The Jewish Question: Suggested Readings with Commentary Part Three of Three : The Twentieth Century and Beyond

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One of the first great texts on the Jewish Question to appear in the 20th century was The Foundations of the Nineteenth Century (1st English Edition, 1911) by the Germanophile Englishman Houston Stewart Chamberlain (1855–1927). Having married one of Richard Wagner’s daughters and taken up residence in Germany, Chamberlain, a philosopher, involved himself heavily in the German völkisch scene and the promotion of its ideas. In Foundations, Chamberlain refined the racial theories of the French diplomat and essayist Joseph Arthur Gobineau, in which the Frenchman had argued that there was demonstrable inequality in talent, worth, and culture among the various races of man. While Gobineau placed Aryan man at the pinnacle of his racial categorizations, Chamberlain was among the first to refine this categorization to include Northern Europeans in particular at the pinnacle. This is perhaps a more controversial position today, owing to the more modern emphasis on total White unity, as well as significant disillusionment with the way the Nordic and Germanic nations have succumbed so intensively to the multicultural onslaught.

Foundations is a complex work, and nowhere is this more apparent than in Chamberlain’s attitudes towards Jews and the Jewish Question. For a start, the author admires some aspects of Judaism, namely, that it holds purity of blood as a religious principle: “Judaism made this law of nature sacred. And this is the reason why it triumphantly prevailed at that critical moment in the history of the world.” A veiled admiration is also evident in his assertion that Jewish financial strength is not the sum total of the Jewish Question. In fact, Chamberlain describes it as “of least account” because “our governments, our law, our science, our commerce, our literature, our art…practically all branches of our life have become more or less willing slaves of the Jews. … The Indo-European, moved by ideal motives, opened the gates in friendship: the Jew rushed in like an enemy, stormed all positions and planted the flag of his, to us, alien nature — I will not say on the ruins, but on the breaches of our genuine individuality.” The end result of this process will be apocalyptic: “If that were to go on for a few centuries, there would be in Europe only one single people of pure race, that of the Jews, all the rest would be a herd of pseudo-Hebraic mestizos, a people beyond all doubt degenerate physically, mentally and morally.”

While Chamberlain’s text is epic in tone and scope, the influence of German Romanticism on its writing is clear. There are elements of mysticism, and at times its style is obscure. In the 1920s two significantly more straightforward assessments of the Jewish Question were published in the Anglosphere: Henry Ford’s The International Jew (1920), and Hillaire Belloc’s The Jews (1922). Since Kevin MacDonald has written an excellent review of Ford’s work, and since I have published a lengthy assessment of Belloc’s contribution, I see no reason here to go into detail about the content of either. It should suffice to state that both are essential reading for anyone hoping to get to grips with this subject matter, and also that they are almost without parallel in terms of the clarity of their language and argument. They are simply indispensable.

During the 1930s and 1940s, high-level academic study of the Jewish Question became a feature of the universities of the Third Reich. Although many of the texts, journal articles, and works of research from this period have since been destroyed or made almost impossible to access, the best English-language insight into some of it can be found in Studying the Jew: Scholarly Anti-Semitism in Nazi Germany by Alan E. Steinweis (Harvard University Press, 2006). Written by a Jewish academic, the text is every bit as biased as one might expect. However, if one can ignore the ceaseless caveats and subtle imprecations, there remains a wealth of information to be discovered about this important era of research. My own favorite chapter concerns research into the criminal profile of Jews, particularly in relation to financial crime. Third Reich scholars were permitted access to government crime statistics for the period 1892–1917, which revealed that Jews “were 12 times more like than non-Jews to be involved in usury, 11 times more likely to be involved in theft of intellectual property, and 8.9 times as likely to declare fraudulent bankruptcy (p.139).” One of the foremost scholars of the Jewish Question during the period was Johann von Leers, whose studies into its criminological aspects were eventually published in 1944 as The Criminal Nature of the Jew — a text that is now almost impossible to obtain. Steinweis’s book, for the time being, remains the only compromise solution for someone seeking an insight into the many scholars and works produced between 1933–1945 on this subject matter.

Between the 1940s and the 1990s few texts of note were published on the Jewish Question, until a succession of publications marked a rather strong revival. There were a number of reasons for this lag. The Holocaust narrative was of course largely successful in immunizing Jews ‘as a group’ from criticism from anything but the most fringe sources. Another important reason was that Jewish intellectuals had been mostly correct in their assumption that promoting multiculturalism, and ending White hegemony in the West, would result in an atmosphere less threatening to Jewish interests. In the context of mass immigration, migrant crime epidemics, desegregation and ‘civil rights,’ endless ‘race relations’ programs, and efforts to completely revolutionize the Western social landscape, Jewish influence became more obscure and also became just one subject among many others that pressed for the attention of nationalists and social conservatives. A further development was the proliferation of new forms of communication in the movement. In particular, cheap printing, the further development of radio, and the rise of the internet led to the greater production of tracts, pamphlets, and podcasts — not always of the best quality.

Just as the first great wave of works on the Jewish Question emerged from the universities, so it was in the 1990s when we witnessed the publication of John Klier’s Pogroms: Anti-Jewish Violence in Modern Russian History (1992), Kevin MacDonald’s A People That Shall Dwell Alone (1994) and Separation and Its Discontents (1998), and Albert Lindemann’s Esau’s Tears (1997). Of course, none of these texts were overly similar to earlier publications in tone or even form of argument. None were originally intended to be seen as contributions to the canon of works on the Jewish Question, ranked in some form or another with the likes of Henry Ford, Drumont, or Treitschke. However, all of them can be said to contribute to just such a lineage in a number of ways, the most important being that they have all chipped away at the monolithic narrative of the “lachrymose history of the Jews.” In doing so, they take up the same mantle adopted by Heinrich Leo, Bruno Bauer, and others in the long European intellectual tradition of exploring the Jewish Question.

The 1992 contribution of John Klier (1944–2007), along with his Russians, Jews, and the Pogroms of 1881–2 (2011), was emphatic, even at the highest levels of the academic establishment. Although gatekeepers and the dedication of ethnocentric academic cliques have prevented Klier’s work from gaining wider recognition, his research on the experience of the Jews in Eastern Europe was groundbreaking. Eschewing Jewish communal victimhood narratives, Klier, professor of modern Jewish history at University College London, pioneered a clinical approach to the study of Russian-Jewish relations by employing a methodology based purely on verifiable archival records. The result was a body of findings that disproved almost every aspect of the existing Jewish narrative. The ‘repressive’ May Laws were found to be overwhelmingly benign. The ‘pogroms’ were almost non-existent, and were largely the fictional products of Jewish propaganda networks stretching from Kiev to Vienna, and from Vienna to London and beyond. Jews were found to have been heavily involved in a large number of socially antagonistic behavior (from draft-evasion to rampant usury), while no evidence could be found that Russians had an irrational hatred of the Jewish religion. Klier found that the mass exodus of Jews from Russia to the United States in the late nineteenth century had no link to violence, but very strong links to economic slumps and population growth. In total, Klier’s work was a rejection of the myth of Tsarist oppression. Perhaps most controversially, it implicitly suggested that there was a strong logic to Russian anti-Jewish feeling and, by extension, to anti-Semitism more generally.

The same suggestion is apparent in the work of Kevin MacDonald, and this is especially the case with Separation and Its Discontents. Taken together with A People That Shall Dwell Alone, this text was probably the first book devoted in its entirety to the argument that there was a logic to anti-Semitism, in this case framed within the theory of group evolutionary strategy. Separation and Its Discontents was the first of MacDonald’s book that I read, now almost ten years ago. I’d been conducting a significant amount of independent research into historical anti-Semitism at the time, and discovered the book purely by chance with a keyword search on an academic book-sourcing catalog. I was oblivious to the controversy that had since become attached to MacDonald after the publication of his works on Jews, but by the time the book arrived for me from another college library there was by then very little chance that it would have dissuaded me from reading it. I’d become extremely dissatisfied with Jewish-produced works on anti-Semitism, having made my way through dozens of the standard works by Sander Gilman, Robert Wistrich, Gavin Langmuir, Jacob Katz, Marvin Perry, Frederick Schweitzer, and Shmuel Almog, in addition to particularly poor contributions from James Parkes and Jean-Paul Sartre.

To me, the most impressive aspect of Separation and Its Discontents was its mastery of the vast historiographical literature on the subject. Indeed, MacDonald’s bibliography dwarfed that of any of the works by any of the authors listed above. As well as consulting an almost unprecedented amount of secondary literature on the subject, another key strength of the text was the purity of its argument. This was a book that did not need to rely on stretches of logic or dubious attempts to pathologize historical actors in order to convince the reader of its central thesis. Instead, MacDonald took the factual findings revealed in many of these Jewish-authored secondary works, and brought them to a more logical conclusion. A good example of this is in MacDonald’s chapter where he examines the themes of anti-Semitism. Jewish scholars had hitherto been very eager to attribute this or that anti-Semitic allegation, or ‘canard,’ to irrational stereotyping. MacDonald examined these allegations and found remarkable historical consistency across diverse geographical and political contexts, leading in turn to the conclusion that the deeper origin of inter-group friction lay in the stimulating rather than reactive force —the behavior of Jews rather than the ‘prejudices’ of host populations. There is much more I could write about Separation and Its Discontents, but the time of the reader would be much better invested in reading the text itself. Having waded my way through hundreds of books and articles on the nature and history of anti-Semitism, I can state with some confidence that Separation and Its Discontents has no equal.

In 1997 Albert Lindemann, professor history at the University of California–Santa Barbara, published Esau’s Tears: Modern anti-Semitism and the Rise of the Jews. As the title suggests, Lindemann’s thesis is that modern European anti-Semitism is linked to a very substantial increase in the cultural, political, and economic power of Jews beginning in the nineteenth century. As Kevin MacDonald notes in his review of Lindemann’s work, the book “challenges the still common view that anti-Semitic attitudes are nothing more than the fundamentally irrational residues of Christian religious ideology or the psychological projections of inadequate personalities.” Lindemann pays particular attention to the Russian context, and thus explicitly or implicitly borrows much from the pioneering work of John Klier, particularly where it concerns the dubious nature of the ‘pogrom’ narrative and the development of international Jewish propaganda. If you’ve read MacDonald or Klier there probably won’t be a great deal in Esau’s Tears that will surprise you, but it merits reading due to the clarity of its prose, a wealth of telling anecdotes and historical examples, and its strong central thesis.

Another Jewish-authored text which merits close attention is Benjamin Ginsberg’s How the Jews Defeated Hitler: Exploding the Myth of Jewish Passivity in the Face of Nazism (2013). A full review of this important text will be coming very soon to TOO, but I will take this opportunity to outline some key points and arguments. Ginsberg is Professor of Political Science and Chair of the Center for Advanced Governmental Studies at Johns Hopkins University, and had previously written Do Jews Have a Future in America? (2010) in which he argued that Jews were a very powerful group that nonetheless possessed a remarkable unease quite contrary to their material circumstances. In his brief but powerful 2013 book, Ginsberg rejects the almost universal idea that Jews were passive victims during World War II. He instead argues that Jews were extremely active participants in the conflict at all levels, and that they “played a major role in the defeat of Nazi Germany.”

Jewish power and influence manifested itself in several ways during the war. Jewish action was international and, although at times lacking co-ordination, was driven globally by a desire to defend Jewish interests and use all avenues of influence available to them. Ginsberg offers chapters on Jewish action within the Soviet Union, Jewish activism within the United States, Jewish involvement in wartime intelligence agencies, and Jewish involvement in directing and participating in the worst of partisan warfare — a form of fighting that had a devastating impact on German supply lines, and in turn led to a justified German military paranoia about Jewish communities in general.

Some of the revelations are stunning, and Ginsberg is quote forthright in his assessment of the extent of Jewish power. In the Soviet Union, Jews played major roles in the ruling Communist party and the Soviet state, and quickly assumed every position of influence — “foreign affairs, propaganda, finance, administration, and industrial production.” Half of Lenin’s first Politburo were Jewish. Trotsky organized and commanded the Red Army during the civil war. The Jews Kamanev and Zinoviev ruled the Soviet Union along with Stalin after the death of Lenin. The President of the Communist Party Central Committee during this period was the Jew Yakov Sverdlov. The commissar for foreign affairs was the Jew Maxim Litvinov. The press commissar was the Jew Karl Radek. One of Stalin’s top aides was the Jewish mass murderer Lazar Kaganovich. The head of the secret police was Genrikh Yagoda, another Jew, while the orchestrators of the police state in the Soviet Union were the Jews M.T. Gay, A.A. Slutsky, and Boris German who developed the gulag system. Jews like Mikhail Koltsov dominated Soviet journalism and the film industry. Jews enjoyed massive over-representation in the universities, were under-represented as workers, and lived in a state in which anti-Semitism had been made illegal.

During the war, Soviet Jews worked with their American counter-parts to secure vital lend-lease deals on weaponry. Meanwhile, on the front lines, Jews were almost entirely absent from fighting. Jewish involvement at the ‘raw end’ of the conflict was limited mainly to over-representation at officer level, while Jews absolutely dominated the realm of popular mobilization, in the sense that they developed propaganda to persuade the wider population to fight even though they hated the Soviet regime; and they were deeply involved in meting out punishments for those who didn’t respond. Although comprising only 2% of the Russian population, more than 15% of Soviet war propagandists were Jews. Publications like the official army newspaper Red Star were the mouthpieces of the Jews David Ortenberg and Ilya Ehrenberg, the latter being responsible for the line: “If you have killed one German, kill another. There is nothing jollier than German corpses.”

In the United States Jews really rose to power under FDR, forming 15% of his appointees at a time when they were less than 3% of the population. Ginsberg demonstrates that Jews formed the leadership of almost every aspect of the New Deal, described rather accurately by some contemporaries as the ‘Jew Deal.’ In particular, Jews were keen to strengthen the position of central government in America, and being close to a kind of ‘Big Government’ is something that is perfectly in keeping with their preferences historically. Ginsberg further shows that Jews used their dominance of the media and film industries to manipulate public opinion, taking the population from a strong anti-war position to a pro-intervention position in just a couple of years. Of particular note is Ginsberg’s exploration of Jewish organizations like the ADL, and their covert work with the security agencies to manipulate public opinion and discredit isolationists.

In the intelligence agencies, Jews were everywhere, and there were even Jewish agents (the most famous being the group known as the ‘Red Orchestra’) operating within the Third Reich itself. In partisan warfare, Jews comprised around 25 per cent of all resistance fighters in Western Europe. In the Soviet Union, almost all early partisan groups were led by Jewish Communists and soldiers. Increasingly harsh German treatment of civilian populations in the East, argues Ginsberg, was directly linked to the impact of Jewish partisan activity. A further measure of Jewish domination of partisan warfare was the occasional execution of non-Jewish partisans for actions perceived to be anti-Semitic.

Ginsberg’s book isn’t perfect. There are occasions when, despite the title of the text, he appeals directly to narratives of Jewish passivity and victimhood, particularly when referring to the Czarist period. His last chapter, which purports to look at anti-Semitism in the post-war world, also contains some woefully inadequate analysis. However, the book is a useful compendium of quite damning insights into the astonishing level of global Jewish influence in the early twentieth century, and it also goes some way, despite its conclusion, to denting the notion of Jewish passivity and victimhood — something that European intellectuals have been striving after for centuries.


The question of Jewish influence is extremely significant to our movement, and to the future of our people. It fully deserves to be at or near the forefront of our discussions. In order for this to happen in a useful and beneficial way, it’s crucial that these discussions are well-informed and are placed within broad historical, political, and cultural contexts. As readers can tell from the list of works produced in this briefest of introductions to writing on the Jewish Question, this issue is far from ‘fringe’ material. It has occupied some of the best minds in European history. As such, it should be treated with a level of respect, and perhaps there is a responsibility on the part of those adopting this mantle to be as well-informed as possible, and to express themselves in a manner similar to those who have gone before. Becoming familiar with this literature, and fully incorporating it into one’s intellectual and psychological worldview, is a good place to start.

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