PART 2 OF 3
The reason for all this is simple. Until the nineteenth century the Jews, like women, were in a state of tutelage; thus their contribution to political and social life, like that of women, is of recent date. The names of Einstein, of Bergson, of Chagall, of Kafka are enough to show what they would have been able to bring to the world if they had been emancipated earlier. But that is of no importance; the fact is there. These are Frenchmen who have no part in the history of France. Their collective memory furnishes them only with obscure recollections of pogroms, of ghettos, of exoduses, of great monotonous sufferings, twenty centuries of repetition, not of evolution. The Jew is not yet historical, and yet he is the most ancient of peoples, or nearly so. That is what gives him the air of being perpetually aged and yet always young: he has wisdom and no history.
"To be a Good Zionist one must be Somewhat of an Anti-Semite"
Although blut was a recurrent theme in pre-Holocaust Zionist literature, it was not as central to its message as boden. As long as America's shores remained open, Europe’s Jews asked: if anti-Semitism could not be fought on its home ground, why should they not just follow the crowd to America? The Zionist response was double-barrelled: anti-Semitism would accompany the Jews wherever they went and, what was more, it was the Jews who had created anti-Semitism by their own characteristics. The root cause of anti-Semitism, Zionists insisted, was the Jews’ exile existence. Jews lived parasitically off their ’hosts’. There were virtually no Jewish peasants in the Diaspora. The Jews lived in cities, they were alienated from manual labour or, more bluntly, they shunned it and preoccupied themselves with intellectual or commercial concerns. At best, their claims of patriotism were hollow as they wandered eternally from country to country.
And when they fancied themselves as socialists and internationalists, in reality they were still no more than the middlemen of the revolution, fighting ’other people’s battles’. These tenets combined were known as shelilat ha’galut (the Negation of the Diaspora), and were held by the entire spectrum of Zionists who varied only on matters of detail. They were argued vigorously in the Zionist press, where the distinctive quality of many articles was their hostility to the entire Jewish people. Anyone reading these pieces without knowing their source would have automatically assumed that they came from the anti-Semitic press.
-- Zionism in the Age of the Dictators: A Reappraisal, by Lenni Brenner
"Pay no attention to that," you will say. "We have only to welcome him without reserve; our history will be his history, or at least his son's." But that is what we take care not to do. Thus he floats on, uncertain, uprooted.
Moreover, let him not turn back toward Israel to find a community and a past to compensate for those which are refused him. That Jewish community which is based neither on nation, land, religion — at least not in contemporary France — nor material interest, but only on an identity of situation, might indeed be a true spiritual bond of affection, of culture, and of mutual aid. But the Jew's enemies will immediately say that this bond is ethnic, and he himself, at a loss how to designate it, will perhaps use the word race. Then at one stroke he has justified the anti-Semite: "You see very well that there is a Jewish race; they recognize it themselves, and besides they crowd together everywhere." And, in fact, if the Jews want to draw a legitimate pride from this community, they must indeed end up by exalting racial qualities, since they cannot take pride in any collective work that is specifically Jewish, or in a civilization properly Jewish, or in a common mysticism.
Thus the anti-Semite wins on all counts. In a word, the Jew, an intruder into French society, is compelled to remain isolated. If he does not consent, he is insulted. But if he consents, he is no more readily assimilated on that account; he is tolerated — and always with a distrust that drives him on each occasion to "prove himself."
In case of war or civil disturbance, the "true" Frenchman has no proofs to make; he simply fulfils his military or civil obligations. But it is not the same for the Jew. He may be sure that people are going to make a strict count of the number of Jews in the army. Thus he suddenly finds himself answerable for all hi co-religionists. Even if he has passed the military age he is going to feel the necessity of enlisting — whether he does anything about it or not — because people are pretending everywhere that Jews are slackers. A rumour not without foundation, some may say. Not at all. In an analysis of a Jewish complex made by Stekel, of which I will have more to say later, I read this passage: "The Christians said" — it was an Austrian Jewess speaking — "that the Jews always try to get out from under as much as they can. Then my husband wanted to volunteer." Now this referred to the beginning of the war of 1914, and Austria had had no war since that of 1866, which was carried on with a professional army. This slander upon the Austrian Jews, which has been spread in France also, is simply the spontaneous fruit of distrust of the Jew.
In 1938, at the time of the international crisis that was resolved at Munich, the French government called up only certain categories of the reserve. The majority of the men able to bear arms were not yet mobilized. Already, however, stones were being thrown through the store windows of one of my friends, a Jewish merchant at Belleville, on the grounds that he was a slacker. Thus the Jew, if he is to be left in peace, should be mobilized ahead of other people; in case of famine, he should be hungrier than others; if a general disaster strikes the country, he should be the one whom it hits hardest.
This perpetual obligation to prove that he is French puts the Jew in a situation of guilt. If on every occasion he does not do more than everybody else, much more than anybody else, he is guilty, he is a dirty Jew — and one might say, parodying the words of Beaumarchais: To judge by the qualities we demand of a Jew if he is to be assimilated as a "true" Frenchman, how many Frenchmen would be found worthy of being Jews in their own country?
Since the Jew is dependent upon opinion for his profession, his rights, and his life, his situation is completely unstable. Legally not open to attack, he is at the mercy of the whims and passions of the "real" society. He carefully watches the progress of anti-Semitism; he tries to foresee crises and gauge trends in the same way that the peasant keeps watch on the weather and predicts storms. He ceaselessly calculates the effects that external events will have on his own position. He may accumulate legal guarantees, riches, honours; he is only the more vulnerable on that account, and he knows it. Thus it seems to him at one and the same time that his efforts are always crowned with success — for he knows the astonishing successes of his race — and that a curse has made them empty, for he will never acquire the security enjoyed by the most humble Christian. This is perhaps one of the meanings of The Trial, by the Jew Kafka. Like the hero of that novel, the Jew is engaged in a long trial. He does not know his judge, scarcely even his lawyers; he does not know what he is charged with, yet he knows that he is considered guilty; judgment is continually put off — for a week, two weeks — he takes advantage of these delays to improve his position in a thousand ways, but every precaution taken at random pushes him a little deeper into guilt. His external situation may appear brilliant, but the interminable trial invisibly wastes him away, and it happens sometimes, as in the novel, that men seize him, carry him off on the pretence that he has lost his case, and murder him in some vague area of the suburbs.
The anti-Semites are right in saying that the Jew eat drinks, reads, sleeps, and dies like a Jew. What else could he do? They have subtly poisoned his food, his sleep, and even his death. How else could it be for him, subjected every moment to this poisoning? As soon he steps outside, as soon as he encounters others, in the street or in public places, as soon as he feels upon him the look of those whom a Jewish newspaper calls "Them" — a look that is a mixture of fear, disdain, reproach, and brotherly love — he must decide: does he or does he not consent to be the person whose role they make him play? And if he consents, to what extent? If he refuses, will he refuse all kinship with other Israelites, or only an ethnic relationship?
Whatever he does, his course has been set for him. He can choose to be courageous or cowardly, sad or gay; he can choose to kill Christians or to love them; but he cannot choose not to be a Jew. Or, rather, if he does so choose, if he declares that Jews do not exist, if he denies with violence and desperation the Jewish character in himself, it is precisely in this that he is a Jew. I who am not a Jew, I have nothing to deny, nothing to prove; but if the Jew has decided that his race does not exist, it is up to him to prove it. To be a Jew is to be thrown into — to be abandoned to — the situation of a Jew; and at the same time it is to be responsible in and through one's own person for the destiny and the very nature of the Jewish people. For, whatever the Jew says or does, and whether he have a clear or vague conception of his responsibilities, it is as if all his acts were subject to a Kantian imperative, as if he had to ask himself before each act: "If all Jews acted as I am going to do, what would happen to Jewish life?" And to the questions he asks himself (what would happen if all the Jews were Zionists, or if, on the contrary, they were all converted to Christianity? If all Jews denied they were Jews? etc.), he must make reply, alone and unaided, by choosing himself.
If it is agreed that man may be defined as a being having freedom within the limits of a situation, then it is easy to see that the exercise of this freedom may be considered as authentic or inauthentic according to the choices made in the situation. Authenticity, it is almost needless to say, consists in having a true and lucid consciousness of the situation, in assuming the responsibilities and risks that it involves, in accepting it in pride or humiliation, sometimes in horror and hate.
There is no doubt that authenticity demands much courage and more than courage. Thus it is not surprising that one finds it so rarely. Most members of the middle class and most Christians are not authentic, in the sense that they refuse to live up to their middleclass or Christian condition fully and that they always conceal certain parts of themselves from themselves. When the Communists set down as part of their program "the radicalization of the masses," when Marx explains that the proletarian class ought to be conscious of itself, what does that mean if not that the worker, too, is not at first authentic?
And the Jew does not escape this rule: authenticity for him is to live to the full his condition as Jew; inauthenticity is to deny it or to attempt to escape from it. Inauthenticity is no doubt more tempting for him than for other men, because the situation which he has to lay claim to and to live in is quite simply that of a martyr. What the least favoured of men ordinarily discover in their situation is a bond of concrete solidarity with other men. The economic condition of the salaried man living in the perspective of revolution, or the condition of the member of a persecuted church, involves in itself a profound unity of material and spiritual interests. But we have shown that the Jews have neither community of interests nor community of beliefs. They do not have the same fatherland; they have no history. The sole tie that binds them is the hostility and disdain of the societies which surround them. Thus the authentic Jew is the one who asserts his claim in the face of the disdain shown toward him.
Similarly, in 1935 an American, Ben Frommer, a writer for the ultraright Zionist-Revisionists, could declare of no less than 16 million of his fellow Jews that:
The fact is undeniable that the Jews collectively are unhealthy and neurotic. Those professional Jews who, wounded to the quick, indignantly deny this truth are the greatest enemies of their race, for they thereby lead them to search for false solutions, or at most palliatives....
To Frommer, the Jew: "No matter what country he inhabits… is not of the tribal origins… Consequently the Jew's attempt at complete identity with his country sounds spurious; his patriotism despite his vociferousness, hollow even to himself; and therefore his demand for complete equality with those who are of the essence of the nation naturally creates friction. This explains the intolerance of the Germans, Austrians, Poles and the increasing tide of antagonism in most European countries… It is presumptuous on the part of a Jew to demand that he be treated as lovingly as say a Teuton in a Teutonic country or a Pole in a Polish country. He must jealously guard his life and liberty, but he must candidly recognize that he does not 'belong'. The liberal fiction of perfect equality is doomed because it was unnatural."
A recent Zionist convert, the then world-famous popular biographer Emil Ludwig, was interviewed by a fellow Zionist on a visit to America and expressed the general attitude of the Zionist movement:
'Hitler will be forgotten in a few years, but he will have a beautiful monument in Palestine. You know', and here the biographer-historian seemed to assume the role of a patriarchal Jew -- 'the coming of the Nazis was rather a welcome thing. So many of our German Jews were hovering between two coasts; so many of them were riding the treacherous current between the Scylla of assimilation and the Charybdis of a nodding acquaintance with Jewish things. Thousands who seemed to be completely lost to Judaism were brought back to the fold by Hitler, and for that I am personally very grateful to him.'
-- Zionism in the Age of the Dictators: A Reappraisal, by Lenni Brenner
The situation he wishes fully to understand and live out is, in time of social peace, almost incomprehensible: it is an atmosphere, a subtle sense of faces and of words, a menace that is concealed in things, an abstract bond that unites him to men who in all other respects are very different from him. Everything conspires actually to show him to his own eyes as a simple French man. For the prosperity of his affairs depends closely upon that of his country, the fate of his sons is linked to peace, to the greatness of France, and the language he speaks and the culture that has been given him permit him to base his calculations and his reasoning on the principles common to the whole nation. He should therefore only have to let himself go in order to forget that he is a Jew, if he did not detect everywhere this almost undetectable poison — the hostile consciousness of others.
What is astonishing is certainly not that there are inauthentic Jews; it is rather that, in proportion, they are fewer than the inauthentic Christians. However, it is by taking advantage of certain aspects of the conduct of inauthentic Jews that the anti-Semite has forged his general mythology of the Jew. What characterizes the inauthentic Jews is that they deal with their situation by running away from it; they have chosen to deny it or to deny their responsibilities, or to deny their isolation, which appears intolerable to them. That does not necessarily mean that they wish to destroy the concept of the Jew or that they explicitly deny the existence of a Jewish reality. But their gestures, sentiments and acts aim secretly at destroying this reality.
In a word, the inauthentic Jews are men whom other men take for Jews and who have decided to run away from this insupportable situation. The result is that they display various types of behaviour not all of which are present at the same time in the same person but each of which may be characterized as an avenue of flight. The anti-Semite by collecting and assembling all these distinct and often incompatible avenues of flight has traced out a monstrous portrait which is supposed to be that of the Jew in general; at the same time he explains these free efforts at escape from a painful situation as hereditary traits, engraved on the very body of Israel and, consequently, incapable of modification.
If we wish to see the problem clearly, we must take this portrait apart, restore the autonomy of these "avenues of flight," and present them in their true character as ventures in behaviour instead of innate qualities. It must be understood that the description of these avenues of flight is applied solely to the inauthentic Jew (the term "inauthentic" implying no moral blame, of course), and that it should be supplemented by a description of authentic Jewishness. Finally, we must grasp the idea that it is the situation of the Jew which must under all circumstances serve us as guiding thread. If we understand this method and if we apply it rigorously, perhaps we will be able to substitute the great Manichaean myth about Israel a few truths which, while more fragmentary, are more accurate.
What is the first trait in the anti-Semitic mythology? It is, we are told, that the Jew is a complicated being who passes his time in self-analysis and subtle setting. We are quick to call him a "splitter of hairs" without even asking ourselves whether this tendency to analysis and introspection is compatible with the sharpness in business and the blind aggressiveness that are also attributed to him. For my part, I recognize that the effort to escape produces in some Jews — for most part intellectuals — an almost continuously reflective attitude. But again we must understand each other. This reflective behaviour is not inherited. It is an avenue of flight, and it is we who force the Jew to flee.
Stekel, along with several other psychoanalysts speaks of a "Jewish complex," and many are the Jews who mention their "inferiority complex." I see no harm in using this expression if we understand that this complex has not been received from the outside and that the Jew creates this complex when he chooses to live his situation in an inauthentic manner. He has allowed himself to be persuaded by the anti-Semites; he is first victim of their propaganda. He admits with them that, if there is a Jew, he must have the characteristics with which popular malevolence endows him, and his effort is to constitute himself a martyr, in the proper sense of the term, that is, to prove in his person that there are no Jews.
[A Time For Laughter]
[Sidney Poitier, "A Time For Laughter," 1967] The price of integration has frightened an awful lot of people -- even some of us. But not for the same reasons. It has been said, "What does it matter if a man gains the whole world and loses his soul?" Hmm? As seen by the Negro humorist, integration does have its ... hangups!
[Kiss, kiss, kiss, kiss]
[Godfrey Cambridge/Mr. Grammarson] Your idea of taking the train was much better!
[Diana Sands/Mumzi] Yeeesss.
[Godfrey Cambridge/Mr. Grammarson] Oh, I'm so glad I don't have to drive through Harlem.
[Diana Sands/Mumzi] Ohhhh!
[Godfrey Cambridge/Mr. Grammarson] Those people! Yecch!
[Diana Sands/Mumzi] Yes, dear, they ARE a problem!
[Godfrey Cambridge/Mr. Grammarson] They CERTAINLY are! And then, Mumzi, I had this most incredible experience on the train! I sat down next to this distinguished lady, and as I sat down next to her she went,
And I said, "Where?! Where?!
-- Why Would a Watermelon Be Delivered in a Plain, Brown Wrapper? -- Vignette from "Moms Mabley," directed by Whoopi Goldberg
With him anxiety often takes a special form; it becomes a fear of acting or feeling like a Jew. We are familiar with those neurasthenics who are haunted by the fear of killing, of jumping out of a window, of uttering obscene words. Certain Jews are in some degree comparable to these people, though their anxiety rarely attains a pathological level. They have allowed themselves to be poisoned by the stereotype that others have of them, and they live in fear that their acts will correspond to this stereotype. Repeating a term used earlier, we may say that their conduct is perpetually over-determined from the inside. Their acts have not only the motives which can be assigned to those of non-Jews — interest, passion, altruism, etc. — but they seek also to distinguish themselves radically from the acts catalogued as "Jewish." How many Jews are deliberately generous, disinterested, and even magnificent simply because the Jew is ordinarily taken to be a man of money? That in no way signifies that they have to struggle against "tendencies" to avarice — there is no reason, a priori, for Jews to be more avaricious than Christians — it means rather that their gestures of generosity are poisoned by the decision to be generous. Spontaneity and deliberate choice are here inextricably mixed. The end pursued is to obtain a certain result in the external world and at the same time to prove to oneself, to prove to others, that there is no such thing as Jewish nature.
Thus many inauthentic Jews play at not being Jews. Several Jews have reported to me their curious reaction after the armistice. We know that the role of Jews in the Resistance was admirable; it was they who formed the principal cadres before the Communists went into action; for four years they gave proof of a courage and a spirit of decision which it is a pleasure to acknowledge. However, certain of them hesitated a great deal before "resisting," for the Resistance appeared to them so completely in line with Jewish interests that they were reluctant at first to engage in it; they wanted to make sure they were resisting not as Jews but as Frenchmen. This scrupulousness shows sufficiently the peculiar quality of their deliberations: the Jewish factor intervenes on every occasion and it is impossible for them to make a decision based merely on the pure and simple examination of the facts. In a word, they fall naturally into a state of reflective self-consciousness.
Like the timid person, like the scrupulous person, the Jew is not content to act or think; he sees himself act, he sees himself think. We must remark, however, that Jewish reflectiveness is in itself practical, since it does not originate in disinterested curiosity or in the desire for moral conversion. It is not the man but the Jew whom the Jews seek to know in themselves through introspection; and they wish to know him in order to deny him. With them it is not a question of recognizing certain faults and combating them, but of underlining by their conduct the fact that they do not have those faults. Thus we may explain that particular quality of Jewish irony which exercises itself most often at the expense of the Jew himself and which is a perpetual attempt to see himself from the outside. The Jew, because he knows he is under observation, takes the initiative and attempts to look at himself through the eyes of others. This objectivity toward himself is still another ruse of inauthenticity: while he contemplates himself with the "detachment" of another, he feels himself in effect detached from himself; he becomes another person, a pure witness.
However, he knows that this detachment from himself will be effective only if it is ratified by others. That is why one finds in him so often the faculty of assimilation. He absorbs all knowledge with an avidity which is not to be confused with disinterested curiosity. He hopes to become "a man," nothing but a man, a man like all other men, by taking in all the thoughts of man, and acquiring a human point of view of the universe. He cultivates himself in order to destroy the Jew in himself, as if he wished to have applied to him — but in modified form — the phrase of Terence: Nil huma alienum puto ergo homo sum.  [Google translate: Nothing human is foreign to a man!]
In 1937, after leaving Berlin for America, rabbi Joachim Prinz wrote of his experiences in Germany and alluded to a memorandum which, it is now known, was sent to the Nazi Party by the ZVfD on 21 June 1933. Prinz's article candidly describes the Zionist mood in the first months of 1933:
Everyone in Germany knew that only the Zionists could responsibly represent the Jews in dealings with the Nazi government. We all felt sure that one day the government would arrange a round table conference with the Jews, at which -- after the riots and atrocities of the revolution had passed -- the new status of German Jewry could be considered. The government announced very solemnly that there was no country in the world which tried to solve the Jewish problem as seriously as did Germany. Solution of the Jewish question? It was our Zionist dream! We never denied the existence of the Jewish question! Dissimilation? It was our own appeal!… In a statement notable for its pride and dignity, we called for a conference.
The document remained buried until 1962, when it was finally printed, in German, in Israel. 'Pride' and 'dignity' are words open to interpretation but, it is safe to say, there was not one word that could be so construed today. This extraordinary memorandum demands extensive quotation. The Nazis were asked, very politely:
May we therefore be permitted to present our views, which, in our opinion, make possible a solution in keeping with the principles of the new German State of National Awakening and which at the same time might signify for Jews a new ordering of the conditions of their existence… 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…
… an answer to the Jewish question truly satisfying to the national state can be brought about only with the collaboration of the Jewish movement that aims at a social, cultural, and moral renewal of Jewry… a rebirth of national life, such as is occurring in German life through adhesion to Christian and national values, must also take place in the Jewish national group. For the Jew, too, origin, religion, community of fate and group consciousness must be of decisive significance in the shaping of his life…
On the foundation of the new state, which has established the principle of race, we wish so to fit our community into the total structure so that for us too, in the sphere assigned to us, fruitful activity for the Fatherland is possible… Our acknowledgement of Jewish nationality provides for a clear and sincere relationship to the German people and its national and racial realities. Precisely because we do not wish to falsify these fundamentals, because we, too, are against mixed marriage and are for maintaining the purity of the Jewish group…
… fidelity to their own kind and their own culture gives Jews the inner strength that prevents insult to the respect for the national sentiments and the imponderables of German nationality; and rootedness in one's own spirituality protects the Jew from becoming the rootless critic of the national foundations of German essence. The national distancing which the state desires would thus be brought about easily as the result of an organic development.
Thus, a self-conscious Jewry here described, in whose name we speak, can find a place in the structure of the German state, because it is inwardly unembarrassed, free from the resentment which assimilated Jews must feel at the determination that they belong to Jewry, to the Jewish race and past. We believe in the possibility of an honest relationship of loyalty between a group-conscious Jewry and the German state…
For its practical aims, Zionism hopes to be able to win the collaboration even of a government fundamentally hostile to Jews, because in dealing with the Jewish question no sentimentalities are involved but a real problem whose solution interests all peoples, and at the present moment especially the German people.
The realisation of Zionism could only be hurt by resentment of Jews abroad against the German development. Boycott propaganda -- such as is currently being carried on against Germany in many ways -- is in essence un-Zionist, because Zionism wants not to do battle but to convince and to build… Our observations, presented herewith, rest on the conviction that, in solving the Jewish problem according to its own lights, the German Government will have full understanding for a candid and clear Jewish posture that harmonizes with the interests of the state.
This document, a treason to the Jews of Germany, was written in standard Zionist cliches: 'abnormal occupational pattern', 'rootless intellectuals greatly in need of moral regeneration', etc. In it the German Zionists offered calculated collaboration between Zionism and Nazism, hallowed by the goal of a Jewish state: we shall wage no battle against thee, only against those that would resist thee.
-- Zionism in the Age of the Dictators: A Reappraisal, by Lenni Brenner
At the same time he tries to lose himself in the crowd of Christians. We have seen that the latter have the art and the audacity to pretend before the Jew that they are not another race, but purely and simply men; if the Jew is fascinated by Christians it is not because of their virtues, which he values little, but because they represent anonymity, humanity without race. If he tries to penetrate the most exclusive circles, it is not because of that boundless ambition with which he is reproached so often — or, rather, that ambition has only one meaning: the Jew seeks to be recognized as a man by other men. If he wishes to slip in everywhere, it is because he cannot be at rest so long as there remains a single place which resists him and which, by resisting him, makes him a Jew in his own eyes. The principle behind this drive toward assimilation is an excellent one: the Jew is claiming his rights as a Frenchman. Unfortunately the realisation of this enterprise rests on an inadequate foundation. He wants people to receive him as "a man," but even in the circles which he has been able to enter, he is received as a Jew. He is the rich or powerful Jew whom it is absolutely necessary to associate with, or the "good" Jew, the exceptional Jew, with whom one associates in spite of his race.
The Jew is not unaware of this, but if he admitted to himself that he was received as a Jew his enterprise would lose all meaning and he would become discouraged. He is therefore acting in bad faith: he is concealing the truth from himself, though he knows it in his heart. He conquers a position in his capacity as Jew; he keeps it with the means he has at his disposal, that is, with "Jewish" means, but he considers that each new conquest is a symbol of a higher step in the process of assimilation. It develops automatically that anti-Semitism, which is the almost immediate reaction of the circles he has penetrated, does not long permit him to remain unaware of what he would so much like to ignore. Yet the violence of the anti-Semite has the paradoxical effect of pushing the Jews to the conquest of other milieux and other groups. In short, his ambition is fundamentally a search for security, just as his snobbism — when he is a snob — is an effort to assimilate national values (pictures, books, etc.).
Thus he moves rapidly and brilliantly up through all social levels, but he remains like a hard kernel in the circles which accept him, and his assimilation is as ephemeral as it is brilliant. He is often reproached for this. According to a remark by André Siegfried, the Americans believe that their anti-Semitism originates in the fact that Jewish immigrants, in appearance the first to be assimilated, are still Jews in the second and third generations. This is naturally interpreted as meaning that the Jew does not sincerely desire to be assimilated and that, behind a feigned adaptability, there is concealed a deliberate and conscious attachment to the traditions of his race. The truth is exactly the contrary: it is because he is never accepted as a man, but always and everywhere as the Jew that the Jew is unassimilable.
From this situation there results a new paradox: that the inauthentic Jew wants to lose himself in the Christian world and yet he remains fixed in Jewish milieux. Wherever he introduces himself in order to get away from Jewish reality, he senses that he has been accepted as a Jew and is at every moment regarded as a Jew. His life among Christians does not bring him the anonymity he seeks; rather, it is a perpetual tension. In his flight toward mankind he takes with him everywhere the image which haunts him. That is what establishes among all Jews a solidarity which is not one of action or interest, but of situation. What unites them, even more than the sufferings of two thousand years, is the present hostility of Christians. Insist as they may that chance alone has grouped them in the same residential areas, in the same apartment houses, in the same enterprises, there is among them a strong and complex tie which is worth analysis.
In effect, the Jew is to another Jew the only man with whom he can say "we." What they have in common (at least all the inauthentic Jews) is the constant temptation to consider that they "are not like other men," their susceptibility to the opinions of others, and their blind and desperate decision to run away from that temptation. When, therefore, they are by themselves in the intimacy of their apartments, by eliminating the non-Jewish witness they eliminate Jewish reality at the same time. No doubt those Christians who have penetrated these interiors find their inhabitants more Jewish than ever, but that is because they have allowed themselves to relax -- which does not mean that they abandon themselves to the enjoyment of their Jewish "nature," as they are often accused of doing, but, on the contrary, that they forget it. What would prove this — if that were necessary — is that very often members of the same family do not perceive the ethnic characteristics of their relatives (by ethnic characteristics I mean here the biological and hereditary facts which we have accepted as incontestable). I knew a Jewish woman whose son had to make some business trips into Nazi Germany around 1934. This son had the typical characteristics of the French Jew — a hooked nose, protruding ears, etc. — but when we expressed anxiety about what might happen to him during one of his absences, his mother replied: "Oh, I am not worried; he doesn't look like a Jew at all."
Only, by a dialectic proper to the inauthentic Jew, this recourse to interiority, this effort to constitute a Jewish immanence by which each Jew instead of being the witness of others is merged in a collective subjectivity and the Christian is eliminated as an onlooker, this and all such ruses of flight are reduced to nothing by the universal and constant presence of the non-Jew. Even in their most intimate gatherings the Jews could say of the non-Jew what St. John Perse said of the sun: "He is not named but his presence is among us." They cannot ignore the fact that their very propensity to associate together defines them as Jews in the minds of the Christians. And when they emerge in public, their solidarity with their coreligionists marks them as if with a brand. The Jew who encounters another Jew in the drawing room of a Christian is a little like a Frenchman who meets a compatriot abroad. Yet the Frenchman derives pleasure from asserting to the world that he is a Frenchman, whereas the Jew, even if he were the only Israelite in a non-Jewish company, would force himself not to feel that he was a Jew. When there is another Jew with him, he feels himself endangered before the others, and he who a moment before could not even see the ethnic characteristics of his son or his nephew now looks at his coreligionist with the eyes of an anti-Semite, spying out with a mixture of fear and fatalism the objective signs of their common origin.
He is so afraid of the discoveries the Christians are going to make that he hastens to give them warning, he becomes himself an anti-Semite by impatience and for the sake of the others. Each Jewish trait he detects is like a dagger thrust, for it seems to him that he finds it in himself, but out of reach, objective, incurable, and published to the world. It does not greatly matter who manifests the Jewish race. The moment it is manifested, all the efforts of the Jew to deny it are in vain.
We know that the enemies of Israel are ready to support their own opinion with the statement that "there is no one more anti-Semitic than the Jew." In actual fact, this anti-Semitism of the Jew is borrowed. It is first of all the painful obsession of finding in his parents, in those near him, the defects which he wishes to reject with all his strength. Stekel, in the case mentioned earlier, reports the following: "In the household and in the education of the children everything must be under the direction [of the Jewish husband]. It is even worse in society. He pursues [the wife] with his eyes and criticizes her to such a degree that she loses countenance. As a young girl, she was proud; everybody admired her distinguished and assured manner. Now she trembles all the time for fear of making a mistake; she fears the criticism that she reads in the eyes of her husband ... At the least mishap, he might reproach her with acting Jewish."
One can well imagine this drama between two persons: the husband — critical, almost pedantic, constantly reflective —reproaching his wife for being Jewish because be is frightened to death of appearing that way himself; the woman, crushed by his hostile and pitiless look, feeling that she is mired down in "Jewishness" in spite of herself, feeling, without understanding why, that her every gesture, her every phrase, is off key, and may reveal her origin to all eyes. It is hell for both of them. But we must see, too, that this anti-Semitism of the Jew is an effort to make himself an objective witness and judge, and thus escape liability for the faults ascribed to his "race."
In the same way, there are many who apply a lucid and pitiless severity even to themselves, because this severity produces a doubling of personality by which they escape a sense of guilt through becoming judges.
The Jewish public knew nothing about von Mildenstein's journey to Palestine in the company of a member of the Zionist Executive, nor about Rosenbluth and Lichtheim’s trip to London; nor did they know about the memorandum, nor the request to call off the Zionist Congress. However, they could not miss what was appearing in the Rundschau, where assimilationalist German Jewry was roundly attacked. The CV complained bitterly of Zionist 'siegesfanfaren' as the Rundschau rushed to condemn the guilty Jews. The editor, Robert Weltsch, took the occasion of the 1 April boycott to assail the Jews of Germany in an editorial: 'Wear the Yellow Badge with Pride’:
At times of crisis throughout its history, the Jewish people has faced the question of its own guilt. Our most important prayer says, 'We were expelled from our country because of our sins'… Jewry bears a great guilt because it failed to heed Theodor Herzl's call… Because the Jews did not display their Jewishness with pride, because they wanted to shirk the Jewish question, they must share the blame for the degradation of Jewry.
-- Zionism in the Age of the Dictators: A Reappraisal, by Lenni Brenner
The manifest presence in another of that "Jewish reality" which he refuses to admit in himself helps to create in the inauthentic Jew a mystical and prelogical feeling of his kinship with other Jews. This sentiment is on the whole a recognition of participation —the Jews "participate" in each other; the life of each is haunted by the lives of others -- and this mystical communion becomes all the stronger the more the inauthentic Jew seeks to deny that he is a Jew.
I shall give but one example in support of this statement. We know that prostitutes abroad are frequently French, and it is never pleasant for a Frenchman to encounter a Frenchwoman in a brothel in Germany or in Argentina. However, the Frenchman's sense of his participation in the national reality is of quite different nature from the Jew's sense of participation in his people. France is a nation; the patriot can thus consider himself as belonging to a collective reality whose form is expressed by its economic, cultural, and military activity; and if certain secondary aspects are displeasing, he is able to overlook them. That is not the reaction of a Jew who meets a Jewess under similar conditions. In spite of himself, he sees in the humiliating situation of a prostitute the humiliating situation of Israel. I have heard several anecdotes on this subject, but I shall cite only one of them, which I have heard directly from the person to whom it happened. A Jew goes to a house of prostitution, chooses one of the women, and goes upstairs with her. She tells him she is a Jew. He finds himself impotent, and very soon is overcome with an intolerable sense of humiliation that expresses itself in spasms of vomiting. It is not that sexual intercourse with a Jewess is repugnant to him — after all, Jews marry each other; it is rather the sense that he is contributing personally to the humiliation of the Jewish race in the person of the prostitute and, consequently, in his own person. In the last analysis it is he who is prostituted, humiliated; it is he and the whole Jewish people.
Thus, no matter what he may do, the inauthentic Jew is possessed by the consciousness of being a Jew. At that very moment when he is forcing himself by his whole conduct to deny the traits ascribed to him, he feels that he can see these traits in others, and thus they return to him indirectly. He seeks and flees his coreligionists; he affirms that he is only one man among others, and like others, yet he feels himself compromised by the demeanour of the first passer-by, if that passer-by is a Jew. He makes himself an anti-Semite in order to break all his ties with the Jewish community; yet he finds that community again in the depths of his heart, for he experiences in his very flesh the humiliations that the anti-Semites impose upon other Jews. What stamps the inauthentic Jew is precisely this perpetual oscillation between pride and a sense of inferiority, between the voluntary and passionate negation of the traits of his race and the mystic and carnal participation in the Jewish reality.
Racism was now triumphant and the ZVfD ran with the winner. The talk of blut began to take hold with a statement by Blumenfeld in April 1933 that the Jews had previously been masking their natural blood-sanctioned apartness from the real Germans, but it reached Wagnerian proportions in the 4 August Rundschau with a long essay, 'Rasse als Kulturfaktor', which pondered on the intellectual implications for Jews of the Nazi victory. It argued that Jews should not merely accept silently the dictates of their new masters; they, too, had to realise that race separation was wholly to the good:
We who live here as a 'foreign race' have to respect racial consciousness and the racial interest of the German people absolutely. This however does not preclude a peaceful living together of people of different racial membership. The smaller the possibility of an undesirable mixture, so much less is there need for 'racial protection'… There are differentiations that in the last analysis have their root in ancestry. Only rationalist newspapers who have lost feeling for the deeper reasons and profundities of the soul, and for the origins of communal consciousness, could put aside ancestry as simply in the realm of 'natural history'....
Challenging the racist bona fides of their rivals was not enough. To prove that the 'Jewish Renaissance Movement' had always been racist, the Rundschau reprinted two pre-1914 articles under the title 'Voices of the Blood'. 'Das singende Blut' by Stefan Zweig and ‘Lied des Blutes' by Hugo Salus rhapsodised about how 'the modern Jew… recognizes his Jewishness… through an inner experience which teaches him the special language of his blood in a mystical manner'.
But although these mimics of the Nazis were confirmed racists, they were not chauvinists. They did not think they were racially superior to the Arabs. The Zionists were even going to uplift their benighted Semitic cousins. Their volkism was only a warped answer to their own 'personality problem', as they put it: it allowed them to reconcile themselves to the existence of anti-Semitism in Germany without fighting it. They hastened to reassure their readers that many modern nations and states were racially mixed and yet the races could live in harmony. Jews were warned: now that they were to become racists, they should not become chauvinists: 'above race is humanity'.
Although racism permeated through the ZVfD's literature, foreign Jewish observers always saw Joachim Prinz as its most strident propagandist. A Social Democratic voter before 1933, Prinz became rabidly volkist in the first years of the Third Reich. Some of the violent hostility towards Jews in his book Wir Juden could have been inserted directly into the Nazis' own propaganda. To Prinz the Jew was made up of 'misplacement, of queerness, of exhibitionism, inferiority, arrogance, self-deceit, sophisticated love of truth, hate, sickly, patriotism and rootless cosmopolitanism… a psychopathological arsenal of rare abundance’.
Prinz was deeply contemptuous of the rational and liberal traditions which had been the common basis of all progressive thought since the American Revolution. For him the harm that liberalism had done was compensated for only by the fact that it was dying:
Parliament and democracy are increasingly shattered. The exaggerated harmful emphasis on the value of the individual is recognised to be mistaken; the concept and reality of the nation and the volk is gaining, to our happiness, more and more ground.
-- Zionism in the Age of the Dictators: A Reappraisal, by Lenni Brenner
This painful and ineluctable situation may lead a certain number of them to masochism, for masochism seems to offer a temporary solution, a sort of respite or repose. What obsesses the Jew is that he is responsible for himself, like all men, that he does freely what he considers it good to do, and that, nevertheless, a hostile society always sees his acts stained with the Jewish character. Thus it seems to him that he makes himself a Jew at the very moment he forces himself to flee the Jewish reality; that he is engaged in a struggle in which he is always vanquished and in which he becomes his own enemy; and to the degree that he is conscious of being responsible for himself, it seems to him that be has the crushing responsibility of making himself a Jew before other Jews and before Christians. Through him, in spite of him, the Jewish reality exists.
Now, masochism is the desire to have oneself treated as an object. Humiliated, despised, or simply neglected, the masochist has the joy of seeing himself moved, handled, utilized like a thing. He tries to think of himself as an inanimate thing, and thereby to abdicate his responsibilities. This complete abdication attracts certain Jews, weary of the struggle against their impalpable Jewishness, always disowned and tormented yet always renascent. They fail to see that authenticity manifests itself in revolt, and is not to be achieved merely by the admission that they are Jews; they seek only to be made Jews by the looks, the violence, the disdain of others, by having qualities and a fate attached to them — to be Jews as a stone is a stone: thus for a moment they can find relief from that bewitched freedom which does not permit them to escape from their condition, and which seems to exist only in order to impose upon them a responsibility for what they reject with all their strength.
The interrelationship between the ZVfD and the WZO will be described below. Suffice to say for now, that the WZO leaders approved of the general line of their German affiliate. However, within the ranks of the world movement there were many who refused to remain silent while their German branch not only accepted second-class citizenship as no more than the Jews had a right to expect but, even worse, denounced foreign Jews for boycotting Germany. Boris Smolar, the chief European correspondent for the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, the Zionist wire service, spoke for all these when he wrote angrily, in 1935:
One can understand that a Jewish newspaper which appears in Germany may not be in a position fully to support the demands of World Jewry with regard to the full restoration of Jewish rights. This, however, doesn't justify any official organ to come out and practically agree to the anti-Jewish limitations which exist in Germany. This last is exactly what the Judische Rundschau has done.
Prior to the Nazis, German Zionism was no more than an isolated bourgeois political cult. While the leftists were trying to fight the brownshirts in the streets, the Zionists were busy collecting money for trees in Palestine. Suddenly in 1933 this small group conceived of itself as properly anointed by history to negotiate secretly with the Nazis, to oppose the vast mass of world Jewry who wanted to resist Hitler, all in the hope of obtaining the support of the enemy of their people for the building of their state in Palestine. Smolar and their other Zionist critics saw the ZVfD as merely cowardly, but they were quite wrong. Any surrender theory explains nothing of the pre-Hitler evolution of Zionist racism, nor does it go far in explaining the WZO's endorsement of their stance. The truth is sadder than cowardice. The plain fact is that Germany's Zionists did not see themselves as surrendering but, rather, as would-be partners in a most statesmanlike pact. They were wholly deluded. No Jews triumphed over other Jews in Nazi Germany. No modus vivendi was ever even remotely possible between Hitler and the Jews. Once Hitler had triumphed inside Germany, the position of the Jews was hopeless; all that was left for them was to go into exile and continue the fight from there. Many did, but the Zionists continued to dream of winning the patronage of Adolf Hitler for themselves. They did not fight Hitler before he came to power, when there was still a chance to beat him, not out of any degree of cowardice, but out of their deepest conviction, which they had inherited from Herzl, that anti-Semitism could not be fought. Given their failure to resist during Weimar, and given their race theories, it was inevitable that they would end up as the ideological jackals of Nazism.
-- Zionism in the Age of the Dictators: A Reappraisal, by Lenni Brenner
To be sure, one must recognize that this masochism has other causes as well. In an admirable and cruel passage of Antigone, Sophocles writes: "You have too much pride for a person sunk in misfortune." It might be said that one of the essential traits of the Jew is that, in contrast to Antigone, an everyday acquaintance with misfortune makes him modest in catastrophe. It is not to be concluded from this, as is often done, that he is arrogant when he succeeds and abject when he fails. It is quite another matter: he has assimilated the curious advice which Greek wisdom gave to the daughter of Oedipus; he has learned that modesty, silence, patience are proper to misfortune, because misfortune is already a sin in the eyes of men. And certainly such wisdom can turn into masochism, into a taste for suffering. But the essential thing is still the temptation to be divested of oneself, and to be marked finally and forever with the nature and the destiny of a Jew, relieved of all responsibility and need to struggle.
Thus the anti-Semitism and the masochism of the inauthentic Jew represent in a sense the two extremes of his possible behaviour: in anti-Semitism he denies his race in order to be no more than a pure individual, a man without blemish in the midst of other men; in masochism, he repudiates his liberty as a man in order to escape the sin of being a Jew and in order to seek the repose and passivity of a thing.
However, the anti-Semite adds a new touch to the portrait: the Jew, he tells us, is an abstract intellectual, a pure reasoner. And we perceive at once that the terms abstract, rationalist, intellectual here take on a pejorative sense; it could not be otherwise, since the anti-Semite lays claim to a concrete and irrational possession of the values of the nation. But if we recall that rationalism was one of the principal instruments of human liberation, we must refuse to consider it a pure play of abstractions; on the contrary, we must insist on its creative power. In rationalism two centuries — and not the least important — placed all their hope; from rationalism sprang the sciences and their practical application; it was an idea and a passion; it tried to bring men together by uncovering for them universal truths on which they could all reach agreement, and in its naive and agreeable optimism it deliberately confounded evil with error. We shall understand nothing about Jewish rationalism if we see it as some kind of abstract taste for disputation, instead of what it is — a youthful and lively love of men.
At the same time, however, it is also an avenue of flight— I may even say, the royal road of flight. Up to this point, we have discussed those Jews who attempt, in their individual personalities, to deny their situation as Jews. But there are others who have chosen to espouse a conception of the world that excludes the very idea of race. No doubt this is really an attempt to conceal from themselves their own situation as Jews; but if they could succeed in persuading themselves and others that the very idea of Jews is contradictory, if they could succeed in establishing their vision of the world in such fashion that they became blind to the reality of Jewishness just as the colour-blind person is blind to red or green, could they not then declare in good faith that they are "men among men"?
The rationalism of Jews is a passion— the passion for the universal. If they have chosen this rather than something else, it is in order to fight the particularist conceptions that set them apart. Of all things in the world, reason is the most widely shared; it belongs to everybody and to nobody; it is the same to all. If reason exists, then there is no French truth or German truth; there is no Negro truth or Jewish truth. There is only one Truth, and he is best who wins it. In the face of universal and eternal laws, man himself is universal. There are no more Jews or Poles; there are men who live in Poland, others who are designated as "of Jewish faith" on their family papers, and agreement is always possible among them as soon as discussion bears on the universal.
Recall the portrait of the philosopher that Plato sketches in the Phaedo: how the awakening to reason is for him death to the body, to particularities of character; how the disembodied philosopher, pure lover of abstract and universal truth, loses all his individual traits in order to become a universal look of inquiry. It is precisely this sort of disincarnation that certain Jews seek. The best way to feel oneself no longer a Jew is to reason, for reasoning is valid for all and can be retraced by all. There is not a Jewish way of mathematics; the Jewish mathematician becomes a universal man when he reasons. And the anti-Semite who follows his reasoning becomes his brother, despite his own resistance.
Thus the rationalism to which the Jew adheres so passionately is first of all an exercise of asceticism and of purification, an escape into the universal. The young Jew who feels a taste for brilliant and abstract argument is like the infant who touches his body in order to become acquainted with it: he experiments with and inspects his intoxicating condition as universal man; on a superior level he realizes that accord and assimilation which is denied him on the social level. The choice of rationalism is for him the choice of a human destiny and a human nature. That is why it is at once both true and false that the Jew is "more intelligent than the Christian." We should say rather that he has a taste for pure intelligence, that he loves to exercise it with reference to anything and everything, that the use he makes of it is not thwarted by the innumerable taboos which still affect the Christian, or by a certain type of particularist sensibility which the non-Jew cultivates willingly. And we should add that there is in the Jew a sort of impassioned imperialism of reason: for he wishes not only to convince others that he is right; his goal is to persuade them that there is an absolute and unconditioned value to rationalism. He feels himself to be a missionary of the universal; against the universalism of the Catholic religion, from which he is excluded, he asserts the "catholicity" of the rational, an instrument by which to attain to the truth and establish a spiritual bond among men. It is not by chance that Léon Brunschvicg, a Jewish philosopher, brings together in his writings the progress of reason and the progress of unification (unification of ideas, unification of men).