Review: Julius Evola’s Three Aspects of the Jewish Problem, Part 1

“As far as we are concerned, we believe that anti-Semitism has every right to exist.”
Julius Evola

Prompted by the rapid rise of the Jews in the West, the early twentieth century witnessed a proliferation of publications intended to expose, explain, or solve ‘the Jewish Problem’ — the acquiring by Jews of excessive influence in host societies and their use of this influence in the pursuit of selfish and destructive goals. Some of these works, such as Henry Ford’s The International Jew, caused an international storm on publication and continue to be well-known. Others, such as Hillaire Belloc’s The Jews (1922), quickly fell into relative obscurity despite representing, in some cases, superior works. One of these more obscure, but thought-provoking contributions, is Julius Evola’s Three Aspects of the Jewish Problem (Tre aspetti del problema ebraico), first published in Rome in 1936.

Although not considered a primary thinker in matters relating to the Jews, Evola took the Jewish Question seriously and often referred to it in his works, including a chapter of his 1937 The Myth of the Blood. His references to the publications and speeches of others on the subject would suggest that he read widely and deeply in available contemporary sources, and Evola is known to have edited an Italian edition of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. His tackling of the Jewish Question has remained relatively unexplored by mainstream scholarship, despite the fact Evola’s thought has been rising in prominence since the 1970s, when he was especially influential on the French New Right. Some of the notable texts from that period include Julius Evola le visionnaire foudroyé, (Julius Evola, the Devastating Visionary) (Michel Angebert and Robert de Herte, 1977), Julius Evola e l’affermazione assoluta, (Philippe Baillet, 1978), La Terre de lumière. Le Nord et l’origine (The Earth of Light: The North and the Origin) (Christophe Levalois, 1985), L’Empire Intérieur (The Inner Empire) (Alain de Benoist, 1995), and Enquête sur la Tradition aujourd’hui (Research on the Tradition Today) (Arnaud Guyot-Jeannin, 1996).

This attention from the New Right provoked attention from leftist academics, as evidenced in particular in the work of Thomas Sheehan,[1] Elisabetta Cassina Wolff,[2] Stéphane François,[3] and Franco Ferraresi. Ferraresi described Evola in 1987 as “possibly the most important intellectual figure for the Radical Right in contemporary Europe.”[4] It should probably be added that media hysteria concerning Trump’s victory in the 2016 presidential election focused for some time on Steve Bannon’s stated admiration for the Italian philosopher. Perhaps surprisingly, with the exception of Wolff, who accused Evola of a “ferocious and destructive anti-Jewish racism,” Evola’s attitudes towards Jews are never raised in these works. My own search of works published in the last two decades shows only one serious journal publication on the subject, Peter Stuadenmaier’s 2020 article in the Journal of Contemporary History, “Racial Ideology between Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany: Julius Evola and the Aryan Myth, 1933–43.”[5] Stuadenmaier sees Evola as committed to a campaign “to cultivate a closer rapport between Italian and German variants of racism as part of a campaign by committed antisemites to strengthen the bonds uniting the fascist and Nazi cause.”

Was Evola a “committed antisemite”? And what exactly were his views on Jews and the Jewish problem?

Three Aspects of the Jewish Problem

The three aspects of the Jewish problem identified by Evola are spiritual, cultural, and economic/social. Evola opens by first explaining that

In Italy there is little awareness of the Jewish problem. … The latest laws recently inspired by Göring in Germany, which state that not only marriages between Jews and non-Jews are forbidden, but also cohabitation with Jews, and that Jews or those who are already married to Jews are banned from any organization in the National-Socialist state, indicate the extremely high level of these tensions.

Although Italy was not so obviously subject to the same tensions, Evola reminded his readers that such tensions were universal and that “anti-Semitism is a motif that has appeared in almost every stage of Western history.” Evola claimed that Italy’s less strained and direct tensions with Jews presented an opportunity for a more complete and successful attempt to address the Jewish problem. He writes that

The fact that the special circumstances which have caused the most direct and thoughtless forms of anti-Semitism in some countries are not present in Italy allows us to consider the problem with greater calm and greater objectivity.

Such an approach is necessary, argued Evola, because anti-Semitism elsewhere in Europe, is said to lack “a truly general standpoint,” in addition to lacking “the doctrinal and historical premises which are necessary to really justify, through a deductive procedure, any practical, that is to say, social and political, anti-Semitic policies.”

Evola believed in the development and imposition of anti-Semitic policies. He asserts early in the text that he believes “anti-Semitism has every right to exist.” He also, however, believes that the arguments of many contemporary anti-Semites bear the hallmarks of “weakness and confusion” and are hindered further by a “violent partisan spirit.” He worried that this approach would lead impartial observers to think that “it can all be reduced to one-sided and arbitrary attitudes dictated less by sound principles than by practical contingent interests.”

Evola begins from certain premises, namely that

There is at the present time a Jewish peril, particularly perceptible in the financial field and in the economic sphere in general, there is also a Jewish peril in the area of ethics. Finally, as far as spirituality, religion, and a world-outlook are concerned, everything that is connected with Semitism, and above all with Jews, appears as particularly repulsive to the various peoples of the White race.

Readers familiar with Evola’s other works, in particular Revolt Against the Modern World, will not be surprised to find that the spiritual element takes up the majority of Evola’s attention in this work, and it is this element that begins his study.

The Spiritual Aspect of the Jewish Problem

Evola begins by asking if there is, in general, “a typical Jewish world-outlook or view on life and the sacred.” He argues that it is wrong to view the Jews as having a specific outlook, but rather that the Jewish world-outlook is better defined as part of the broader “Semitic” sense of the spiritual. In his words:

We will be deliberately using [‘Semitic’] here because we believe that the ‘Jewish’ element cannot be, purely and simply, separated from the general type of civilization that formerly spread throughout the whole Eastern Mediterranean area from Asia Minor to the borders of Arabia, noteworthy though the differences between Semitic peoples may be.

Evola thus promises, instead of a study of the spiritual problem of the Jews, an “overall study of the Semitic spirit.”

In my view this entire premise has aged poorly, and I almost gave up reading the text at this point given how fundamentally flawed it is. With advances in modern genetic studies since the days of Evola, we now know categorically, for example, that Ashkenazi Jews in particular represent a very distinct ethnic group that has become progressively more homogenous over the last seven centuries, with “Ashkenazim the world over carrying essentially the same collection of DNA sequences.” Studies have also shown that Jews are more genetically similar to groups such as Kurds, Turks, and Armenians than they are to their Semitic language-speaking Arab neighbors. Which prompts the question: On what basis is Evola positing a “Semitic spirit?”

Unencumbered by such important questions, Evola departs into overwrought theorizing on the clash between a “solar” Aryan spirit, and a “lunar” Semitic spirit. Although this will be explained below, it struck me that Evola seemed almost entirely ignorant of the history of the very real and very material antagonism of the Jews against Europeans in the realm of spirituality and religion. In How the West Became Antisemitic: Jews and the Formation of Europe, 800–1500, soon to be published by Princeton University Press by Yale’s Ivan Marcus, it’s very clear that Jews have been very singular and deliberate actors in Western history. Marcus writes that “Jews were capable of doing exactly what infuriated Christian officials.” He explains:

Medieval Jewish historians have recently revised earlier narratives that saw the Jews as the victims of the Christian majority’s enmity and harmful policies. … General historians of medieval Europe who do not work on Jewish history still tend to see the Jews as isolated in ghettos and passive victims of persecution. … Contrary to the widely accepted picture of Jewish history, medieval Jews were assertive agents. The Jews of the Middle Ages were convinced of their chosenness, and Christian rulers inadvertently reinforced Jewish solidarity by recognizing Jews as legal, self-governing communities. … Jews were assertive, not passive, even without having the option of coercive force. … Jews went out of their way, when safe, to insult Christian sancta by making offensive wordplays, … Jews denigrated Christian sancta by engaging in private and public gestures of contempt such as placing Christian images or statues in their latrines.[6]

Rather than tackle this clear ethno-religious hostility, Evola informs us that “Aryan” is a “vague racialist foundation.” We apparently need “to define ‘Aryanity’ as a positive universal idea,” rather than look at direct Jewish spiritual hostility. All of which struck me as mystical nonsense.

In order not to do Evola a great injustice, I will at least summarize his approach to the spiritual problem as he sees it. For Evola, the Aryan spirit is solar and virile, whereas Semitic spirituality is lunar and feminine. The Aryan of ancient times had an “affirmative attitude towards the divine.” Ancient Aryans not only believed in the real existence of super-humanity, of a race of immortals and of divine heroes, but also often attributed to that race a superiority and an irresistible power over the supernatural forces themselves. Aryan spirituality was more royal than sacerdotal; more aristocratic than priestly. It valued heroes over saints, since it was the heroes who accessed the highest and most privileged places of immortality, for example, the Nordic Valhalla. Whereas the Biblical Adam is cursed and damned for having attempted to eat from the divine tree, Aryan myths depict  immortal heroes like Hercules, Jason, Mithras, and Sigurd.

True Aryan spirituality is characterised by the emblem of unchanging light, as opposed to the cycles of death and rebirth often seen in Semitic legends. As regards the corresponding ethnical principles, “what is characteristically Aryan is the principle of freedom and personality on the one hand, of loyalty and honor on the other hand.” The Aryan

enjoys independence and difference and dislikes submergence in a heterogeneous mass, which does not prevent him, however, from obeying in a virile way, acknowledging a leader and being proud to serve him according to a bond that is freely established, his nature being warlike and irreducible to any interest than can be bought and sold or in general expressed in terms of money.

By contrast, what characterises the Semitic spirituality is “the destruction of the Aryan synthesis of spirituality and virility.” Semitic spirituality is “coarsely material, sensual or uncouth … an emasculated spirituality.” It is burdened by “the pathos of sin and expiation,” and beholden to “an impure and uneasy romanticism.” For Evola, “the pathos of the confession of sins distorts the calm purity and the ‘Olympian’ superiority of the Aryan aristocratic ideal.” Judaism was steeped in ‘prophetism,’ and whereas the prophet type had previously been seen as a sick man, he was substituted for the ‘clairvoyant’ type. The spiritual centre shifts to him and his apocalypses.

For Evola, the characteristics of the Jewish instinct in general are deceit, servile hypocrisy, and “devious, persistent, disintegrating infiltration.” He praises the National Socialist philosopher Alfred Rosenberg for his assessment of the Jewish spirit, but also disparages Rosenberg for employing Christian morality or notions of Germanic religion as a method of criticising Judaism. Evola asserts that it is wrong to focus on the immorality contained in Judaism given “dubious morals exhibited by the Germanic gods.” He believes that critiques of the spiritual contents of Judaism contain little more than a “pot-pourri in which pertinent points are intermingled with rather strange ideas.”

Evola is rather unfriendly towards Germanic paganism and towards Protestantism, and although he was far from a devout Catholic, a defensive tone is detectable here. I do agree with his statement that “it is hard to find an anti-Semite more philosemite than [Martin] Luther,” and his argument that many Protestants, like Luther, critiqued Catholicism via the Jews rather than critiquing the Jews more directly. Yet Evola possesses his own biases, promoting a vision of European spirituality that is more Roman than Germanic, more imperial than independent. One sees this in his statement that

The hidden source of Nordic anti-Semitism gives itself away in its anti-universalist and anti-Roman controversialist, in its confusion between universalism as a supranational idea and the universalism which only means this active ferment of cosmopolitanism and national decomposition.

“Nordic anti-Semitism” is therefore presented as something confused, ignorant, somewhat infantile, and definitely inferior to a more Roman, more Catholic, more “supranational” anti-Semitism. “Nordic anti-Semitism” is said to reveal a “mere particularism” which he says is ironically in a Jewish style, for example, “our god, our morals” etc. In other words, Evola is opposed to an anti-Semitism which aims to fight Jewish ethnocentrism with a European ethnocentrism on a continental or national basis. Evola, however, offers no serious argument for why a European ethnocentrism is spiritually or strategically bad, beyond the claim that it is, in his view, “narrow-minded and particularistic.” He claims that to be focussed on “the blood,” in other words to be protective of one’s race, is to adopt a “naturalistic” worldview more suited to the Jews. Evola calls for the adoption of a new Aryan worldview that remains “free from ethnic prejudice” and free from “parochialism.” In other words, Evola seems to assert the opinion that to be an Aryan is something very little connected to matters of biological heritage. He explains

Values must be evoked once again which can seriously be called ‘Aryan,’ and not merely on the basis of vague and one-sided concepts suffused with a sort of biological materialism: values of a solar Olympian spirituality, of a classicism of clarity and controlled force, of a new love for difference and free personality, and, at the same time, for hierarchy and universality.

At the same time, Evola stresses that the “subterranean spirit of obscure incessant agitation, of deep contamination and sudden revolt, is Semitic.”

This section on the spiritual aspect of the Jewish problem then suddenly ends, without any coherent summary or explanation about the relevance of heredity or suggestion for action beyond the adoption of a “solar Olympian spirituality.” Perhaps it’s my Anglo-Scandinavian heritage stunting my appreciation of this kind of philosophizing, but I felt that Evola’s entire discussion of the spiritual element of the Jewish problem was colored by his Italian background (Catholic upbringing; enthusiasm for the Roman Empire) and his resultant antipathy towards any kind of Nordic racialism or national patriotism. Somewhere in the muddle of concepts I do discern the idea of a multi-national Europe embracing a more virile idea of spirituality and world-outlook more naturally hostile to Jews than the Protestant-Capitalist world-outlook he seemed to perceive as dominant. Unfortunately, his definition of the Jewish element of the problem is so loose and poorly thought out that it’s hard to take any of it seriously. Further, Evola’s idea that anti-Semitism shouldn’t be based on a competing ethnocentrism, and his implicit suggestion that Europeans shouldn’t be focused on ‘blood,’ has aged extremely poorly in the context of Jewish involvement in mass non-White migration in White nations, and the demographic crisis facing European-descended peoples more generally. I was therefore glad to move on to what held the potential to be a more interesting treatment — the cultural aspect of the Jewish problem.

Review: Julius Evola’s Three Aspects of the Jewish Problem, Part 2 – The Occidental Observer

[1] Thomas Sheehan, “Myth and Violence: The Fascism of Julius Evola and Alain de Benoist,” Social Research, Vol. 48, No. 1, (Spring 1981), 45-73.

[2] Elisabetta Cassina Wolff, “Apolitìa and Tradition in Julius Evola as Reaction to Nihilism,” European Review, Vol. 22, No. 2 (Ma/y 2014), 258 – 273; and “Evola’s interpretation of fascism and moral responsibility,” Patterns of Prejudice, 50:4-5, 478-494.

[3] Stéphane François, “The Nouvelle Droite and “Tradition””, Journal for the Study of Radicalism, Vol. 8, No. 1 (Spring 2014), 87-106.

[4] Franco Ferraresi, “Julius Evola : tradition, reaction, and the Radical Right,” European Journal of Sociology, Vol. 28:1 (May 1987), 107 – 151.

[5] Staudenmaier, Peter, “Racial Ideology between Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany: Julius Evola and the Aryan Myth, 1933–43,” Journal of Contemporary History, 55(3) (2020), 473-491.

[6] I. Marcus, How the West Became Antisemitic: Jews and the Formation of Europe, 800-1500 (Princeton University Press, 2024), pp.2-18.

8 replies
  1. Herbert
    Herbert says:

    “Wit is the ground floor of humor, satire the first floor,
    irony the second, sarcasm the attic room.” (Karl Kraus)

    A “new interpretation” by (((Paul Reitter)))
    “In turn-of-the-century Vienna, Karl Kraus created a bold new style of media criticism, penning incisive satires that elicited both admiration and outrage. Kraus’s spectacularly hostile critiques often focused on his fellow Jewish journalists, which brought him a reputation as the quintessential self-hating Jew. The Anti-Journalist overturns this view with unprecedented force and sophistication, showing how Kraus’s criticisms form the center of a radical model of German-Jewish self-fashioning, and how that model developed in concert with Kraus’s modernist journalistic style.
    Paul Reitter’s study of Kraus’s writings situates them in the context of fin-de-siècle German-Jewish intellectual society. He argues that rather than stemming from anti-Semitism, Kraus’s attacks constituted an innovative critique of mainstream German-Jewish strategies for assimilation. Marshalling three of the most daring German-Jewish authors—Kafka, Scholem, and Benjamin—Reitter explains their admiration for Kraus’s project and demonstrates his influence on their own notions of cultural authenticity.
    The Anti-Journalist is at once a new interpretation of a fascinating modernist oeuvre and a heady exploration of an important stage in the history of German-Jewish thinking about identity.”

  2. Pot lucker
    Pot lucker says:

    ‘Somewhere in the muddle of concepts I do discern the idea of a multi-national Europe embracing a more virile idea of spirituality and world-outlook more naturally hostile to Jews than the Protestant-Capitalist world-outlook he seemed to perceive as dominant. Unfortunately, his definition of the Jewish element of the problem is so loose and poorly thought out that it’s hard to take any of it seriously. Further, Evola’s idea that anti-Semitism shouldn’t be based on a competing ethnocentrism, and his implicit suggestion that Europeans shouldn’t be focused on ‘blood,’ has aged extremely poorly in the context of Jewish involvement in mass non-White migration in White nations, and the demographic crisis facing European-descended peoples more generally.’

    I first read a review of Evola’s essay at Counter Currents. Whilst I found one or two important points in it Evola seems here to be what we would call concern trolling. As a member of the Italian aristocracy who jealously guarded the priveliges of said caste (‘My ideas are only those that, prior to the French revolution, were agreed by all decent people as the utmost common sense’ -Evola) I have always found his uneasiness with the biological aspect of the Jewish question suspicious. Did Evola have Jewish blood? Jews do make a point of corrupting the blood of the upper classes in any society they infiltrate. One could almost imagine a Spanish Marrano/Converso/New Christian composing some of those points cited in the review above. Even in the 1930s the idea that the Jewish question was not biological was absurd and as we have seen racialist thinkers were proven correct about the biological nature of Jewishness. After the war Evola famously downplayed any criticism of the Jews. To me his pervaricating answers the question. Of course we can never be sure- only Ashkenazi Jews have a distinct genetic signature. Sephardic Jews (Spain), Mizrahi Jews (Arabia) and Romanoite Jews (Italy) had no founder effect in thier populations and so cannot be currently discerned by current DNA testing.

  3. anon325
    anon325 says:

    My review of

    My opinion is that Andrew Anglin should quit writing since it appears to me that he lacks the quantitative intelligence to accurately describe reality. Also, he seems to be too Psychometrically Neurotic to be objective. I understand – I myself am innately extremely Neurotic. I have to work very hard to control it. Once I calm myself down, I calmly get myself to accept the fact that the international Israelite community has won the evolutionary war against the Gentiles. The Israelites keep on surviving, while Gentiles keep on going extinct. Spartans went extinct, Athenians went extinct, Romans went extinct, the Nordics are in the process of going extinct right now, but the Israelites, specifically the Ashkenazim, keep on thriving and exponentially growing throughout the thousands of years. We Gentiles have lost. It does not matter if Putin can saturate Russia with Brown people so they can do blue collar work and serve as soldiers to temporarily keep the war going in Ukraine. In the end, we have Gentiles killing Gentiles, liquidating each other, while the Israelites come out harmless and constantly growing in number and wealth. What’s the point of existence anyway without G-d and Spirituality? So what if the Israelites conquer Earth? Every Israelite still dies, as they have since when they came into existence 3,700 years ago. They are born, they consume goods and services, and then they die and their atoms and molecules once again just become part of the collective lifeless matter of the universe.

    However, if there is something more to the laws of physics that we humans can understand – if there is another higher level of physics where G-d exists, and if this G-d wants to help all “sentient” entities, then that is something that can only be fully realized by leaving Earth. The Israelites that are religious have made a major intellectual mistake if they think that G-d wants them to torture and kill Gentiles throughout the Universe and beyond. If G-d exists, then He is by definition infinitely powerful. So, why would He care for weak organic relatively Retarded Israelites whose bodies are filled with puss, feces, urine, and other “disgusting” organic waste and ‘disgusting” substances? Well, only a G-d that believes in Universal Altruism would want to help the Israelites. And, if this G-d did indeed believe in Altruism, then He would support Altruism for all “Sentient” beings, not just Israelites. Every Israelite should ask themselves why they think a possible G-d would support only the Israelites, while allowing the Israelites to inflict extreme torture on all non-Israelites in the universe and possible parallel universes capable of feeling pain. Compared to a possible G-d, the Israelites are even lower than prokaryotic cells, even lower than viruses. So, what makes the Israelites so special? John “Birdman” Bryant stated at the following: “That God would bother with humans proves that he is demented; that he is demented proves that he does not exist.” So, a possible G-d helping others would have to be the result of a belief in Universal Altruism. But, since the Israelies believe in torturing and/or killing all non-Israelites would mean that a possible G-d would never help the Israelites and at the minimum just let them all die for all eternity.

  4. Devon
    Devon says:

    I read Revolt Against the Modern World and realised it was nonsense early on when Evola made clear he wasn’t going to refer to the actual historic record. It’s all just stuff he makes up and uses fancy words to sound intelligent.

    I honestly can’t believe how people worship this guy so much.

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