Léon de Poncins: The Problem with the Jews at the Council, Part IV

George F. Held

Go to Part I

Go to Part II

Go to Part III


The Jewish antagonism has been manifested in a continuous—even if underhanded—manner in the two thousand year course of the Judeo-Christian clash. “The Jew—James Darmesteter tells us—was the champion of reason against the mythical mind; in the intellectual night of the Middle Ages, only in it did he think that he could find asylum. Provoked by the Church which wants to persuade him, after having tried in vain to convert him by force, he undermines with irony and perspicacity some of her controversies, and, like no one else, knows how to find the vulnerabilities of her doctrine. The understanding of the Sacred Books, and even more the terrible sagacity of the oppressed, are his means to discover those points. He is the doctor of the incredulous; all the revolts of the mind are presented to him in the shade or under an open sky. He worked in the immense forge of curses of the great Emperor Frederick and of the princes of Swabia or Aragon; he fashions together this deadly arsenal of reasoning and irony that he offered then to the skeptical of the Renaissance and the libertines of the Seventeenth Century. And the sarcasm of Voltaire is none other than the heavy echo of a word murmured six centuries earlier, in the shade of the ghetto, or, even earlier, (in the Counter-Gospel of the I and II Century) at the time of Celsus and Origen, and at the very origins of the religion of Christ.”[2]

For his part, Elie Faure (1873-1937), whose works were recently reprinted and highly publicized, talks about “this sarcastic snickering (Heine, Offenbach) towards all that is not Jewish [...]. His ruthless analysis and his irresistible sarcasm acted as vitriol.” Following the course of our history, “it is easy to follow the trail, and although it is not possible to quantify the dissemination of Jewish thought, after its passage we can take note of its destructive power. Sigmund Freud, Albert Einstein, Marcel Proust, Charlie Chaplin opened up to us, in all senses, the prodigious streets which demolish the narrow lanes of the Classic Greco-Latin and Catholic edifice in which for five or six centuries the burning doubt of the Jewish soul was waiting for opportunities to destroy it. For it is necessary to note that its [sc. that of the Jewish soul] own skeptical pole appears to emerge for the first time from the complete silence that surrounds the action of the Jewish mind in the Middle Ages, silence in the middle of which, from the Renaissance onwards, some voices burst forth, and which [sc. silence] today is annihilated by a great din.”

Yes, “is it possible to consider the Jew as anything other than a demolisher armed with corrosive doubts who, since the time of the Greeks, has always opposed Israel to the sentimental idealism of Europe? [...] His historic mission is clearly defined, and perhaps forever. It will be the main factor of each apocalyptic period, as it was at the end of the ancient world, and as it will be at the end of the Christian world in which we live.”[3]



Citizens of the proud British Empire, at that time at the height of its power, who on the morning of February 9, 1923 read the newspapers, certainly did not give any attention to a few lines appearing in the Hebrew weekly Jewish World, fearsome lines because prophetic for those who knew how to grasp their meaning. The Jewish World said: “The dispersion of the Jews has not made them a cosmopolitan people. In fact, this [sc. the Jews] is the only truly cosmopolitan people, and, as such, it must act—and in reality it does act—as a dissolver of any distinction of race and of nationality. The great ideal of Judaism is not that one day Jews will gather in a corner of the earth for separatist purposes, but that the entire world will be imbued with Jewish teaching, and then in an universal brotherhood of nations—in reality, a vaster Judaism—all the separate races and religions will disappear. They [...] go even further. With their literary and scientific activities, with their supremacy in all sectors of public activity, they are preparing to gradually melt (or merge: fondere) thoughts and systems which are non-Jewish or which do not correspond to the Jewish models.”[4]

“Already on the horizon burns the dawn of the ‘Our Day,’” wrote one of their modern prophets amazed by the vision of their near triumph.[5] The messianic dream can take many different forms, but the final goal remains unchanged: the triumph of Judaism, Jewish law, and the Jewish people. Under the universalist appearance, it is, indeed, a matter of Jewish imperialism which intends to govern and enslave the world.

Elie Faure writes: “The Jewish people, right from the time of Jesus Christ—still not accepted by his people—believed itself the people chosen as an instrument of a higher power. With respect to other nations, it still today believes itself the chosen people because representative of a supernatural force. [...] For it the beyond there [sc. the afterlife] does not exist. However often it has been spoken about, Israel has never believed in it. The pact of alliance is only a bilateral contract quite precise and positive. If the Jew obeys, he does so only in order to have dominion over the world. [...] Israel is a terrible realist: it wants recompense down here on the earth for those who do good and punishment for those who live in evil [...]. Even in the darkest moments of their history—and of universal history—these eternal losers preserve in their faithful hearts the promise of an eternal victory.”[6]


But to achieve this goal, it is necessary to abolish Christianity, which represents an insurmountable obstacle on the path to Jewish imperialism. Until the coming of Jesus Christ, the position of Israel was simple and clear: according to the Prophets, by the grace of Yahweh, Israel was called upon to govern the world; if the people of the servants of Israel had complied with the divine requirements, the time would have come when Israel would had reigned over all the earth. But here unexpectedly in Galilee was born a Prophet: A Prophet—Man and God—even He from the real race of David, and thence son of the Covenant. “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets, I have come not to abolish them but to fulfill them” (Matt. 5:17). And as proof of his mission, he performed a series of unprecedented miracles; the fascinated crowds follow him.  …

But—in this is the enormous gravity of his mission—he interprets the promise in a completely new and different sense, so as to destroy the proud Hebrew edifice by spiritualizing and universalizing it. The realization of the promises was transferred from the material to the spiritual plane; surpassing the national level, it was no longer solely addressed to the Jews, until that moment the only beneficiaries, but was extended to the entire world. … It was no more a matter of the supremacy of a race or a nation, or the triumph of a privileged nation: the chosen people were reduced to the rank of an ordinary people, one people among others.

The religious pride and nationalism of the Jews did not permit this leveling; it was contrary to the messianic promises, and put off irremediably the moment of the submission of all the kingdoms of the earth to Israel. The heads of the priests and the Pharisees could not tolerate such a blasphemy and such an attack on their privileges, and thus to get rid of that dangerous agitator, delivered him to the Romans and had him condemned to death.

But Jesus Christ rose from the dead and His preaching spread in the ancient world with the speed of flame. Jews denounced His disciples to the Roman authorities as rebels against the empire; Rome persecuted them incessantly, offering them as food to wild beasts, burning, skinning and crucifying them. Nevertheless, the Christian wave proceeded without respite, winning over the senior imperial power; then suddenly the world wavered and inclined in favor of the Church of Christ.

On October 28 of the year 312, the battle of Ponte Milvio took place, just outside of Rome, which saw Constantine against Maxentius; the former was the winner, while the latter drowned in the waters of the Tiber. “One battle was enough to change the organization of the world and its religious outlook… Constantine’s victory is rightly seen as the starting point of a new era, that of the Christian Empire. … Starting from that moment, for reasons that have not yet been fully clarified, the winner—Constantine—tied his destiny to that of the Church of Christ. A great and surprising revolution, deplored by some and exalted by others, it remains one of the most important of human history; the reign of Constantine is only the prelude to a phenomenon that continues and is completed during the chaotic and extraordinary period which was the fourth century.

But the unheard-of luck of the Church had to entail the ruin of the synagogue. For this reason, the fourth century was a fatal epoch that resulted in a future of anguish, grief and disaster.”[7] The Israelites have never accepted and will never accept this defeat. The rupture was total and definitive; the collision now became inevitable on both sides. “If the Jew is right, Christianity is nothing but an illusion. If instead the Christian is right, the Jew is, under the best of hypotheses, an anachronism or at most the image of that which no longer has reason to exist. For the Jew, Christianity represents the renunciation of a monopoly, and the rejection of a “nationalist interpretation”—not to say racist—of the “election”; it [sc. Christianity] is the opening up to the human brotherhood, and, at the same time, a big “amen” said to God, and to everything God decides: it is the acceptance of suffering and death, the renunciation of the proud I [...]. As far as I know, Christianity has never submitted any other people to so difficult a test. Because for no other people has the transition to Christianity meant, in the more or less long term, its expiration as such. For no other people were the traditions, which would have to be abandoned in order to embrace the faith in Christ, so intimately tied to all the manifestations of belonging to a nationality. And here we touch on the other reason (or excuse), which justifies the Jew’s ‘no’ to Christ, who did not correspond to the idea that the Jew had made for himself of the Messiah and of salvation.”[8] …

“The way in which the Christian faith has gained its independence, had to quickly and inevitably drag it into a war against Israel ‘according to the flesh,’ since the Church proclaims itself the only Israel and the only Israel according to the spirit. But is the full gravity of this claim well grasped? It is worse than the defamation of the Jewish people, and means trying to take from them the very spark of life and the sacred fire, and even their very soul. Moreover, it means to remove Israel from its place in the sun and take from it its privileged status in the empire, because such are the close ties and the interweaving of the spiritual and temporal.”[9]

We then return to the same point: to overthrow the Christian religion, born from her womb, is a vital necessity for Israel, which views it as her most formidable opponent; Jules Isaac repeats this continually in his writings. . . . In his book Le malheur d’Israël (The Misfortune of Israel), the Jewish writer A. Roudinesco provides a wonderful response to all these curses filled with anger: “This small community’s survival down to our days, despite persecution and unprecedented suffering, has been called the ‘Jewish miracle.’ This survival is not a miracle, but rather is a disgrace. The real Jewish miracle is the spiritual conquest of humanity through Christianity. The mission of the chosen people ended a long time ago. Those who, among the Jews, hope one day to be able to finish off [sc. kill] Christianity with a renewed messianism ignore the essential laws of the evolution of humanity.”[10]

[1] *“Israele e le Revolte dello Spirito”; spirito can of course mean “spirit” as well as “mind.”

[2] Cf J. DARMESTETER, cited in A. SPIRE, Quelques juifs (“Some Jews”), Ed. B. Grasset, Paris 1928.

[3] Cf. E. FAURE, L’ame juive (“The Jewish soul”); cited in La question juive vue par vingt-six éminentes Personnalités juives (“The Jewish question as seen by twenty-six prominent Jewish Personalities”), Ed. EIF, Paris 1934.

[4] Cf. Jewish World, February 9, 1923. At the British Museum, I was able to verify personally the correctness of this citation (N.d.A.).

[5] Cf. A. NOSSIG, Integrales Judentum, Ed. Renaissance-Verlag, Berlin 1922.

[6] Cf. E. FAURE, art. cit.

[7] Cf. J. ISAAC, Genèse de l’Antisémitisme, pp. 155-156.

[8] Cf. F. FEJTO, Dieu et son juif (“God and his Jew”), pp. 34, 190, 192.

[9] Cf. J. ISAAC, Genèse de l’Antisémitisme, p. 150.

[10] Cf. A. ROUDINESCO, Le malheur d’Israël (“The Misfortune of Israel”), Ed. de Cluny, Paris 1956.

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