jews who defected during the Middle Ages (and then sometimes persecuted their former coreligionists) tended to be people who were “unable to sustain the demands of [the] elders for conformity.”[23]The Sephardic philosopher Baruch Spinoza is a famous example of a non-conformist who was expelled from the Jewish community. This trend may well have accelerated since the Enlightenment, because the costs of defection then became lower. Israel (1985, 254) notes that after the Enlightenment defections from Judaism, due ultimately to negative attitudes regarding the restrictive Jewish community life, were common enough to have a negative demographic effect on the Jewish community.

There has probably always been a selective process, such that people who have difficulty submerging their interests to those of the group are disproportionately likely to defect from Judaism. Such individuals would have chaffed at the myriad regulations that governed every aspect of life in traditional Jewish society. In Triandis’s (1990, 55) terms, these individuals are “idiocentric” people living in a collectivist culture; i.e., they are people who are less group oriented and less willing to put group interests above their own. It has often been observed among historians of Judaism that the most committed members of the group have determined the direction of the group (e.g., Sacks 1993, ix–x); such individuals are also likely to receive a disproportionate amount of the rewards of group membership. It is likely therefore that there has been within-group selection among Jews for genes predisposing people to be extremely predisposed to collectivism, to the point that a significant proportion is simply incapable of calculating individual payoffs of group membership.

This hypothesis is highly compatible with the finding that Jews have been overrepresented among non-Jewish religious cults (Marciano 1981; Schwartz 1978). Recently there has developed a fairly large literature on religious cults having characteristics that illustrate the importance of social identity processes and clearly place them on the extreme collectivist end of the individualism/collectivism dimension. These charismatic groups are highly cohesive, collectivist, and authoritarian (e.g., Galanter 1989a,b; Levine 1989; Deutsch 1989). Within the group there is a great deal of harmony and positive regard for group members, combined with negative perceptions of outsiders. Psychological well-being increases when the person joins the group, and individuals experiencing dis-affiliation undergo psychological distress. Galanter (1989a) finds that individuals who join cults experience a sense of relief—a finding that I would interpret as resulting from the fact that cult membership often satisfies a very deep emotional need.

This emotional motivation may be increased by personal feelings of threat prior to joining the cult. Many individuals who join cults are not satisfied with their lives and feel personally threatened (Clark et al. 1981)—a finding that I interpret as resulting from the triggering of collectivist mechanisms in a facultative manner as a response to external threat. These perceptions of external threat may be nothing more than subjective feelings of “not doing well” in life. Galanter found that the individuals who experienced the greatest relief upon joining cults were those who were most distressed prior to joining, and case study material indicates that many of these individuals were experiencing economic, social, and/or psychological stresses (e.g., change of residence, being fired from a job, illness of relatives [Galanter 1989a, 92]). Sirkin and Grellong (1988) found similar associations in their sample of cult members from Jewish families.

Galanter (1989a, 23) finds that 21 percent of the Divine Light commune (organized by Maharaj Ji) were Jewish, despite the fact that Jews represented only approximately 2.5 percent of the U.S. population. Moreover, 8 percent of Galanter’s sample of members of the Unification Church of Reverend Sun Myung Moon were Jewish. This finding is compatible with the proposal that Jews have a stronger tendency toward collectivism in general. In addition, a very large percentage of Jews are involved in specifically Jewish groups having many of the features ascribed to these religious cults, including, I would suppose, the haredim, Orthodox Jews, Conservative Jews, and Zionist groups in the contemporary world. In traditional societies, of course, all Jews were Orthodox.

Further, Sirkin and Grellong (1988) found that cult members from Jewish families had a greater number of highly religious relatives than contrast Jewish families. This occurred despite the fact that the contrast Jewish families were actually more religiously observant than the families of cult members. These findings are highly compatible with the hypothesis that cult membership is influenced by genetic variation: cult members come disproportionately from relatively unobservant families who nevertheless have a strong familial predisposition toward membership in highly collectivist groups. The relative lack of religious observance among these cult-involved families may have resulted from their greater tendency toward intellectual, cultural, and political activities that were seen as incompatible with traditional religious observance. However, these cultural activities failed to provide the psychological sense of intense group involvement desired by the children, with the result that the children were prone to joining religious cults.

Social identity processes, ethnocentrism, and the tendency toward collectivism are clearly central to Judaism as a group evolutionary strategy, but they have also been of critical importance in the phenomenon of anti-Semitism. In Chapters 3–5 I will argue that several historically important examples of anti-Semitic movements have given rise to highly collectivist gentile movements that were, in certain critical ways, mirror images of Judaism.

Chapter 2 • Themes of Anti-Semitism • 23,700 Words
The Pervasiveness of Anti-Semitism • 2,400 Words

Let us go and make a covenant with the nations that are round about us; for since we separated ourselves from them many evils have come upon us. (Program of the failed assimilationist movement in pre-Hasmonean times: I Macc. 1:11)

Whenever the quantity of Jews in any country reaches the saturation point, that country reacts against them. . . . [This] reaction . . . cannot be looked upon as anti-Semitism in the ordinary or vulgar sense of that word; it is a universal social and economic concomitant of Jewish immigration and we cannot shake it off. (Chaim Weizmann, Trial and Error, 1949, 90)

[Anti-Semitism] has demonstrated a remarkable ability to persist, to revive time and again through the ages. . . . (Albert S. Lindemann, The Jew Accused, 1991, 280)

The roots of antisemitism are universal in character and as incomprehensible as they are deeply ingrained. (Henry Kamen, The Spanish Inquisition, 1965, 15)

Ultimately . . . the suffering of no other nation can compare with the uniqueness of the Jewish experience, and not just in the Nazi period. This is true not simply because of the amount of suffering entailed, but also because of its frightening recurrence over time, which lends it the character of utter inescapability. (Jacob Katz, “Misreadings of Anti-Semitism,” 1983, 44)

In 1936 Chaim Weizmann observed that “the world seems to be divided into two parts—those places where the Jew cannot live, and those where they cannot enter” (in Abella & Troper 1981, 51). Weizmann’s comment illustrates a remarkable aspect of the Holocaust and the years leading up to it: the pervasiveness of anti-Semitism throughout Europe, North America, North Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America (e.g., the role of Cuba in the Saint Louis incident) was an important contributing factor in condemning Jews to Nazi genocide (Breitman & Kraut 1987). Public condemnations of Nazi atrocities were perceived by many experts as carrying serious political and military liabilities not only in Germany but also in the occupied areas (where collaboration with the Nazis in their efforts to eradicate Jews was common), as well as among neutral nations and the Western allies. Anti-Semitism in America was “virulent and pervasive” (Breitman & Kraut 1987, 80) during this period and was an important factor in severely limiting Jewish immigration prior to and during the war. The same can be said for Canada, as recounted by Abella and Troper (1982) in their book None Is Too Many—the title coming from a statement of a senior Canadian immigration official that aptly summed up Canadian policy.The Nazis exploited this very widespread anti-Semitism in their propaganda, e.g., by informing the Muslims in North Africa of plans to settle Jewish refugees there, and by insisting that any deal for allowing Jewish children to leave the German sphere of influence require them to go to England, not Palestine, and that the deal be approved publicly by a resolution of the House of Commons. Jewish pressure groups acknowledged the role of anti-Semitism in motivating the rejection of Jews by, for example, couching pro-refugee advertising in universalist terms and not mentioning that the refugees would be Jews.

These incidents are rather remarkable examples of the pervasiveness of anti-Semitism. The social identity theory of anti-Semitism is highly compatible with supposing that anti-Semitism will be a very common characteristic of human societies, for the following reasons: (1) Jewish cultural separatism results in both Jews and gentiles developing stereotypically negative attitudes toward outgroup members and the culture of the outgroup; (2) resource and reproductive competition between groups has been a common component of Jewish/gentile relationships; (3) because of Jewish within-group cooperation and altruism, as well as eugenic and cultural practices tending to result in high levels of intelligence and resource acquisition abilities among Jews, Jews are highly adept in resource competition with gentiles (PTSDA, Ch. 5). Also, they are adept at other activities, such as influencing culture, developing political and intellectual movements, and advocating specific policies, such as immigration policy, that result in conflicts of interest with segments of the gentile population.

This view of anti-Semitism runs contrary to an important strand of Jewish historiography and apologetics that attempts to show that anti-Semitism is a peculiarly Western phenomenon; or that it results from certain unique and unfortunate aspects of Christian religious ideology; or that it results from the peculiar social class profile of Jews in capitalist societies; or even that it results from pathological parent-child relations and sexual repressions. On the contrary, there is evidence for anti-Semitism in a very wide range of both Western and non-Western societies, in Christian and non-Christian societies, and in pre-capitalist, capitalist, and socialist societies. It has occurred even in the most cohesive and well-functioning families.

The priestly redactors of the Pentateuch were well aware that anti-Semitism would be a pervasive feature of the Jewish diaspora:

And the Lord shall scatter thee among all peoples, from the one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth. . . . And among these nations shalt thou have no repose, and there shall be no rest for the sole of thy foot; but the Lord shall give thee there a trembling heart, and failing of eyes, and languishing of soul. And thy life shall hang in doubt before thee; and thou shalt fear night and day, and shalt have no assurance of thy life. In the morning thou shalt say: “Would it were even!” and at even thou shalt say: “Would it were morning!” (Deut. 28:64–67)

The servant passages from Deutero-Isaiah have always been interpreted by Jews as the suffering expected to be the fate of Jews in exile (Neusner 1965, 27): “He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not” (Isa. 53:3). Indeed, Peli (1991, 110), in discussing Midrashic perceptions of anti-Semitism throughout the ages, notes that “they treat Judeophobia as an inevitable reality that Jews have to learn to live with without giving up in despair on the one hand, or trying in vain to ‘correct’ its causes on the other.”

Independent of their historicity, the events of the Book of Exodus show a strong consciousness by the priestly redactors of the Pentateuch that a numerous and powerful sojourning group provokes hostility and concerns about loyalty. The Israelites “were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed exceeding mighty; and the land was filled with them” (Exod. 1:7). The Pharaoh then states, “Behold, the people of the children of Israel are too mighty for us; come, let us deal wisely with them, lest they multiply, and it come to pass, that, when there befalleth us any war, they also join themselves unto our enemies, and fight against us, and get them up out of the land” (Exod. 1:9–10). The result is a series of measures designed to reduce the population of Israelites in Egypt, including servitude and infanticide for all male children. Cultural separatism results in anti-Jewish behavior in the books of Esther and Daniel, but eventually God rewards steadfast Jews by taking his vengeance on their enemies or providing the Jews with great material success.

Beginning in the 5th century b.c. at the Elephantine colony in Egypt, there are many instances where popular anti-Semitism occurred when Jews were intermediaries between alien ruling elites and subject populations in the Seleudic, Ptolemaic, and Persian empires (Bickerman 1988). Changes in the political fortunes of the alien overlords often resulted, as at Cyrene in 87 b.c., in anti-Jewish violence.

Official persecutions of diaspora Jews were rare during the pre-Christian Roman Empire, but there is considerable evidence for anti-Semitism both in the writings of intellectuals and in the deeds of the citizenry. Popular animosity was particularly evident in Egypt, and most especially in Alexandria, where Josephus (The Wars of the Jews, 2:487) noted “constant conflict” between Jews and gentiles from the time of Alexander the Great (4th century b.c.). Tensions intensified in the second half of the 2nd century b.c., presumably reflecting a larger Jewish population, and finally reached a plateau in the first century b.c (Gabba 1989, 636). Sevenster (1975, 169) notes that “one gets the impression that often only the slightest provocation was needed to discharge an ever-present, latent tension.”

Generally, the Roman government protected the Jews from repeated upsurges of popular hostility throughout the empire (Schürer 1986, 132). However, during the Jewish rebellion of a.d. 66–70, government controls on anti-Jewish behavior lapsed temporarily; there were spontaneous slaughters of Jews in several parts of Syria and Palestine, including twenty thousand Jews killed by non-Jewish citizens in Caesarea. In Alexandria a riot provoked by anti-Semites resulted in fifty thousand Jewish dead (Feldman 1993, 118). After the rebellion, the citizens of Antioch were denied repeated requests to expel the Jews, and the citizens of Alexandria were denied their request to deprive Jews of their citizenship rights. Finally, there is evidence that popular, intellectual, institutional, and government-sponsored anti-Semitism increased dramatically beginning in the 4th century (see Chapter 3).

Anti-Semitism has also occurred in non-Western societies. Regarding ancient Persia, Baron (1952 II, 176; see also Johnson 1988, 163) notes that “on the whole, Jews were more favorable to Persia than to Rome [during the Roman-Persian wars]. . . . There were not lacking, however, moments in which, suffering desperately from Persian outrages, they sought the victory of Rome.” (The comment also reflects an aspect of the disloyalty theme to be discussed below.) Grant (1973, 288) notes that after a period of tolerance in the early 5th century a.d., the succeeding Persian kings were “very hostile” to the Jews, resulting in large-scale emigration and temporary closing of the Jewish academies.

There were repeated instances of anti-Jewish attitudes and actions in Muslim societies from the time of Mohammed up to the modern era. Jews were an officially sanctioned dhimmi, which could live among Muslims but in a humiliated and subservient status—“never anything but second-class citizens in the Islamic social system” (Bosworth 1982, 49). “The Qur’anic words dhull and dhilla, meaning lowliness, abasement, abjectness, are often used by Muslim writers to denote the humility that was felt to be appropriate for the non-Muslim and more especially the Jewish subjects of the state” (Lewis 1984, 32). Jews were subjected to pogroms and riots, unpunished violence at the hands of individuals, sumptuary laws, corvee labor, wearing of distinguishing garments, compulsory ghettoization, walking barefoot in imperial cities, confiscatory taxes, laws restricting the size of Jewish houses and synagogues, curfews, signs of submission when near mosques, and attitudes of “an omnipresent air of hostility toward the ‘infidels’ ” (Stillman 1979, 73). There were also several examples of “highly ritualized degradation of the Jews” (Stillman 1979, 84).[24]See especially Stillman (1979, 368–69; 416–17) for examples of ritualized anti-Jewish customs in Arab lands. Ritualized degradation was most common in Yemen and Morocco; in the former it continued without significant interruption for thirteen centuries until the Yemenese Jews left for Israel. See Patai (1986), Ahroni (1986), and Nini (1991) for discussions of the oppression of Yemenese Jews, apparently the most extreme oppression in the Moslem world. In general, the low point was reached in the period from the mid-18th century to the end of the 19th century, when there was the “unmistakable picture of grinding poverty, ignorance, and insecurity” (Lewis 1984, 164).[25]Indeed, there is some indication that the Jews in Muslim lands were physically so intimidated by their Muslim hosts that they were extraordinarily fearful: A 19th-century British observer in the Ottoman lands contrasted the boldness of Jews in England with Ottoman Jews, whose “pusillanimity is so excessive, that they will flee before the uplifted hand of a child” (Lewis 1984, 164). In Morocco and the Ottoman areas even young children could spit on Jews or hit them with rocks without fear of retaliation, and a visitor to Turkey in 1836 noted that “there is a subdued and spiritless expression about the Eastern Jew. . . . It is impossible to express the contemptuous hatred in which the Osmanlis hold the Jewish people” (in Lewis 1984, 165). During this period, there were a number of expulsions and massacres of Jews throughout the Arab world.

Significantly, Lewis (1984, 33) characterizes the Muslim attitude toward Jews as one of contempt, rather than hatred, fear, or envy, presumably because the Muslim anti-Jewish customs generally prevented Jews from attaining a position that would result in envy, fear, or hatred. Violence against Jews occurred when Jews were “acting above themselves” (p. 53), indicating that contempt turned rather quickly to hatred if Jews attempted to change their second-class status. Anti-Jewish violence regularly followed the relatively brief periods when Jews formed an intermediate layer between alien ruling elites and oppressed native populations (see PTSDA, Ch. 5). For example, apart from their period of ascendancy as intermediaries between the Mongols and the Iranian subject peoples, Jews were forced into a completely degraded existence. When the Mongols converted to Islam, the fortunes of the Jews declined as a result of native hostility. Attitudes of ritual uncleanness of the outgroup were reciprocated: “Jews were not merely infidels, to be despised and humiliated as such; they were ritually unclean—people whose very touch brought pollution” (Lewis 1984, 151).[26]Stillman (1979) characterizes the treatment of Jews in Morocco as ranging between extremes of tolerance and intolerance, with the best periods occurring at times of foreign domination when Jews were favored by a non-native ruling class: the Merinids (13th–15th century) and the French in the 20th century. When a popular rebellion ended the Merinid dynasty in 1465, the mellah (Jewish quarter) of Fez was almost entirely exterminated. In the following period, under the native Muslim Wattasids and the Sharifans, a few privileged Jews were employed by the government, but the rest of the Jewish population was forced to endure the extremely harsh “highly ritualized degradation” briefly described here. The status of Moroccan Jews did not change significantly until the French conquest in 1912. Similarly, the fortunes of Jews as intermediaries between an alien ruling elite and an oppressed subject population in the Ottoman Empire declined as the ruling elites became more assimilated to the native population (Shaw 1991).

Moreover, the lifting of sanctions against Jews in modern times sometimes resulted in Jewish ascendancy paralleling the Jewish rise in post-emancipation Europe, and there was a corresponding anti-Semitic reaction. Jews no longer hid their wealth, and “the old servants and slaves have become the masters of the Arabs, at least as far as business and finances go. They, once scorned, occupy now honored positions in the Government” (Stillman 1979, 418). The result was an increase in anti-Semitism (Lewis 1984, 171, 184–185).

Thus, although Muslim anti-Semitism tended not to be characterized by fear and hatred of Jews (except during periods when Jews were allowed to compete economically), the long-term effect of Muslim anti-Semitism was far more devastating than Western anti-Semitism. Indeed, there may well be qualitative differences between Western anti-Semitism and Muslim anti-Semitism (see also Cohen 1994) stemming from the fact that Middle Eastern societies tend to be organized into impermeable groups (e.g., Coon 1958, 153; Eickelman 1981, 157–174). Individuals in these societies have a strong sense of group identity and group boundaries, often accompanied by external markers such as hair style or clothing, and different groups settle in different areas were they retain their homogeneity alongside likewise homogeneous groups.[27]Bosworth (1982, 38) makes the interesting comment that the Jewish dhimmi in the early Islamic period was despised because of its “racial exclusiveness,” suggesting that even in segmentary societies the exclusiveness of outgroups is negatively evaluated. As argued in PTSDA (Ch. 8), these “segmentary” societies organized around discrete groups appear to be much more efficient than Western individualistic societies at keeping Jews in a powerless position where they do not pose a competitive threat. Interestingly, Dumont (1982, 223) describes the increase in anti-Semitism in Turkey in the late 19th century consequent to increased resource competition. In many towns, Jews, Christians, and Muslims lived in a sort of superficial harmony, and even lived in the same areas, “but the slightest spark sufficed to ignite the fuse” (p. 222). Segmentary societies based on impermeable groups have certainly not been idyllic places for Jews.

The individualism typical of Western societies is an ideal environment for Judaism as a cohesive group strategy, but as Jews become increasingly successful politically, economically and demographically, Western societies have tended to develop collectivist group structures directed at Jews as a hated outgroup (PTSDA, Ch. 8). In chapters 3–5 I discuss three important episodes of Western anti-Semitism from this perspective: the institutionalization of anti-Semitism in the Roman Empire in the 4th century, the Iberian inquisitions beginning in the 15th century, and the National Socialist movement in Germany from 1933 to 1945.

Themes of Anti-Semitism • 400 Words

As indicated in Chapter 1, the fact that anti-Jewish writings have often been characterized by exaggerations and falsehoods is quite compatible with an evolutionary perspective. A particularly interesting example is the charge of ritual murder of gentiles (the “blood libel”) which has reappeared in several independent reincarnations throughout Jewish history. The blood libel is a very ancient charge against the Jews, occurring first in the 2nd century b.c. and becoming quite common beginning in the first century b.c. (Gabba 1989, 644). Gabba reasonably suggests that the charge may have functioned as a concrete expression of Gentile perceptions of Jewish misanthropy. This linkage is apparent, for example, in the writings of the influential 15th-century anti-Converso polemicist Alonso de Espina, who explained what he asserted was the commonplace practice of Jews killing Christians as motivated by Jewish hatred of Christians (Netanyahu 1995, 831). In addition, people who are anti-Jewish for other reasons may be predisposed to believe this accusation. Lindemann (1991, 52) suggests that during the 19th century such charges often really reflected concerns about Jewish economic domination.

More interesting here is the fact that there is a very long history of anti-Jewish writings, the themes of which are entirely comprehensible given the theoretical perspective on anti-Semitism developed above. The remarkable thing about anti-Semitism is that there is an overwhelming similarity in the complaints made about Jews in different places and over very long stretches of historical time. These complaints may be seen as independent replications that together give credence to the proposal that, while exaggerations and falsehoods may well color these attitudes, several prominent themes of anti-Semitic writings have had a firm basis in the reality of Judaism as a group evolutionary strategy.

The history of anti-Semitism is thus a sort of expanded version of Harris’s (1994, 214) findings that although German anti-Semitism underwent vast changes between 1850 and the 1920s in terms of political organization and external factors that exacerbated or mitigated anti-Semitism at particular times, the complaints about Jews were remarkably the same. These themes, including the “alienness” of Jews, Jewish economic, political, or cultural domination, the idea that Jews possess negative personality traits making them willing to engage in unscrupulous economic exploitation of gentiles, and Jewish disloyalty, continue to figure prominently in anti-Semitism around the world (see, e.g., Anti-Semitism Worldwide, 1994). Despite the fact that these themes will be considered separately here, they often co-occur, as in interwar Poland, where Jews were widely perceived as “a ‘foreign’ economically burdensome, superfluous and also morally destructive element” (in Hagen 1996, 374).

The Theme of Separatism and Clannishness • 2,400 Words

Jews have often appeared as a separate and foreign group within diaspora societies. Perceptions of separateness and outgroup cohesiveness tend to be associated with anti-Semitism, a phenomenon that is entirely to be expected on the basis of social identity theory. A consistent finding in research on intergroup contact is that making the social categories which define groups more salient facilitates intergroup differentiation and promotes negative social interactions between members from different groups (see Brewer & Miller 1984; Doise & Sinclair 1973; Miller, Brewer & Edwards 1985).

Beginning in the ancient world, gentiles have consistently had a negative perception of Jewish separateness and clannishness. “With their special way of life they were a strange element, even in the cosmopolitan capital. The literature of the age reflects the partly contemptuous and partly inimical attitude prevailing among the educated classes in the imperial city” (Baron 1952, II, 103).

Jewish separatism conflicted with the assimilative, universalist trends in Greco-Roman society:

As Greek ideas about the one-ness of humanity spread, the Jewish tendency to treat non-Jews as ritually unclean, and to forbid marriage to them, was resented as being anti-humanitarian; the word “misanthropic” was frequently used. . . . The Greeks saw their oecumene, that is, the civilized universe . . . where their ideas prevailed, as a multi-racial, multi-national society, and those who refused to accept it were enemies of man. (Johnson 1988, 133–134)

Beginning with the Egyptian historian Hecataeus of Abdera (early third century b.c.) (who remarked that the Jews were “misanthropic and hostile to foreigners” [in Gabba 1989, 629]), there was a long list of Greco-Roman writers whose basic criticisms centered around Jewish separatism, xenophobia, and misanthropy, combined with a strong sense of internal solidarity, although some writers (including Hecateus) admired the Jews in other ways.

Perhaps the most famous anti-Jewish writings from the ancient world are those of Tacitus, who viewed Judaism as “opposed to all that is practised by other men” (The History, 5.4, 659).

Among themselves they are inflexibly honest and ever ready to show compassion, though they regard the rest of mankind with all the hatred of enemies. They sit apart at meals, they sleep apart, and though, as a nation, they are singularly prone to lust, they abstain from intercourse with foreign women; among themselves nothing is unlawful.[28]It is not clear what Tacitus had in mind by saying that “among themselves nothing is unlawful.” He may well have been referring to Jewish practices of polygyny, levirate marriage, and consanguineous marriage (uncle-niece marriage and marriage to first cousins) that were illegal for Roman citizens (see MacDonald 1990; PTSDA, Ch. 8). Circumcision was adopted by them as a mark of difference from other men. Those who come over to their religion adopt the practice, and have this lesson first instilled into them, to despise all gods, to disown their country, and set at naught parents, children, and brethren. (The History, 5.5, 659–660)[29]Another well-known quote is from Philostratus’s (1980, 341) Life of Apollonius of Tyana: “The Jews have long been in revolt not only against the Romans, but against humanity; and a race that has made its own a life apart and irreconcilable, that cannot share with the rest of mankind in the pleasures of the table nor join in their libations or prayers or sacrifices, are separated from ourselves by a greater gulf than divides us from Susa or Bactra in the most distant Indies.”

The theme of clannishness also appears in Cicero’s complaint dating from 59 b.c. during the trial of Flaccus: “See how unanimously they stick together, how influential they are in politics” (Pro Flacco, 66). Juvenal complained that Jews would not show a wayfarer his road or guide the thirsty to a spring if he were not of their own faith.[30]The 18th-century English historian Edward Gibbon, reflecting these ancient assessments, wrote in his Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (Ch. 16, 78) that the Jews were “an unsocial religion” (p. 80), the “implacable enemies not only of the Roman government, but of human kind.” Gibbon was especially struck by what he characterized as Jewish fanaticism in the ancient world and their hostility towards others:

Without repeating what has been already mentioned of the reverence of the Roman princes and governors for the temple of Jerusalem, we shall only observe that the destruction of the temple and city was accompanied and followed by every circumstance that could exasperate the minds of the conquerors, and authorize religious persecution by the most specious arguments of political justice and the public safety. From the reign of Nero to that of Antoninus Pius, the Jews discovered a fierce impatience of the dominion of Rome, which repeatedly broke out in the most furious massacres and insurrections. Humanity is shocked at the recital of the horrid cruelties which they committed in the cities of Egypt, of Cyprus, and of Cyrene, where they dwelt in treacherous friendship with the unsuspecting natives; and we are tempted to applaud the severe retaliation which was exercised by the arms of the legions against a race of fanatics, whose dire and credulous superstition seemed to render them the implacable enemies not only of the Roman government, but of human kind. The enthusiasm of the Jews was supported by the opinion that it was unlawful for them to pay taxes to an idolatrous master; and by the flattering promise which they derived from their ancient oracles, that a conquering Messiah would soon arise, destined to break their fetters and to invest the favourites of heaven with the empire of the earth. It was by announcing himself as their long-expected deliverer, and by calling on all the descendants of Abraham to assert the hope of Israel, that the famous Barchochebas collected a formidable army, with which he resisted, during two years, the power of the emperor Hadrian.
And to the 5th-century poet Rutilius Manatianus, Jews were “the filthy race” (gens obscaena). “[T]heir heart is chillier than their creed” (in Wilken 1968, 64), another comment on Jewish treatment of outgroup members.

Jewish writers of antiquity commented on the fact that the Jews were often criticized for their “non-mingling” with gentiles (e.g., 2 Macc. 14:38). Philo and Josephus provided apologetic works directed at convincing gentiles to perceive Jewish separatism in a positive light. For example, in The Antiquities of the Jews Josephus (1989, XVI, 174) states that he would inform others “that they ought not to esteem difference of positive institutions a sufficient cause of alienation, but [join with us] in the pursuit of virtue and probity.”

Cultural separatism, often combined with themes of economic exploitation, has been a recurrent theme in criticisms of Judaism throughout history. In the 15th century, the Spanish Conversos were described by Fray Alonso, an important instigator of the Inquisition, as crypto-Jews who “had no conscience in usury, saying that they were spoiling the Egyptians” (Lea 1906–1907, I, 152), a comment referring to the behavior of the Israelites during the Exodus (Exod. 12:36) and clearly indicating the perception of Jews as self-consciously treating the Spaniards as foreigners. Kamen (1985) quotes the historian Palencia, writing in the 15th century, as saying that the Conversos acted “as ‘a nation apart’ and nowhere would they agree to act together with the Old Christians” (p. 20). The 15th-century historian Andrés Bernáldez added that not only did the Jews treat the Christians as an exploitable outgroup, they were very generous with their own kind: “They were a very cunning people, and people who commonly lived on gains and usuries at the expense of Christians, and many of the poor among them became rich in a short time. They were very charitable among themselves, one to another. If in need, their councils, which they called aljamas, provided for them. They were good masters to their own people” (in Walsh 1930, 368).

In Karl Marx’s Zur Judenfrage Jews were portrayed as a clannish, asocial, and alien group engaged in economic exploitation of gentiles. All of these elements were typical of anti-Semitic writings throughout the 19th century (Rose 1990) and could be found in public opinion in Germany in the period from 1870 to 1933. For example, the philosopher Johann Gottleib Fichte viewed Jewish separatism as indicating “lovelessness”—a refusal to join history and love humanity. Jews “are a people excluded by the strongest human bond of all—by religion—from our meals, from our pleasures, from the sweet exchange of good cheer from heart to heart” (in Rose 1992, 8). To the philosopher Schopenhauer, Jews “are and remain a foreign, oriental race” (in Rose 1992, 92), who because of their tribal consanguinity and solidarity could not be integrated with other nations (see Katz 1986, 11). Although often not overtly anti-Semitic, a major theme of 19th-century German writing beginning with Kant and extending to the Protestant biblical scholarship of the early 20th century (see Chapter 7) was the contrast between the Jewish God, characterized as tribal and nationalistic, versus the Christian God of universalism and love.[31]Rather (1990, 152) notes that Kierkegaard and Tolstoy also had similar views on the contrast between particularistic Judaism and universalist Christianity. In Tolstoy’s words, “In the Gospel we are prohibited not only from killing anyone but even from bearing anyone ill-will; in the Pentateuch: Kill, kill, kill women, children, and cattle. . . . In the Gospel all men are brothers; in the Pentateuch, all are enemies, except the Jews” (in Rather 1990, 152). Anti-Semitic racial theorists, such as Curt Michaelis, also focused on Jewish clannishness, attributing it to Jewish racial pride (Rassenstolz) and exhibited at the psychological level by the concept of Jewish chosenness. Rassenstolz had become an inherited trait of Jews and was responsible for anti-Semitism: “The Rassenstolz promotedrace hatred in its sharpest form—the consequence of which is lasting race war. . . . The Jewish people stands principally in battle against the whole world; naturally, therefore, the whole world [is] against the Jews” (in Efron 1994, 170). Similarly, in his classic Jews and Modern Capitalism, the German economist Werner Sombart (1913, 240) summarized Judaism as “a group by themselves and therefore separate and apart—this from the earliest antiquity. All nations were struck by their hatred of others.”

Jews have often been characterized as “a state within a state” (e.g., Beauvois 1986, 88, writing specifically of traditional Poland). The German Paul de LaGarde (1827–1891) stated that “we simply cannot tolerate a nation within a nation” (in Krausnick 1968, 9). The view that Jews constituted an alien, foreign nation residing in Germany was not restricted to intellectuals: over 20 percent of the 1,723 petitions from Bavarian communities opposing Jewish emancipation in 1849–1850 emphasized the Volk im Volk theme, sometimes referring to Jews as “oriental” or Asiatic and often using such phrases as “foreign in morals, customs, and religion” or foreign in “blood, speech, and religion” (Harris 1994, 137). (During this period Richard Wagner described Jewish speech as a “creaking, squeaking, buzzing snuffle” [in Rose 1992, 81]). Harris (1994, 123) describes the Bavarian petitions as “spontaneous, extremely broad-based, and genuine”—in effect independent replications of widespread negative attitudes toward Jewish foreignness. Many petitions “stated flatly that Jews could never assimilate” (p. 137). In Germany, the perception of foreignness was particularly directed at Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe who retained their separatist practices of wearing distinctive clothing, hair styles, and speaking Hebrew.

After emancipation in Germany, Jews continued to remain separate, retaining their cohesiveness despite “an unwritten contract of assimilation-in-return-for-emancipation” (Katz 1986b, 148). “The extraordinary degree of social cohesiveness and mutual solidarity of Jews . . . was often observed and commented upon, for the preservation of Jewish separateness ran counter to the expectation that with access to at least some social avenues the Jews would disperse and lose the character of a sub-society, a state within a state (as the slogan had it)” (p. 148).[32]In some cases these perceptions were based on personal experience. The German anti-Semite Wilhelm Marr (1819–1904) emphasizes the clannishness of his employers in his account of his early experiences as the only non-Jew in the offices of two different Jewish financial offices. He had obtained his first job as a result of the influence of his father, who became famous as an actor portraying Jews in the theater. Marr states that he was fired from both jobs while less competent Jews were retained. “My Jewish colleagues really were [wonderful people]. But the racial question was of decisive importance, even for these Jews. The ‘goi’ had to be sacrificed as much as they liked and pampered him” (in Zimmerman 1986, 125; italics in text). Marr also recounts an incident in which a young revolutionary acquaintance was reprimanded by his observant father for being baptized and dressing like a Christian. The man disagreed with Marr’s suggestion of rejecting his father by saying that “you don’t know the rules preserving the link between us Jews. None of us can break the iron ring.” Marr replied that Heinrich Heine had broken away, but the man said (prophetically), “Just wait and see. Heine too will return to being Jewish” (in Zimmerman 1986, 132; italics in text). Heine did in fact develop a greater Jewish consciousness toward the end of his life, stating that “I make no secret of my Judaism, to which I have not returned, because I have not left it” (in Rose 1990, 167). Thus Paul de LaGarde “with horror and envy . . . identified the Jews as a proud, invincible nation. . . . Jews possessed that very unity that the Germans lacked, and it enabled them to be ‘at least in Europe the masters of the non-Jews’ ” (Stern 1961, 60; inner quote from de LaGarde). Jewish separatism and endogamous marriage were often criticized not only by anti-Semites but also by respected gentile intellectuals, including Theodor Mommsen, Heinrich von Treitschke, and Willy Helpach, as well as such prominent Jews as Walter Rathenau (Ragins 1980, 16–17, 77; Niewyk 1980, 97). Similarly, in Austria assimilated Jewish observers commented on the “stubborn [Jewish] emphasis on racial solidarity” (Rosenblit 1984, 8).

Reflecting the group solidarity of Jews, anti-Semitesoften perceive Jews as working together for a common goal. In 1875 a commentator wrote that “bank, share and stock exchange privileges are, as things stand, Jews’ privileges. They are therefore protected and pushed with all their might by the Jewish press, by Jewish scholars and Jewish deputies” (in Pulzer 1964, 88). The German anti-Semite Theodor Fritsch related the experiences of a manufacturer negotiating military contracts during World War I: “To his amazement, he met . . . Hebrews—and more Hebrews. . . . [S]urrounded by others of his tribe, sat Mr. Walther Rathenau arranging things. . . . [I]t was no surprise that Jewish firms almost always received preference” (in Lindemann 1997, 404).

It was common among anti-Semites to note the close relationships between wealthy Jewish capitalists and Jewish radicals (Mosse 1970, 48). In fact, American Jewish capitalists like Jacob Schiff did finance Russian radical movements directed at overthrowing the Czar and may well have had considerable impact (Goldstein 1990, 26–27; Szajkowski 1967).[33]The leaders of Western Jewish communities were highly committed to the overthrow of the czar. For example, in 1907 Lucien Wolf wrote to Louis Marshall of the AJCommittee that “the only thing to be done on the whole Russo-Jewish question is to carry on persistent and implacable war against the Russian Government” (in Szajowski 1967, 8). “Western Jewish leaders actively participated in general actions in favor of the liberal and revolutionary movements in Russia both during the revolution and after its downfall” (Szajkowski 1967, 9). Their activities were presumably meant more as an attempt to end czarist anti-Semitism than as an endorsement of radical political ideology, but perceptions of collusion between Jews with such differing political views depended for their believability on Jewish overrepresentation among both groups: “From emancipation onwards, the Jews were blamed both for seeking to ingratiate themselves with established society, enter in and dominate it; and, at the same time, for trying to destroy it utterly. Both charges had an element of truth” (Johnson 1988, 345).

Similar perceptions of Jews were common in the United States and England during this period. The following remarkable description of the Jewish ghetto in New York City by Henry James gives the impression of the intense energy of a people crammed into a small space, the burgeoning number of children, and their cohesive “racial group-consciousness,” combined with a vague apprehension of their future influence:

There is no swarming like that of Israel when once Israel has got a start, and the scene here bristled at every step, with the sights and sounds, immitigable, unmistakable, of a Jewry that had burst all bounds. . . . The children swarmed above all—here was multiplication with a vengeance; . . . the scene hummed with the human presence beyond any I had ever faced in quest even of refreshment; producing part of the impression, moreover, no doubt, as a direct consequence of the intensity of the Jewish aspect. This, I think, makes the individual Jew more of a concentrated person, savingly possessed of everything that is in him, than any other human, noted at random—or is it simply, rather, that the unsurpassed strength of the race permits of the chopping into myriads of fine fragments without loss of race-quality? There are small strange animals known to natural history, snakes or worms, I believe, who, when cut into pieces, wriggle away contentedly and live in the snippet as completely as in the whole. So the denizens of the New York Ghetto, heaped as thick as the splinters on the table of a glass-blower, had each like the fine glass particle, his or her individual share of the whole hard glitter of Israel. . . . they were all there for race, and not, as it were, for reason: that excess of lurid meaning, in some of the old men’s and old women’s faces in particular . . . could only be the gathered past of Israel mechanically pushing through. The way, at the same time, this chapter of history did . . . seem to push, was a matter that made the “ethnic” apparition again sit like a skeleton at the feast. It was fairly as if I could see the spectre grin while the talk of the hour gave me, across the board, facts and figures, chapter and verse, for the extent of the Hebrew conquest of New York. . . . Who can ever tell . . . what the genius of Israel may, or may not, really be “up to”? . . . [W]hatever we shall know [of language in the United States], certainly we shall not know it for English—in any sense for which there is an existing literary measure. (James 1907, 131–132, 135, 139)

Vague forebodings that the arrival of large numbers of Jews would have a profound transformative effect on American society also appear to be behind the fairly submerged anti-Semitism of other American 19th-century patricians, including Henry and Brooks Adams and Henry Cabot Lodge (Cunliffe 1965; Higham 1984, 109; Podhoretz 1986). The prominent American sociologist Edward A. Ross (1914, 143) was perhaps most explicit in his fears, noting that the Jews “were united by a strong race consciousness” and that “already [they are] ably represented at every level of wealth, power, and influence in the United States.” On the opposite page from this quote, Ross juxtaposed a picture of Hindus from India with a picture of immigrant Russian Jews in order to emphasize the outlandish appearance of the Jewish immigrants.[34]Nevertheless, Ross held out the hope that Jews would completely assimilate in the long run, including by intermarriage. His opposition to Jewish immigration stemmed from his belief that anti-Semitism based on resource competition and negatively perceived Jewish traits was increasing, and that if immigration was allowed to continue unchecked it would result in violent anti-Semitic riots and legislation.

Writing much later, Henry Pratt Fairchild (1947) also asserted that Jews had failed to assimilate and that their presence prevented a sense of American nationality, because of such discordant Jewish practices as having different holidays. Fairchild also emphasized the Jewish sense of superiority, their strong preference for Jewish marriage partners, and their very open concern with financial considerations in marriage as giving rise to gentile hostility. Fairchild had a strong sense that between-group competition and within-group affiliation characterized relationships between Jews and gentiles: “Ours is not to ask why we crave superiority and yearn to dominate, why we like those who are like us, why we enjoy being with persons who are congenial to us, why we resent the economic competition of members of another group more than that of our own fellows, why devotion to the dictates of our own religion is esteemed piety while the similar loyalty of a different worshipper is called intolerance” (p. 161).

In England in 1888 a Jewish newspaper editorialized as follows:

If poor Jews will persist in appropriating to themselves whole streets . . . drawing to their peculiarities of dress, of language and of manner, the attention which they might otherwise escape, can there be any wonder that the vulgar prejudices of which they are the objects should be kept alive and strengthened? (In Alderman 1992, 138)

In 1905, A. J. Balfour, the Conservative prime minister summed up widely held views during the period as follows:

A state of things could easily be imagined in which it would not be to the advantage of the civilisation of the country that there should be an immense body of persons who, however patriotic, able and industrious, however much they threw themselves into the national life, remained a people apart, and not merely held a religion differing from the vast majority of their fellow-countrymen, but only intermarried among themselves. (In Alderman 1992, 133)[35]During the same period the conservative political activist Arnold White complained that the Eastern European Jewish immigrants without question “belong to a race and cling to a community that prefers to remain aloof from the mainstream of our national life, by shunning intermarriage with Anglo-Saxons” (in Alderman 1992, 123).

The Themes of Jewish Economic, Cultural and Political Domination • 11,200 Words

Resource Competition and the Theme of Economic Domination. As a result of Jewish within-group cooperation and altruism, as well as eugenic and cultural practices tending to result in high levels of intelligence and resource acquisition abilities among Jews, Jews are highly adept in resource competition with gentiles. It is not surprising, therefore, that anti-Semitic writing has often focused on issues of resource and reproductive competition. However, issues related to economic resource competition appear relatively infrequently in ancient writings, and indeed it has been suggested that Jews were generally seen as poor during the classical period at least until the 4th century (Kraabel 1983, 453; Sevenster 1975, 88; but see Feldman 1993, 172).

However, several scholars have suggested that ancient anti-Semitism resulted from Jewish separatism combined with demands for political rights (see especially Gager 1983). As Schürer (1986, 131) notes, the concept of “a division between the spheres of religion and political life was utterly alien to classical antiquity.” The Greeks would have respected the Jews’ attachment to their own cult but would have been intolerant toward the Jews not recognizing the official cults of the city (Hengel 1989, 185–186; see also Collins 1985, 175; Sevenster 1975, 171; Tcherikover 1959, 371–377). Political rights also had at least some economic implications. Thus Hegermann (1989, 161) notes that given a previously existing context of hostility, the attempt by the Jewish community to have all of its members declared citizens and thus avoid a tax on non-citizens resulted in an “acute problem.”

Moreover, some anti-Semitic comments of the period can be interpreted as involving economic conflict (Baron 1952, I, 383; Feldman 1993, 107ff; Kraabel 1983, 457). Although by no means overwhelming, Feldman’s most convincing evidence is the following: a fragment suggesting general hostility toward Jews related to their role as moneylenders and to a specific instance of a riot started by people attempting to rid themselves of debts to Jews; the description of Jews in the writings of Claudius Ptolemy as successful in trade, unscrupulous, and treacherous; references to the wealth of the Jews in Judea and especially the Temple; Tacitus’s comment (Hist. 5.5) that the wealth of Jews was augmented by their honesty and compassion toward other Jews; the comment of Celsus (2nd century) that the Jewish God promises that Jews will be rich, powerful, reproductively successful, and will massacre their enemies.[36]Feldman suggests that resource and reproductive competition was largely omitted in the writings of intellectuals because there was little understanding of or concern with the role of economics in social conflict, and because intellectuals during this period came from social classes who would be little threatened by Jewish economic and reproductive success. Feldman notes that it is remarkable that we do not hear of anti-Semitism in conjunction with the Jewish role as tax collectors under the Ptolemies, since such a role has been a potent source of anti-Semitism in other periods. Similarly, there is no mention of competition between Jewish and gentile artisan guilds, although ethnically segregated guilds existed during this period (Applebaum 1976, 479ff). Competition between Jewish and gentile artisan guilds was often a potent source of anti-Semitism in later periods (e.g., pre-expulsion Spain [Beinart 1981] and Poland [Hundert 1992]; see PTSDA: Chapter 5).

Reproductive competition may also have had a role in ancient anti-Semitism: “Above all . . . throughout the empire there was widespread resentment of the ‘alien’ character of Jews, raised to a high pitch by the growth of Jewish population” (Baron 1952, I, 191). “The larger the masses of Jews were in any one region and the more pronounced their confidence and assertiveness became, the deeper was the resentment of the Gentile peoples” (Baron 1952, I, 209). Tacitus also commented on the Jewish “passion for propagating their race” (Hist. 5.5, 660).

There also appears to have been some concern about Jewish political influence in the Roman Empire, beginning with Cicero in 59 b.c. and extending to the popularity in the third century of the Acts of the Alexandrian Martyrs, a book described by Feldman (1993, 175) as “viciously anti-Jewish” in its depiction of Jewish domination and political influence. As discussed in Chapter 3, there was an upsurge in anti-Jewish writings related to resource and reproductive competition in the 4th century.

Themes of resource and reproductive competition were common in anti-Jewish writing in the period prior to and during the Spanish Inquisition. The 14th-century Spanish historian Ayala bitterly criticized the king and even the bishops for colluding to allow tax farming by the Jews “who are ready to drink the blood of the poor Christians” (Baer 1961, I, 368). Later, Andrés Bernáldez noted that the Conversos had risen “to the rank of scholars, doctors, bishops, canons, priests and priors of monasteries, auditors and secretaries, farmers of Crown revenues and grandees. They had one aim: to increase and multiply” (in Beinart 1981, 21–22).

A common situation resulting in accusations of economic domination was the tendency for Jews to be involved in moneylending to gentiles. Although moneylending is now viewed as having an important economic function, a very potent source of anti-Semitic writing in traditional societies (where a large percentage of borrowers lived at subsistence level) has been the association of Jews with a profession perceived as exploitative.[37]For Spain, see Baer 1961; Lea (1906–1907, I, 96–98); for Poland, see Weinryb 1972, 58ff; for medieval France, see Jordan 1989, 28. Writing of early modern Poland, Beauvois (1986) notes that Jews were disliked for being creditors and for “enslaving” the nobility (Beauvois 1986, 89); “Everything . . . is in Jewish hands” (Beauvois 1986, 89). Jordan (1989, 28, 44) finds that in general there was resentment at borrowing at interest in premodern societies even if the parties were of the same ethnic group or religion. As expected on the basis of social identity theory, Jordan notes that these resentments would be even more pronounced if, as in the case of Jews lending to Christians, the lenders were from an ethnic group whose separation from the borrowing class was obvious and many members of which were engaged in this profession.

During the Middle Ages, the word “Judaize” meant to “act like an outsider, to regard others not as brothers but under a different set of rules that permitted forms of exploitation that were forbidden to the circle of brothers and friends” (Jordan 1989, 45). Regarding the Jews of 13th-century Brittany, Jordan notes that “they never successfully integrated themselves into the local society. They were always conceived as strangers involved in a business that was both extortionate and perverse.” In the opinion of many medieval Christian thinkers, the Bible should be interpreted as allowing taking interest only from peoples one is at war with (e.g., Ammonites, Canaanites), quoting Ambrose—“From him demand usury from whom it would not be a crime to kill. Where there is a right of war, there is a right of usury” (Stein 1959, 59). The view that taking interest was fundamentally a hostile act—forbidden within the ingroup but allowed with outgroup members—was also embedded in authoritative Jewish writings beginning with Deuteronomy 23. Although various subterfuges were sometimes found to get around this requirement, loans to Jews in medieval Spain were typically made without interest (Neuman 1969, I, 194). Maimonides (12th century) stated that “nesek (‘biting,’ usury) and marbit (‘increase,’ interest) are one and the same thing. . . . Why is it called nesek? because he who takes it bites his fellow, causes pain to him, and eats his flesh” (The Code of Maimonides, Book 13 , The Book of Civil Laws, ch. IV, 1, 88–89). Some medieval Jewish authorities suggested that charging interest to gentiles is a religious obligation for Jews (Johnson 1988, 174; Stein 1955).[38]Thus Levi ben Gershom (14th century, French) argued that “it was a positive commandment to burden the gentile with interest ‘because one should not benefit an idolator . . . and [should] cause him as much damage as possible without deviating from righteousness’ ” (Johnson 1988, 174). Chazan (1973, 116–117) and Stein (1955, 1959) describe the views of Jewish polemicists in medieval France who argued that the Deuteronomic injunction not to lend at interest to countrymen did not apply to Christians, as some Christian theologians of the period had argued in their efforts to develop an intellectual rationale for ending Jewish moneylending. Based on their interpretation of scripture, the Jewish apologists argued that Christians were indeed foreigners and thus could be charged interest.

Interest rates typical in the Middle Ages were high by modern standards. Roth (1978, 106) finds a typical rate of between 22 and 43 percent per annum in medieval England. In northern France the rate was capped at 43 percent in 1206, and compound interest was regulated in an attempt to lower the prevalent rates of 65 percent plus compounding (Baldwin 1986, 282; Chazan 1973, 84; Rabinowitz 1938, 44).[39]Jews were often accused of exceeding legal limitations on interest rates. For example, in Castile Jews were allowed 33-1/3 percent interest “and the constant repetition of these limitations and the provisions against all manner of ingenious devices, by fictitious sales and other frauds, to obtain an illegal increase, show how little the laws were respected in the grasping avarice with which the Jews speculated on the necessities of their customers” (Lea 1906–1907, I, 97). During the famine of 1326 at Cuenca when farmers needed money to buy seed, Jews refused to lend money until they were allowed to charge 40 percent interest instead of the previously allowed 33-1/3 percent (Lea 1906–1907, I, 97). Subsequent regulation of Jewish moneylending attempted to protect certain classes of borrowers, particularly “the weaker classes”—those without property and ecclesiastical personnel not having the permission of superiors, but there were also laws aimed at preventing the depletion of the property of landed property owners (Baldwin 1986, 232).

These rates included a portion taken by the king or other aristocrats in taxes.[40]As a result, the Church’s campaign against Jewish moneylending was also directed against the gentile aristocracy who benefited from the practice. For example: “it has been brought to our notice that certain princes do not have their eyes upon the Lord . . . for, while they themselves are ashamed to exact usury, they receive Jews into their villages and towns and appoint them their agents for the collection of usury; and they are not afraid to afflict the churches of God and oppress the poor of Christ (letter from Pope Innocent III to the Count of Nevers [1208]; in Grayzel 1933, 127).

Similar themes of oppression resulting from Jewish moneylending combined with oppression by gentile elites occur in a 19th-century account on Morocco:

As money-lenders the Jews are as maggots and parasites, aggravating and feeding on the diseases of the land. I do not know, for my part, which exercises the greatest tyranny and oppression, the Sultan or the Jew,—the one the embodiment of the foulest misgovernment, the other the essence of a dozen Shylocks, demanding, ay, and getting, not only his pound of flesh, but also the blood and nerves. By his outrageous exactions the Sultan drives the Moor into the hands of the Jew, who affords him a temporary relief by lending him the necessary money on incredibly exorbitant terms. Once in the money-lender’s clutches, he rarely escapes till he is squeezed dry, when he is either thrown aside, crushed and ruined, or cast into a dungeon, where fettered and starved, he is probably left to die a slow and horrible death.

To the position of the Jews in Morocco it would be difficult to find a parallel. Here we have a people alien, despised, and hated, actually living in the country under immeasurably better conditions than the dominant race, while they suck, and are assisted to suck, the very life-blood of their hosts. The aim of every Jew is to toil not, neither to spin, save the coils which as money-lender he may weave for the entanglement of his necessitous victims. (In Smith 1894, 252–253)
Nevertheless, moneylending by Jews resulted in a major flow of resources from the gentile to the Jewish community in the premodern period. Statements of contemporaries indicate that moneylenders themselves viewed their occupation as very lucrative compared to artisanry or agriculture (Rabinowitz 1938, 113). On the other hand, Christians perceived Jewish moneylending as resulting in a Jewish “grip” on the Christian economy, including ecclesiastical institutions, and indeed many ecclesiastical institutions went bankrupt and were closed down as a result of debts owed to Jews (Jordan 1989, 65; Luchaire 1912, 229ff).[41]The total of debts owed to Jews was often very high during the Middle Ages—amounting to 25 percent more than the ordinary royal revenues in France in 1221. During the confiscations of Jewish property ordered by Philip Augustus, it was said that the Jews owned half of Paris; the confiscation produced “an enormous windfall for the king’s finances” (Baldwin 1986, 52).

Another consistent theme of anti-Semitism in traditional societies derives from the Jewish role of farming taxes for the nobility. Tax farmers paid a fixed sum to the nobility for the right to obtain as much in taxes as they could from the Christian population.[42]See also Weinryb (1972, 63–64) for similar data on Jews as tax farmers in Poland. The ecologically similar role of Jews as estate managers in Poland also resulted in the perception that “the serf was exploited by this tribe foreign to his own people” (Beauvois 1986, 86). The petition of 1449 by the rebels of Toledo accused the New Christian tax farmers of having “caused the [economic] ruin . . . of many noble proprietresses (dueñas, caballeros, and hijos-dalgo)” and of having “oppressed, destroyed, robbed and depraved . . . most of the houses and estates of the Old Christians” (in Netanyahu 1995, 959).

As in many other traditional societies, outgroup status vis-à-vis the rest of society made Jews ideal tax farmers: placing gentiles in charge of tax farming would essentially place payment of taxes under control of those in charge of collecting them, while Jews (or in Spain, the New Christians after the forced conversions of 1391) could be trusted to treat the gentiles as an outgroup and maximize the king’s revenues:

It was primarily because of the functions of the Jews as the king’s revenue gatherers in the urban areas that the cities saw the Jews as the monarch’s agents, who treated them as objects of massive exploitation. By serving as they did the interests of the kings, the Jews seemed to be working against the interests of the cities; and thus we touch again on the phenomenon we have referred to: the fundamental conflict between the kings and their people—a conflict not limited to financial matters, but one that embraced all spheres of government that had a bearing on the people’s life. It was in part thanks to this conflict of interests that the Jews could survive the harsh climate of the Middle Ages, and it is hard to believe that they did not discern it when they came to resettle in Christian Europe. Indeed, their requests, since the days of the Carolingians, for assurances of protection before they settled in a place show (a) that they realized that the kings’ positions on many issues differed from those of the common people and (b) that the kings were prepared, for the sake of their interests, to make common cause with the “alien” Jews against the clear wishes of their Christian subjects. In a sense, therefore, the Jews’ agreements with the kings in the Middle Ages resembled the understandings they had reached with foreign conquerors in the ancient world. (Netanyahu 1995, 71–72)

Since the role of Jews as tax farmers (as well as all of their other roles in traditional societies) was dependent on the gentile elite, anti-Jewish writers have often condemned the gentile aristocracy for allowing Jews to exploit the lower orders of society. A petition to King Enrique of the Cortes of Toro (Castile) in 1371 complained that because of the power given to Jews by the King and the nobles, Jews controlled the cities and even the persons of the Spaniards (Netanyahu 1995, 118). In the following century, Fray Alonso de Espina, the Fransican friar who was instrumental in establishing the Inquisition, condemned the “detested avarice of the Christian princes” and “the temporal gains which they get from the Jews” (in Netanyahu 1995, 731). On the other hand, Espina praised King Philip Augustus, who “burned with the zeal of God” when he despoiled the Jews and expelled them from France in opposition to the pleas of the nobility and prelates and offers of bribes from the Jews (in Netanyahu 1995, 831).

Emancipation often accentuated the importance of resource competition as a source of anti-Semitism. Lindemann (1991, 17) notes that Jews in pre-emancipation Russia “were viewed by the authorities and by much of the rest of population as a foreign, separate, exploitative, and distressingly prolific nation.”[43]The comment reflects a concern with Jewish reproductive success as an aspect of anti-Semitism. In PTSDA (Ch. 5) I note several other examples of anti-Semitic statements expressing this concern regarding Jewish reproductive success during the period of the Iberian inquisitions (15th–17th centuries). In Germany limitations on fertility were a common component of laws regulating Jews from the medieval period to the 19th century (Goldstein 1981; Lowenstein 1981), and the “Hep! Hep!” riots of 1819 were aimed at revenge at Jews, “who are living among us and who are increasing like locusts” (in Dawidowicz 1975, 30). The official Russian view was that emancipation had resulted in Jews economically dominating and exploiting the Slavic peasants (Judge 1992, 9, 11). The following passage, from an article published in 1893 by M. Pierre Botkine, the Secretary of the Russian Legation in Washington, was also emphasized by Goldwin Smith (1894, 248) in his anti-Jewish writing. It combines the issue of economic domination with the loyalty issue discussed more fully in a following section:

The Hebrew, as we know him in Russia, is “the eternal Jew.” Without a country of his own, and as a rule, without any desire to become identified with the country he for the time inherits, he remains, as for hundreds of years he has been, morally unchangeable and without a faculty for adapting himself to sympathy with the people of the race which surrounds him. He is not homogeneous with us in Russia; he does not feel or desire solidarity with us. In Russia he remains a guest only,—a guest from long ago, and not an integral part of the community. When these guests without affinity became too many in Russia, when in several localities their numbers were found injurious to the welfare and the prosperity of our own people as a whole, when they had grown into many wide-spreading ramifications of influence and power, and abused their opportunities as traders with or lenders of money to the poor,—when, in a word, they became dangerous and prejudicial to our people,—is there anything revolting or surprising in the fact that our government found it necessary to restrict their activity? . . . Is it just that those who have never had to confront such a situation should blame us for those measures?

Our peasantry has only recently been organized in their existing social relations, and is not yet well educated, or well trained in the exercise of social rights or obligations under their present system. . . . If we take into consideration the character of the Slavonian folk, it is easy to understand why our meek, ignorant, and easy-going peasantry fell under the control of the Jews, who, as a class, are far better educated and more thrifty, and have the aptitude for commerce and for money making which distinguishes their race everywhere—and who readily perceived and soon abused their superiority in those particulars, after the emancipation of the serfs had deprived them individually of the safeguards the old system of things had afforded them. This Jewish influence was everywhere oppressive, and now and then became an unbearable yoke. The peasants in some localities, having lost all patience, were guilty of violent excesses, mobbed the Jews, and destroyed their property. (Botkine 1893, 613–614)

In 1881 a government document decried the failure of its twenty-year-long campaign to fuse the Russian and Jewish populations and perceived the problem to be “the exploitation [by the Jews] of the indigenous population and mostly of the poorer classes” (in Frankel 1981, 64). This was the view of official American government observers as well (see Goldstein 1990, 36, 290), and it was also apparent in the Jewish revolutionary socialist Hayim Zhitlowski (1972, 129): “Whenever I turned my eyes to ordinary, day-to-day Jewish life, I saw only one thing, that which the antisemites were agitating about: the injurious effect of Jewish merchantry on Russian peasantry. No matter how I felt, from a socialist point of view, I had to pass a death sentence not only on individual Jews but on the entire Jewish existence of individual Jews” (italics in text).[44]The following report from British Vice-Consul L. Wagstaff sums up the public perception of the social and economic causes of anti-Semitism leading to the pogroms of 1881 in Russia and reflects many of the themes of this section and the previous section:

It is chiefly as brokers or middlemen that the Jews are so prominent. Seldom a business transaction of any kind takes place without their intervention, and from both sides they receive compensation. To enumerate some of their other occupations, constantly denounced by the public: they are the principal dealers in spirits; keepers of “vodka” (drinking) shops and houses of ill-fame; receivers of stolen goods; illegal pawnbrokers and usurers. A branch they also succeed in is as government contractors. With their knowledge of handling money, they collude with unscrupulous officials in defrauding the State to vast amounts annually. In fact, the malpractices of some of the Jewish community have a bad influence on those whom they come in contact with. It must, however, be said that there are many well educated, highly respectable Jews in Russia, but they form a small minority. . . . They thoroughly condemn the occupations of their lower brethren. . . . They themselves acknowledge the abuses practised by some of their own members, and suggest remedial measures to allay the irritation existing among the working classes.

Another thing the Jews are accused of is that there exists among them a system of boycotting; they use their religion for business purposes. . . . For instance, in Bessarabia, the produce of a vineyard is drawn for by lot, and falls, say to Jacob Levy; the other Jews of the district cannot compete with Levy, who buys the wine at his own price. In the leasing by action of government and provincial lands, it is invariably a Jew who outbids the others and afterwards re-lets plots to the peasantry at exorbitant prices. . . .

Their fame as usurers is well known. Given a Jewish recruit with a few roubles’ capital, it can be worked out, mathematically, what time it will take him to become the money-lender of his company or regiment, from the drummer to the colonel. Take the case of a peasant: if he once gets into the hands of this class, he is irretrievably lost. The proprietor, in his turn, from a small loan gradually mortgages and eventually loses his estate. A great deal of landed property in south Russia has of late years passed into the hands of the Israelites but principally into the hands of intelligent and sober peasants.

From first to last, the Jew has his hand in everything. He advances the seed for sowing, which is generally returned in kind—quarters for bushels. As harvest time comes around, money is required to gather in the crops. This is sometimes advanced on hard conditions; but the peasant has no choice; there is no one to lend him money, and it is better to secure something than to lose all. Very often the Jew buys the whole crop as it stands in the field on his own terms. It is thus seen that they themselves do not raise agricultural products, but they reap the benefits of others’ labour, and steadily become rich, while proprietors are gradually getting ruined. In their relation to Russia they are compared to parasites that have settled on a plant not vigorous enough to throw them off, and which is being sapped of its vitality.

The vice-consul also noted that peasants often say when they see the property of a Jew, “That is my blood.” The complaints of the pogromists also included charges that Russian girls in service at Jewish households were sexually exploited.

Gentile revolutionaries were also prone to anti-Semitic pronouncements.[45]Similarly, in 19th-century England, the socialist Chartist movement, while opposed to persecution of Jews, tended to regard them as part of the wealthy, parasitic class of oppressors (Alderman 1983, 17). In 1869 the Russian anarchist Mikhail Bakunin stated of the Jews that “their history, since well before the Christian era, has imprinted on them a trait essentially mercantile and bourgeois, which means, taken as a nation, they are par excellence the exploiters of the work of others, and they have a horror and a natural fear of the masses of the people, whom, moreover, they hate, openly or secretly” (in Rather 1990, 178). The revolutionary party Narodnaia Volia took a tolerant view toward the 1881 pogroms and issued the following statement to the Ukrainian people:

The people in the Ukraine suffer worst of all from the Jews. Who takes the land, the woods, the taverns from out of your hands? The Jews. From whom does the muzhik [peasant], often with tears in his eyes, have to beg permission to get to his own field, his own plot of land?—the Jews. Wherever you look, wherever you go—the Jews are everywhere. The Jew curses you, cheats you, drinks your blood. . . . But as soon as the muzhiki rise up to free themselves from their enemies as they did in Elizavetgrad, Kiev, Smela, the tsar at once comes to the rescue of the Jews: the soldiers from Russia are called in and the blood of the muzhik, Christian blood, flows. . . . You have begun to rebel against the Jews. You have done well. Soon the revolt will be taken up across all of Russia against the tsar, the pany [landowners], the Jews. (In Frankel 1981, 98)[46]Other pronouncements from revolutionaries during the period stated that “one should not hit the Jew because he is a Jew and prays to his own God . . . but because he plunders the people, sucks the blood of the workingman”; and, “The Jew owns the bars and taverns, rents land from the landowners and then leases it out to the peasant at two or three times the rate, he buys wheat on the field, goes in for money lending and charges percentages so high that people call them simply ‘Yiddish’ rates” (in Frankel 1981, 100). A Jewish socialist, Pavel Borisovich Akselrod, analyzed the situation by writing that “however great the poverty and deprivation suffered by the Jewish masses . . . the fact remains that, taken overall, some half of them function as a nonproductive element, sitting astride the neck of the lower classes in Russia” (in Frankel 1981, 105). These comments agree with the assessment of the British Vice-Consul quoted in note 21.

In later years, Jews assumed a much larger role in the revolutionary movement in Russia. This resulted in a very different interpretation of the 1881 pogroms. Writing in 1905 during another period of pogroms, the Jewish socialist theorist Shimen Dubnov attributed the 1881 pogroms to “imaginary economic factors,” while the recent pogroms had been the result of “revenge for the revolutionary activity of the Jews” (in Frankel 1981, 136). Workers and peasants were active participants in the 1905 pogroms as well.

The theme of economic and cultural domination in Russia did not end with the Revolution and the establishment of the Soviet Union. Beginning during World War II, there was concern within high governmental circles over the underrepresentation of ethnic Russians and the overrepresentation of Jews in key areas of the economic and cultural elite of the Soviet Union. These concerns were initially concentrated in the cultural sphere (q.v. below), but they rapidly spread to all areas of the scientific and economic establishment. Purges of disproportionately Jewish elites were made in the areas of journalism, the arts, academic departments of history, pedagogy, philosophy, economics, medicine and psychiatry, and scientific research institutes in all areas of the natural sciences. There were also widespread purges of Jews at the top levels of management and engineering throughout the economy. At times Jews were accused of obtaining predominance partly via ingroup favoritism, as in the following report of 1950 by the Central Committee on Jewish activities at an aircraft production facility:

In a number of extremely important departments of the Central Aero-Hydrodynamic Institute there are workers due to be substituted for political reasons. They gather around themselves people of the same nationality, impose the habit of praising one another (while making others erroneously believe that they are indispensable), and force their protégés through to high posts. (In Kostyrchenko 1995, 237)

Similar themes are apparent following emancipation in Europe, where there was a decline in legislation restricting the economic activities of Jews, but there was also a phenomenal increase in Jewish wealth, political influence, and representation in the professions and other positions of high social status (Lindemann 1991; Krausnick 1968; Massing 1949; Pulzer 1964). A common theme of the anti-Semitic writings of the 19th and early 20th century concerned Jewish economic domination of gentiles as well as the ancient charge of misanthropy. These modern anti-Semites “charge Jews with exploiting and cheating non-Jews, taking their jobs from them, gaining control over the stock market, the press, and even the state itself ” (Lindemann 1991, 16). The “Anti-Semites Petition” of 1880 to Reich Chancellor Bismarck complained about economic domination but also emphasized Jewish foreignness to the German cultural heritage:

Wherever Christian and Jew enter into social relations, we see the Jew as master, the indigenous Christian population in a subservient position. The Jew takes part only to a negligible extent in the heavy labor of the great mass of our nation. . . . But the fruits of his [the German’s] labor are reaped mainly by the Jew. By far the largest part of the capital which national labor produces is concentrated in Jewish hands; . . . Not only do the proudest palaces of our large cities belong to Jewish masters whose fathers and grandfathers, huckstering and peddling, crossed the frontiers into our fatherland, but rural holdings too, that most significant preservative basis of our political structure, fall more and more into the hands of the Jews. . . .

What we strive for is solely the emancipation of the German Volk from a form of alien domination which it cannot endure for any length of time. (In Dawidowicz 1976, 28–29)

The petition, signed by approximately a quarter of a million people, demanded that Jews be excluded from government jobs and from positions as teachers in primary schools, as well as restrictions on Jewish employment in the judiciary and in higher education.

As in Russia later in the century, a theme of the widespread popular Bavarian opposition to Jewish emancipation in 1849–1850 was fear of Jewish economic domination if Jews were emancipated (Harris 1994, 132ff).[47]A 19th-century account presents the perception of Jews as predators on German peasants: “There is scarce a village without some Jews in it, who do not cultivate land themselves, but lie in wait like spiders for the failing Bauer [i.e., peasant]” (Baring-Gould, 114). A German informant told Baring-Gould that “he doubted whether there were a happier set of people under the sun so long as they are out of the clutch of the Jew” (in Smith 1894, 252). While references to Judaism as a religion were rare, Jews were viewed as a foreign people who were explicitly characterized as more intelligent than gentiles, better than gentiles in business and trade, and able to take advantage of gentiles. Several petitions noted that “if Jews were emancipated, Bavaria would serve Jews; if emancipated, Jews will ‘have us by the throats’; if they are emancipated, we will become slaves; if emancipated they will dominate” (p. 142). Petitioners often feared Jewish wealth and dominance in financial affairs. Jews were perceived as hating Christians, and proof of this could be found in the “shady,” “tricky,” “dirty,” “unfair,” economic practices of Jews vis-à-vis the Germans (p. 176).[48]Further examples of the theme of economic domination: In Judaism in Music (1850), Richard Wagner stated that “we can now find the plea of this king for emancipation nothing more than uncommonly naive, since we see ourselves rather in the position of fighting for emancipation from the Jews. The Jew is in fact, in the current state of this world, already more than emancipated. He rules” (trans. by Rather 1990, 163). The Agrarian League stated in 1894 that it was “an opponent of Jewry, which has become altogether too mighty in our country and has acquired a decisive say in the press, in trade and on the exchanges” (in Pulzer 1964, 190). Otto Glagau stated that “actually they dominate us. Once again as in centuries past, an alien tribe, so small in number, rules a truly great nation” (in Levy 1975, 15). Glagau charged that 90 percent of those responsible for the stock market crash of 1873 were Jews, a charge that Lindemann (1997, 120) accepts as possibly exaggerated but as reflecting actual disproportionate Jewish involvement.

Many of the petitions had detailed examples, such as the following from Hirschau:

If only a few Jewish families settle here, all small shops, tanneries, hardware stores, and so on, which, as things stand, provide their proprietors with nothing but the scantiest of livelihoods, will in no time at all be superseded and completely crushed by these [Jews] such that at least twelve local families will be reduced to beggary, and our poor relief fund, already in utter extremity, will be fully exhausted within one year.

The Jews come into possession in the shortest possible time of all cash money by getting involved in every business; they rapidly become the only possessors of money, and their Christian neighbors become their debtors. (In Harris 1994, 254)

Anti-Semitism increased during the economic depression of the 1870s because Jews were perceived as a powerful competitive threat to the German lower and middle classes (Massing 1949, 47). Although anti-Semitism was also common among the peasantry in the 19th century (Harris 1994; Levy 1975), the most virulent anti-Semitism occurred among “teachers, students, white collar workers, petty officials, and the free professions most threatened by Jewish advancement” (Massing 1949, xiii; see also Pulzer 1964, 279ff). As Hagen (1996, 365) notes, “pre-1939 German anti-Semitism arose to a considerable degree from motives of economic competition and accompanying real-life animosities felt toward the German Jews.” “Taken as corporate groups, lawyers and medical doctors in particular, but teachers, engineers, and other highly trained technicians as well, seized with more or less vehemence upon anti-Semitism—especially in the Weimar years—to improve their prospects of employment and upward mobility, just as they also accepted Nazi policies of ‘Aryanization’ with equanimity or enthusiasm” (Hagen 1996, 379; see also Gordon 1984, 44). As an example of this “very practical sort of mittelstandspolitik,” there was a dramatic increase in public sector employment by Jews during the Weimar period compared to the imperial period, but Jews were expelled from these positions when the National Socialists came to power. Jews were also expelled from professional life and one-half of Jewish-owned businesses were liquidated. By 1939 the Jewish population was 60 percent lower than in 1933, and only 16 percent of the remaining German Jews were gainfully employed, about half in low-paying jobs.

Indeed, a clear recognition of structural factors as involved in anti-Semitism was characteristic of Zionist writings of the period. Theodor Herzl argued that a prime source of modern anti-Semitism was that emancipation had brought Jews into direct economic competition with the gentile middle classes. Anti-Semitism based on resource competition was rational: Herzl “insisted that one could not expect a majority to ‘let themselves be subjugated’ by formerly scorned outsiders whom they had just released from the ghetto” (Kornberg 1993, 183; inner quote from Herzl’s diary). “I find the anti-Semites are fully within their rights” (in Kornberg 1993, 183). Herzl’s remarks were particularly true of Austria-Hungary which had experienced what may have been the most sudden and spectacular rise of the Jews in modern times. Jews dominated business, professions, and the arts, while gentiles were disproportionately proletarianized (Lindemann 1997, 189). In Germany, Zionists analyzed anti-Semitism during the Weimar period as “the inevitable and justifiable response of one people to attempts by another to make it share in the formation of its destiny. It was an instinctive response independent of reason and will, and hence common to all peoples, the Jews included” (Niewyk 1980, 94).

Further highlighting the salience of economic issues is the fact that what Mosse (1987, 403) terms the “Jewish sector” of the German economy was a “clearly perceptible entity.” Knowledge of the “ethnicity” of economic enterprises was widespread in Germany during this period (Mosse 1987, 321).[49]The Jewish economic elite appears to have chosen gentiles as members of boards of directors in an attempt to lessen the salience of Jewish dominance of these enterprises (Mosse 1987, 284). Mosse estimates that Jews were overrepresented by a factor of twenty in their control of the German economy. The ethnic composition of economic enterprises and Jewish group solidarity were often commented on by anti-Semites: for example, a writer noted in 1912 “not without at least some measure of justification” (Mosse 1987, 398) that Jewish capitalists, unlike gentile capitalists, seemed to constitute a cohesive inner core surrounded by groups of coreligionists dependent on them.

Finally, despite enormous economic and religious differences between Germany, Poland, Hungary, and Romania, during the 1930s all of these countries developed policies in which Jews were excluded from public-sector employment, quotas were placed on Jewish representation in universities and the professions, and government-organized boycotts of Jewish businesses and artisans were staged.

[Anti-Semitism was] a broad regional phenomenon rather than . . . [a] set of nationally bounded histories. In this view, modern anti-Semitic ideology and politics in both Germany and Poland figure as pathologies of middle-class formation or, in an alternative formulation, as accompaniments of embourgeoisement in a setting, unlike western and southern Europe, where a relatively large (or very large) and economically very significant urban Jewish population appeared to constitute an impediment to Christian advancement. In both countries, anti-Semitism served to justify assaults on Jewish-owned or Jewish-occupied business enterprises and medical, legal, and other professional practices, as well as bureaucratic positions, which were widely seen to block the path of upward mobility to non-Jewish aspirants to bourgeois respectability and security. In both countries, more or less sporadic anti-Semitic violence fomented by political organizations of the radical right, particularly in the 1930s, elicited considerable popular support or acceptance, reflecting widespread though normally mostly latent hostility to the Jews. . . . Similar policies were also being implemented in Hungary and Romania, the other major homelands of the central European Jews. (Hagen 1996, 360, 361)

Jews as Having Negative Personality Traits. The theme of economic domination has often been combined with the view that Jews have certain negative personality characteristics. We have already reviewed the common charge among the ancients that Jews were misanthropes. In medieval France prior to the expulsion, popular anti-Semitism was directed both at Jews as “pitiless creditors” and at the rulers who protected them (Luchaire 1912, 195). In Spain, the language of the Cortes of Gerona in 1241 “breathes hatred and mistrust of the Jews and repeatedly charges them with avarice” (Baer 1961, I, 148). Andrés Bernáldez, the 15th-century defender of the Inquisition, stated that “many of them acquired great wealth through usurious and deceitful practices” (in Beinart 1981, 21–22). A 15th-century Spanish satirist depicts an Old Christian as asking the king for permission to act like a New Christian and use “whatever subtleties, evil deeds, deceits and falsehoods, of which all those of that race make use . . . without suffering any punishment in this world” (in Netanyahu 1995, 513, 515–516). Marcos García, a leader of the Toledo anti-New Christian rebellion of 1449, used a long list of negative traits in describing his adversaries, including economic and sexual exploitation of Christians, the latter characterized by adultery and sexual lust for Christian virgins and nuns (Netanyahu 1995, 490, 491, 495). Vincent de Costa Mattos, a 17th-century Portuguese, characterized Jews as “enemies of mankind, wandering like gypsies through the world and living on the sweat of others. They had possessed themselves of all trade, farming the land of individuals and the royal patrimony, with no capital but industry and lack of conscience” (in Lea 1906–1907, III, 272–273).

Similar charges have been a staple of anti-Semitic writing since the Enlightenment. The philosopher Immanual Kant stated that Jews were “a nation of usurers . . . outwitting the people amongst whom they find shelter. . . . They make the slogan ‘let the buyer beware’ their highest principle in dealing with us” (in Rose 1992, 7; italics in text). The Bavarian petitions of 1849–1850 opposing Jewish emancipation often emphasized that Jews were ordained by their religion to deceive and cheat Christians, or that Jews encouraged theft because they purchased stolen goods (Harris 1994, 133ff, 254). In rural Poland before World War I, anti-Semitic writers claimed that “the manner by which the Jews come into the possession of their wealth is, more often than not, supposed to be criminal” (Golczewski 1986, 101).

Beginning with the debates between Jews and Christians during the Middle Ages (see Chapter 7) and reviving in the early 19th century, the Talmud and other Jewish religious writings have been condemned as advocating a double standard of morality, in addition to being anti-Christian, nationalistic, and ethnocentric, a view for which there is considerable support (see Hartung 1995; Shahak 1994; PTSDA, Ch. 6). For example, the historian Goldwin Smith (1894, 268) provides a number of Talmudic passages illustrating the “tribal morality” and “tribal pride and contempt of common humanity” (p. 270) he believed to be characteristic of Jewish religious writing. Smith provides the following passage suggesting that subterfuges may be used against gentiles in lawsuits unless such behavior would cause harm to the reputation of the entire Jewish ingroup (i.e., the “sanctification of the Name”):

When a suit arises between an Israelite and a heathen, if you can justify the former according to the laws of Israel, justify him and say: ‘This is our law’; so also if you can justify him by the laws of the heathens justify him and say [to the other party:] ‘This is your law’; but if this can not be done, we use subterfuges to circumvent him. This is the view of R. Ishmael, but R. Akiba said that we should not attempt to circumvent him on account of the sanctification of the Name. Now according to R. Akiba the whole reason [appears to be,] because of the sanctification of the Name, but were there no infringement of the sanctification of the Name, we could circumvent him! (Baba Kamma fol. 113a)[50]Smith also presents the following passage from Baba Kamma 113b as an illustration of Jewish behavior toward gentiles. I provide the translation from the Epstein edition (London: The Soncino Press, 1935).

Samuel said: It is permissible, however to benefit by his mistake as in the case when Samuel once bought of a heathen a golden bowl under the assumption of it being of copper for four zuz, and also left him minus one zuz. R. Kahana once bought of a heathen a hundred and twenty barrels which were supposed to be a hundred while he similarly left him minus one zuz and said to him: ‘See that I am relying upon you.’ Rabina together with a heathen bought a palm tree to chop up [and divide]. He thereupon said to his attendant: Quick, bring to me the parts near to the roots, for the heathen is interested only in the number [but not in the quality]. R. Ashi was once walking on the road when he noticed branches of vines outside a vineyard upon which ripe clusters of grapes were hanging. He said to his attendant: ‘Go and see, if they belong to a heathen bring them to me, but if to an Israelite do not bring them to me.’ The heathen happened to be then sitting in the vineyard and thus overheard this conversation, so he said to him: ‘If of a heathen would they be permitted?’—He replied: ‘A heathen is usually prepared to [dispose of his grapes and] accept payment, whereas an Israelite is generally not prepared to [do so and] accept payment.’

Smith comments that “critics of Judaism are accused of bigotry of race, as well as bigotry of religion. The accusation comes strangely from those who style themselves the Chosen People, make race a religion, and treat all races except their own as Gentiles and unclean” (p. 270).[51]Smith (1894, 271) notes the irony of viewing the Israelites of the Old Testament as moral exemplars despite their “belief that the Father of all and the God of justice had a favourite race, . . . [and] pledged himself to promote its interest against those of other races.” Smith goes on to note that during the invasion described in the Book of Joshua following the Egyptian sojourn, the Israelite God stopped the sun so that the slaughter could continue and commanded that nothing remain alive that breathed.

Werner Sombart (1913, 244–245) summarized the ingroup/outgroup character of Jewish law by noting that “duties toward [the stranger] were never as binding as towards your ‘neighbor,’ your fellow-Jew. Only ignorance or a desire to distort facts will assert the contrary. . . . [T]here was no change in the fundamental idea that you owed less consideration to the stranger than to one of your own people. . . . With Jews [a Jew] will scrupulously see to it that he has just weights and a just measure; but as for his dealings with non-Jews, his conscience will be at ease even though he may obtain an unfair advantage.” To support his point, Sombart provides the following quote from Heinrich Graetz, a prominent 19th-century Jewish historian:

To twist a phrase out of its meaning, to use all the tricks of the clever advocate, to play upon words, and to condemn what they did not know . . . such were the characteristics of the Polish Jew. . . . Honesty and right-thinking he lost as completely as simplicity and truthfulness. He made himself master of all the gymnastics of the Schools and applied them to obtain advantage over any one less cunning than himself. He took a delight in cheating and overreaching, which gave him a sort of joy of victory. But his own people he could not treat in this way: they were as knowing as he. It was the non-Jew who, to his loss, felt the consequences of the Talmudically trained mind of the Polish Jew. (In Sombart 1913, 246)

Although not writing as an anti-Semite, pioneering German sociologist Max Weber (1922, 250) also verified this perception, noting that “As a pariah people, [Jews] retained the double standard of morals which is characteristic of primordial economic practice in all communities: What is prohibited in relation to one’s brothers is permitted in relation to strangers.”

A common theme of late-18th- and 19th-century German anti-Semitic writings emphasized the need for moral rehabilitation of the Jews—their corruption, deceitfulness, and their tendency to exploit others (Rose 1990). Such views also occurred in the writings of Ludwig Börne and Heinrich Heine (both of Jewish background) and among gentile intellectuals such as Christian Wilhelm von Dohm (1751–1820) and Karl Ferdinand Glutzkow (1811–1878), who argued that Jewish immorality was partly the result of gentile oppression. Theodor Herzl viewed anti-Semitism as “an understandable reaction to Jewish defects” brought about ultimately by gentile persecution: Jews had been educated to be “leeches” who possessed “frightful financial power”; they were “a money-worshipping people incapable of understanding that a man can act out of other motives than money” (in Kornberg 1993, 161, 162). Their power drive and resentment at their persecutors could only find expression by outsmarting Gentiles in commercial dealings” (Kornberg 1993, 126). Theodor Gomperz, a contemporary of Herzl and professor of philology at the University of Vienna, stated “Greed for gain became . . . a national defect [among Jews], just as, it seems, vanity (the natural consequence of an atomistic existence shunted away from a concern with national and public interests)” (in Kornberg 1993, 161).[52]Given the widespread perception, even among many Jewish observers, that Jews often engaged in deceitful economic transactions with gentiles or “outsmarted” gentiles, accusations that Jews have had negative personality characteristics cannot be dismissed out of hand. Data from the late 19th and early 20th century compiled by Ruppin (1913) show that Jews were disproportionately involved in crimes of fraud and deceit in Germany, Austria-Hungary, and the Netherlands. Jews were also disproportionately likely to be prosecuted for evasion of military service and “spreading immoral literature.”

Katz (1985, 97) notes that one common accusation of Jewish actors in post-emancipation Germany that may well be valid was that they always undercut scenes depicting “tender and sensitive emotions” with irony. He also notes that this has been recognized as a feature of Heine’s poetry and concludes that “Jewish qualities may quite naturally appear—for better or for worse—in artistic creations of Jews, even of those who have joined non-Jewish culture. It would therefore be preposterous to dismiss categorically all observations from the mouths of antisemites as prejudicial misconceptions.”

Similarly, Lindemann (1991) emphasizes that the public perception of Jews as ruthless and immoral was not entirely without foundation. Jewish capitalists were prominent beneficiaries and promoters of the Boer War. Jews were also involved in the ruthless suppression of a Romanian peasant revolt, and were involved disproportionately in international prostitution. Lindemann notes that “the involvement of Jews in these matters was not only plausible but real enough” (p. 33).

Negative perceptions of Jewish personality traits were also common in anti-Semitic writings in America during the 19th and 20th centuries. Apart from the Japanese (another high-IQ group [Lynn 1987]), the Jews were the only immigrant group that was disliked because of its strength: “Unfavorable stereotypes have pictured an overbearing Jewish ability to gain advantage in American life,” and the contrast with other immigrant groups was in fact based on reality (Higham 1984, 146). Jews were seen by both Jews and gentiles as “the quintessential parvenu—glittering with conspicuous and vulgar jewelry, . . . attracting attention by clamorous behavior, and always forcing his way into society that was above him. To treat this stereotype entirely as a scapegoat for somebody else’s psychological frustrations is to overemphasize the irrational sources of ‘prejudice’ and to clothe the Jews in defensive innocence” (Higham 1984, 125).

Sociologist Edward A. Ross (1914) perceived Jews as having some morally laudatory traits (e.g., intelligence and a lack of physical brutality), but he also commented on a greater tendency among Jewish immigrants to maximize their advantage in all transactions, ranging from Jewish students badgering teachers for higher grades to Jewish poor attempting to get more than the usual charitable allotment. In addition, “no other immigrants are so noisy, pushing and disdainful of the rights of others as the Hebrews” (Ross 1914, 150).

The authorities complain that the East European Hebrews feel no reverence for law as such and are willing to break any ordinance they find in their way. . . . The insurance companies scan a Jewish fire risk more closely than any other. Credit men say the Jewish merchant is often “slippery” and will “fail” in order to get rid of his debts. For lying the immigrant has a very bad reputation. In the North End of Boston “the readiness of the Jews to commit perjury has passed into a proverb.” (Ross 1914, 150)

During the same period there were also complaints about Jewish perjury in Hungary, and in Russia a “liberal nobleman widely recognized as friendly to the Jews” noted that judges “unanimously declared that not a single lawsuit, criminal or civil, can be properly conducted if the interests of the Jews are involved” (in Lindemann 1997, 288–289). Jews were accused of committing perjury to help other Jews commit fraud, concealment of property, and usury.

Ross (1914, 150) also stated that “the fact that pleasure-loving Jewish business men spare Jewesses but pursue Gentile girls excites bitter comment.” There were similar complaints of “Yiddish gorillas” exploiting gentile females in England. A writer claimed, “no Jew is more of a hero to his fellow tribesmen than one who can boast of having accomplished the ruin of some friendless, unprotected Christian girl” (in Lindemann 1997, 380). Lindemann notes that “even among Jewish observers the sexuality of Jewish males and their special attraction to non-Jewish females have been perennial topics” (p. 381). Accusations of sexual exploitation of gentile females also occurred in Russia (see note 21) and in Spain during the period of the Inquisition (see above); such concerns also figure in the major anti-Semitic movements discussed in Chapters 3–5.

Negative stereotypes continued well into the 20th century. A 1938 survey found that “greed,” “dishonesty,” and “aggressiveness” were the qualities Americans disliked most about Jews. Forty-one percent believed that Jews had “too much power in the United States” (in 1945, the figure rose to 58 percent [Dinnerstein 1994, 146]), and 20 percent wanted “to drive Jews out of the United States as a means of reducing their power” (Breitman & Kraut 1987, 88). A survey conducted by the Jewish Labor Committee in 1945 indicated that the great majority of an American working class sample perceive

the Jew as a cheating storekeeper, a merciless landlord or rental agent, an unscrupulous pawn-broker, or an installment salesman and insurance collector who will take away the collateral or let the insurance lapse at the first delinquency. To this is added the idea that the Jews own all business and that at least most Jews are in business. All this is so because the Jews are money-crazy, selfish, grabby, take advantage of others, cheat, chisel, lie, are ruthless, unscrupulous, and so on. (In Wiggershaus 1994, 368)[53]Interestingly, this working-class group did not charge Jews with being radicals and communists—charges that were common at the time in conservative circles and which had a basis in reality. The anti-Semitic images center around the types of contacts working-class individuals would be likely to have had with Jews, subject to the usual distortions predicted by social identity theory. Indeed, even T. W. Adorno (first author of the Berkeley studies of anti-Semitism; Adorno et al. 1950) suggested as much, noting also that working-class individuals were less likely to conceal their attitudes behind a “pseudo-democratic” veneer, and that working-class anti-Semitism was “less irrational” than anti-Semitism of other classes (see Wiggershaus 1994, 369). Referring to a more recent era, Ginsberg (1993, 198) suggests that the negative terms (“greedy,” “predatory”) used to refer to those involved in insider trading and stock swindles of the 1980s in America had anti-Semitic overtones because of the preponderance of Jews among this group.

The Theme of Cultural Domination. Closely related to economic domination has been the idea that Jews have dominated the culture of a society. A fundamental feature of human adaptation is the manipulation of culture to achieve evolutionary goals (PTSDA, Ch. 1), but, for a variety of reasons, different groups have different interests in the construction of culture. Social identity theory predicts that Jews as an outgroup would have negative attitudes about gentile culture, especially if, as in the case of Christianity, that culture is perceived as anti-Semitic or as leading to cohesive gentile groups. Also, eugenic processes among Jews have resulted in genetic tendencies for intelligence and high-investment parenting, and Jews have their own highly developed cultural supports for high-investment parenting. As a result, the behavior of Jews is less dependent on traditional religious and cultural supports than is the behavior of gentiles. A theme of The Culture of Critique is that Jewish criticism of gentile culture has contributed to the decline of cultural supports for high-investment parenting among gentiles but has had little effect on Jewish behavior.

The theme of cultural domination appeared in the post-Enlightenment period as emancipated Jews entered the world of secular intellectual activity, and it became a major theme of anti-Semitism in Germany, France, and Austria. The following is a description of the role of Jews as culture producers in Weimar Germany, a time when Jews constituted 1 percent of the German population:

Jews were responsible for a great part of German culture. The owners of three of Germany’s greatest newspaper publishing houses; the editors of the Vossische Zeitung and the Berliner Tageblatt; most book publishers; the owners and editors of the Neue Rundschau and other distinguished literary magazines; the owners of Germany’s greatest art galleries were all Jews. Jews played a major part in theater and in the film industry as producers, directors, and actors. Many of Germany’s best composers, musicians, artists, sculptors, and architects were Jews. Their participation in literary criticism and in literature was enormous: practically all the great critics and many novelists, poets, dramatists, essayists of Weimar Germany were Jews. A recent American study has shown that thirty-one of the sixty-five leading German “expressionists” and “neo-objectivists” were Jews.[54]Walter Laqueur (1974, 73) links this cultural domination to anti-Semitism as follows:

Without the Jews there would have been no “Weimar culture”—to this extent the claims of the antisemites, who detested that culture, were justified. They were in the forefront of every new, daring, revolutionary movement. They were prominent among Expressionist poets, among the novelists of the 1920’s, among the theatrical producers and, for a while, among the leading figures in the cinema. They owned the leading liberal newspapers . . . and many editors were Jews too. Many leading liberal and avant-garde publishing houses were in Jewish hands. . . . Many leading theatre critics were Jews, and they dominated light entertainment.
(Deak 1968, 28)

Richard Wagner is perhaps the best known intellectual whose anti-Semitism focused on Jewish domination of culture.[55]See also the discussion of André Gide in Johnson 1988, 390–391). Katz (1986b) notes that the Zionist Ahad Ha’am (Asher Ginsberg) held attitudes which were the mirror image of those of Wagner. See Chapter 5. In Judaism in Music Wagner argued that the Jews had a very strong influence on culture. Since Jews had not assimilated to gentile culture, they did not identify with and merge themselves into the deeper layers of that culture, including religious and ethnic influences—the Volksgeist. In Wagner’s view, higher culture springs ultimately from folk culture. In the absence of Jewish influence, German music would reflect the deeper layers of German folk culture.

Jewish cultural influence is viewed by anti-Semites as entirely negative and as shattering the social bonds within the gentile society. Heinrich Heine was viewed by the influential intellectual Heinrich von Treitschke as “mocking German humiliation and disgrace following the Napoleonic wars” and as having “no sense of shame, loyalty, truthfulness, or reverence” (Mosse 1970, 52–53).[56]Metternich insisted that Heine’s name be included in a ban on the “Young German” movement of writers, described in the ban as “a literary school . . . whose efforts openly tend to attack the Christian religion in the most insolent way, to denigrate existing social relations, and to destroy all decency and morality” (in Sammons 1979, 210). Treitschke decried Ludwig Börne’s “brazen manner of speaking about the Fatherland irreverently, like an outsider who does not belong to the Fatherland” (in Rose 1992, 85), and he condemned Heinrich Graetz’s “deadly hatred of the purest and most powerful exponents of the German character, from Luther to Goethe and Fichte” (in Lindemann 1997, 141). (Graetz had also written that Börne and Heine had “renounced Judaism, but only like combatants who, putting on the uniform of the enemy, can all the more easily strike and annihilate him” [in Lindemann 1997, 141]). Moreover, “what Jewish journalists write in mockery and satirical remarks against Christianity is downright revolting.” On the other hand, “about the shortcomings of the Germans [or] French, everybody could freely say the worst things; but if somebody dared to speak in just and moderate terms about some undeniable weakness of the Jewish character, he was immediately branded as a barbarian and religious persecutor by nearly all of the newspapers” (in Lindemann 1997, 138–139). Similar complaints were common in Austria (Lindemann 1997, 193).

Similar themes emerged in the conflict over Jewish cultural domination in the Soviet Union. Beginning at least by 1942, there was concern within high governmental circles with the underrepresentation of ethnic Russians and the overrepresentation of Jews in key areas of the cultural and economic elite. The report noted that elite cultural institutions “turned out to be filled by non-Russian people (mainly by Jews)” (in Kostyrchenko 1995, 15). For example, of the ten top executives of the Bolshoi Theater—the most prestigious Soviet cultural institution—there were eight Jews and one Russian. Similar disproportions were reported in prestigious musical conservatories and among art and music reviewers in elite publications. Higher Jewish IQ seems inadequate to account for these disproportions, suggesting within-group collusion as a factor.

Reports describing disproportionate representation of Jews among the cultural elite continued to appear up to Stalin’s death in 1953. In a campaign whose rationale is reminiscent of the charges of Wagner and Treitschke, Jews were now purged from the cultural elite as “antipatriotic stateless cosmopolitans.” They were viewed as having no appreciation for Russian national culture and as encouraging a “national nihilism” toward the Russian people (Kostyrchenko 1995, 168). Jewish predominance in the cultural establishment was often viewed as facilitated by group ties. A group dominating the Leningrad Institute of Literature (Pushkin House) of the Academy of Sciences was accused by its opponents of being welded together “by long-lasting relationships of families and friends, mutual protection, homogeneous (Jewish) national composition, and anti-patriotic (anti-Russian) tendencies” (in Kostyrchenko 1995, 171).

As in the case of economic sources of anti-Semitism, Zionists at times pointed to Jewish participation in the creation of culture as an understandable source of anti-Semitism. Thus the novelist Arnold Zweig wrote in 1927 that “the more intensively the Jew assimilates himself, the more deeply and rapidly he interferes with the nations’ spiritual life; his role in poetry, politics, and the arts is widely acknowledged” (in Niewyk 1980, 127). The result, Zweig claimed, is that even though Jews fulfill their formal obligations to the state, a mistrust is built up, and in times of stress it boils over into violent anti-Semitism.

Anti-Semites have also complained that Jews use their influence on the media to misrepresent and exaggerate anti-Semitism. Goldwin Smith (1894) charged that anti-Semites in Russia were portrayed in the Jewish-controlled media as religious fanatics rather than motivated by economic and social reasons: “The anti-Semites are supposed to be a party of fanatics renewing the persecutions to which the Jews were exposed on account of their faith in the dark ages, and every one who, handling the question critically, fails to show undivided sympathy with the Israelites is set down as a religious persecutor. The Jews naturally foster this impression. . . . [T]he press of Europe is in their hands” (p. 241).

An important aspect of the cultural domination theme is that Jews participate in the wider gentile culture while continuing to identify strongly as Jews, and that their contributions in fact reflect specific Jewish group interests. This theme will emerge as a major aspect of the discussions of Jewish involvement in radical political activities, Boasian anthropology, psychoanalysis, and the Frankfurt School of sociology in The Culture of Critique, but it is worth noting here the generality of the phenomenon. Sorkin (1985, 102) describes Jewish intellectuals in post-emancipation Germany as constituting an “invisible community of acculturating German Jews who perpetuated distinct cultural forms within the majority culture.” The Jewish cultural contribution to the wider gentile culture was therefore accomplished from a highly particularistic perspective in which Jewish group identity continued to be of paramount importance despite its “invisibility.” Even Berthold Auerbach (b. 1812), the exemplar of the assimilated Jewish intellectual, “manipulate[d] elements of the majority culture in a way peculiar to the German-Jewish minority” (Sorkin 1985, 107).[57]Sorkin notes that Auerbach became a model, for secular Jewish intellectuals, of the assimilated Jew who did not renounce his Judaism. For the most part these secular Jewish intellectuals socialized exclusively with other secular Jews and viewed their contribution to German culture as a secular form of Judaism—thus the “invisible community” of strongly identified Jewish intellectuals. As discussed in PTSDA (Ch. 8), there is an very powerful tendency for Jews to form separatist cultures and subcultures throughout their history; in The Culture of Critique this is discussed as a tendency in Boasian anthropology, radical political ideology, psychoanalysis, and the Frankfurt School of Social Research. This cultural manipulation in the service of group interests was a common theme of anti-Semitic writings. Thus, Heinrich Heine’s critique of German culture was viewed as directed at the pursuit of power for his group at the expense of the cohesiveness of gentile society (see Mosse 1970, 52).[58]Werner Mosse (1985) shows that besides Jewish over-representation in a radical, avant-garde intellectual culture, there was also a much more conservative bourgeois cultural movement, represented by Max Liebermann and the “K aiserjuden,” which retained strong ethnic overtones and whose members retained psychological identification as Jews. Both of these predominantly Jewish “counter-cultures” coexisted with the establishment Protestant intellectual culture, among whose heroes were the anti-Semites Richard Wagner and Houston Stewart Chamberlain. Cultural movements were thus very closely tied to ethnic identifications on both sides.

In America there is also a long history of overt or thinly veiled anti-Semitism directed at alleged Jewish domination of the media and entertainment industry. The International Jew, published by Henry Ford’s newspaper The Dearborn Independent, charged that Jews in the media and entertainment industries subverted gentile morals and viewed Jewish media involvement as part of a highly orchestrated Jewish plot described in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

Not only the “legitimate” stage, so-called, but the motion picture industry—the fifth greatest of all industries—is also entirely Jew-controlled; with the natural consequence that the civilized world is increasingly antagonistic to the trivializing and demoralizing influence of that form of entertainment as presently managed. . . . As soon as the Jews gained control of the “movies,” we had a movie problem, the consequences of which are visible. It is the peculiar genius of that race to create problems of a moral character in whatever business they achieve a majority. (Ford 1920, 48)

During the late 1930s isolationists blamed the Jewish-controlled movie industry for attempting to push America into the war against Germany. Charles Lindbergh stated that the Jews’ “greatest danger to this country lies in their large ownership and influence in our motion pictures, our press, our radio, and our government” (in Gabler 1988, 345). During the McCarthy era, there was concern that the entertainment industry would influence American culture by, in the words of an overt anti-Semite, Congressman John R. Rankin of Mississippi, “insidiously trying to spread subversive propaganda, poison the minds of your children, distort the history of our country and discredit Christianity” (in Sachar 1992, 624).[59]Rankin’s comment on distorting history brings to mind the well-known address of the Carl Bridenbaugh, president of the American Historical Association, entitled “The Great Mutation.” In comments that were widely believed to be directed at Jews, Bridenbaugh (1963, 322–323) worried that

today we must face the discouraging prospect that we all, teachers and pupils alike, have lost much of what this earlier generation possessed, the priceless asset of a shared culture. . . . Many of the young practitioners of our craft, and those who are still apprentices, are products of lower middle-class or foreign origins, and their emotions not infrequently get in the way of historical reconstructions. They find themselves in a very real sense outsiders on our past and feel themselves shut out. This is certainly not their fault, but it is true. They have no experience to assist them, and the chasm between them and the Remote Past widens every hour. . . . What I fear is that the changes observant in the background and training of the present generation will make it impossible for them to communicate to and reconstruct the past for future generations.

The great majority of those stigmatized by the Un-American Activities Committee of the House of Representatives (HUAC) were Jews, many of them in the entertainment industry (e.g., Sachar 1992, 623ff; Navasky 1980, 109ff). A belief that “Jewish Hollywood” was promoting subversive ideas, including leftist political beliefs, was a common component of anti-Semitism in the post-World War II period, and indeed the push for the HUAC investigation was led by such well-known anti-Semites as Gerald L. K. Smith and Congressman Rankin (Platt 1978).[60]Reflecting the sensitivity of Jewish issues surrounding the committee, the AJCommittee acted swiftly when the Jewish communist Louis Harup (1978) raised the issue of his Jewish identification in his condemnation of HUAC as a witness before the committee. Harup stated that “as a Jew . . . it is my obligation not to cooperate with this committee because, in my view, the activities of this committee are tending to bring this country into the same conditions under which six million Jews were murdered.” The reaction of the AJCommittee was to denounce the testimony as not reflecting the attitude of the American Jewish community. For example, Smith stated that “there is a general belief that Russian Jews control too much of Hollywood propaganda and they are trying to popularize Russian Communism in America through that instrumentality. Personally I believe that is the case” (in Gabler 1988, 360).

The substantive basis of the opinion of Rankin and others was that beginning in the 1930s Hollywood screenwriters were predominantly Jewish and politically liberal or radical (Gabler 1988, 322ff)—a general association that has been typical of Jewish intellectual history in the 20th century (see The Culture of Critique). The American Communist Party (CPUSA), which was under Soviet control during the period, sent V. J. Jerome and Stanley Lawrence, both Jews, to Hollywood to organize the writers and take advantage of their political sentiments. Jerome argued that “agitprop propaganda was actually better drama because Marxists better understood the forces that shaped human beings, and could therefore write better characters” (in Gabler 1988, 329). Writers responded by self-consciously viewing themselves as contributing to “the Cause” (p. 329) by their script writing. “But as much as the Hollywood Communist party was a writers’ party, it was also . . . a Jewish party. (Indeed, to be the former meant to be the latter as well)” (p. 330).

Nevertheless, during this period the radical writers were able to have little influence on the ultimate product, although there is good evidence that they did their best to influence movie content in the direction of their political views (see, e.g., Ceplair & Englund 1980; Jones 1972). Their failure was at least partly because of pressures brought to bear on Hollywood by conservative, predominantly gentile political forces, resulting in a great deal of self-censorship by the movie industry.[61]A partial exception to this generalization is noted by Gabler (1988, 195) who finds a general tendency for Warner Brothers movies in the 1930s to be “permeated by a vague underdog liberalism, and if their films lacked refinement and glamour, they did have a conscience—deliberately so.” Warner Brothers movies “were far more ambivalent toward traditional American values than any other studio, just as the Warners themselves were more ambivalent than the heads of any other studio” (p. 196). This studio made several films depicting the “contributions and victimization of Jews” (p. 195). The Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America, headed by Will H. Hays, was created in 1922 in response to movements in over thirty state legislatures to enact strict censorship laws, and the Production Code Administration, headed by Joseph I. Breen, was launched in response to a campaign by the Catholic Legion of Decency. The result was that producers were forced to develop projects “along the lines of a standard Hollywood genre while steering clear of both the Hays and Breen offices and the radical writer who may have been assigned to the project” (Ceplair & Englund 1980, 303–304).[62]The writers continued to write for the movies because, in the words of one close observer, “they believed that socially responsible writers belonged in the film industry because feature films were the most significant way in which the people of the world were being educated. The medium reached so far, that any victory was important” (in Ceplair & Englund 1980, 321).

In addition, the HUAC investigations of the late 1940s and early 1950s and the active campaigning of religious (Legion of Decency, Knights of Columbus), patriotic (Daughters of the American Revolution [DAR]), and educational (Parents and Teachers Association) groups influenced movie content well into the 1950s, including a great many anticommunist films made as a rather direct response to the HUAC investigations. The result was, in the words of one studio executive, that “I now read scripts through the eyes of the DAR, whereas formerly I read them through the eyes of my boss” (in Ceplair & Englund 1980, 340). Particular mention should be made of the American Legion, described by Cogley (1972, 118) as “the prime mover” in attempting to eradicate “Communist influence” in the movie industry during the 1950s. The list of sixty-six movie personalities said to be associated with communism published in the American Legion Magazine caused panic in Hollywood and a prolonged series of investigations, firings, and blacklistings.

By all accounts, Jews continue to be disproportionately involved in the American media, especially the movie industry. For example, as of this writing Jews head every major studio—a situation that has not changed in over sixty years (see Ginsberg 1993, 1; Kotkin 1993, 61; Silberman 1985, 147). In a survey performed in the 1980s, 60 percent of a representative sample of the movie elite were of Jewish background (Powers et al. 1996, 79n13). Medved (1996, 37) notes that “it makes no sense at all to try to deny the reality of Jewish power and prominence in popular culture. Any list of the most influential production executives at each of the major movie studios will produce a heavy majority of recognizably Jewish names. This prominent Jewish role is obvious to anyone who follows news reports from Tinsel Town or even bothers to read the credits on major movies or television shows.”

Anti-Semitic charges no longer focus on complaints by isolationists and anticommunists, but reflect a continuing concern with broad cultural issues. Recently media critic William Cash (1994) describes the Jewish media elite as “culturally nihilist,” suggesting that he believes Jewish media influence reflects Jewish lack of concern for traditional cultural values.[63]As indicated above, another major theme of anti-Semitism has been Jewish exclusionary practices in economic activities. Cash provides anecdotal evidence that Jews exclude gentiles from influence on the media, including individuals who disguised themselves as Jews (crypto-gentiles?) in their attempt to become accepted in the industry. Seemingly acknowledging Jewish exclusionary practices, Gabler states that Cash’s article “is another example of how powerless elitists have always dealt with exclusion. Barred from one form of Establishment, they end up spewing anti-Semitic bile.”

Related to this, Medved (1996, 39) suggests that “it’s possible that industry leaders instinctively feel more comfortable working with people who share their own outlook, values, and background.” As an illustration of this phenomenon, a young screenwriter, Adam Kulakow (1996, 43), notes that “recently I had a meeting with a young executive to discuss a possible script assignment. Our conversation began with a discussion of the Eastern European origins of my surname and segued from there to talk of my grandparents’ arrival in America, my parents’ decision to settle in the Maryland suburbs, and mine to attend the University of Michigan. It wasn’t long before we were playing ‘Jewish geography.’ By the time we got around to the business of the meeting, we had achieved a comfort level based on our common ground.” Nevertheless, while agreeing that being Jewish is an advantage, Kulakow cites anecdotal accounts of individuals who deny that Jewish identity is important.

In a reply appended to the Gabler article, Cash stated that there is a double standard in which Jewish writers like Gabler are able to refer to a “Jewish cabal” while his own use of the phrase is described as anti-Semitic. He also notes that while movies regularly portray negative stereotypes of other ethnic groups, Cash’s description of Jews as “fiercely competitive” is regarded as anti-Semitic. Recently Marlon Brando repeated statements originally made in 1979 on a nationally televised interview program to the effect that “Hollywood is run by Jews. It’s owned by Jews.” The focus of the complaint was that Hollywood regularly portrays negative stereotypes of other ethnic groups but not of Jews. Brando’s remarks were viewed as anti-Semitic by the ADL and the Jewish Defense League (Los Angeles Times, April 9, 1996, F4).

Both Cash and Brando have apologized for their remarks and, as part of their apologies, visited the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles (Forward, April 26, 1996). (Cash’s apology occurred some two years after publication of his remarks.) The Forward article suggests that Cash has had trouble publishing his work in the wake of the incident. Moreover, the same issue of Forward reported that the publisher of Cash’s comments, Dominic Lawson, editor of the London Spectator, was prevented from publishing an article on the birth of his Down Syndrome daughter in The New Republic when Martin Peretz, the owner, and Leon Wieseltier, the literary editor, complained about Lawson’s publishing Cash’s article. Goldberg (1996, 299) describes Peretz’s strong Jewish identification and his unabashed policy of slanting his journal toward positions favorable to Israel.
Pat Robertson (1994, 257), whose Christian Coalition has emerged as a significant force in the Republican Party, has stated that “the part that Jewish intellectuals and media activists have played in the assault on Christianity may very possibly prove to be a grave mistake. . . . For centuries, Christians have supported Jews in their dream of a national homeland. But American Jews invested great energy in attacking these very allies. That investment may pay a terrible dividend.”[64]Pat Robertson (1991; see also Lind 1995a, 1995b, and Heilbrun 1995) accepts the general premises of a very elaborate conspiracy theory proposed by Nesta Webster (1944) in which Jews have played a prominent role in subversive movements beginning in the 18th century. Webster’s anti-Semitism includes several classic themes of 20th-century anti-Semitic writing: that Jews seek world domination (indicated especially by the writings of the Kabbala); Jews are disloyal (indicated by Jewish internationalism and their role as intermediaries who dominated native peoples in traditional societies); Jews are “the declared and implacable enemy of Christianity” (p. 378); Jews have played a predominant role in revolutionary movements in Russia and Hungary aimed at Jewish domination of these countries in the post-revolutionary period; Jews are responsible for psychoanalysis, “which, particularly by its insistence on sex, tends to subordinate the will to impulses of a harmful kind” (p. 345); Jews have been disproportionately involved in other cultural influences designed to undermine gentile Christian culture, including “Modern Art,” the drug trade, and the cinema (“where . . . history is systematically falsified in the interests of class hatred, and everything that can tend, whilst keeping within the present law, to undermine patriotism or morality is pressed upon the public” [p. 394]). Podhoretz (1995, 30) defended Robertson against charges of anti-Semitism resulting from these comments, noting that it is in fact the case that Jewish intellectuals, Jewish organizations like the American Jewish Congress, and Jewish-dominated organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union[65]Goldberg (1996, 46) notes that “within the world of liberal organizations like the ACLU and People for the American Way, Jewish influence is so profound that non-Jews sometimes blur the distinction between them and the formal Jewish community.” The ACLU often has been the target of cultural conservatives writing from non-religious perspectives. See, e.g., Robert Bork’s (1996) Slouching Towards Gomorrah. Bork states that the ACLU “has had, through litigation and lobbying, a very considerable effect on American law and culture” (1996, 97). Bork is also one of many cultural conservatives to emphasize the products of media conglomerate Time Warner as particularly destructive (pp. 130–132). The result is that while Jews and Judaism are never mentioned in books like that of Bork, many of the books’ complaints are directed at Jewish activities and organizations. My personal impression from talking privately to cultural conservatives is that they do not raise the Jewish issue because of fear of being charged with anti-Semitism. (I have never spoken to Robert Bork and have no idea what his attitudes are on Jewish issues.) Their attitudes constitute a sort of underground anti-Semitism and they illustrate the effectiveness of Jewish strategies for combating anti-Semitism (see also Ch. 6). have ridiculed Christian religious beliefs, attempted to undermine the public strength of Christianity, or have led the fight for unrestricted pornography.[66]See also Cohen’s (1972, 433ff) account of the AJCommittee’s attempt to undermine the influence of Christianity in the public schools—efforts that resulted in resentment in both Protestant and Catholic circles as well as among politicians and the public at large. In the early 1960s a writer in a Jesuit publication asked, “What will have been accomplished if our Jewish friends win all the legal immunities they seek, but thereby paint themselves into a corner of social and cultural alienation?” (in Cohen 1972, 444).

In comments reminiscent of those of Heinrich von Treitschke, columnist Joseph Sobran has also raised the issue of Jewish media control and how it shapes discussion of Jewish interests versus those of the Christian Right:

The full story of [Pat Buchanan’s 1996 presidential] campaign is impossible to tell as long as it’s taboo to discuss Jewish interests as freely as we discuss those of the Christian Right. Talking about American politics without mentioning the Jews is a little like talking about the NBA without mentioning the Chicago Bulls. Not that the Jews are all-powerful, let alone all bad. But they are successful, and therefore powerful enough: and their power is unique in being off-limits to normal criticism even when it’s highly visible. They themselves behave as if their success were a guilty secret, and they panic, and resort to accusations, as soon as the subject is raised. Jewish control of the major media in the media age makes the enforced silence both paradoxical and paralyzing. Survival in public life requires that you know all about it, but never refer to it. A hypocritical etiquette forces us to pretend that the Jews are powerless victims; and if you don’t respect their victimhood, they’ll destroy you. It’s a phenomenal display not of wickedness, really, but of fierce ethnocentrism, a sort of furtive racial superpatriotism. (Sobran 1996a, 3)[67]In another column, Sobran (1996b) quoted an essay, reprinted in the May 27th issue of the New York Times, by Ari Shavit, an Israeli columnist describing his feelings on the killings of a hundred civilians in a military skirmish in southern Lebanon. Shavit wrote, “We killed them out of a certain naive hubris. Believing with absolute certitude that now, with the White House, the Senate, and much of the American media in our hands, the lives of others do not count as much as our own.” Sobran comments that “in a single phrase—‘in our hands’—Shavit has lighted up the American political landscape like a flash of lightning. Notice that Shavit assumes as an obvious fact what we Americans can say publicly only at our own risk.” Sobran lost his position with National Review because of his views on the influence of American Jews on U. S. policy toward Israel.

Similarly, Kevin Myers, a columnist for the British Sunday Telegraph (January 5, 1997) wrote that “we should really be able to discuss Jews and their Jewishness, their virtues or their vices, as one can any other identifiable group, without being called anti-Semitic. Frankness does not feed anti-Semitism; secrecy, however, does. The silence of sympathetic discretion can easily be misunderstood as a conspiracy. It is time to be frank about Jews.” Myers goes on to note that The Spectator was accused of anti-Semitism when it published the article by William Cash (1994) referred to above. Myers emphasized the point that Cash’s offense was that he had written that the cultural leaders of the United States were Jews whose Jewishness remained beyond public discussion.

A particularly striking example of anti-Semitic writing related to the media control issue appeared recently in the National Vanguard Book Service Catalog (no. 16, November 1995), a publication of William Pierce’s National Alliance. The article combined anti-Semitic themes with a detailed cataloguing of Jewish ownership or managerial control over television, popular music, the print media, major newspapers and chains of smaller newspapers, newsmagazines, and book publishing in the United States.[68]According to the article a partial listing of the main mainstream media owned and/or managed by Jews includes the following: Walt Disney Co. (including Capital Cities/ABC, Walt Disney Television, Touchstone Television, Buena Vista Television, Walt Disney Picture Group, Touchstone Pictures, Hollywood Pictures, Caravan Pictures, Miramax, Disney-related theme parks, ESPN, Lifetime Television, Arts & Entertainment Network, ABC Radio, seven daily newspapers, Fairchild Publications [Women’s Wear Daily], Chilton Publications, and the Diversified Publishing Group); Time Warner, Inc. (Home Box Office cable television network, Warner Music [the world’s largest music recording company], Warner Brothers Studio [feature films], a publishing division that includes Time, Sports Illustrated, People, and Fortune); the article also mentions a proposed deal in which Time Warner would acquireTurner Broadcasting [including Cable News Network], a deal that has since been completed); Viacom, Inc. (television production, Paramount films, twelve TV stations and twelve radio stations, publishing [Simon & Schuster, Prentice Hall, Pocket Books], Nickelodeon cable channel, Music Television [MTV]); the top managers for Rupert Murdoch’s film studio, for CBS television, and for Sony Corporation of America; DreamWorks (Steven Spielberg, David Geffen, and Jeffrey Katzenberg); MCA and Universal Pictures [owned by Edgar Bronfman, also president of the World Jewish Congress]; Samuel Newhouse’s print media empire, including New Yorker and other Condé Nast magazines,and twenty-six daily newspapers, several in large cities; the countries most influential newspapers (New York Times, Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal) and newsmagazines (Time, Newsweek, U. S. News and World Report), Atlantic Monthly (owned by Mortimer B. Zuckerman, also owner of U. S. News and World Report); three of the top six book publishers, including Random House, Simon & Schuster, and Time Warner Trade Group (including Warner Books and Little, Brown). The article notes that the top five movie production companies mentioned (Disney, Viacom [Paramount], Warner Brothers, Sony, and Universal) accounted for 74 percent of the total U. S. movie receipts for the first eight months of 1995. The article emphasized the ability of the media to create boundaries of appropriate discussion, as in the case of attitudes regarding Israel, and accused the media of promoting the equality of races and the benefits of immigration and multi-culturalism. The article concludes that

By permitting the Jews to control our news and entertainment media we are doing more than merely giving them a decisive influence on our political system and virtual control of our government; we also are giving them control of the minds and souls of our children, whose attitudes and ideas are shaped more by Jewish television and Jewish films than by parents, schools, or any other influence. . . .

To permit the Jews, with their 3,000-year history of nation-wrecking, from ancient Egypt to Russia, to hold such power over us is tantamount to race suicide. Indeed, the fact that so many White Americans today are so filled with a sense of racial guilt and self-hatred that they actively seek the death of their own race is a deliberate consequence of Jewish media control. (page 22; italics in text)

Without emphasizing Jewish involvement in the media, criticism of the role of the media elite in the production of culture has been a common theme in national politics in recent years. During the 1992 presidential campaign Vice President Dan Quayle criticized the positive portrayals of single parenting in the television show Murphy Brown.[69]See Whitehead (1993) for a discussion of the scientific literature on single parenting indicating that it is a low-investment form of parenting with devastating social consequences. The issue also emerged in the 1996 presidential campaign as a result of Bob Dole’s indictment of the entertainment industry for turning out “nightmares of depravity” that threaten “to undermine our character as a nation.” Newt Gingrich (1995) complained that “since 1965 . . . there has been a calculated effort by cultural elites to discredit [traditional American] civilization and replace it with a culture of irresponsibility that is incompatible with American freedoms as we have known them.”

There is, then, evidence of a continuing concern with the cultural messages emanating from the media elite. This concern often has anti-Semitic overtones, because individuals of Jewish background are disproportionately involved in the creation of culture. While there remain doubts about the extent to which the media influence behavior, Lichter et al. (1994, 433) note that “the uneasiness many people feel about television stems from the sense that the medium is changing our lives in ways we cannot measure and may not even notice.”

Theorists of elites have often argued that that the creation and dissemination of cultural symbols have assumed ever greater power and influence in recent times (Powers et al. 1996, 2). There are conflicts among elites, and the result of this conflict has been an increase in the relative dominance of the information elites (national media journalists, television writers, producers, and directors) and the relative eclipse of traditional elites centered around religion, business, and the military. “Hollywood films are the product of a highly educated, affluent, and powerful leadership group that is vying for influence in America with other more traditional groups. The Hollywood elites do not seek power (for the most part) as an end in itself. Rather they seek to persuade Americans to create the kind of society that they regard as just and/or good. In short, they seek to propagate an ideology that they believe should be held by all decent people” (Powers et al. 1996, 2–3).

Historically, the forces of cultural conservatism centered around religious and patriotic societies lost power after their peak influence in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Since the 1960s the Hollywood creative community has disseminated views on issues such as sex, marriage, and family very different from those held by the majority of Americans and traditional American elites (Lichter et al. 1994; Powers et al. 1996; Stein 1979). As will be discussed at several points in The Culture of Critique, the decade of the 1960s represents a watershed in American cultural and political history. A central theme is that the changes inaugurated at this time are intimately linked to the rise of Jewish power and influence. The character of the American media is simply one example of this shift.

A substantial percentage of the Hollywood creative community (which now includes the higher levels of control over movie content rather than only the process of screen writing) have self-consciously aimed at a complete restructuring of America’s basic institutions in a left/liberal direction (Lichter et al. 1994; Powers et al. 1996). “The elite was [since the 1960s] and remains disproportionately anti-Establishment in its social and political views and . . . remains so even as a large segment of the American public continues to be ambivalent, or opposed to the new social paradigms” (Powers et al. 1996, 48). Moreover, the social and political messages emanating from Hollywood have been impervious to election returns, and “if anything, the ascendance of conservative politics in Washington may have accelerated television’s leftward tendencies by alarming and mobilizing the predominantly liberal Hollywood community” (Lichter et al. 1994, 418).

The difference between the Hollywood elite and both the traditional elites and the general public is clearest on what Powers et al. term “expressive individualism”—a dimension tapping ideas of sexual liberation (including approval of homosexuality), moral relativism, and a disdain for religious institutions.[70]Similarly Michael Medved (1996, 42), who acknowledges that the majority of influential production executives are Jewish, describes the messages emanating from Hollywood as stressing “instant gratification rather than deferred gratification; superficial glamour rather than moral substance; and emotion, instinct, and violence rather than self-discipline and self-control.” He also notes that public opinion polls indicate that “the overwhelming majority of Americans believe that movies and television encourage criminal violence, promiscuous sex, and other forms of destructive behavior.” Medved also expresses his concern that the silence of Jewish self-defense organizations about the Jewish role in these phenomena only encourages anti-Semitism. The movie elite was also much higher on “system alienation,” including beliefs that “the very structure of our society causes alienation” (Powers et al. 1996, 64). The movie elite is also more tolerant of unusual or deviant lifestyles and of minority religions and ethnic groups (Prindle & Endersby 1993). Broadly similar findings on the television and print journalism elite were obtained by Lichter et al. (1986).[71]In their representative sample of the news media elite, 14 percent were religiously affiliated Jews and 23 percent were raised in a Jewish household, indicating that people of Jewish background are overrepresented approximately by a factor of 10 among elite journalists.

These findings are compatible with the general tenor of Jewish intellectual movements in several historical eras: The Culture of Critique reviews data indicating that predominantly Jewish intellectual movements have subjected Western culture to radical criticism, motivated at least partly by social identity processes involving antipathy toward the culture of an outgroup. These Jewish intellectual and political movements, like the media elites, have generally been associated with the political and cultural left. As Powers et al. (1996, 211) note, the sensibility of the media elite derives from the 1960s countercultural revolution. Its values include “a loss of faith in the efficacy and legitimacy of the political system as well as a loss of faith in the values of Western culture. At best, Western culture is seen as but one of many expressions of the human condition, albeit a failing one. At worst it is seen as sick and morally inferior to alternate perspectives.” Moreover, although the dissemination of this world view in the popular culture coincided with the countercultural revolution of the 1960s, these values were in fact characteristic of the Hollywood media elite long before this period. Like the Old Left, the media elite was successfully restrained by the forces of cultural conservatism until the 1960s (Powers et al. 1996, 213).

Regarding specific Jewish interests, a major theme of The Culture of Critique is that cultural pluralism has been a major focus of 20th-century Jewish intellectual and political effort in Western societies.[72]Gabler (1994) denies that the media reflect Jewish interests, preferring to ascribe the character of Jewish media influence to Jewish “marginality.”Attributions of Jewish marginality and exclusion are also a major theme of Gabler’s 1988 book An Empire of Their Own, but although Gabler clearly documents the strong Jewish identification of the major studio moguls (e.g., pp. 279–280), there is no documentation that these Jewish entrepreneurs viewed themselves as marginalized or that supposed Jewish marginalization or exclusion from other areas of the American economy was a motive for entering the movie business in the first place. The marginality explanation simultaneously “blames” any negative Jewish influences on putative gentile exclusionary activities and ignores the extent to which Jews are overrepresented on all of the indices of wealth and of political and cultural influence. As Goldberg (1996, 283) notes, because of high levels of Jewish acceptance, status as outsider is even less of an explanation for Jewish overrepresentation in the media in the contemporary era. In Chapter 8 I consider Jewish perceptions of marginalization as an aspect of self-deception regarding their status in America.

Powers et al. (1996, 79n.13) argue against the theory that Jews have been attracted to the movie industry because of its riskiness. They note that even the most successful of the movie elite are radicals on the cultural and social left but that this group is not particularly radical in their economic beliefs.
Powers et al. (1996, 207) characterize television as promoting liberal, cosmopolitan values, and Lichter et al. (1994, 251) find that television portrays cultural pluralism in positive terms and as easily achieved apart from the activities of a few ignorant or bigoted miscreants. On the other hand, Powers et al. (1996) find that themes of racial conflict resulting from white racism are more typical of the movies: “Today, moviemakers seem preoccupied with exposing and rectifying the evils of racism and are thus inclined to convey a quite pessimistic view of race relations” (p. 173).

It was noted above that the dimension of expressive individualism clearly distinguishes the movie elite from the traditional elites and the general public. A theme of The Culture of Critique is that Jews and gentiles have conflicts of interest in the construction of culture. Jews, because of their genetically influenced tendencies toward intelligence and high-investment parenting, are relatively buffered from the impact of the erosion of traditional Western cultural supports for high-investment parenting (including religious institutions and beliefs and controls on sexual behavior and expressions of sexuality). The result is that the very substantial competitive difference between Jews and gentiles is expected to be dramatically increased by the erosion of cultural supports for high-investment parenting among gentiles.[73]Moreover, as we shall see in The Culture of Critique, Jewish intellectuals have been in the forefront of developing messianic social and intellectual movements (particularly psychoanalysis and its offshoots) which proposed that relaxing social controls on sexuality among gentiles would result in a decline in anti-Semitism. From this perspective, a common view was that anti-Semitism was caused by pathological parent-child relationships and the repression of the child’s natural sexuality. Given the pervasive influence of these theories within Jewish culture generally, it is possible that Jews in the media would suppose that creating a hyper-sexualized media environment would liberate gentiles from their neurotic repressions and end anti-Semitism and other types of violence.

 

The Theme of Political Domination. A theme closely related to Jewish cultural influence is that Jews exercise disproportionate political influence. Recently Ginsberg (1993) has brought together data from a wide range of historical and contemporary societies illustrating Jewish influence in establishing or maintaining governments that promote Jewish interests, ranging from absolutist governments in traditional societies to liberal, radical, and even fascist governments (in the case of Italy) in more recent times. This Jewish influence is often obtained by financial contributions, manipulation of public opinion via control of the media, and political activism (see Chapter 6), but these activities then become the focus of anti-Semitic movements among gentiles who oppose the government for a wide variety of reasons. Quite often the anti-Semitic movements emphasize aspects of Judaism, such as separatism and alienness, questionable loyalty, and disproportionate economic, cultural, and political influence, that are viewed as compromising the interests of gentiles.

A common pattern in the modern world is for gentiles to view Jews as controlling liberal and radical political movements—a perception not without ample historical evidence. In the 1912 election in Germany, the prominent Jewish involvement in the Hansa-Bund “contributed to the unprecedented victory of the Left, to the fury of the right-wing press. There the election was seen as ‘an attack by Jewry and, more broadly, the Jewish spirit, on the fundaments of our national and folk life,’ the result as entitling ‘the Jews to regard themselves as our new leaders’ ” (Pulzer 1979, 95). The perceptions that Jews are disproportionately involved in controlling liberal and radical political movements thus merges with the idea that Jews in effect become the rulers of the gentiles, who vastly outnumber them. As the anti-Semite Julius Langbehn wrote in a very popular work in the 1880s, “Only German blood should rule over Germans; that is the first and fundamental right of our people” (in Stern 1961, 142).[74]John Beaty’s (1951) The Iron Curtain Over America and Revilo P. Oliver’s(1981) America’s Decline: The Education of a Conservative are American counterparts to this German anti-Semitic literature. These authors emphasize Jewish involvement in the Bolshevik Revolution, American communism, and in government positions via their influence on the American Democratic Party. Although their writings do not suppose that all American Jews are involved, as with much anti-Semitic literature, there is in them a tendency to see a vast interlocking Jewish conspiracy, in this case aimed at making America into a communist society administered by Jewish bureaucrats.

Beginning in the 19th century, “Whatever their situation . . . in almost every country about which we have information, a segment of the Jewish community played a very vital role in movements designed to undermine the existing order” (Rothman & Lichter 1982, 110). The idea that Jews were a dominant force in the Bolshevik Revolution was a widespread source of anti-Semitism especially during the interwar years and continues to the present. Prominent examples include Hitler and National Socialist theorist Alfred Rosenberg, Woodrow Wilson, the French novelist Louis Ferdinand Céline, and the English novelist Hilaire Belloc. Winston Churchill (1920) wrote that Jews were behind a “world-wide conspiracy for the overthrow of civilization.” The role of Jews in the revolution “is certainly a very great one; it probably outweighs all others.” Churchill noted the predominance of Jews not only among Bolshevik leaders (Trotsky, Zinoviev, Litvinoff, Krassin, Radek, and among those responsible for “the system of [state] terrorism”), but also in revolutionary movements in Hungary (Bela Kun), Germany (Rosa Luxemburg), and the United States (Emma Goldman). Within Russia, the perception that Jews dominated the revolution resulted in pogroms, and after the revolution anti-Semitism resulted at least partly from the view that only the Jews had benefited (Pipes 1993, 101). Pipes (1993, 258) links the Holocaust ultimately to the perception that the Bolshevik revolution was dominated by Jews and was part of a plan for Jewish world supremacy: “The Jewish Holocaust thus turned out to be one of the many unanticipated and unintended consequences of the Russian Revolution.”[75]In a controversial work, the German historian Ernst Nolte (1987) argued that the perceived tendency of the Bolsheviks to commit mass murder against their enemies and the tendency among European rightists after 1917 to view the Bolshevik regime as dominated by Jews were important ingredients in predisposing the Nazis toward genocide. Estimates of the number of deaths caused by the Soviet state range between twenty and forty million, and as early as 1918 a prominent ethnically Jewish Bolshevik, Grigory Zinoviev, spoke publicly about the need to eliminate ten million Russians. Nolte was accused of “relativizing” the Holocaust and of questioning its uniqueness. For a summary of the Nolte affair, see Raico (1989). For a summary of the tendency among European rightists to identify the Soviet regime with Jews, see Mayer (1988).

Recently, Jewish involvement in the Revolution has reemerged as a theme of anti-Semitism in Russia. For example,Igor Shafarevich (1989), a mathematician and member of the prestigious U. S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS), argues that Jews occupied many top leadership positions during the Bolshevik Revolution and that their activities during this period and later were motivated by hostility to Russians and their culture.[76]The NAS asked Shafarevich to resign his position in the academy but he refused (See Science 257, 1992, 743; The Scientist 6(19) 1992, 1). Shafarevich claims that Jews were critically involved in actions that destroyed traditional Russian institutions, particularly in their role in dominating the secret police and the OGPU (Unified State Political Directorate). He stresses the Jewish role in liquidating Russian nationalists and undermining Russian patriotism, murdering the Czar and his family, dispossessing the kulaks, and destroying the Orthodox Church. He views Jewish “Russophobia” not as a unique phenomenon, but as resulting from traditional Jewish hostility toward the gentile world considered as tref (unclean) and toward gentiles themselves considered as sub-human and as worthy of destruction—another example of the separatism and misanthropy themes of anti-Semitism discussed above. Shafarevich reviews Jewish literary works during the Soviet and post-Soviet period indicating hatred toward Russia and its culture mixed with a powerful desire for revenge. Reflecting the cultural domination theme of anti-Semitism, Shafarevich claims that Jews have had more influence on Russia than perhaps any other country, but that discussion of the role of Jews either in contemporary Russia or even in the theoretically more open United States is prohibited in principle. Indeed, Shafarevich states that any possibility that Jewish interests conflict with the interests of others cannot even be proposed as an hypothesis.

The Theme of Disloyalty • 5,300 Words

A third theme of anti-Semitic writing is the question of disloyalty. As Katz (1986b, 151) notes, the loyalty issue is related to the idea of international Jewish cohesion. The psychological and practical importance of the worldwide dispersion of Jews can be seen in the close business and familial ties maintained among widely dispersed Jewish families and other networks of coreligionists in all periods (see PTSDA, Ch. 6). Particularly revealing here is that familial marriage strategies often took no cognizance of national boundaries in the search for an appropriate Jewish mate (e.g., Mosse 1989, 170). To a considerable extent, the Jewish social world has always been an international one comprising Jews wherever they may happen to live at the time.

Given the importance of genetic and cultural separatism among the Jews and the fact that they have tended to be more closely related to other, widely dispersed, Jewish groups than to the gentiles among whom they live, it is not surprising from an evolutionary perspective that the question of loyalty has been raised.

Moreover, social identity processes within the Jewish and gentile community tend to result in the perception that Jews have more similar interests with distant groups of Jews than with their gentile fellow citizens, and this would be the case even in the absence of a great deal of genetic commonality among widely dispersed groups of Jews. Within the Jewish community these perceptions are intensified by the traditional ideology of the unity of the Jewish people in dispersion. Genetic commonality is thus not a necessary condition for supposing that loyalty issues would be an important aspect of Jewish-gentile relationships.

In addition, a change of government may have very concrete benefits for Jews, especially if Jews view their current situation as oppressive. Given the widespread occurrence of anti-Semitism, Jews have often viewed their situation as oppressive, and Jewish disloyalty would be increased if Jews believed that after the change of government they would be able to dominate their former oppressors. For example, in the 8th century, the Jews of Spain greeted the Muslims as “saviors from intolerable oppression” (Netanyahu 1995, 56), aided them in their military campaign, and after the invasion acted as intermediaries between the Muslims and the conquered Spaniards. And, as indicated below, Jews actively aided Muslim invaders in both the Byzantine Empire and Spain, where they had been subjected to anti-Semitism during the eras of Christian domination and subsequently acted as an intermediary class between the new, alien ruling elites and the conquered gentile population.

Similar examples have occurred in modern times. During World War I, Russian suspicions that Jewish subjects favored Germany in the war effort resulted in eviction of Jews from the zone of combat (Pipes 1990, 231). Jewish sympathies with Germany stemmed at least partly from official anti-Semitic policies of the czarist regime. Polish Jews also welcomed the 1939 Soviet invasion of Poland, because of perceptions of Polish anti-Semitism combined with favorable opinions about the treatment of Jews in the Soviet Union and the presence of Jews in prestigious occupations in the USSR. After the war Jews supported the Soviet occupation and the suppression of Polish nationalist forces, because of the anti-Semitism of many Polish nationalists (Checinski 1982; Schatz 1991).

On the other hand, beginning in the ancient world Jews have often served as middlemen between oppressive ruling elites, especially alien ruling elites, and native populations. In such cases Jews were typically recruited for this status because of their unquestioned loyalty to the regime—a loyalty deriving from the fact that their status was entirely dependent on the gentile elite. A 19th-century account of the entry of Jews into England presents a very negative portrayal of William II that is based partly on the way he and his father, William the Conqueror, exploited the status of Jews as an intermediary between the elite and the rest of the population:

In the wake of [William I] the Conqueror the Jews of Rouen found their way to London, and before long we find settlements in the chief cities and boroughs of England: at York, Winchester, Lincoln, Bristol, Oxford, and even at the gate of the Abbot of St. Edmonds and St. Albans. They came as the king’s special men, or more truly as his special chattels, strangers alike to the Church and the commonwealth, but strong in the protection of a master who commonly found it his interest to protect them against all others. Hated, feared, and loathed, but far too deeply feared to be scorned or oppressed, they stalked defiantly among the people of the land, on whose wants they throve, safe from harm or insult, save now and then, when popular wrath burst all bounds, when their proud mansions and fortified quarters could shelter them no longer from raging crowds who were eager to wash out their debts in the blood of their creditors. The romantic picture of the despised, trembling Jew, cringing before every Christian that he meets, is, in any age of English history, simply a romantic picture. (Freeman 1882,I, 160–161)

Finally, the disloyalty issue is tied up with the role of Jews vis-à-vispossible gentile group strategies. At times gentiles have attempted to wield together highly cohesive groups centered around nation or religion.[77]The hostility toward Russia because of its treatment of Jews also figured in another well-known incident, in which Jacob Schiff acknowledged that political considerations were an important factor in his efforts in financing the Japanese war effort against Russia in 1904–1905 (Sachar 1992, 226ff; Sherman 1983, 68). The German-Jewish leaders of the AJCommittee, including Schiff, continued their financial boycott of Russia until the fall of the czar, and their concern about Russian Jews resulted in attempts throughout the period to shape American policy toward Russia in a manner that was contrary to perceived American interests (Goldstein 1990, 284ff). Schiff attempted to have the British and French promise not to use his loans for aiding Russia; failing to receive such promises, his firm, Kuhn, Loeb & Co., did not participate in the financing of the Allied war effort—resulting in a great deal of negative press coverage (Goldstein 1990, 286; Sachar 1992, 239ff). In 1916 Schiff castigated the partners of a Boston investment firm “for caring more for their profits than for the honor of American citizens” by participating in a Russian loan (Goldstein 1990, 285). In making this argument, Schiff, who was actually interested in the civil rights of the Russian Jewish population, was placing the interests of a minuscule number of American Jews to travel freely in Russia above the official foreign policy interests of the United States, as well as the interests of the other Western allies. David R. Francis, the U. S. Ambassador to Russia during the period, pointedly noted that Jews only represented 3 percent of the Russian population (Goldstein 1990, 288)—implying that American policy was directed at aiding the vast majority of Russians while the AJCommittee was advocating a policy that was in the interests of only a small minority. Thus the persecution of the Jews under the Visigothic kings in 6th- and 7th-century Spain was motivated by the kings’ desire for an ethnically and religiously united kingdom at a time of continuing conflicts between the Visigoths and the previously dominant Hispano-Roman peoples (Netanyahu 1995, 37ff). In the period between 1870 and 1914 in Germany, gentile intellectuals such as Heinrich von Treitschke developed the idea of a monolithic German culture based on Christianity (Ragins 1980, 16; see also Carlebach 1978, 77). Jews should either join this culture unreservedly or leave and attempt to establish their own state, but they should not be allowed to persist as an unassimilated national group within Germany. Even the liberal intellectual Theodor Mommsen, while a critic of von Treitschke and generally opposed to anti-Semitism, remained concerned that continued Jewish separatism would prevent national unification. This general attitude typified German liberal Protestant circles, and a major response of liberal Jews to the anti-Semitism of the period was to assert their patriotism. Jews also attempted to dissociate themselves from Zionists and their more traditional coreligionists, whose lack of patriotism was viewed as a major source of anti-Semitism (Ragins 1980, 48).

Questions of disloyalty are by no means unique to Jews. Zenner (1991, 24) notes that minority groups living in diaspora conditions, including Chinese and Indian groups living as minorities abroad, have often been charged with disloyalty by the demographically dominant group. During World War I, many German-Americans were reluctant to support the Allied cause against Germany because of their ties with their homeland.

In this regard, it is revealing that the immigrant German-American-Jewish leaders of the American Jewish Committee (AJCommittee) also favored Germany in World War I, but only until the success of the Russian Revolution. They adopted this position not because of their ties with Germany but rather because of their ties with Russian Jews who they believed were being oppressed by the czar, and because Germany was at war with Russia (see below). Their primary concern was with other Jews rather than the nation of their birth.

In the case of groups lacking a well-developed diaspora ideology or a powerful sense of group identity or ethnocentrism, ties to the native country gradually dwindle, and there is a tendency toward cultural and genetic assimilation, at least in Western assimilationist countries. Thus German-Americans gradually became more assimilated into American culture and intermarried with individuals of other European ethnic backgrounds, so that by World War II dual loyalty was no longer an issue for the great majority. However, given the permanence of the diaspora condition, Jews have repeatedly been in situations where their relationships to Jews in other lands have conflicted with, or at least been independent of, the interests of the great majority of the other members of the societies they lived in.

The accounts in the books of Exodus and Esther show an awareness that a powerful sojourning group will provoke charges of disloyalty—the fear that “when there befalleth us any war, they . . . join themselves unto our enemies, and fight against us” (Exod. 1:10). Bickerman (1988, 243) also points out that in the Book of Jubilees the Pharaoh is said to persecute the Jews because their loyalty is to the land of Canaan; and the author of the Book of Tobit “finds it natural for Sennecherib [the Assyrian king] to take vengeance on the Jews of Nineveh [the capitol of Assyria] for his defeat at Jerusalem.”

Josephus perceived the hostility of the people of Alexandria toward the Jews as originating when the Jews of the region assisted Alexander the Great against the Egyptians (Flavius Josephus, The Wars of the Jews, 2:487–488). Feldman (1993, 89–90) describes four other instances during the Greek and Roman periods in which the loyalty of diaspora Jews to Jews in Judea conflicted with the interests of the government, including one in which the Egyptian ruler was dissuaded from attempting to capture Judea because it would make enemies of the Egyptian Jews.

“The Romans long distrusted Jewish loyalties” (Baron 1952, II, 179). Jewish attitudes toward the Romans were far more negative than those of any other subject group, ranging from outright hostility (the great majority of the time) to a resigned acceptance which emerged gradually following the defeat of Bar Kochba (a.d. 140) (Alon 1989, 698). At the end, “[the Jews] alone rejoiced at the calamities of the empire and welcomed its fall” (Jones 1964, 950).

One source of lack of trust was that Jewish sympathies in the diaspora remained centered on the welfare of the homeland. For example, during the rebellion of a.d. 66–70 there were Jewish uprisings in several cities of the diaspora, and during the Bar Kochba War the sympathies of Jews in the diaspora remained with the fate of their coreligionists in Palestine, even though they did not actively join in revolt (Alon 1989, 617–618). When Emperor Caligula threatened to place a statue of himself in the Temple in Jerusalem, Philo threatened the revolt of Jews throughout the Empire, noting that “everyone everywhere, even if he was not naturally well disposed to the Jews, was afraid to engage in destroying any of our institutions” (in Sanders 1992, 144).

Later the Byzantines adopted such anti-Jewish policies as forced conversion at times when they sought unity during periods of national crisis. The Byzantine authorities correctly feared that the Jews would actively assist the Persian and later the Muslim invaders (Alon 1989, 16; Avi-Yonah 1976, 261ff). Parkes (1934, 263) describes a “long list of betrayals and treason, of hostility and massacre” by the Jews during this period, connected ultimately to Jewish partisanship toward Persia in the context of Byzantine anti-Semitism. In the early 5th century Jews were slaughtered after a Jewish attempt to betray a city to the Persians was discovered (Parkes 1934, 257–258). In the 7th century, the Jews came to the aid of Persian invaders, and with the aid of the Samaritans were said to have massacred a hundred thousand Christians (Grant 1973, 288). After the area was retaken by the Byzantines, the Arabs conquered the area with the “warm support” of the Jews (Grant 1973, 289; see also Jones 1964, 950). At the beginning of the 12th century, the Byzantine Jews “sprang rapidly to [the] assistance” of the invading armies of Seljuk Turks (Shaw 1991, 25). Beginning in the 14th century the Jews supported the invasions of the Ottoman Turks—the final entry into Constantinople in 1453 occurring through a Jewish quarter with the assistance of the Jews (Shaw 1991, 26). In gratitude for their support, the sultan imposed Jewish economic domination over his Christian subjects, and Jews immigrated into the area from throughout the diaspora (Shaw 1991, 77).

In the 16th century, the elevated position of Jews as intermediaries between the Turkish regime and native subject populations gave rise to fears in Christian countries that Jews would betray them to the Turks (Pullan 1983, 19; see also Davidson 1987). The Turks were expanding during this period into formerly Christian areas, and it was feared that their efforts were being aided by Jews and crypto-Jews in the Iberian peninsula and elsewhere. In Venice these fears focused on the prominent role in the Turkish attacks on Cyprus of the influential ex-Christian Duke J. Miquez Mendes, who was a high-ranking advisor to the sultan and had strong family and personal connections in the Marrano community of Venice. There was also fear that Jewish fortunes made in Christian countries would be transferred to the Ottoman Empire by emigrating Jews.

A theme of anti-Semitic writers in Spain during the Inquisition was that the Jews had schemed to have the Moslems invade Spain, opened the gates of the cities to the conquering armies, and served the new Muslim ruling elite in dominating the Christians after the invasion (Amador de los Rios 1875–1876, I; Castro 1954; Stillman 1979; Netanyahu [1995, 56–57], who must be viewed as an apologist [see pp. 227–240], rejects the stories of Jewish scheming as mythical, but notes that Jews rejoiced over the Muslim invasion and aided the Muslims in administering the conquered country.) Moreover, they did so not only because of previously existing Christian anti-Semitism but also because at this period the Muslims were still expanding and the Jews had an opportunity to make an alliance with forces that appeared to be on the verge of conquering Christian Europe. One can sense the animosity that this behavior provoked even in the 19th-century historian José Amador de los Rios, who wrote that “without any love for the soil where they lived, without any of those affections that ennoble a people, and finally without sentiments of generosity, they aspired only to feed their avarice and to accomplish the ruin of the Goths; taking the opportunity to manifest their rancor, and boasting of the hatreds that they had hoarded up so many centuries” (in Walsh 1930, 196).

Loyalty issues also emerged during the period of the Inquisition. “As a ‘nation apart,’ despite their conversion, as a nation united by common origin or race, the Marranos were thus exposed to the evaluation of their group as an alien national entity, whose fellowships with the people of the country must be questioned, and whose preparedness to betray it could be taken as likely even by moderate adversaries” (Netanyahu 1995, 996; italics in text). One criticism of the New Christian merchants in the 1620s was that the former were crypto-Jews who were “proven agents of Portuguese Jews in Amsterdam and enemies of Spain and the Catholic religion” (Boyajian 1983, 20). In the 1640s the Portuguese New Christian financiers of the Spanish monarchy were accused of intentionally obstructing payments and were thus responsible for military defeats and mutinies. These accusations were strengthened by several instances in which crypto-Jewish financiers absconded and then lived openly in Jewish communities. Lea (1906–1907, III, 280) states that notwithstanding some exaggeration, there was “an undoubted substratum of fact” for charges that Judaizing Portuguese actively helped the enemies of Spain and Portugal during the 17th century, especially the Dutch (see also Castro 1971, 244; Contraras 1991, 133). Indeed, a principal objection to allowing the Conversos to emigrate was that they would work against Spanish and Portuguese interests abroad.

After the European Enlightenment, “states embarking on emancipation were prepared to absorb those Jews living within their own borders; they were not prepared to acknowledge the existence of a trans-national Jewry with a commonality of interests other than religion” (Katz 1986b, 81). Goldwin Smith in his essay “The Jewish Question” (1894) presents the issue as follows:

[A Jew] may be a conforming and dutiful citizen of the community among which he dwells as long as there is no conflict of national interest. But when there is a conflict of national interests his attachment to his own nationality will prevail. . . . We see the governments of Europe bidding against each other for the favour and support of an anti-national money power, which would itself be morally unfettered by any allegiance, would be ever ready to betray and secretly paralyse for its own objects the governments under the protection of which its members were living, and of course would be always gaining strength and predominance at the expense of a divided and subservient world. (Smith 1894, 279–280)

In 1807, at the very beginning of the post-Enlightenment political world, Jewish loyalty was one of several concerns presented by Napoleon at his conference of Jewish notables. Napoleon was assured that French Jews were loyal only to France, but Katz (1986b, 81) notes that Jews “continued to retain a strong sense of group consciousness and coherence transcending the national borders of their respective European states.” Expressing a common fear among gentiles, the German philosopher Johann Fichte wrote that “extending over almost all the countries of Europe there is an enormous state . . . engaged in an eternal war with all the others. . . . [I]t is of course, Jewry” (in Katz 1986b, 120).

The Damascus affair of 1840 marked a milestone in post-Enlightenment concerns about Jewish loyalty. French Jews successfully prevailed upon their government to abandon its support of a charge of ritual murder leveled against the Jewish community in Syria, with the result that territory reverted from France to the Ottoman empire. Wealthy Jews cooperated with Jewish communities in other countries, as well as with gentile politicians in countries viewed as enemies of France, and “many in France felt that their side had lost this particular contest to Jewish interests, to an internationally linked group of powerful Jews” (Lindemann 1991, 38), while Jewish observers viewed it as a victory for Jewish solidarity. “What was hailed as a new solidarity of Jews . . . appeared as the reaffirmation or reemergence of a very old and ominous one to other observers. For them Jews remained, as they had been for centuries, a peculiar nation spread throughout the nations of Europe. But now, in sharp and troubling contrast to the past, that peculiar nation was able to exercise great power within those nations” (Lindemann 1991, 38–39).

During the 19th century the establishment of the Alliance Israélite Universelle in France, the Board of Deputies and the Anglo-Jewish Association in England, and the Board of Delegates of American Israelites and the AJCommittee (in 1906) in America as societies that advanced the interests of Jews throughout the world was also perceived as evidence that Jewish interests were not necessarily the same as national interests. Thus regarding the Alliance, “scarcely another Jewish activity or phenomenon played such a conspicuous role in the thinking and imagination of anti-Semites all over Europe. . . . The Alliance served to conjure up the phantom of the Jewish world conspiracy conducted from a secret center—later to become the focal theme of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” (Katz 1979, 50). Russian Jews were strongly suspected of maintaining ties with the Alliance, and anti-Semitic publications in the 1880s shifted from accusations of economic exploitation to charges of an international conspiracy centered around the Alliance (Frankel 1981).[78]Mosse (1989, 250) notes that the German-Jewish entrepreneurial elite tended to support free-trade policies long after the gentile middle class had abandoned this ideology, and that they did so not simply out of economic self-interest but because of an ideology of internationalism. During the Wilhelmine era, this class of Jewish capitalists was “less chauvinistic and more internationally minded than Gentiles, a constant source of complaint from Pan Germans and antisemitic hyper-patriots” (Mosse 1989, 256). A particularly visible target of anti-Semites was Theodore Wolff, editor of the Berliner Tageblatt, viewed by anti-Semites as a “cosmopolitan” who actively combated German geopolitical interests: “There was not a nationalist, chauvinist, militarist, völkisch, or antisemitic diatribe that did not include a reference to the liberal ‘Jewish press’ and the ‘Jews’ Republic’ (Judenrepublik) and that did not mention the Berliner Tageblatt and usually its editor-in-chief” (Mosse 1989, 285–286).

From the late 19th century until the Russian Revolution, the Jewish desire to improve the poor treatment of Russian Jews conflicted with the national interests of several countries, particularly France, which was eager to develop an anti-German alliance in the wake of its defeat in the Franco-Prussian War. Aware of these deep suspicions, the Jewish community made public efforts to display affection for Czar Alexander III, despite his persecution of the Jews, but the suspicions of the anti-Semites remained (Johnson 1988, 384; Lindemann 1991). This issue also resulted in a successful attempt by American Jews to have their government abrogate the Russian-American Treaty of Commerce and Navigation, despite being told by the Secretary of State and the president that such action would “harm vital American trade interests” (Goldstein 1990, 135ff; see also Sachar 1992, 229ff).

In England during World War I, Jews who had immigrated from Russia often refused military service because England was allied with Russia. In Leeds a report to the Home Office indicated that 26 of 1,400 Jewish aliens had joined the armed forces and many more had fled to Ireland to avoid military service (Alderman 1992, 236):

However just Britain’s quarrel with Germany might have seemed, it was not perceived in immigrant circles as a Jewish quarrel; for Jew to kill Jew appeared particularly profane. . . . Jews liable for conscription who pleaded before military tribunals they should be exempted because they did not wish to fight for the Tsar, or because they feared that they would not be able to practise their religion in the armed forces, obviously created a bad impression. A press campaign was whipped up against them and—by extension—against “foreign” Jews in general. (Alderman 1992, 237)

As a result of the concern over loyalty, some Jewish immigrants of Russian origin who refused to be conscripted into the armed forces were repatriated to Russia. However, Alderman (1992, 239) notes that by this time the Russian Revolution was in full swing, and many returned to Russia, either voluntarily or involuntarily, to fight against the remnants of the old regime.

Jewish attitudes toward Russia also figured in the Jewish response to Balkan independence in the 1870s. Turkey had committed atrocities on Bulgarian Christians, resulting in an anti-Turkish political movement in Britain among the opposition Liberal party. In addition to concern about Jewish financial investments in Turkey, British Jews in common with their co-religionists in Austria-Hungary, Germany, France, and America, looked at the situation from the perspective of Balkan Jewry. Turkish rule had allowed these Jews a greater degree of tolerance compared to the situation under Orthodox Christianity.

Jewish influence eventually delayed the independence of the Balkans from Turkey until guarantees of Jewish rights were provided and the influence of Russia minimized. The campaign illustrated the ability of Jews to exert influence in other countries as a result of the international structure of Judaism—always a factor in the loyalty issue. Not only was Jewish political influence brought to bear in England in support of Prime Minister Disraeli’s policy, but the Viennese press was pressured to support Turkey, and the Viennese branch of the Rothschild family pressured the Austro-Hungarian government. Lionel de Rothschild, a British subject, also got his German banking associate Gerson von Bleichröder to influence Bismarck. Accordingly, guarantees for Jewish rights were incorporated into the treaty (Alderman 1983, 38). The result was a considerable anti-Jewish backlash among many in the Liberal Party, which up until that time had had the support of a large majority of Britain’s Jews. Opponents capitalized on the ethnic origins of Conservative Party leader Benjamin Disraeli, and W. E. Gladstone, the Liberal leader, decried “the manner in which, what I may call Judaic sympathies, beyond as well as within the circle of professed Judaism, are now acting on the question of the East” (in Alderman 1983, 39).

The issue of disloyalty also came up as Jews were confronted with an increasingly influential Zionist movement. Ironically perhaps, Zionists and anti-Zionists charged each other with engendering anti-Semitism because of loyalty-related issues. Zionists often held the view that German Jews did in fact have divided loyalties that justified the charges of anti-Semites (e.g., Mosse 1989, 60), while non-Zionists worried that the aggressive Jewish nationalism of Zionists in the diaspora would result in the perception that Jews in general had no allegiance to Germany. These issues continued to raise concern as the more established German-American Jews confronted the rise of the Eastern European immigrant Jews in America (Frommer 1978). The Eastern European Jews who founded the American Jewish Congress were far more likely than their more established coreligionists to be Zionists and to have a well-developed view of Jewry as a nation and as a race with strong ties to foreign Jews.[79]During the 1950s, North African governments questioned the Jewish commitment to nationalism (Cohen 1972, 522). A Tunisian government report stated that Jews “had not cooperated sufficiently” in the nationalist cause. Jews were also generally viewed as pro-French, at least partly because they had prospered under French rule. (The French actively encouraged Jews to act as a “middleman minority” ruling over native Muslim populations [Stillman 1979, 1991].) Similarly, most Jews actively supported France in the Algerian nationalist struggle; the Algerian leader stated that Jews would be resented if they retained their French citizenship after the fall of French rule. As is common among nations actively seeking a strong national identity, Tunisia also viewed all elements of Jewish separatism as divisive, including the attempt by international Jewish agencies to funnel financial resources to Jews rather than the whole society: “The government will not permit them [the Jews] to live in a closed circle of their own” (in Cohen 1972, 523).

Zionism did in fact lead to feelings among gentiles that Jews were disloyal. In Mein Kampf,Hitler (1943, 56) used Zionism and the fact that other Jews did not reject Zionists as (possibly misguided) fellow Jews to argue that Jews were in fact a unified nation and not merely a religion. In the Soviet Union, Stalin regarded Jews as politically unreliable after they expressed “overwhelming enthusiasm” for Israel and attempted to emigrate to Israel, especially since Israel was leaning toward the West in the Cold War (Schatz 1991, 375n.13). During the fighting in 1948, Soviet Jews attempted to organize an army to fight in Israel, and there were a great many other manifestations of Soviet-Jewish solidarity with Israel, particularly in the wake Jewish enthusiasm during Golda Meir’s visit to the Soviet Union. Stalin perceived a “psychological readiness on the part of the volunteers to be under the jurisdiction of two states—the homeland of all the workers and the homeland of all the Jews—something that was categorically impossible in his mind” (Vaksberg 1994, 197). There is also some indication that Stalin at the height of the Cold War suspected that Soviet Jews would not be loyal to the Soviet Union in a war with America because many of them had relatives in America (Rubenstein 1996, 260).

Concerns about Jewish loyalty were acute during this period. Kostyrchenko (1995, 144, 149) notes that one reason Stalin began repressions against Jewish culture was that he was concerned about the loyalty of Jews in the Jewish Autonomous Region (Birobidzhan) on the Soviet Union’s Far Eastern borders, particularly about possible contacts with American Jewish organizations. The result was a Soviet campaign against Jewish national and cultural institutions that spread throughout Eastern Europe and ended only with Stalin’s death. Similarly, in 1967–1968 there was an anti-Jewish campaign in Poland consequent to outpourings of Jewish joy over Israel’s victory in the Six-Day War. The Soviet bloc had supported the Arabs in this conflict; President Wladyslaw Gomulka condemned the Jewish “fifth column” in the country, emphasizing among other things Israel’s close ties with Poland’s main enemy, West Germany (Rozenbaum 1978; Schatz 1991, 304).

The Zionist idea also conflicted with perceived American foreign policy interests when the Balfour Declaration of 1917 was being negotiated and thereafter. The U. S. State Department feared that a British protectorate in Palestine would damage commercial interests in the region and that in any case it was not in the interests of America to offend Turkey or other Middle Eastern states (Sachar 1992, 256ff). While President Woodrow Wilson sympathized with the State Department position, he was eventually persuaded by American Zionists to endorse the declaration; it was then quickly approved by the British.[80]Wilson’s approval was “offhanded” (Sachar 1992, 260), and the State Department was not informed, strongly suggesting less than enthusiastic support for the Zionist program. When the State Department became aware of the situation, the Secretary of State pressed the president to declare his nonsupport for the Declaration; Wilson became increasingly cool to the idea until giving final approval in 1920, apparently as a result of a private plea by United States Supreme Court Justice and Zionist leader Louis D. Brandeis (Sachar 1992, 268).

Similarly, in England in the 1920s the Conservative press campaigned against the Balfour Declaration on the grounds that England was being taxed on behalf of Jewish interests that were detrimental to England because they would result in the alienation of the Muslim world (Alderman 1983, 103). In 1936 Nathan Laski, president of the Board of Deputies, deplored the campaign style of a Jewish Zionist candidate who urged voters to vote for him because he was a Jew. This “had done a great deal of harm. It was still remembered and talked about, and it was said that Jews were Jews first and Englishmen a long way after” (in Alderman 1983, 114).

Perhaps the clearest conflict between Jewish interests and British interests emerged after World War II, when the Labour government failed to support the creation of a Jewish state. Many British Jews gave generously to finance illegal activities in the British protectorate, including arms and refugee smuggling and financing Jewish military action against British forces (Alderman 1983, 129). These activities led to widespread anti-Jewish riots throughout England, and the Labour government pointedly refused to outlaw anti-Semitism during this period. During the late 1960s and 1970s charges of dual loyalty appeared in the House of Commons among Labour MPs, one of whom commented that “it is undeniable that many MPs have what I can only term a dual loyalty, which is to another nation and another nation’s interests” (in Alderman 1983, 151). Alderman (1983, 151) comments that the charge of dual loyalty “becomes harder to rebut when organizations or individuals . . . try to persuade Jewish voters to cast their votes in terms of their loyalty to Israel. Should such appeals meet with even partial success, as they have done from time to time, the accusation of ‘dual loyalty’ would seem to have been justified.”

Attitudes ranging from unenthusiastic ambivalence to outright hostility to the idea of a Zionist homeland on the part of presidents, the State Department, Congress, or the American public continued right up until the establishment of Israel in 1948 and beyond. For example, in the post-World War II period there continued to be a perception in the State Department that American interests in the area would not be served by a Jewish homeland but should be directed at securing oil and military bases to oppose the Soviets. There was also concern that such a homeland would be a destabilizing influence for years to come because of Arab hostility (Goldmann 1978, 31; Lilienthal 1978, 50, 61; Sachar 1992, 580). Truman’s defense secretary, James Forrestal, “was all but obsessed by the threat to [American interests] he discerned in Zionist ambitions. His concern was shared by the State Department and specifically by the Near East Desk” (Sachar 1992, 597). In 1960 Senator J. William Fulbright, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, declared in response to attempts to coerce Egypt into agreeing to Israel’s use of the Suez canal, “in recent years we have seen the rise of organizations dedicated apparently not to America, but to foreign states and groups. The conduct of a foreign policy for America has been seriously compromised by this development” (in Cohen 1972, 325).

Israel has actively sought to make its interests paramount for American Jews, with possible implications for accusations of disloyalty. Elazar (1980, 81), writing in the late 1970s, noted that “to date organized American Jewry has acquiesced in these demands without really examining their implications, some of which could drastically change the relationship between Jews and their fellow Americans.” Individuals who fail to support Israel’s claims are “more or less written off by the Jewish community and certainly are excluded from any significant decision-making role” (Elazar 1980, 91). The potential for perceptions of Jewish disloyalty are apparent in such a situation, and indeed the loyalty issue over support for Israel has cropped up in recent charges of anti-Semitism leveled against writers and political figures of both the Left and the Right in the United States (see Buckley 1992; Lind 1995a, 1995b; Podhoretz 1986; Vidal 1966).[81]Goldberg (1996, 229ff) notes a pattern in which Jewish identity influences the behavior of American officials toward Israel. For example, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who inaugurated greatly increased levels of financial support for Israel, feared for Israel’s safety during the Six-Day War. “ ‘As Israel began to fall apart, Henry began to fall apart,’ Defense Secretary Schlesinger would later say” (Goldberg 1996, 248–249). In a 1992 speech to a Jewish group Kissinger stated that “I have been in the position as a Jew, of conducting the foreign policy of a superpower. I have never obscured the fact that twelve members of my family died in the Holocaust, and that therefore the fate of the Jewish people was always a matter of profound concern to me. At the same time, destiny put me in a position where I also had to look at other perspectives” (in Goldberg 1996, 249).

Finally, loyalty issues are sometimes related to gentile beliefs that Jews are actively working to undermine the institutions of society. A major component of the Bavarian petitions of 1849–1850 opposing Jewish emancipation was the view that Jews had been major participants in the revolutionary activities of 1848 while the Christian peasants, for example, had remained loyal (Harris 1994, 131). The overrepresentation of Jews among the leftist revolutionaries in prerevolutionary Russia (Goldstein 1990, 36) and in the 1920s in Germany was a potent source of anti-Semitism, even though in the latter case at least most Jews did not support revolutionary activities (Gordon 1984, 22–23, 52). Gordon (1984, 14) links this left-wing intellectual activity to anti-Semitism, noting that “a more general cause of increased anti-Semitism was the very strong and unfortunate propensity of dissident Jews to attack national institutions and customs in both socialist and non-socialist publications” (Gordon 1984, 51). These writers “violently attacked everything about German society. They despised the military, the judiciary, and the middle class in general” (Rothman & Lichter 1982, 85). The leftist press was a specifically Jewish phenomenon:

Apart from orthodox Communist literature where there were a majority of non-Jews, Jews were responsible for a great part of leftist literature in Germany. Die Weltbühne was in this respect not unique; Jews published, edited, and to a great part wrote the other left-wing intellectual magazines. Jews played a decisive role in the pacifist and feminist movements, and in the campaigns for sexual enlightenment.

The left-wing intellectuals did not simply “happen to be mostly Jews” as some pious historiography would have us believe, but Jews created the left-wing intellectual movement in Germany. (Deak 1968, 28–29)

Gordon also reviews evidence indicating that the ideology of Social Conservatism was of some importance in the development of anti-Semitism in Germany during the period from 1870 to 1933, since this movement viewed Jewish influences as alien to German culture and Jews themselves as “undesirable harbingers of change” (Gordon 1984, 26). Jewish-owned newspapers were intensely criticized for their lack of loyalty to German causes. Thus the German nationalist press and the highly influential anti-Semite Houston Stewart Chamberlain bitterly accused Jewish-owned newspapers, and especially the Frankfurter Zeitung, of representing Anglo-American financial and political interests to the detriment of German national interests (Field 1981, 392). Chamberlain was successfully sued for libel by the Frankfurter Zeitung, but the issue remained a potent cause among anti-Semites (Field 1981, 392).

Factors Mitigating Anti-Semitism • 2,000 Words

It is also of interest to discuss cases where anti-Semitism has been relatively mild. Lindemann (1991, 273; see also Lipset & Raab 1995; Sachar 1992, passim) finds that anti-Semitism in the United States has been relatively muted and non-ideological, although there have been “sharp ups and downs.” Lindemann also notes the following features of the United States that have militated against anti-Semitism: the low number of Jews; the fact that the great majority of American Jews were not members of the Orthodox or Hasidic sects, which emphasize external signs of separatism; the fact that America already had successful, educated middle classes, professionals, intellectuals, and entrepreneurs who were not personally threatened by the rise of the Jews, so that between-group resource competition was of lessened importance; and a tradition of political and religious tolerance deriving from the European Enlightenment, and particularly Britain.

All of these reasons are highly compatible with the present theoretical perspective based on an evolutionary interpretation of social identity theory. Mainstream American Jewish groups have generally eschewed external signs of group identity, thus decreasing the likelihood that the presence of Jews would trigger social identity processes among gentiles that would result in hostility toward Jews. I would also suggest that the anti-Semitism expected on the basis of social identity theory as a result of the separatist practices of some Jewish groups in America (such as the Hasidim) is mitigated by the fact that these Jews tend not to be economically successful (see Sachar 1992, 697).

Meyer (1988, 226) makes the related point that Reform Judaism was much more successful in America than in Europe, partly because in Europe there was an enormous inertia against change, deriving from the highly organized community structure of Judaism that had persisted for centuries in Europe. Even in Germany, the font et origo of the Reform movement, the radical reform characteristic of America was limited to one synagogue in Berlin, with the rest being described as “moderate.” In Europe, the entire Reform project of conceptualizing Judaism as having a special universal ethical mission to the gentiles (see Ch. 7) seemed unrealistic in light of the actual history of Jewish-gentile social and economic relationships and the essentially medieval communal structure of Judaism. Moreover, this highly cohesive separatist structure was quite obviously still in existence for a significant proportion of Jews, and not only among recent immigrants from Eastern Europe (Lowenstein 1992). In Germany this ethical, humanist conceptualization of Judaism was forced to compete with powerful, previously existing attitudes that Jews were a hated and feared outgroup that exploited gentiles economically (Harris 1994). Liberal Judaism in the United States, on the other hand, was much less burdened by its own past.

Regarding resource competition, historians have often noted that economic downturns tend to be associated with increases in anti-Semitism, while economic prosperity is associated with declines in anti-Semitism (see, e.g., Mosse [1989, 223] regarding fluctuations in anti-Semitism in Germany from 1800 to 1933). A major theme of Chapters 3–5 is the tendency for gentiles to form cohesive group strategies in opposition to Judaism, especially during periods of perceived resource competition with Jews. On the basis of social identity theory, economic or social adversity among the gentile population is expected to result in increasing willingness among gentiles to submerge themselves in group strategies. Judaism, as a highly salient and oftentimes economically, politically, and culturally successful outgroup, may then be perceived as an important cause of gentile problems.

There are also historical examples where anti-Semitism was significantly ameliorated because of powerful social controls regulating Jewish economic activity (e.g., in early modern Venice [Pullan 1983]). In addition, there has been a relative lack of Jewish economic domination of America. For example, data from the 1930s indicated that despite rather large overrepresentation in retailing, the garment industry, cosmetics, entertainment, mass media and publishing, investment banking, and the professions, Jews had very little representation in a very wide range of American industries and were underrepresented even in banking (apart from investment banking) (Editors of Fortune 1936; Sachar 1992, 341). In 1952, average Jewish family income was still less than that of Presbyterians and Episcopalians.[82]Jewish income may be underreported, at least in some historical eras, in an effort to combat anti-Semitism. Hertzberg (1989, 248) suggests that Jewish community leaders attempted to lower estimates of Jewish income during the 1920s for this reason. See also Shapiro (1992, 116). Moreover, although Jews did achieve the highest average family income of any religious group by 1972, and despite an increasing presence in a wide range of business (Sachar 1992, 647, 652ff), the degree of Jewish economic power in America did not approach the situation characteristic of the most virulent examples of anti-Semitism in Eastern Europe, Germany, and the Iberian peninsula.

Nevertheless, America has been by no means devoid of anti-Semitism based on concerns about Jewish upward mobility—“the urgent pressure which the Jews, as an exceptionally ambitious immigrant people, put upon some of the more crowded rungs of the social ladder” (Higham 1984, 141). Beginning in the 19th century there were fairly high levels of covert and overt anti-Semitism among patricians resulting from the very rapid upward mobility of Jews and their competitive drive. In the period prior to World War I, the reaction of the gentile power structure was to construct social registers and emphasize genealogy as mechanisms of exclusion—“criteria that could not be met by money alone” (Higham 1984, 104ff, 127). Ross (1914, 164) writes of the gentile resentment for “being obliged to engage in a humiliating and undignified scramble in order to keep his trade or his clients against the Jewish invader”—suggesting a rather broad-based concern with Jewish economic competition. This same period also saw the beginning of quotas on Jewish representation in elite universities and professional schools. Attempts at exclusion in a wide range of areas were increased in the 1920s and reached their peak during the difficult economic situation of the Great Depression (Higham 1984, 131ff). In general, American anti-Semitism has occurred precisely when Jewish competition disturbed the existing social order (Higham 1984, 127, 144).

Ginsberg (1993) notes that Jewish economic status and cultural influence have increased dramatically in America since 1960, with the result that increases in anti-Semitism based on these issues is a distinct possibility. By 1988 Jewish income was at least double that of gentiles. Shapiro (1992, 116) shows that Jews are overrepresented by at least a factor of nine on indexes of wealth, but that this is a conservative estimate, because much Jewish wealth is in real estate, which is difficult to determine and easy to hide. While constituting approximately 2.4 percent of the population of the United States, Jews represented half of the top one hundred Wall Street executives and about 40 percent of admissions to Ivy League colleges. Lipset and Raab (1995) note that Jews contribute between one-quarter and one-third of all political contributions in the United States, including one-half of Democratic Party contributions and one-fourth of Republican contributions.

As an example of recent anti-Semitic writing that emphasizes these issues, Wilmot Robertson (1973) focuses on themes of the overrepresentation of Jews on indexes of wealth and of their political and cultural influence in the United States as of the early 1970s, and he suggests that Jewish overrepresentation on these indexes had still not plateaued. As does Shapiro (who is not an anti-Semite), Robertson emphasizes the Jewish effort to prevent issues of Jewish overrepresentation in these areas from being publicly discussed and to use the charge of anti-Semitism to prevent examination of these issues: “Instead of submitting anti-Semitism to the free play of ideas, instead of making it a topic for debate in which all can join, Jews and their liberal supporters have managed to organize an inquisition in which all acts, writings and even thoughts critical of Jewry are treated as a threat to the moral order of mankind.” (Robertson 1973, 180). More recently Joseph Sobran (1995, 4; italics in text) has stated that

It’s permissible to discuss the power of every other group, from the Black Muslims to the Christian Right, but the much greater power of the Jewish establishment is off-limits. That, in fact, is the chief measure of its power: its ability to impose its own taboos while tearing down the taboos of others—you might almost say its prerogative of offending. You can read articles in Jewish-controlled publications from the Times to Commentary blaming Christianity for the Holocaust or accusing Pope Pius XII of indifference, but don’t look for articles in any major publication that wants to stay in business examining the Jewish role in Communism and liberalism, however temperately.

Social identity theory is also compatible with the idea that anti-Semitism in America has been muted because Judaism has been perceived by many as simply another of the many religions tolerated in America. “Jews did not stand out as a solitary group of non-conformists (Higham 1984, 156). As Elazar (1980, 9) notes, contemporary American religious Judaism is a “protective coloring” which de-emphasizes the ethnic/national character of Judaism. The result is a categorization process in which Judaism becomes viewed as a benign, highly permeable religious (non-ethnic) group whose differences with other groups are merely ones of personal belief rather than ethnicity. As a result of this categorization process, conflicts of interest between the Jewish community as a strategizing ethnic group and the interests of other groups are minimized. Within a social identity perspective, these attributes are expected to lower group conflict, negative stereotyping of outgroups, etc.

It follows also that ethnically and religiously pluralistic societies are more likely to satisfy Jewish interests than societies characterized by ethnic and religious homogeneity among the gentile outgroup. In The Culture of Critique I review data indicating that Jewish organizations have vigorously promoted the ideology that America ought to be an ethnically and culturally pluralistic society and that they have pursued an open immigration policy with the aim of preventing religious and ethnic homogeneity in the United States. A multicultural society in which Jews are simply one of many tolerated groups is likely to meet Jewish interests, because there is a diffusion of power among a variety of groups and it becomes impossible to develop homogeneous gentile ingroups arrayed against Jews as a highly conspicuous outgroup.

While the foregoing indicates that Jews may benefit from pluralistic, multi-ethnic societies, Judaism also thrives in individualistic, atomized societies. The American tradition of political liberalism is of great importance in understanding the relative lack of anti-Semitism in America. A major theme of The Culture of Critique (see also PTSDA, Ch. 8) is that social identity theory and research on individualism/collectivism support the idea that individualist societies are likely to be low on anti-Semitism, because people in individualist cultures are less aware of ingroup/outgroup boundaries and are less likely to develop negative stereotypes of entire groups on the basis of the behavior of some group members. The implication is that Western individualist societies, including contemporary liberal democracies as well as the Greco-Roman world of antiquity, are less likely to develop negative beliefs about Jews as a group than collectivist societies such as medieval Christendom or societies such as 19th-century Germany and Russia in which individualism and political liberalism were relatively weak: “The Jew could flourish only in the sort of classical Liberal society that existed in Western Europe and that the late nineteenth century had introduced to Central Europe” (Pulzer 1964, 327). As Higham (1984, 156) notes “The American tradition of treating people as individuals . . . posed a substantial obstacle to the creation of a new group ostracism” against Jews.

Individualistic societies also fail to develop anti-Semitic movements because of the difficulty of developing coalitions among different, often opposing interest groups. Opposition to anti-Semitic political parties among German conservatives in the period 1870–1914 stemmed from the conservatives’ perception that anti-Semites were revolutionaries who threatened existing property arrangements and were thus akin to the liberals and Social Democrats (Levy 1975, 130ff). The conservatives often held anti-Semitic attitudes and engaged in other types of anti-Semitic political activity, such as excluding Jews from public administrative positions. Levy suggests that a primary reason for the failure of the anti-Semitic parties to forge a government of national unity during the period was due to conflicts of interest among the various anti-Semitic constituencies; these conflicts included particularly, in my terms, the individualistic tendencies of an important segment of German conservatives. Similarly, the main support of immigration restrictions in the United States Congress in the period after 1910 came from the relatively rural West and South and these efforts were often accompanied by more or less overt anti-Semitism. However, at least in the period prior to 1924 these efforts were not supported by industrial interests wanting cheap labor, despite the fact that many among the gentile elite discriminated socially against Jews.

Chapter 3 • Reactive Anti-Semitism in the Late Roman Empire • 10,700 Words

Group strategies are very powerful in competition with individual strategies within a society, and especially so in the case of Judaism. The power of the Jewish group strategy has derived from: (1) cultural and eugenic practices that produced a highly talented, intelligent, and educated elite able to improve the fortunes of the entire group; (2) universal Jewish education resulting in an average resource acquisition ability of the entire group above that of the rest of the society; and (3) high levels of within-group cooperation and altruism typically enforced by social controls within the Jewish community.

There is good theoretical reason to suppose that a heightened sense of group identity would be the response to the presence of a group that is itself strongly ethnocentric. From the perspective of gentiles, the social identity perspective summarized in Chapter 1 implies that the presence of a cohesive, distinctive outgroup (i.e., the Jews) would result in a heightened salience of ingroup (i.e., gentile) identification and corresponding devaluation of the outgroup. In situations of external threat, group members close ranks and increase their cohesiveness and group solidarity. Negative stereotypes regarding the outgroup are developed, and there are cognitive biases such that negative information about the outgroup is preferentially attended to and points of disagreement highlighted. Supporting this point, LeVine and Campbell (1972) note instances in which feelings of ingroup loyalty and outgroup hostility occurred only after the appearance of a colonial power. The analogy with Judaism as a minority group within a host society is clear: resource competition between impermeable groups results in a situation where self-justificatory racialist or other forms of separatist ideology proliferate on both sides of the group divide.[83]The sociological race relations theory of Brown (1934) also would imply such a result. Brown posits that in a situation of colonial domination both the dominant and subordinate group have a tendency to develop self-justificatory racialist ideologies, often with a strong fear of racial admixture. “Race prejudice and race consciousness are operative on both sides to mobilize the races for struggle, define issues, and create an impasse which cannot easily be broken” (p. 46).

The extent to which such tendencies are influenced by evolved mechanisms is an important question (see Chapter 1) but not crucial to the issue. The point here is that the empirical evidence clearly indicates that resource competition between groups results in greater solidarity, cohesion, and group identity among members of both ingroup and outgroup. Indeed, it has often been observed that Jewish groups become more cohesive and Jewish identification more powerful in times of crisis to the group, and there is evidence that Jewish groups become more authoritarian and collectivist during times of stress or between-group resource competition (see Chapter 1 and PTSDA, Chs. 7, 8). The implication is that gentiles would react in a similar manner to perceived group conflict.

The development of a stronger sense of group identity among gentiles then facilitates competition with the group strategy of Judaism. Whereas previously the society was seen as a relatively homogeneous whole, the society now comes to be perceived as being made up of impermeable groups in competition with each other. Group membership becomes critical for individual success. Battle lines are drawn between groups, with the result that individuals are seen primarily in terms of whether they are members of one’s ingroup or an outgroup. If it is not possible to out-compete the outgroup, other means are used: quotas are imposed, restrictions on entering occupations are legislated, or, in the extreme, there is outright persecution, expulsion, or civil war.

It is an important proposition of this and the following two chapters that these gentile groups come to resemble Judaism in certain critical ways, that they become in effect mirror images of Judaism. Under circumstances in which a genetically and culturally segregated ethnic group engages in successful resource competition, the only available means of competition for outgroup members would be to abandon individualistic strategies and become members of a cohesive, strategizing group. Since the group strategy of Judaism has often been perceived to be economically and culturally dominant, the best means of advancing outgroup members’ interests may to adopt a group strategy that resembles in critical ways the fundamentally collectivist, exclusionary structure of Judaism. Such a mirror-image gentile group strategy is therefore a reactive process, since the heightened sense of group identity among gentiles develops in reaction to the group strategy of another group.

We have seen that Western societies, perhaps uniquely among the stratified societies of the world, tend toward individualism (Chapter 2; PTSDA, Ch. 8). Such societies tend toward universalism and assimilation of ethnic groups. People in individualist cultures show relatively little emotional attachment to ingroups and are more likely to behave in a pro-social, altruistic manner to strangers. People in individualist cultures also tend to be less aware of ingroup/outgroup boundaries and thus tend not to have highly negative attitudes toward outgroup members (Triandis 1991, 80).

The expectation is that individualists will tend to be less predisposed to anti-Semitism and more likely to blame any offensive Jewish behavior on individual Jews rather than see it as confirming negative stereotypes true of all Jews. Individualist societies are therefore expected to be the ideal environment for Judaism as a highly collectivist group strategy.[84]In PTSDA (Ch. 8) it was argued that the reason for the long term degradation of Jews in Arab lands was that Eastern cultures are much less predisposed to individualism. Highly collectivist cultures easily adopt group strategies against Judaism. The proposal here is that as Judaism becomes increasingly successful, gentiles, even in Western societies, are increasingly willing to abandon individualism and submerge themselves in highly collectivist, authoritarian groups. These cohesive, authoritarian, collectivist gentile groups then serve as instruments of competition against Judaism.

In this chapter I will discuss the development of corporate Catholicism in the late Roman Empire from this perspective, and the following two chapters will continue these themes in discussions of the Iberian Inquisitions and the rise of National Socialism in Germany.

The Development of Corporate Catholicism in the Late Roman Empire • 9,900 Words

[Jews are] murderers of the Lord, assassins of the prophets, rebels against God, God haters, . . . advocates of the devil, race of vipers, slanderers, calumniators, dark-minded people, leaven of the Pharisees, sanhedrin of demons, sinners, wicked men, stoners, and haters of righteousness. (St. Gregory of Nyssa; in Lazar 1991a, 47)

If you call [the synagogue] a brothel, a den of vice, the devil’s refuge, Satan’s fortress, a place to deprave the soul, an abyss of every conceivable disaster or whatever else you will, you are still saying less than it deserves. (St Jerome; in Michael 1994, 120)

[Judaism is] ever . . . mighty in wickedness . . . when it cursed Moses; when it hated God; when it vowed its sons to demons; when it killed the prophets, and finally when it betrayed to the Praetor and crucified our God Himself and Lord. . . . And so glorying through all its existence in iniquity. (Hillary of Poitiers; in Michael 1994, 110)

Although such beasts [Jews] are unfit for work, they are fit for killing . . . fit for slaughter. (I.II.5)

[the Synagogue] is not merely a lodging place for robbers and cheats but also for demons. This is true not only of the synagogues but also of the souls of the Jews. (I.IV.2)

Shall I tell you of their plundering, their covetousness, their abandonment of the poor, their thefts, their cheating in trade? (I.VII.1) (St. John Chrysostom, Adversus Judaeos)

The first of these putative gentile group strategies is the most problematic. Nevertheless, it is worth considering the possibility that anti-Semitism played a prominent role in the development of hegemonic, corporate Catholicism in the late Roman Empire. Because of the scantiness of the historical record, this evidence is by no means overwhelming, but it is useful to describe the powerful overtones of anti-Semitism that accompanied the establishment of the corporate, collectivist social structure characteristic of the late Roman Empire.

The view developed here is highly compatible with the proposal of several historians that the establishment of the Christian church represented a qualitative shift from the anti-Semitism typical of the ancient world. The mutual hostilities between Jews and gentiles in the ancient world involved the “normal” mutual animosity between groups with differing interests (Parkes 1976, 5; Ruether 1974). As expected in individualist societies, anti-Semitic violence in the ancient world was sporadic and decentralized, resulting from particular situations in particular areas. With the advent of the Christian church, however, anti-Semitism became based on a powerful, emotionally compelling ideology and was institutionalized in an organization that aspired to and often possessed a great deal of political power. I propose that the Christian church in late antiquity was in its very essence the embodiment of a powerful anti-Semitic movement that arose because of gentile concern with resource and reproductive competition with Jews.

Other views have been proposed. Feldman (1993, 383ff) and Simon (1986, 232) interpret the intense anti-Semitism among the 4th- and 5th-century Church fathers as resulting from purely institutional competition between two universalist religions competing for converts and social dominance—what I will term the “institutional rivalry” hypothesis. These authors dismiss resource and reproductive competition between culturally and genetically segregated groups as completely irrelevant. The implication is that but for a completely inexplicable turn of fate (Constantine’s conversion), Judaism rather than Christianity might have been institutionalized within the Roman Empire.

The institutional rivalry argument depends on either of two highly problematic propositions: (1) that there were large-scale conversions of gentiles to Judaism in the 4th century, so that Judaism was perceived by the Church as “a real and dangerous rival” (Simon 1986, 271); or (2) that ecclesiastical anti-Semitism was directed at large numbers of Christian “Judaizers” who, though they did not necessarily become Jews, showed “the power of Jewish beliefs, and especially of Jewish rites, to draw an important minority of Christians from the very bosom of the Church” (Simon 1986, 232).

Regarding the first proposition, the overwhelming picture from the ancient world is one of Jewish ambivalence toward proselytes and low numbers of actual proselytes (see PTSDA, Ch. 4). Simon (1986, 279–280) himself comes up with only eight names of gentile proselytes (seven of whom were scholars) in the entire period from a.d. 135 to the end of the 4th century, and he is unable to mention the name of a single Jewish missionary or missionary tract. He also acknowledges that Jewish missionary activity was considerably less intense and less effective than Christian missionary activity (p. 279). Moreover, the material summarized below indicates that the perception that the Jews were a biological descent group and not simply a religion appears to have been common among the Church fathers and is apparent in the wording of imperial legislation. It is therefore unlikely that Judaism was perceived as a universalist religion by gentiles during this period.

Pakter (1992, 716) points out that immediately prior to the rise of Christianity as the state religion, it was Christianity, not Judaism, that was viewed as a threat to classical Roman culture (thus provoking the persecutions of Diocletian), because of the aggressive proselytism of the former compared to the very limited proselytism of the latter. Judaism was viewed as a threat to the state only after the Empire became Christianized—a finding that is consistent with the present interpretation that anti-Semitism was fundamental to Christianity as it emerged in the late Empire. The proposal that Judaism was an aggressive, universalist rival of Christianity must argue that Judaism suddenly became transformed in this manner after Christianity had become the state religion. There is no evidence for such a view.

Feldman (1993) has brought this argument up to date. His most convincing data for the possibility of large-scale conversions during this period is the “insistent and repetitive” (p. 442) concern in the imperial legislation about Jews converting and circumcising gentile slaves. There is no question that Jews owned gentile slaves during this period—indeed, Jews dominated the slave trade (Juster 1914). Feldman points out that the circumcision of slaves was a Jewish religious law at least partly for ritual reasons (circumcision enabled slaves to perform their duties, such as handling food, in a manner consistent with Jewish religious law) but undergoing this procedure did not mean that the slaves had been converted to Judaism.

It is interesting that the language of the laws shows a concern that gentiles not be in a position of subordination to Jews and perhaps, in the case of females, subject to sexual exploitation. According to the Theodosian Code (16.9.5) (a.d. 423), “no Jew shall dare to purchase Christian slaves. For We consider it abominable[85]The word “Nefas” used in the Theodosian Code is an extremely derogatory term. Feldman (1993) translates it as “execrable” (p. 394) or “unspeakable abomination” (p. 90). that the very religious slaves should be defiled by the ownership of very impious purchasers.” In his Life of Constantine (p. 547), Eusebius never mentions the conversion of slaves as a problem but emphasizes that “it could not be right that those whom the Saviour had ransomed should be subjected to the yoke of slavery by a people who had slain the prophets and the Lord himself.” The manifest concern is domination of Christians by a different people, not the loss of Christians to a universalist Judaism. Referring to late Roman legislation, Cohen (1994, 65) notes that “Christian sources simmer with deep-seated fear of Jewish power over Christians and of the Judaization of pagans or Christians come into the service of Jews.”

Moreover, gentile slaves of Jews would not have been allowed to contribute to the Jewish gene pool (see PTSDA, Chs. 2, 4) and were not in fact full-fledged members of the Jewish community. According to Jewish religious law, slaves would be removed from the gentile community and be subjected to a variety of Jewish religious practices, including circumcision, without truly entering the Jewish community.[86]According to Maimonides (The Code of Maimonides, Book Five , The Book of Holiness, I. Laws Concerning Forbidden Intercourse, Ch. 12), all slaves undergo immersion and receive a rudimentary religious instruction; male slaves must be circumcised. Slaves are viewed as having left the community of idolators “but without entering the community of Israel” (p. 83). For a slave to become a member of the community of Israel, he or she had to first be manumitted and then marry an Israelite or a daughter of an Israelite. The manumitted slave would then undergo another immersion, thereby becoming a proselyte and a full Israelite (p. 89). If the slave refused to become an official “slave of Israel” and thereby avoid circumcision, immersion, and religious instruction, the master was to sell him or her to a heathen after one year. The basic logic of the Jewish law of slavery is apparent in the Mishnah (2nd century) and Palestinian Talmud (4th century), since slaves were required to say certain Jewish prayers and have certain religious obligations and abilities but not others (e.g., Ber. 3.3). Slaves were consistently distinguished as a category separate from both gentiles and Israelites. A woman was not obligated to enter a levirate marriage if the brother was the offspring of a gentile or slave (Yeb. 2.5), and female slaves had no right of betrothal to an Israelite male (Qidd. 3.12). The offspring of such a woman took the slave status of the mother. Christian hostility toward Jewish enslavement of Christians is therefore not reasonably interpreted as resulting from a concern that these Christians would actually become Jews. Jewish practices regarding slaves do not indicate that Judaism was a universalist religion intent on adding these gentiles to the Jewish community. Indeed, slavery presents an ideal opportunity for one-way gene flow, from the Jewish to the gentile community but not the reverse.

The prohibitions on circumcising slaves and owning Christian slaves that emerged in the 4th and 5th centuries can easily be seen as an aspect of the rising walls of separation between Jews and gentiles during the period consequent to increased resource and reproductive competition, rather than as a sign that the gentile world as a whole was in danger of becoming converted to Judaism. Similarly, in later periods it was common for Jews to be prohibited from employing Christians as domestic servants or wet nurses, at least partly because of the possibility of sexual exploitation, but also because such a situation would result in a position of Jewish dominance over gentiles. Laws against Jews having Muslim slaves, and especially female Muslim slaves, were also common in the Muslim world (Patai & Patai 1989, 126), and there is some indication that a source of group hostility in the period of the Inquisition was gentile resentment that Jews and Conversos had access to gentile women as servants, mistresses, or concubines (see Appendix to Chapter 7). Indeed, concern with Jews controlling gentile females is a recurrent theme of Jewish-gentile group conflict throughout history, occurring also in the Christian Middle Ages (see Ch. 4), National Socialist Germany (see Ch. 5), and 19th-century Russia (Smith 1894). Given the evidence for greatly increasing Jewish economic power relative to the gentile community and the Jewish domination of the slave trade during this period described in the following, it is plausible to suppose that the legislation was prompted because increasing numbers of Christians were being enslaved by Jews.

This interpretation of the laws on slavery fits well with enactments against intermarriage that date from the same period. The Council of Elvira in Spain (ca. a.d. 300) and the Council of Nicaea (a.d. 325)[87]The Nicene prohibition on intermarriage is included only in the canons of the Arabic version of the council (see Pakter 1992, 732n.86). Two later Spanish Church councils (in 589 and 633) reiterated this asymmetrical ban. prohibited marriages between Jewish men and Christian women (DeClercq 1954, 42; Pakter 1992, 722). Given the sexual asymmetry of these regulations and the fact that during this period Jews were far more likely to own Christian slaves than the reverse, the suggestion is that these laws were intended to prevent wealthy Jewish men from having Christian concubines, and they may thus be seen as an aspect of Jewish/gentile resource competition during the period. As Synan (1965, 26) notes, “In the Christian Roman law, concern was manifested for the faith of Christian women, and the impression is that a woman was presumed to be incapable of resisting the prestige of the faith held by her husband. However this may be, the inferior status of slaves was certainly the motive for legislation against the holding of a Christian in bondage to a Jewish master.” Concubinage was not illegal according to Jewish religious law and occurred commonly with female Muslim slaves in the medieval period (Friedman 1989, 39), although Jewish religious authorities often discouraged the practice. Gentile females had no right to marriage with an Israelite, and the children took the status of the mother (Mishna Qidd. 3.12). The descendants of such a union would not have been able to marry within the Jewish community (see note 4, p. 111).

The suggestion is that the lawmakers were attempting to prevent wealthy Jewish males from engaging in concubinage with Christian females. Since the offspring of these women would not have been Jews, the general thrust of the legislation of the period is best interpreted as a means not of preventing the mass conversion of Christians to Judaism but of preventing Jews from competing with Christian males for access to Christian females, and of preventing a one-way flow of genes from the Jewish to the Christian population. The data are entirely compatible with the proposal that wealthy Jewish males were siring Jewish heirs by Jewish women but were also engaging in concubinage with female slaves, with the children from these unions being lost to the Jewish community.[88]In 388 all intermarriage between Christians and Jews was prohibited by the Roman government on pain of death (CTh 9.7.5). Pakter takes the view that asymmetrical laws arose at times when Jews had such low status that marriage of a Christian man to a Jewess would have been unthinkable, while symmetrical laws appeared when Jews had higher status and therefore were desirable mates. My position is that the asymmetrical laws were aimed at correcting an asymmetrical reality in which Jewish males were obtaining gentile females as concubines but very few, if any, ethnically Jewish women were concubines of gentile males. These laws derive from a concern with Jewish domination that is certainly present in the laws related to slavery dating from the same period, and there is good reason to suppose that Jews were quite prosperous and numerous in Spain at the time of the Council of Elvira (DeClercq 1954, 41–42, 117; see below) as well as in other areas of the Empire during this period. Pakter (1992, 722) implicates St. Ambrose, a strident anti-Semite, in the symmetrical legislation of 388. I would suppose that the symmetrical bans functioned not only to prevent Jews from having Christian concubines but also strengthen generally the walls of separation between Christians and Jews—a result of the exacerbation of social identity processes brought on by the heightened Jewish/gentile group conflict characteristic of the period and apparent in the behavior of such prominent anti-Semites as St. Ambrose and St. John Chrysostom. The other situation, where gentiles have become concerned that Christian males marry Jews, emerges when Jews have married daughters into the Christian nobility while preventing any gene flow from gentiles into their stem families (see Chapters 4, 5, and the Appendix to Chapter 7). There is no evidence that this was a concern during the 4th and 5th centuries, but this may only reflect lack of historical sources.

The second hypothesis for explaining Christian anti-Semitism during this period is that it was aimed at the gentile “Judaizers,” i.e., gentiles who associated with Jews and were attracted to Jewish rituals. Again, the proposed motive is the purely institutional one of maximizing the number of committed Christians and diminishing Jewish influence on society. Judaizing may have been fairly common during this period, and there is no question that Judaizers attracted the hostility of the Church fathers, especially St. John Chrysostom, who was an ardent anti-Semite.

It is of some importance to attempt to fathom the motives of these gentile Judaizers. Simon’s treatment suggests that since Christians and Jews had similar religious festivals, it was not uncommon for Christians to engage in syncretism, for instance, by resting on the Jewish Sabbath or celebrating during Passover, without actually becoming converted. Wilken’s treatment (1983, 67; see also Feldman 1993, 389) also suggests that a motivating force may have been the celebratory nature of such Jewish rituals as Passover. While St. John Chrysostom’s account is hardly dispassionate, he implies that Jewish celebrations attracted Christians interested in dancing, theatre, magic and the party-like atmosphere of these celebrations (Adversus Judaeos 1.2:846–847). Consistent with this interpretation, Feldman (1993, 376, 403) mentions a law against giving Christians gifts or celebrating with Jews on Jewish holidays, and there are indications that non-Jews were invited to eat with Jews and received unleavened bread during these celebrations. Church laws eventually prohibited Christians from entering synagogues or celebrating Jewish festivals (Wilken 1968, 62).

It would not be surprising to find non-members of an organization participating in celebrations where they received gifts and free food and may have been entertained with dancing and other entertainment. Jews may well have encouraged gentile participation in Jewish celebrations (but not actual conversion) as a means of developing good will in the gentile community—much like an “open house” in contemporary organizational life. Indeed, such practices may have become viewed as sound policy given the consistent criticism of gentile intellectuals in the ancient world that Jews hated the rest of humanity—their odium generis humani (see Chapter 2). Ancient Jewish writers such as Philo and Josephus were well aware of the charge of “non-mingling” with gentiles and its role in ancient anti-Semitism, and it would not be surprising if in later periods the Jewish community attempted to ameliorate this criticism.

In this regard, it may be significant that nine of the fifty-four Judaizers at Aphrodisias (the archeological site that most clearly indicates the commonness of Judaizing) were city council members—exactly the sort of wealthy, influential gentiles it would be in the interests of Jews to cultivate friendships with. Indeed, such individuals would be obliged to participate in public cults by virtue of their position. The finding is therefore best interpreted, as Goodman (1989, 177) does, as indicating that Jews approved of gentiles who worshipped other gods—not as support for large-scale conversion by the gentile elite. Also, as Feldman (1993, 441) points out, it would be in the interest of wealthy, powerful gentiles to maintain good ties with the very prosperous and influential Jewish community. In any case, there is little reason to suppose that Judaizing represented an important halfway position on the road to full conversion: Feldman bases his discussion on the Aphrodisias site where there were apparently three proselytes and fifty-four Judaizers.

There may be other reasons why the Jews attracted the sympathies of some gentiles during this period.[89]Simon (1986, 358; see also Wilken 1983, 83ff) notes that some gentiles may have had positive images of Jews because of the Jewish role as physicians and healers. (Chrysostom admonishes Christians not to go to Jews for healing.) In the ancient world, healing was closely related to magic, sorcery, and astrology. Many gentiles, especially from the lower classes, may have been fascinated by Jews because of their high reputation in these areas—their reputed ability to “ward off the Powers” (Simon 1986, 341). Jews were so prominently identified with magical powers that “it was largely by the agency of Judaism that the ancient world was impregnated with [syncretistic magic]. So prominent were Jews in this process that pagan opinion assumed magic to be an integral and characteristic element of Israel’s religion” (Simon 1986, 342). Indeed, Wilken (1983, 86) notes that “it is quite conceivable that the same Jews who were welcoming Christians to the Jewish festivals were also healing their sicknesses with magic.” Given this situation, one can easily understand the curiosity, interest, and, indeed admiration which Jewish religious celebrations may have created in some gentiles, as well as the efforts of anti-Jewish leaders to alter gentile conceptions of Jews. Nevertheless, by all accounts this gentile sympathy to Judaism occurred at a time of increasingly intense anti-Semitism at all levels of the gentile society. One can easily interpret the Christian reaction to Judaism during this period as an aspect of an emerging group evolutionary strategy defined at its very essence as opposed to Judaism. I will argue that the fervent Christian opposition to Judaizing seen in St. John Chrysostom and others may be seen as a reactive process to the confrontation between gentiles and an increasingly successful and salient threat represented by Jewish resource and reproductive competition. Chrysostom’s intense anti-Semitism may be seen as an aspect of the general raising of the walls of separation between Jews and gentiles characteristic of this period and expected on the basis of social identity theory during periods of intensified group competition. The result of the actions of such churchmen as St. John Chrysostom would be an increasing identification of Christians as members of a group for whose members anti-Semitism was an important aspect of personal identity.

The proposal here is that in this period of enhanced group conflict, anti-Jewish leaders such as Chrysostom attempted to convey a very negative view of Jews. Jews were to be conceptualized not as harmless practitioners of exotic, entertaining religious practices, or as magicians, fortune tellers, or healers, but as the very embodiment of evil. The entire thrust of the legislation that emerged during this period was to erect walls of separation between Jews and gentiles, to solidify the gentile group, and to make all gentiles aware of who the “enemy” was. Whereas these walls had been established and maintained previously only by Jews, in this new period of intergroup conflict the gentiles were raising walls between themselves and Jews. And while Jews may have been happy to attract the sympathy of elite gentiles by encouraging Judaizing, Judaizing would be anathema to anti-Jewish leaders, who would insist that the walls between groups be high and that each person belong to only one group. During this period of group conflict, there could be no half-way commitment to either group. As Chrysostom himself said, “ ‘Fortify one another.’ If a catechumen is sick with this disease, let him be kept outside the church doors. If the sick one be a believer and already initiated, let him be driven from the holy table. . . . The wounds that have festered and cannot be cured, those which are feeding on the rest of the body, need cauterization with a point of steel” (Adversus Judaeos II.III.6). The battle between groups must commence. In the long run, the consequences of this Christian group strategy would be a general lowering of the economic and reproductive prospects of the Jewish community.

All anti-Semitic movements have probably had to combat gentiles who were viewed as insufficiently fervent in their anti-Semitism and whose commitment to an anti-Semitic group strategy was lukewarm or even hostile. It does not follow that attempts to combat convivial relationships between Jews and gentiles are motivated solely by fear that the latter may be converted to Judaism or that Judaism will exert too strong an influence on society. Thus the Council of Elvira (ca. 300) prohibited eating and socializing with Jews but it also prohibited marriages between Jewish males and Christian females. Banning positive social relationships between Jews and gentiles dovetailed with a deeper concern that Jewish males were competing with Christian males for access to females.

There has been a tendency throughout Jewish history for wealthy, powerful gentiles to make alliances with Jews (see PTSDA, Ch. 5). (Indeed, this may well account for Feldman’s [1993, 441] point that Judaizers tended to be wealthy, influential gentiles.) In terms of the social psychology of individualism/collectivism (Triandis 1990), these gentile elites are idiocentric individualists who are not prone to participating in a highly cohesive, authoritarian group. Other anti-Jewish movements, such as National Socialism, excluded such individuals from positions of power and dealt harshly with gentiles who disobeyed laws designed to separate Jews and gentiles.

Moreover, the “concern with proselytizing and Judaizing” hypothesis is insufficient to account for other prominent examples of ecclesiastical anti-Semitism during the period. St. John Chrysostom’s condemnation of Judaizers is not apparent among several other prominent anti-Semites, and clear examples of Judaizing occur only in Antioch and other parts of the Near East. Ecclesiastical concerns about Judaizing and overly positive gentile attitudes toward Jews were apparently nonexistent in Alexandria, where the very stridently anti-Jewish St. Cyril held sway (Simon 1986, 373; Wilken 1971, 68). Cyril’s writings are dominated by a concern with Judaism: “Cyril never gets the Jews off his mind” (Wilken 1971, 159–160); “There is scarcely a page on which he does not lash the Jews for their infidelity to God. He never fails to exploit the slightest allusion susceptible of being twisted into a description of their hostility to Christ and the Church” (Kerrigan 1952, 385).

Cyril not only wrote negatively about Jews but was instrumental in expelling Jews from Alexandria and allowing the mob to loot their property after an incident in which Jews attacked a Christian. Indeed, a contemporary account of the incident describes it as being precipitated when Jews attacked a man who stood out by applauding Cyril’s anti-Jewish sermons (see Wilken 1971, 55). Cyril’s sermonizing was thus not in opposition to gentile Judaizers, but to Jews, and it was so inflammatory that it resulted in a riot.

The interpretation proposed here is that group conflict between Jews and gentiles entered a new stage in the 4th century. It is of considerable interest that it was during this period that accusations of Jewish greed, wealth, love of luxury and of the pleasures of the table became common (Simon 1986, 213). Such accusations did not occur during earlier periods, when anti-Jewish writings concentrated instead on Jewish separatism. These new charges suggest that Jews had increasingly developed a reputation as wealthy, and they in turn suggest that anti-Semitism had entered a new phase in the ancient world, one centered around resource competition and concerns regarding Jewish economic success, domination of gentiles, and relative reproductive success.

The resource competition hypothesis proposes that over time Judaism became increasingly viewed as a competitive threat to gentiles for either or both of the following reasons. First, Jewish educational practices and economic cooperation had made Jews into increasingly effective economic competitors with gentiles. This hypothesis would be directly supported by evidence on Jewish wealth and indirectly supported by evidence that education and high-investment parenting were the routes to upward mobility in Greco-Roman society of the period. Second, Jews had become more numerous because of any of the following: increasing wealth resulted in increased fertility—a common association in traditional societies; Mishnaic practices related to high-investment parenting resulting in increased survivorship of Jewish children (a phenomenon well attested from other periods and also enshrined in the Mishna and the Talmud); the banning of abortion and exposure of children (the latter of which was common in the pre-Christian Roman Empire); an ideology in which the commandment to “be fruitful and multiply” resulted in a religious obligation of marriage and children; charity to poor Jews allowing all segments of the Jewish community to reproduce; and the timing of intercourse to maximize fertility.

The hypothesis is that by the end of the 3rd century, Judaism had come to be seen as a powerful competitor with gentiles. While Jewish economic success and practices related to reproduction would have resulted in relatively high Jewish fertility, individualist societies, such as the Roman Empire, are relatively less concerned with fertility, have less stable family relationships, and tend to show higher levels of child maltreatment and abandonment (see Triandis 1990).[90]The Roman government since the time of Augustus had taken steps to raise the fertility of the aristocracy. These efforts met with little success until the laws were abolished by Constantine. Congruent with the relationship between individualism and low fertility, Garnsey and Saller (1987, 143–144; see also Hopkins 1983, 79–81) suggest that “it seems likely that many Romans came to take a more individualistic view of life, giving correspondingly less effort to ensuring the success of family and lineage.” In individualistic societies, sexual pleasure tends to become a goal in itself, removed from its reproductive consequences, while Judaism remained committed to fertility and high parental investment as religious commandments. Moreover, the population of the Empire as a whole was declining during this period (Jones 1964, 1042). To be more precise, the later Empire had an expanding population at the top of the human energy pyramid (army, civil service and clergy) and a declining population among the rural peasantry, because so much of the production of the peasantry was being expropriated that they were unable to replace themselves (Jones 1964, 1043). Jones cites evidence for extremely high taxation of the peasantry, and there are indications that both the rural and urban lower classes were committing infanticide because they were too poor to rear children. Another sign of a high level of reproductive competition in the early 4th century is that men in the Eastern Empire—the area of the most intense anti-Semitism and the largest percentage of Jews—married very late in life.

This situation indicates not only a high level of reproductive competition but also ecological instability because the base of primary production was shrinking while the top of the pyramid was expanding: “too few producers supported too many idle mouths” (Jones 1964, 1045). This would tend to result in greater competition within the higher levels of the human energy pyramid. Since throughout their history Jews have been overrepresented at the top of the human energy pyramid (PTSDA, Ch. 5), there is the suggestion that competition for resources had increased greatly at this level of society during this period. Indeed, Jones (1964, 947–948) notes that Jews were increasingly entering the imperial and municipal service in the 4th century until being excluded from these occupations in the 5th century—an aspect of the wide range of economic, social, and legal prohibitions on Jews dating from this period (see below). These factors, combined with traditional gentile hostility to Judaism (because of its separatist practices and perceptions of Jewish misanthropy and perhaps of Jewish wealth), to set the stage for a major anti-Semitic movement. The proposal here is that this anti-Semitic movement crystallized in the Christian Church.[91]Simon (1986, 214) argues that 4th-century charges by anti-Semites such as Chrysostom related to Jewish wealth are illusory because (1) they occur prior to the time when Jews were confined to moneylending, and indeed none mention usury as a Jewish vice; (2) pagans are also charged with similar vices; (3) Jews are also depicted as charitable; (4) Christians were ascetics and would therefore regard even normal human resource acquisition behavior as sinful.

However, the proposal that an important source of Christian anti-Semitism during this period involved negative attitudes toward Jewish wealth is quite consistent with the first three of these arguments. The first of Simon’s reasons implies that gentile resentments about Jewish wealth could only have arisen from Jewish moneylending. This is far from true, as indicated by the material in Chapter 2. Moreover, anti-Semites often acknowledge that the negative traits disproportionately found among Jews are shared by some gentiles, and in any case, social identity theory implies that gentiles would preferentially attend to Jewish involvement in moneylending because Jews were a disliked outgroup. Finally, regarding Jewish charity, Chrysostom does indeed accuse the Jews of abandoning the poor” (Adversus Judaeos I.VII.1), presumably referring to the gentile poor; his other comments on Jewish charity may reflect his negative attitudes on Jewish within-group charity.

Simon’s argument based on Christian asceticism is surely speculative, especially since many Christians, including many clergymen, were quite well off economically during this period (Wilken 1983, 6). Education in rhetoric was the pathway to upward mobility, indicating that, as in modern societies (Lynn 1992), verbal intelligence was critical. These are, of course, exactly the types of skills at which Jews have excelled throughout their history and that are the expected consequences of Jewish educational and eugenic practices (PTSDA, Ch. 7). These practices had already been established for at least the nine generations between the destruction of the Second Temple and the end of the 3rd century. Jews during the 4th century provided their children with a Greek education, which would enable them to compete in the Greek world (Wilken 1983, 49).

Since the work of Cohen (1976), historians have increasingly emphasized the economic prosperity of the Jewish community in the 4th and 5th century during this period of economic and demographic decline for the society as a whole. The Jewish population and the Jewish economic and social presence in the Empire declined precipitously after the failed rebellions of the 1st and 2nd century (Wilken 1983, 46–47). However, the 3rd and 4th centuries were a time of “new life and vitality” of the Jewish community, and during this period the Patriarchate was wealthy and powerful. Wilken (1983, 44) views it as likely that the Jewish community grew larger and more prosperous during this period, and Feldman (1993, 366) interprets the evidence as indicating that the Jewish population was expanding even as the economic and demographic fortunes of the Empire were declining. Juster (1914, 294) describes the “prolificité de la race” and the entry of Jews into a very diverse set of occupations.[92]Regarding Alexandria, Jews had almost vanished after the failed rebellions of the early 2nd century, but by the beginning of the 5th century (at the time of their expulsion in 415) there was a “large and influential” Jewish community there (Wilken 1971, 57). Wilken (1971, 46) notes that Christian-Jewish relations in 4th century Alexandria had deteriorated into increasing hostility well before the expulsion, and, consistent with a resource competition perspective, there is evidence that some of the Jews were wealthy traders and shipbuilders involved in the supply of grain to Rome (Wilken 1971, 49). Unlike the case with Antioch, there is no evidence of large numbers of Judaizing gentiles in Alexandria; instead there was a mob that could be incited by Cyril to expel the Jews and loot their property.

Wilken (1983, 43; see also Ruether 1974, 172) describes the Jewish community of late-4th-century Antioch (the site of Chrysostom’s anti-Semitic tirades) as “large, well established, highly respected, and influential.” Parkes (1934, 163) terms it “rich and powerful.” In Antioch, Jews possessed large buildings and decorated them fashionably to serve as cultural centers. Excavations in nearby areas indicate that the 4th century was a period of a great flowering of Jewish material culture (Wilken 1983, 54; see also Feldman 1993, 73, 364ff). During this period Jews built “large and impressive” synagogues throughout the empire, attesting to their economic affluence and the general flourishing of Jewish culture (Wilken 1971, 37).
In the Theodosian Code, Jews are referred to as a “pestilence and a contagion if it should spring forth and spread abroad more widely” (CTh 16.5.44), suggesting a fear of Jewish demographic increase.

Finally, Juster (1914, 305ff) notes that Jews were very prominent in certain sectors of the Roman economy, including the slave trade, banking, national and international trade, and the law. Jews had also developed monopolies in specific industries, including silk, clothing, glassware, and the trade in luxury items.[93]Juster also notes that Jewish artisans working in bronze and other metals specialized in making items for the luxury trade, suggesting vertical integration of the Jewish economy to include manufacture, transportation, and retailing, as occurred in later centuries in Eastern Europe (see PTSDA, Ch. 6). Moreover, Juster (p. 312) directly connects the intensification of these economic developments in the 4th century with an increase in popular anti-Semitism, as well as with the accusations of the Church fathers during this period that Jews were characterized by avarice and cupidity. Indeed, despite the restrictions on Jews which began during this period, Juster notes that Jews completely dominated national and international trade and especially the slave trade in the 5th and 6th centuries.

This view of the continuing economic power of Jews in the 5th and 6th century is highly compatible with Bachrach’s (1985) suggestion that the Jews were so wealthy, powerful, and aggressive that until around the middle of the 5th century the government viewed a strong anti-Jewish policy as not politically viable, even though it was continually being pressured in this direction by the Church. The rather limited anti-Jewish actions of the government during the 150 years following the Edict of Toleration of 313 are interpreted “as attempts to protect Christians from a vigorous, powerful, and often aggressive Jewish gens” (Bachrach 1985, 408). The Jews themselves were perceived by the emperors, the government, and the Church fathers as “an aggressive, well-organized, wealthy, and powerful minority” (p. 408). Particularly revealing are the suggestion that the solvency of the municipalities depended on Jews paying their taxes and the fear that offending the Jews could set off widespread and costly revolts, such as the one led by Patricius in 351.

Moreover, as Juster suggests, popular anti-Semitism was not simply a matter of manipulation by the Church in order to serve institutional goals. The intensely anti-Semitic rhetoric of the Church fathers struck a deep resonance with popular attitudes. Indeed, Simon (1986, 231–232; see also Avi-Yonah 1976, 223; Jones 1964, 948–949) notes that “if the Christian populace so many times threw itself into the attack on synagogue after synagogue, it was not because it passively accepted orders given from above. The mass of believers, who were of gentile birth, had not on conversion shed their pagan feelings of dislike toward the Jews. If the anti-Jewish polemic was so successful, it was because it awakened latent hatreds and appealed to feelings that were already there.”

From what we know of other societies (see Chapter 2 and PTSDA, Ch. 5), it would be remarkable if anti-Semitism based on resource and reproductive competition did not increase under these circumstances. The situation may well have resembled that in Eastern Europe in the 19th century, where despite considerable poverty among Jews and the presence of Jews in a wide range of occupations, there was a huge Jewish demographic increase, combined with a very large overrepresentation of Jews in terms of economic power, trading monopolies, and positions requiring education and intelligence. It is well known that this situation was associated with intense anti-Semitism in Eastern Europe.

Indeed, as a general point, it is well to remember that Jews were “a very visible and significant element of the population” (deLange 1991, 33), constituting somewhere between 7 and 12 percent of the population of the Empire and perhaps 20 percent in the Eastern Empire (Baron 1952, I, 170; Feldman 1993, 92; Wilken 1971, 9). When one considers that intense anti-Semitism has occurred in societies where Jews comprise as little as 1 percent of the population (i.e., Germany from 1870 to 1933) and that even within the Roman empire anti-Semitism was proportional to Jewish concentration (Simon 1986, 206), it would not be surprising to suppose that the roots of this new wave of anti-Semitism were far deeper than the traditional complaints of ancient intellectuals about Jewish separatism or the institutional concerns of a newly triumphant Church.

There is also some indication that the negative views common among churchmen and others during this period resulted from perceptions of resource and reproductive competition with Jews. The intensity of these attitudes strongly suggests that more than mere theology is involved. Emperor Constantine (who made Christianity the state religion) was a “passionate” anti-Semite (MacMullen 1969, 175; see also Hollerich 1992, 594).

[The Jews are] a people who, having imbrued their hands in a most heinous outrage [i.e., killing Christ], have thus polluted their souls and are deservedly blind. . . . Therefore we have nothing in common with that most hostile of people the Jews. We have received from the Savior another way . . . our holy religion: unanimously pursuing this, let us . . . withdraw ourselves from that detestable association. For it is truly absurd for them to boast that we are incapable of rightly observing these things [i.e., religious holy days] without their instruction. For on what subject will they be competent to form a correct judgment, who after that murder of their Lord, having been bereft of their senses, are led not by any rational motive, but by an ungovernable impulse, wherever their innate fury may drive them? (Emperor Constantine; in Wilken 1968, 58)

Words translated as “nefarious” and “feral” were used to describe Jews in imperial legislation of the period (Hollerich 1992, 594; Wilken 1983, 50). This represented a marked change in the tone of imperial legislation related to Jews, and indeed, the changes marked “a clear departure from the previous imperial policy of toleration toward the Jewish religion” (Barnes 1981, 252).

Moreover, it is more than doubtful that Constantine’s anti-Semitism arose from purely theological reasons. Constantine was not even baptized until shortly before his death, and most commentators have viewed him as rather tolerant toward paganism (e.g., S. G. Wilson 1985, 368). Bachrach (1985, 416) interprets the data as indicating that Constantine perceived Jews as a wealthy, powerful, and aggressive group; Grant (1973, 284) suggests that Constantine believed that the Jews were attempting to dominate the Roman Empire and that they regarded themselves as superior to everyone else. Themes of Jewish economic and political domination and Jewish superiority are not specifically Christian, and they suggest that theological beliefs alone are not adequate in conceptualizing the anti-Semitism of the period. Alleged Jewish attitudes of superiority may derive from the economic and social success of Jews as a group; this charge is repeated by Isaac of Antioch in the middle of the 5th century (Feldman 1993, 407).

While Constantine’s motives in establishing Christianity are not well understood, it is believed by some that he viewed Christianity as benefiting the Empire—as “restoring and enhancing, not diminishing, all that was valuable in Greco-Roman culture” (Barnes 1992, 647; see also Sordi 1986, 141). While the fate of the Jews may not have been uppermost in Constantine’s mind, he must have been aware of the clear overtones of anti-Semitism in the Church. In addition to the “conventional Christian animus against the Jews” and the sharpening of the anti-Jewish overtones of Christian theology among such contemporary theologians as Eusebius, the Council of Elvira (ca. a.d. 300)—well before Constantine’s establishment of Christianity as the state religion—had passed three anti-Jewish prohibitions: banning marriages between Jewish men and Christian women, banning Jews from blessing Christian land and fruits, and prohibiting eating and socializing with Jews (see DeClercq 1954, 41–42; Feldman 1993, 373, 380, 398).

Indeed, there is a direct connection between the Council of Elvira and Constantine. Ossius, the Bishop of Cordova (the most important episcopal see in the province of Spain), was a major participant and perhaps the moving force behind the Council of Elvira (DeClercq 1954, 105). Ossius may well have played a leading role in Constantine’s conversion or at least increased Constantine’s commitment to Christianity, since it was he who interpreted Constantine’s dream prior to the battle of Milvian Bridge in Christian terms (Wilken 1992, 740). Ossius remained the most prominent religious advisor in Constantine’s entourage throughout a major portion of Constantine’s reign, and Constantine had very high regard for him personally (DeClercq 1954, 152ff). DeClercq (1954, 41–42, 117) interprets the inscriptional evidence and the anti-Jewish canons of the Council of Elvira as indicating large Jewish communities in the area of Cordova (Baetica), and on the basis of the large Jewish presence in Ossius’s bishopric, he suggests that Ossius proposed the anti-Jewish canons of the council. In any case, the Elviran anti-Jewish canons, and particularly the prohibition of marriage between Jewish men and Christian women, strongly suggest that resource competition between Jews and Christians was a highly salient issue at the Council of Elvira. Ossius also presided over the Council of Nicaea (a.d. 325) which, according to the Arabic version, adopted a similarly worded measure opposing marriage between Jewish men and Christian women (Pakter 1992, 722).

Constantine’s anti-Semitism may well have meshed with attitudes he had already developed independently prior to his conversion. Or perhaps his anti-Semitism increased after his conversion to Christianity as a result of influence by prelates like Ossius. In any case, the patently anti-Semitic overtones of the Church during this period were clearly no deterrent to Constantine’s decision to establish Christianity as the state religion.

It must be emphasized how extremely hostile toward Jews the 4th-century Christian polemicists were. The most intense anti-Semite of this period was St. John Chrysostom (b. 349), whose writings and orations “are presented with such violence and at times such a coarseness of language as to be without parallel” (Simon 1986, 217). The Jew is presented as “a monstrous, villainous figure, calculated to inspire in all who look at it a proper horror” (Simon 1986, 220).

While the great majority of Chrysostom’s comments derive Jewish evil from Christian theology, he also describes Jews as numerous and wealthy, and he complains about the wealth of the Jewish Patriarch (Contra Jud. et gent. 16; 48.834–5). He states that the patriarchs are not priests fulfilling a purely religious function, but rather they are shopkeepers and businessmen (Cohen 1976, 4), indicating that Chrysostom viewed Judaism more as an economic entity than a religious organization. Jews are often compared to predatory beasts and are accused of virtually every evil, including economic crimes such as profiteering. The intensely anti-Jewish St. Jerome also refers to Jews as encircling Christians and seeking to tear them apart (Feldman 1993, 407).[94]Feldman (1993, 407) interprets such passages as complaints about Jewish aggressive measures intended to convert Jews; I would suggest that they are charges of predatory Jewish economic and social practices against Christians. Jerome decries the Jews’ love for money in several passages (Parkes 1934, 191) and he complained that the Jews were multiplying “like vermin” (in Baron 1952, II, 220)—a comment that clearly suggests a concern with Jewish reproductive success.[95]Jerome also commented that Jews often reached old age. Jewish survivorship may therefore have been high compared to gentiles during this period—as it has been whenever it has been studied on modern populations (PTSDA, Ch. 7).

The fact that the vast majority of the anti-Semitic comments of the period were expressed in religious terms may be due to the lack of a more sophisticated rhetoric. As Feldman (1993, 107) points out, intellectuals of the period had not developed a language in which issues related to economic (or ethnic) conflict could be articulated in an intellectually respectable manner. Perhaps in the absence of such a rhetoric, group conflict was conceptualized largely in religious terms, although, as indicated below, Eusebius and others saw Jews as a racial/ethnic group.

While Chrysostom was the most extreme, his methods and attitudes were typical of the period (Simon 1986, 222). Outspoken anti-Semitism was characteristic of many of those who rose in the Church hierarchy and among many prominent Christian writers of the 4th and 5th century (e.g., Eusebius, St. John Chrysostom, St. Augustine, St. Jerome, St. Ambrose, St. Cyril of Alexandria, St. Gregory of Nyssa). In the Eastern Church during this period, the monks were “militant anti-Semites” who had considerable influence among the Church hierarchy (Simon 1986, 213). The suggestion is that anti-Semitism was of prime importance in attaining positions of power and influence in the Church during this period. Individuals exhibited their anti-Semitism openly, as a badge of honor, and were made saints of the Church after their death.

Indeed, writing of the period generally, Wilken (1971, 21) notes that a significant percentage of all Christian writings during the period are essentially adversos Judeaos. Consistent with the present theory that this was a period in which walls were being erected between Jews and gentiles, there is little attempt in this literature to convert Jews, and certainly no attempt at all in the writings of St. John Chrysostom (Ruether 1974, 148). These writings are attempts not to reach out to Jews but rather to define an ingroup fundamentally opposed to Jews. Moreover, the adversos Judaeos tradition is fundamental to all Christian exegesis:

The adversos Judeaos tradition represents the overall method of Christian exegesis of the Old Testament. . . . It was virtually impossible for the Christian preacher or exegete to teach scripturally at all without alluding to the anti-Judaic theses. Christian scriptural teaching and preaching per se is based on a method in which anti-Judaic polemic exists as the left hand of its christological hermeneutic. (Ruether 1974, 121)

This rhetoric was meant to apply not only to the Jews of the Old Testament but also to their descendants in the contemporary world. According to Chrysostom, Jewish responsibility for killing Christ and their many other vices have been passed to the descendants of the ancient Jews as inherited traits (Ruether 1974, 130; Lazar 1991a, 77n).

Moreover, Simon (see also Wilson 1985) points out that anti-Semitic references occurred in Christian liturgy and rites, especially those surrounding Holy Week emphasizing the role of the Jews in the crucifixion of Christ. Prayers and homilies intended for use by the masses of Christians contained reproaches against the Jews (Wilken 1971, 30). Christian holidays and periods of fasting were set up to be directly opposite to Jewish ones and to act as anti-Jewish commemorations. Thus the Christian Holy Week originally coincided with the Jewish Passover, but the liturgy emphasized Christian mourning for the Jewish act of deicide at a time of Jewish rejoicing (Ruether 1974, 171). Friday became a fast day commemorating the crucifixion, whereas for Jews, Friday was a joyous time prior to the Sabbath. Anti-Jewish attitudes were deeply ingrained in the important documents of the religion and closely connected to expressions of Christian faith (Baum 1974, 2).

Indeed, Lazar (1991a) notes a general trend in Church propaganda of the medieval period in which Jews became the very personification of evil in a dualistic system of categorization in which the essence of Christianity was defined by its antithesis to Judaism. Jews are the Beast (a predatory analogy), while Christians are lambs (potential prey). Jews are the Antichrist, their descendants fathered by the Devil upon a Jewish prostitute. Their mission is to destroy Christianity and rule over the world—a clear expression of fear of Jewish domination. This world view was then preached to the illiterate masses of gentiles, who were undoubtedly predisposed to view the Jews in negative terms, with devastating consequences for Judaism. Again, this strongly suggests that late Roman Christianity fundamentally defined itself by its opposition to Judaism.

For at least some of the Church fathers there is reason to suppose that the original impetus to their anti-Semitism came not from theology but from ethnic conflict, as suggested above for Bishop Ossius. In the 2nd century the anti-Jewish tone of the writings of Melito of Sardis suggests hostility toward the contemporary wealthy and numerous community of Jews in Sardis rather than toward the long-deceased Israelites of the Old Testament (Wilson 1985). Eusebius (ca. 260–339), a highly influential Christian apologist and contemporary of Constantine, lived in the city of Caesarea in Palestine where there had been conflict between Jews and Greeks for well over two hundred years—long predating Christian influence. The entire Jewish population of twenty thousand was wiped out by the Greek townspeople during the war of a.d. 66–70, but was reconstituted shortly thereafter, and Jews continued to live as a minority in the city with Greeks and Samaritans (Alon 1989, 139–140). The “constant friction” between these groups (none of whom was a majority), influenced the anti-Semitic tone of Eusebius’s apologetic writings (Attridge & Hata 1992, 29). As discussed in Chapter 2, conflict between Jews and Greeks was common in the ancient world, particularly in Alexandria, and it derived from Jewish separatism and, in at least some cases, resource competition.

St. John Chrysostom’s anti-Semitic rhetoric occurred in Antioch, which also had a long history of friction between Jews and gentiles, including, in the 1st century, repeated requests that Jews be expelled (see Chapter 2). “Such sermons as these gave the blessings of the Church’s greatest preacher . . . to what was now a government-sanctioned destruction of Jewish civic status and an increasing tendency for religion to become a vehicle of popular violence against the Jews” (Ruether 1974, 180). Physical violence broke out repeatedly in 5th-century Antioch, complete with charges of ritual murder; synagogues were destroyed. In the 6th century there was an attempt at mass conversion of the Jews, followed by a massacre and expulsion from the city.

Anti-Semitism appears to be not simply an ancillary aspect of Eusebius’s larger purpose of constructing a Christian view of history. Rather, he constructs a fundamentally anti-Jewish view of history, going to great lengths to emphasize the evil of the Jews and the divine justice of the catastrophes (such as the destruction of the Second Temple) that have befallen the Jews for rejecting God and ultimately for killing Christ. “At points, Eusebius appears to write history primarily as the vindication of Christ the Savior against the dastardly deeds of the Jews” (Horsley 1992, 53). Eusebius often exploits the many references to Israelite sinfulness and failure to keep the covenant in the Old Testament as indicating the general evil of the Jews. Relying on the many condemnations by the prophets for immoral behavior of the Israelites (e.g., greed, lack of charity to widows and orphans), Eusebius also condemns Judaism for developing into a set of rituals with no moral content.

The culmination of this perceived Jewish evil is, of course, the rejection and killing of Christ. By rejecting Christ as the Messiah, the Jews have rejected God and have forfeited their status as the Chosen People. Their punishment for this rejection can already be seen by their defeats at the hands of the Romans, their loss of secular power, and the loss of their priesthood. This punishment had even been prophesied by Isaiah: “But if ye refuse and rebel, Ye shall be devoured with the sword” (Isa. 1:20). Because of its iniquities, Israel’s fate is eternal punishment as prophesied by Isaiah (34:9–10): “And the streams thereof shall be turned into pitch, And the dust thereof into brimstone.”

The result was a very potent ideology of anti-Semitism. While pagan anti-Semitism was “secular and popular” (Simon 1986, 208) and the anti-Jewish writings of pagan intellectuals were “elitist and literary” (Wilson 1985, 354), Christian anti-Semitism was not only intellectually respectable but also developed an emotionally compelling anti-Semitic liturgy.[96]Gager (1983, 7; see also deLange 1991) makes the interesting suggestion that the extant literature from the early Church was deliberately selected to emphasize anti-Semitic themes and exclude other voices, much as the priestly redaction of the Pentateuch retained from earlier writings only what was compatible with Judaism as a diaspora ideology. Conceivably, these early works were even edited or elaborated to emphasize anti-Jewish themes. Gager’s suggestion is highly compatible with the present perspective that there was a qualitative shift toward the conscious construction of a fundamentally anti-Semitic version of history during this period. There were, in fact, overtones of anti-Semitism in Christian theology from the very beginning—what Hollerich (1992, 594) terms a “conventional Christian animus against the Jews” centered on the Jewish rejection of Jesus as the Messiah.[97]Michael (1994) provides several highly emotional anti-Jewish statements from several 2nd- and 3rd-century Church Fathers, especially Tertullian. Tertullian’s writings suggest that Christian social identity as defined by anti-Judaism was already established during this period. Tertullian “needed Jews and Judaism as a kind of antitype to define nearly everything he was and stood for. . . . He uses [anti-Judaism] rhetorically to win arguments against his opponents and he uses it theologically . . . to construct a Christianity, a Christian social identity, which is centrally, crucially, un-Jewish, anti-Jewish” (Wilken 1971, x). This suggests that Christianity as an anti-Jewish group strategy originated well before the 4th century, although it only came to power at that time. Netanyahu (1995) makes the improbable argument that anti-Judaism was central to Christianity from its beginnings in the New Testament.However, the traditional anti-Semitic overtones of Christianity, as seen for example in the writings of Justin Martyr and Melito of Sardis in the 2nd century, were exploited and extended by these 4th- and 5th-century writers. With the political success of the Church, society as a whole became organized around a monolithic, hegemonic, and collectivist social institution defined by its opposition to Judaism: Eusebius’s dream of “one God, one emperor, one Church” (Wilken 1983, 129).

However, despite this collectivist, authoritarian social structure, the traditional universalism and assimilationism of Western societies was also incorporated into the new ideology: For Eusebius, the coming of the Messiah had resulted in a universalist Christian community that would eventually include all of mankind. Eusebius very self-consciously de-emphasizes the powerful overtones of ethnic exclusivity apparent in the Old Testament. Christianity was the “primeval religion” of humanity (Barnes 1981, 126; see also Ruether 1974, 141). The patriarchs were the first Christians. They represented a universal race of mankind, and their religion has now been proclaimed for all of humanity.

Eusebius argues that Abraham must have intended to found a religion for all of humanity, not only the Jews—an indication that, contrary to the claims of Simon (1986) and Feldman (1993), Eusebius most definitely did not view the Judaism of his day as universalist. The Mosaic law, unlike the universal, primeval religion of the Patriarchs, “was tied to the Jewish race and to the land of Israel” (Barnes 1981, 185). Indeed, it is important to keep in mind that Judaism was commonly viewed in the ancient world as a national/ethnic religion (see PTSDA, Ch. 4): “Judaism was in reality not so much the religion of the mother-country as the religion of the Jewish race; it was a national religion not in a political but in a genealogical sense” (Moore 1927–1930, I, 225). In The Proof of the Gospel,Eusebius (1920) repeatedly contrasts the universalist message of Christianity versus the religion of the “Jewish race.” The new covenant is “not for the Jewish race only” (I.4.7.d) but “summons all men equally to share together the same good things” (I.4.8.c). Barnes (1981, 172) translates another passage from Eusebius to the effect that God had promised that gentiles would “come from the east and west, and that they would become equal to Abraham and those other blessed men because of their equally good way of life. How the descendants and successors of those same men . . . have been deprived of their promised blessings is shown clearly by the sack of their city, the siege of their temple, their scattering among all the races of mankind” (in Barnes 1981, 172). Eusebius thus views the Jews as biological descendants of Abraham who have rejected the universal message of Christianity, which remains open to them if only they would see the light.

The view that the Jews were a biological descent group and not simply believers in a religion appears to have been common during the period and is apparent in the wording of imperial legislation. Isidore of Seville, quoting Jeremiah, wrote that the evil character of Jews could not be changed: “Can the Ethiopian change his color or the lepoard his spots?” (Michael 1994, 115). St. Augustine (1959) has a clear image of Jews as a biological descent group and that prevention of genetic admixture is a critical component of Judaism: “Even after losing their temple, their sacrifice, their priesthood, and their kingdom, they hold on to their name and race in a few ancient rites, lest, mixed indiscriminately with the Gentiles, they perish and lose the testimony of the truth.” Jews could never lose the stigma of having killed Christ, because they were biologically linked to their ancestors: “The evil of the Jews, ‘in their parents, led to death’ ” (Michael 1994, 115).

Similarly, Chrysostom views the Jewish responsibility for killing Christ and their many other vices as being passed to the descendants of the ancient Jews as inherited traits (Ruether 1974, 130; see also Lazar 1991a, 77n; Michael 1994, 114). On the other hand, God, by creating the taboo against marrying relatives, “connected us anew by marriage, uniting together whole families by the single person of the bride, and mingling entire races together” (Homily 34 on 1 Corinthians; in Greer 1986, 138). Pope Galasius I (492–496) also refers to Jews in racial terms (gens) (see Synan 1965, 32, 174n.3). The Theodosian Code refers to the “perversity of this race” (CTh 16.8.24) and in several other places refers to Jews as a race. For Emperor Julian, who was a friend of the Jews and an enemy of Christianity, the Jews’ “ ‘tribal God’ fitted neatly into his system of national gods subordinate to the supreme deity” (Bowder 1978, 111).

Moreover, a consistent thread of Christian theology was to berate the Jews for interpreting the Old Testament literally; i.e., “in a fleshly and bodily sense” (Barnes 1981, 98; see also Boyarin 1993, 6), referring to the Jewish concern with genealogy and the many promises of reproductive success and worldly riches.[98]As indicated in PTSDA (Ch. 8), the Church adopted the exogamous practices of the Roman empire and subsequently extended them to include an ever wider set of spiritual and blood relatives. The Church also idealized celibacy, and as a result Constantine repealed the Augustine laws that promoted marriage and fertility. For Eusebius, Judaism had strong racial/ethnic overtones and erroneously interpreted its sacred writings as mandating reproductive success, control of resources, and emphasizing genetic relatedness. Christianity is the opposite: a universal religion for all humanity, a religion that glorifies spiritual accomplishments and celibacy rather than the evolutionary goals so central to Judaism.[99]This interpretation of Judaism remained a staple of Christian theology in later periods. For example, during the height of papal power and influence in the 13th century, Pope Innocent III accused the Jews of following the Mosaic law, which promised earthly riches and reproductive success: “Such are the carnal Jews, who seek only what sense perceives, who delight in the corporeal senses alone” (in Synan 1965, 88). Innocent interpreted Christianity as an attempt to unite Jews and gentiles so that “the enclosures that formerly separated the pagans with their idolatries from the Hebrews with their ceremonies have now been broken down” (Synan 1965, 88).

Indeed, such a conceptualization of Judaism was hardly foreign to rabbinical thought. As Boyarin (1993, 231) points out and as I have attempted to document extensively (see PTSDA, Ch. 4), the ethnic, genealogical component of Judaism as well as its emphasis on control of resources and reproductive success were not only very clearly articulated in rabbinical thought but were also reflected in the actual behavior of Jews throughout the period.

This Christian anti-Semitic ideology was accompanied by an increase in anti-Jewish actions sanctioned and even encouraged by the Church. There was also a major concern with heterodoxy during the period, resulting in persecution of pagan religions and Christian heretics. Such behaviors would be expected given the characterization of the Church as intent on producing a collectivistic, universalistic, and homogeneous society. Fanatical monks “stirred up mobs of Christians to pillage synagogues, cemeteries, and other property, seize or burn Jewish religious buildings, and start riots in the Jewish quarter” (Ruether 1974, 192). Bishops were instrumental in large-scale forced baptisms and expulsions of Jews from Alexandria and Antioch in the fifth century, and eventually the Jewish community in the Eastern Empire “sank into ignominy and looked to the Persian and then the Moslem empire for deliverance” (Ruether 1974, 194).

Christians were able to destroy synagogues with virtual impunity and with the tacit or open approval of the Church. There are several episodes indicating that the Church pressured the government to forgive anti-Semitic acts, the most famous being an incident in 388 in which St. Ambrose succeeded in getting Emperor Theodosius to rescind an order for a bishop to rebuild a synagogue destroyed by anti-Jewish action. Gradually imperial legislation made penalties for the destruction of synagogues weaker and weaker, so that eventually restitution was not necessary. Finally, by 423, building new synagogues and even repair of old synagogues were prohibited.

Constantine also “translated Christian prejudice against Jews into legal disabilities” (Barnes 1981, 252; see also Bachrach 1984; Cohen 1976; Feldman 1993; Jones 1964, 948ff; Pakter 1992). The legal disabilities at first reflected traditional Roman policies toward the Jews expressed now in much more negative language. As we have seen, this relative moderation of imperial legislation quite possibly reflected the great power and wealth of the Jewish community during the 4th and 5th centuries. As indicated above, there were prohibitions on owning Christian slaves and seeking or accepting converts to Judaism. Jews who attempted to prevent conversions from Judaism to Christianity were to be burned alive. The prohibition on owning Christian slaves was repeatedly enacted in later times, and later laws discouraged social contact and prohibited intermarriage. Jews were barred from the legal profession and government service, and they were prohibited from making accusations against Christians or even testifying against them in civil or criminal legal proceedings. The official Jewish government in exile (the Patriarchate) was abolished in the early 5th century, and Jews were subjected to special taxes. Synagogue dues were confiscated by the government (Jones 1964, 947). Wilken (1971, 27) notes that the Theodosian Code also regulated economic relationships between Jews and gentiles, including the price of Jewish goods—another indication that economic issues were lurking in the background of group conflict. “What impresses the reader is the sheer volume of legislation from the late fourth and early fifth century touching on Jewish matters” (Wilken 1971, 27).

Nevertheless, despite these official government acts, there is evidence that the government was often reluctant to pursue these anti-Semitic restrictions and did so only in the face of ecclesiastical and popular pressure (Jones 1964, 948; see also Bachrach 1985, 421; Cohen 1991, 87). Simon (1986, 227) notes that the Church was active and influential in changing imperial legislation regarding the Jews, and the wording of the laws often betrays extreme hostility to the Jews. It was during this period that the Church developed the ideology that it was superior to the emperors (Schimmelpfennig 1992, 261)—clearly a necessary condition if the Church was to be an instrument of anti-Semitism rather than having only a spiritual function.[100]St. Ambrose, who in 388 prevailed on Emperor Theodosius to rescind an order to a bishop to rebuild a synagogue destroyed by anti-Jewish actions, appears to have originated the idea that the emperor should be subservient to the Church rather than the reverse (see Ullman 1970, 13). In order to be effective in achieving its political goals, an anti-Semitic movement must control the government. This doctrine became elaborated in later periods, with the eventual result that the Church became “the most influential and important governmental institution [of Europe] during the medieval period” (Ullman 1970, 1). Moreover, the Jews themselves were quite aware of the role of the Church as an instrument of anti-Semitism. When the Persians invaded the Eastern Empire, Jews burned Churches and threatened Christians with massacre if they did not renounce their faith (Jones 1964, 950).

As with the official Muslim position, Jews were allowed to exist within Christian societies, but, as a condemned people, their life was to be miserable. With this type of ideology it is easy to see that Christian religious ideology would be radically inconsistent with Jewish wealth, political power, and reproductive success, as was the Muslim ideology that Jews must remain in a humiliated and subservient status (Braude & Lewis 1982, 7). The suggestion here is that this was the intention from the beginning.

Most of the restrictions enacted against the Jews until the French Revolution were initiated in the period from Eusebius to Justinian (early 4th–6th centuries), indicating that this was a watershed period in Jewish-gentile relationships in Europe, and also indicating the centrality of the Church as an institution of Western anti-Semitism: “A millennium before the first compulsory ghettos appeared in 1550, canon and Roman law began to exclude Jews from Christian society economically, socially, and juridically” (Pakter 1992, 727; see also Ruether 1964, 183).

These developments indicate that walls of separation, formerly established and maintained exclusively by Jews, had now been erected on both sides of the divide, and they suggest that by the 4th century Jews and gentiles in the Roman Empire had entered into a new era in which group conflict had escalated. As Simon (1986, 223) notes, Christianity “strengthened the barriers that Jewish religious observances had already erected between Israel and the outside world.”

Finally, it is worth thinking about Christianity as an evolutionary ideology. The writings of Eusebius and other Christian theorists of the period essentially contrast Christianity with Judaism, the latter conceptualized as an ethnocentric group genealogically linked to the patriarchs and interested in material and reproductive success in the contemporary world. I suppose that the reason for this set of contrasts was that the Empire had become a polyglot, ethnically diverse “chaos of peoples,” to use Houston Stewart Chamberlain’s phrase (see Chapter 5). As a result the group strategy in opposition to Judaism necessarily de-emphasized ethnicity (genealogical descent) as a basis for ingroup identification. The world became divided into Jews and non-Jews, the latter group with no ethnic commonality but nevertheless with a strong sense of ingroup identification as a Christian.

The result was that ethnicity had no official place in Christian religious ideology, and this in turn had a number of important consequences in later centuries. On the one hand, there is no question that Christianity was able to serve as a viable anti-Semitic ideology in other historical eras, notably the Middle Ages. On the other hand, Christianity throughout its history has retained a strong sense that its mission is the conversion of all of humanity, and this can lead to compromising the ethnic interests of Christians. In Chapter 7, I discuss how the Converso theorists during the Spanish Inquisition argued on the basis of official Christian religious ideology that Christians should ignore the continuation of the Conversos as an unassimilated ethnic group within Spanish society and focus instead on their conformity (at least on the surface) to a common Christian religion. In the contemporary United States, Christian religious groups intent on converting all humans have at times favored the immigration of all groups, independent of ethnicity.

Late Roman Christianity therefore is characterized not only by traits that are mirror images of Judaism (i.e., its collectivist group structure and its deep sense of ingroups and outgroups); it is also characterized by traits that are the exact opposite of Judaism (i.e., universalism and a tendency to de-emphasize ethnicity and material and reproductive success). The tendency toward universalism and the de-emphasis on ethnicity as the basis of group identification can also be seen in Spanish Christianity. In Chapter 4, I emphasize the point that during the period of the Inquisition, Christianity co-occurred with a racialist ideology of blood purity. Nevertheless, this racialist ideology did not prevent the Spanish from attempting to genetically assimilate the New Christians; nor did it prevent them from converting the native peoples of Spanish America to Catholicism and eventually, via intermarriage, producing a mestizo culture in which ethnic divisions were considerably attenuated. However, we shall see that with the rise of the National Socialist movement in Germany, the universalist themes of Western Christianity were completely overthrown in favor of a full-blown racialist ideology of the ingroup. In Chapter 5 I will argue that National Socialism is a true mirror-image of Judaism. Not surprisingly it was also the most dangerous enemy that Judaism has confronted in its entire history.

Although the collectivist social structure developed by late-Roman Christian civilization was indeed a major departure from classical Roman civilization, the Church preserved several fundamental features of classical Roman civilization of critical importance to an evolutionist: socially imposed monogamy, exogamy, and the ideals of universalism and assimilationism (see Chapter 5, pp. 165–167, and PTSDA, Ch. 8; MacDonald 1990, 1995b). Socially imposed monogamy is especially important because it preserved the fundamentally egalitarian nature of Western social controls on reproductive behavior. Thus the development of a hierarchical, authoritarian institution at the center of Christian society did not result in the reproductive exploitation characteristic of Eastern and Middle Eastern societies, including the society depicted in the Tanakh.

Finally, the official status of Jews in Christian theology—that Jews should be tolerated in a subservient, powerless role because of their usefulness as testimony to the truth of Christianity—sometimes resulted in ecclesiastical pressure on governments not to eradicate the Jews completely or to attempt forced conversions (e.g., Bowman 1985, 9). Indeed, this official theological status of Judaism may be the single most important reason for the survival of Judaism in the West (e.g., Neusner 1987, 146). Just as Jewish leaders often welcome low-level anti-Semitism because it tends to result in increased group solidarity (see Chapter 4 and PTSDA, Ch. 7), the spread of the Church may have benefited by the continued presence of Jews as an object of popular hatred, “the perfect foil for teaching Christianity to the masses” (Bowman 1985, 10). The Church may therefore have had a very real institutional interest in maintaining a relatively weak and powerless minority of Jews.

Chapter 4 • Reactive Anti-Semitism in the Medieval Period • 8,100 Words

It seems to me, Jew, that I . . . dare not declare that you are human lest perchance I lie, because I recognize that reason, that which distinguishes human beings from . . . beasts, is extinct in you or in any case buried. . . . Truly, why are you not called brute animals? Why not beasts? Why not beasts of burden? . . . The ass hears but does not understand; the Jew hears but does not understand. (Peter the Venerable, 12th-century Abbot of Cluny; in Schwietzer 1994, 136)

The anti-Semitic overtones of Western Christianity continued in later centuries. Nevertheless, I am not implying that anti-Semitism continued to be an essential feature of Christianity during later periods. The forces that resulted in the institutionalization of Christianity as an anti-Semitic movement in the 4th and 5th centuries need not have had so prominent a role, or indeed any role at all, in later periods when the power of the Christian Church contracted and expanded.

After a lull following the collapse of the Western Empire, medieval Christian anti-Semitism experienced a major revival in the 12th and especially the 13th centuries (Cohen 1994, 144). Throughout the medieval period, the Church “remained effective guardians of the principle that the Jews must be kept in a position of servitude” (Parkes 1976, 108). The medieval Church often worked vigorously to exclude Jews from economic and political influence and to prevent social intercourse between Christians and Jews. The Church was also instrumental in the expulsions of Jews from England, France, and Spain (see below and PTSDA, Ch. 8). In Germany up until the 19th century, Jews were regularly excluded from Church lands but regularly admitted to secular lands, where they were utilized as a source of income for the feudal lord (Harris 1994, 15). The Church often sided with popular sentiment by combating the repeated tendencies of rulers to favor the Jews for their own ends, especially with regard to Jewish moneylending.

The traditional church policy, originated by St. Augustine, was that Jews should be tolerated in a subservient, powerless role because of their usefulness as testimony to the truth of Christianity. However, Cohen (1982) argues that during this period the traditional Christian ideology of Judaism was replaced by an ideology that present-day Jews were not the same as biblical Jews. Particularly in the 13th century, under the influence of the orders of mendicant friars (Dominicans and Franciscans), the view developed that because the Talmud, and not the Bible, had become the basic Jewish religious text, Jews were no longer to be seen as a fossilized testimony to the truth of Christianity but rather as a heretical departure from biblical religion, with no legitimate role to play in Christian society (Cohen 1982, passim; Cohen 1994, 144).[101]Chazan (1989, 170ff) argues that there is no basic change from the Augustinian doctrine of Christian toleration of Jews in a subservient status. However, Chazan agrees with the idea that the 13th century marked a major shift toward “aggressively negative” (p. 180) polemics aimed at converting the Jews and stigmatizing the Jewish religion, and he agrees that the Church played a prominent role in the deterioration of the status of the Jews during the period. Only these latter points are central to my discussion. Just as during Chrysostom’s time, when there was a shift from viewing Jews as harmless practitioners of the occult etc ., to viewing them as evil incarnate and killers of Christ, there was now a shift to a new ideology in which Jews were portrayed in a more malevolent light.

This ideological shift coincided with an active campaign against Judaism. “The friars encroached upon the actual practice of Jewish life, forcibly entering synagogues and subjecting Jews to offensive harangues, participation in debates whose outcomes were predetermined, and the violence of the mob. The intent of the friars was obvious: to eliminate the Jewish presence in Christendom—both by inducing the Jews to convert and by destroying all remnants of Judaism even after no Jews remained” (Cohen 1982, 97). A contemporary Jewish writer stated that the Franciscans and Dominicans “are everywhere oppressing Israel. . . . [T]hey are more wretched than all mankind” (in Cohen 1982, 13).

It was a period when Christians raised walls of separatism formerly erected only by Jews. Laws mandating the wearing of distinctive Jewish clothing were originally enacted by the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215. Interestingly, the principle and often-reiterated reason given for these regulations was to prevent sexual contact between Christians and Jews [see Grayzel 1933, 62]). “Few initiatives were so avidly welcomed by secular rulers and provincial councils outside of Italy as this canon. The Jewish badge was imitated at ‘Populist’ provincial councils throughout Europe with unrivaled enthusiasm” (Pakter 1992, 293). Although they were only sporadically enforced, these laws persisted in Italy from the medieval to the early modern period (Davidson (1987). In the late 16th century in Rome, Jews were prohibited from having sex with Christian prostitutes on penalty of ten years in the galleys, and Jews were prohibited from hiring Christian servants. The possibility of intermarriage was apparently not an issue—the Christians were “disturbed by the thought of any sexual union between Christians and Jews” (Davidson 1987, 33). These laws reflect a deep concern with Jewish dominance over Christian females.

There is evidence that resource competition exacerbated the anti-Semitism of the period. Jews were expanding demographically in Western Europe during the 11th–13th centuries, with the rate of increase being particularly high during the 12th century (Baron 1965, 148; Chazan 1987, 201; Cohen 1982, 15). This was also the period when Jewish economic and cultural prosperity in medieval Europe was at its peak (Cohen 1982, 15).

The rise of the Jews eventually brought them into a clash with Christians, especially in the 13th century (Gilchrist 1969, 71–72). The friars, who spearheaded the 13th-century Christian reform movement as well as the anti-Semitism of the period, came mainly from the newly created urban middle and upper-middle classes (Lawrence 1994). These classes viewed the Jews as a competitive threat: “By the thirteenth century, the Jews of Europe were engaged almost exclusively in commercial activities, especially the lending of money; their success and influence in the marketplace set them among the chief competitors of the new Christian bourgeoisie” (Cohen 1982, 43).

Resource competition appears to have been involved, at least to some extent, in the anti-Semitic pogroms of 1096 in Germany. Chazan (1987, 17) notes that Jewish society in Northern Europe underwent a demographic and economic upsurge during this period, in concert with increasing urbanization and economic growth in the gentile society. The Jewish specialization in trade and commerce resulted in hostility among the Christian burghers; and in the disorder and religious fervor stimulated by the First Crusade, many burghers participated in the destruction of Jewish communities. Some Jewish communities were enclosed in walls to protect them from the urban mob, and contemporary Jewish writers refer to the hostility of many (but not all) burghers.

The Church was at the apogee of its power over secular affairs during the 13th century, and an important aspect of the economic policy of the Church was to remove Jews from the economic life of Christendom. “It was not sheer accident” (Cohen 1982, 41) that both the Dominicans and the Franciscans developed a Christian theology of commerce and trade or that St. Francis was often described as the patron saint of merchants.[102]This suggests that the rise of gentile middle classes in Western Europe was facilitated by the exclusion of Jews by the medieval Church as an exclusionary, collectivist entity (see also PTSDA, Ch. 8). Houston Stewart Chamberlain apparently held a similar view. When asked to propose a Jewish policy for Romania, Chamberlain noted that the exclusion of Jews from England from 1290 to 1657 had, according to Field’s (1981, 222n) paraphrase, “enabled a strong, vigorous British race to grow and sustain itself.” Jordan (1989, 27) describes the efforts of the Church to remove Jews from the economic life of France in the 12th through the 14th centuries as an aspect of its program to develop a corporate Christian economic community by pushing Jews out of occupations and professions they formerly engaged in. Similarly, in England the Christianization of national life excluded Jews from public administration, trade, and agriculture (Rabinowitz 1938, 37). Christian merchants also were instrumental in the expulsion of the Jews from France and England as a means of removing a source of competition (Jordan 1989, 182).

King Louis IX of France (Saint Louis), who lived like a monk though one of the wealthiest and most powerful men in Europe, was a particularly zealous warrior in carrying out the Church’s economic and political programs. Louis attempted to develop a corporate, hegemonic Christian entity in which social divisions within the Christian population were minimized in the interests of group harmony. Consistent with this group-oriented perspective, Louis appears to have been genuinely concerned about the effect of Jewish moneylending on society as a whole, rather than its possible benefit to the crown—a major departure from the many ruling elites throughout history who have utilized Jews as a means of extracting resources from their subjects. An ordinance of 1254 prohibited Jews from engaging in moneylending at interest and encouraged them to live by manual labor or trade. Louis also ordered that interest payments be confiscated, and he took similar action against Christian moneylenders (see Richard 1992, 162). Although there is no question that Louis evaluated the Jews negatively as an outgroup (as indicated, e.g., by his views that the Talmud was blasphemous, and by his “habitual reference to the Jews’ ‘poison’ and ‘filth’ ” [Schweitzer 1994, 150]), Louis was clearly most concerned about Jewish behavior perceived as exploitative rather than simply excluding Jews altogether because of their outgroup status. A contemporary biographer of Louis, William of Chartres, quotes him as determined “that [the Jews] may not oppress Christians through usury and that they not be permitted, under the shelter of my protection, to engage in such pursuits and to infect my land with their poison” (in Chazan 1973, 103). Louis therefore viewed the prevention of Jewish economic relations with Christians not as a political or economic problem but as a moral and religious obligation. Since the Jews were present in France at his discretion, it was his responsibility to prevent the Jews from exploiting his Christian subjects. Edward I of England, who expelled the Jews in 1290, appears to have held similar views on royal responsibility for the well-being of his subjects (Stow 1992, 228–229).

There was also great resolve during the period that Jews not dominate Christians in any way. Pope Innocent III, who summoned the Fourth Lateran Council and was perhaps the most powerful pope in history, exhibited a strong concern over Jewish economic domination, as indicated by his condemnation of Jewish usury and his exhortations to secular rulers not to allow Jews to economically exploit Christians. Constitution 67 of the Fourth Lateran Council (1215) expresses the idea of Christian-group economic interests vis-à-vis Jews:

The more Christians are restrained from the practice of usury, the more are they oppressed in this manner by the treachery of the Jews, so that in a short time they exhaust the treasures of the Christians. Wishing, therefore, in this matter to protect the Christians against cruel oppression by the Jews, we ordain in this decree that if in future, under any pretext, Jews extort from Christians oppressive and excessive interest, the society of Christians shall be denied them until they have made suitable satisfaction for their excesses. . . . We command the princes not to be hostile to the Christians on this account, but rather to try to stop the Jews from practising such excesses. Lastly, we decree that the Jews be compelled by the same penalty to compensate churches for the tithes and offerings owing to them, which the Christians were accustomed to supply from their houses and other properties before they fell into the hands of the Jews under some title or other. (In Gilchrist 1969, 182–183)

Innocent was also concerned with Jewish sexual domination over Christian females, as shown by his condemning the practice of Jews employing Christian wet nurses because of “abuses too shameful to specify” (in Synan 1965, 94). Innocent ordered that synagogues not be built higher than churches and that Jewish cantors not sing in such a way that they could be heard in a nearby church. He condemned one-way sales, in which Jews kept products they valued (e.g., ritually produced wine or ritually slaughtered meat) and sold the residue to Christians while refusing to purchase such items from Christians (Synan 1965, 96). Particularly loathsome to Innocent was the possibility that wine rejected by Jews as not meeting their ritual requirements would be used in Christian religious ceremonies.

Medieval Christian anti-Semitism was a concomitant of the highly collectivist and exclusionary medieval Christian society—another example of Western collectivism with powerful overtones of anti-Semitism. Thirteenth-century Western Christianity was, ideally at least, a societas christiana: “All of society came to be viewed as an organic unity, whose raison d’être consisted of striving for and ultimately realizing the perfect unity of Christ on earth.” (Cohen 1982, 248). Christianity had become “a single social organism” (Lawrence 1992, 157)—unified under the pope, substantially independent of secular power, and with a high level of religious enthusiasm and commitment at all levels of society. The group, not the individual was paramount, and every aspect of behavior was evaluated according to its effect on the harmonious organic whole. Indeed, Cohen (1982, 264) points out that many of the friars who developed the new, negatively-toned theological conceptualization of Judaism also had well-developed anti-individualist views, in which people were to strive for the benefit of the entire society. Also, as discussed in Chapter 5, this collectivist trend was accompanied by high levels of reproductive altruism by the leaders of the movement, including especially the mendicant friars, who, despite their origins among the affluent classes, adopted a monastic lifestyle of asceticism and celibacy.

The result was that prior to the expulsions, medieval Western societies were characterized by two mirror-image collectivist groups that were often, perhaps inevitably, in conflict. Chazan (1987, 193) notes that the Jewish martyrs of 1096 had a “counter-crusade mentality” that was “a mirror image of many of the themes of crusading martyrdom: the sense of cosmic confrontation, the conviction of the absolute validity of one’s own religious heritage, the emphasis on profound self-sacrifice, the certainty of eternal reward for the commitment of the martyrs, the unshakable belief in the ultimate victory and vindication of one’s own community and its religious vision.”

The extent to which medieval Western collectivism was a consequence of group conflict with Jews remains an open question. There were certainly other factors involved, including political processes internal to the Church. The religious fervor ignited by the Crusades, beginning at the end of the 11th century, was directed at conquering Jerusalem for Christianity; in this case the Muslims provided the role of a hated outgroup that functioned to rally Christian group commitment. Indeed, during the German pogroms of 1096 the hatred toward the infidel Muslims spilled over to hatred for Jews, since a common rationale for the pogrom among the Crusaders was as follows, in the words of a Jewish source:

There arose . . . that awful nation . . . French and Germans, and set their hearts on going to the Holy City. To seek the grave of their disgrace[d one] and to expel the Ishmaelites . . . They put a foul sign on their clothing, a woof and weave . . . until they were like a throng of locusts, men, women, and children. When they passed the cities where Jews dwelled, they said: Behold, we are going far away, to take our vengeance on the Ishmaelites. The Jews live among us, whose fathers unwarrantedly slew and hanged him on the cross. First, we will take our vengeance on them, and blot them out. The memory of Israel will no longer exist. Otherwise, let them be like us and confess the son of treachery. (In Stow 1992, 102–103)

Such passages are an excellent illustration of the powerful anti-Semitic potential of Christian ideology. The point here is not to propose that conflict with Jews caused medieval corporate Catholicism or even to propose that social identity processes combined with Christian ideology are a sufficient explanation of the actions of the Crusaders. Rather, the proposal is only that the development of medieval corporate Catholicism contributed greatly to the anti-Semitism of the period, because the intense level of group commitment and group identification among Christians inevitably resulted in the Jews being perceived as a negatively evaluated outgroup. Social identity processes resulting in negative perceptions of Jews as an outgroup were also undoubtedly heightened by resource competition between Jews and the emerging Christian middle classes combined with an increase in the Jewish population.

Chazan (1987, 213) makes the fascinating point that the intensity of Jewish commitment in the face of the hostility of the Crusaders and burghers in 1096 may have provoked disgust and horror among the Christians as well as contributed to their belief that Jews had a great deal of animosity toward Christianity. Jewish behavior in this instance was truly remarkable. Jews readily accepted death and even slaughtered each other rather than accept conversion to Christianity (see p. 20).[103]In an incident indicating the importance of genetic ancestry among this group of Ashkenazic Jews, one Jacob ben Sullam, the offspring of a Jewish father and a gentile mother, is described as committing suicide along with others during the disturbances. According to a contemporary Jewish chronicler, Jacob’s last words were, “All the days my life till now, you have despised me. Now I shall slaughter myself” (in Chazan 1987, 241). The implication is that his low status was the result of his genetic ancestry, another indication of the importance of racial purity among historical Jewish groups. The Christian commentator Albert of Aix emphasized the barbarity of Jewish behavior undertaken to avoid conversion, and Chazan comments that “Jewish rejection of Christianity [as seen by this behavior] is seen as a sentiment, which, by its intensity, leads to the shattering of normal moral and ethical constraints. One might easily hypothesize a connection between the 1096 reality of Jewish parents willing to take the lives of their own children rather than submit to conversion and the subsequent image of Jews capable of taking the lives of Christian youngsters out of implacable hostility to the Christian faith” (p. 213)—i.e., the blood libel that was such a common accusation during the Middle Ages. Such individuals are obviously completely beyond all possibility of assimilation, whether as a result of rational attempts at persuasion, positive inducements such as financial rewards, or the threat of torture and death.

The intensity of ingroup commitment and perceived hostility toward the outgroup among Jews is matched by a mirror-image level of ingroup commitment and outgroup hostility among the Christians. Jewish religious fanaticism in medieval Germany can also be seen in the exclusivist, hyper-collectivist, and hyper-observant behavior of the Jewish Pietists (Hasidim Ashkenaz) beginning in the late 12th century, and in the eventual incorporation of many of their practices into mainstream Ashkenazic Judaism (see Marcus 1981). Indeed, Chazan (1989, 181) suggests that the obstinacy of the Jews during the 13th century in the face of intensive Christian efforts to convert them—including highly sophisticated intellectual attempts ranging over the entire corpus of Christian and Jewish religious writings, scholastic philosophical treatises, public disputations with learned Jews, and forced sermonizing—all contributed to a deepening of negative perceptions of Jews.

Unlike in late Roman Christianity, the result of this medieval Christian collectivism was often expulsion—perhaps an implicit recognition that St. Augustine’s concept of a subservient, powerless Judaism living within the Christian world had been a failure, especially so in an era when Western Europe was beginning to develop an urban-centered mercantile and capitalist economy (see Gilchrist 1969) that was ideally suited to Judaism as a group strategy. Indeed, one might note that a policy of Jewish subservience could not be made to work without continually monitoring Jewish economic and political activity and developing and enforcing laws or other social practices to ensure that Jews remained subservient. Such a policy of Jewish/gentile coexistence in a dominant-subordinate relationship, in which the economic and reproductive status of the subordinate Jewish group is closely regulated, has in fact been pursued successfully over long periods of time in historical societies, particularly in the Moslem world (see Chapter 2). However, this type of policy conflicts radically with the medieval conception of a unified corporate Christian state and is bound to engender chronic ethnic conflict in any society.

Reactive Racism in the Period of the Iberian Inquisitions • 5,000 Words

I here develop the view that the Spanish Inquisition was fundamentally an authoritarian, collectivist, and exclusionary movement that resulted from resource and reproductive competition with Jews, and particularly crypto-Jews posing as Christians. In Spain, after the forced conversions of 1391 and a further spate of conversions early in the 15th century, the converts and their descendants (termed New Christians, Conversos, or Marranos) quickly became a dominant force in the areas of law, finance, diplomacy, all levels of public administration, and a wide range of economic activity (see PTSDA, Ch. 5). Wealthy Conversos purchased and endowed ecclesiastical benefices for their children, with the result that many prelates were of Jewish descent. High-level New Christian officeholders (such as Fernán Díaz, secretary to King Juan II) appointed New Christians at lower levels of the government bureaucracy (Netanyahu 1995, 962). The question of the exact group status of these New Christians continues to be controversial, but my view is that they must be considered a historical Jewish group (see Chapters 6 and 7).

During the 15th century the New Christians were utilized by the ruling gentile elite in a very traditional manner, as a highly competent intermediary group between themselves and the great mass of gentile Christians. Alvaro de Luna, Juan II’s chief minister, advanced the fortunes of both Jews and New Christians as a force loyal to the monarchy in its struggles with the nobility and in preference to the gentile urban aristocracy (Netanyahu 1995, 217ff). Little had changed except surface religion: “Many of these New Christians retained the economic roles they had filled as Jews. Petty merchants, artisans, tax farmers, they remained in the same communities, practiced endogamy, and lived in the same houses and settings as had the Jews” (Freund & Ruiz 1994, 177). However, the New Christians were even more valuable than Jews, because they were, at least nominally, Christians, so that their activities, such as tax farming, assumed a sort of theoretical legitimacy that was lacking when Jews performed these functions (Netanyahu 1995, 217ff).

Baroja (1966, 101) notes that “as a counteragent to this penetration, sodalities, schools, convents, etc. began to be founded, from which the descendants of condemned apostates, or even ‘new Christians’ without further qualification, were excluded.” In other words, the response of the Spaniards was to adopt a group strategy or series of group strategies by creating a sort of parallel universe of institutions from which Jews would be excluded. The Old Christians established a wide range of professional societies, guilds, religious and military orders, and cathedrals whose membership qualifications involved proof of limpieza de sangre (purity of blood). A major function of the Inquisition was to enforce the limpieza statutes and to scrutinize the genetic ancestry of the individuals brought within its purview.

Concern with limpieza developed in mid-15th-century Spain coincident with the development of crypto-Judaism. Following the suppression by the Church of a law directed at preventing the New Christians from holding office, there was a growth of brotherhoods that rigorously excluded the New Christians and engaged in political activity directed against them. Eventually, in the period of the Inquisition, a variety of legal disabilities were directed at the New Christians and their biological descendants.[104]Beinart (1981, 28) reports that Isabella had no interest in accumulating wealth as a result of the Inquisition and even used some of the confiscations to provide dowries for the children whose parents had been victims of the Inquisition. This suggests less concern with biological relatedness as a criterion of persecution early in the Inquisition. Gradually, by the mid-16th century “the avenues of distinction, and even of livelihood, in public life and in the Church, were rapidly closing to all who bore the fatal mancha or stain” (Lea 1906–1907, II, 290). The need for such restrictions was typically justified on the basis that the New Christians formed factions within institutions with the intention of controlling them and ultimately reintroducing Judaism. There was often the implication that Jews had superior intelligence and ability. The perception that Jews posing as New Christians were continuing to engage in a group strategy was thus met with a mirror-image exclusionary group strategy on the part of the Old Christians.

The ensuing years saw an increase in “overt racialism in Spanish society” (Haliczer 1987) in which limpieza, rather than surface religion, became the focus of anti-Semitic actions.[105]This overt racialism of the Inquisition fits well with Netanyahu’s (1966) thesis that the purpose of the Inquisition was “not to eradicate a Jewish heresy from the midst of the Marrano group, but to eradicate the Marrano group from the midst of the Spanish people” (p. 4; italics in text). Thus, although Netanyahu’s interpretation that most New Christians were not really Jews at heart is, in my view, apologetic (see Appendix to Chapter 7), his thesis is certainly consistent with the importance of ethnicity in assessing the aims of the Inquisition. Although there was some variety in the number of generations without Jewish ancestry required to prove limpieza, the laws regulating access to the better colleges, the Church, and the military prohibited any Jewish ancestry, however remote (Kamen 1985). Purity of blood was a mark of honor at least until the 19th century, and throughout this period and sometimes longer the churches continually restored or replaced the sambenitos (i.e., banners displayed in churches that identified those punished by the Inquisition) and the lists of those punished by the Inquisition (Baroja 1966, 104). The limpieza laws were repealed completely only in the 1860s.

It is of some interest that the Inquisition’s concern with limpieza was a reaction to prior Jewish concerns with racial purity. Castro (1954, 1971; see also PTSDA, Ch. 4) finds that Jewish racialism long preceded the Spanish concern for limpieza characteristic of the Inquisition period; a similar concern with purity of blood would not have occurred among the Christians during the 13th or 14th centuries. “The people who really felt the scruple of purity of blood were the Spanish Jews” (Castro 1954, 525). “The historical reality becomes intelligible to us only when seen to be possessed of both extremes: the exclusivism of Catholic Spain was a reply to the hermeticism of the aljamas [Jewish communities]. . . . [P]urity of blood was the answer of a society animated by anti-Jewish fury to the racial hermeticism of the Jew” (p. 531).[106]Netanyahu’s (1979–1980) arguments against Castro’s view are discussed in the Appendix to Chapter 7. The concern with lineage on the part of the Inquisition was thus a mirror image of previously existing Jewish concerns.

Marriages of Jews into the Christian nobility via dowry payments had occurred without comment up to the end of the 14th century, and indeed the mother of Ferdinand the Catholic was of Jewish ancestry. However, in the context of intensified group conflict beginning with the forced conversions in the late 14th century and of the persistence in the 15th century of an endogamous group of New Christians, many of whom were crypto-Jews, intermarriage became a highly volatile issue.

Expressions of Jewish racial pride were common during the 15th century. The New Christians openly acknowledged their ancestry and commonly asserted that their ancestry was superior to that of gentiles (Faur 1992, 72). For example, the New Christian Bishop of Burgos wrote a book entitled The Origin and Nobility of His Lineage, in which he declared, “Do not think you can insult me by calling my forefathers Jews. They are, to be sure, and I am glad that it is so; for if great age is nobility, who can go back so far?” (in Castro 1971, 73). These expressions of racial pride were greeted with hostility by gentiles: Castro (1971, 71) quotes the 15th-century chronicler Andrés Bernáldez, “a passionate foe of the Jewish people,” as saying that “they had the presumption of arrogance; [they thought] that in all the world there were no people who were better, or more prudent, or shrewder, or more distinguished than they because they were of the lineage and condition of Israel.”

This negative reaction to Jewish racialism eventuated in an intense concern on the part of the Inquisition regarding the group membership and genetic ancestry of individuals within its purview. I suggest that the concern with genealogy exhibited by the Inquisition was motivated by two reasons. First, there is excellent evidence for the existence of a group of New Christians, many of them crypto-Jews, who whatever their subjective religious beliefs continued to exist as a cohesive, endogamous group within Iberian society well over two hundred years after the onset of the Inquisition (see Chapters 6 and 7). Since this group was engaging in crypsis by mimicking the religion of the host society, the most reliable cue that an individual had maintained membership in this strategizing group was Jewish genetic ancestry.

Secondly, given the intensification of group conflict, there was a raising of the walls of separation between the groups. While previously the Jews had erected and rigorously maintained the walls of separation, the intensification of group conflict resulted in these walls being erected by gentiles as well. As happened in the late Roman Empire and again in the National Socialist period in Germany, fear of racial admixture developed on both sides of the ethnic divide. Also, as in the National Socialist period, there developed sanctions not only on the endogamous group of “racially pure” New Christians but also with regard to anyone with Jewish ancestry, however remote. As indicated in the following, this extension to all families with Jewish ancestry favored the lower classes of Iberian society and was actively advocated by these classes, since Jewish-gentile intermarriage occurred exclusively among the nobility.

The limpieza laws materially benefited the lower social classes of Spanish society, because these individuals were assumed to be racially pure. Because of the success of the New Christians in marrying into the nobility, “no one of the upper or middle class, except in the remote mountainous districts of the North and East, could feel secure that investigation might not reveal some unfortunate mesalliance of a distant ancestor” (Lea 1906–1907, II, 299). In the event, the lower nobility and gentlemen suffered the most from these restrictions, the upper nobility being too powerful and the ancestry of the peasants too obscure to render them subject to these restrictions.

Interestingly, individuals who could prove that they had converted to Christianity before the forced conversions of 1391 were considered Old Christians (Lea 1906–1907, II, 298). This indicates that the limpieza laws were the result of the perceived failure of the forced conversions of 1391 to produce genetic assimilation and a decline in group based conflict, as indeed they had failed.

This is an important point about the entire Inquisition. The Inquisition was fundamentally a response to failed attempts to force genetic and group assimilation. The real crime in the eyes of the Iberians was that the Jews who had converted after 1391 were racialists in disguise, and this was the case even if they sincerely believed in Christianity while nevertheless continuing to marry endogamously and to engage in political and economic cooperation within the group. Those who had voluntarily assimilated prior to 1391 were not targets of the Inquisition, since such individuals were implicitly viewed as being free from the crime of racialism. It was not the extent of Jewish ancestry that was a crime, but the intentional involvement in a group evolutionary strategy. In this sense, the Inquisition was profoundly non-racist. Rather, it was concerned with punishing racialism.

Lea (1906–1907, I, 111, 126) notes that there was a strong religious (not racial) aspect to the original anti-Jewish uprisings of 1391 in Spain in that the Jews were always given the opportunity to convert and there were no social or economic barriers imposed on those who converted, until open conflict between Old and New Christians emerged in 1449 concomitantly with accusations that the latter were insincere in their religious beliefs. Following the forced conversions, intermarriage was viewed by many as the best means of preserving the faith (viz. the decree of Basle; see Lea 1906–1907 I, 120). However, Beinart (1971a) notes that one of the criticisms of the New Christians by the Old Christians was that they continued to intermarry and did so within the degrees of relatedness prohibited by the Church. For example, Lea (1906–1907, III, 309) provides a case from 18th-century Spain in which a New Christian was accused of marriage to a first cousin “according to the Law of Moses,” and cousin marriages continued to occur commonly among the New Christians of 17th-century Iberia (Boyajian 1983). Uncle-niece marriage also occurred among the Conversos (Roth 1995, 131). Reflecting this perception, a 15th-century satirist stated that the king had promised that “as a Marrano . . . the nobleman will ‘adorn the house of the Torah and adore its image,’ marry only his relatives, and ‘not believe, as they do not believe, that which the holy mother Church believes, holds, and preaches’ ” (Roth 1995, 164). Continuation of Jewish marriage practices was an important aspect of how the Old Christians perceived the Conversos—an overt behavioral sign that the Conversos did not accept other aspects of the faith.

The evidence therefore indicates that the New Christians were perceived by the Old Christians as remaining a genetically unassimilated group within Spanish society whatever their religious beliefs and whether or not these beliefs were sincere. The continuation of the Jewish practice of consanguineous marriage may well have constituted a very salient cue that Jewish racial hermeticism was continuing despite the appearance (or, in some cases, the reality) of religious conformity. Indeed, the continuation of endogamous marriages, family and kinship ties, and within-group patronage among the New Christians resulted in a clear and openly expressed sense of common destiny during the early years of the Inquisition (Beinart 1983, 268; Contraras 1991, 127).

A fascinating aspect of the Inquisition was that it was forced to live up to its own ideology that officially at least the misbehavior of the New Christians was to be sought in deviations from religious orthodoxy. In other words, the Inquisition did not officially enforce exogamy by attempting to prevent New Christians from marrying other New Christians (apart from consanguineous marriages that violated ecclesiastical law). Nor did the Inquisition officially prevent economic and political patronage and cooperation among New Christian families. Rather, it responded to New Christian endogamy and political and economic power—what one might term their continuing “groupness”—by attempting to provide evidence that the New Christians were secretly practicing Judaism. As many apologists of the New Christians have pointed out (see Chapter 7), official Christian ideology was universalist and took no cognizance of racial, ethnic, or national differences. There was no penalty for simply being a New Christian, and in fact many of the courtiers of King Ferdinand (who established the Inquisition) were New Christians. Even in the middle of the 16th century, seventy years after the beginnings of the Inquisition, Conversos, while excluded from high ecclesiastical positions and the top levels of government, still engaged in their traditional occupations (tax farming, commerce, banking, professions of law and medicine, and lower level governmental positions) (Netanyahu 1995, 1066).

The result was that the Inquisition was a rather awkward mechanism of intergroup conflict, since it was forced to confront a group strategy by enforcing laws that were not at all central to the New Christian strategy of remaining an endogamous, economically and politically cooperative group. Charges of religious heterodoxy were often only the surface manifestation of deeper conflicts between groups. Given the rapid upward social mobility of the 16th-century New Christians and their ability to purchase titles of nobility, “only religious reasons were sufficiently convincing to prevent what money made possible and what could not be legally forbidden” (Contraras 1992, 95). The result was that inquisitors, with obviously political, economic, or even sexual motives, attempted to achieve their individual and group goals by coercing confessions and inducing accusations of religious heterodoxy that may well have sometimes been at least partly false.[107]Political scheming to control the Inquisition occurred on both sides. Contraras (1992) describes a case where Conversos who had successfully obliterated their background or at least their current sympathies were able to obtain positions as inquisitors and used their office against Old Christians or to ameliorate the fate of New Christians brought before the Tribunal.

The extent of intermarriage between the New Christians and Old Christians of Spain and Portugal is a difficult historical question. However, the evidence reviewed in the following indicates minimally that a rather large subset of the New Christians continued to marry exclusively among themselves during the entire period of the Inquisition, at least until the power of the New Christians was finally broken in the 18th century, and that even after this period there were small, endogamous groups of crypto-Jews that persisted into the 20th century.

The New Christian group, whatever its religious beliefs, was fundamentally an ethnic entity and was perceived as such by the Iberians. Thus the Portuguese used the term homens da naçao—the “Men of the Nation”—to refer to the Jewish nation living in their midst. “No more eloquent testimony is needed to demonstrate for us that the primary category with which we are dealing is an ethnic one. . . . As the medieval Jewish community represented a ‘national’ unit of a nation in exile, so the converted community is not a mere agglomeration of individuals. It continues in the eyes of the Portuguese to possess a national [i.e., a group] characteristic” (Yerushalmi 1971, 20). Similarly, Netanyahu (1995, 995ff) shows that the New Christians in 15th-century Spain retained the external signs of a group apart and were regarded by themselves and their opponents as a race and as a nation separate from the Old Christians.

The data indicate the existence of at least two groups with Jewish ancestry within Spanish society during the period of the Inquisition: ethnically pure New Christian families who continued to marry endogamously throughout; and Old Christian families with one or very few Jewish ancestors, in which marriage with Jews was facilitated by financial considerations (typically dowry payments). In addition, there may have been a separate endogamous group of families of predominantly Jewish descent who had some ancestry derived from the Old Christian nobility. The evidence described in the following indicates that Jewish concern over purity of blood not only preceded a similar concern among the Iberians but persisted in a large subset of crypto-Jews for centuries despite intense efforts at eradication by the Inquisition. The continued concern of the Inquisition with limpieza thus mirrored rather precisely the continued practice of endogamy among at least a large subset of New Christians.

Regarding intermarriage at the highest levels of society, there is wide agreement that the wealthy New Christians of 15th-century Spain rapidly married into the Spanish nobility (e.g., Lea 1906–1907; Netanyahu 1966; Roth 1974; PTSDA, Ch. 5). Nevertheless, the degree of intermarriage was probably not high from the standpoint of the gene pool of the nobility. Kamen (1965) estimates a total population of Castile and Aragon of nine million in 1482, 1.65 percent of these being either the higher nobility (0.8 percent) or town aristocracy (0.85 percent). Assuming six individuals per family, this suggests a total of about twenty-five thousand such families.[108]Hillgarth (1978) gives a population of Castile in 1528–1536 of under five million, and asserts that the figure of 1.5 million hearths in Castile in 1482 is doubtful. Castro (1954) gives a figure of 108,338 hidalgos in 1541 for Castile and Leon. Even a much lower figure would not affect the conclusion that the percentage of admixture was low. Writing in the mid-15th century, the New Christian author of the Instrucción de la Relator, whose apologetic interest was to emphasize the extent of intermarriage, mentions a total of “over forty” noble families with some New Christian ancestry deriving from eight families with New Christian founders (Round 1969, 295, 314). El Tizón de Nobleza (reprinted in Baroja 1961), written about 1560,shows that there were Jewish ancestors of a great many Spanish nobles, but that these had descended from only a handful of New Christians.[109]The Libro Verde de Aragón, written in 1507, also records very little intermarriage—the predominant message being the extent of endogamy among New Christian families. Moreover, the number of intermarriages is minute from the perspective of the total number of New Christians, estimates of whose numbers range from tens of thousands to six-hundred thousand (Netanyahu 1995, 1095). Consistent with these findings, modern population genetic studies provide no support for the idea that intermarriage had been common: Mourant et al. (1978, 44; see also PTSDA, Ch. 2) conclude that “the blood group data suggest that there was relatively little intermarriage with indigenous Spaniards.” The data therefore do not indicate that intermarriage with Jews accounted for a significant percentage of the total marriages for the nobility, although over time and assuming continued endogamy within this group, a considerable percentage of the nobility may indeed have had a New Christian ancestor.

It appears that the main route to intermarriage was for New Christian women to marry into the Old Christian nobility. When the Portuguese prelates attempted to prevent intermarriage of New Christians with the nobility in 1628, the method suggested was to restrict dowries in intermarriages to a fixed sum (2,000 cruzados) (Lea 1906–1907, III, 277; Baron 1973, 23, 244), indicating that the great majority of intermarriages involved Jewish women marrying into gentile families as a result of dowry payments. There is no similar concern in this law over Old Christian women marrying New Christian men, although this occurred at least on occasion. This pattern of marrying Jewish women into the gentile nobility in return for dowry payments began in the medieval period long before the intensified group conflict of the late 14th and 15th centuries (Castro 1971, 72). Such a policy would result in New Christian stem families maintaining their ethnic purity while the gene pool of the Christian nobility would develop an admixture of Jewish genes. Quite possibly this is what the Zionist racial scientist Elias Auerbach had in mind when he noted in 1907 that in Spain there had been considerable intermarriage of Jews with Christians and Muslims, but that “Jews showed no inclination to abandon their racial isolation” (in Efron 1994, 131). In Auerbach’s view, the Jews of Spain “had the most highly developed sense of ethnic uniqueness and biological destiny of all pre-modern Jewish communities” (in Efron 1994, 131). Auerbach noted that “in the course of their entire racial history it has been the Jews themselves and not the other peoples who have promoted the strongest resistance to racial mixing” (in Efron 1994, 131).

Indeed, the ethnic purity of stem families could also be maintained if some sons were allowed to marry into the gentile nobility as long as the principal heir remained ethnically Jewish and continued to marry endogamously. As indicated below, Andrés Bernáldez commented on the marriage of both New Christian sons and daughters into the Old Christian nobility (Castro 1971, 71). The children of these marriages would not have been considered Jews according to Jewish religious law and would have been lost to the Converso gene pool. Similarly, Yerushalmi (1971, 20n.29) notes that New Christians remained an endogamous group but often had Christian paramours—a practice which again preserves the genetic purity of Jewish stem families while also resulting in a one-way flow of genes from the Jewish to the gentile community. As indicated in Chapter 2 (p. 46), accusations of sexual exploitation of gentile women were a common component of 15th-century anti-Converso sentiment.

The evidence therefore suggests that New Christian stem families retained their ethnic purity while nevertheless penetrating the gene pool of the gentile nobility to a limited extent. There is also evidence that cohesive groups of New Christian families continued to marry exclusively among themselves. “For the most part, they married exclusively among themselves” (Roth 1937, 26; see also Yerushalmi 1971, 20). Round (1969; see also Contraras 1991, 1992) notes the high degree of endogamy among the New Christian office-holding families and the role of these alliances in facilitating professional solidarity and the pursuit of patronage.

Indeed, there is no evidence that intermarriage occurred at all in the middle and lower levels of Iberian society. Castro (1971, 71) quotes the 15th-century anti-Converso chronicler Andrés Bernáldez as saying of the Jews and New Christians that “some mixed with the sons and daughters of Christian knights who were exceedingly wealthy”—the implication being that intermarriage did not occur at the lower levels of society.[110]Guilds segregated along racial lines occurred prior to the Inquisition in Spain, indicating that ethnic segregation at this level of society had remained intact long after the forced conversions of 1391 (Kamen (1965, 33). Also consistent with a general lack of intermarriage among the lower classes of Conversos, Roth (1995, 225) notes that at the beginning of the Inquisition in Castile it was the lower class of Conversos that was most suspected of religious heresy.

Moreover, descent from the non-nobility was considered proof of purity of blood, strongly suggesting that segregation was far more commonly practiced at the lower levels of society. Thus, when it became known that many noble families had some Jewish ancestry, “only membership of non-noble classes provided any guarantee against Jewish descent” (Kamen 1985, 23; see also Longhurst 1964, 46; Roth 1937, 29). When Archbishop Siliceo, who was of humble origin, argued for the establishment of limpieza statutes, “he was obviously claiming for his own class a racial purity which the tainted nobility could not boast” (Kamen 1965, 124). Intermarriage of some New Christians into the nobility did not therefore prevent the existence of an endogamous core of Conversos at the lower levels of society.

Further indication of continued endogamy at the lower levels of society is the existence of charitable societies founded to provide dowries for poor Sephardi women in the early 17th century (Israel 1985, 203; see also Baron 1952, XIII, 100, 124–125, 149–150). These societies made no distinction between those who had lived in Spain or Portugal, where Judaism was forbidden, and those who came from areas where Judaism could be practiced openly. These women had gone abroad to “places of Judaism” in order to contract a Jewish marriage. Shortly after the Expulsion of 1492, Rabbi Simon ben Solomon Duran wrote that “there is an established presumption that none of the anusim [i.e., converts] marry Gentile women, and this is known to be their practice generation after generation. . . . [E]very anus who comes to repent, just as we presume that his father was a Jew so we presume about his mother that she is not a Gentile . . . and even though some of them have been intermingled with Gentiles and take wives of their daughters, only a very few do so” (in Roth 1995, 70; italics in text).

Because of the genetic taint of the nobility, being able to prove one came from peasant stock (“de todas partes de linaje de labradores”) was a social asset, while intelligence and education were liabilities (Silverman 1976, 148). The ingroup created by the purity of blood criterion facilitated the upward mobility of the Old Christians by allowing them to obtain a competitive edge against the ingroup ties of economic cooperation and patronage among the Conversos:

Rich laborers often found themselves displaced by the commercially competitive and financially astute New Christians, who were equally wealthy and supported by strong family and clan ties. Wealth alone, therefore, could not be the deciding factor. Lineage . . . was revived along with concurrent legal and religious stipulations, all notoriously segregationist, and soon became the means of dividing New Christians from rich peasants of Old Christian lineage. (Contraras 1992, 96)

The triumph of the Inquisition was thus fundamentally a triumph of the lower orders of Spanish society, and indeed it was the populo menudo that was mainly responsible for the anti-New Christian disturbances in the period leading up to the Inquisition (Netanyahu 1995, 808; Rodríguez-Puértolas 1976, 127).

Finally, there also appears to have been a loosely defined group descended predominantly from New Christians but with some Old Christian ancestry. Boyajian (1983; see also Benardete 1953; PTSDA, Ch. 6) describes an elite, highly visible group of wealthy merchants and financiers who practiced endogamy and consanguinity, including first-cousin marriage, which was outlawed by the Church. Some of these families included Old Christian ancestors (e.g., the financier Jorge de Paz, descended from mixed New and Old Christians on both maternal and paternal sides), while others descended from New Christians on both sides. Boyajian considers de Paz “the most Catholic” (p. 119) of the New Christian financiers, but he also notes that his brother was tried for Judaizing by the Spanish Inquisition and that his niece’s family lived in a Jewish community abroad. There is some indication that the Inquisition itself motivated this type of genetic assimilation and was instrumental in achieving some level of racial admixture between the New and Old Christians: in 1548 Cardinal Siliceo complained that intermarriage was motivated by the desire to avoid the Inquisition (Netanyahu 1995, 1070).

It is possible that this elite group of highly endogamous New Christians had self-consciously become a unique gene pool consisting predominantly of genes of Jewish descent but with enough admixture from the Iberian Old Christian nobility to render them less suspect in the eyes of the Inquisition. Consistent with this proposal, Benardete (1953) distinguishes a group of New Christians having a somewhat different physical appearance and “hidalgoism” from the other Sephardim who emigrated rather than accept conversion, although they nevertheless viewed themselves as coreligionists with these other Sephardim.

The proposals of the New Christian Duarte Gomez (1622) for ending the racial conflict between the New and Old Christians are also consistent with this hypothesis. Citing the decline of Iberian society, Gomez wrote that “it was necessary to seek solutions through which all Spaniards might become brothers” (in Castro 1954, 586; italics in text). These proposals included a ban on further honors for New Christians, because of the resentment they caused, and freedom to intermarry with nobility who had some New Christian ancestry. However, he recommended that “true hidalgos” (i.e., thosewithout Jewish blood) not be allowed to intermarry with the New Christians. Children of the New Christians would then be eligible for all offices and occupations.

It should be noted that Gomez’s proposal clearly falls far short of complete genetic assimilation and would be quite consistent with continued resource competition between three groups: racially pure Old Christians, racially pure New Christians, and a group with mixed, predominantly Old Christian, ancestry into which the New Christians would be able to marry their daughters by providing dowries.

The result of the limpieza laws may well have been lower fitness for genes of Jewish descent. A writer in 1629 noted that women entered nunneries and men remained celibate rather than pass on their taint (Roth 1974). Lope de Vega, in a play written prior to 1604, has a character say he would give all his inheritance and “a thousand loads of Doroteas [i.e., pretty, young girls]” in exchange for pure blood (Castro 1971, 352). Converts often changed their names to avoid the implication of Jewish ancestry (Castro 1954, 565). Wealthy individuals with a small amount of Jewish ancestry “could expunge dubious ancestry and create ancient and time-honored lineages. . . . [Y]et one error, one small, barely perceptible but intentional indiscretion was sufficient to destroy the entire achievement. When this occurred, the affected individual suffered immediate exclusion” (Contraras 1991, 130). Similarly in Portugal, Jewish ancestry was a liability on the marriage market (Roth 1974).[111]The limpieza laws therefore created external pressure reinforcing New Christian endogamy. As Yerushalmi (1971, 41) notes, however, this cannot be the entire explanation for New Christian endogamy. (See the discussion in the Appendix to Chapter 7.) Nevertheless, wealthy individuals with tainted ancestry, including individuals who were clearly crypto-Jews, were able to obtain honors and generally avoid the opprobrium resulting from their genetic ancestry (Baroja 1966, 105–106; Contraras 1992, 98). Baroja (1966, 131n.29) provides the example of Manuel Cortizos and his family. Despite the fact that his family was genetically entirely Jewish, he, his sons, his sons-in-law, and his brothers received titles and became Knights of Calatrava while his wife and aunt were being prosecuted by the Inquisition. Another family member died in London as an openly practising Jew.

Nevertheless, although the limpieza laws may have dampened the population growth of the New Christians, they did not prevent a high rate of population growth. Baron (1973, 186, 241) refers to widespread concern about the reproductive success of the New Christians throughout the period of the Inquisition at least into the early 17th century. Andrés Bernáldez, a defender of the Inquisition and self-conscious spokesman for the viewpoint of the masses, noted that the Conversos “had one aim: to increase and multiply” (in Beinart 1981, 21–22; see also Longhurst 1964). The bull of Pope Sixtus IV of 1478 establishing the authority for the Inquisition noted that the number of crypto-Jews “increase not a little” (in Walsh 1940, 149). Even in 1629—nearly 150 years after the beginning of the Inquisition—the descendants of Jews were described by a conference of theologians as proliferating like “the sands of the sea” (Baron 1973, 186, 241).

Chapter 5 • National Socialism as an Anti-Jewish Group Evolutionary Strategy • 16,700 Words

The National Socialist movement in Germany from 1933–1945 is a departure from Western tendencies toward universalism and muted individualism in the direction of racial nationalism and cohesive collectivism. The evidence reviewed below indicates that National Socialism developed in the context of group conflict between Jews and gentiles, and I propose that it may be usefully conceptualized as a group evolutionary strategy that was characterized by several key features that mirrored Judaism as a group evolutionary strategy.

Most basically, National Socialism aimed at developing a cohesive group. There was an emphasis on the inculcation of selfless behavior and within-group altruism combined with outgroup hostility (MacDonald 1988a, 298–300). These anti-individualist tendencies can be seen in the Hitler Youth movement (Koch 1976; Rempel 1989). After 1936, membership was compulsory for children after their tenth birthday. A primary emphasis was to mold children to accept a group strategy of within-group altruism combined with hostility and aggression toward outgroups, particularly Jews. Children were taught an ideology of nationalism, the organic unity of the state, blind faith in Hitler, and anti-Semitism. Physical courage, fighting skills, and a warlike mentality were encouraged, but the most important aspect of education was group loyalty: “Faithfulness and loyalty irrespective of the consequences were an article of faith shared among wide sections of Germany’s youth” (Koch 1976, 119).

Socialization for group competition was strongly stressed, “all the emphasis centering on obedience, duty to the group, and helping within the group” (Koch 1976, 128). The ideology of National Socialism viewed the entire society (excluding the Jews) as a large kinship group—a“Volksgemeinschaft transcending class and creed” (Rempel 1989, 5). A constant refrain of the literature of the Hitler Youth was the idea of the individual sacrificing himself for the leader:

the basic idea is . . . that of a group of heroes inseparably tied to one another by an oath of faithfulness who, surrounded by physically and numerically superior foes, stand their ground. . . . Either the band of heroes is reduced to the last man, who is the leader himself defending the corpses of his followers—the grand finale of the Nibelungenlied—or through its unparalleled heroism brings about some favourable change in its fortune. (Koch 1976, 143)

The Hitler Youth was associated with the SS (Schutzstaffel, “protection echelon”)—an elite corps of highly committed and zealous soldiers. Rempel (1989, 256) estimates that 95 percent of German youth maintained their fidelity to the war effort even after the defeat at Stalingrad. Koch (1976) describes high levels of selfless behavior among Germans during the war both as soldiers and as support personnel in the war effort, and quotes from individual youth clearly indicate that the indoctrination of young people with National Socialist ideology was quite successful and often appears to have been causally responsible for self-sacrificing behavior.

Within-group egalitarianism is often an important facilitator of a group evolutionary strategy, because it cements the allegiance of lower-status individuals (see below and PTSDA, Ch. 1). While the National Socialist movement retained traditional hierarchical Western social structure, the internal cohesiveness and altruism characteristic of National Socialism may have been facilitated by a significant degree of egalitarianism. There were real attempts to increase the status and economic prospects of farmers in the Hitler Youth Land Service, and class divisions and social barriers were broken down within the Hitler Youth movement to some extent, with the result that lower and working-class children were able to move into positions of leadership. Moreover, the socialist element of National Socialism was more than merely a deceptive front (Pipes 1993, 260, 276–277). The economy was intensively regulated, and private property was subject to expropriation in order to achieve the goals of the community.

Here it is of interest that an important element of the National Socialist ideology and behavior as a group strategy involved discrimination against Jews as a group. Jewish group membership was defined by biological descent (see Dawidowicz 1976, 38ff). As in the case of the limpieza phenomenon of the Inquisition, this biological classification of Jews occurred in a context in which many of even the most overtly assimilated Jews—those who had officially converted to Christianity—continued Jewish associational and marriage patterns and had in effect become crypto-Jews (see below and Chapter 6). Thus, an act of September 1933 prohibited farmers from inheriting land if there was any trace of Jewish ancestry going back to 1800, and the act of April 11, 1933, dismissing Jews from the civil service applied to any individual with at least one Jewish grandparent. National Socialist extremists advocated the dissolution of mixed marriages and Jewish sterilization, and wanted to consider even individuals with one-eighth Jewish ancestry as full Jews.[112]According to the First Decree of the Reich citizenship law of November 14, 1935, a Jew was defined as an individual with at least three Jewish grandparents “who are fully Jewish as regards race” (in Dawidowicz 1976, 45–47). However, a person was considered to be a “Jewish Mischling” and therefore classified as a Jew if he or she had two Jewish grandparents who belonged to the Jewish religious community as of September 15, 1935, or thereafter, or was the offspring of a marriage concluded by a Jew, or was married to a Jew on that date or later, or who was the result of extramarital relations between a Jew and a gentile. Apart from individuals married to a Jew, individuals who were one-eighth Jewish or less were considered Germans.

From the present perspective, Germany after 1933 was characterized by the presence of two antithetical group strategies. Jews were systematically driven from the German economy in gradual stages between 1933 and 1939. For example, shortly after the National Socialists assumed power, there were restrictions on employment in the civil service, the professions, schools and universities, and trade and professional associations—precisely the areas of the economy in which Jews were disproportionately represented—and there is evidence for widespread public support for these laws (Friedländer 1997; Krausnick 1968, 27ff). Quotas were established for attendance at universities and public schools. An act of September 1933 excluded Jews from faculties in the arts, literature, theater, and film. Eventually Jewish property was expropriated and taxed exorbitantly, and Jews were subjected to a variety of indignities (“No indignity seemed too trivial to legislate” [Gordon 1984, 125]), including prohibitions against owning pets.

As has happened so often in periods of relatively intense anti-Semitism, barriers were raised between the groups. Jews were required to wear identifying badges and were prohibited from restaurants and public parks. The Nuremberg Laws of 1935 prevented marriage and all sexual contact between the groups. The laws prohibited Jews from employing German women under the age of forty-five as domestic servants—presumably an attempt to prevent Jewish men in a superior position from having sexual contact with fertile gentile women. The National Socialist authorities were also very concerned about socializing and friendship between Jews and gentiles (Gordon 1984, 179; Krausnick 1968, 31)—a phenomenon that recalls the ancient Jewish wine taboo, intended to prevent Jews from socializing with gentiles.

Just as social controls on group members have been important to the Jewish group evolutionary strategy, especially in traditional societies, the National Socialist group strategy punished individuals who violated the various race laws enacted by the Third Reich, failed to cooperate in boycotts against Jewish businesses, or socialized with Jews. For example, there were approximately four hundred criminal cases per year for “race defilement” (i.e., sexual contact between Jews and gentiles) under the Nuremberg Laws. As in the case of Jewish social controls designed to ensure within-group conformity to group interests (see PTSDA, Chs. 4, 6), the National Socialists penalized not only the individual but the family as well: “Any decision to violate Nazi racial regulations, whether premeditated or impulsive, placed a stigma upon oneself and one’s family. Arrest or loss of Nazi party membership, for example, frequently meant loss of one’s job, retaliation against one’s spouse or children, and social exclusion (often compulsory)” (Gordon 1984, 302).

German Anti-Semitic Ideologies as Ideologies of Group Competition • 6,200 Words

“Let us not forget whence we spring. No more talk of ‘German,’ or of ‘Portuguese’ Jews. Though scattered over the earth we are nevertheless a single people”—Rabbi Salomon Lipmann-Cerfberr in the opening speech delivered on July 26, 1806, at the meeting preparatory to the Sanhedrin of 1807, convened by Napoleon. (Epigraph from Houston Stewart Chamberlain’s [1899, I, 329] Foundations of the Nineteenth Century at the beginning of the chapter entitled “The Entrance of the Jews into the History of the West”)

While popular German anti-Semitism appears to have been largely autonomous and based on real conflicts of interest rather than the result of the manipulation by an exploitative or demagogic elite (Hagen 1996; Harris 1994, 225–227; Pulzer 1988, xviii, 321),[113]Harris (1994, 227) notes that propagandists like Stoecker “made the anti-Semitism of the common man intelligible to the educated, not vice versa. Their anti-Semitic activities show the gradual acceptance of anti-Semitism by polite society rather than the injection of those ideas into mass culture by either fanatic zealots or Machiavellian politicians.” Indeed, it was the educated elites who were most supportive of Jewish emancipation (p. 230)—a finding that is highly compatible with the general tendency throughout Jewish history for Jewish alliances with gentile elites in the context of popular anti-Semitism (see Chapter 2 and PTSDA, Ch. 5). Nevertheless, Field (1981, 227) notes that aristocrats “hard pressed by declining land revenues and higher property taxes, resentful of the purchase of Berlin’s sumptuous palaces by Jews, and eager to share the Kaiser’s new fads” familiarized themselves with the writings of Houston Stewart Chamberlain. the intense anti-Semitism characteristic of the NSDAP (National Socialist German Workers’ Party) leadership was not shared by the majority of the population (see Field 1981, 457; Friedländer 1997, 4).[114]Harris (1994, 227) notes the high degree of personal popularity of Hitler and the substantial support for the NSDAP and its highly salient anti-Semitism in the elections of 1932. He makes the interesting point that the National Socialists were the only party to draw substantial support from all social classes—suggesting that National Socialism transcended class divisions and was perceived as the political embodiment of the ideal of hierarchical harmony long held as an ideal in the Volkische intellectual tradition. If indeed German anti-Semitism was to a considerable extent a “top-down” phenomenon in which the NSDAP and government played an indispensable leadership role, it becomes crucial to probe the beliefs of these National Socialist leaders, and in particular of Hitler himself, for whom anti-Semitism was at the very center of his world view (Dawidowicz 1975; Friedländer 1997, 102; Gordon 1984, 312; Johnson 1988, 489). The point here will be that Hitler viewed both Judaism and National Socialism as group evolutionary strategies.

However, the perception of group conflict between Jews and gentiles as a central feature of German society long predates Hitler. The literature on 19th-century German anti-Semitism indicates a perception among gentiles that Jews and gentiles were engaged in group conflict. There are also detailed proposals for gentile group strategies in opposition to Judaism. German anti-Semitism in the course of the 19th century shifted from demands for Jewish assimilation by intellectuals such as Kant and the young Hegelians in the early part of the century, to an increasing emphasis on the ethnic divide separating Germans and Jews (Wistrich 1990, 35ff). Throughout this period the consistent belief of German liberals combating anti-Semitism was that Judaism would eventually disappear as a result of assimilation and that emancipation would “hasten the trip to the baptismal font” and result in national unity (Schorsch 1972, 99).

The predominant attitude among German intellectuals at the beginning of the century was that granting Jews civil rights was contingent on complete Jewish assimilation. Jews would cooperate in becoming completely assimilated in exchange for their political and economic emancipation. In the minds of their early 19th-century critics, Jews constituted a nation—an atypical nation to be sure, since it was not confined to a particular territory and its criterion of citizenship was birth by a Jewish mother. But it was a nation nonetheless, and such a conceptualization was entirely congruent with Jewish self-conceptions at least since the Middle Ages and widespread among Zionists later in the century (Katz 1979, 48). Jews would have to give up this condition in order to be Germans.

In the event, however, many Germans believed that Jews had not lived up to their end of the bargain, and eventually it became common among anti-Semites to believe that Jews were “by nature incapable of honoring the contract, of becoming good Germans” (Levy 1975, 22). For example, the anti-Semite Paul Förster stated that “emancipation in the true sense of the word means full assimilation into the foreign body politic. Have the Jews really done this? Have they changed from Jews into Germans?” (in Levy 1975, 22).

On the other hand, for Jews the main concern was the continued existence of Jewish identity (Schorsch 1972, 100). Concerns about the continuation of Jewish identity became more common later in the century. As Katz (1985) notes, the 19th century began with the official blessing of the Jewish assimilationists at the Parisian Sanhedrin convened by Napoleon in 1807 and ended with the first Zionist Congress in Zurich in 1897.

Assimilation did not occur at any level of the Jewish community, including the movement of Reform Judaism, and it was never intended by any significant segment of the Jewish community (PTSDA, Ch. 4).

The predicament of emancipated Jewry, and ultimately the cause of its tragic end, was rooted not in one or another ideology but in the fact that Jewish Emancipation had been tacitly tied to an illusory expectation—the disappearance of the Jewish community of its own volition. When this failed to happen, and the Jews, despite Emancipation and acculturation, continued to be conspicuously evident, a certain uneasiness, not to say a sense of outright scandal, was experienced by Gentiles. . . . If gaining civil rights meant an enormous improvement in Jewish prospects, at the same time it carried with it a precariously ill-defined status which was bound to elicit antagonism from the Gentile world. (Katz 1983, 43)

In addition to a very visible group of Orthodox immigrants from Eastern Europe, Reform Jews generally opposed intermarriage, and secular Jews developed a wide range of institutions that effectively cut them off from socializing with gentiles. “What secular Jews remained attached to was not easy to define, but neither, for the Jews involved, was it easy to let go of: there were family ties, economic interests, and perhaps above all sentiments and habits of mind which could not be measured and could not be eradicated” (Katz 1996, 33). Moreover, a substantial minority of German Jews, especially in rural areas and in certain geographical regions (especially Bavaria) remained Orthodox well into the 20th century (Lowenstein 1992, 18). Vestiges of traditional separatist practices, such as Yiddish words, continued throughout this period.

Intermarriage between Jews and Germans was negligible in the 19th century. Even though intermarriage increased later, these individuals and their children “almost always” were lost to the Jewish community (Katz 1985, 86; see also Levenson 1989, 321n). “Opposition to intermarriage did constitute the bottom line of Jewish assimilation” (G. Mosse 1985, 9). These patterns of endogamy and within-group association constituted the most obvious signs of continued Jewish group separatism in German society for the entire period prior to the rise of National Socialism. Levenson (1989, 321) notes that Jewish defenses of endogamy during this period “invariably appeared to hostile non-Jews as being misanthropic and ungrateful,” another indication that Jewish endogamy was an important ingredient of the anti-Semitism of the period.[115]The data provided by Lowenstein (1992, 24) indicate that in 1901–1905 in Germany 8.8 percent of Jewish men and 7.6 percent of Jewish women intermarried. These percentages increased in the following years so that by 1926–1930, 25.6 percent of Jewish men and 16.6 percent of Jewish women had intermarried. These figures include Jews who married other secular and converted Jews and who remained part of the Jewish community and hence are useless for conceptualizing the extent to which Judaism had continued as a genetically closed group evolutionary strategy. Moreover, defections from Judaism, as measured by conversions to Christianity, remained low. Lowenstein (1992, 24) finds that conversions averaged 168 per year in the period from 1800 to 1924 and 256 per year in the period from 1880 to 1899. These figures are also overestimates of true defection, however, since many of these conversions were conversions of convenience by individuals who continued to identify as Jews and continued their associations with the Jewish community (see also Chapter 6). Patai and Patai (1989) note that intermarried couples in Germany during this period, at least in the earlier surveys, tended to have fewer children and not to raise them as Jews with the result that only 4.05 percent of the children born to Jewish mothers were children of intermarried couples who raised their children as Jews or were children born out of wedlock to Jewish women with Christian fathers.

Moreover, Jewish converts would typically marry other Jewish converts and continue to live among and associate with Jews (Levenson 1989, 321n), in effect behaving as crypto-Jews. The importance of genealogy rather than surface religion can also be seen in that, while baptized Jews of the haute bourgeoisie were viewed as acceptable marriage partners by the Jewish haute bourgeoisie, gentiles of the haute bourgeoisie were not (Mosse 1989, 335). These patterns may well have fed into the perception among Germans that even overt signs of assimilation were little more than window dressing masking a strong sense of Jewish ethnic identity and a desire for endogamy. Indeed, the general pattern was that complete loss of Jewishness was confined to females from a “handful” of families who had married into the gentile aristocracy (Mosse 1989, 181).

Although there were ups and downs in the intensity of anti-Semitism, the general trend over the course of the 19th and early 20th centuries was that calls for assimilation were increasingly replaced by calls for cohesive, collectivist gentile groups that would enable Germans to compete with Jews and even exclude them entirely from German economic and social life. Reflecting social identity processes, anti-Semitic beliefs became increasingly important as a means of self-identification among Germans:

Professing anti-Semitism became a sign of cultural identity, of one’s belonging to a specific cultural camp. It was a way of communicating an acceptance of a particular set of ideas, and a preference for specific social, political, and moral norms. Contemporaries living and acting in Imperial Germany learned to decode the message. It became part of their language, a familiar and convenient symbol. (Volkov 1978, 34–35)

Anti-Semitic rhetoric increasingly emphasized the desirability of a unified German political entity that was above political and religious differences and which would exclude Jews. This is essentially a prescription for a specifically German group strategy in opposition to Judaism, that is, the development of “a united front against the alleged domination of an ‘alien race’ ” (Wistrich 1990, 38). As Dawidowicz (1975, 47) notes (derisively), “The Germans were in search of a mysterious wholeness that would restore them to primeval happiness.” Commenting on attitudes in the period 1900–1914, Field (1981, 313) describes pervasive complaints of a lack of “shared ideals” and dissatisfaction with an intellectual life that was “chaotic, spinning off in all directions at once and lacking a common ideological focus.” Even German liberals who actively opposed anti-Semitism desired a society centered around the Christian religion: “Though they repudiated the Conservative’s notion of the Christian state and fought for a separation of church and state, they had every intention of strengthening the exclusively Christian character of Germany” (Schorsch 1972, 100).

The influential anti-Semitic historian and political activist Heinrich von Treitschke viewed Germany’s self-conception as a Christian civilization as a critical component of his overarching goal of producing a politically and culturally unified Germany. Treitschke stated that although many Germans had ceased being active Christians, “the time will come, and is perhaps not so far off, when necessity will teach us once more to pray. . . . The German Jewish Question will not come to rest . . . before our Hebrew fellow-citizens have become convinced, by our attitude, that we are a Christian people and want to remain one” (in Pulzer 1988, 242). Unity was perceived as necessary for a militarily strong Germany able to compete as a world power with other Western powers—clearly a conception that Germany must develop a cohesive group strategy vis-à-vis other societies. Treitschke therefore strongly opposed what he perceived as “alien” Jewish cultural influence on German life, because of Jewish tendencies to mock and belittle German nationalistic aspirations.

Christianity as a unifying force was also central to another important late- 19th-century anti-Semitic leader, Adolf Stoecker:

I found Berlin in the hands of Progressives—who were hostile to the Church—and the Social Democrats—who were hostile to God; Judaism ruled in both parties. The Reich’s capital city was in danger of being de-Christianized and de-Germanized. Christianity was dead as a public force; with it went loyalty to the King and love of the Fatherland. It seemed as if the great war had been fought so that Judaism could rule in Berlin. . . . It was like the end of the world. Unrighteousness had won the upper hand, love had turned cold. (In Telman 1995, 97)

National unification was a component of the “Volkische” intellectual tradition. Rather than accepting the pan-national, universalist ideology that characterized the Christian Middle Ages, the Volkische ideal of social cohesion was often combined with nationalistic versions of a peculiarly Germanic form of Christianity, as in the writings of Treitschke, Paul de LaGarde, and Houston Stewart Chamberlain. Thus for Chamberlain, “Christianity was an indispensable cohesive force in a class-torn nation; religious rebirth alone . . . could renew the spiritual basis of society, reaffirming the principles of monarchy, social hierarchy, loyalty, discipline, and race. . . . [R]eligion, not politics, was the basis of a new Germany” (Field 1981, 302).

This tradition idealized the Middle Ages as a period of Volksgemeinschaft, a sense of social cohesion, organic unity, cooperation, and hierarchical harmony among all social classes. This tradition can be traced to Johann Gottfried Herder (1744–1803; see Herder 1774, 189ff), and it attracted the majority of German intellectuals during the period spanning the 19th century to the rise of National Socialism (Mosse 1970, 8). This tradition is exemplified by Richard Wagner’s comment that “the particular atmosphere which my Lohengrin should produce is that here we see before us an ancient German kingdom in its finest, most ideal aspect. . . . Here there is no despotic pomp with its bodyguards pushing back the people to make way for the high nobility. Simple boys make up the escort for the young woman, and to them everyone yields gladly and quite voluntarily” (in Rose 1992, 28; italics in text).

While Volkische ideology could easily be fused with racialist or exclusionary thinking regarding minority groups within the society, there was only gradual development in this direction, and it was not until the end of the 19th century that such linkages became common among anti-Semites. The gradual shift in Volkische ideology from an ideology of assimilation of the entire society into a cohesive group to an ideology of racism and exclusion thus paralleled the general shift from assimilationism toward separatism as a solution to the Jewish question. However, even during the Weimar period some Volkische thinkers—by then a distinct minority—advocated the complete assimilation of Jews within German society.

This ideal of “hierarchic harmony” and group cohesion apparent among these intellectuals therefore did not originate as an aspect of group conflict between Germans and Jews but predated the escalation of this conflict in the late 19th century.[116]The phrase “hierarchic harmony” comes from Américo Castro’s (1954, 497) description of the social structure of the Western Middle Ages. Not coincidentally, many Volkische thinkers idealized the Middle Ages. In The Culture of Critique I suggest that the ideals of hierarchic harmony and muted individualism are primitive features of prototypical Western social organization.[117]Volkische ideology was compatible with a strong but muted role for individualism. The anti-Semite Paul de LaGarde emphasized that individuals should be able to maximize their unique potentials within the cohesive group (Stern 1961, 28). On the other hand, he was greatly concerned that the working classes had become alienated from German society because of the individualistic behavior of capitalists. This Western ideal of hierarchic harmony can be and often has been a powerful force favoring assimilation, and intellectuals advocating hierarchic harmony could also be advocates of Jewish assimilation. For example, Treitschke proposed that Jews become completely assimilated to Germany and that Germany itself be organized as a harmonious hierarchy led by an aristocratic elite (Dorpalen 1967, 242–243). Nevertheless, Volkisch ideology can easily be transformed into an ideology of intergroup conflict in the event that parts of the society remain unassimilable.

It is noteworthy that German anti-Semitism in no way depended at any time on racial theory (Katz 1983, 41–42). For example, the National Socialists regarded Paul de LaGarde as an important forerunner despite the complete absence of race in his theorizing. Moreover, the National Socialists’ opposition to Jews went well beyond their denigration of other races and their attempts to dominate other racial groups. They focused on the same alleged Jewish traits (“moral insensitivity, acquisitiveness, xenophobia, and the like”) that had been characteristic of anti-Semitic attitudes since the beginnings of the diaspora, the only difference being that the traits were now attributed to racial differences. “It could therefore be argued that the notion of race, far from being the source of anti-Semitism, only acquired its force as a political weapon through contact with an already existing anti-Semitic tradition” (Katz 1983, 42–43).

In the event, Jews remained as an unassimilated outgroup, and certain real differences between Jews and gentiles developed into a variety of negative stereotypes expected on the basis of social identity theory. Indeed, anti-Semitism based on these issues was a broad regional phenomenon, occurring throughout much of Eastern Europe, Austria, and France (Friedländer 1997; Hagen 1996). Jews not only continued as an ethnically unassimilated group but were, “in their majority, not carried away by the ‘hurrah patriotism’ of the exuberant nationalists. They inclined, their devotion to Germany notwithstanding, to humanism, reasonableness, moderation, and a measure of internationalism, influenced also by the fact of Jewish dispersion across national frontiers” (Mosse 1989, 43–44). Jews were thus less enthusiastic about creating a highly cohesive, unitary German society than were gentile Germans, and this general tendency among Jews would, in the minds of gentiles, be exacerbated by such salient examples as Jewish-owned publishing companies that were opposed to German nationalism. The disproportionate, high-profile involvement of Jews in leftist, anti-nationalist revolutionary movements in Germany, Hungary, the Soviet Union, and Poland (e.g., Friedländer 1997, 91–93) would also feed into these stereotypes. The presence of an increasingly prominent movement of Jewish nationalism (i.e., Zionism) would have similar effects, as would the presence of a significant number of foreign-looking Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe. On the basis of social identity theory, given the salience of Jewish-gentile group membership during this period these real group differences would become exaggerated. Gentile Germans would come to define their ingroup as patriotic and loyal, while Jews would be stereotyped as the opposite.

Also tending to exacerbate these social identity processes was the heightened level of resource competition between Germans and Jews as Jewish upward mobility, especially in the period after 1870, resulted in very large Jewish overrepresentation in all of the markers of economic and professional success as well as in the production of culture, the latter viewed as a highly deleterious influence (see Chapter 2; PTSDA,Ch. 5). Indeed, an important component of anti-Semitism in the late 19th century appears to have been the desire of many Germans to participate in a cohesive group in order to compete with Jews economically and socially (Massing 1949, 79). Interestingly, the powerful cohesion of the Jews was viewed as their “most sinister” attribute (Massing 1949, 79; see also Pulzer 1979, 78), a comment that suggests that anti-Semitism was partly a reaction to the perception that the Jews constituted a highly cohesive group—“a political, social and business alliance for the purpose of exploiting and subjugating the non-Jewish peoples” (from a 19th-century anti-Semitic publication; in Massing [1949, 79]).

Many anti-Semitic leaders envisaged uniting the German people in an effective group strategy against the Jews. For example, the Catholic newspaper Germania combined advocacy of economic cooperation among gentiles and gentile credit institutions with admonitions against buying or borrowing from Jews. Theodor Fritsch’s “Ten German Commandments of Lawful Self-Defense” (reprinted in Massing 1949, 306) combined exhortations to ethnic pride and within-group cooperation with a program of economic and social boycott of Jews: “Be proud of being a German and strive earnestly and steadily to practice the inherited virtues of our people, courage, faithfulness and veracity.” “Thou shalt be helpful to thy fellow German and further him in all matters not counter to the German conscience, the more so if he be pressed by the Jew” (in Massing 1949, 306–307).[118]The tract also contains the following exhortations: “Thou shalt have no social intercourse with the Jew”; “Thou shalt have no business relations with the Jew”; “Thou shalt not entrust thy rights to a Jewish lawyer, nor thy body to a Jewish physician, nor thy children to a Jewish teacher. . . .”; “Keep away all Jewish writings from the German home and hearth lest their lingering poison may unnerve and corrupt thyself and thy family” (in Massing 1949, 306–307).

Massing provides several other examples of anti-Semitic programs calling for German group solidarity combined with exclusion of Jews from public life, cessation of all contact with Jews, and boycotts of Jewish economic enterprises. Wilhelm Marr conceptualized Jews as “not a small, weak group, they are a world power! They are much stronger than the Germans” (in Massing 1949, 8). Marr viewed Jews as having superior powers and as engaging in a war on Germans and their culture in which each person must choose sides between clearly demarcated groups. Similarly, the anti-Semite Otto Glegau advocated organization of politically powerless gentile groups of artisans, small entrepreneurs, and merchants “whose livelihood and status were in jeopardy” (p. 10) and who were most affected by Jewish competition. After citing statistics on the percentages of Jews among employers and among students in institutions of higher education, Adolf Stoecker stated that “Should Israel grow further in this direction, it will completely overcome us. One should not doubt it; on this ground, race stands against race and carries on—not in the sense of hatred but in the sense of competition—a racial struggle” (in Telman 1995, 107). The view that the Jews were a stronger group than the Germans was common among anti-Semites of the period (see Zimmerman 1986, 100).

The perception that Jews themselves were greatly concerned with racial purity was recognized as early as the 1840s by Jews attempting to combat anti-Semitism (Schorsch 1972, 8). The racial anti-Semites of the post-1880 period were greatly concerned with racial purity. Fritsch’s third commandment was “Thou must keep thy blood pure. Consider it a crime to soil the noble Aryan breed of thy people by mingling it with the Jewish breed. For thou must know that Jewish blood is everlasting, putting the Jewish stamp on body and soul unto the farthest generations.” Similarly, Wilhelm Marr’s Der Judenspiegel (published in 1862) conceptualized Judaism as a racially pure group. Marr emphasized the racial gulf between Germans and Jews and advocated intermarriage as a way of assimilating Germans and Jews (Zimmerman 1986, 47).[119]Marr later repudiated the idea of genetic assimilation via intermarriage in his 1879 book The Victory of Judaism over Germanism.

This concern with group competition and racial purity is also evident among racialist thinkers who based their ideas on evolutionary thinking. There is evidence for the development in Germany during this period of a conceptualization of human evolution as fundamentally involving group rather than individual competition. Some of the most strident anti-Semites in the twenty years prior to World War I were ultra-nationalist groups “preaching a racially-based integral nationalism and a Social Darwinist view of the world” (Pulzer 1988, xx; Gordon 1984, 25–26). From the present perspective, the important point is the idea that the races were in competition with each other and that they should remain separate in order to maintain racial purity.

Houston Stewart Chamberlain is of particular interest in this regard, both because he was a prime influence on Hitler[120]See Krausnick (1968, 10); Field (1981, 447). Beginning in 1923, Chamberlain’s and Hitler’s circles increasingly intersected. Chamberlain met Hitler on more than one occasion, and there was a mutual admiration between the two, including highly laudatory letters from Chamberlain to Hitler which Hitler greatly appreciated (Field 1981, 436–438). By the end of Chamberlain’s life, Hitler seems to have developed a great deal of affection for him, and he personally attended his funeral. Another high-ranking National Socialist closely associated with Chamberlain was Alfred Rosenberg. Rosenberg was ecstatic about Chamberlain’s Foundations when he first read it in 1909 as a seventeen-year-old, and he became a fervent disciple (Cecil 1972, 12–14; Field 1981, 232). Other National Socialists who had read Chamberlain and claimed to be influenced by him include Hess, Geobbels, Eckart, Himmler, and von Shirach (Field 1981, 452). Geobbels met Chamberlain and declared that Chamberlain was “the pathbreaker,” “the preparer of our way,” “the father of our spirit” (in Reuth 1993, 53). and because of his interpretation of Judaism as a group evolutionary strategy. Indeed, Chamberlain, and especially his Foundations of the Nineteenth Century (1899), was highly influential among German educated classes generally (Field 1981, 225ff). Chamberlain notes that this “alien people has become precisely in the course of the nineteenth century disproportionately important and in many spheres actually dominant constituent of our life” (Chamberlain 1899, I, 330). Clearly Chamberlain believed that Jews and gentiles were in competition in Germany.

Chamberlain exhibits a strong concern with the importance of racial purity, but it is important to note that his exemplar of racial purity is the Jews, and especially the Sephardic Jews. Chamberlain regarded the Jews as having preserved their racial purity over the millennia—a point of view that had been expressed originally by Benjamin Disraeli (see below) and later by the French Count Arthur de Gobineau. His reaction to observing Sephardic Jews is nothing less than ecstatic: “This is nobility in the fullest sense of the word, genuine nobility of race. Beautiful figures, noble heads, dignity in speech and bearing” (I, 273). “The Jews deserve admiration, for they have acted with absolute consistency according to the logic and truth of their own individuality, and never for a moment have they allowed themselves to forget the sacredness of physical laws because of foolish humanitarian day-dreams which they shared only when such a policy was to their advantage” (I, 331).

Chamberlain was thus one of many anti-Semites for whom “the perception that Jews maintained their cohesiveness and sense of identity under all conceivable circumstances was a source of both fear and envy. Indeed, for many antisemites this racial perseverance and historical continuity provided a kind of mirror-image model worthy of emulation” (Aschheim 1985, 239). The attitudes of the anti-Semites on racial purity are therefore mirror-images of previously occurring Jewish practices. Evidence in this chapter(see also Chapter 4 and PTSDA,Chs. 2–4) indicates that there is far more than a grain of truth to the idea that the Jews have been concerned to prevent significant influx of gentile genes into the Jewish gene pool.

However, Chamberlain goes beyond this to assert that Jews have gone to great lengths to maintain their own racial purity and at the same time have consciously attempted to enter the gentile gene pool. In support of his argument, Chamberlain states (I, 332–333) that in 1807 the Jewish leaders accepted all of Napoleon’s articles aimed at ending Jewish separatism with the exception of complete freedom of intermarriage with Christians; while accepting marriage of daughters with Christians, they rejected the marriage of sons with Christians (a claim I have not been able to verify). He also asserts that the Rothschilds married daughters to the nobility of Europe but had never married a son into it; also, in an earlier section (I, 274) he states that the Sephardic Jews excluded the bastard offspring of Jewish females from the community.

The possibility that an aspect of Judaism as an evolutionary strategy has been to enter the gentile gene pool without admitting gentile genes to their own group is an important empirical proposition, especially given the role of consanguinity and endogamy in facilitating group solidarity and altruism among Jews (see PTSDA, Chs. 6, 8). It may well have been the case in traditional societies that intermarriage was mainly accomplished by wealthy Jews providing dowries for their daughters to marry gentiles in the nobility rather than by bringing a gentile woman into the family as the future mother of Jewish children and heirs to the estate. I have noted some evidence for this proposition in the material on Spain and Portugal beginning in the medieval period and extending through at least the 15th century, as well as some indication that this was also a concern in the late Roman Empire (see Chs. 3–4).

It was indeed common for German aristocratic families to restore their fortunes by accepting wealthy Jewish daughters-in-law in the late 19th century (Massing 1949, 106–107). (One publication listed more than a thousand families where Jewish women had been married into the gentile aristocracy [Pulzer 1964, 281]). As Chamberlain asserted, the marriage policy of the Rothschilds was that “boys must choose other Rothschilds, or at least other Jews, for their brides; the girls were sometimes allowed Christian aristocrats” (Morton 1961, 98).[121]See also Derek Wilson (1988, 286). It is interesting that the marriage of the only child of Salomon and Adele Rothschild (of the French branch of the family) to a Christian resulted in a complete excision of the daughter from her mother’s life, without any inheritance. This is compatible with supposing that only-daughters were in a different category than daughters with brothers, quite possibly because the marriage of the only-daughter outside the group would, in practical effect if not according to Jewish law, place all of the family’s descendants outside the Jewish community. The consequences of a male attempting to marry outside the group were severe: When a male in the Austrian branch of the family fell passionately in love with the daughter of an American boardinghouse keeper, his father was inflexible in his opposition, and the son, in despair, committed suicide in 1909 (Derek Wilson 1988, 276). Moreover, many of the descendants of the 18th-century German court Jews converted to Christianity but continued to marry among themselves, although daughters were commonly married into the gentile nobility (W. E. Mosse 1987, 37). Such behavior by a nominally converted group of Jews (who are in effect crypto-Jews from the standpoint of the evolutionary strategy) is exactly analogous to the marriage practices of wealthy New Christians discussed in Chapter 4.

Traditional Jewish law traces descent through the mother, not the father. Thus the offspring of a Jewish male and a gentile female would not be considered Jews and would be lost to the Jewish gene pool. However, the offspring of a Jewish female married into the gentile nobility might be technically eligible to be Jews, but if their children then married into the gentile gene pool, as would normally be the case, they too would be lost to the Jewish gene pool. “Jewish women . . . who married Gentiles would join Gentile lines and, Talmudic law notwithstanding, would normally produce ‘Gentile’ offspring. A Jewish woman ‘marrying out’ would almost invariably abandon her formal Jewish identity” (Mosse 1989, 334).[122]Moreover, it is worth noting that there was considerable doubt expressed in the Palestinian Talmud (Y. Qidd. 3.12) about the status of the offspring of an Israelite female married to a gentile, with some authorities pronouncing the offspring mamzers (bastards) following the (non-Israelite) status of the father. It is therefore highly doubtful that such individuals would have been welcomed in the Jewish community even had they attempted to remain.

This functional interpretation of tracing Jewish descent through the mother can also be seen in Jewish religious writings. Epstein (1942, 166) notes that Ezra’s racialist motivation can be seen by his exclusive concern with Israelite men marrying foreign women because the children of unions with Israelite men would be brought up in the Israelite community while those of an Israelite female marrying a foreigner would be lost to the community. Moreover, as indicated by The Code of Maimonides (see PTSDA, Ch. 4), despite the concentration on investigating female relatives to assure family purity, the goal was to maintain the purity of the male line, and especially so in the case of priests. Females could marry men of invalid descent, but men could not. This emphasis on the purity of the male line combined with tracing Jewish descent through the mother would then function in practice as Chamberlain suggests: Jewish stem families could remain “racially pure,” while the gene pool of the gentile aristocracy would contain some Jewish admixture.

Although not mentioned by Chamberlain, consanguineous marriages among highly visible and immensely wealthy Jewish families may also, via social identity processes, have sharpened gentile perceptions of Jews as highly concerned with racial purity. There was a relatively high level of consanguineous marriage among Jews generally (see PTSDA, Ch. 4, 6, 8), and the highly visible Rothschild family practiced consanguineous marriage even more intensively than Jewish families generally during the period, including a highly visible example of uncle-niece marriage and a great many first cousin marriages: “No other family was to practise it [consanguinity] to the same extent as the Rothschilds” (Derek Wilson 1988, 81). Consanguineous marriages continued to be a prominent trend among the Jewish haute bourgeoisie throughout the 19th century and into the 20th (Mosse 1989, 161ff).[123]Consanguinity often overlapped with economic interests among these families. Mosse (1989, 97) notes that a “distinctive form of economic co-operation involving close kinship links was that between members of allied families, the Ellingers, Mertons, and Hochschilds in the Frankfurt Metallgesellschaft, for example, the Oppenheims, Warschauers, and Mendelssohn-Bartholdys in the AG für Anilinfabrikation (Agfa) in Treptow, or the Ganses and Weinbergs in Leopold Cassella. In all, the cases of joint economic activity by close kin are so numerous that the family rather than the individual could almost be regarded as the typical Jewish entrepreneur.”

Chamberlain (as well as other racialist “Social Darwinist” thinkers—see Krausnick 1968) developed the view that competition between racial groups rather than between individuals was central to human evolution: “The struggle which means destruction of the weak race steels the strong; the same struggle, moreover, by eliminating the weaker elements, tends still further to strengthen the strong” (1899, I, 276). Chamberlain (1899, I, 277) also proposed that the Jews had engaged in artificial selection within their gene pool in order to produce a more competitive group, suggesting that Chamberlain recognized the importance of eugenic practices among Jews.

The emphasis on group competition in these writings is striking. Interestingly, Darwin (1874) himself believed that altruism and the social emotions, such as sympathy and conscientiousness, were restricted to one’s own group and were quite compatible with hostility directed toward outsiders, indicating that he had a keen sense of the importance of intergroup competition in human evolution. However, for Darwin this intergroup competition was not necessarily competition between ethnic groups, much less races. Instead, Darwin’s perspective appears to be much more compatible with the social identity perspective developed in Chapter 1, that hostility is directed at other groups, whatever their origin, and typically these other groups will be neighboring tribes and therefore of similar racial/ethnic composition.

The belief that competition between groups is an important aspect of human evolution has therefore a long history in evolutionary thought. In the hands of these German racial theorists, this thought was transformed in two fundamental ways. First, the competition was conceptualized as occurring between well-defined, genetically segregated racial/ethnic groups; second, the racial/ethnic purity of a group became a critical factor in the success of the group. Both of these points, particularly the latter, are foreign to mainstream Darwinism, and indeed seem to have originated with these thinkers.

One might speculate that these German thinkers emphasized these ideas because intrasocietal group-level resource competition between Jews and gentiles was so salient to them, and in addition because the Jews themselves were highly concerned about racial purity. In the British-American tradition, where this divisive intrasocietal form of ethnically based resource competition and concern with ethnic purity by sub-groups were far less salient, the dominant theoretical tradition ultimately rejected entirely the notion of group selection.[124]As discussed in several sections of PTSDA, group selection has made a resurgence in evolutionary thinking, most notably as a result of the work of David S. Wilson (see Wilson & Sober 1994).

It is interesting in this regard that while in Germany eugenic ideas tended to be bound up with Volkische nationalism and strong currents of anti-individualism (see Gasman 1971), eugenic beliefs in Britain were much less associated with racialist views, were more often held by social radicals with utopian visions,[125]Degler (1991, 46) notes that despite the opposition of socialist newspapers, four of five socialist representatives in the Wisconsin legislature voted for a eugenic law mandating sterilization of certain criminals, and Edward A. Ross, the prominent progressive sociologist from the University of Wisconsin, testified in favor of the law. Such laws were much more characteristic of the reformist North and West than the conservative South. and were more often motivated by individualistic concern that dysgenic practices would result in increasing burdens to society (Kevles 1985, 76, 85).[126]Neither Francis Galton nor Karl Pearson, the guiding lights of British eugenics, emphasized race as a variable in their publications on eugenics. During the 1880s Pearson became attracted to German ideas and became a strong advocate of the idea that eugenic practices should be a component of competition among groups rather than among individuals, but he conceptualized the group as the nation, not a race (Kevles 1985, 23). Earlier, Alfred Russel Wallace and W. R. Greg (but not Darwin) emphasized the need for eugenic practices to make the group more competitive, but again, the group was conceptualized as the nation (Farrall 1985, 17). Nevertheless, the beliefs that eugenics would improve the ability of the race and that Caucasians were a superior race were probably common among British eugenicists, including Galton and Pearson (Farrall 1985, 51). During the 1920s, Pearson opposed Jewish immigration on the grounds that Jewish girls were inferior and Jewish boys did not possess “markedly superior” intelligence compared to the native English (Pearson & Moul 1925, 126). This is a group-based argument, but it is certainly not the type of argument based on competition between well-defined racial groups that Chamberlain would have made. Pearson and Moul also wrote of Jews that “for men with no special ability—above all for such men as religion, social habits, or language keep as a caste apart, there should be no place. They will not be absorbed by, and at the same time strengthen the existing population; they will develop into a parasitic race, a position neither tending to the welfare of their host, nor wholesome for themselves” (pp. 124–125). The argument, then, is that if Jews did have markedly higher IQs, there would be no objection to immigration. Clearly Pearson is not casting his argument in a racialist manner. Similarly, while racial science in Germany was deeply concerned with developing ideas on differences between Germans and Jews as distinct races, British race scientists devoted only a “passing and exemplary discussions” to Jews, a phenomenon that “mirrored in some respects the unobtrusive character of Anglo-Jewry as a whole and the somewhat lackadaisical English attitude towards the country’s Jewish subjects” (Efron 1994, 45).

Jews did not represent a competitive threat in England during this period. Israel (1985, 242) notes that Jews played a remarkably small role in the economic development of England—amounting to little more than dominating the diamond and coral trades. They also represented only a minute percentage of the population, 0.01 percent in the nineteenth century (Sorkin 1987, 175). Throughout this period England remained an ethnically homogeneous society, without ethnically-based resource conflict. However, even in England there was anti-Semitism, directed both at the “cousinhood” of wealthy Jewish families and, later in the century, Orthodox immigrants from Eastern Europe (Bermant 1971).

Such a relativist perspective on the nature of scientific theory development is highly compatible with Gould’s (1992) perspective on extra-scientific influences on the development of evolutionary theory: He proposes that evolutionary theory is influenced by the beliefs and interests of its practitioners. This, of course, does not imply that these beliefs were not based on reality; in the present case there is in fact evidence that Jews were concerned about racial purity, and also for group-based resource competition between Jews and gentiles.

Chamberlain is viewed as a major influence on Hitler, and indeed it would appear that Hitler’s basic beliefs about Jews are almost exact replicas of Chamberlain’s. Hitler viewed himself as a unique combination of intellectual and politician—a politician with a Weltanschauung (Jäckel 1972, 13). Many historians have dismissed the view that Hitler had a consistent ideology, but I agree with Jäckel (1972), Gordon (1984), and others that in fact Hitler was extraordinarily consistent in his beliefs and in his behavior in pursuit of those beliefs. Anti-Semitism was “the center of both his personal and his political career” (Jäckel 1972, 53); “[T]he Jewish question [was] the central motivating force of his political mission” (p. 53). The centrality of Jewish issues for Hitler is apparent throughout his career up to the very end (see Maser 1974). The sections of Mein Kampf relevant to anti-Semitism are entirely straightforward and are consistent with an evolutionary perspective in which group strategies are a central notion.

Hitler believed that races, including the Jews, are in a struggle for world domination, and he had a very great respect for the ability of Jews to carry on their struggle. In Mein Kampf (1943)he writes that he sometimes asked himself “whether inscrutable Destiny . . . did not with eternal and immutable resolve, desire the final victory of this little nation” (p. 64); later he characterizes Jews as “the mightiest counterpart to the Aryan” (p. 300).

Hitler had a clear conceptualization of Jews as a strategizing ethnic group in competition with the Germans. Like Chamberlain, Hitler emphasized the ethnic nature of Judaism. In Mein Kampf he describes his realization that the Jews were “not Germans of a special religion, but a people in themselves” (p. 56). He makes this point very forcefully at the beginning of his comments on Jews and presents it as the instigating factor in his own anti-Semitism. His negative response when first observing a Jew in Vienna reflects the theme of cultural separatism so central to the long history of anti-Semitic writing: “I suddenly encountered an apparition in a black caftan and black hair locks. Is this a Jew? . . . [B]ut the longer I stared at this foreign face, scrutinizing feature for feature, the more my first question assumed a new form: Is this a German?” (p. 56).

His attitude that Jews were an ethnic group and not a religion was confirmed by his discovery that “among them was a great movement . . . which came out sharply in confirmation of the national character of the Jews: this was the Zionists” (p. 56; italics in text). Hitler goes on to remark that although one might suppose that Zionism was characterized by only a subset of Jews and condemned by the great majority, “the so-called liberal Jews did not reject Zionists as non-Jews, but only as Jews with an impractical, perhaps even dangerous, way of publicly avowing their Jewishness. Intrinsically they remained unalterably of one piece” (p. 57).

These comments by Hitler indicate the reality of the worst fears of the German Reform movement during this period, that continued existence of Jewish cultural separatism characteristic of Orthodox Jews would result in anti-Semitism because Jews would be viewed as aliens (Aschheim 1982; Volkov 1985; Wertheimer 1987),[127]Despite their dislike of the Ostjuden and their concerns that the Ostjuden increased anti-Semitism, the German Jewish community provided aid to the immigrants and strongly opposed official discrimination against them, especially after 1890. Moreover, Volkov (1985, 211) notes that many Westjuden eventually developed positive attitudes toward their highly observant coreligionists from the East—an aspect of the increasing sense of Jewish identification among them. and that the publicly expressed ethnocentric nationalism of the Zionists would increase anti-Semitism because Jews would be perceived not as a religious group but as an ethnic/national entity. As Katz (1986, 149) points out, Zionism, international Jewish organizations such as the Alliance Israélite Universelle, and continued Jewish cultural separatism were important sources of German anti-Semitism beginning in the late 19th century.

Further, Hitler, like Chamberlain, believed that Jews were concerned about retaining their own racial purity while consciously attempting to “pollute” that of others.

While he seems to overflow with “enlightenment,” “progress,” “freedom,” “humanity,” etc., he himself practices the severest segregation of his race. To be sure, he sometimes palms off his women on influential Christians, but as a matter of principle he always keeps his male line pure. He poisons the blood of others, but preserves his own. The Jew almost never marries a Christian woman; it is the Christian who marries a Jewess. . . . Especially a part of the high nobility degenerates completely. The Jew . . . systematically carries on this mode of “disarming” the intellectual leader class of his racial adversaries. In order to mask his activity and lull his victims, however, he talks more and more of the equality of all men without regard to race and color. The fools begin to believe him. (pp. 315–316)

His ultimate goal is the denationalization, the promiscuous bastardization of other peoples, the lowering of the racial level of the highest peoples as well as the domination of this racial mishmash through the extirpation of the folkish intelligentsia and its replacement by members of its own people. (p. 84)

Hitler, like Chamberlain, emphasized group-level competition and the importance of racial purity in making the group more competitive. Hitler detailed his beliefs regarding the course of Jewish/gentile resource competition over historical time. Within this struggle, purity of blood was of prime importance. Hitler viewed the Germans as a unique, distinctive and superior ethnic group. There was an emphasis on Germanic prehistory and the inculcation of ethnic pride—themes that are clearly present in the Volkische literature of 19th-century Germany—as well as the idea of the Volk as a mystical collective entity which bound its members into deep association with each other (see Mosse 1964, 1970). Comparisons between the noble, spiritual, inventive Germans and the parasitic, nomadic, materialistic, unassimilable Jews were common in the Volkische literature.

Interestingly, Hitler believed that the greatest strength of the “Aryan” race was not in its intelligence but in its willingness to sacrifice individual interests to group goals—clearly an indication of his belief that the Aryans constituted an altruistic group and undoubtedly a reflection of the National Socialists’ strong emphasis on the inculcation of self-sacrifice and a group orientation in the Hitler Youth. “In [the Aryan] the instinct of self-preservation has reached its noblest form, since he willingly subordinates his own ego to the life of the community and, if the hour demands, even sacrifices it” (p. 297).

Volkische Ideology and Attitudes of Racial Superiority Among Jewish Intellectuals in the Pre-National Socialist Period • 6,000 Words

[The German soul was] determined by the soil and air of this land, determined by the blood and destiny of its people, eternally closed to us. We can grasp it faintly, but our productive stock comes from other provinces, is supplied from different depths, watered from different springs. (Comments of a Zionist during the Weimar period; in Niewyk 1980, 129)

An important thesis of Chapters 3–5 is that anti-Semitic movements and their enemies come to resemble each other in important ways, so that, for example, in the case of German racial anti-Semitism, a Western anti-Semitic movement developed a strong concern with endogamy, anti-individualism, and racial purity despite general Western tendencies toward exogamy, individualism, and assimilation. In the following, I will explore from this perspective Jewish involvement in Volkische ideologies and attitudes of racial superiority. Like their mirror-image enemies, there is evidence that many Jewish intellectuals in the pre-National Socialist period had a strong racial conceptualization of the Jewish people and believed in the superiority of the Jewish “race.”

Such ideologies and attitudes are also important because social identity theory predicts that even a few examples of well-known Jewish theorists who viewed Jews as a superior race would be likely to be very influential in shaping gentile attitudes on how Jews perceived themselves. Given the context of between-group conflict that characterized the period under discussion (roughly 1850 to 1933), gentiles would be likely to suppose that attitudes of Jewish superiority characterized the Jewish community as a whole, either overtly or covertly. It is also easy to see that because of the salience of this type of racialist rhetoric, gentiles would attempt to avoid making a Type II error even if in fact the great majority of Jews refrained from an openly stated racialism: If one knows that a prominent subset of Jews conceptualizes Judaism as a race and places a high value on racial purity, and even views Jews as a racially superior group, the best strategy is to assume the worst about most Jews. Gentiles should prevent the error of rejecting the proposition “Jews are an ethnic group and view themselves as an ethnic group, not a religion; they are intent on retaining their racial purity and dominating gentiles by virtue of their superior intellectual abilities,” when it could be true. Therefore, a gentile would assume it is true.

These attitudes of gentiles would also be facilitated by the fact that these beliefs were highly compatible with contemporary scientific perspectives on race—the modern arbiter of intellectual respectability. Moreover, we shall see that racialist comments occurred throughout the spectrum of Jewish identification, from liberal Reform Jews to Zionists, and that as time went on, there was an increasing rapprochement between liberal Jews and Zionists among whom racialist ideas were quite common. This rapprochement may well have contributed to gentiles perceiving Zionist attitudes on Jewish racial separateness and racial superiority as well within the Jewish mainstream. Zionism was highly salient to the National Socialists and other anti-Semites, many of whom agreed with the Zionists’ racial interpretations of Judaism and with their desire for Jews to leave Germany and build a community in Palestine. (Niewyk [1980, 142] points out that Zionists did not expect all Jews to go to Palestine but aimed rather at preparing Jews to live as an unassimilated minority in Germany.)

Benjamin Disraeli, although baptized, developed views on the importance of racial purity and the superiority of Jewish heredity, in such works as Coningsby or the New Generation (1844), Tancred, or the New Crusade (1847), and the non-fictional Lord George Bentinck: A Political Biography (1852). As Rather (1990, 141ff; see also Field 1981, 215) points out, Disraeli’s views on the importance of racial purity and the role of racial intermixture in the decline of race and culture antedated the writings of Gobineau and were sufficiently well known to have been quoted approvingly by Chamberlain in his Foundations (I, 271): “Let Disraeli teach us that the whole significance of Judaism lies in its purity of race, that this alone gives it power and duration.” “Disraeli rather than Gobineau—still less Chamberlain—is entitled to be called the father of nineteenth-century racist ideology ” (Rather 1990, 146).[128]The quotation from Rather is completed as follows: “ . . . if we are foolish enough to bestow such titles on people who are merely repeating what they take to be the wisdom of their own fathers. Sidonia [the hero of Tancred] was in fact repeating the post-exilic doctrines of Ezra and Ezekiel when he warned against racial intermarriage, and these same doctrines gave biblical authority to Old Testament Christians in North America and South Africa to pursue their policies of segregation and apartheid, respectively.” Rose (1992, 234) states that Rather’s book “verges on veiled antisemitism,” but, minimally, I see no reason to question Rather’s scholarship on Disraeli. As Rather notes, the racialism of Disraeli and Moses Hess have been severely downplayed by Jewish scholars attempting to link National Socialism with gentile racialist thinkers of the 19th century such as Gobineau and Chamberlain. (Similarly, Lindemann [1997, 77n.76] notes that George Mosse “devotes only a few lines in a single paragraph to Disraeli, yet he devotes pages of dense description and analysis to scores of anti-Semitic writers and theorists, many of whom attracted a limited readership and obviously exercised little influence on their contemporaries.”) As noted below (see note 21 below), Rose has been a prominent apologist for 19th-century Jewish racialist thought. Disraeli “may have been, both as a writer and even more as a personal symbol, the most influential propagator of the concept of race in the nineteenth century, particularly publicizing the Jews’ alleged taste for power, their sense of superiority, their mysteriousness, their clandestine international connections, and their arrogant pride in being a pure race” (Lindemann 1997, 77).

Disraeli noted that Jews have risen quickly to positions of prominence in a wide range of societies despite anti-Semitism. He viewed Jews as a separate race and believed that the key to their superiority was that, unlike the other Caucasian nations, they had retained their racial purity. The inferior races persecute the Jews, but inevitably “the other degraded races wear out and disappear; the Jew remains, as determined, as expert, as persevering, as full of resource and resolution as ever. . . . All which proves, that it is in vain for man to attempt to baffle the inexorable law of nature which has decreed that a superior race shall never by destroyed or absorbed by an inferior” (Disraeli 1852, 490, 495).[129]Disraeli’s assertions of Jewish superiority were quite unsettling to Richard Wagner, especially since Disraeli was the prime minister of England. After reading Tancred, Wagner referred to himself as a “tatooed savage,” presumably a reference to Disraeli’s low estimation of the Franks in Tancred. Disraeli’s views were well known in England and were the subject of a negative contemporary commentary by George Eliot (although she appears to have approved eventually of Jewish racialism, as indicated by her novel Daniel Deronda). Disraeli’s views were ridiculed by Thackeray and in the satirical journal Punch. In his satirical novel Codlingsby, Thackeray derided Disraeli’s tendency in Coningsby to suppose that everyone of genius was a Jew, including Mozart and Rossini. In 1915, the prime minister of England, Herbert Asquith, recalled Disraeli’s words in his reaction to a proposal to turn Palestine into a Jewish state: “It reads almost like a new edition of Tancred brought up to date . . . , a curious illustration of Dizzy’s favourite maxim that ‘race is everything,’ etc.” (in Rather 1986, 122). Disraeli’s comments on the importance of race for understanding history were also quoted extensively by German racialist writers in the 1920s (Mosse 1970, 56; Rather 1986, 122). See also Johnson (1987, 323ff) and Salbstein (1982, 97ff) for discussions of Disraeli’s racialist views. Salbstein terms Disraeli a “Marrano Englishman,” because of evidence that Disraeli had a strong Jewish identity.

Disraeli believed that Jews were responsible for virtually all the advances of civilization, including the moral advances of Christianity as well as the accomplishments of prominent businessmen, philosophers, diplomats, and musicians (including Mozart!). Jews were behind the great European intellectual movements: “You never observe a great intellectual movement in Europe in which the Jews do not greatly participate. The first Jesuits were Jews; that mysterious Russian Diplomacy which so alarms Western Europe is organized and principally carried on by Jews; that mighty revolution which is at this moment preparing in Germany . . . is entirely developing under the auspices of Jews, who almost monopolize the professorial chairs of Germany” (Disraeli 1844, 232). The Franks, on the other hand, are a “flat-nosed” group (Tancred, 223) descended from a horde of pirates. They are “full of bustle and puffed up with self-conceit (a race spawned perhaps in the morasses of some Northern forest hardly yet cleared)” (Tancred, 223).

Heinrich Heine was another baptized Jewish intellectual racialist who conceptualized the Jews as a racial/ethnic group that had made great moral and ethical contributions to European culture. Beginning in the 1840s, Heine developed a biological conception of Judaism, as indicated by his using the German word Stamm (tribe, with the implication of descent from common ancestors) and Rasse (race) to refer to Jews (Prawer 1983, 766–767). Moreover, during this period Heine increasingly stressed the “universal validity of Jewish ethics and the universal message of Jewish Messianism,” and he made “repeated assertions that through its absorption of Old Testament ethics and history, modern Europe had become, in a sense, Jewish” (Prawer 1983, 765, 769).

Although Disraeli and Heine pioneered views of Jews as an intellectually and morally superior, racially pure ethnic group, Jewish racialist thinking was most closely associated with Zionism. Katz (1986b, 149) makes the important point that Jewish nationalism in the post-Emancipation period, including Zionism, was not a reaction to gentile anti-Semitism.[130]There was disagreement among Zionists as to whether anti-Semitism caused Jewish nationalism or Jewish nationalism was intrinsic to the nature of Judaism. Theodor Herzl took the former position, while Ahad Ha-Am took the latter point of view (Simon 1960, 103). Rather, Jewish nationalism provoked anti-Semitism as a gentile reaction—a critical example of the reactive anti-Semitism theme of Chapters 3–5:

Modern anti-Semitism was itself a reaction to Jewish proto-nationalism, to the incapacity and unwillingness of Jewry to divest itself of all the characteristics of national life except that of religion. True, once anti-Semitism—until then a mere undercurrent—erupted as a full-fledged movement in the 1870s and eighties, it gave a tremendous push to Jewish national aspirations. Yet this was already the second phase of a dialectical process. The starting point of the process was not anti-Semitism, but the perseverance of Jewish qualities.

In support of this argument, Katz (1979, 50) notes that in Eastern Europe Jewish nationalism emerged concurrently with the secularization of society and was in no way dependent on the processes of emancipation and cultural assimilation characteristic of the German situation. Eastern European Jewish nationalism, complete with ideological and literary expressions, appeared long before the anti-Semitic pogroms of the 1880s.

Important Jewish intellectuals developed Volkische ideologies as well as racialist, exclusivist views, which, like those of their adversaries, were no longer phrased in religious terms but rather in a primitive language of evolutionary biology. These intellectuals had a very clear conception of themselves as racially distinct and as a superior race (intellectually and especially morally), one that had a redemptive mission to the German people and other gentiles. As expected by social identity theory, while the Germans tended to emphasize negative traits of the Jewish outgroup, the Jewish intellectuals often conceptualized their continued separatism in moral and altruistic terms. As indicated in Chapter 7, Jewish self-conceptualizations as a moral and altruistic group with a redemptive mission to gentiles have been the pre-eminent pose of Jewish intellectuals in the post-Enlightenment intellectual world.

The result was that anti-Semites and zealous Jews, including Zionists, often had very similar racialist, nationalist views of Judaism toward the end of the 19th century and thereafter (Katz 1986b, 144). Zionism and anti-Semitism were mirror-images: “in the course of their histories up to the present day it has looked as if they might not only be reacting to one another but be capable of evolving identical objectives and even cooperating in their realization” (Katz 1979, 51). Nicosia (1985) provides a long list of German intellectuals and anti-Semitic leaders from the early 19th century through the Weimar period who accepted Zionism as a possible solution to the Jewish question in Germany, including Johann Gottleib Fichte, Konstantin Frantz, Wilhelm Marr, Adolf Stoecker. All conceptualized Judaism as a nation apart and as a separate “race.”

Efron (1994, 126) notes that the idea of essential racial differences between groups pervaded the cultural landscape of fin de siècle Europe, and Jews, including especially the Zionist racial scientists, were no exception to this trend. While the anti-Semites stressed the moral inferiority of Jews, the Jewish racial scientists stressed Jewish contributions to civilization and looked forward to a national rebirth of Jewish culture in a Zionist state.

The influential proto-Zionist Moses Hess (1862) whose major work, Rome and Jerusalem, was published in 1862, had well-developed racialist ideas about Jews. Although his book was published prior to the intensification of anti-Semitism consequent to complete Jewish emancipation in 1870, it has strong overtones of racial superiority. Hess believed that the different races had enduring psychological and physiological traits, and that the Indo-European traits (embodied by the ancient Greeks) were fundamentally opposed to the Semitic traits (embodied by the ancient Israelites). Like Disraeli and Chamberlain, Hess believed that history is primarily a struggle between races, not social classes, and like these thinkers, Hess (p. 27) believed that a Jew is a Jew “by virtue of his racial origin, even though his ancestors may have become apostates.” Judaism in that view, is at its essence the nationalistic aspirations of the Jewish “race,” but while other races attempt to gain territory, the role of the Jews is to function as a moral beacon to the rest of humanity. Hess states that Jewish racial characteristics predominate over Indo-Germanic characteristics in intermarriage and that they have survived intact since the sojourn in Egypt (p. 60).[131]As discussed in PTSDA (Ch. 8), one theory of the evolution of recessive genes in northern Caucasian populations is Salter’s (1996) “blank slate hypothesis” in which recessive genes act as an individualist anti-cuckoldry mechanism. Because of the commonness among the “Aryans” of recessive genes affecting physical appearance, the offspring of Jews and non-Jews in Germany therefore would tend to resemble the Jewish partner, thus leading to beliefs on both sides of the “indelibility” of the Jewish character. The racial type comes through even in individuals whose ancestors became apostates (p. 98), and even converted Jews retain interest in Jewish affairs and have strong beliefs in the importance of Jewish nationality (p. 98).

According to Hess, Jews have what Rose (1990, 332) terms a “primal-racial mission” to the rest of humanity:[132]Rose terms the racialist views of Hess as “positive and humane” (1990, 321) (apparently because of Hess’s stated belief that the Jews had originated as a racially mixed group) while condemning the racialist views of 19th-century German anti-Semites. In a bit of self-deception, Rose notes the parallels between Hess’s and Wagner’s racialist views, “but how opposed were their ethics! Wagner insisted that his racial idea was based on love. But that was merely idealistic garb for the instinct of racial domination that Hess so bitingly descried everywhere in German revolutionary thought. Wagner ran true to revolutionary form in excluding the Jews from the festival of redemption; they could only be redeemed by destruction. Hess, on the other hand, cast them in the role of protagonists in the drama of cosmic redemption” (1990, 335). Klein (1981, 147–149) makes a similar argument regarding the racialism of the psychoanalytic movement.

The idea that Judaism has a genetically based, altruistic role to play in human evolution may be more ethical. However, it would appear to be equally plausible to suppose that Hess’s and Klein’s comments are also an “idealistic garb” for self-serving rationalization of the type that has been common in Jewish intellectual history (see Chapter 7); that is, they legitimize Jewish ethnocentrism as motivated by the loftiest of moral goals and ignore real conflicts of interest between Germans and Jews that were at least partly the result of Jewish ethnocentrism while condemning the ethnocentrism of the Germans.

Rose also illustrates the tendency of many theorists of anti-Semitism to view the phenomenon as a fundamentally irrational construction of gentiles—a major theme of Jewish theories of anti-Semitism discussed extensively in The Culture of Critique. Rose repeatedly condemns as immoral the attitudes of anti-Semites that Jews were an ethnically distinct and unassimilable group within German society, that they hated gentiles, and that they were bent on the economic and cultural domination of gentiles, and he does so without ever considering the evidence for or against these propositions. Because of his complete lack of interest in actual Jewish behavior, one infers that Rose believes that data on the actual behavior of Jews are irrelevant to the rationality of these attitudes.
“It is through Judaism that the history of mankind has become a sacred history. I mean by that, that process of unified organic development which has its origin in the love of the family and which will not be completed until the whole of humanity becomes one family” (Hess 1862, 120).

However, this single family of mankind does not imply assimilation. At the end of history, all of the different races will “live on in friendly fashion with one another, but live each for the other, preserving, at the same time, their particular identity” (p. 121; italics in text). Jewish particularism is thus transformed into a genetically mediated messianic universalism in which Judaism will persist as a racial type in a utopian world it has altruistically led to universal harmony. In this future world, the German is faulted for desiring to possess their “fatherlands and dominions for himself. He lacks the primary condition of every chemical assimilative process, namely warmth” (p. 78). Hess also castigated the Reform Jew because of “the beautiful phrases about humanity and enlightenment which he employs as a cloak to hide his treason, his fear of being identified with his unfortunate brethren” (p. 75)—an indication that he viewed Reform Jews as attempting to deceive Germans into believing that they had no interest in Jewish nationalism or the fate of Jews in other countries.

There were also parallels between the views of the anti-Semite Richard Wagner and the Zionist Ahad Ha-Am (pseudonym of Asher Ginsberg) (Katz 1986b).[133]Wagner believed that the Jewish spirit was able to dominate the German spirit in art because Jewish influence in Germany had begun before the nation had a well-developed culture of its own—the result of political fragmentation since the Thirty Years’ War. According to the diary of Cosima Wagner, Wagner stated in 1878 that “if ever I were to write again about the Jews, I should say I have nothing against them, it is just that they descended on us Germans too soon, we were not yet steady enough to absorb them” (see Rather 1990, 212). Both developed the idea that Jews could not have their own artistic spirit because they failed to identify completely with the surrounding culture. In an essay originally published in 1889, Ha-Am (1922, 3) claimed Judaism was not merely a religion but a nation bound together with deeply felt emotional bonds. Like many anti-Semites, Ha-Am also had a well-developed anti-individualist perspective, in which Jews must view themselves as a part of the larger corporate group and sacrifice their personal interests for the good of the group: “For the people is one people throughout all its generations, and the individuals who come and go in each generation are but as those minute parts of the living body which change every day, without affecting in any degree the character of that organic unity which is the whole body” (p. 8).[134]Ha-Am (in Simon 1960, 102) condemned “enlightened” Western Jews who had “sold their souls” for civil rights: “I can proclaim my feeling of kinship with my fellow-Jews, wherever they may be, without having to defend it by far-fetched and unsatisfactory excuses”—an implicit rebuke of the Reform project of rejecting the language of kinship and nationalism in developing elaborate rationales for continued Jewish group cohesion in the post-Enlightenment world. Like the German Volkische thinkers, Ha-Am believed that each nation, like each person, has a unique character and personality. Moreover, he had pronounced ideas on what constituted the national spirit of his people and believed that it was profoundly different from the German spirit.

Racialist views were especially common among what Ragins (1980, 132ff) terms the second generation of Zionists, many of whom came to maturity in the 1890s.[135]Similarly, in the United States Zionists raised a “storm of protest” when Judge Julian Mack of the American Jewish Committee testified before the Dillingham Commission on immigration in 1909 that Jews were not a race (Cohen 1972, 47). Szajowski (1967, 7) cites the following statement by Lucien Wolf, secretary of the Conjoint Foreign Committee of the Board of Deputies and the Anglo-Jewish Association, as typical of Jewish leaders of the period, including Jacob Schiff of the American Jewish Committee and Dr. Paul Nathan, leader of the German Hilfsverein der deutschen Juden: “I, too, am for assimilation, but I want it mechanical and not chemical. I want the race preserved but the spirit merged.” Goldstein (1997) shows that American Jews in the late 19th century commonly identified themselves as a racial group, at least partly as an image-management strategy (see Chapter 7). The Zionist journal Die Welt published several articles with a racialist, Volkische ideology in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. A writer argued that the Jews were a race with distinctive physical features and had retained their racial purity over four thousand years. Another contributorargued that this racial distinctiveness precluded assimilation: “Those who demand assimilation of us either do not yet know that a man cannot get out of his skin . . . or else they know this and then expect of us shameful, daily humiliation, which consists in feigning Aryanism, suppressing our instincts, and squeezing into the skin of the Aryan, which does not fit us at all” (in Ragins 1980, 150). Another author agreed with the racialist writings of Gobineau, who emphasized the high level of racial purity among the Jews and the incompatibility of Jews with other races (Ragins 1980, 151).

All of the Zionist racial scientists studied by Efron (1994; see also Endelman 1991, 196), including Elias Auerbach, Aron Sandler, Felix Theilhaber, and Ignaz Zollschan, were motivated by a perceived need to end Jewish intermarriage and preserve Jewish racial purity.[136]Theilhaber is interesting because of his deep concern with Jewish fertility and at the same time with developing organizations that would facilitate abortion and birth control among gentile Germans. Theilhaber was very concerned about the declining Jewish birth rate and was politically active in attempting to increase Jewish fertility (going so far as to propose to tax “child-poor” families to support “child-rich” families). At the same time, he was also instrumental in creation of the Gesellschaft für Sexualreform, whose aims were to legalize abortion and make contraceptives available to the German public (Efron 1994, 142, 144, 152). As indicated below, the National Socialists encouraged fertility and enacted laws that restricted abortion and discouraged birth control. Only by creating a Jewish homeland and leaving the assimilatory influences of the diaspora could Jews preserve their unique racial heritage.

Thus, for Auerbach, Zionism would return Jews “back into the position they enjoyed before the nineteenth century—politically autonomous, culturally whole, and racially pure” (Efron 1994, 136). Zollschan, whose book on “the Jewish racial question” went through five editions and was well known to both Jewish and gentile anthropologists (Efron 1994, 155), praised Houston Stewart Chamberlain and advocated Zionism as the only way to retain Jewish racial purity from the threat of mixed marriages and assimilation (Gilman 1993, 109; Nicosia 1985, 18).[137]Zollschan comments on the light pigmentation to be found in all Jewish groups despite the predominance of dark pigmentation. The fin de siécle race scientists made some interesting speculations on the origins of blond hair and blue eyes among Jews. The German Felix von Luschan proposed that the ancient Jews had intermarried with the non-Semitic Hittites and the blond Amorites. The Jewish racial scientist Elias Auerbach rejected this idea because it conflicted with the abhorrence of exogamy that is so apparent in the Tanakh. He proposed that when Jews settled in lands with a high percentage of blondes they have an unconscious preference to marry blondes in their own group, so that there is selection in the diaspora environment for phenotypic resemblance to the non-Jewish population (see Efron 1994, 139–140). The German Fritz Lenz (1931, 667–668) (a professor of “racial hygiene” in the National Socialist era) made a proposal similar to that of Auerbach. Zollschan’s description of the phenotypic, and by implication genetic commonality of Jews around the world is striking. He notes that the same Jewish faces can be seen throughout the Jewish world among Ashkenazi, Sephardic, and Oriental Jews. He also remarked on the same mix of body types, head shapes, skin, and hair and eye pigmentation in these widely separated groups (see Efron 1994, 158).

Arthur Ruppin, the German Zionist and demographer, was an important historical figure who “represented and symbolized the second era in Zionism” (Bein 1971, xix) and whose writings were sufficiently well known to merit comment by American leaders of the Reform movement (Levenson 1989, 327). (Werner Sombart [1913, 285] cited Ruppin and Elias Auerbach to support his impression that “to-day, so far as I can make out, the . . . view prevails that from the days of Ezra to these the Jews have kept strictly apart” and that as a result they constituted a distinct racial group.) Ruppin consistently advocated the view that there was an ethical imperative to retain Jewish racial purity. Ruppin had a clear conception of the importance of Jewish “racial types” as central to historical Judaism.[138]In Jews in the Modern World, Ruppin (1934) asserts that Jews are not a racially pure group, because of widespread intermarriage and illicit sexual relationships in the diaspora. Nevertheless, he describes three “racial types” of Jews, one (the Oriental Jews) genetically identical to the ancient Jews, and two others (Sephardic and Ashkenazic) resulting from an influx of gentile genes in the diaspora. Although these racial types are not racially pure, because they originated as a result of cross-breeding, they represent racial types because they have been genetically isolated for centuries in particular areas. Ruppin therefore conceptualizes the Ashkenazic and Sephardic Jewish populations as originating from a high level of cross-breeding followed by prolonged periods of genetic isolation, with the result that contemporary Jewish populations have a high degree of genetic homogeneity and phenotypic resemblance.

In a section entitled “Disruptive Forces in Jewry,” Ruppin decries the assimilative forces of modern societies, including the decline of religious belief and family ties, and the weakening of a sense of common fate among Jews.

Intermarriage marks the end of Judaism. Mixed marriage is regarded as destructive of Judaism even where the non-Jewish side adopts the Jewish religion, for it is understood, be it merely subconsciously, that Judaism is something more than a religion—a common descent and a common fate. Were it only a religious communion, assimilated Jews would actually have to welcome a mixed marriage which gains a proselyte for Judaism, but even among them this view is conspicuously absent. (p. 318)

Ruppin also regretted that “the feeling of unity resulting from consanguinity is being lost” (p. 277). Ruppin himself married his first cousin, suggesting he also placed a high value on the common Jewish practice of consanguineous marriage, which has resulted in relatively high levels of genetic relatedness within historical Jewish societies (see PTSDA, Ch. 4).
In an argument reminiscent of the long history of conceptualizing Judaism as a “light unto the nations,” Ruppin (1913, 218) stressed that the Jewish intellectual ability was utilized for humanity as a whole, “for the common good.” In Ruppin’s view, Jews have had an immense positive influence on civilization, one that has benefited all humans. But racial admixture would destroy the unique Jewish contribution to civilization—an argument which, apart from its assertion of Jewish ethical altruism vis-à-vis the gentiles, is reminiscent of those presented by many theorists of Aryan racial superiority.[139]While Ruppin stated that “other nations may have points of superiority” (1913, 217), he countenanced rather negative views of Germans. In his introduction to Ruppin’s (1934) book, the prominent historian Sir Louis B. Namier (1934, xx–xxi) presented the following view of Germans: “The German is methodical, crude, constructive mainly in the mechanical sense, extremely submissive to authority, a rebel or a fighter only by order from above; he gladly remains all his life a tiny cog in a machine.” He goes on to refer to German “political and social ineptitude.” As expected by social identity theory, positive attributions regarding one’s ingroup tend to be associated with negative evaluations of the outgroup.

We can thus accept the high intellectuality of the Jews without reserve, and are justified in desiring to preserve this high human type . . . as a separate entity, unmixed, because this is the only possible way to preserve and develop the race-character. Any highly cultivated race deteriorates rapidly when its members mate with a less cultivated race, and the Jew naturally finds his equal and match most easily within the Jewish people. We cannot absolutely assert that the mixture of Jews with other races invariably produces a degenerate posterity. . . . It is certain, however, that by intermarriage the race-character is lost, and the descendants of a mixed marriage are not likely to have any remarkable gifts. . . . Intermarriage being clearly detrimental to the preservation of the high qualities of the race, it follows that it is necessary to try to prevent it and to preserve Jewish separatism. (Ruppin 1913, 227–228)

Another noteworthy Jewish racialist thinker was Martin Buber, the prominent Zionist and theologian, who wrote of the Jewish Volkgeist and advocated greater pride in the distinctive Jewish racial features: “A Volk is held together by primary elements: blood, fate—insofar, as it rests upon the development of blood—and culturally creative power—insofar as it is conditioned by the individuality which arises from the blood” (in Ragins 1980, 157). Buber idealized the hyper-collectivist Jewish Hasidim as a basis for contemporary Judaism because of their intensely emotional commitment to the group and their mystical love for the Volk (Mosse 1970, 85). “Just as the Germans attempted to root this mystical tradition in their national mystique, so Buber eventually attempted to embody this Mythos in the Jewish Volk, exemplified by the Hasidim” (Mosse 1970, 87). As a result of Buber’s influence, Zionist publications during the Weimar years “were replete with favorable references to ‘the mysticism of blood,’ ‘racial genius,’ and the ‘Jewish people’s soul’ ” (Niewyk 1980, 131).[140]Buber’s close friend Gustav Landauer developed similar ideas, in which “the individual . . . rediscovers the community to which he is linked through his blood and learns that he is merely an ‘electric spark’ in a larger unity” (Mosse 1970, 91). Nevertheless, the Jewish God was the God of all humanity, implying some sort of coexistence of different peoples. As noted in Chapter 7, Buber and Landauer argued that Jewish pursuit of their ethnic interests was in the service of all mankind. As Mosse (1970, 89) notes in his comments on Buber and another Jewish Volkische thinker, Robert Weltsch, “only by first becoming a member of the Volk could the individual Jew truly become part of humanity.” Mosse comments that it is not at all clear how this Jewish Volkische ideology would be compatible with the idea that all of humanity would “flow together,” but the attitude was typical of many Zionists of the period. In my terms, such ideologies are examples of rationalization, deception and/or self-deception that have been typical of Jewish theories of Judaism throughout history (see Chapters 7 and 8).

This Volkisch idea of a membership in a highly cohesive group was pursued by a great many Jewish youth who, by World War I and thereafter, “found an answer to their Jewishness through a deepening of the experience that bound them together, with their own age and kind, in a meaningful community” by joining the Jewish Bund (Mosse 1970, 98–99). The concurrent German Youth Movement satisfied similar desires for membership in cohesive groups among gentile Germans. Although the German Youth Movement tended to not fuse Volkische thinking with racism and exclusivism even into the Weimar period (Mosse 1970, 20), many Jewish and gentile German youth were in fact members of mirror-image, emotionally compelling, cohesive groups: “Once again one is struck by the common strivings of Jewish and German youth” (Mosse 1970, 99).

Interestingly, Franz Oppenheimer decried the racialist tendencies of some of his fellow Zionists, noting that “a racial pride swaggered which was nothing other than the photographic negative of anti-Semitism” (in Ragins 1980, 124)—a comment that reinforces the “mirror-image” theme of this chapter and indicates that for many Jewish Zionists, Jewish racialism went beyond merely asserting and shoring up the ethnic basis of Judaism, to embrace the idea of racial superiority. Consistent with the anti-assimilationist thrust of Zionism, very few Zionists intermarried, and those who did, such as Martin Buber, found that their marriages were problematic within the wider Zionist community (Norden 1995). In 1929 the Zionist leaders of the Berlin Jewish community condemned intermarriage as a threat to the “racial purity of stock” and asserted its belief that “consanguinity of the flesh and solidarity of the soul” were essential for developing a Jewish nation, as was the “will to establish a closed brotherhood over against all other communities on earth” (in Niewyk 1980, 129–130).

Jewish assertions of racial superiority may have been tempered somewhat by the anti-Semitic climate of Central Europe. For example, Ignaz Zollschan argued that Jewish intellectual superiority was the result of heredity resulting from eugenic practices within the Jewish community—a view for which there is ample empirical support (PTSDA, Ch. 7): Jews who were not adept at religious study lost out in the “struggle for existence” (see Efron 1994, 106). However, Zollschan’s lauding of Jewish achievements and Jewish racial superiority had a “defensive” ring that Efron (1994, 162) attributes to the anti-Semitic climate surrounding him. On the other hand, Joseph Jacobs, writing in a much less anti-Semitic England, could freely discuss his views on the intellectual and moral superiority of Jews in the most respectable academic circles, including those frequented by his mentor, Sir Francis Galton (Darwin’s cousin and the founder of biometrical genetics and the eugenics movement).

Assertions of Zionist racialism continued into the National Socialist period, where they dovetailed with National Socialist attitudes. Joachim Prinz, a German Jew who later became the head of the American Jewish Congress, celebrated Hitler’s ascent to power because it signaled the end of the Enlightenment values which had resulted in assimilation and mixed marriage among Jews:

We want assimilation to be replaced by a new law: the declaration of belonging to the Jewish nation and the Jewish race. A state built upon the principle of the purity of nation and race can only be honoured and respected by a Jew who declares his belonging to his own kind. . . . For only he who honours his own breed and his own blood can have an attitude of honour towards the national will of other nations. (From J. Prinz, Wir Juden [We Jews] [1934]; in Shahak 1994, 71–72; italics in text)

In 1938, Stephen S. Wise, president of the American Jewish Congress and the World Jewish Congress, stated that “I am not an American citizen of the Jewish faith, I am a Jew. . . . Hitler was right in one thing. He calls the Jewish people a race and we are a race.”[141]“Dr. Wise Urges Jews to Declare Selves as Such,” New York Herald Tribune, June 13, 1938, 12.

The common ground of the racial Zionists and their gentile counterparts included the exclusion of Jews from the German Volksgemeinschaft (Nicosia 1985, 19). Indeed, shortly after Hitler came to power, the Zionist Federation of Germany submitted a memorandum to the German government outlining a solution to the Jewish question and containing the following remarkable statement. The Federation declared that the Enlightenment view that Jews should be absorbed into the nation state

discerned only the individual, the single human being freely suspended in space, without regarding the ties of blood and history or spiritual distinctiveness. Accordingly, the liberal state demanded of the Jews assimilation [via baptism and mixed marriage] into the non-Jewish environment. . . . Thus it happened that innumerable persons of Jewish origin had the chance to occupy important positions and to come forward as representatives of German culture and German life, without having their belonging to Jewry become visible. Thus arose a state of affairs which in political discussion today is termed “debasement of Germandom,” or “Jewification.” . . . Zionism has no illusions about the difficulty of the Jewish condition, which consists above all in an abnormal occupational pattern and in the fault of an intellectual and moral posture not rooted in one’s own tradition. (In Dawidowicz 1976, 150–152)

Most Jews did not openly espouse racialist views in the period we are discussing—at least partly because they were aware of the ultimate danger of racialist thinking to Judaism (Ragins 1980, 137). Racialist rhetoric by Jews was publicly condemned by some Jewish leaders because of fears of anti-Semitism (Ragins 1980, 137). Recognizing this danger, a major focus of the Zentralverein deutscher Staatsbürger jüdischen Glaubens (Central Association of German Citizens of Jewish Faith)—the main self-defense organ of German liberal Judaism—was to combat what it termed “racial Semitism” (Levy 1975, 156).

However, it is quite possible that racialist views were more often expressed privately than publicly. Lindemann (1997, 91) notes that “even within those universalistic convictions were nuances with racist undertones” and cites the French-Jewish writer Julian Benda who observed that there “were certain magnates, financiers rather than literary men, with whom the belief in the superiority of their race and in the natural subjection of those who did not belong to it, was visibly sovereign.” A number of Jewish leftist politicians in France “harbored a sense of their special merit or destiny as Jews to be political leaders, what they considered their “right to rule.’ ” There is considerable evidence that German Jews during this period were engaged in deception and self-deception regarding their behavior and motivations (see Chapters 6–8), so it would not be at all surprising to find Jews who sincerely believed Judaism had no ethnic connotations and nevertheless opposed intermarriage and conversion, as well as others who believed it privately but denied it publicly for political reasons.

Ragins (1980, 85) notes the tension between the statements of liberal Jews that Judaism was nothing more than a religion and their recognition that traditional Judaism had been far more than that. The claim that Judaism was nothing more than a religion conflicted with the reality that “there was a sense of relatedness and cohesiveness among Jews which seemed to extend beyond the lines drawn by religious factions, uniting Orthodox and Reform” (Ragins 1980, 85). Recognizing this, the Zentralvereinat times acknowledged that Judaism was more than simply a religion and should be defined by a “consciousness of common descent [Abstammung]” (Ragins 1980, 85), or race (p. 86). Thus in 1928 the director of the Zentralverein asserted that Jews had been a race since biblical times and concluded that “extraction remains, that is, the racial characteristics are still present, albeit diminished by the centuries; they are still present in external as well as mental features” (in Friedländer 1997, 119).[142]Niewyk also includes among the liberal Jewish voices the novelists Georg Hermann and Kurt Münzer, both of whom believed that racial differences divided Jews and Germans. In attempting to understand Jewish uniqueness, another liberal, Rabbi Caesar Seligmann of Frankfurt-am-Main, attributed it to “Jewish sentiment, the instinctive, call it what you will, call it the community of blood, call it tribal consciousness, call it the ethnic soul, but best of all call it: the Jewish heart” (in Niewyk 1980, 106).

The vacillation and ambivalence surrounding racial conceptualizations of Judaism were also present in American Reform circles in the late 19th century:

It was not uncommon for a rabbi to make bold pronouncements about his desire for a universalistic society and then, in moments of frustration or doubt, revert to a racial understanding of the Jews. . . . While willing to stretch the definition of Judaism to its limits, it was clear that most Reformers were not willing to break the historical continuity of the Jewish “race.” Even Solomon Schindler, . . . one of the most radical of Reform rabbis, felt compelled to acknowledge the racial aspect of Jewish identity. Despite the high universal task of Judaism, wrote Schindler, “it remains a fact that we spring from a different branch of humanity, that different blood flows in our veins, that our temperament, our tastes, our humor is different from yours; that, in a word, we differ in our views and in our mode of thinking in many cases as much as we differ in our features.” (Goldstein 1997, 50–51)

Besides the Zionists and a vacillating body of liberal Jewish opinion, there are several other important Jewish intellectuals who are not associated with Zionism but nevertheless had strongly racialist views. Heinrich Graetz (1817–1891), the prominent historian of Judaism, was enthusiastic about the proto-Zionist ideas of Moses Hess, whose work, as we have seen, has strong overtones of attitudes of racial superiority. Graetz believed that Jews could solve the world’s problems and “sometimes seemed to think Jews would provide actual world leadership. At others it was to be merely an ethical example. But in either event he presented the Jews as a superior people” (Johnson 1988, 331). Graetz’s sense of Jewish racial superiority was repulsive to gentiles, and there was an exchange with Heinrich von Treitschke in which the latter characterized Graetz as an exemplar of the “boasting spirit which, he alleged, was in the ascendant in Jewish circles and was to be regarded as a menace to the German empire” (in Bloch 1898, 77). Graetz’s work provoked a negative reaction not only in Treitschke but the German academic establishment as a whole (Levenson 1989, 329). While intellectuals like Treitschke saw Christianity as a unifying force for the German nation, Graetz wrote to his friend Moses Hess that Christianity was a “religion of death,” and Hess wrote to Graetz of his delight in “scourging Germans.” Graetz perceived Jews as battling to destroy Christian culture: “we must above all work to shatter Christianity” (in Lindemann 1997, 91). These attitudes among prominent Jewish intellectuals exemplify the theme of cultural conflict between Jews and gentiles as a theme of anti-Semitism (p. 50ff).

There is a sense of Jewish racial superiority in Graetz’s writings as well as hints that he believed in the importance of racial purity.

There were but two nations of creative mind who originated [high] culture and raised humanity from the slough of barbarity and savagery. These two were the Hellenic and the Israelite people. There was no third race of coadjutors. . . . If the modern Roman, German, and Sclavonicnations, both on this side and on the other side of the ocean, could be despoiled of what they received from the Greeks and the Israelites, they would be utterly destitute. (Graetz 1898, VI, 706)

However, the Jews have continued as a creative race into the present, while the Greeks gradually merged with the barbarians and lost their distinctiveness—a point remarkably similar to Houston Stewart Chamberlain’s “chaos of peoples” idea described above, in which the decline of the ancient world is attributed to loss of racial purity:

[The Greeks] despaired of their bright Olympus, and at best only retained sufficient courage to resort to suicide. The Greeks were not gifted with the power of living down their evil fortune, or of remaining true to themselves when dispossessed of their territories; and whether in a foreign country or in their own land they lost their mental balance, and became merged in the medley of barbaric nations.[143]Graetz’s work is replete with ingroup glorification and denigration of outgroups. While other nations had sunk into debauchery and violence, the Jews had remained true to their historical mission: “In the midst of a debauched and sinful world and amid vices with which, in its beginnings, the Jews were also infected, they yet freed themselves, they raised on high an exalted standard of moral purity, and thus formed a striking contrast to other nations” (Graetz 1898, VI, 706). Their allegiance to high moral standards required them to separate themselves entirely from the “heathen world” (p. 721)—a common rationalization for Jewish separatism (see Chapter 7).

The psychoanalytic movement was also characterized by ideas of Jewish intellectual superiority, racial consciousness, national pride, and Jewish solidarity (Klein 1981, 143).[144]This Jewish intellectual racialism among psychoanalysts was highly compatible with a firm commitment to Jewish group continuity. Indeed, Klein (1981) notes that Freud passionately implored his associate Max Graf not to abandon his Jewish commitment by baptizing his son. A theme of The Culture of Critique is that a major component of Jewish intellectual movements in the 20th century has been a commitment to messianic universalist movements, which propose to lead humanity to a higher moral plane while nevertheless retaining Jewish group continuity. These movements are thus compatible with continued genetic segregation between Jews and gentiles and continued group-based resource competition between Jews and gentiles. Freud and his colleagues felt a sense of “racial kinship” with their Jewish colleagues and a “racial strangeness” to others (Klein 1981, 142; see also Gilman 1993, 12ff, and The Culture of Critique, Ch. 4). Commenting on Ernest Jones, one of his disciples, Freud wrote that “the racial mixture in our band is very interesting to me. He [Jones] is a Celt and hence not quite accessible to us, the Teuton [i.e., C. G. Jung] and the Mediterranean man [himself as a Jew]” (in Gay 1988, 186).

Perhaps the clearest indication of Freud’s racialist thinking is his comment to a Jewish woman who had previously intended to have a child by C. G. Jung in order to reconcile the Aryan/Jewish split in psychoanalysis at the time. Freud observed “I must confess . . . that your fantasy about the birth of the Savior to a mixed union did not appeal to me at all. The Lord, in that anti-Jewish period, had him born from the superior Jewish race. But I know these are my prejudices” (in Yerushalmi 1991, 45).

A year later after the woman had given birth to a child by a Jewish father, Freud wrote,

I am, as you know, cured of the last shred of my predilection for the Aryan cause, and would like to take it that if the child turned out to be a boy he will develop into a stalwart Zionist. He or she must be dark in any case, no more towheads. Let us banish all these will-o’-the-wisps!

I shall not present my compliments to Jung in Munich. . . . We are and remain Jews. The others will only exploit us and will never understand and appreciate us. (In Yerushalmi 1991, 45)

In the following passage from Moses and Monotheism,the Jews are proposed to have fashioned themselves to become a morally and intellectually superior people:

The preference which through two thousand years the Jews have given to spiritual endeavour has, of course, had its effect; it has helped to build a dike against brutality and the inclination to violence which are usually found where athletic development becomes the ideal of the people. The harmonious development of spiritual and bodily activity, as achieved by the Greeks, was denied to the Jews. In this conflict their decision was at least made in favour of what is culturally the more important. (Freud 1939, 147)[145]Before their rupture, Jung is described as a “strong independent personality, as a Teuton” (in Gay 1988, 201). After Jung was made head of the International Psychoanalytic Association, a colleague of Freud was concerned because, “taken as a race,” Jung and his gentile colleagues were “completely different from us Viennese” (in Gay 1988, 219). In 1908 Freud wrote a letter to the psychoanalyst Karl Abraham in which Abraham is described as keen, while Jung is described as having a great deal of élan—which, as Yerushalmi (1991, 43) notes, indicates a tendency to stereotype individuals on the basis of group membership (the intellectually sharp Jew and the energetic Aryan).

Freud’s sense of Jewish superiority can also be seen in his statement that “ruthless egoism” is more characteristic of gentiles than of Jews, while Jewish family life and intellectual life are superior. Freud pointed to Jewish achievement in the arts and sciences to support his claim that Jews were superior (see Cuddihy 1974, 36).

Further, Freud viewed these differences as unchangeable. In a 1933 letter Freud decried the upsurge in anti-Semitism, stating that “my judgment of human nature, especially the Christian-Aryan variety, has had little reason to change” (in Yerushalmi 1991, 48). Nor, in Freud’s opinion, would the Jewish character change. In Moses and Monotheism, Freud (1939, 51n) states that “it is historically certain that the Jewish type was finally fixed as a result of the reforms of Ezra and Nehemiah in the fifth century before Christ.” As Yerushalmi (1991, 52) notes, “Freud was thoroughly convinced that once the Jewish character was created in ancient times it had remained constant, immutable, its quintessential qualities indelible.”

Viewed in this manner the obvious racialism and the clear statement of Jewish ethical, spiritual, and intellectual superiority contained in Freud’s last work, Moses and Monotheism, must be seen not as an aberration of Freud’s thinking but as central to his attitudes, if not his published work dating from a much earlier period. These issues are discussed more fully in The Culture of Critique. Here they merely serve as an indication of the deeply held racialist views of individuals on both sides of the ethnic divide during the period.

Freud’s attitudes were fully mirrored by non-Jewish theorists (Gilman 1993, 12ff).[146]As discussed by Yerushalmi (1991, 46), in 1921 Wilhelm Dolles published a book Das Jüdische als Geistesrichtung [The Jewish and the Christian as Spiritual Direction] which argued that Jews were attracted to psychoanalysis because they had a “hysterical” character because they had striven throughout their history for unattainable goals. Dolles did not reject psychoanalysis but advocated a different form of psychoanalysis for Christians, such as that of Jung, more attuned to the morally superior Christian character. Jung’s ideas on racial archetypes differ from Freud’s views only in the type of traits emphasized as characteristic of the two groups. While Freud emphasized the brutality, violence, and enslavement to the senses of the gentiles versus the spirituality, intellectuality, and moral superiority of the Jews, Jung held the view that the advantage of the “Aryans” was in their energy and untapped potential resulting from their relatively recent rise from barbarism. On the other hand, Jews, required to exist as a minority in a host society, could create no genuine culture of their own. After the National Socialists assumed power, Jung became a prominent spokesman for the view that there were differences between Jewish and Aryan psychology.[147]Yerushalmi (1991, 54) also notes that Ernest Jones, a self described “Shabbes-goy among the Viennese” and someone whose worshipful compliance made him very useful to psychoanalysis as a Jewish ethnic movement, also had the view that Jews had certain physical features that caused gentiles to have unconscious hostility toward them. In a 1934 article Jung emphasized that psychoanalysis had developed a very negative conception of the German character:

In my opinion it has been a grave error in medical psychology up till now to apply Jewish categories . . . indiscriminately to Germanic and Slavic Christendom. Because of this the most precious secret of the Germanic peoples—their creative and intuitive depth of soul—has been explained by a morass of banal infantilism, while my own warning voice has for decades been suspected of anti-Semitism. (In Yerushalmi 1991, 48–49)

Indeed, as elaborated in The Culture of Critique, a central function of Freud’s Totem and Taboo appears to have been to combat “everything that is Aryan-religious” (in Gay 1988, 331), a comment that illustrates the extent to which Freud, like Hess and Graetz, viewed his work as an aspect of competition between ethnic groups. The early psychoanalytic movement self-consciously perceived itself as representing a Jewish intellectual offensive against “Aryan-Christian” culture in which religion and race overlapped entirely.

Even in the absence of an explicitly racialist conceptualization of the differences between Germans and Jews, there was a feeling of estrangement and of being different peoples on both sides of the ethnic divide. Such attitudes were common in anti-Semitic writings throughout the 19th century (Rose 1990) and continued in the 20th century. In the correspondence of the early 1930s between Hannah Arendt and Karl Jaspers, Arendt fails to identify with Max Weber’s “imposing patriotism.” “For me Germany means my mother tongue, philosophy, and literature” (in Kohler & Saner 1992). Jaspers replies, “I find it odd that you as a Jew want to set yourself apart from what is German. . . . When you speak of mother tongue, philosophy, and literature, all you need add is historical-political destiny, and there is no difference left at all” (in Kohler & Saner 1992). Arendt, however, self-consciously rejects being part of this destiny of the German people. The concept of a “historico-political destiny of a people” clearly conceptualizes separate “peoples,” but in Weber’s view membership in the German people is open to Jews. Arendt is rejecting such membership and implicitly accepting the idea of a single culture but two separate peoples.[148]After becoming a refugee, Arendt lived her life in an almost exclusively Jewish milieu, working for a Jewish refugee relief organization, for Jewish Cultural Reconstruction, Inc., and for a publisher of Judaica, Schocken Books. Her theory of anti-Semitism, as expressed in The Origins of Totalitarianism, like many other theories of anti-Semitism developed by Jewish intellectuals such as those discussed in The Culture of Critique, provides no role for resource competition between impermeable ethnic groups. Katz (1983, 83) presents Arendt as an example of a theorist of anti-Semitism who unrealistically and apologetically ignores the contribution of Jewish behavior to anti-Semitism.

General feelings of peoplehood and thinking in terms of racial essences and racial differences were thus part of the Zeitgeist of the period—characteristic of Jewish as well as gentile intellectuals.

The breakdown of the liberal order during the closing decades of the nineteenth century [in Austria] brought back to the surface the opposing assumptions about social integration that had distinguished the Jewish from the non-Jewish sensibility. Annoyed by the parochial attachments of other people, and unreceptive to the idea of a pluralistic state, many non-Jews interpreted the Jewish assertion of pride as a subversion of the “enlightened” or egalitarian state. The Jewish stress on national or racial pride reinforced the non-Jewish perception of the Jew as a disruptive social force. (Klein 1981, 146)

Conclusion • National Socialism and Judaism as Mirror-Image Group Strategies • 600 Words

From the perspective developed here, the acceptance of the ideology of an anti-Semitic group strategy among the NSDAP elite may well have been caused or at least greatly facilitated by the presence of Judaism as a very salient and successful racially exclusive antithetical group strategy within German society. In 1905, well before the National Socialists came to power, the anti-Semitic racial theorist Curt Michaelis asserted a relationship between Jewish racial pride (Rassenstolz) and anti-Semitism: “The Rassenstolz promotedrace hatred in its sharpest form—the consequence of which is lasting race war. . . . The Jewish people stands principally in battle against the whole world; naturally, therefore, the whole world [is] against the Jews” (in Efron 1994, 170).

There is an eerie sense in which National Socialist ideology was a mirror image of traditional Jewish ideology. As in the case of Judaism, there was a strong emphasis on racial purity and on the primacy of group ethnic interests rather than individual interests. Like the Jews, the National Socialists were greatly concerned with eugenics. Like the Jews, there was a powerful concern with socializing group members into accepting group goals and with the importance of within-group altruism and cooperation in attaining these goals.

Both groups had very powerful internal social controls that punished individuals who violated group goals or attempted to exploit the group by freeloading. The National Socialists enacted a broad range of measures against Jews as a group, including laws against intermarriage and sexual contact, as well as laws preventing socialization between groups and restricting the economic and political opportunities of Jews. These laws were analogous to the elaborate social controls within the Jewish community to prevent social contact with gentiles and to produce high levels of economic and political cooperation.

Corresponding to the religious obligation to reproduce and multiply enshrined in the Tanakh, the National Socialists placed a strong emphasis on fertility and enacted laws that restricted abortion and discouraged birth control. In a manner analogous to the traditional Jewish religious obligation to provide dowries for poor girls, the National Socialists enacted laws that enabled needy young couples to marry by providing them loans repayable by having children.

As in the society depicted in the Tanakh and throughout Jewish history, the National Socialists regarded people who could not prove the genetic purity of their ancestry as aliens with fewer rights than Germans, with the result that the position of Jews in National Socialist society was analogous to the position of the Nethinim or the Samaritans in ancient Israelite society, or converts in historical Jewish societies, or the Palestinians in contemporary Israel.[149]The Nethinim were members of a foreign ethnic group living as slaves in ancient Israelite society and thought to be descendants of the peoples displaced by the Israelites in the post-Exodus conquest. As indicated in PTSDA (Chs. 3 and 4), the Samaritans were excluded by the Israelites in the post-Exilic period because of their doubtful racial purity. As with Israel, the state had become the embodiment of an exclusivist ethnic group.

Both groups had a well-developed ideology of historical struggle involving the group. Jewish resistance during the period “was founded on militant movements for Zionism, socialism, or Communism—movements that had always provided their members with a strong sense of historical struggle and an identification with group goals rather than individual satisfaction” (Kren & Rappaport 1980, 114)—clearly a statement that could apply not only to Zionism but to traditional Judaism as a whole. We have seen that the National Socialists had a similar ideology of historical struggle and self-sacrifice. Gordon (1984, 114) states that “it was clearly Hitler’s conception that he was working for group goals—those of the ‘Aryan people’ and that his individual fate mattered little.”

In this regard, Hitler’s attitude that death was the only honorable fate for himself and his followers was entirely similar to that of the Jewish resistors of the period (Gordon 1984, 115). Kren and Rappaport (1980, 217) describe a situation in which “the youth—the best, the most beautiful, the finest that the Jewish people possessed—spoke and thought only about an honorable death . . . befitting an ancient people with a history stretching back over several thousand years.”

Common Threads in Western Anti-Semitism • 700 Words

The most important common thread of Western anti-Semitism is the development of cohesive groups that mimic in critical ways the features of Judaism as a group evolutionary strategy. A related common thread has been that there is a tendency to shift away from attempts at complete cultural and genetic assimilation of Jews in the early states of group conflict, followed eventually by the rise of collectivist, authoritarian anti-Semitic group strategies aimed at exclusion, expulsion, or genocide when it is clear that efforts at assimilation have failed. I have noted this phenomenon in the case of Germany during the 19th century, and this certainly appears to have been the case in Spain prior to the expulsion of 1492, following the failure of the forced conversions of 1391 and the consequent turmoil of the 15th century. In 12th–13th-century France there was a shift from a policy of toleration combined with attempts to convert Jews under Louis IX to a policy of “convert or depart” during the reign of Philip IV, and finally the expulsion of Jews in 1306 (Jordan 1989, 180). The final expulsion order is also a last plea for Jewish assimilation: “Every Jew must leave my land, taking none of his possessions with him; or, let him choose a new God for himself, and we will become One People” (in Jordan 1989, 214; italics in text).

As expected by an evolutionist, a third common thread has been that each Western anti-Semitic movement shows indications of a concern with one-way gene flow from the Jewish to the gentile population. Anti-Jewish writers have often emphasized Jewish males exploiting gentile females (see, e.g., pp. 49, 80n.21, 228). As an elite group, Jewish males in the absence of social controls would tend to have access to gentile females as concubines. There was deep concern in the ancient world regarding Jewish ownership of gentile female slaves. In areas where polygyny and concubinage were legal, there were typically restrictions on Jews being able to have concubines from the dominant religious or ethnic group (e.g., restrictions in Muslim areas preventing Jews from having Muslim but not Christian concubines). Concern about Jewish males exploiting gentile females also figures in laws dating from the period of the Inquisition (see pp. 237–238). In the medieval and early modern world, extending into the 20th century, there was concern in widely separated times and places about Jews employing Christian female domestics. And in late medieval Spain and 19th- and 20th-century Germany there was also concern that elite Jews were marrying their daughters into the gentile nobility while nevertheless retaining the genetic purity of their stem families. In all of these cases, Jewish stem families were able to retain genetic segregation.

The fact that Western societies have typically attempted to convert and assimilate Jews before excluding them indicates that Western societies, unlike prototypical Jewish cultures, do not have a primitive concern with racial purity. Rather, concern about racial purity emerges only in the late stages of Jewish-gentile group conflict and only in the context of a concern about the asymmetrical gene flow from the Jewish to the gentile gene pool.

On the other hand, despite a great deal of commonality among Western anti-Semitic movements, there was a great difference between the universalistic, assimilatory tendencies of traditional Western Christianity and the exclusivistic, racialist program of National Socialism. Indeed, we have seen that beginning in the 19th century an important aspect of German anti-Semitic ideology was a criticism of Western universalism and the development of peculiarly Germanic conceptions of Christianity. A critical component of official National Socialist ideology, as represented in the thought of Alfred Rosenberg, was the idea that “the twin forces of disintegration, namely universalism and individualism, act in perpetual conflict with the Germanic concept of race” (Cecil 1972, 89). In this regard, National Socialism was indeed profoundly anti-Western. In rejecting both universalism and individualism, National Socialism resembled, much more closely than did medieval Western collectivist Christianity, its mirror image rival, Judaism.

Lack of Group-Based Competition as a Necessary Condition for Western Individualism • 1,000 Words

While intra-societal conflict between Jews and gentiles tends to be associated with the development of anti-individualist Western societies, the absence of conflict between powerful and impermeable ethnic groups may be a necessary condition for the development of the relatively individualistic Western societies of the post-Enlightenment world. This proposal is highly congruent with the social identity perspective of group conflict: as societies become structured around competing groups, people form strong group allegiances incompatible with individualism. Such a society is incompatible with the notion of individual rights because group interests become paramount: Within the ingroup, individual rights and interests must be sharply curtailed in the interests of group cohesion and the attainment of group interests. The context of between-group competition results in group membership rather than individual behavior or merit becoming the most important criterion of personal assessment. A Manichean morality of ingroup favoritism and outgroup hostility develops that is completely incompatible with individualism.

This hypothesis is consistent with the fact that the Enlightenment and the reemergence of individualism in Western Europe occurred most prominently in England and France, from which Jews had been almost completely excluded, while “the basic fact about German history since the eighteenth century has been the failure of the Enlightenment to take root” (Mosse 1964, 21–22).

It was a failure that was undoubtedly made the more likely by the fact that throughout the entire era, liberal political views were strongly supported by Jews and were perceived as benefiting Jews—a fact that the opponents of these ideas never failed to emphasize. Indeed, a social identity perspective would expect that initially minor differences between the groups (e.g., Jews tending toward liberal internationalism, gentiles toward conservative nationalism) would become increasingly polarized as group conflict escalated. Personal identity would eventually become increasingly demarcated not only by ethnicity but also by political attitudes, with the result that the political beliefs of the opposition become an important, negatively evaluated marker of outgroup membership. For a German, to be a liberal would eventually be tantamount to favoring a negatively perceived outgroup.

Political liberalism was the antithesis of the strong desire of many Germans to develop a powerful, highly cohesive nation. For many anti-Semites, most notably the anti-Semitic Volkische intellectuals, such as Paul de LaGarde, negative attitudes toward Jews were intimately intertwined with a loathing of liberalism and unrestrained, irresponsible capitalism, combined with a strong desire for a powerful sense of community (Stern 1961, 64, 66).[150]Interestingly, when de LaGarde visited England in the 1850s, he was very favorably impressed by the unity of the people, the popularity of the monarchy, and the responsible behavior of the aristocracy (Stern 1961, 54). Whether or not he was correct in his judgment, it may well be the case that the muted forms of individualism that have characterized several proto-typical Western societies depend for their success on high levels of social consensus and on social or legal constraints on the individualistic behavior of elites. Indeed, late-19th-century Zionists commonly believed that an important source of opposition to liberalism among gentiles stemmed from the perception that liberalism benefited Jews in competition with gentiles; thus Theodor Herzl believed that “emancipation had placed an intolerably heavy strain on Austrian liberals, who had to defend an economic system that eased the way for recent outsiders into positions of prominence” (Kornberg 1993, 180).

The hypothesis that individualism is incompatible with group-based conflict is also consistent with Américo Castro’s (1954, 497; see also Castro 1971) perspective that the Enlightenment could not develop in a Spain fraught with competition between ethnic groups: “From such premises it was impossible that there should be derived any kind of modern state, the sequel, after all, of the Middle Ages’ hierarchic harmony.” Similarly, Grayzel (1933, 83) comments that the exclusion of Jews from Christian society, which was the focus of ecclesiastical policy in the 13th century, might have occurred even in the absence of the Church’s actions; another factor besides religious difference that he argues might have led to exclusion was racial: “The Jews persistently refused to mingle their blood with that of their gentile neighbors at a time when racial intermingling was laying the foundations of the modern national state.”

The implication is that the Western tradition of muted individualism and its concomitant democratic and republican political institutions are unlikely to survive the escalation of intrasocietal group-based competition for resources that is such a prominent theme of contemporary American society. I have previously quoted Pulzer’s (1964, 327) comment, “The Jew could flourish only in the sort of classical Liberal society that existed in Western Europe and that the late nineteenth century had introduced to Central Europe.” While Judaism flourishes in a classical liberal, individualist society, ultimately Judaism is incompatible with such a society, since it unleashes powerful group-based competition for resources within the society, which in turn lead to highly collectivist gentile movements incompatible with individualism. It is also noteworthy that the 19th-century liberal critics of Judaism typically assumed that it would disappear as a result of complete cultural and genetic assimilation—a sort of tacit understanding that a liberal society required a fairly high degree of cultural uniformity.

My view, which I elaborate in The Culture of Critique, is thatWestern societies have a tendency to seek an equilibrium state of hierarchic harmony among the social classes in which there are powerful controls on extreme individualism among the elite classes. This tendency toward hierarchic harmony—a paradigmatic feature of the Christian Middle Ages—combined with assimilationism and individualism has been a powerful force in breaking down barriers within society. The difficulty for a group strategy like Judaism is that, if assimilation fails, the Western tendencies toward universalism and individualism are abandoned. From this perspective, it is no accident that the National Socialist theorist Alfred Rosenberg regarded the Western concepts of universalism and individualism as anathema: Both concepts were incompatible with National Socialism as a closed ethnic group strategy. It is in this sense that the individualist, universalist strands of Western culture are indeed incompatible with Judaism.

Finally, given the Western tendency toward “muted individualism” and hierarchic harmony, there is the suggestion that in the absence of a hated and feared outgroup such as the Jews, there would be a tendency toward decomposition of collectivist, authoritarian social structures in the West. From this perspective, the apparently primitive Western tendency toward a significant degree of individualism, possibly deriving ultimately from a unique ancestral environment (see PTSDA, Ch. 8), results in an inertial tendency toward assimilatory, reproductively egalitarian, and moderately individualistic societies. However, these tendencies may be altered in the direction of authoritarian collectivism under conditions of perceived intrasocietal group-based competition, as discussed throughout this and the previous two chapters.

Egalitarianism and Western Group Strategies • 1,000 Words

It has been noted that National Socialism was characterized by a significant degree of within-group egalitarianism. This tendency toward within-group egalitarianism can also be seen in the conscious attempt to portray Hitler as an idealistic, ascetic hero who tirelessly pursued group interests rather than his own interests. This portrayal of Hitler had some basis in reality well before he came to power, and it later became a prominent feature of National Socialist propaganda (Bracher 1970, 66). Clearly, a fundamental feature of National Socialism was the belief that within the group there would be significant reciprocity, cooperation, even altruism, and that differences in rank would not be closely tied to variation in the markers of reproductive success.

From an evolutionary perspective under conditions of exogamy, the appeal of a group strategy is likely to be increased by the belief that other members of the group, and especially the leaders, are personally ascetic. In a despotic situation, lower-status males are more likely to perceive themselves as exploited by upper-status males and as benefiting little from cooperation or altruism. Self-sacrifice and voluntary cooperation in such a situation are expected to be minimal because the benefits of such behavior are more likely to accrue to the despot while the costs are borne by the lower-status males. At the extreme, if the lower-status male is a slave, cooperation and self-sacrifice are expected to only occur as the result of coercion (see also PTSDA, Ch. 1).

The appeal of asceticism among leaders would be expected to increase dramatically in a situation where the group as a whole has relatively little genetic cohesiveness. I propose that because of the low degree of genetic relatedness within the society, cohesive and anti-individualistic Western group strategies tend to be characterized by leaders who accept asceticism, celibacy, or in general do not have relatively high reproductive success compared to the others in the movement. As indicated in PTSDA (Chs. 6, 8), the high levels of endogamy and consanguinity of Jewish groups are an important aspect of Judaism as a group evolutionary strategy, because they result in individual fitness being correlated with group success. Individual Jews are therefore expected to be much more tolerant of large differences in resources and reproductive success within the Jewish community and more tolerant of the authoritarian political structure of the traditional Jewish community; this is the case not only because they benefit from Jewish charity, but also because they benefit genetically to a considerable extent when other Jews succeed.

However, in an exogamous, assimilative Western society, lower-status individuals benefit less from the success of upper status individuals. A significant degree of personal asceticism in leaders may therefore be necessary in order to obtain the allegiance of the lower orders. The suggestion, then, is that ultimately exogamy and genetic assimilationism are the reasons that reproductive egalitarianism tends to be characteristic of Western collectivist movements. As reviewed in MacDonald (1995b), there has indeed been a strong trend toward reproductive leveling in Western societies beginning in the Middle Ages. The Franciscan and Dominican friars who spearheaded the anti-Semitism and collectivist tendencies of the medieval period also led ascetic lives despite their origins in the middle and upper-middle classes. Their activities appear to have been critical to the development of the intense religious fervor and commitment characteristic of all levels of medieval society—an integral component of the societas Christiana. For example, Lawrence (1994, 126) notes that “the voluntary poverty and self-imposed destitution that identified the early Mendicants with the humblest and most deprived sections of the population, in loud contrast to the careerism and ostentation of the secular clergy and the corporate wealth and exclusiveness of the monasteries, moved the conscience and touched the generosity of commercial communities.”

St. Francis and St. Dominic . . . gave to the Church a new form of religious life, which had an immense and permanent appeal, and one which both attracted a new type of recruit and in its turn inspired an apostalate to the laity, to the heretic and to the heathen. Not only did the appearance of the friars rescue the western church from its drift toward heresy and schism, but the new warmth of devotional life, the preaching, the confessing and the daily counsel of the friars gave a new strength to the lower level of Christian society and indirectly acted as a powerful agent of spiritual growth and social union, thus inevitably compensating for the growing power of legalism and political motives at the higher levels of church life. (Knowles & Obolensky 1968, 345)

Moreover, while Western medieval reproductive altruism occurred as an aspect of commitment to a collectivist group, reproductive leveling continued after the collapse of the medieval church (MacDonald 1995b) and continues in contemporary individualistic and democratic Western societies. Thus the sex lives of the presidents of the United States are closely scrutinized for suggestions that they have not been monogamous. And even if public figures engage in non-monogamous sex, they do it clandestinely, since it would be political suicide to publicize the fact and take pride in it.

As in the case of Judaism, therefore, but for somewhat different reasons, the group must be viewed as an important level of adaptation in conceptualizing historical Western societies.

The foregoing suggests a theoretical association between exogamy and egalitarianism that transcends the individualism/collectivism dichotomy which has been central to my treatment. Political coalition building in exogamous societies tends to result in attempts at egalitarian social controls on the leadership, because lower-status males have a powerful interest in controlling the reproductive behavior of the elite. Such attempts may not succeed, so that a despotism is always a possibility. Nevertheless, exogamy implies that lower-status individuals do not benefit from the reproductive success of the elite, and as a result popular support of either individualist or collectivist political entities is facilitated by reproductive egalitarianism.

Chapter 6 • Jewish Strategies for Combating Anti-Semitism • 11,600 Words

Jewish groups have responded to anti-Semitism by adopting a wide range of strategies. A fundamental theoretical feature of this project is the view that humans are “flexible strategizers” in pursuit of evolutionary goals (Alexander 1987; MacDonald 1991; see PTSDA, Ch. 1). Within this framework, one expects that strategies for combating anti-Semitism will be highly flexible and able to respond adaptively to novel situations. General-purpose cognitive processes, for example, the skills tapped by the g factor of IQ tests, have been utilized to develop a wide array of survival strategies in response to specific situations that could not have been recurrent features of the human environment of evolutionary adaptedness.

These strategies may not succeed in their aims. Rather, unsuccessful strategies are likely to be replaced in a trial-and-error process, and there will be a continual search for new strategies to encounter new, perhaps unforeseen, difficulties. A group strategy that reliably results in hostility is like a widely dispersed fleet of ships attempting to navigate hostile waters: different ships in the fleet encounter different local problems and must develop their own solutions. Moreover, different members of a ship’s crew may advocate different solutions to the same problem, and in the absence of a strong centralized authority, the crew members of one ship may fractionate and pursue their own solutions by in effect constructing their own ships (e.g., Reform, Conservative, Neo-Orthodox, secular, and Zionist solutions to the assimilatory pressures resulting from the Enlightenment). Different sub-groups of Jews may develop different and incompatible strategies for confronting anti-Semitism or attempting to change the wider society to conform to Jewish group interests.

Indeed, one might note that it has often been critically important for Jews to be able to present a divided front to the gentile society, especially in situations where one segment of the Jewish community has adopted policies or attitudes that provoke anti-Semitism. This has happened repeatedly in the modern world. A particularly common pattern during the period from 1880 to 1940 was for Jewish organizations representing older, more established communities in Western Europe and the United States to oppose the activities and attitudes of more recent immigrants from Eastern Europe (see note 20). The Eastern European immigrants tended to be religiously orthodox, politically radical, and sympathetic to Zionism, and they tended to conceptualize themselves in racial and national terms—all qualities that provoked anti-Semitism. In the United States and England, Jewish organizations (such as the American Jewish Committee [AJCommittee]) attempted to minimize Jewish radicalism and gentile perceptions of the radicalism and Zionism of these immigrants (e.g., Cohen 1972; Alderman 1992, 237ff). Highly publicized opposition to these activities dilutes gentile perceptions of Jewish behavior, even in situations where, as occurred in both England and America, the recent immigrants far outnumbered the established Jewish community.

A low level of anti-Semitism may actually facilitate Judaism as a group evolutionary strategy. As discussed in Chapter 1 (see also PTSDA, Ch. 7), social identity research indicates that external threat tends to reduce internal divisions and maximize perceptions of common interest among ingroup members and of conflict of interest with outgroups; also, research on individualism/collectivism indicates that in conditions of external threat people tend to be more willing to commit themselves to hierarchical, authoritarian groups in which individual interests are sacrificed to group interests. Anti-Semitism would also increase the costs of defection, since individuals who defect may not be fully accepted by the gentile community because of negative associations with their former group.

Historically, anti-Semitism has been a potent tool in rallying group commitment and in legitimizing the continuity of Judaism. Jewish leaders have been quite conscious of this function of anti-Semitism. For example, in 1929, Dr. Kurt Fleischer, the leader of the Liberals in the Berlin Jewish Community Assembly, stated that “Anti-Semitism is the scourge that God has sent us in order to lead us together and weld us together” (in Niewyk 1980, 84). Jewish religious authorities have also exaggerated or at least strongly emphasized the extent of anti-Semitism in order to reinforce group solidarity (see also PTSDA, Ch. 7).

The ADL [Anti-Defamation League], like the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, has built its financial appeal to Jews on its ability to portray the Jewish people as surrounded by enemies who are on the verge of launching threatening anti-Semitic campaigns. It has a professional stake in exaggerating the dangers, and sometimes allows existing racial or political prejudices in the Jewish world to influence how it will portray the potential dangers. (Tikhun editor Michael Lerner, in Lerner & West 1995, 135)

Jewish religious consciousness centers to a remarkable extent around the memory of persecution. Persecution is a central theme of the holidays of Passover, Hanukkah, Purim, and Yom Kippur. Lipset and Raab (1995, 108) note that Jews learn about the Middle Ages as a period of persecution in Christian Europe, culminating in the expulsions and the Inquisitions. The massacres perpetrated by the Crusaders in 1096 in Germany became a central event in Jewish consciousness (Chazan 1996, 24). Detailed lists of martyrs were composed and recited in synagogue ritual for hundreds of years after the event; chronicles of the event were written and a literature on the status of forced converts was developed (Stow 1992, 102). There is also a strong awareness of the persecutions in Eastern Europe, especially the czarist persecutions. Indeed, the historian Sir Louis B. Namier went so far as to say that there was no Jewish history, “only a Jewish martyrology” (in Berlin 1980, 72). When prominent social scientist Michael Walzer (1994, 4), states that “I was taught Jewish history as a long tale of exile and persecution—Holocaust history read backwards,” he is expressing not only the predominant perception of Jews of their own history but also a powerful strand of academic Jewish historiography, the so-called “lachrymose” tradition of Jewish historiography.

Recently, the Holocaust has assumed a preeminent role in this self-conceptualization. A 1991 survey found that 85 percent of American Jews reported that the Holocaust was “very important” to their sense of being Jewish—a figure higher than the percentage who attribute a similar importance to God, the Torah, or the state of Israel (Abrams 1996). Jewish leaders have attempted with great success to use awareness of the Holocaust to intensify Jewish commitment, to the point that the Holocaust rather than religion has become the main focus of modern Jewish identity and the principal legitimator of Israel (Wolffsohn 1993, 77ff; Neusner 1993, 180–181). Within Israel the Holocaust acts as a sort of social glue, which helps to integrate the various social classes, ethnic groups, and generations into a cohesive society. As Holocaust historian Zygmunt Bauman notes, Israel uses the Holocaust “as the certificate of its political legitimacy, as safe-conduct pass for its past and future policies, and, above all, for advance payment for the injustices it might itself commit” (in Stannard 1996, B2).[151]According to Stannard (1996), the effort among some scholars to elevate the Holocaust to “religio-mythic” status as a unique historical event derives from these political objectives. He notes that Israel has endorsed Turkey’s denial of the Armenian genocide in order to solidify its claim of the historical uniqueness of the Holocaust, while in a cynical quid pro quo, Turkey has publicly agreed to the uniqueness of the Holocaust.

Social identity research shows that people tend to exaggerate characteristics that define the ingroup. Given the centrality of persecution to their own self-image, it is not surprising that American Jews tend to overestimate the actual amount of anti-Semitism. For example, survey results from 1985 indicate that one-third of a sample of affiliated Jews in the San Francisco area stated that a Jew could not be elected to Congress, at a time when three of the four congressional representatives from the area were “well-identified” Jews, as were the two California state senators and the mayor of San Francisco (Lipset & Raab 1995, 75; see also S. M. Cohen 1989). Survey results from 1990 show that eight out of ten American Jews had serious concerns about anti-Semitism, and significant percentages believed anti-Semitism was growing, even though there was no evidence for this, while at the same time 90 percent of gentiles viewed anti-Semitism as residual and vanishing (Hertzberg 1995, 337; see also Smith 1994, 17–18).

The result is a sort of “cognitive dissonance” between actual and perceived anti-Semitism (Shapiro 1992, 13) that strongly suggests self-deception in the interest of maintaining an illusory self-image as an oppressed outsider, despite actual overrepresentation with respect to all of the markers of social and economic success in American society (see also Chapter 8). Indeed, Jewish organizations have invented new types of anti-Semitism (e.g., relative indifference by gentiles for Jewish concerns) as expressions of traditional types of anti-Semitism have declined, presumably in the effort to bolster a flagging sense of threat to the group. As Shapiro (1992, 47) notes, “If indifference to Jewish concerns was to be the litmus test for anti-Semitism, then by definition virtually the entire world was anti-Semitic.”

Complete acceptance by the gentile community may therefore be viewed negatively or at least with ambivalence. One hears quite often of Jewish leaders in the contemporary United States expressing concern about being “loved to death,” since complete acceptance may lead to intermarriage and a loss of Jewish identity (see, e.g., Cohen 1992, 141; Lipset & Raab 1995, 75). Hertzberg (1995, 342) suggests that this need for a belief in a powerful external threat accounts for the revival of interest in the Holocaust in the 1970s, at a time of general advancement of Jews in American society. “The parents evoked the one Jewish emotion that had tied their own generation together, the fear of antisemitism. The stark memory of Auschwitz needed to be evoked to make the point that Jews were different.” Recently neoconservatives Irving Kristol and Elliott Abrams (1997) have advocated the re-Christianization of America so that Jews, as a marginalized outgroup, would have more cohesion, better resist assimilation, and avoid outmarriage (see Goldberg 1997).

From this perspective, there is no difference between assimilation and Holocaust, and indeed recent Jewish rhetoric has sometimes explicitly stated that, in the words of a recent commentator, “what Hitler attempted in Europe may well come to pass in America without the horror, without the slaughter, without the unspeakable cruelty. Judenrein. A disappearance aided and abetted by tolerance and opportunity, by integration and assimilation and intermarriage in the era where everyone had the option of . . . being a Jew by choice” (F. Horowitz 1993). Similar beliefs were also expressed by the 19th-century Zionist Ahad Ha-Am, who argued that the end of anti-Semitism would result in Jews losing their culture and sense of peoplehood (Simon 1960, 104–105). Extinction, whether by physical annihilation or assimilation, continually looms as a psychological threat, and is used to rally commitment to the group. Indeed, the Jewish philosopher and theologian Emil Fackenheim (1972) has promulgated the view that marrying a gentile is tantamount to giving Hitler a posthumous victory. There is perhaps no greater testimony of the intensity with which Judaism involves a group rather than an individual consciousness.

Within this worldview of a beleaguered ingroup surrounded by powerful enemies, the only possible real disaster would be the achievement of all Jewish aspirations: “This assumption that even when Jews achieved as much equality as was likely, just enough antisemitism would remain to enclose them within their own domain is fundamental not only to the addiction to anti-antisemitism but also even to the theories about the survival of ‘positive Judaism’ ” (Hertzberg 1995, 344). If anti-Semitism did not exist, it would have to be invented.

In this regard, it is ironic that Jews have at times attributed Jewish separatism and clannishness to gentile anti-Semitism. Thus, during the 19th century in Germany it was common for German liberals to attribute continued Jewish clannishness and separatism in the face of assimilatory pressures to the continued presence of anti-Semitism (e.g., Schorsch 1972, 96). On the other hand, when the surrounding society becomes overly friendly to Judaism, there arises a deep fear among Jews that Judaism will succumb because of too much acceptance. Indeed, the decline in anti-Semitism in the United States has coincided with a major effort by Jewish organizations to encourage programs that stress the importance of preserving Jewish identity (Cohen 1972, 431).

Nevertheless, in historical perspective the pervasiveness of anti-Semitism has ensured that concerns about the potentially disastrous consequences of anti-Semitism have been far more prevalent than concerns that a decline in anti-Semitism would actually destroy Judaism. In the following I will discuss various Jewish strategies designed to counteract anti-Semitism.

Jewish Strategies for Combating Anti-Semitism • 2,600 Words
Phenotypic Resemblance: Crypsis

We decree that Jews who have become Christians in appearance only, but secretly keep the Sabbath and observe other Jewish customs, shall not be permitted to join in communion or prayer or even to enter the church, but let them openly be Hebrews according to their religion. Their children shall not be baptized nor shall they purchase or possess a slave. (Canon 8 of the Council of Nicaea II [a.d. 787]; in Gilchrist 1969, 157)

And what will it profit our lord and king to pour holy water on the Jews, calling them by our names, Pedro or Pablo, while they keep their faith like Akiba or Tarfon? . . . Know, Sire, that Judaism is one of the incurable diseases. (Comments of a fictional Spanish-Jewish refugee after being forcibly baptized in Portugal in 1497, from Solomon Ibn Verga Sefer Shevet Yehudah, in Yerushalmi 1991, 32)

The data summarized in PTSDA (Ch. 4) indicate that there has been a powerful trend for Jews in traditional societies to maximize phenotypic differences between themselves and host populations, by a variety of segregative practices. Nevertheless, there are many instances in which Jews themselves have minimized these differences.

A particularly interesting example is crypsis. When threatened by severe sanctions, Jews have “converted” to other religions, practicing Judaism in secret and ultimately becoming overtly Jewish again when the threat had passed. Crypsis is “as old as the Jew himself” (Prinz 1973, 1). Indeed, there is a long tradition within Judaism that highly prizes the tradition of crypto-Judaism. In his preface to the 1932 edition of his work History of the Marranos, Sir Cecil Roth (1974, xxiii–xxiv) wrote of the “incredible romance” of the history of the Marranos, “the submerged life which blossomed out at intervals into such exotic flowers; the unique devotion which could transmit the ancestral ideals unsullied, from generation to generation, despite the Inquisition and its horrors.”

Indeed, there is some indication that the ideological basis of crypto-Judaism can be found in standard interpretations of the Book of Esther, in which Esther marries King Ahasuerus but secretly retains her Jewish identity and ultimately saves her people.[152]Pakter (1992, 719) notes that there is a tradition of oblique criticism of the Book of Esther because of the marriage of Esther to Ahasuerus. Even a marriage to a foreigner that resulted in Jewish deliverance was viewed negatively. The phrase, “Esther had not made known her people nor her kindred” (Est. 2:10) was especially valued by the crypto-Jews during the period of the Inquisition (Beinart 1971b, 472). The tradition of crypto-Judaism also sometimes appears as part of contemporary Jewish education, as described by Freedland (1978): Jewish schoolchildren reenact the experience of practicing Jewish rituals in secret (admitted to this exercise only after providing a password), saying prayers under their breath.

The first instance given by Roth (1974) occurred during the 5th-century b.c. Zoroastrian persecution in Persia, and the phenomenon occurred as recently as World War II (Begley 1991). Jewish crypsis occurred under Byzantine rule (Avi-Yonah 1984, 254–255) and in medieval Germany, England, and France (Chazan 1987, 101; Roth 1978, 83; Baron 1973, 111). Crypto-Jews have existed for centuries in several areas of the Muslim world (e.g., the Daggatun of the Sahara, the Donmeh of Salonica, and the Jedidim of Persia). In at least one instance, the government simply gave up the effort at forcible assimilation. Lewis (1984, 152) describes cryptic Jews in Muslim Persia during the 18th century following a forced conversion. These individuals were eventually allowed to return to Judaism. In the words of a French traveler, “They [the Muslim authorities] found that what external professions so ever they made of Mahometanism, they still practised Judaism; so that there was a necessity of suffering them to be again bad Jews, since they could not make good Muslims out of them.”

Jews have also adopted crypsis in order to take advantage of economic opportunities. There are many examples of temporary deception, such as Jewish traders posing as gentiles in order to avoid taxes levied on Jews in Arab countries (Stillman 1979), Poland (Weinryb 1972; Hundert 1986), and the Roman Empire (Grant 1973, 225). Reflecting these practices, in the early 5th century the Theodosian Code (CTh 16.8.23) prohibited conversions of convenience by Jews attempting to avoid prosecution for crimes and for avoiding compulsory public services, and in 787 the Council of Nicaea II prohibited such individuals from owning Christian slaves (in Gilchrist 1969, 157). Marrano traders posed as Christians when in Christian countries but revealed their Judaism when in the Ottoman Empire (Pullan 1983, 193). Individuals from the same extended family would represent themselves as sincere New Christians in Portugal, as Christian Portuguese in France, and as Jews in Holland, Italy, and the Ottoman Empire (Yerushalmi 1971, 17). There have also been examples of lifelong deception, in which an individual, typically a powerful person, “converts” but continues to associate with Jews and furthers their causes. Fischel (1937) gives the example of Ya’qub ben Killis in the medieval Islamic period who underwent a conversion of convenience, continued to associate with Jews, and appointed Jews to responsible posts in his administration.

In Europe prior to emancipation, “conversion” to Christianity was often perceived, in Heinrich Heine’s words, as the “entrance ticket to European civilization,” the baptized person becoming in effect a crypto-Jew. “Most Jews who now converted to Christianity did so simply as a mode of qualifying for social and professional positions in society, with little interest in Christianity per se and, as often as not, without really relinquishing their family and social ties with the Jewish community” (Carlebach 1978, 32). Meyer (1989, 36) notes that Jews who converted to Christianity “often associated almost exclusively with fellow converts. In Germany they were referred to as Taufjuden, baptized Jews. They had not really become Christians but had taken on a borderline identity in which they still feared the verdict of the Gentile.” Ruppin (1934, 331) also notes a similarly motivated pattern in which Jewish parents would baptize their children in infancy while retaining their own religious status.

The conversions of several famous people were apparently conversions of convenience. For example, Heinrich Heine’s baptism does not seem to have been accompanied by any religious feelings, and a year later he complained that he regretted it, because it had not held any benefits for him. Within a few years his writing exhibited very negative attitudes toward Christianity. Christianity was “a gloomy, sanguinary religion for criminals” (in Sammons 1979, 148), a religion that repressed the healthy sensuality of antiquity. Heine developed a strong Jewish consciousness toward the end of his life, as indicated by his late work Romanzero and his statement that “I make no secret of my Judaism, to which I have not returned, because I have not left it” (in Rose 1990, 167). As a rule, Jewish identification has typically been most intense during periods of anti-Semitism, and, “whenever Jews were threatened—whether in Hamburg during the Hep-Hep riots [of 1819] or in Damascus at the time of the ritual murder accusation [1840]—Heine at once felt solidarity with his people” (Prawer 1983, 762). In his later years Heine referred to himself as a Jew and developed a biological conception of Judaism (See Chapter 5).

Such individuals often retained a “residual solidarity, if not with the community of origin, at any rate with fellow ‘marranos’ ” (Mosse 1989, 335). Lichten (1986) describes the case of an individual who converted at age fifteen and benefited from the lack of economic restrictions on Christians but remained an advocate of Jewish causes and stated in his will that “I was my whole life a Jew, and I die as a Jew” (p. 113). Mosse notes that baptized Jews maintained informal social and business networks that resulted in marriages with other baptized Jews and Jewish families who had not changed their surface religion. While baptized Jews of the haute bourgeoisie were viewed as acceptable marriage partners by the Jewish haute bourgeoisie, gentiles of the haute bourgeoisie were not. Thus genetic ancestry rather than social class or surface religion made a difference in marriage decisions. Indeed, Mosse states his impression that the “earlier sharp distinctions between unbaptized and baptized Jews appear with time to have become somewhat blurred” (p. 133), suggesting that the baptized individuals were eventually re-absorbed into the Jewish community rather than into the gentile community. Carlebach notes that these “converts” were subjected to a great deal of ridicule and contempt by gentiles, presumably because they were perceived as deceivers. The suggestion is that this type of conversion increased anti-Semitism.

However, the most important historical examples of Jewish crypsis come from Spain and Portugal (Beinart 1971a,b, 1981; Contraras 1991, 1992; Lea 1906–1907; Roth 1937, 1974). Crypsis occurred under the Christian Visigoths in the 7th century, under the Muslim Almohades during 12th and 13th centuries, and reached its greatest heights after the forced conversions of 1391 in Christian Spain. In both of the cases involving Christian authorities, crypto-Judaism occurred after a period of mass forced conversion, a rapid ascendancy of crypto-Jews to the highest ranks of society (see PTSDA, Ch. 5), and, as a direct consequence, the development of political institutions intended to expose crypto-Judaism when gentiles realized that attempts to assimilate the Jews forcibly had not succeeded.

The Inquisition, established in 1481, was “the result of conditions which arose in Spain following the forced conversion movement. . . . All the methods that had been employed in the 15th century to prise the converts away from their Jewish education and surroundings—whether by ousting the Jews from the mixed [Jewish-New Christian] neighborhoods or by their expulsion from the country—had failed. The Conversos were, and remained, Jews at heart, and their Judaism was expressed in their way of life and their outlook” (Beinart 1981, 23). The New Christians were “Jews in all but name, and Christians in nothing but form” (Roth 1937, 27; see also Baron 1969, 3ff; 1973, 161ff; Johnson 1988, 225–228).

Beinart (1981; see also Hordes 1991; Lazar 1991b; Roth 1995, 70) provides evidence for elaborate deceptions used by the New Christians in order to continue to observe many of the 613 commandments that constituted the Mitzvoth during this period, including circumcision, observance of the Sabbath, marriage customs (including having Jews witness the marriage), and burial rites. Children were told of their special status around the age of puberty, and intermarriage with other New Christians was practiced. For its part, the Inquisition developed a long list of practices by which crypto-Jews could be recognized, including the performance of Jewish Mitzvot and perfunctory participation in Christian rites. Baron (1973, 162) shows that Jews from Holland and France traveled surreptitiously to Spain and Portugal during the late 17th century to instruct the New Christians in Jewish ritual and encourage them to emigrate to safer regions.[153]Other interesting tidbits: Roth (1995, 235) describes examples of monks born of Converso parents who made up fantastic stories to explain why they appeared to have been circumcised. The Converso historian Palencia states that prior to the anti-Converso riots of 1473 in Cordova, the Conversos, believing that they were protected by a large army, openly disparaged Christianity and performed Jewish rituals (Netanyahu 1995, 800). When Byzantium fell to the Turks in 1453, many Conversos believed that the Messiah had come and that they could soon resume their overt identities as Jews (Baer 1961, II, 292). During this period, the Conversos openly acknowledged their ancestry and commonly asserted that it was superior to that of gentiles (Contraras 1991, 134). Converso writers living outside the Peninsula developed apologia for crypto-Judaism; the Converso Bachelor Alfonso de la Torre (d. 1485) wrote a book containing instructions for Jewish practice, camouflaged as a Christian catechism (Faur 1992, 30). When the book was republished in Amsterdam in 1623 the Christian material was omitted.

Moreover, many wealthy New Christians and their descendants openly practiced Judaism after leaving the Peninsula (e.g., Boyajian 1983; Yerushalmi 1971). Groups of New Christians immediately established openly Jewish communities in Amsterdam, Hamburg, Bordeaux, Italy, and many other areas after leaving the Peninsula, and New Christians in Brazil immediately emerged as Jews after the Dutch conquest. These families had extensive kinship and mercantile ties with Sephardic mercantile families around the world, and some had preserved their Jewish names after many generations and re-adopted them after they left.

In addition, some of those who escaped the Inquisition lived as crypto-Jews in France beginning in the 15th century, and also in Germany, the Netherlands, and England in the 16th century at a time when Judaism was officially proscribed. Some crypto-Jews remained in France even after the edict of expulsion of 1615; Portuguese Marranos living in France changed their pose of Christianity only at the turn of the 18th century, although in the 17th century there had been complaints that Jews were trading among the French “with no distinguishing marks” (in Baron 1973, 110). Some returned to England in the latter part of the 16th century posing as Calvinist refugees. The crypto-Jews, who were said by a contemporary to be attending mass and receiving the Eucharist (Baron 1973, 139), were expelled from England in 1609 after an internal quarrel alerted the authorities to their existence, but they gradually returned, this time posing as Catholics, removing their disguise only after official negotiations under Cromwell. Crypto-Jews who were refugees from the Iberian Peninsula were also targets of inquisitions in Italy if they failed to adopt a Jewish identity on arriving (Pullan 1983).

The New Christians were perceived by the Iberians not as an atomistic set of individuals but as a cohesive national/ethnic group; Yerushalmi (1971, 21), after emphasizing the ethnic character of the Jewish nation living in exile in the Peninsula, notes that the fundamental difficulty addressed by the Inquisition was “the continuing existence in the Peninsula of a metamorphosed Jewish nation’which was basic to the very possibility of a metamorphosed Judaism,’ in whatever form that might assume” (italics in text).

The “groupness” of the New Christians was obvious to all:

Yet while the convert abandoned his people, his peoplehood did not abandon him. It was reflected in many of his characteristics, the product of numerous factors—ethnic, social, environmental and educational—that had influenced Jewish life for centuries. These were essentially Jewish characteristics; and although assimilation had somewhat dimmed them, they could still be discerned in the Jewish convert even decades after his conversion. . . . [W]hen masses of Jews were converted at the same time, each of them saw himself within his people and by no means as one who had forsaken it. In Spain, where these converts or their great majority lived for many years in boroughs of their own, this feeling of communion was kept alive as long as the process of assimilation had not destroyed, or seriously affected, the collective fabric. Also many characteristics of the Jew and his life-style, which even isolated converts retained for many years, were guarded for much larger periods in the converso communities. As a result, the converso could still be recognized—even several generations after his ancestors’ conversion—by his Jewish appearance, his habits and mannerisms, his attitudes and reactions, as well as his views on a variety of issues. In consequence, in the middle of the 15th century (and no doubt in many cases even later) the great majority of the New Christians in Spain had not yet shaken off the shadow of their past; and the result of this fact was the consciousness of their “otherness” that determined the attitude of their neighbors. (Netanyahu 1995, 993–994; italics in text)

There was undoubtedly a wide variation among the New Christians in their religious beliefs and the extent to which they retained Jewish religious observances—a fact that has resulted in continuing controversy and a large mass of both contemporary and modern apologetic literature (see Chapter 7). Nevertheless, the central fact about the Inquisition is that the New Christians continued to exist as visible groups within Iberian society. They were organized as a set of endogamous, interlocking family clans characterized by high levels of within-group cooperation and patronage in pursuit of economic and political goals (Contraras 1991, 1992; Hordes 1991; Yerushalmi 1971, 18). Indeed, as has been common throughout Jewish history, especially in traditional societies (see also PTSDA, Chs. 5 and 6), the spectacular economic success of the New Christians was conditioned ultimately on the “organic solidity of the kinship ties” (Contraras 1991, 140) and (at least prior to the onset of the Inquisition) on their being patronized by a gentile ruling elite, who utilized them as an intermediary between themselves and a subject population (see Chapter 2).

In Spain, the Inquisition ultimately had the intended effect. The New Christians were persecuted, and the unconverted Jews were expelled in 1492. Nevertheless, even at the beginning of the 17th century, well over a century after the beginning of the Inquisition, Jews and gentile Spaniards were still fighting for supremacy: “The remnants of the Jewish caste were attacked by the Inquisition through the New Christians of Jewish ancestry, while the real Spanish Jews helped to worsen the international situation of Christian Spain from Turkey, Holland, and, later, from England” (Castro 1971, 244; see also Contraras 1991, 132). Indeed, persecutions for Judaizing actually increased in the first decades of the 18th century; in the period from 1721 to 1727 there were sixty-four autos de fé involving 820 individuals accused of Judaizing (Haliczer 1990, 233). Vestiges of crypto-Judaism can still be found in the Iberian Peninsula (Haliczer 1987), and crypto-Jews never disappeared entirely from Spanish America (Baron 1973, 372).[154]The Portuguese New Christians were also very tenacious. The great majority of them descended from Spanish Jews who had been expelled from Spain after refusing to become New Christians at the time of the expulsion of 1492, suggesting that many in this group were very resolute in their commitment to Judaism (Yerushalmi 1971, 5). Although the Portuguese Inquisition was largely successful in suppressing crypto-Judaism both in the Peninsula and the New World (Lea 1906–1907; Roth 1974), the last regular synagogue was discovered in 1706 in Lisbon, and crypto-Jews were discovered periodically in the 18th century. Several communities of crypto-Jews came to light in Portugal in the 20th century; Hordes (1991, 213) describes a group of “Hispanic Catholics” in contemporary New Mexico who continue to marry among themselves and preserve several remnants of Jewish religious practices.

Abandoning Phenotypic Characteristics that Provoke Gentile Hostility • 1,100 Words

A less extreme form of crypsis de-emphasizes or discontinues traditional phenotypic traits that provoke hostility while at the same time retaining the essential genetic and cultural separatism central to traditional Judaism. In PTSDA (Ch. 4) it was noted that a powerful trend since the Enlightenment has been to minimize phenotypic features such as special Jewish languages, modes of dress, styles of hair, and ways of gesturing that have sharply distinguished Jews from gentiles in traditional societies. There is a “dynamic—albeit contradictory—process in modern Jewish life between efforts to decrease visibility in order to reduce hostility to the group and the need for public perpetuation and legitimization of the Jewish religion and community. . . . Much of the content of American Jewish culture can be seen as an outcome of different strategies of image management” (Zenner 1991, 141).

I propose that this attempt to maintain separatism while nevertheless making the barriers less visible is the crux of the problem for post-Enlightenment Judaism. A good example is the Reform Judaism movement. While never abandoning the ideology of genetic separatism, the Reform movement, beginning in the 19th century, has de-emphasized the appearance of differences between Judaism and other religions in order to alter negative images of Jews held by gentiles (Endelman 1991, 195).

Reform Judaism in contemporary societies may thus be viewed as a “semi-cryptic” Jewish strategy, which like other religious forms of Judaism acts as a “protective coloring” (Elazar 1980, 9) adopted because “it is a legitimate way to maintain differences when organic ways [i.e., assertions of ethnic peoplehood] are suspect” (Elazar 1980, 23). As Katz (1986, 32) notes, “The definition of the Jewish community as a purely religious unit was, of course, a sham from the time of its conception.” While Judaism in other parts of the world was and remains openly ethnic, Reform Judaism in the West developed a religious veneer because of its usefulness in facilitating perceptions of surface similarity with other, non-ethnic religions, while in Israel the Reform movement is virtually non-existent because the need for protective coloring is not present.

Reform Jews hoped to retain traditional genetic and cultural separatism but “as to outward appearances, [they would] differ from any Christian church to no greater degree than did the various Christian denominations among themselves” (Patai 1971, 37–38).[155]Although many Jews in post-emancipation Germany attempted to suppress Jewish expressions and patterns of intonation, they were not entirely successful. One component of anti-Semitic writings, particularly those of Wagner, was the charge that Jews could not speak any European language without betraying their group identity. Katz (1985, 98) states the charge of continued linguistic peculiarity “had some basis in reality,” and he also suggests that Jews made attempts to suppress their linguistic peculiarities much more when talking to gentiles, while continuing to retain Jewish overtones to their speech in the company of other Jews. Such a situation suggests deception, since the suppression of linguistic peculiarity would appear to be in the service of de-emphasizing Jewish identification in the presence of gentiles, while within-group linguistic peculiarity continued its age-old function as a badge of group membership. As the Reform Rabbi Isaac M. Wise (1819–1900) stated, “Whatever makes us ridiculous before the world as it now is, may safely be and should be abolished” (in Patai 1971, 38).[156]These trends are not restricted to recent times. Rabinowitz (1938, 243) notes that the Jews of medieval France abandoned several traditional practices out of concern not to appear ridiculous to Christians. Religious services and weddings became more solemn and dignified in order to make them more similar to many Christian services (Meyer 1988, 35–36, 169–170). One disaffected French Jew complained that “what his co-religionists desired above all was for Gentile visitors at their service to exclaim with satisfaction: ‘Why it’s like our own!’ ” (in Meyer 1988, 171).[157]Other examples: Physical rituals were minimized, especially ones that were raucous and “primitive” (such as flagellation on the day before Yom Kippur). The traditional goal of resuming animal sacrifices in the restored Temple was abandoned. Vernacular languages were increasingly used, and the organ was widely introduced to religious services in imitation of the Christian practice. The effort to blend in sometimes coincided with continued expressions of separatism. For example, the synagogues built in Germany during the period of liturgical reform from 1850 to 1880 tended toward Moorish style, “in effect declaring that political and cultural integration did not require abdication of origins; the synagogue did not have to resemble the Church” (Meyer 1988, 183).

Jews have sometimes avowed religious belief in order to escape the charges of Jewish nationalism—another example of the role of religion as a “protective coloring” for Jewish ethnic/national interests. In the World War I era in Germany, “liberal laymen . . . were in the mass irreversibly secularized Jews, who called themselves religious principally to escape suspicion that their Judaism might be national” (Meyer 1988, 212). Similarly, during the negotiations on the peace treaty ending World War I, the anti-Zionist Henry Morgenthau pressed President Wilson on wording of the treaty: “Any clause in the peace treaty which denoted or connoted the Jews as anything other than a religious sect was anathema to him” (Frommer 1978, 157). This conflicted with the views of the American Jewish Congress (AJCongress) and Eastern European Jews, who favored granting Jews political and cultural autonomy as a separate nation within Eastern European societies. As one Eastern European delegate said, “Jews are a nation, not a religious sect and we wish the world to know it” (in Frommer 1978, 147).[158]Similarly, in 1920 Jewish leaders attempting to oppose restrictions on Jewish immigration argued that Jews should be classified not as a race but as a religion. This ideology of Judaism was designed to make Jewish immigration more appealing to gentiles, but in making this assertion they had to contend with the fact that many Jews at the time, especially Zionists, viewed Judaism as a racial group (Panitz 1969, 56).

A more extreme form of this tendency is to deny the reality of the Jewish group entirely. For example, a highly influential essay written in 1893, at the height of an outbreak of anti-Semitism in Germany, not only emphasized the exclusively religious nature of Judaism but portrayed Jewish group ties as completely analogous to those among Catholics and Protestants. Jews were portrayed as engaging in political action solely as individuals and as subject to moral judgment only as individuals (see Schorsch 1972, 108; see also Chapter 8).

Interestingly, the attempt to emphasize phenotypic similarity in the context of continued separatism was not always successful, presumably because it was perceived as little more than deception. The proto-Zionist Moses Hess wrote in 1840 that “it is not the old-type of pious Jew that is most despised but the modern Jew . . . who denies his nationality while the hand of fate presses heavily on his own people. The beautiful phrases about humanity and enlightenment which he employs as a cloak for his treason . . . will ultimately not protect him from public opinion (in Frankel 1981, 12). Writing of the upsurge in anti-Semitism in Germany in the late 19th century, Meyer (1988, 202) notes that anti-Semites focused their hatred most on the non-Orthodox Jews, “since they were the least conspicuously Jewish, yet persisted in maintaining a purposeful religious differentiation.” Indeed, there is some indication that the German public ceased thinking of Jews in religious terms at all in the latter part of the 19th century (Mosse 1989, 224).

A particularly interesting example of the flexibility of Jewish identity is the shift by the Jewish leadership away from the traditional ideology of Judaism as a nation in exile, to an ideology that Judaism is nothing more than a community of religious faith as a common response to the Enlightenment, then to a resurgence of an ideology of Judaism as an ethnic group and advocacy of cultural pluralism in the period following World War II in America and other Western societies. Harup (1972) notes that the return to an ideology of ethnic peoplehood was at least partly a result of declining anti-Semitism, and this makes excellent theoretical sense. We have seen that a common Jewish strategy during periods of anti-Semitism is to adopt varying forms of crypsis, but the converse is also true. During periods of minimal anti-Semitism, Jews benefit from an ideology that Judaism constitutes an ethnic group, because such an ideology is ideal for rationalizing and openly advocating an interest in Jewish group commitment and genetic non-assimilation. Indeed, I would suppose that in the absence of anti-Semitism there would be a resurgence of traditional Judaism, complete with separate languages, different types of clothing, etc., which would very clearly mark off the Jewish ingroup from the surrounding society. Such a strategy would be ideal for maintaining group cohesion and solidarity, but it would also render Judaism thoroughly visible to gentiles and thus tend to increase anti-Semitism. The best strategy for Judaism is to maximize the ethnic, particularistic aspects of Judaism within the limits necessary to prevent these aspects from resulting in anti-Semitism. But at least in Western societies, such a strategy involves walking a very fine line and being very flexibly responsive to changes in external contingencies (see Chapter 9).

Political Strategies for Minimizing Anti-Semitism • 1,700 Words

In a statement that would apply to Jewish responses to anti-Semitism throughout history, Lindemann (1991, 279) portrays Jews “individually and collectively, as active agents, as modern, responsible, and flawed human beings, not merely as passive martyrs or as uncomprehending objects of impersonal forces.” In general, Jews have been flexible strategizers in the political arena. The effectiveness of Jewish strategizing has been facilitated by the fact that Judaism is a high-investment group evolutionary strategy, and particularly by the fact that the IQ of Ashkenazi Jews is at least one standard deviation above the Caucasian mean (PTSDA, Ch. 7). For example, Jewish influence on United States immigration policy was facilitated by Jewish wealth, education, and social status (Neuringer 1971, 87). The main Jewish activist organization influencing immigration policy, the AJCommittee, was characterized by “strong leadership, internal cohesion, well-funded programs, sophisticated lobbying techniques, well-chosen non-Jewish allies, and good timing” (Goldstein 1990, 333). In all historical eras, Jews as a group have been highly organized, highly intelligent, and politically astute, and they have been able to command a high level of financial, political, and intellectual resources in pursuing their group goals.

A very wide array of political strategies have been pursued with varying success. Jews in traditional Poland responded to anti-Semitism with such strategies as physical defense, attempts to fill indispensable functions for the king, cultivation of friendly personal relationships with the powerful, and payment of bribes and protection money. This led to the perception among Polish writers that Jews controlled the nobility and the political process (Goldberg 1986, 49–51; Weinryb 1972).[159]Similarly, Jews pursued an array of strategies to avoid or mitigate the Spanish and Portuguese Inquisitions, including armed resistance, assassinations, personal relationships with the powerful, political efforts (particularly the effort to obtain Portuguese independence from Spain), bribes and gifts, and manipulating the attitudes of the powerful (“propaganda”) (Roth 1974, 69; see also Beinart 1981; Lea 1906–1907).

Jews engaged in a very wide range of activities to combat anti-Semitism in Germany in the period from 1870 to 1914, including the formation of self-defense committees (e.g., the Zentralverein deutscher Staatsbürger jüdischen Glaubens whose name—Central Association of German Citizens of Jewish Faith—was meant to suggest that Jews constitute a community of religious faith), lobbying the government, utilizing and influencing the legal system (e.g., taking advantage of libel and slander laws to force anti-Jewish organizations into bankruptcy), writing apologias and tracts for distribution to the masses of gentile Germans, and funding organizations opposed to anti-Semitism that were not overtly Jewish (Ragins 1980, 23ff).

A major consequence of these activities was to make anti-Semitism a disreputable, unsavory enterprise. The Zentralverein successfully pursued legal actions against every major anti-Jewish leader, with the result that not only were there severe financial repercussions for the anti-Semitic movement, but, more importantly, because of the high prestige of the legal system among Wilhelminian Germans, convicted individuals lost their status among large segments of the public and even within the anti-Semitic movement itself (Levy 1975, 158–159). Similarly the Zentralverein commissioned writings in opposition to “scientific anti-Semitism,” as exemplified by academically respectable publications that portrayed Judaism in negative terms. The Zentralverein monitored academic works for such material and sometimes succeeded in banning offending books and getting publishers to alter offensive passages. The result was to render such ideas academically and intellectually disreputable.

Similar examples are provided in Chapter 2 where it was mentioned that a theme of anti-Semitism has been that Jewish organizations have used their power to make the discussion of Jewish interests off limits, and that individuals who had made remarks critical of Jews were forced to make public apologies and suffered professional difficulties as a result. In recent cases illustrating this theme, the ADL successfully pressured St. Martin’s Press to rescind publication of David Irving’s biography of Goebbels (Washington Post, April 4, 1996) after an article by editorial columnist Frank Rich condemning the book appeared in the New York Times (April 3, 1996).[160]Jewish academics were also successful in getting the American Historical Association (AHA) to condemn the idea that the Holocaust never happened or has been greatly exaggerated, and recently the AHA rejected the thesis that Jews were disproportionately involved in the Atlantic slave trade or as exploiters of slaves, as maintained by the book The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews, published by the Nation of Islam (Los Angeles Times, B12, February 18, 1995). The ADL also pressured the American Psychological Association to defer presenting a lifetime achievement award to Dr. Raymond B. Cattell because of Cattell’s alleged “commitment to racial supremacy theories” (New York Times, August 15, 1997).[161]Noam Chomsky, the famous MIT linguist, describes his experience with the ADL:

In the United States a rather effective system of intimidation has been developed to silence critique. . . . Take the Anti-Defamation League. . . . It’s actually an organization devoted to trying to defame and intimidate and silence people who criticize current Israeli policies, whatever they may be. For example, I myself, through a leak in the new England office of the Anti-Defamation League, was able to obtain a copy of my file there. It’s 150 pages, just like an FBI file, [consisting of] interoffice memos warning that I’m going to show up here and there, surveillance of talks that I give, comments and alleged transcripts of talks . . . [T]his material has been circulated [and] . . . would be sent to some local group which would use it to extract defamatory material which would then be circulated, usually in unsigned pamphlets outside the place where I’d be speaking. . . . If there’s any comment in the press which they regard as insufficiently subservient to the party line, there’ll be a flood of letters, delegations, protests, threats to withdraw advertising, etc. The politicians of course are directly subjected to this, and they are also subjected to substantial financial penalties if they don’t go along. . . . This totally one-sided pressure and this, by now, very effective system of vilification, lying, defamation, and judicious use of funds in the political system . . . has created a highly biased approach to the whole matter. (Chomsky 1988, 642–3)

The AJCommittee has also engaged in a wide range of activities to minimize anti-Semitism and pursue Jewish interests, including writing and distributing articles on the situation in czarist Russia, the fraudulent nature of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and the benefits of immigration. Position papers were prepared on Jewish life in Eastern Europe prior to requesting intervention by the American government. Scholarly treatises were prepared in an effort to emphasize Jewish contributions to civilization and rebut the anti-Semitism of such intellectuals as Houston Stewart Chamberlain (Cohen 1972, 34).

In recent times Jewish strategy has often included attempts to mold personal beliefs via the mass media. The Dreyfus Affair in fin de siècle France “saw the emergence, for the first time, of a distinct class of intellectuals . . . as a major power in European society and among whom emancipated Jews were an important, sometimes a dominant, element. A new issue was raised, not just for France: Who controls our culture?” (Johnson 1988, 387). “The young Jewish intellectuals, and their growing band of radical allies, began by asking for justice and ended by seeking total victory and revenge. In doing so, they gave their enemies an awesome demonstration of Jewish and philosemitic intellectual power” (Johnson 1988, 388). While at the beginning of the affair the media was controlled by the anti-Semites, by the end of it, fully 90 percent of the literature on the subject was pro-Dreyfus. This campaign involved newspapers, photography, and cinema, and gradually it tilted public opinion in favor of Dreyfus.[162]In the 1890s Julius Langbehn’s work on Rembrandt became enormously popular and received many positive reviews in the media. However, later editions offended Jews and liberals, and the tone of the reviews changed. Langbehn stated that “the mendacity of the . . . reviewers in the daily press is clearly demonstrated by the fact that they praised the author of the Rembrandt book to the skies until he uttered one word against the Jews; from that day on, he was continually maligned” (in Stern 1961, 156n).

Sachar (1992) provides several examples of the use of the mass media to promote Jewish causes, some of which were originally perceived as being opposed to majority interests. In the campaign against czarist Jewish policy in the 1890s, Oscar Straus and Jacob Schiff were able to secure highly sympathetic treatments in the New York Times, owned by their friend Adolph Ochs, also a Jew. The AJCommittee’s Louis Marshall also persuaded Ochs to provide press coverage favorable to Leo Frank (Ivers 1995, 41). (Frank, the manager of a pencil factory, was convicted in the murder of a 14-year-old female employee in 1913). This attempt backfired; Southerners reacted negatively to attempts by a northern, Jewish-owned newspaper to influence events in the South. (It is also interesting that Marshall insisted that Ochs not mention that Frank was Jewish or that anti-Semitism was involved in the prosecutionanother instance in which Jewish interests were perceived as best served by crypsis.)

Another example of media manipulation was the effort expended to abrogate the Russian trade agreement of 1832. Over a period of three years (1908–1911), the AJCommittee overcame complete apathy among the public and also widespread official concern about American commercial and foreign policy interests to achieve a complete victory (Cohen 1972, 54ff). Although the purpose of the campaign was to change Russian policy toward its Jews, the pretext was Russia’s denial of visas to four American Jews and the inability of twenty-eight American Jews living in Russia to travel freely. Thousands of copies of speeches by the Jewish activist Louis Marshall (who never mentioned the plight of Russian Jewry) and Herbert Parsons (a non-Jewish congressman from New York) were distributed to national and state politicians, newspapers, magazines, judges and lawyers, clergy, educators, and fraternal organizations. The AJCommittee provided material for articles in the popular media and distributed rebuttals when opposing positions appeared in the media. Political bodies ranging from Congress to state legislatures were intensely lobbied to pass pro-abrogation resolutions. Rallies with prominent gentile speakers were held, including one in New York whose participants included Governor Woodrow Wilson of New Jersey (who later, as president, endorsed the Balfour Declaration supporting a Jewish homeland in Palestine) and Speaker Champ Clark of the U. S. House of Representatives (who also served Jewish interests in the Congressional immigration battles of the period [Neuringer 1971]).

The results were successful: “Leading newspapers throughout the United States editorialized against the treaty. Magazine articles inveighed against it. Clergymen and Rotary Club, Lion, and other service organizations added their own resolutions of condemnation” (Sachar 1992, 233). By the time of passage by a 301–1 vote, “most members [of Congress] could not wait to express their horror of Russian barbaric practices, their eulogies of the Jewish people and of American Jews in particular, and their insistence upon the inviolability of the rights of American citizens” (Cohen 1972, 77).[163]The results did not live up to Jewish expectations:

[The pact had resulted in] a bitter unfriendly Russia, a decline in trade, anti-Semitic and anti-American reprisals in Russia. Foreign countries did not follow America’s action but sought rather to reap the benefits of her rift with Russia. In the United States abrogation brought adverse reaction for American Jews in some quarters [including widespread negative attitudes in the State Department]. A year after abrogation Taft laughed privately at the joke on the Jews; from their pulpits rabbis were declaiming that the United States had scored a victory against bigotry and intolerance, but America and the Jews, not Russia, had lost out. (Cohen 1972, 78–79)
Later, during World War I, the AJCommittee attempted to prevent Americans from being sympathetic to the Russian war effort at a time when American officials viewed an alliance with Russia as an important aspect of American foreign policy (Goldstein 1975).

More important was the successful Zionist public relations campaign to change American public opinion on the advisability of a Jewish homeland. Although other factors were involved, Sachar (1992, 595) gives partial credit to the Zionist public relations campaign for the ultimate success of the thirty-year effort on behalf of a Jewish homeland. In the final stages, the pressure on President Harry Truman was intense. After Truman reluctantly agreed to vote for the United Nations Special Commission on Palestine measure supporting the creation of a Jewish state, he was strongly urged to exert pressure on other countries to approve the measure. “Again, the White House was inundated by mail, besieged by Democratic congressmen and party officials. As Truman himself said, ‘I do not think I ever had so much pressure and propaganda aimed at the White House as I had in this instance,’ ” (in Sachar 1992, 599–600).[164]Another Jewish media strategy has been to encourage a “dynamic silence” on certain topics. The AJCommittee persuaded the media to withhold coverage of the activities of anti-Semite Gerald L. K. Smith (Cohen 1972, 375; Ginsberg 1993, 124), and most Jewish writers in England chose to ignore Chamberlain’s Foundations (Field 1981, 465). Perhaps it is significant that review copies of PTSDA were sent to over forty Jewish publications but, to my knowledge, the book was not reviewed in any of them.

Another Jewish media interest has been to promote positive portrayals of Jews and combat negative images. Gabler (1988, 300ff) describes a traditional concern among Jewish organizations regarding the portrayal of Jews by the Jewish-controlled Hollywood studios. Major Jewish organizations, such as the AJCommittee, the ADL, and the AJCongress, developed a formal liaison with the studios by which depictions of Jews would be subjected to censorship. One such group stated in 1947 that “Jewish organizations have a clear and rightful interest in making sure that Hollywood films do not present Jews in such a way as to arouse prejudice. . . . In some cases, such pictures should be taken out of production entirely. In other cases, scripts should be edited carefully to eliminate questionable passages. Everything should be done to eliminate unfortunate stereotypes of the Jews” (p. 303). Gabler describes several instances where scripts were altered to provide more positive portrayals of Jews. The activities of this group were not publicized, out of fear that it could result in “the charge that [a] Jewish group is trying to censor the industry,” which, as Gabler notes, “was exactly what it was trying to do” (p. 304).[165]On the other hand, the idea that Hollywood portrays other ethnic groups negatively has been a component of remarks deemed anti-Semitic. See Chapter 2, note 40. The period following World War II marked the beginning of anti-anti-Semitic movies such as Gentleman’s Agreement, which won an Oscar for Best Picture (Gabler 1988, 349ff).[166]A recent media tactic has been to label as anti-Semitic any negatively toned difference between Jews and gentiles. Hertzberg (1993a, 52) cites widely publicized ADL data from 1992 indicating that approximately half of Americans believe that “Jews stick together more than other Americans,” and that “Jewish employers go out of their way to hire other Jews.” While the ADL labels such views anti-Semitic, Hertzberg (1993a, 52) questions whether these attitudes are prejudicial, suggesting that they simply reflect reality: “One of the main tasks of the organized Jewish community is to maintain Jewish identity in the American melting pot; and members of Jewish organizations take special pride in the claim that Jews value continuity more highly than other ethnic groups do. Among Jews, moreover, it is clearly a virtue to feel closer to other Jews than to anyone else. Why is it an index of anti-Semitism if other Americans are aware that many Jews feel this way?” Indeed, during the 1950s the AJCommittee, while advocating exclusively Jewish associations related to “specific religious or ethnic purposes,” had deplored the fact that Jews preferred to associate and socialize exclusively with exclusively or predominantly Jewish groups (Cohen 1972, 411–412).) Weiss (1996) finds it ironic that the AJCommittee views a statement like “Jews stick together” as anti-Semitic while at the same time it classifies a Jew only half of whose friends are Jewish as lacking in Jewish identification. One might also note that negative gentile attitudes regarding intermarriage with Jews continue to be viewed as expressions of anti-Semitism by Jewish organizations (see, e.g., Smith 1994), while at the same time the organized Jewish community continues to aggressively combat intermarriage between Jews and gentiles (see Ch. 9).

The Uses of Universalism • 2,000 Words

Jews attempting to appeal to gentiles have often framed their interests in universalist terms or recruited prominent gentiles to back the cause publicly. From an evolutionary perspective the intent is to make the Jewish cause appear to be in the interests of others as well. When goals are cast in ethnic or national terms, they are not likely to appeal to those outside the group. Indeed, such obviously self-interested goals would be likely to alert outsiders to conflicts of interest between ingroup and outgroup. On the other hand, a standard finding in social psychology is that people are more likely to respond positively when goals are advocated by similar others, or when the goal is cast as being in the interests of all rather than in the interests of an outgroup, as predicted by social identity theory and genetic similarity theory (see Chapter 1).

The attempt to cast particularistic interests in universalist terms has appeared periodically in Jewish intellectual history and has had a very central role in Judaism since the Enlightenment. Thus a major aspect of Reform ideology, especially during the 19th century, was to recast the traditional messianic hope of Judaism into universalist terms and to de-emphasize the ethnic/national character of Judaism while nevertheless maintaining traditional Jewish cultural separatism. The traditional hopes for the restoration of Jewish political power were replaced by the hope of a world of peace and justice for all of humanity.

Moreover, a major theme of The Culture of Critique is that Jewish intellectual movements have advocated universalist ideologies for the entire society (e.g., Marxism) in which the importance of the Jew/gentile social category is reduced in salience and is of no theoretical importance. A consistent finding in research on intergroup contact is that making the social categories which define groups less salient would lessen intergroup differentiation and facilitate positive social interactions between members from different groups (Brewer & Miller 1984; Doise & Sinclair 1973; Miller et al. 1985). At the extreme, the acceptance of a universalist ideology by gentiles would result in their not perceiving Jews as in a different social category at all, while nevertheless Jews would be able to maintain a strong personal identity as Jews.

Jewish organizations have often included statements that explicitly advocate universalist aims for human rights and de-emphasize the ethnic character of Judaism:

While it is clear that [the plea for universal human rights] of these . . . organizations is merely subsidiary or supplementary, its inclusion in the general statement of aims serves the important purpose of precluding the reproach of Jewish clannishness or ethnocentrism: one way of striving for the betterment of the Jewish position in America is to demonstrate, on an organizational level, the Jewish interest in the general American welfare. (Patai 1971, 53)

Jewish organizations in Germany in the period 1870–1914 argued that anti-Semitism was a threat to all of Germany because it was fundamentally “un-German”: “It followed that those Jews who now banded together to oppose anti-Semitism did so out of concern for their nation and in order to make a contribution to the welfare of their fatherland. In their dedication to defense, Jewish citizens gave proof of their patriotism and deep devotion to the national interests of Germany” (Ragins 1980, 55). The strategy may have sometimes backfired:

Jewish interests were firmly entrenched on the side of the Manchester school of laissez-faire. As a group the Jews had nothing to gain from state interference in private enterprise and they stood to lose a good deal by the fall of liberals from political power. So they fought back mainly through the press [1848–1874]. Their power was not exactly measurable but recognizable. What made their power appear sinister to their enemies was the fact that the Jews were anxious to hide it for fear of arousing yet greater hostility. Thereby they increased the impression of all sharing in a conspiracy particularly as they defended their interests in the name of lofty principles not as Jews but as Germans. (Schmidt 1959, 46)

Another use of universalism has been to recruit gentile leaders to endorse Jewish causes. Theoretically, this technique takes advantage of the importance of similarity and ingroup membership for inducing positive attitudes (see Ch. 1). People are more likely to agree with, and have positive attitudes toward, similar others and fellow ingroup members than dissimilar others or outgroup members.

This type of activity can involve deception, as occurred in the ancient world, where an entire apologetic literature was written by Jews masquerading as gentiles (Schürer 1986, 617ff). By adopting a gentile pseudonym the author hoped to make gentiles more sympathetic to Jewish ideas, particularly the superiority of Jewish religious beliefs (e.g., ethics and monotheism), as well as to defend Jewish honor against gentile criticisms. For example, the famous Letter of Aristeas defends the Jewish law of purity and “tends to glorify the Jewish people with its excellent institutions and its sumptuous prosperity” (Schürer 1986, 678). In Chapter 4 I also suggested that in the late Roman Empire prominent gentile Judaizers were courted by the Jewish community in order to lessen anti-Semitism.

The first cases I am aware of where gentiles were recruited to support Jewish causes occurred during the New Christian turmoil in 15th-century Spain. Lope de Barrientos, an Old Christian and the Bishop of Cuenca, was recruited by the prominent New Christian Fernán Díaz to write a tract supporting the orthodoxy of most New Christians and condemning their enemies (Netanyahu 1995, 612). (The tract was a revision of Díaz’s apologetic tract Instrucción del Relator, and Díaz even suggested that the entire tract be published in the bishop’s name.) Another Old Christian apologist for the New Christians, the jurist Alonso Díaz de Montalvo, was also closely associated with Fernán Díaz and discussed his apologetic tract with Díaz and another prominent New Christian apologist, Alonso de Cartagena, prior to publication.

Jewish organizations opposed to anti-Semitism had an active role in establishing and maintaining gentile-dominated organizations opposed to anti-Semitism in Germany in the period from 1870 to 1933 (Niewyk 1980, 88; Ragins 1980, 53–54; Schorsch 1972, 79ff), leading to accusations among anti-Semites that such organizations were “no more than a front for ‘moneyed Jewry’ ” (Levy 1975, 147). Much earlier, Moses Mendelsohn had obtained the services of Christian Wilhelm von Dohm, a prominent gentile historian and diplomat, to argue the cause of emancipation of the Alsatian Jews (Schorsch 1972, 79).

One reason why gentiles were attractive spokesmen for Judaism was that for Jews to openly fight against anti-Semitism was in effect “a repudiation of concealment as the price for equality” (Schorsch 1972, 12)—a comment that shows the importance of adopting a semi-cryptic profile during this period, in which emancipation was viewed as a quid pro quo for assimilation. A desire not to appear Jewish was present in the 1840s when proto-Zionist Moses Hess, editor of a journal “determined to subject German attitudes and institutions, political and religious, to an unrelenting barrage of radical criticism,” refused to admit his Jewish friend Ludwig Braunfels to the editorial board out of concern that the paper would be perceived as dominated by Jews (Frankel 1981, 14).

In England during the 1930s Jewish organizations developed a technique “used periodically ever since” of supplying materials to be used by groups that advocate Jewish causes, such as supporting anti-fascist candidates, without referring in any way to the Jewish origins of the materials (Alderman 1983, 122). The result was a gap between the actions of the official Jewish community and its public proclamations during a period when Jews were being advised by these same organizations to adopt a low profile to avoid fanning the flames of anti-Semitism: “Publicly, therefore the Board denied the existence of a Jewish vote, but surreptitiously it did its best to foster an anti-fascist vote” (Alderman 1983, 122). Indeed, the Board of Deputies did its best during the period simultaneously to “tighten its hold” (p. 123) on the behavior of British Jews while at the same time promulgating the fictions that Jews were merely a religious community (despite a strong strand of Zionism within the community) and that Jews tended not to vote in any particular way (despite their antipathy to Conservative candidates, at least partly because of the Conservative Party’s opposition to Zionism).

This type of strategy appears also to have been common in 20th-century America. In 1903 during an attempt to influence czarist policy toward Jews, a fund-raising and protest committee formed by Jewish activist Jacob Schiff and his colleagues was headed by a gentile and included former president Grover Cleveland and prominent Christian clergymen as speakers. In 1911 the attempt to abrogate the Russian trade agreement included the formation of “the first of a series of non-Jewish ‘front’ committees at which Jews would prove exceptionally adept in future years” (Sachar 1992, 233), including, as we have seen, the participation of Woodrow Wilson and the Speaker of the House of Representatives. Jewish spokesmen favored formulations in which the problem was couched as an American problem rather than as a problem for American Jews (even though the difficulties for American Jews were only a pretext for a campaign that was actually directed at changing the status of Russian Jews). It was in this form that the measure passed Congress (Cohen 1972, 72). In comments to AJCommittee officials, President W. H. Taft was quite aware of the deceptive nature of the AJCommittee rhetoric, stating that he viewed “the AJC’s anti-Russian campaign as an attempt to destroy the Pale [of Settlement]—thinly disguised by the AJC’s public rhetoric that spoke only of treaty obligations and religious equality in the United States” (Goldstein 1990, 150). In the period following World War II, Jews were active in funding gentile-dominated organizations opposed to anti-Semitism: “Jews offered to provide the professional staffs and most of the financing if prominent Gentiles would grace the organizational letterheads” (Dinnerstein 1994, 147).

Beginning in the late 19th century, Jews were far more unanimous in their support of liberal immigration policies than any other American ethnic group, and their arguments were typically couched in terms of universalist humanitarian ideals rather than narrow ethnic interests. Jewish organizations, such as the AJCommittee, organized, funded, and performed most of the work of a variety of umbrella organizations aimed at combating restrictions on immigration (e.g., the National Liberal Immigration League; the Citizens Committee for Displaced Persons; the National Commission on Immigration and Citizenship; the American Immigration Conference; see The Culture of Critique, Ch. 7). Most of the members of these groups were from other ethnic or religious groups.

This type of strategy is also apparent in Jewish attempts to secularize American culture. Ginsberg (1993, 101) notes that the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) insisted that the plaintiffs and the lead lawyer be gentiles in a case challenging the constitutionality of a non-denominational prayer in the New York public schools. This meant that the only gentile lawyer on the NYCLU staff was chosen to argue the case.[167]In Chapter 2 it was noted that Jews controlled all of the major motion picture companies and that this has been a recurrent aspect of anti-Semitism in the United States. It is interesting that the industry has often used gentiles as spokespersons in its dealings with investigative bodies, which themselves have often had anti-Semitic overtones. Two gentiles, Will H. Hays and Joseph I Breen, were appointed in 1922 and 1934 respectively to head movie industry bodies intended to prevent censorship campaigns directed at Hollywood movies (Ceplair & Englund 1980, 304n), and more recently Jack Valenti has filled this role. Wendell Wilkie, a Republican internationalist and former presidential candidate was recruited as spokesman for the Hollywood studies during investigations of its role in promoting intervention in World War II. During the anticommunist hearings of 1940, the studios recruited a gentile from Georgia, Y. Frank Freeman, to represent it before HUAC (Gabler 1988, 346, 354). During the HUAC Hollywood hearings of 1953 there was an attempt to develop a “kosher HUAC” that would coordinate policies related to screening employees, etc. “All of the names that were floated (from [Judge Learned] Hand to [former president Harry] Truman) had only one thing in common—not one of them was Jewish. They had difficulty coming up with an acceptable sponsor, perhaps because their criteria of selection—an establishment organization with impeccable credentials—precluded their finding any acceptable takers” (Navasky 1980, 127).

Jews dominated the Socialist Party of America but “they tended to avoid the very top leadership positions, however, lest attempts to develop a broader base be weakened. Their role in the American Communist Party [CPUSA] would soon follow the same pattern” (Rothman & Lichter 1982, 99). CPUSA leaders were greatly concerned that the party image was too Jewish, with the result that Jewish members were encouraged to adopt non-Jewish-sounding names, and there were active (largely unsuccessful) efforts to recruit gentile members (Klehr 1978, 41; Liebman 1979, 501). This attempt at Jewish invisibility often coincided with a strong sense of Jewish ethnic identification (see The Culture of Critique). As a result of these efforts, gentiles were able to rise in the party at a substantially faster rate than Jews; despite often representing around 40 percent of the Central Committee in the period from 1921–1961, only one Jew ever held the top position in the CPUSA (Klehr 1978, 47, 52).[168]The attempt to defuse perceptions of Jewishness was also behind efforts of the German-Jewish economic elite in the early 20th century to appoint a significant number of gentiles to boards of directors of their companies (Mosse 1987, 294). Whereas the gentile board members of these companies tended to be isolated and heterogeneous, the Jewish board members formed a highly compact, interlocking elite group with a strong presence throughout the “Jewish sector” of the economy. Similarly in Germany, Jews avoided the top positions in the German Social Democratic Party despite “a large Jewish presence in leadership positions of the second rank” (Lindemann 1997, 172).

Strategies for Combating Anti-Semitism Focusing on Controlling Behavior within the Jewish Community • 2,200 Words

Jews have often taken actions within their own community designed to limit anti-Semitism. Such measures are theoretically important, because a successful group strategy must be protected from invasion by deceivers, freeloaders, and those who endanger the community. The data reported in this section offer corroboration for the social identity theory presented in Chapter 1 as the basis of gentile anti-Semitism: The negative behavior of a few outgroup members tends to be generalized uncritically to all of the outgroup. As a result, a strategizing group, especially a minority group surrounded by a potentially hostile majority, is well advised to have mechanisms that control the behavior of individual Jews.

One of the most important roles of the old Kehilla organization among the Jews was to regulate the personal behavior of Jews so as not to offend gentile sensibilities (see also PTSDA, Ch. 4). In 15th-century Spain there were laws that prohibited extravagant dress and entertainment, the purpose of which was partly “to prevent householders . . . from arousing Christian envy and hatred ‘on account of which new edicts are enacted against us’ ” (Baer 1961, II, 269). During this period there were attempts to control the behavior of the wealthy Jewish courtier class, because their activities, such as moneylending and tax farming, were potent sources of anti-Semitism (Baer 1961, I, 257ff). Similarly, a regulation of the Synod of Frankfort of 1603 stated that “no member of our community whether young or old, shall be permitted to lie to Gentiles or deceive them, whether in regard to what Jews buy from them or in regard to what the Jews sell them. Those who deceive Gentiles profane the name of the Lord among the Gentiles” (from Finkelstein 1924, 280). Resolutions also prohibited large groups of Jews from congregating in public. “In general, any action that might arouse the notice, the envy, or the anger of the Gentile population was deprecated” (Finkelstein 1924, 88).

Despite the decline of the Kehilla system, there have been continuing attempts to restrain other Jews in the interests of lowering anti-Semitism. In the period from 1870 to 1914, liberal German Jews actively dissociated themselves from Jews, especially Orthodox Jews, who refused to adopt the outward appearances of assimilation and thus justified the charge that Jews were foreigners (Ragins 1980, 49). Attempts were made to get other Jews to abandon typically Jewish gestures and social behavior because it was offensive to Germans: “One was required to be ever watchful and take great care to avoid all provocative behavior” (Ragins 1980, 88). Indeed, “as late as 1890 [Jews] were still consciously suppressing every conspicuous and distinctive Jewish trait” (Schorsch 1972, 66).[169]Nevertheless, Jewish behavior continued to draw comment from Jews. Walther Rathenau, a prominent Jewish industrialist and political figure who strongly advocated assimilation, described the Jews as “a separated alien tribe in the midst of German life, effervescent and vulgarly decorated, with hot-blooded, animated gesticulations. An Asiatic horde on Brandenburg sand. . . . In narrow cohesion among themselves, in strict seclusion outwards: thus they live in a semi-voluntary, invisible ghetto; not a living member of the Volk, but rather an alien organism in its body” (in Ragins 1980, 77). Similarly, in the United States as late as 1931, the ADL contained a Bureau of Jewish Deportment that “taught Jews to avoid offensive behavior that might arouse anti-Semitism” (Goldberg 1996, 129), including advice not to wear furs in Florida during the summer.[170]Concerns about the potential for anti-Semitism resulting from perceptions of foreignness were also behind the attempts by the more established German-American Jews to decrease immigration of their Eastern European coreligionists. Thus in the 1880s a Jewish spokesman tried to prevent European Jewish philanthropies from sending Eastern European Jews to America, by noting that “the Jewish position in America was not yet secure. . . . American Jews could not ‘afford to incur the ill will of their compatriots’ ” (Sachar 1992, 124; see also Neuringer 1971, 15ff). A Jewish publication warned about the “uncouth Asiatics” from Russia, and there were concerns that the new immigrants would ultimately lower the social class of the established Jewish community. These concerns regarding the outlandish behavior of new immigrants continue regarding recent Jewish immigrants into America. Sachar (1992) describes the extreme separatism of the Hasidic Jews who immigrated to the United States after World War II. The Hasidic Jews are so separatist that they are given to viewing rabbis of other sects as “heterodox,” a trend Sachar perceives as ominous: “Even in tolerant America, hairshirt tribalism was a provocative stance for a community ranked among the smallest, and still among the most suspect and vulnerable, of the nation’s ethno-religious minorities” (p. 700).

Attempts have also been made at defusing gentile perceptions of Jewish racial exclusivity. One of the questions submitted by Napoleon to the Jewish community in 1807 was on Jewish attitudes regarding intermarriage. The response of the Jewish Sanhedrin was that intermarriage could not be religiously sanctioned although the marriage was civilly valid—a response interpreted by Levenson (1989, 322) as an attempt to deceive Napoleon into thinking that their response was a qualified “yes” to intermarriage when in fact it was a qualified “no.” Leopold Auerbach, an influential 19th-century Jewish apologist, argued that Jews should actively seek converts and relax requirements for conversion to counter the perception among Germans that Jews were racially exclusive (Schorsch 1972, 110). Isolated Jewish spokesmen repeatedly advocated intermarriage with or without conversion of the Christian partner, but even liberal Jewish organizations such as the Zentralverein developed very aggressive campaigns against apostasy and condemned the government for encouraging Jewish conversion to Christianity (Schorsch 1972, 110, 141).[171]Similar activities are apparent in the contemporary world. Children of the group of Falasha Jews who were evacuated from Ethiopia to Israel have made tours of schools in the United States with the avowed purpose of demonstrating that not all Jews are white (Los Angeles Times, February 16, 1995). These activities may well be directed at opposing the logic of the United Nations resolution (since repealed) equating Zionism with racism and at ameliorating African-American anti-Semitism.

There have also been many attempts to alter Jewish economic behavior vis-à-vis gentiles. In the 19th century, the Verein zur Abwehr des Antisemitismus (League to Combat Anti-Semitism), a gentile organization opposing anti-Semitism, made efforts to supervise the practices of Jewish clothing peddlers and cattle traders that provoked gentile hostility (Schorsch 1972, 84). These activities won the support of Jewish leaders, many of whom perceived their coreligionists as “vocationally and morally defective.” For example, Ludwig Stern, responding to Wilhelm Marr’s anti-Semitic writings, blamed anti-Semitism on the activities of a few rich Jews and accepted Jewish involvement in stock market frauds as an important cause of anti-Semitism rooted in actual Jewish behavior (Zimmerman 1986, 80). Stern urged Jews to abandon moneylending and not to flaunt their wealth, because it aroused jealousy. Later the Zentralverein attempted to reduce the “objective” causes of anti-Semitism by apologizing for the “maturing” nature of the Jewish community and especially for the large number of “alien and uncultured Semites living in Germany” (Schorsch 1972, 136).[172]Similarly, in the Weimar period, the National League of Frontline Veterans emphasized Jewish “self-discipline” as a means of defusing anti-Semitism: “Out of the inns of gluttony! Away from the mad pursuit of pleasure! Down with vain baubles! Back to simplicity and serious living!” (in Niewyk 1980, 92; italics in text). During this period the Zentralverein was also active in urging Jewish businessmen to treat customers and employees fairly, in response to the complaints of anti-Semites.

In the 1930s in England, Neville Laski, President of the Board of Deputies (the major organization of British Jews), set up a subcommittee to “to deal with such social conditions as sweatshops, bad employers, landlords and price-cutting in the East End.” The committee attempted to raise the public image of Jews by making Jews more aware of the effect their “individual malpractices” had on fomenting anti-Semitism and pressuring them to change their behavior.

I submit that the time has passed for us . . . to ignore the fact that not a day goes by without anti-Semitism being created by Jews themselves . . . a new generation of unethical Jewish traders are by bankruptcy, due to complete irresponsibility and lack of principle, causing hardship over a wide field and manufacturing anti-Semitism at high pressure. (M. G. Liverman, Chairman of the Defence Committee of the Board of Deputies, November 1938, in Alderman 1992, 294)

During the 19th century there were attempts to end the economic and social class disparities between Jews and Germans because of the clear effect these disparities had in exacerbating anti-Semitism (Ragins 1980, 68, 71). Although largely unsuccessful, these programs were motivated by the fact that a consistent theme of anti-Semitism of the period was the lack of Jewish participation in primary production and their concentration in high-prestige, high-income occupations. This Jewish response was therefore an attempt to alter the perception that Jews as a group engage in resource competition and economic exploitation of gentiles, a common theme of anti-Semitic writings (see Chapter 2). Thus an advocate of the program stated that

if the Jews do not post a contingent in all types of occupations, if there are not soon more waiters and letter-carriers, miners and factory workers in the lower classes, court clerks and minor officials of every sort in the middle classes and artisans and farmers in greater numbers among the German Jews, then we cannot complain about the hostile reproach that we constitute a Volk within the Volk and do not assimilate ourselves sufficiently. (In Ragins 1980, 68; italics in text).

Jewish organizations have also attempted to control Jewish criminal behavior. The “extraordinarily large representation of Jews among traffickers and their victims” (Niewyk 1980, 118) in international prostitution from 1870 to 1939 was a major source of negative stereotypes by gentiles (see Bristow 1983), and in early 20th-century America Jews were active in attempts to eradicate Jewish prostitution, control of prostitution, street crime, and gangster activities (see Sachar 1992). In New York in 1912, the Bureau of Social Morals was established by Jewish philanthropists to provide information to the district attorney regarding Jewish criminal activities.

Jews also made active attempts to control the behavior of other Jews likely to lead to charges of disloyalty.[173]The official Jewish community also cooperated with the British government’s lack of aggressive concern about European Jews during World War II out of concerns that

the loyalty of British Jews to their co-religionists in other lands was greater than their loyalty to their fellow citizens in Britain. . . . The spectre of the cosmopolitan Jew, loyal to international Jewry but to nothing else, haunted Jewish communal leaders (and many of those whom they led) as much as it haunted purveyors of anti-Jewish prejudice, of whom there was a growing number in the 1930s. (Alderman 1992, 281)
Meyer (1988, 339) notes that a major goal of the Reform movement in post–World War I Germany was to suppress Zionism because of its perceived effect on fanning the flames of anti-Semitism due to charges of Jewish disloyalty.[174]Walter Rathenau (see note 19) was a prominent critic of Jewish behavior during this period. Rathenau stated that the charge of internationalism would continue to be made against Jews so long as they were related by marriage to “all the foreign Cohns and Levys” (in Ragins 1980, 77), a comment which illustrates the saliency of the ethnic nature of Judaism for anti-Semitic attitudes of the period. Rathenau also criticized Jews for remaining foreigners and failing to win the trust of Germans (Niewyk 1980, 96–97). Reflecting this concern, a major goal of the National League of Jewish Frontline Veterans was to rebut charges that Jews had been underrepresented as frontline soldiers in World War I and had suffered disproportionately few casualties (see Niewyk 1980, 90). Two prominent German reform rabbis in the early 20th century declared that a Zionist newspaper was a “calamity” to German Jews: “As long as the Zionists wrote in Hebrew, they were not dangerous, now that they write in German it is necessary to oppose them” (in Meyer 1988, 209). In other words, a low-profile Zionism was harmless, but there was danger if gentiles became aware of strident assertions of Jewish nationalism. In 1913 the Zentralverein accused the Zionist movement of being dominated by people who denied any allegiance to Germany (Schorsch 1972, 200), and it voted to expel any Zionist “who denies any feeling of German nationality, who feels himself a guest among a host people and nationally only a Jew” (in Schorsch 1972, 181; see also Magill 1979, 211–212). (In 1914 at the outbreak of World War I, the German Zionist Federation [the main German Zionist organization] resolved that Jews had no roots whatever in Germany.) To an organization intent on depicting Jews as loyal to Germany, there was clearly a concern that Germans would over-attribute the lack of loyalty of these Zionists to all Jews—another example of the tendency to assume the worst about outgroups as an important contributor to historical anti-Semitism (see discussion of Type II errors in Chapter 1).

On the other hand, Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, a prominent Zionist and leader of the AJCongress, characterized Western European Jews as engaging in deception by pretending to be patriotic citizens while really being Jewish nationalists: “They wore the mask of the ruling nationality as of old in Spain—the mask of the ruling religion” (in Frommer 1978, 118). Wise had a well-developed sense of dual loyalty, stating on one occasion “I am not an American citizen of Jewish faith. I am a Jew. I am an American. I have been an American 63/64ths of my life, but I have been a Jew for 4000 years” (in Lilienthal 1953, 165). Similar conflicts between Zionists and anti-Zionists, framed in much the same way, occurred in America (Frommer 1978)[175]There was a conflict between the established German-American Jews represented by the AJCommittee and the Eastern European Jews who founded the AJCongress (Frommer 1978). The latter were far more likely to be Zionists (as well as political radicals) with a well-developed view of Jewry as a nation and as a race with strong ties to foreign Jews. The following are quotations from The American Hebrew, a periodical that reflected the views of the older Jewish establishment represented by the AJCommittee:

[The vast majority of American Jews] feel that they cannot participate in an undertaking predicated on what, in effect, would be an acknowledgment that they are a people apart from the rest of the population of the countries of which they are citizens and to which they owe their allegiance. (American Hebrew, June 15, 1923, p. 93)

Reports from the Zionist Convention at Baltimore indicate at this writing that the Organization continues heedless of the fact that its nationalist policy is the chief stumbling block in the way of the speedy upbuilding of Palestine. It was, indeed, with great assurance that the convention “keynote” orator declared that the Jew is the alien par excellence; that even “assimilationists,” i.e., anti-nationalist Jews, are now again conscious that the flag which they thought theirs during the war is not their flag, that those who fought for their nation fought, in effect, not for their nation but in the Foreign Legion. Can folly go further? . . . [O]ne who knows himself to be an American in nationality will not alienate himself from the land of his birth or adoption, however cordially he may desire the upbuilding of Palestine. (American Hebrew, June 22, 1923, p. 113)
and England (Alderman 1983).[176]In England there were conflicts between recent immigrants from Eastern European and the established Jewish community represented by the Board of Deputies and the Anglo-Jewish Association. In 1916 an establishment leader stated that cooperation with the Zionists could not take place “on an overt or official assumption of the existence of a Jewish nationality for the Jews all over the world” (in Alderman 1983, 100).

Fears of charges of disloyalty also emerged when the World Jewish Congress was established as an outgrowth of the AJCongress in the 1930s. Cyrus Adler, president of the AJCommittee, described the attempt to create such an international body as “a sensational blunder,” warning that “the enemies of Jews in every country and especially in Germany would seize upon the Congress as an alleged justification of their charges. The question is not whether such a result should occur, but whether it is likely to occur. The Jews of Europe, and especially of Germany, want no such Congress” (in Frommer 1978, 467).[177]Although the leaders of the AJCongress were largely Zionist and conceptualized Jews as a nation rather than a religion, they recruited “outstanding American clergymen individually to endorse our movement” (in Frommer 1978, 488)—another example of the usefulness of conceptualizing Judaism as a religion rather than an ethnic group, and presumably involving some deception or self-deception. The official statement of the function of the World Jewish Congress was framed in terms of peoplehood: “To symbolize and make a reality of the common resolution of the Jewish people to unite in defence of its rights; and to secure the cooperation of the various branches of this dispersed people in all matters of common interest” (in Frommer 1978, 492). United States Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, though an ardent Zionist, also strongly disapproved of a World Jewish Congress because it would “lend color to the arguments based on the Protocols [of the Elders of Zion]” (in Frommer 1978, 484).[178]Attempts to control Jewish behavior related to Zionism continued after the establishment of Israel. Early on, David Ben-Gurion was prevailed upon to resign his office as chairman of a Zionist organization because it “might instantly lead to charges of dual loyalty” (Sachar 1992, 717). Concerns about accusations of dual loyalty have figured prominently in the wake of the Jonathan Pollard spying case. American Jews “pressed urgently for assurances that the Israeli government never again would expose them to this discomfiture. How would their own government ever entrust Jews to positions of security and responsibility?” (Sachar 1992, 896). American Jews were extensively investigated when applying for positions related to national security after this incident (Ginsberg 1993, 217–218). Nevertheless, the Israeli intelligence service has often recruited diaspora Jews to assist in intelligence operations (Ostrovsky & Hoy 1990).

Also related to charges of disloyalty, there was great concern within the Jewish community from the 1920s through the Cold War period, that the very large overrepresentation of ethnic Jews within the American Communist Party (CPUSA) would lead to anti-Semitism; “The fight against the stereotype of Communist-Jew became a virtual obsession with Jewish leaders and opinion makers throughout America” (Liebman 1979, 515),[179]In the 1920s, the fact that Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe were viewed as “infected with Bolshevism . . . unpatriotic, alien, unassimilable,” contributed to restrictive immigration legislation (Neuringer 1971, 165). Jewish publications warned that the leftism of Jewish immigrants would lead to anti-Semitism. The official Jewish community engaged in “a near-desperation . . . effort to portray the Jew as one hundred per cent American” by organizing highly visible patriotic pageants on national holidays and urging the immigrants to learn English (Neuringer 1971, 167). Nevertheless, Jewish radicalism continued to be a problem. In 1937 the AJCommittee commissioned a report from a sympathetic gentile, Alvin Johnson, who recommended that Jews develop programs aimed at countering political radicalism and Zionism among Jewish youth and that Jews become less conspicuous (Cohen 1972, 203). and indeed, the association of Jews with the CPUSA was a focus of anti-Semitic literature at this time (e.g., Beaty 1951). As a result, the AJCommittee engaged in intensive efforts to change opinion within the Jewish community by showing that Jewish interests were more compatible with advocating American democracy than Soviet communism (e.g., emphasizing Soviet anti-Semitism and support of nations opposed to Israel in the period after World War II) (Cohen 1972, 347ff).[180]Similarly in England in 1887 the Federation of Minor Synagogues was created by established British Jews to moderate the radicalism of newly arrived immigrants from Eastern Europe. This organization also engaged in deception, by deliberately distorting the extent to which the immigrants had radical political attitudes (Alderman 1983, 60).

Particularly worrisome to American Jewish leaders was the arrest and conviction of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg for spying. Leftist supporters of the Rosenbergs, many of whom were Jewish, attempted to portray the event as an instance of anti-Semitism and actively sought to enlist mainstream Jewish opinion on the side of this interpretation (Dawidowicz 1952). However, in doing so they made the Jewish identities of these individuals and the connection between Judaism and communism even more salient; the official Jewish community went to great lengths to alter the public stereotype of Jewish subversion and disloyalty. The AJCommittee obtained a prominent role for Jews in the prosecution of the Rosenbergs and was active in promoting public support for the guilty verdicts (Ginsberg 1993, 121; Navasky 1980, 114ff).

Communists were also hounded out of mainstream Jewish organizations where they had previously been welcome. Particularly salient was the 50,000-member Jewish Peoples Fraternal Order, an affiliate of the AJCongress listed as a subversive organization by the U. S. Attorney General. The JPFO was the financial and organizational “bulwark” of the CPUSA after World War II and also funded the Daily Worker and the Morning Freiheit (Svonkin 1997, 166). Although the AJCongress severed its ties with the JPFO and stated that communism was a threat, it was “at best a reluctant and unenthusiastic participant” (Svonkin 1997, 132) in the Jewish effort to develop a public image of anti-communism—a position reflecting the sympathies of many among its predominantly second- and third-generation Eastern European immigrant membership.

Finally, the right of Jews to dissent from Israeli policy has sometimes been a lively issue within the Jewish community. During the mid-1970s, American Jewish leaders were recruited by Israel to condemn the activities of Breira, a group that aimed to influence American Jewish attitudes toward Israeli policy. American members of Breira received “tongue-lashings” by ranking Israeli diplomats, and American Jewish intellectuals who had signed advertisements opposing settlements in the occupied territories were, in the words of Irving Howe recounting his own experience, “subjected to unseemly pressures in their communities and organizations”—what Howe termed “heimishe [homelike] witch hunting” (Goldberg 1996, 206).

Chapter 7 • Rationalization and Apologia: The Intellectual Construction of Judaism • 16,900 Words

Things never are what they seem because they cannot be. (Neusner 1987, 139, describing the ideology of the writers of Leviticus Rabbah)

The antagonists of the Jews have laid a great stress on a passage of Maimonides, who seems to represented [sic] as a precept, the expression Anochri tassih (make profit of the stranger). But although Maimonides has presumed to maintain this opinion, it is well known that his sentiments have been most completely refuted by the learned Rabbi Aberbanel. We find, besides, in the Talmud, a treatise of Macot (Perfection) that one of the ways to arrive at perfection, is to lend without interest to the stranger, even to the idolater. (Transactions of the Parisian Sanhedrim; Tama, 1807)

Evolutionists propose that ideologies serve the evolutionary interests of those who adopt them (see PTSDA, Ch. 1). Rationalization, deception and self-deception are expected among those who create and maintain ideologies, as seen, for example, in Chapters 3–5 where it was noted that anti-Semitic group strategies have been characterized by ideologies that interpret and rationalize history from the perspective of the ingroup. This phenomenon is a direct consequence of social identity theory: groups tend to develop highly flattering self-images that enhance group allegiance and the self-esteem of group members, the only constraint being that the presentation of the ingroup must be plausible (e.g., Crocker et al. 1993). Oftentimes these positive self-images of the ingroup are accompanied by negative portrayals of outgroups.

A paradigmatic Jewish ideology has been to interpret historical events in a manner that conforms to the messianic hope of a return to political power and worldly riches in a restored Israel. This literature, which has its prototype in the ideology of the Tanakh, rationalizes Israel’s sufferings at the hands of heathens and idolators as due to its having rejected its God (See PTSDA, Ch. 3).

Rationalizations of historical events continued in the post-biblical period. For example, Genesis Rabbah was composed in reaction to the emergence of Christianity as the dominant religion of the Roman Empire. The new dominance of a religion that accepted the Jewish scriptures forced a reexamination of the status of Jews as the Chosen People of God (Neusner 1987). Genesis Rabbah identifies Rome with Esau, the archetypal gentile who has a primeval hatred of his twin brother Jacob, the progenitor of the Jews. The image of the gentile as the brutal, coarse, and animal-like Esau remained central to Jewish consciousness and colored Jewish perceptions of anti-Semitic incidents into the 20th century.

A focus of apologetic literature in the ancient world was defending the exclusivist, intolerant, and separatist tendencies of Judaism:

The apologist endeavored to prove the harmony of thought between the Torah and Greek wisdom. . . . But the fact that in this case it was the minority, and not the majority, that was exclusive and intolerant made the defense particularly difficult. . . . An obstinate sense of alienation was required to fight gods and to reject neighbors who were well disposed toward you and who were always ready to see you in their temples and at their tables—ready even to accept your own Deity into the common pantheon. . . . These attacks [on idolatry] were needed . . . to bolster the faith of those Jews who through too much contact with Greeks might be persuaded to transgress the divine commandments. (Bickerman 1988, 255–256; see also Schürer 1986, 609)

In the ancient world there developed a vast apologetic literature attempting to provide an intellectual defense of Judaism that would be palatable to the Greek intellectual world. Writers such as Philo and Josephus attempted to portray Jewish life, particularly Jewish separatism, in a positive light and to present Jews as morally superior to gentiles by, for example, extolling their family life (J. J. Collins 1985, 169). As in the case of the Reform movement many centuries later, “whatever was bound at first sight to appear peculiar and unpalatable was left in the background as inessential, and the main emphasis was laid on issues for which a sympathetic understanding could be counted on” (Schürer 1986, 153–154; see also McKnight 1991, 70; Sevenster 1975, 19). Many of the arguments boiled down to the “light of the nations” conceptualization, in which Judaism represented a higher morality and thus was a moral beacon for the rest of humanity—another prominent theme of 19th- and 20th-century Jewish apologia.[181]In Chapters 3–5, it was noted that anti-Semitic movements are often mirror images of Judaism. In 1891 the Pan-German League, a nationalistic organization with powerful anti-Semitic overtones (Pulzer 1964, 226ff), made the following “light of the nations” statement which is a mirror image of similar declarations that have been a staple of Jewish self-conceptualization throughout the ages and particularly among Reform intellectuals: “We believe that in working for the preservation and expansion of the German spirit in the world our people most effectively promotes the construction of world morality. For our German Kultur represents the ideal core of human intellect [Denkarbeit], and every step which is taken for Germanism belongs therefore to humanity as such and to the future of our species [Geschlecht]” (in Stern 1961, 169). The ethnic/nationalistic overtones of Judaism were de-emphasized, including the messianic hopes for a return to power in Jerusalem and also the “Princes of Captivity” (i.e., the patriarch and exilarch), who still held considerable religious and political power over Jews—despite the fact that these aspects of Judaism were quite salient to the Jews themselves (Baron 1952, II, 195).

An interesting tendency beginning in the ancient period was the development of ideologies in which the intellectual contributions of gentiles were traced to specifically Jewish sources. Lefkowitz (1993; see also Gabba 1989, 639ff; Schürer 1986, 611) shows that beginning in the 3rd and 2nd centuries b.c., Jewish historians “consciously and deliberately determined to claim that their own ancient civilization had priority over the culture of their Greek conquerors” (p. 16). One technique was to assert that prominent Greek writers and poets were Jews; another was to assert that Greek philosophy and literature depended on Jewish religious writings. The most flagrant example of this type of ethnocentric history was Aristobulus (2nd century b.c.), “the father of custom-made ethnic history,” who “cited other writers, both authentic and forged, to ‘prove’ the truth of the Bible and to show that the Greek philosophers Pythagoras, Socrates, and Plato, not to mention the poets Homer, Hesiod, Orpheus, and Aratus depended on the books of Moses” (Lefkowitz 1993, 16).

This phenomenon continued long after the ancient world. In medieval Spain, “enthusiastic halakists [writers on Jewish law], who deplored the necessity of drinking draughts of ‘Jewish Wisdom’ from Greek fountains, comforted themselves with the fiction that the reputed astronomy of the Greeks was really a full-grown product of the Jewish intellect which the Hellenists had wrung from the sages of vanquished Judea as a prize of war during the time of the Second Commonwealth” (Neuman 1969, 104).[182]A similar phenomenon occurred during the 19th century when some Reform congregations intent on making their services more like Christian services eventually accepted the use of the organ but traced the instrument to a Jewish instrument used during biblical times. On the other hand, the organ was anathema to Orthodox Jews, precisely because it was seen as a gentile import (Meyer 1988, 169–170).

Intellectual defenses of Jewish religious writings occurred periodically during the Middle Ages, with Franciscan and Dominican friars providing the intellectual assault forces for the Christian side, sometimes with the aid of Jewish renegades. One source of conflict in medieval France was the perception among Christians that the Jewish religious service and liturgy contained slurs on gentiles or Christianity. (Without naming names, Jordan [1989, 140] refers to an apologetic literature by modern Jewish historians denying the reality of these charges; Maccoby [1982] is a good example of Jewish apologia of this kind.) However, Jordan cites evidence that such slurs were common and indicate a high level of animosity of Jews toward gentiles (see also Stein 1959, 58). Particularly irksome to Christians were slurs on the Virgin Mary. “The Hebrew chroniclers vented their helplessness by denigrating Mary as the harlot mother, the menstruating mother, and denigrated her son’s worshippers as the worshippers of a ‘putrid corpse’ ” (Jordan 1989, 140). Cohen (1994, 141) notes that Mishnaic and Talmudic literature contain explicitly disparaging references to Jesus, although by the time of printing these were mostly excised, as a result of Christian or self-imposed Jewish censorship. He also notes a Hebrew medieval book that describes Jesus as “the crucified one, a rotting corpse that cannot avail and cannot save.”

In 1240 there was an official disputation conducted by the church at Paris on charges that Jewish religious writings (including the Talmud, the Mishnah, and Rashi’s commentary on the Talmud) contained explicitly anti-Christian sentiments, including the permissibility of deceiving Christians; the right of Jews to the goods of the gentiles; the permissibility of not keeping oaths made to Christians; the bestiality and immorality of Christians; hostility of Jews toward all other people; that Jesus was conceived in adultery; that Jesus is boiled in hot excrement in hell because he mocked rabbinical writings (see Rosenthal 1956). The theme of Talmudic ethics vis-à-vis gentiles was very prominent: e.g., one disputed passage, b. Baba Kamma 38a, states that if a Canaanite ox gores an Israelite, damages must be paid, but damages need not be paid if an Israelite ox gores a Canaanite—an expression of the fundamentally ethnocentric ethics of the Talmud that has figured in anti-Semitic writing in modern times as well (see Chapter 2). The passage recounts an incident when Roman agents investigating the ethics of the Talmud disagreed with this passage but did not tell their government.

The Jewish defendants in the Paris disputation argued that the negative comments on gentiles actually refer to the ancient Egyptians and Canaanites and not to Christians (see comments of R. Yehiel in Maccoby 1982, 160–161). However, despite this argument, the Jewish masses “did not differentiate between the non-Jew in the Talmud and the non-Jew of his time” (Rosenthal 1956, 68; see also Rabinowitz 1938, 90). Further, the idea that gentiles were not idolators (and thus not subject to an ethical double standard) was not established (Stein 1959). Indeed, the authoritative Maimonides explicitly viewed all Christians as idolators, and Cohen (1994, 141) notes that Christianity was “regularly” classified as idolatry. The responses of the rabbis to Talmudic comments that Jesus of Nazareth practiced sorcery and led others to idolatry were probably unconvincing to the panel, since the rabbis appeared to accept the comment as referring to the Jesus of Christianity; Rosenthal (1956, 168) terms the responses as “confused” and “full of contradictions,” while the apologist Maccoby (1982, 218) describes them as “too stupid to be credible.” The trial resulted in the conviction of the Talmud on all charges, and as a result, twenty-four cartloads of the Talmud were burned.

During the period of the Inquisition, a large apologetic literature developed among Hispano-Portuguese Jewish emigrants that was intended to refute Christianity and to bolster the resolve of the crypto-Jews remaining in the Peninsula (Yerushalmi 1971, 48). Even prior to the Inquisition, however, such New Christian intellectuals as Fernán Díaz, Cardinal Juan de Torquemada, and Alonso de Cartagena emerged to defend the orthodoxy of the Conversos, refute the arguments of the enemies of the anti-Converso camp, and develop novel theological perspectives that cast a positive light on Jews both in the Old Testament and contemporary times (Netanyahu 1995, 351–661). These writers had to overcome a very large corpus of Christian writings in which Jews were depicted in a negative light, with the result that “in search of Christian authorities who would support his own understanding of the prophecies, [Torquemada] had to skip from one commentator to another, take a portion from one and a sentence from another, and ignore whole bodies of Christian comment in order to present his case for Israel on the basis of the Bible” (Netanyahu 1995, 540).

Particularly interesting here is the tendency (congruent with traditional Christian formulations; see Chapter 3) for these writers to conceptualize Jews as a racial group, as in the writings of Alonso de Cartagena, who viewed Jews as a group that was “united by a blood relationship whose origins went back to Abraham” (Netanyahu 1995, 530). God chose Abraham, Cartagena argued, to be the progenitor of the people that would be dedicated to His service, and because of their special role as the carnal progenitors of Christ, Jews had to remain separate from other peoples and occupy an elevated moral status compared to other humans: “Not only was the Jewish people raised to the status of nobility in mankind . . . ; it was also allotted the status of holiness” (p. 533). Because of this special role as a chosen race, the Jews were like a closed religious order composed of morally superior individuals distinguished by a superior genetic heritage and therefore worthy of being the progenitors of Christ—a twist on traditional Jewish conceptualizations of their status as a Chosen People. In this view, the conversion of Jews to Christianity is not really a conversion at all, because it merely represents a deeper understanding of their role in history—a claim made to refute charges that it would be difficult for the New Christians to accommodate themselves to Christian teachings. Indeed, a remarkable aspect of the Converso apologias generally was that they were so crafted that the Conversos conceptualized themselves as not betraying their people or their law (Netanyahu 1995, 936–937). By becoming Christians while retaining their ethnic identity, they had provided a bridge between “ethnic Israel” and “spiritual Israel.”

These ideologies rationalize the continuity of group identity and cohesiveness while nevertheless providing it with a novel surface of Christianity. The insight of these New Christian apologists was that Christianity could serve as a perfectly viable ideology in which the group continuity, including ethnic solidarity, of the New Christians could be preserved. The existence of such ideologies is consistent with the idea (though of course it does not prove) that many Conversos did in fact accept Christian religious beliefs, as some have maintained (see Appendix), while nevertheless identifying with an endogamous, cooperating group that was self-consciously separate from the surrounding Old Christian culture.

From the standpoint of social identity theory, the ideology may be interpreted as an attempt by the New Christian apologists to alter the social categorization process of the Old Christians so that group status becomes theoretically irrelevant. New Christians and Old Christians remained separate groups, but by changing their religion (what one might term a “surface ideology of group status”), the New Christians attained a certain theoretical legitimacy, at least within a Christian theological perspective. Indeed, a 15th-century satirist depicts an Old Christian as stating that because of their conversion to Christianity the New Christians had become “legitimate” and were now entitled to use their “manipulations, chicaneries, subtleties and deceits, without fear of God and shame of the people” (in Netanyahu 1995, 513). The Old Christians, however, persisted in seeing the New Christians as a cohesive, endogamous and highly successful outgroup that was battling for economic and political supremacy in Spain (see Appendix).

Cartagena’s message is that the continuation of the New Christians as an unassimilated, genetically segregated group within Spanish society should be irrelevant from a Christian moral and theological perspective. He implies that New Christians can continue to retain their group integrity, group ties, and genetic segregation in order to preserve their distinguished lineage. (Cartagena rationalized the high social status of the New Christians as resulting from their superior genetic lineage.) However, the rest of Christian society ought to view such behavior as theoretically irrelevant and cease categorizing individuals as New Christians because such racialist thinking is contrary to Christian theology and morality. This attempt at ideological manipulation is a forerunner to several important post-Enlightenment Jewish intellectual movements. A major theme of The Culture of Critique is that these movements have advocated universalist ideologies for the entire society (e.g., Marxism) in which the importance of the Jew/gentile social category is less salient and is of no theoretical importance.

As has undoubtedly often been the case in other eras (see, e.g., the discussion of the Dreyfus case in Chapter 6), the apologists were intellectually far more sophisticated than their opponents, and collectively they dominated the literature of the period. Netanyahu shows in great detail the intellectual and political accomplishments of Torquemada and Cartagena prior to their apologetic work, and Díaz was the top-ranking New Christian official in the government of Castile. Their arguments, while necessarily departing from orthodox Christian arguments in their defense of the Jews, are presented in a highly literate, scholarly style that undoubtedly commanded respect from an educated audience. They were highly skilled in developing the very intricate, tortured arguments necessary to overcome the existing anti-Jewish bias of Christian theology. The result of all this intellectual activity was a stunning, if temporary, victory over the Toledo rebels of 1449 (Netanyahu 1995, 658). The rebels were soon regarded by the public as moral, religious, and political renegades; they were excommunicated by the pope, and their leaders were imprisoned and executed.

Since the Enlightenment, Judaism has had to be reconciled not only with the modern idea of citizenship in a nation-state, but also with modern trends in science and, in particular, with philosophic conceptualizations of Christianity and Judaism emanating from gentile intellectuals. The basic response of Jews to these intellectual trends was aptly summed up by pioneering Jewish-French sociologist Émile Durkheim (1858–1917) who noted that the Jewish response to modernity was not to embrace modernism for its own sake but rather to shape modernism as part of a continuing struggle in which it would retain its essential nature unsullied: “The Jew . . . seeks to learn not in order to replace his collective prejudices by reflective thought, but merely to be better armed for the struggle. . . . [H]e superimposes this intellectual life upon his habitual routine with no effect of the former upon the latter” (in Cuddihy 1974, 26).

The principle problem in all of this literature was for Jews to justify the continued existence of Judaism as a legitimate religion along with Christianity (e.g., Meyer 1988, 62ff). The common theme among Jewish apologists was to portray Judaism as the most ethical of religions, with a unique moral, altruistic, and civilizing role to play vis-à-vis the rest of humanity—modern versions of the ancient “light unto the nations” theme of Jewish religious writing.

Several prominent gentile philosophers developed theories of Christianity that assigned Judaism a very limited role in human history and proposed that Judaism was at best a morally inferior anachronism and not really a religion in the highest sense. There was a long list of such philosophers during the 17th–19th centuries, including Baruch Spinoza, born a Sephardic Jew. Spinoza viewed Judaism as concerned mainly with worldly success and as practicing an exclusivism that resulted in hatred by gentiles. For Immanuel Kant, Jews had excluded “from its communion the entire human race, on the ground that it was a special people chosen by God for Himself—[an exclusiveness] which showed enmity toward all other peoples and which, therefore, evoked the enmity of all” (Kant 1793, 117; brackets in text). Kant perceived Judaism as a national/ethnic movement with an ideology of eventual political reunification of its dispersed members:

[Judaism] is really not a religion at all but merely a union of a number of people who, since they belonged to a particular stock, formed themselves into a commonwealth under purely political laws, and not into a church; nay, it was intended to be merely an earthly state so that, were it possibly to be dismembered through adverse circumstances, there would still remain to it (as part of its very essence) the political faith in its eventual reestablishment. (Religion within the Limits of Reason; Kant 1793, 116; italics in text)

Kant’s critique of Judaism was important because of his prominence as a philosopher, and Jewish reformers quickly took up the intellectual challenge of rationalizing Judaism within this intellectual context. The result was a new emphasis among the reformers on purely religious faith as the moral basis of Judaism. Sermons and intellectual defenses of Judaism now focused not on the minutiae of ceremonial law or on the eventual reestablishment of a Jewish political entity, but on ideals of virtuous behavior. “Thus, instead of being the religion of no morality—as Kant defined it—the Reformers sought to present Judaism as the religion most exclusively concerned with morality, and hence most worthy of the future” (Meyer 1988, 65). Because of the critical importance of morality, there was an attempt to reinterpret passages from Jewish religious writings that represented a doubtful morality—a project which is of continuing interest in the modern world (see below).

The German Idealist philosophers, such as Hegel, tended to view Judaism as an anachronism because of their emphasis on historical progress of the human spirit. Within this framework, Judaism was a predecessor of Christianity, but the latter represented a higher stage in the progress of the human spirit (Findlay 1962). Solomon Formstecher, in his The Religion of the Spirit (1841; see Meyer 1988, 70–71), reversed this idea by proposing that Jewish history was really an attempt to reach a spiritual ideal first described by the prophets and that Christianity and Islam are the agents of Judaism in its attempt to lead humanity to spiritual perfection. Judaism at its essence was therefore fundamentally ethical and spiritual. As with many other attempts to rationalize Judaism throughout the ages, this rationalization is a variation of the “light of the nations” theme originating in antiquity. Nachman Krochmal (1785–1840) also developed an apology for Judaism within the Hegelian system, arguing essentially that Judaism as the purest monotheism was identical with the Hegelian universal absolute Spirit, and that all other religions were particularistic (see Rose 1990, 112–113).

Kaufmann Kohler (1918) is an important example of the Reform tendency (also seen, e.g., in Kohler’s mentor, David Einhorn, and in Samuel Hirsch’s The Religious Philosophy of the Jews) to assert that Jewish ethics is universalistic while at the same time maintaining that Israel must remain separate while it presents a moral beacon to the rest of humanity. Kohler was also an ardent opponent of intermarriage and conversion because racial impurity would lessen Israel’s ability to carry out its historic civilizing mission to the rest of humanity. The perfection of humanity is achieved as each race, while remaining separate, comes together to pursue common interests with other races (p. 314).[183]Acknowledging the ethnic nature of Judaism was viewed by many as the key to preventing assimilation. The prominent theologian Solomon Schechter, in his “Epistle to the Jews of England,” argued that Jews are bound together by “common blood” and that despite the danger of acknowledging this fact because of its possible use by anti-Semites, “the contrary standpoint leads to assimilation, which is more dangerous to Judaism than any device the anti-Semites may invent” (in Panitz 1969, 56n). Despite this reference to common blood, Schechter’s (1909) Aspects of Rabbinic Theology regards Israel as a “universal kingdom” to which sinners and gentiles are invited. Schechter’s epistles indicate a clear sense of Jewish nationalism and of powerful ties among Jews throughout the world. Jews are not Germans or Anglo-Saxons of the Jewish persuasion, but “Jews of the Jewish persuasion” (p. 5). Schechter accepts the idea of a Jewish mission to the gentile world, but this mission can only be accomplished by the “closest communion” of Jews throughout the world: “All our thought and sympathies will have to be placed irrespective of country, among Jews” (p. 7). Until the present, Judaism had been “restrained by its two daughter-religions from pursuing its former missionary activity” (p. 445). However, “this will be an auspicious time for Israel to arise with renewed prophetic vigor as the bearer of a world-uniting faith, as the triumphant Messiah of the nations” (p. 445). In pursuing its mission, Israel is the altruistic martyr whose sufferings from anti-Semitism atone for the sins of the rest of humanity:

Israel is the champion of the Lord, chosen to battle and suffer for the supreme values of mankind, for freedom and justice, truth and humanity; the man of woe and grief, whose blood is to fertilize the soil with the seeds of righteousness and love for mankind. From the days of Pharaoh to the present day, every oppressor of the Jews has become the means of bringing greater liberty to a wider circle. . . . Every hardship that made life unbearable to the Jew became a road to humanity’s triumph over barbarism. (p. 375)

Continuing the ethnocentric interpretations of history begun by Aristobulus in the ancient world, Kohler states that even before the messianic age, for centuries Jews were “the real bearers of culture” (p. 363), including commerce, industry, literature, and art (p. 365). “Our modern Christian civilization, so-called by Christian historians, is largely the fruit of the rich intellectual seeds sown by Mohammedans and Jews” (p. 443).[184]Kohler also reconciled Reform Judaism with Darwinism by stating that evolution implies the survival of the morally superior (Meyer 1988, 274)—a rather ironic notion from the perspective of current theory and certainly one that Darwin himself would have had immense difficulties with. The fact that Israel had survived for so long was viewed by Kohler as proof of its moral fitness and an objective sign of the moral superiority of Judaism. Kohler saw the selection of Jews as the Chosen People as completely analogous to Darwinian selection in the natural world.

These “light of the nations” reconceptualizations of Judaism as representing a higher morality are reflected in official Reform pronouncements. The Pittsburgh Reform Platform of 1885 stated that the Jewish idea of God is “the central religious truth for the human race” (reprinted in Meyer 1988, 386). Later, the Columbus Platform of 1937 stated that the message of Judaism “is universal, aiming at the union and perfection of mankind under the sovereignty of God” (reprinted in Meyer 1988, 388–389). A 1976 resolution spoke of Jewish peoplehood and of ethnic ties with the state of Israel, but it also asserted that “The state of Israel and the diaspora, in fruitful dialogue, can show how a people transcends nationalism even as it affirms it, thereby setting an example for humanity which remains largely concerned with dangerously parochial goals.” Similarly, Judaism as a “civil religion” in late 20th-century America has been justified by its moral imperative: “The identification of Judaism with applied morality has been a primary Jewish civil religious strategy for vindicating both its embrace of America and its support of Jewish group perpetuation” (Woocher 1986, 28).[185]Mordicai Kaplan’s (1934) highly influential Judaism as a Civilization recognizes the ethnic, nationalist aspects of Judaism as historically important in the beliefs and motivations of Jews. However, ethnic aspects are de-emphasized in favor of the much more palatable interpretation of Jewish behavior as a religious, spiritual, and ethical civilization. However, Kaplan explicitly advocates intermarriage and indeed, he views intermarriage as the key to making Judaism tenable within American society. Nevertheless, the achievement of this ethical, spiritual, and religious agenda requires the reconstitution of the Jewish people into an organic community, and, as Woocher (1986, 176) notes, Jewish peoplehood itself achieves religious significance in this formulation. Once again, Jews must retain their distinctiveness from the surrounding culture in order to fulfill their destiny to humanize and civilize all of humanity.

Universalistic morality as the essence of Judaism is also common among secular Jewish intellectuals. In his summary of the writings in a symposium on “Jewishness and the Younger Intellectuals” appearing in Commentary (published by the AJCommittee), Norman Podhoretz (1961, 310) notes that

what is most surprising and, to my mind at least, most reassuring is the atmosphere of idealism that permeates this symposium, an idealism that many of the contributors themselves associate with the fact of their Jewishness. Believing (on the basis, it should be emphasized, of an obviously scant acquaintance with the literature and history of Judaism) that the essence of Judaism is the struggle for universal justice and human brotherhood, these young intellectuals assert over and over again that anyone who fights for the Ideal is to that degree more Jewish than a man who merely observes the rituals or merely identifies himself with the Jewish community. This is really what the 1944 group was also saying [i.e., a similar symposium of young Jewish intellectuals convened by Commentary’s predecessor] that the essential tradition of Judaism came to be embodied in modern times not in the committed Jewish community but in the great post-Emancipation figures who rushed out of the ghetto to devour and then re-create the culture of the West: Marx, Freud, Einstein.

Despite the lack of historical perspective contained in such writings (and acknowledged by Podhoretz), one cannot underestimate the importance of the fact that the central pose of post-Enlightenment Jewish intellectuals is a sense that Judaism represents a moral beacon to the rest of humanity. Surprisingly perhaps, even Zionism has been rationalized as having universalist moral aims. During World War I Martin Buber responded to attacks on Zionism by liberal Jews anxious to condemn a movement that had overtones of beliefs in Jewish racial superiority (see Chapter 5); indeed, Buber himself had advocated the position that the Jews were a separate Volk from Germans. Buber argued that Zionists desire a national homeland because of their interests in serving all of mankind. Only by fulfilling its messianic dream of a national homeland would the Jewish religion be able to lead humanity into the messianic age (Engel 1986, 166). Both Buber and his friend Gustav Landauer proposed that a commitment to Jewish group membership was in the service of all humanity (Mosse 1970, 89–91).

This rationalization of Zionism as contributing to all mankind became common among American Zionists, including Louis D. Brandeis, Henry P. Mendes, Judah Magnes, Horace Kallen, and Henrietta Szold (Gal 1989). Thus in 1914 Brandeis accepted the chairmanship of the Provisional Executive Committee for General Zionist Affairs, explaining that Zionism was a key to preserving the unique qualities of Jews for all of humanity:

Experiences, public and professional, have taught me this: I find Jews possessed of those very qualities which we of the twentieth century seek to develop in our struggle for justice and democracy; a deep moral feeling which makes them capable of noble acts; a deep sense of the brotherhood of man; and a high intelligence, the fruit of three thousand years of civilization. These experiences have made me feel that the Jewish people have something which should be saved for the world; that the Jewish people should be preserved; and that this is our duty to pursue that method of saving which most promises success [i.e., Zionism]. (In Gal 1989, 70)

Finally, beginning in the early 19th century Jewish apologists were again forced to defend the Talmud and other Jewish religious writings from charges that they were anti-Christian, nationalistic, ethnocentric, and as advocating a double standard of morality—a position for which there is indeed, a great deal of evidence (Hartung 1995; Shahak 1994; PTSDA, Ch. 6).[186]Hartung (1995) describes data from 1966 showing that 66 percent of Israeli schoolchildren presented with accounts of the fall of Jericho from Joshua 6:20–21 responded with “total approval” of the genocidal actions described there. Of the remainder, even some of the 8 percent who totally disapproved of the action did so for racist reasons. Almost half the children who “totally approved” Joshua’s actions agreed that similar behavior would be warranted if the contemporary Israelis conquered an Arab village. On the other hand, 75 percent of a control group presented with a passage in which a Chinese general was substituted for Joshua totally disapproved of the genocide. In 1893 there was a four-day debate on the Talmud in the Prussian Chamber of Deputies which resulted in a declaration (condemned by Orthodox critics) by a group of rabbis emphasizing the nonbinding nature of many Talmudic opinions (Schorsch 1972, 109). Subsequently, Moritz Lazarus published “a classic apologia of Judaism under emancipation, successfully expunging every trace of the particular, the irrational, and the historical from what Lazarus held to be the essential unity of Jewish ethics” (Schorsch 1972, 73), again to the condemnation of Orthodoxy. In the Lazarus (1900) reconstruction, the essence of Judaism was its belief in “the oneness of God, the oneness of the world, and the oneness of humanity” (p. 191). “God acknowledged as One, beside whom there is no other, cannot be national. . . . [This concept of God] so illumined, with its purity and sublimity, the soul of the Jewish people that Israel was fitted to become a ‘light of the nations’ ” (p. 192).

Hartung (1995) notes that recent translations of Maimonides legal codes attempt to convert the text from its clear meaning as a document in which ingroup status is privileged into a document of universal ethical interests. Words referring to Israelites are translated as ‘human being,’ and clear references to the lowered status and rights of gentiles are simply removed. Shahak (1994, 22ff) provides several similar instances from the rabbinic literature in which offending words were altered in the interests of political expediency, only to be restored in more recent times in Israel because the rabbis had become confident that they would not result in persecution.

Historiography as Rationalization and Apologetics: The Construction of Jewish History • 5,000 Words

Obviously such a form of revision would involve a flagrant distortion of the truth. But historical truth was less important in their eyes than the consequences it entailed for the welfare of their group. (Netanyahu [1995, 660] describing the activities of the 15th-century New Christian chroniclers in falsifying history to serve group interests)

Politics [is] not merely a fierce physical struggle to control the present, and so the future, but an intellectual battle to control the record of the past. (Johnson [1988, 481], describing the philosophy of history of Walter Benjamin [1892–1940])[187]Benjamin was a member of the Frankfurt School of Social Research, discussed extensively in The Culture of Critique. Regarding Benjamin’s strong Jewish identity, see Lilla (1995) and Scholem (1965).

Before Emancipation, Diaspora Jewry explained its Exile . . . as a punishment from God for its sins. After Emancipation, this theodicy, now turned outward to a new, Gentile status-audience, becomes an ideology, emphasizing Gentile persecution as the root cause of Jewish “degradation.” This ideology . . . was shared in one form or another, by all the ideologists of nineteenth-century Jewry: Reform Jews and Zionists, assimilationists and socialists, Bundists and Communists—all became virtuosos of ethnic suffering. . . . The point is that these Diaspora groups were uninterested in actual history; they were apologists, ideologists, prefabricating a past in order to answer embarrassing questions, to outfit a new identity, and to ground a claim to equal treatment in the modern world. (Cuddihy 1974, 177)

Living so long in exile and so often in danger, we have cultivated a defensive and apologetic account, a censored story, of Jewish religion and culture. (Walzer 1994, 6)

Interpretations of history have played a central role in the ideology of Judaism as a group evolutionary strategy. We have seen that the Tanakh itself is vitally concerned with the interpretation of history, and, building on the Hellenistic-Jewish apologetic literature described above, self-serving interpretations of history continued in the Christian period: “History, not in its realistic record but in its mutually accepted homiletical and hermeneutic elaboration, became for centuries the main battleground between the rivaling Jewish and Christian denominations” (Baron 1952, II, 136).

Jewish historiography, written almost exclusively by Jews, has been characterized by a great deal of self-conscious case-making and defense of perspectives that portray Jewish behavior in a positive light. This phenomenon is by no means restricted to Jews. Although he does not mention Jewish historiography, Schlesinger (1993, 45ff) describes numerous examples where historical reconstructions have been used to advance political agendas by exculpating the expropriation of power or by compensating for failures by exaggerating the virtues and accomplishments of the oppressed.

While not characteristic of all Jewish historians, examples are commonplace. Indeed, the examples provided in this section cannot do justice to the many subtleties of nuance and style that, apart from the arguments themselves, indicate that the historian has an intense emotional commitment to the subject. Lindemann (1997, ix–x) mentions the impassioned, moralistic rhetoric and simplistic analyses in Robert Wistrich’s Anti-Semitism: The Longest Hatred and in the work of Holocaust historians Lucy Dawidowicz and Daniel J. Goldhagen. Perera (1995, 172) refers to the “almost mystical jeremiads against the Inquisitors” in Benzion Netanyahu’s (1995) recent book on the Spanish Inquisition. Moralism by itself is, I suppose, scientifically harmless, although one might reasonably assume that such moralism may well result in conscious or unconscious biases in seeking out information and in interpreting historical events. From the standpoint of social identity theory, a strong sense of ingroup identity is expected to bias perceptions of events related to ingroup/outgroup conflict.

Strong personal statements reflecting deep emotional attachment to Judaism are frequently found in the historiography of Judaism written by Jews. Books often begin with emotionally charged dedications to victims of anti-Semitism, especially the Holocaust. For example, Gertrude Himmelfarb (1991) notes that David Abraham dedicates his controversial book The Collapse of the Weimar Republic “For my parents—who at Auschwitz and elsewhere suffered the worst consequences of what I can merely write about.” The point of such dedications is to show that the author stands in a morally privileged relationship with the subject matter. Abraham’s dedication becomes “part of a deep quarrel among the living, between a survivor’s son and elderly German businessmen or their heirs” (Himmelfarb 1991, 48; see also Novick 1988).[188]Novick (1988, 341) attributes the negative view of American populism held by some American Jewish historians (Hofstadter, Bell, Lipset) to the fact that “they were one generation removed from the Eastern European shtetl [small Jewish town], where insurgent gentile peasants meant pogrom.” Abraham has been accused of deceiving his readers in his use (and fabrication) of sources in an effort to show that elite gentile businessmen had a decisive role in undermining the Weimar Republic and facilitating the rise of National Socialism.

While German businessmen have been unfairly condemned, Mosse (1987, 8, 16–17, 219) describes a tendency among some historians to minimize Jewish involvement in the German economy (especially banking) or to propose that Jewish economic enterprises had become largely assimilated to gentile enterprises by the time of Weimar Republic. The apologetic purpose of these analyses is to falsify anti-Semitic charges related to Jewish economic behavior and, more broadly, portray Jewish behavior as irrelevant to anti-Semitism. Mosse’s data show that Jews were overrepresented in the German economy by a factor of approximately twenty, that there was no decline in Jewish economic importance, and that the Jewish economy was not assimilated to the German economy.

The 15th-century New Christian chroniclers of events leading up to the Inquisition fashioned a historiography that served their group interests. Thus the New Christian author of the Crónica de Juan II was “a staunch supporter of the conversos . . . [as] indicated by his endeavor to conceal any opinion, action, or relationship that could cast any aspersion upon the conversos.” Also, the New Christian author of the Cuarta Crónica General adopted a policy of concealment of charges of religious heresy and racial antagonism in order to control “what should, and should not, be presented for public discussion” (Netanyahu 1995, 645, 657). Similarly, the New Christian author of the Abbreviation went to great lengths to remove explicit references to tax collectors as “infidels and heretics,” because readers would identify them as New Christians (Netanyahu 1995, 635). For all of these historians, “the issues of Marrano heresy (Judaism) and converso racial inferiority, which formed one of the stormiest controversies that ever swept the kingdoms of Spain, were thus systematically forced into obscurity as if they had never been debated” (Netanyahu 1995, 658).

Modern historians of Judaism have also been accused of exhibiting ingroup biases. Much of this case-making is on issues central to an evolutionary approach—an extraordinary vindication of the fundamental accuracy of the evolutionary perspective. For example, there has been a great deal of polemical writing on the question of whether Judaism is properly viewed as a universal religion. This issue is of considerable importance for an evolutionary view and is discussed extensively in PTSDA (Ch. 4).

McKnight (1991, 11) states that “perhaps at no point has Christian and Jewish propaganda been more visible in biblical scholarship than in the discussion of Jewish missionary activity.” Christian polemics “were met in kind with counter-apologetics that attempted to prove that Judaism was not misanthropic in nature but was instead a universalistic and missionary religion.” Gager (1983) notes that a great deal of the debate on Christian-Jewish relations in antiquity as well as the general phenomenon of anti-Semitism has been guided by an awareness of the Holocaust and by a conscious attempt to show that Christianity was the primary source of anti-Semitism in the West (see review in Gager 1983, 13–23).[189]“Even a cursory reading of works in this area, whether popular or academic, reveals great depths of passion and personal involvement” (Sevenster 1975, 9). Regarding the work of J. Isaac (Genèse de l’Antisémitisme 1956) Sevenster notes that “sometimes Isaac gives the impression of representing that ancient pagan anti-Semitism is as unimportant as possible, so that he can let the blame for the later anti-Semitism fall with full force on the Christian Church” (p. 7; see also Simon 1986, 398). The review of Hertzberg (1993a,b) indicates that attempts to portray anti-Semitism as a consequence of a uniquely pathological Christianity or Western culture continue to be common among Jewish apologists.

During the 19th century, Christian and Jewish theologians developed self-serving views of historical events (Heschel 1994). On the Jewish side, Abraham Geiger presented a very positive account of Pharisaic Judaism and depicted Jesus as a Pharisee. Gieger’s account was vigorously challenged by Christian theologians like Julius Wellhausan, Emil Schürer, and Wilhelm Bousset. The Christian theologians portrayed early Judaism as a precursor to Christianity, as overly legalistic, and as a religion of “national particularism and soulless piety” (Schorsch 1972, 170). The result was that “the scientific study of the Jewish past was again summoned to defend Judaism and reassert the worthiness of Jewry” (p. 172). The result was a series of scholarly works intended to absolve Judaism of these charges, but “the underlying apologetic intention was beyond dispute” (p. 174). Thus a work of Leo Baeck is described as having “only an occasionally overt polemical aside,” but “the sum and substance of his reconstruction was determined by a deep aversion to Lutheran Christianity” (p. 174). These works were funded by the Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Wissenschaft des Judentums (Society for the Advancement of the Science of Judaism), which was itself associated with the Verband der Deutschen Juden, an association founded to combat anti-Semitism. During this period, the Verband developed an archive for material to be used in anti-Christian polemics, including areas in which Christianity was alleged to be inferior to Judaism.

Katz (1986b, 83) notes that the Wissenschaft des Judentums movement of the 19th century, although beginning as a movement dedicated to the scientific study of Judaism, developed into one that “would serve to foster greater spiritual identification with the totality of Jewish culture, thought, and experience.” The work of the premier Jewish historian of the 19th century, Heinrich Graetz, displays “a very strong national bias” (Katz 1986b, 96). (The 19th-century German historian Theodor Mommsen dismissed Graetz’s work by comparing it to history written by Catholic defenders of the faith and their “historical falsifications” [in Lindemann 1997, 140]). In the contemporary world, Katz finds that academic departments of Jewish studies are often linked to Jewish nationalism: “The inhibitions of traditionalism, on the one hand, and a tendency toward apologetics, on the other, can function as deterrents to scholarly objectivity” (p. 84). The work of Jewish historians exhibits “a defensiveness that continues to haunt so much of contemporary Jewish activity” (1986b, 85).

A central theme of Katz’s analysis—massively corroborated by Albert Lindemann’s (1997) recent work—is that historians of Judaism have often falsely portrayed the beliefs of gentiles as irrational fantasies while portraying the behavior of Jews as irrelevant to anti-Semitism. For example, Endelman (1982, 11) states that “it can be argued that the history of modern anti-Semitism belongs more properly to the realm of American and European historiography than Jewish. Anti-Semitism, after all, reflects stresses and strains in the larger societies in which Jews live and mirrors actual Jewish behavior only in a limited, distorted way.” Katz comments that a principal motivation for such distortions is to preempt any possibility of endorsing the arguments of anti-Semites who, as we have seen, have consistently stressed particular features of Jewish behavior.

As a concrete example of this tendency, Katz discusses the work of Eleanore Sterling on the “Hep! Hep!” riots of 1819 in Germany. Katz pointedly notes Sterling’s associations with the Frankfurt School of predominantly Jewish intellectuals. I discuss this school as a highly politicized Jewish intellectual movement in The Culture of Critique, but it is noteworthy here that Katz (1983, 40) states that “the Frankfurt School, with its Marxist perspective, had not been notable for the accuracy of its evaluation of the Jewish situation either before the advent of Nazism or afterward.” Sterling accepts a theory of anti-Semitism as displaced aggression proposed by Frankfurt School leaders Max Horkheimer and T. W. Adorno. As Katz notes, the theory completely ignores evidence that the rioters were “responding . . . to incitements by the burgher class, which felt threatened by the entry of the Jews into its occupations during the Napoleonic period and wanted to return them to their previous ghetto status. The riots originated in cities like Würzburg, Frankfurt, and Hamburg where the problem of Jewish civil status was being passionately debated at the time.” A contemporary also complained about Jews “who are living among us and who are increasing like locusts” (in Dawidowicz 1975, 30), suggesting that reproductive competition as well as resource competition were important.

This lack of objectivity has often been the focus of comments by scholars. Lindemann (1997, 308) describes Howard Morley Sachar’s chapter on Romanian anti-Semitism as “a tirade, without the slightest effort at balance.” Kieniewicz (1986) emphasizes that Jewish history in Poland has almost exclusively been written by Jewish historians and that they have focused on “the importance of the Jewish contribution to both the Polish culture and economy, and the reprehensible discrimination against Jews by Christians” (p. 70). Lichten (1986) describes Heller’s (1977) influential study of Jews in Poland as arriving “at conclusions not always based on facts; not as they really occurred but as she would like to see them” (p. 107; see also Mendelsohn 1986).

Mendelsohn (1986) notes a tendency for Jewish scholars to emphasize the virulence of anti-Semitism in pre-World War II Poland and the economic decline of Polish Jews. “The impression sometimes gained from reading the works of these authors is that Jewish life in Poland was a nightmare of almost daily pogroms, degradation and growing misery” (p. 130). Mendelsohn (1986, 132) favorably reviews the work of several historians (Bartoszewski 1986; Davies 1981; Marcus 1983; Tomaszewski 1982) who claim that “the Jews have tended to paint far too lurid a picture of their grievances.” Gutman (1986) reviews a debate between Jewish and Polish historians on Polish-Jewish relations in World War II, noting the “hypersensitivity” of some Jewish historians.

This type of apologetic conflict also relates to earlier Polish-Jewish relations. Several Jewish historians, including Yitzhak Schipper (see Litman 1984 for a review) have attempted to show that Ashkenazi Jews derive for the most part from the remnants of the Khazar empire, which converted to Judaism in the 8th century. Independent of the scholarly value of this hypothesis, Litman (1984, 105) notes that Schipper’s theories were “not merely an academic exercise in historical speculations. That they were also meant to serve nationalist Jewish causes of his time is evident.” Schipper’s theory of the early origins of Polish Jews implied that Jews had lived in Poland as long as the Poles, and further that they had had a civilizing influence on Poland. His theory of a powerful, independent Jewish state was also meant to be a model for a future Zionist state. His emphasis on the agricultural prowess of the Khazars implied that Jews engaged in farming unless prevented by others—a claim that was meant to counter the anti-Semitic charge that Jews avoided farming and were disloyal, alien economic parasites. Litman notes that this proposal outraged many Polish historians, including A. Marylski, who viewed it as an attempt “to put pre-historic Poland under Jewish feet” (in Litman 1984, 105). The Khazar hypothesis was also used by Samuel Weissenberg, a 19th-century Jewish racial scientist and political/cultural activist, in his attempt to prove that Jews were “an integral element on Russian soil” (Efron 1994, 106).

The theory of the Khazar origins of Polish Jews is highly speculative and has been rejected by many historians aware of the apologetic nature of the hypothesis (e.g., Dunlop 1967, 261–262; Weinryb 1972, 19–22, 27–29). A crucial difficulty is that Ashkenazi groups speak a German-based language (Yiddish) rather than a Turkish-based language. Moreover, it is very unlikely that the highly literate Ashkenazim would preserve no trace at all of their Turkish origins. The genetic data summarized in PTSDA (Ch. 2) also weigh strongly against such a view.

Nevertheless, the Khazars have become a sort of all-purpose device for those intent on making apologetic claims. Weiseltier (1976; see also Ankori 1979) documents the apologetic interests at work in Arthur Koestler’s (1976) revival of the hypothesis.[190]Koestler (1971) also wrote The Case of the Midwife Toad defending Paul Kammerer who committed suicide in 1926 after some of his specimens purportedly confirming Lamarckian inheritance were shown to have been faked. As discussed in The Culture of Critique, many Jewish intellectuals accepted Lamarckian inheritance during this period, quite probably as an aspect of their ethnic agenda. Koestler uses the Khazar conjecture to argue against the idea that the Jews are a single people. This in turn stems from his interest in defusing racial anti-Semitism (which on this view is misdirected, since the Ashkenazi Jews are not Semites), and as part of his attempt to make diaspora Jews more willing to assimilate, because they would abandon the belief that they have a common origin with other Jews.

Albert Lindemann’s (1991, 1997) work shows a keen awareness of the role of Jewish interests in the construction of Jewish history. Writing of the Dreyfus Affair in fin de siècle France, Lindemann notes that “Jewish historians, especially those who wrote at the time of the Affair, have perceived a more central role for anti-Semitism and Gentile villainy, whereas non-Jewish students of the affair have tended to question such perceptions, although on both sides a wide range of opinion is to be found” (1991, 94–95).

Lindemann (1991, 131) finds similar biases in the historiography on Russian Jews written by Jews, who tended to view the situation as simply an example of irrational czarist brutality rather than spontaneous uprisings. (Judge [1992] shows that the Kishinev pogrom of 1903 was a spontaneous response to Jewish economic domination, and he shows that the Russian government viewed such pogroms very negatively because they were perceived as a sign of revolutionary activity.) Lindemann notes that these historians also fail to present the problems and dilemmas facing the czarist authorities attempting to deal with the problems presented by Jews during this period. A crucial issue for the Czarist authorities was their belief that the Russian peasants would not be able to compete with the Jews in open economic competition, a belief that is certainly justified by the extraordinary upward mobility of Jewish populations in post-emancipation Europe. Indeed, Jewish economic domination of Russian peasants was apparent even to Jewish socialist radicals of the period (e.g., Zhitlowsky 1972, 129; see Chapter 2). Lindemann (p. 154ff) also notes that Jewish historians of events in late-19th- and early-20th-century Russia tended to exaggerate Jewish losses as well as unfairly depict the pogroms as the result of conspiracies by the authorities rather than as having any popular roots or economic causes related to competition and the Jewish population explosion.[191]Exaggerations of Jewish losses during the Russian pogroms of 1881 and the extent to which the Russian government was responsible were apparent to contemporaries during the 19th century. Historian Goldwin Smith (1894) noted that a publication distributed by the Jewish community in England in a successful attempt to gain British sympathies contained claims of many atrocities for which there was no evidence. These alleged crimes included roasting infants alive and mass rapes, including some in which Christian women held down Jewesses being raped by Christian men. Regarding property losses (including claims that entire streets had been razed and entire Jewish quarters put to the torch), Smith states that based on reports of British consuls in the area, “though the riots were deplorable and criminal, the Jewish account was in most cases exaggerated, and in some to an extravagant extent. The damage to Jewish property at Odessa, rated in the Jewish account at 1,137,381 roubles, or according to their higher estimates, 3,000,000 roubles, was rated, Consul-General Stanley tells us, by a respectable Jew on the spot at 50,000 roubles, while the Consul-General himself rates it at 20,000” (p. 243). Finally, Lindemann notes that Jewish historiography of the Leo Frank Affair (see p. 191) has virtually assumed anti-Semitic conspiracies: “People then and later have in some sense wanted to find anti-Semitism. They have not been entirely disappointed in their search, but they have also been inclined to dramatize inappropriately or exaggerate what they found of it” (p. 236).

The most blatant example of ethnocentric bias among Jewish historians I have been able to find is José Faur’s book on the Iberian inquisitions. Faur (1992), whose book was published by the State University of New York Press, begins by terming his work “autobiographic,” since its origins lie in his grandfather telling him of “the glory of Sepharad ” (p. ix; italics in text). He proceeds to show his deep commitment to Judaism and attachment to the Jewish culture of his childhood, and concludes by writing that “this book is written from the perspective of the ‘other.’ The story of the conversos . . . concerns the attempt of the oppressed to break the silence imposed on them by the persecuting society, and transmit the perspective of the persecuted to future generations” (p. 8; italics in text).

This is ethnocentric historiography with a vengeance. Faur completely rejects “objective,” “scientific” history, whose function “is to suppress alternative perspectives, particularly the perspective of the victim” (p. 183). “There will be no ‘Jewish history’ without Jewish historians establishing a specific Jewish perspective. Therefore, the rise of a Jewish historical consciousness is indispensable for a particular Jewish history. . . . Without a historical consciousness the destiny of the Jewish people will remain unfulfilled” (p. 184). History, he asserts, is at its basis subjective, and “the most awesome responsibility of the Jewish historian is to validate the authority of Jewish memory” (p. 210). Jewish history, as the history of the persecuted, is viewed as “Sacred History,” while the history of the gentiles is “Profane History”—the “primitive beastly fantasies written by brutes of an alien race” (p. 213). Faur rejects the Greek scientific perspective in favor of a perspective in which historical truth is pluralistic. Within this pluralistic framework, an essential function of Sacred History is to justify the moral and intellectual superiority of Judaism and the Jewish historical record.[192]While Jewish culture is viewed as morally and intellectually superior, Faur exhibits extreme hostility to Western culture, seen as fundamentally racist and as intolerant of diversity. An important agenda is to reinforce the sense of Jewish intellectual superiority by attempting to show that Western intellectual movements can be traced to Jewish sources. However, Faur asserts that these intellectual structures then collapse under the criticism emanating from Jewish sources as a result of the persecution of the Jews. In a remarkable example of self-deception, the moral superiority of Judaism is said to result from the greater individual freedom and lack of group identity said to be characteristic of Judaism, in contrast to the corporate character of medieval Christianity. Faur depicts Christianity as fundamentally intolerant, but he develops an elaborate casuistry to justify instances of intolerance among Jews. Faur also provides a highly apologetic attempt to vindicate the morality of Jewish moneylending. Faur is not alone in his apologetic tendencies regarding Jewish moneylending; Stein (1955) refers to a modern Jewish apologetic literature by historians in the area of moneylending to Christians. Faur’s work is replete with instances in which any morally questionable behavior associated with Judaism, such as intolerance of dissent within the community or discrimination against outgroups, is considered so obviously traceable to evil Christian influences that the author deems no further comment necessary.[193]Similarly, Neuman (1969, II, 120) writes that when Solomon of Montpellier “anathemized the writings of Maimonides, interdicted the sciences and pronounced the sentence of excommunication against those who engaged in the study of profane literature or who treated the Bible allegorically and dealt too freely with the aggadic portions of the Talmud . . . one can see in it the unfortunate Christian influence on Judaism.” Regarding the genesis of anti-Semitism, Faur cites with approval the views of a 17th-century Jewish writer who “validated Jewish memory” by attributing anti-Semitism to the beauty and preeminence of the Jewish people. “As with the falconers, it is the beauty of the bird—and nothing else—that prompts them to hunt and destroy it” (p. 210).

History as apologia is also seen in the work of S. D. Goitein (1974) on Jews in Arab lands. There is a clear agenda to indict Western culture and vindicate Arab culture and especially Judaism. Goitein finds that “in contrast to the neighboring early medieval civilizations of Byzantium and Sassanid Persia, Israel and the Arabs present the type of a society which is characterized by the absence of privileged castes and classes, by the absence of enforced obedience to strong authority, by undefined but nonetheless very powerful agencies for the formation and expression of public opinion, by freedom of speech, and by a high respect for human life, dignity and freedom” (p. 27). Such an opinion flies in the face of excellent evidence that Muslim societies (as well as Israelite society as portrayed in the Tanakh; see PTSDA, Ch. 8) conform very well to the typical Eastern pattern of a collectivist, authoritarian social structure in which there are pronounced social status differences and in which wealthy males have large numbers of wives and concubines (Weisfeld 1990). Indeed, Goitein’s view would appear to be a rather thoroughgoing inversion of the contrasts between Eastern and Western societies discussed in PTSDA (Ch. 8).

Goitein’s apologetic stance can also be seen in his views that Jewish marriage in Muslim lands was monogamous, in contrast to the surrounding societies. Monogamy, which has been characteristic of Western societies throughout their history, is undoubtedly associated with a higher position for women and is essentially an egalitarian mating system for men (MacDonald 1983, 1990, 1995b; see PTSDA, Ch. 8). Goitein’s view is thus an attempt to place Jewish marriage customs in a favorable moral light and is at variance with clear indications that polygyny is primitive among the Jews and that Jews practiced polygyny wherever it was legal (PTSDA, Chs. 3, 8). Indeed, Friedman (1989, 39) notes that in fact polygyny and concubinage with female slaves was “far from rare” among medieval Jews in Muslim lands, as indicated in the Geniza documents, and there were many discussions and legal rulings related to polygyny among them. Friedman also notes that Goitein and others have declared other practices common in the Jewish community on the basis of far less documentation than that related to polygyny; yet polygyny was said to be rare.

Goitein himself notes that Jewish scholars of the 19th century, such as Graetz (who described Muslim lands as an “interfaith utopia” [Cohen 1994, 5]), tended to portray the situation of the Jews in Arab countries in benign terms in order to contrast the situation with perceived European oppression of the Jews, thereby condemning European culture. Goitein takes a middle view, but there remains a strong desire to condemn the West: “Modern Western civilization, like the ancient civilization of the Greeks, is essentially at variance with the religious culture of the Jewish people. Islam, however, is from the very flesh and bone of Judaism.” Anti-Semitism, including extreme “ritual degradation” of Jews, was a prominent characteristic of Muslim societies throughout their history, the exceptions tending to occur when Jews occupied the role of an intermediary group between a foreign conqueror and a subject Muslim population (see p. 30).

Finally, Raphael and Jennifer Patai (1989) in their book The Myth of the Jewish Race, combine historical interpretation with genetic analysis in an attempt to show that Jews have eagerly attempted and succeeded in converting other peoples to their religion and intermarrying with them. The stated agenda of the book is to counter the idea that Zionism is racism, as stated by the UN resolution of 1974, and the implication that Judaism itself is racist. Although the book is replete with inaccuracies and distortions of Jewish religious writings and the historical record, I note here only that researchers in the field of Jewish population genetics have gone out of their way to reject their conclusions (e.g., Bonné-Tamir et al. 1979, 71; Szeinberg 1979, 77).[194]Despite a nod in the direction of possible genetic and eugenic causes of higher Jewish intelligence, Patai and Patai argue that such causes are “not necessary” (1989, 156), since environmental explanations are available. They take the indefensible view that if environmental influences are possible or are demonstrably of some influence, there is sufficient reason to reject genetic mechanisms completely. When they discuss the eugenic hypothesis of Jewish intelligence, no mention is made of the central position these practices have had in Jewish religious writings. Eugenic practices are simply noted rather than discussed as a highly conscious effort sustained over many centuries. Thus they hope the reader will conclude that (1) if there are genetic influences, they are either due to gentile evil—the Gentile Selection Hypothesis reviewed in PTSDA (Ch. 7), or to a sort of adventitious cultural practice (the eugenic hypothesis); (2) however, since there may be environmental causes of these findings, one can safely ignore genetic hypotheses.

While Patai and Patai attempted to combat anti-Semitism by portraying Judaism as a universalist religion with no ethnic implications, earlier Jewish scientist/activists were intent on combating anti-Semitism and developing a positive conceptualization of Judaism within the context of fin de siècle race science. While having somewhat different political agendas, all of the Jewish race scientists profiled by Efron (1994) (i.e., Joseph Jacobs, Samuel Weissenberg, Elias Auerbach, Aron Sandler, Ignaz Zollschan) were strongly identified Jews and were activists on behalf of Jewish causes. They were vitally concerned that Jews would continue to maintain their racial purity, and they combated anti-Semitism by emphasizing the cultural assimilability of Jews and stressing positive Jewish traits and accomplishments. Their work attempted “to engage the dominant discourse about race and the so-called Jewish question as well as to mount a sustained campaign of self-defense, self-assertion, and ethnic identity building. . . . Before scientific racism had run its course . . . Jewish scientists had risen on behalf of their embattled people, polemicizing the problem of Jewish ‘Otherness’ by using the contemporary methodologies of race science to either confirm or disprove claims of racial difference” (Efron 1994, 3, 5).

For example, Ignaz Zollschan’s writings were intended to appeal to various audiences, but the ultimate goal was to advance his perception of Jewish group interests. He emphasized Jewish contributions to culture in order to rebut the claims of anti-Semites. On the other hand, his message for Jews was that they were a unitary racial type and that cultural assimilation would not change the fact of Jewish racial distinctiveness. Only Zionism would solve the Jewish racial question, by allowing Jews to continue as a racial entity (see Efron 1994, 156).

Both Jewish and gentile racial scientists stressed the genetic purity of the Jewish gene pool and the close genetic relatedness of far-flung Jewish groups. However, Jewish racial scientists emphasized the moral superiority of Jews and also their intelligence, as indicated by a large cranial capacity. Unlike their gentile counterparts, however, Jewish racial scientists argued for the importance of the environment in shaping individuals, and their speculations in this regard fit well their general ideological agenda: Jews were a pure race, but their features, including their large cranial capacity and intelligence, were molded by the environment. Negatively perceived traits thought to be characteristic of Jews, such as weak physical constitutions and a tendency to neurasthenia, were ascribed to being forced to live in a ghetto environment or subjected to anti-Semitism. On the other hand, the strengths of the Jews, such as their longevity and low levels of infant mortality, were ascribed to “the structure of Jewish life as created for and by Jews” (Efron 1994, 177).

Besides the race scientists, other fin de siècle Jewish social scientists dedicated themselves to improving the image and lot of Jews by gathering statistics on them. “The gathering of Jewish statistics and the writing of a Jewish sociology or anthropology based on those statistics were impelled by political considerations. Although they were Zionist, they were also liberal and even assimilationist. These three post-emancipatory Jewish ideologies expressed widely divergent philosophies. Yet statistics gathering provided them with a common denominator in that the figures were always used to defend Jews against their detractors and to work for the improvement of Jewish conditions on the basis of those data” (Efron 1994, 169). These social scientists gathered data intended to refute the empirical claims of anti-Semites, for example, that Jews dominated certain sectors of the economy or were prominent in certain types of criminal enterprises. The Culture of Critique will discuss several historically important examples where Jewish social scientists have developed theories, collected data, and created intellectual movements in the interest of promoting Jewish group interests.

We have seen that racialist rhetoric was used by Jewish racial scientists and Zionists to advance group goals. The situation in America is particularly interesting in this regard. Beginning in the late 19th century, the rhetoric of race served to clearly demarcate group boundaries for a community deeply concerned about defections resulting from intermarriage, especially of women (Goldstein 1997). Jews—both traditional and Reform (see discussion of Kaufman Kohler above)—developed a view of themselves as a race with characteristics—intellectuality and high morality—that made them uniquely qualified to live up to American ideals; indeed, they traced the ethical foundations of Western civilization to Jewish influences. Their ideas were explicitly tied to fin de siècle racial science; in the words of Reform intellectual leader Emil G. Hirsch in response to a critic who viewed Judaism as a purely spiritual force, “let him sneer at physiological Judaism! This demurrer and sneer prove only one thing, that he cannot have grasped the import of the most recent investigations in anthropology” (in Goldstein 1997, 52).

However, while racialist rhetoric was highly functional in cementing group ties, preventing intermarriage, and developing positive self-images of the ingroup, this rhetoric was abandoned when it was perceived to conflict with Jewish group goals, particularly with regard to Jewish immigration (Goldstein 1997). Whereas in the 19th century Jews saw themselves as members of the dominant white race in distinction to African Americans and Native Americans, Jews came to be perceived by some, such as Madison Grant in his influential Passing of the Great Race, as non-Nordics and hence as less desirable immigrants. At this point, the Jewish strategy shifted and Jews became leaders in the movement to delete the concept of race from science entirely. The prominent anthropologist Maurice Fishberg was recruited by Jewish leaders to cast doubt on the idea that Jews were a race, and Franz Boas developed the intensely politicized cultural determinism school of anthropology which came to dominate American anthropology from the mid-1920s to the present. The efforts of Boas and his followers are a major topic of The Culture of Critique. Here they serve as a reminder of the flexibility of Jewish strategizing in the intellectual arena as well as the ability of Jewish intellectuals to bend the language of the current Zeitgeist—in this case the language of science—to serve group interests.

Conclusion • 300 Words

The material reviewed here is highly consistent with the general point that Jewish ideology is highly malleable. Jewish intellectuals have been able to opportunistically develop ideological structures that serve immediate needs for rationalizing or disguising behavior within the Jewish community or among gentiles. When new philosophies or scientific theories of human behavior or history are developed, Jewish thinkers have been able quickly to develop theories in which the fundamentals of Judaism are preserved and Jewish interests are achieved while being reinterpreted in the context of the new paradigms.

These phenomena are excellent examples of the importance of general-purpose cognitive abilities in conceptualizing human adaptation to complex environments (MacDonald 1991), in this case the symbolic environment emanating from the gentile world. The very malleable ideological basis of Judaism is able to react to a wide range of unforeseeable contingencies in an adaptive manner and thereby attain the fundamental goal of furthering the group strategy (including ultimately the facilitation of genetic separatism). The ideological environment has changed continually, and non-functional conceptions of Judaism are constantly being rejected in favor of conceptions more compatible with the current intellectual Zeitgeist. When the need to develop a re-interpretation of Judaism in terms of Hegelian philosophy ceases, this ideology of Judaism is relegated to intellectual history and a more modern theory is substituted. Like military weaponry, ideologies are used to fight current battles and then discarded when there is a perceived need to adopt a newer technology.

However, Jewish intellectual activity in the service of group goals has not been confined to reacting to criticisms and interpretations emanating from the gentile intellectual environment. A major theme of The Culture of Critique is that Jewish intellectuals have also gone on the offensive; as in the case of the concept of race mentioned above, they have constructed intellectual movements (e.g., Boasian anthropology, radical political ideology, psychoanalysis, the Frankfurt School of Social Research) aimed at altering the fundamental categorization process among gentiles in a manner that is perceived by the participants to advance Jewish group interests.

Appendix: History and Apologia in the Construction of the Events Surrounding the Iberian Inquisitions • 6,900 Words

Although there is no question regarding the existence of crypto-Judaism on the Iberian Peninsula, there remains controversy surrounding the precise status of many of the New Christian descendants of forced conversions in Spain and Portugal. The standard interpretation is that indeed the vast majority of the New Christians were crypto-Jews (e.g., Cohen 1967; Freund & Ruiz 1994, 178), and there is no question that this was the popular perception of the time (e.g., Kamen 1965; Roth 1937). Consider, for example, the following statement by the 15th-century historian Andrés Bernáldez. Bernáldez charges the Conversos with religious heresy, continued peoplehood (note the appellation of “tribe”), as well as continuing to treat Old Christians as an exploitable and hated outgroup.

Those people who can avoid baptizing their children, do so, and those who have them baptized wash them off as soon as they return home. . . . [T]hey are gluttons and feeders, who never lose the Judaical habit of eating delicacies of onion and garlic fried in oil, and they cook their meat in oil, using it in place of lard or fat, to avoid pork; and so their houses and doorways smell most offensively from those tit-bits; and hence they have the odor of the Jews, as a result of their food and their not being baptized. . . . [T]hey eat meat in Lent and on the vigils of feasts and on ember days; they keep the Passover and the Sabbath as best they can. They send oil to the synagogues for the lamps. They have Jews who preach to them secretly in their houses, especially to the women very secretly; and they have Jewish rabbis whose occupation is to slaughter their beasts and fowls for them. They eat unleavened bread during the Jewish holidays, and meat chopped up. They follow all the Judaical ceremonies secretly so far as they can.

The men as well as the women always avoid receiving the sacraments of Holy Church voluntarily. When they confess, they never tell the truth; and it happened that one confessor asked a person of this tribe to cut off a piece of his garment for him, saying, “Since you have never sinned, I should like to have a bit of your garment for a relic to heal the sick.” There was a time in Seville when it was commanded that no meat be weighed on Saturday, because all the Conversos ate it Saturday night, and they ordered it weighed Sunday morning.

Not without reason did Our Redeemer call them a wicked and adulterous generation. They do not believe that God rewards virginity and chastity. All their endeavor is to increase and multiply. And in the time when this heretical iniquity flourished, many monasteries were violated by their wealthy men and merchants, and many professed nuns were ravished and mocked, some through gifts and some through the lures of panderers, they not believing in or fearing excommunications; but they did it to injure Jesus Christ and the Church. And usually, for the most part, they were usurious people, of many wiles and deceits, for they all live by easy occupations and offices, and in buying and selling they have no conscience where Christians are concerned. Never would they undertake the occupations of tilling the soil or digging or cattle-raising, nor would they teach their children any except holding public offices, and sitting down to earn enough to eat with little labor. Many of them in these realms in a short time acquired very great fortunes and estates, since they had no conscience in their profits and usuries, saying that they only gained at the expense of their enemies, according to the command of God in the departure of the people of Israel to rob the Egyptians. (In Walsh 1930, 202–203)

Nevertheless, several historians (Henry Kamen [1985], Ellis Rivkin [n. d.], Norman Roth [1995],[195]Roth’s work, published by the University of Wisconsin press, is patently apologetic and has been devastatingly reviewed (see Meyerson 1997). His main strategy is simply to aggressively deny the truth of the accusations of the Inquisition. For example, in recounting a charge based on very detailed statements describing Conversos at a Yom Kippur service, Roth states that “these details, and the fact that the witnesses testified that they did not understand all the prayers, which were in Hebrew, and that they described the prostration which is part of the Yom Kippur service, the wearing of white robes, washing of hands, etc., might appear to prove the ‘accuracy’ of the charges. In fact, of course, all of these charges are patently false and simply derive, again, from Inquisition manuals and general knowledge of the most important of Jewish holidays.” Roth repeatedly uses the phrase “of course” and “patently false” to make assertions that are at least open to considerable doubt, as if his views are so obviously true that no one could dispute them. An often-repeated argument is that a certain sameness to the charges made against the Conversos is evidence that the charges are illusory (e.g., p. 248). Roth also states that the testimony of the Converso Pulgar, who asserted that some Conversos secretly observed Jewish rites or practiced a melange of Jewish and Christian rites, is “believable” but then provides no evidence for his assertion that the situation described by Pulgar was unique to Toledo and should not be extrapolated to the rest of Spain (p. 241). Roth also notes without comment that some members of the prominent Coronel family converted to Judaism when they left the Peninsula (p. 130). The suggestion is that while in Spain they were true Christians who just happened to convert to Judaism when they left Spain, and that moreover those members of the family remaining in Spain were true Christians—suggestions that I find difficult to believe.

Roth concludes, “There is no doubt whatever, therefore, that the overwhelming majority, nearly all, of these accusations are totally false. Only the extreme bigot, or the most zealous apologist for the conversos, can possibly continue to maintain otherwise” (p. 268). Presumably people who view the Inquisition as at least partially understandable as a medieval response to religious heresy or as resource competition between the Old Christians and New Christians are in the “extreme bigot” category, while historians who accept the reality of crypto-Judaism but view the phenomenon in positive terms would be in the latter category.

Roth almost completely de-emphasizes the continued “groupness” of the Conversos and implies several times that there is no ethnic basis to Judaism or to the Conversos (e.g., p. 272) despite the evidence he provides that they were very concerned to marry each other (p. 70). In this regard, therefore, his work is even more one-sided than Netanyahu’s. To Roth, the Jews were a completely religious, non-ethnic entity; they had no group ties that influenced their marriage decisions or economic and political cooperation; and almost all of the Conversos were true Christians.
Cecil Roth [1974],[196]Roth’s 1932 book took a highly romanticized view of the Iberian crypto-Jews (see above). However, in the third edition, Roth (1974) argues that the New Christians were sincere in their religious beliefs but emigrated to Protestant lands for economic rather than religious reasons; they then adopted Judaism in their new surroundings for economic reasons. He then proposes (without evidence) that by becoming Jews they avoided isolation in their new surroundings and avoided alienating their new Protestant neighbors because, as Jews, they could not join guilds; or they adopted Judaism purely for intellectual reasons (fulfilling the messianic promise of the Old Testament). This rather incredible view is also found in the introduction to this same book by Salomon (1974). and most notably, Benzion Netanyahu [1966, 1995]) have claimed that the New Christians were not really crypto-Jews, in order to avoid the charge that there is a certain “legitimacy” to Christian suspicions of these individuals with the consequence that the Inquisition itself would be given some legitimacy.

From the theoretical perspective adopted here, there are two points to keep in mind, either of which, if true, would render the Inquisition comprehensible within the present theoretical framework. First, the social identity theory of anti-Semitism implies that the major determinant of anti-Converso actions would be whether the Conversos continued to constitute an identifiable group within Iberian society, not whether their religious beliefs were sincere. In the case of the New Christians, there is a great deal of evidence that they retained a strong sense of group cohesion whatever their religious beliefs (see Chapter 6, pp. 184–86). Even if all of the New Christians developed sincere Christian beliefs but continued to form an endogamous, cooperative, and highly successful group within Iberian society, it is expected that the outgroup would develop negative beliefs about them, including perhaps the belief that they were not sincere. After all, to be a true Christian might reasonably be viewed by the Old Christians as implying complete social intercourse and the breaking down of group boundaries within the society, to form a homogeneous Christian state. The view that society should be a corporate, seamless, and homogeneous entity was central to conceptions of the medieval state.

Second, from the perspective of social identity theory, an important contributor to anti-Semitism is the prevention of Type II errors (see p. 13). This would result in hypotheses about Judaism as a whole being accepted on the basis of even a few instances of negatively evaluated behavior. Thus if even a few New Christians were known to be crypto-Jews, it is expected that Old Christians would err on the side of over-inclusion in this negative category, because this would have a very low cost to the Old Christians and would result in very large benefits in their competition with the New Christians. That there were at least some crypto-Jews is acknowledged by all scholars, even Netanyahu: “That there were some Jewish pockets among the Marranos in the sixties [i.e., 1460s], and probably in the seventies too, may be taken for granted” (1995, 931).

It is also known that New Christians and Old Christians were engaged in resource competition throughout the period leading up to the Inquisition (PTSDA, Ch. 5). Given this state of affairs, an evolutionist could scarcely be surprised to find that Old Christians overattributed religious heresy to the Conversos in order to achieve their evolutionary goals. Nevertheless, it is unlikely that this is the whole story. Recently several historians have emphasized the heterogeneity of Converso religious beliefs, and this perspective, if true, not only validates the rationality of the Inquisition as an instrument of ethnic warfare but also provides it with a certain moral legitimacy. After all, heresy was indeed a crime worthy of official punishment in the eyes of virtually everyone during this period. (Netanyahu [1995, 660] terms heresy an “execrable crime.”) As a result, no matter how odious such sentiments appear to the modern observer, the Inquisition was certainly acting within the moral and theological premises of the age.

Haliczer (1990, 212ff) notes that there were a variety of religious beliefs among the New Christians in Valencia, including a deep commitment to Judaism, a belief in both Judaism and Catholicism, and fervent Catholicism. At the onset of the Inquisition in the 1480s, the Converso community of Valencia is described as “close knit” and with a high level of affluence and political influence. In the early 1500s the Inquisition discovered a network of “dozens of interlocking families” (p. 225) of New Christians. In the 1720s there remained a “a tight-knit group of New Christian families who married among themselves or with other families of known Judaic sympathies” (p. 234). Haliczer recounts the example of a New Christian woman who was severely beaten by her father for secretly marrying an Old Christian. The woman then married a New Christian, but her behavior caused the New Christian families to ostracize her. Clearly, whatever these individuals believed, the woman’s exogamous behavior was a very grave offense against New Christian ethics.

Consistent with the present emphasis on behavior rather than beliefs, Haliczer notes that the best evidence for being a true Christian was not what one said one believed, but one’s actual behavior, such as associating with Old Christians, eating pork, and giving alms to Christian poor. “In an age when popular religion consisted of little more than a collection of rituals and social customs, there was no other way to judge, and it was the conversos’ failure to conform to the behavioral patterns expected of a Catholic rather than any deeply held religious views that made him an object of suspicion and denunciation for his Old Christian neighbors, servants, and associates” (Haliczer 1990, 219). The continued association of New Christians with each other (and, until 1492, with Jews), including continued endogamy, provided a rational basis for the Inquisition.

Indeed, one might note that New Christians who maintained group separatism while sincerely accepting Christianity were really engaging in a very interesting evolutionary strategy—a true case of crypsis entirely analogous to crypsis in the natural world. Such people would be even more invisible to the surrounding society than crypto-Jews, because they would attend church regularly, not circumcise themselves, eat pork, etc., and have no psychological qualms about doing so. As Trivers (1985, 1991) emphasizes, the best deceivers are self-deceivers because they do not show any psychological tensions or feelings of ambivalence. Psychological acceptance of Christianity may have been the best possible means of continuing Judaism as a group evolutionary strategy during the period of the Inquisition. While the rest of society would be led to believe that these individuals had completely assimilated and would be impressed with their devout practice of religion, the New Christians would be aware of a sort of subterranean group boundary which delimited mate choice and partners for economic cooperation and charity.

There is indeed a suggestion that at least some of the New Christians had altered their religious ideology while continuing to engage in genetic separatism. For example, Ortiz (1965, 76) mentions the philosopher Juan Luis Vives, who had four Jewish grandparents and was married to a Conversa, but nevertheless was apparently a sincere Christian. In Chapter 4 evidence was reviewed indicating that there were high levels of endogamy among at least some groups of New Christians for centuries after the onset of Inquisition. Reflecting the genetic purity of this group, Israel (1985, 203; see also Baron 1969, 100, 124–125, 149–150) notes that Jewish authorities assumed that marriage in the Iberian Peninsula had been entirely endogamous. The interesting point is that when these New Christians went abroad in search of a Jewish marriage, Jewish religious authorities made active attempts to convert them back to Judaism (Israel 1985, 203). The suggestion is that surface beliefs had indeed ceased to be a reliable cue for endogamy, and that at least a subset of the New Christians were sincere in their Christian beliefs but had managed to retain their ethnic purity for generations.

A critical point in evaluating apologia such as that of Netanyahu (1995) is that he does not attach any moral importance to the central fact of the situation—that the New Christians constituted an endogamous, highly successful, and even dominating group within Spanish society, with high levels of within-group cooperation and patronage.[197]Netanyahu’s book has received devastating reviews. Kagan (1995, 16), interprets Netanyahu’s passions as a reaction to the Holocaust—an interpretation that is problematic given the apologetic tendencies in Jewish historiography going back to the ancient world but that nevertheless emphasizes the political nature of his writing: “Mr. Netanyahu’s expansive, highly personal and emotive style carries us back to another era, to a mode of polemical discourse rarely practiced among professional historians today. More poignantly, this book illustrates the lasting intellectual repercussions of the Holocaust on historical scholarship about the Jews.” Another reviewer, Berger (1995, 56) describes the work as “devoid of nuance” in its unitary portrayal of the New Christians, and as reconstructing “motives and intentions through a series of inferences based on slim evidence.” It is interesting that in discussing the attitude of the 15th-century apologist Fernán Díaz regarding intermarriage, Netanyahu (1995, 420) states that the New Christians had an ideology that intermarriage was “the ultimate solution” of the problem, but he comments that this ideology coexisted with a powerful sense of group affinity and group pride.

Nor, despite the official ideology of New Christian apologists, did it lead to much actual intermarriage, apart from providing dowries to restore the fortunes of the gentile nobility—a practice that resulted in a one-way flow of genes from the New Christian to the Old Christian population (see Chapter 4). That the New Christians remained a definable, endogamous group is independent of whether they secretly believed and behaved as Jews. It is also independent of the opinions of Jewish religious authorities living abroad regarding their orthodoxy or whether they were still Jews.[198]Although the opinions of the rabbis cannot decide this crucial question, they are of interest in their own right, since they show considerable concern with the extent to which the New Christians intermarried with the Iberians. Rabbi Simon Duran argued that since the admixture with the gentiles was “insignificant,” all those who repent should be considered of Jewish origin” (Netanyahu 1966, 65). Clearly, Duran, writing almost a century after the forced conversions of 1391, did not believe that intermarriage had been extensive. In fact, Netanyahu notes that Duran emphasized the fact that the New Christians kept meticulous records in order to retain family purity by shunning mixed marriages. “The insignificant minority that intermarried with the gentiles is considered by them as an abomination” (in Netanyahu 1966, 65).

Further, the 15th-century rabbis Solomon Duran (Rashbash) and his son Zemah Duran emphasized that an individual with Jewish ancestry (descent from a Jewish mother) was a member of the Jewish people even if that person did not follow religious observance. Later, Rabbi Ibn Danan stated that they should be considered “wicked Israelites,” and not gentiles “so long as they are separated from the gentiles and are recognized as the seed of Israel” (Netanyahu 1966, 61). Lineal descent therefore became crucial in the absence of religious observance; while gentile converts could not become priests, New Christians who had repented could do so.

On the other hand, rabbis who rejected the New Christians as Jews emphasized that intermarriage had been significant: Jacob Barav regarded the New Christians as gentiles partly because “intermarriage with gentile women had assumed sufficient proportions among them as to place in doubt the ethnic purity of every single Marrano” (Netanyahu 1966, 70). Significantly, New Christians who had not intermarried were also considered gentiles “except with regard to relations between the sexes” (p. 70).

Thus there was disagreement among the rabbis as to the racial purity of the New Christians. However, racial purity was of supreme importance for all involved in deciding the question. Indeed, Shaw (1991, 47) emphasizes that while the Jewish status of returning New Christians was highly controversial among rabbis in the Ottoman Empire, the criterion adopted by most rabbis was whether both parents had been Jewish. Thus the offspring born to a Jew and a gentile slave were never accepted as Jews, and these individuals formed “a highly disputatious and divisive group demanding their rights and inspiring heated argument in consequence.”

Further attesting to the concern for ethnic purity among the New Christians, Baron (1973, 364) notes that the “the disproportionate share of women among the New Christian martyrs [in the Inquisition in Goa during the 16th century] may have been owing to the anxiety of many Marranos to avoid exogamy, a concern which caused them to travel in family groups, or to have their wives follow them in larger numbers than was the case among their Old Christian compatriots.”

Interestingly, a 17th-century responsum describes a Converso who was encouraged by other Conversos to flee the Peninsula but who refused because he wanted to stay with his Christian wife and children (Yerushalmi 1971, 30). For this individual, the choice of an open Jewish identity in a foreign land meant abandoning his gentile family, since the latter would not have been admitted to the Jewish community. Another 17th-century responsum referred to the practice of ostracizing New Christians who married Old Christians (Yerushalmi 1971, 20n.29).
As Cohen (1967, 181; see also Contraras 1991, 129–130) notes, “no matter how Christianized the Marrano way of life may have become, and was giving evidence of becoming further, they need not—and apparently, did not—cease to be a Jewish group historically, sociologically or even religiously.” As Netanyahu (1995, 996) himself notes, the New Christians were perceived by all concerned as a separate group in Spanish society (see Chapter 6, pp. 185–186). Indeed, a remarkable fact about all of the apologias for the New Christians that emerged in the 15th century is that they took for granted that the New Christians constituted a “nation” with a particular genetic lineage—that is, that New Christians were a different race. Thus the famous Instrucción del Relator is written “a favor de la nación Hebrea,” and its New Christian author speaks of “our race.” The Instrucción is directed at absolving Jews as a race whether or not they have converted to Christianity (Netanyahu 1995, 406). Not surprisingly, the anti-Conversos, such as Alonso de Espina, also viewed them as members of the “Jewish race” (Netanyahu 1995, 847).

Besides his emphasis on the “groupness” of the Conversos, Netanyahu (p. 1044) also agrees with the dominant view among scholars that social, economic, and political conflict between New and Old Christians was basic to the Inquisition, and these views fit well with the present perspective.

Netanyahu’s own analysis therefore is quite compatible with the following overall scenario: The Conversos remained as a separate unassimilated racial/national group in Spanish society well into the 15th century and indeed up through the period of the establishment of the Inquisition and at least the following 250 years. This group, freed from the economic and social constraints placed on Jews, rose quickly to a position of dominance (or near dominance) and was correctly perceived by the Old Christians as a competitor for resources and as an outgroup—precisely the general condition that has led to anti-Semitism repeatedly throughout the history of the Jews. Because they were unable to use racial/national group membership as a category of social discrimination, in some cases the Old Christians exaggerated the extent of the Conversos’ religious heterodoxy to attain their social and political aims.

Netanyahu’s interest in asserting the non-culpability of Judaism for the events surrounding the Inquisition is also apparent in an article he wrote opposing the views of Américo Castro on the origins of the concern with purity of blood in Spain (see Netanyahu 1979–1980). As described in Chapter 4, Castro (1954, 1971) proposed that the Spanish concern with purity of blood was a reaction to previously existing concern with purity of blood among Jews. This is a critical issue in my proposal that major Western anti-Semitic movements develop as a reaction to Judaism and mimic key aspects of Judaism as a group evolutionary strategy (see Chapters 3–5).[199]Contraras (1991, 133) notes that despite criticisms of Castro’s thesis, “yet today, when many historians, whether they are Jewish or not, investigate these themes, they arrive at hypotheses quite similar to those formulated earlier by Américo Castro.”

The first part of Netanyahu’s rebuttal focuses on the interpretation of the biblical evidence. Netanyahu criticizes Castro for relying on Deuteronomy 7:6 which refers to the chosenness of Israel, to support his proposal that the Israelites were concerned with purity of blood. Netanyahu neglects to discuss the context of Deuteronomy 7:6; this context, although not quoted by Castro, clearly supports of the connections between the chosenness of Israel and fear of exogamy. The preceding passage (Deut. 7:2–5) contains God’s instructions to the Israelites to completely destroy the seven nations to be found in the promised land in order to avoid intermarriage.

And when the Lord thy God shall deliver them up before thee, and thou shalt smite them; then thou shalt utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor show mercy unto them; neither shalt thou make marriages with them: thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son. For he will turn away thy son from following Me, that they may serve other gods; so will the anger of the Lord be kindled against you, and He will destroy thee quickly. But thus shall ye deal with them: ye shall break down their altars, and dash in pieces their pillars, and hew down their Asherim, and burn their graven images with fire. For thou art a holy people unto the Lord thy God: the Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be His own treasure, out of all peoples that are upon the face of the earth. (Deut. 7:2–6)

Passages like this give rather obvious support for the general associations among the idea of chosenness, the fear of exogamy, and the Israelite god as representing the interests of the ethnic group emphasized in PTSDA (Ch. 3). However, Netanyahu claims that the text resists any possible interpretation of a concern for purity of blood. In the passage referred to by Netanyahu (Castro 1971, 67ff), Castro goes on to cite Ezra’s condemnation of intermarriage and his pronouncements about the “Holy Seed,” and he discusses the elaborate sections on establishing descent from Aaron required by priestly families, and the genealogies of all of the tribes of Israel in 1 Chronicles 1–9. (Indeed, 1 Chronicles 1–9 is a remarkable document, purporting to be a complete genealogy of Israel up to the Babylonian captivity.) Netanyahu completely ignores the very clear concern for genealogy in these writings and expresses amazement that anyone could interpret the Tanakh as concerned with racial purity.

As part of his argument, Castro cites a passage from a letter of the Converso Hernando del Pulgar (late 15th century) that “These people [the Jews] are now paying for the prohibitions that Moses made to his people, that they should not marry gentiles” (Castro 1954, 531; italics in text). The passage indicates a perception about the Jews at the time as being concerned to avoid intermarriage with gentiles, and this is how Castro interprets it: “We must now try, insofar as possible, to see things as he saw them; With a free spirit he told the cardinal, a great aristocrat far removed from any sort of plebeian suspicion, that the exclusiveness of his contemporaries, their concern over purity of blood, was a reply to that other hermeticism of Pulgar’s own ancestors” (Castro 1971, 80).

The thrust of Netanyahu’s rebuttal, however, focuses on the truth of Pulgar’s statement, a point that is clearly irrelevant to the importance of 15th-century Spanish perceptions of Judaism whether or not they are true. The indications are that Pulgar viewed Jews as concerned to avoid intermarriage, and the material summarized throughout this volume and PTSDA indicates th