Jew in European Literature
are three kinds of culture. Material culture, such as the chair we are sitting
on and the atomic bomb. Then there is ideological culture, consisting of that
which we believe, such as the belief in democracy. Thirdly there is behavioral
culture, consisting of that which we do, such as eating with fork and spoon or
greeting someone by shaking hands.
is so pervasive and important that we conduct ourselves according to that which
our culture has taught us. In European culture, hatred of Jews is so much part
of their heritage that Europeans cannot
rid themselves of anti-Jewish behavior because anti-Jewish beliefs have been
with them for 1900 years.
beliefs are part of European literature. Anti-Jewish hate is found in
children’s books, in poetry and songs, and most certainly in European novels.
Stage plays are of course also affected by this teaching of contempt. This is
best known by Shakespeare’s (1564-1616) play The Merchant of Venice.
This play is the product of religious bigotry and hate. It is also the product
of ignorance, since William Shakespeare never saw a Jew. There had been no Jews
in England since they were driven out by King Edward in 1290. Therefore
Shakespeare had to write what he believed, even though it had nothing to do with
is unique among all the ethnic groups in America that Jews, and only Jews,
participate in their own denunciation. There are Jewish actors who actually act
out the role of Shylock, a caricature of a monster who demands a pound of flesh
from a decent Christian. Equally disgusting are Jews who produce such plays or
who attend them. The reality is that Europeans have literally slaughtered
millions of Jews over the centuries, including 6 million murdered during the
so-called Holocaust. No, we did not demand a pound of flesh from anybody. We
were the victims of others who actually did this and committed such brutalities
that they have no right to pretend that we are a gang of Shylocks. Of course,
Shakespeare was not the only one to besmirch European literature with this
to him there was Chaucer, who in his Canterbury Tales demeaned and
insulted Jews. The truly great novelist Charles Dickens left out his bigotry and
hate in his novel Oliver Twist, in which a Jew named Fagin is the brutal
leader of a gang of street thugs.
American author Ezra Pound depicted Jews as money manipulators and Nathaniel
Hawthorne in The Marble Faun did the same. Henry James, an American
author, slandered Jews in The American Scene, as did the French
philosopher Voltaire (Arouet) in Candide, which Leonard Bernstein set to
music. Also in French literature, Honore Balzac demeans Jews in his Human
Comedy, and in German there seems to be no end of anti-Jewish diatribes,
including Jud Süss by Hauff, which the Nazis made into a movie,
Hebbel’s Judith, and Grillparzer’s Die Jüdin von Toledo.
Russian author Bulganin wrote Ivan Yitshigin, a slanderous anti-Jewish
hate sheet, Turgenev wrote Zhid, which is the pejorative Russian word for
Jew, and Dostoyevsky wrote House Of the Dead, a not unexpected
anti-Jewish slander as well.
it is therefore not surprising that despite the mass murder of 6 million
innocent Jews in the European gas ovens, the hatred continues. New generations
of European children are taught this trash year in and year out while finding
all kinds of excuses for the mass murders committed by their grandparents and
great grandparents. Even now, the 1,400,000 Jews living in Europe amidst 750
million inhabitants continue to be harassed and assaulted, insulted, humiliated,
and threatened. Even now, Europeans cannot tolerate the sight of a kippa or a
synagogue. It is therefore the cultural heritage of Europe which will never
allow so much as one Jew to be treated like an equal human being. Obviously, the
few Jews still living there need to leave as many have already done, by moving
to Israel and the United States.
is of course, in addition to culture, one more reason why Jews have been the
target of so much antagonism. That second reason is our numbers. In the whole
world of over 7½ billion people, we are only 13 million. Such small numbers
make us look defenseless. Let us assume that Europe had 750 million Jews.
Undoubtedly no one would attack such a huge number. Moreover, the European Jews
never had arms with which to defend themselves. Being unarmed and vulnerable is
always a cause for persecution and murder. The evidence is that the 5½ million
Jews in Israel cannot be murdered by the 1.5 billion Muslims surrounding them
because the Israelis have an army, a navy, an air force and the atomic bomb.
lesson is plain. If you cannot defend your lives you will be murdered, but if
you have a whole lot of weapons you also will have many friends.