Benjamin Ginsberg, The Fatal Embrace: Jews and the State.  Ginsberg, a prominent Jewish intellectual, is Professor of Political Science at John Hopkins University.

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Selections and comments by Peter Myers; bold emphasis added, footnotes omitted. My comments are shown {thus}. Date May 3, 2001; update April 9, 2010.

{Jews in Communist regimes: p. 30, then p. 53}

Benjamin Ginsberg, The Fatal Embrace: Jews and the State (University of Chicago Press, Chicago 1993):

{p. 1} Since the 1960s, Jews have come to wield considerable influence in American economic, cultural, intellectual, and political life. Jews played a central role in American finance during the 1980s, and they were among the chief beneficiaries of that decade's corporate mergers and reorganizations. Today, though barely 2% of the nation's population is Jewish, close to half its billionaires are Jews. The chief executive officers of the three major television networks, and the four largest film studios are Jews, as are the owners of the nation's largest newspaper chain and most influential single newspaper, the New York Times. In the late 1960s, Jews already constituted 20% of the faculty of elite universities and 40% of the professors of elite law schools; today, these percentages doubtless are higher.

The role and influence of Jews in American politics is equally marked. Jews are elected to public office in disproportionate numbers. In 1993, ten members of the United States Senate and thirty-two members of the House of Representatives were Jewish, three to four times their percentage of the general population. Jews are even more prominent in political organizations and in finance. One recent study found that in twenty-seven of thirty-six campaigns for the United States Senate, one or both candidates relied upon a Jewish campaign chairman or finance director. In the realm of lobbying and litigation, Jews organized what was for many years one of Washington's most successful political action committees, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), and they play leadership roles in such important public interest groups as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Common Cause. Several Jews also played very important roles in the 1992 Democratic presidential campaign. After the Democrats' victory, President Clinton appointed a number of Jews to prominent positions in his administration.

Their role in American economic, social, and political institutions has enabled Jews to wield considerable influence in the nation's public life. The most obvious indicator of this influence is the $3 billion in direct military and economic aid provided to Israel by the United States each year and, for that matter, the like amount given to Egypt since it agreed to maintain peaceful relations with Israel.

{p. 2} That fully three-fourths of America's foreign aid budget is devoted to Israel's security interests is a tribute in considerable measure to the lobbying prowess of AIPAC and the importance of the Jewish community in American politics {but what does it say about "Jewish Internationalism" - that trademark Jewish concern for the poor?}.

At least until recently, another mark of Jewish influence was the virtual disappearance of anti-Semitic rhetoric from mainstream public discourse in the United States. As a general rule, what can and cannot be said in public reflects the distribution of political power in society; as Jews gained political power, politicians who indulged in anti-Semitic tactics were labeled extremists and exiled to the margins of American politics. Similarly, religious symbols and forms of expression that Jews find threatening have been almost completely eliminated from schools and other public institutions. Suits brought by the ACLU, an organization whose leadership and membership are predominantly Jewish, secured federal court decisions banning officially sanctioned prayers in the public schools and creches and other religious displays in parks and public buildings.

American Jews secured their position of power quite recently. During the Second World War, the Jewish community lacked sufficient influence to induce the U.S. government to take any action that might have impeded the slaughter of European Jews. As recently as the early 1950s, public officials such as Representative John Rankin of Mississippi felt free to make anti-Semitic speeches on the floor of Congress. In 1956, during the Suez crisis, President Dwight D. Eisenhower could refuse even to meet with American Jewish leaders who sought to discuss U.S. policy in the Middle East. Into the early 1960s, elite universities including Harvard, Yale, and Princeton maintained quotas limiting Jewish enrollments.

Not only is the extraordinary prominence of Jews in American politics a relatively recent development but, during the past several years, there have been some indications that Jewish influence might already be waning. In 1992, for example, former President George Bush resisted and ultimately defeated efforts by AIPAC and other Jewish organizations to secure American loan guarantees to assist Israel in the construction of additional Jewish settlements in the territories it occupied after its 1967 war with the Arab states.

In a nationally televised press conference during the loan guarantee struggle, Bush seemed to question the legitimacy of American Jews' efforts on Israel's behalf. The president later denied that this had been his intention. The effect of the Bush press conference and subsequent comments, however, was to intimidate American Jewish organizations and weaken their support for the loan guarantees. The

{p. 3} Bush administration's larger goal was to undermine Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir's Likud government, which was viewed as an obstacle to the realization of American policy aims in the Middle East. By cowing Israel's Jewish supporters in America, the White House hoped to weaken Shamir and replace him with a more compliant Israeli government. This American effort was successful. The Likud bloc was defeated in Israel's 1992 elections by a labor coalition led by Yitzhak Rabin. In the fall of 1992, having secured the election of an Israel government more to its liking, the White House gave its support to a new loan guarantee package as an inducement to the Israelis to toe the American line in the Middle East. Then, having nominally improved its relations with Israel, the Bush administration made a token effort to mend its fences with Jewish voters and contributors in America. The administration made it clear, however, that, having humbled the once-powerful Jewish lobby, it would not permit its Middle East policies to be shaped by the wishes of the Jews.

Another indication that the influence of American Jews may be waning is the resurgence of anti-Semitic - sometimes veiled as anti-Zionist - rhetoric in American political discourse. On the liberal left, opposition to Israel is commonplace. During the 1991 Persian Gulf War, for example, some liberal activists charged that the Israeli occupation of Arab lands was a major underlying cause of the conflict. Indeed, the Persian Gulf War opened major cleavages between Jews and other elements within the American liberal community. Liberal groups ranging from the National Council of Churches through the Friends of the Earth argued against the use of force to dislodge Iraq from Kuwait, leaving liberal Jewish advocates of a military solution such as Ann Lewis, former political director of the Democratic National Committee, isolated from their usual allies. In its statement opposing American military action in the Persian Gulf, the National Council of Churches also endorsed the creation of a Palestinian state.

African Americans, for their part, usually do not bother to hide their attacks on Jews behind the smoke screen of opposition to Zionism. In recent years, some black leaders, including Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan, former U.S. Representative Gus Savage, and Democratic presidential candidate Jesse Jackson have made anti-Semitic comments of the sort that had all but disappeared from American politics. At the same time, anti-Semitic black speakers have become the wandering minstrels of the college lecture circuit. Curiously, some of the very same student and faculty groups that vehe-

{p. 4} mently assert that the first Amendment does not protect speech deemed to be racist, homophobic, or sexist cheerfully dabble in anti-Semitic rhetoric.

To be sure, liberal forces are sufficiently dependent upon Jews for their power in American politics so that anti-Semitic rhetoric on the part of blacks and other liberals is not a direct threat to the Jews. The influence of Jews within the liberal camp may be reduced somewhat by an alliance of blacks and other left liberals. Barring some cataclysmic restructuring of political forces in the United States, however, Jews could not be jettisoned from the contemporary liberal coalition in the way that they were, say, from America's nineteenth-century industrialist coalition - a phenomenon we shall examine in Chapter 2.

Nevertheless, the use of anti-Semitic rhetoric on the part of nominal allies of the Jews - and the inability of the Jews to do much about it - is a signal to other forces that Jews are now fair game. This signal has not been missed by forces on the political right - forces that are not dependent upon Jews for their own political power. Among some groups of conservatives, anti-Semitism has become sufficiently noteworthy that an entire recent issue of the National Review was devoted to the topic. The prominent conservative commentator and recent presidential aspirant, Patrick Buchanan, barely bothers to deny his anti-Semitism, while a number of other conservatives are pleased to flaunt theirs.

In 1991, prior to the Persian Gulf War, Buchanan asserted that men named Rosenthal, Kissinger, Perle, and Krauthammer - a group he called Israel's "amen corner" in the United States - were beating the drums for a war in which "kids with names like McAllister, Murphy, Gonzales and LeRoy Brown" would be the ones to die. Later, as a candidate in Georgia's March 1992 Republican presidential primary, Buchanan attacked a group of Jewish hecklers by saying, "This is a rally of Americans, by Americans, and for the good old U.S.A., my friends." During the same rally, Buchanan responded to a question about his anti-Semitism and racism by referring to his First Amendment guarantee of free speech.

In addition, radical populists, who until recently had been viewed as part of the lunatic fringe, have become much more active over the past several years. The most notorious of these, of course, is David Duke, a neo-Nazi who captured 55% of the white vote in the 1991 Louisiana gubernatorial election. For radical populists like Duke, anti-Semitism is an important drawing card, even if they sometimes choose to keep it face down - but still in a prominent spot on the

{p. 5} table - when appealing for middle-class votes. Duke failed to win much support in the several 1991 primaries he entered, mainly because he was overshadowed by Buchanan. Nevertheless, the brute fact remains that a Nazi very nearly was elected governor of an American state in 1991.

Many surveys suggest that, except among blacks, popular anti-Semitism in the United States is still at a relatively low level. Contrary to the views of the pollsters, however, surveys are a barometer or reflection of what has taken place in political life, not a predictor of what is politically possible. If anti-Semitic appeals or rhetoric began to figure more prominently in political discourse among whites, as they already have among blacks, then in due course the polls would undoubtedly reflect this change by recording more popular anti-Semitism. Just as the public cannot be in favor of a political candidate they have not yet heard about, they cannot support a political ideology that has not yet forcefully been presented to them. Ideas, like candidates and products, need to be marketed before they can gain adherents. As Joseph Schumpeter once put it, public opinion is the "product rather than the motive power of the political process."

Could anti-Semitism be promoted successfully in contemporary America? Some social historians have maintained that American "exceptionalism," that is, the unusual strength of liberal values in the United States, precludes the emergence of major anti-Semitic movements in this country. The validity of this optimistic view, though, is open to question. Certainly, liberal democracy has been more firmly rooted in the United States than anywhere else in the world. It is extremely important to understand, however, that the strength of liberalism in America is not a function of some immutable ideological commitment on the part of Americans. Liberalism, rather, has prevailed in the United States as a result of the victories won by liberal forces in political struggles - sometimes pitched battles - against opponents whose values were decidedly illiberal. The triumph of liberal democracy was, by no means, preordained in, say, the 1860s or the 1930s. During both these periods liberal values prevailed because, and only because, the political - and military - forces controlled by the proponents of those values won after long and heroic conflicts whose outcomes remained in doubt for many years.

Understanding liberalism as a doctrine that has prevailed, rather than one that has never been challenged in the United States, helps to illuminate the place of Jews and anti-Semitism in American history. First, over the past century, Jews have generally supported lib-

{p. 6} eral values and been linked to liberal political forces in the United States. In turn, the opponents of those forces and values have upon occasion sought to make use of anti-Semitism to discredit them. Far from being excluded by liberalism, during several periods in American history, including the 1880s, 1930s, and 1950s, anti-Semitism played a significant role in attacks launched against liberal regimes in which Jews participated. Anti-Semitism was used, in part, to delegitimate liberal democracy by exposing it as a creature of, or cover for, the Jews. For example, many readers will, no doubt, recall that some right-wing opponents of the New Deal labeled it the "Jew Deal" as a prominent component of their effort to undermine the Roosevelt administration.

Second, during these periods - the 1930s and 1950s in particular - anti-Semitism was defeated by liberal forces rather than precluded by liberalism. Groups espousing anti-Semitic ideologies were vanquished by Jews and their allies in liberal coalitions after long and arduous political struggles whose favorable outcomes were in no sense guaranteed. During these struggles, Jews were important members of the liberal camp. Indeed, as we shall see, Jews helped to defend American liberalism from its foes as much as liberalism protected the Jews from anti-Semitism.

Finally, far from excluding anti-Semitism, American liberalism has, itself, not been entirely free of antagonism to Jews. At the end of the nineteenth-century, as we shall see, the liberal forces of the day, led by Northeastern industrialists, found it politically expedient to respond to their patrician and populist opponents' use of anti-Semitism by distancing themselves from the Jews. As a result, nominally liberal forces participated in a campaign to extrude Jews from American political and social life. Paradoxically, it was precisely the strength of liberal groups that allowed them to jettison their putative Jewish allies. The triumph of liberalism in the aftermath of the Civil War made Jews superfluous to the liberal coalition. A parallel to this experience, as we shall see, is to be found in the relationship between blacks and Jews today.

Thus, anti-Semitism has played a role in American history despite and, in some instances, because of the strength of American liberalism. It follows that there would seem to be no a priori reason to believe that American exceptionalism precludes the reemergence of anti-Semitism in the United States. In point of fact, there is certainly ample precedent in American history for an era of Jewish success to be followed by a period of decline - even anti-Semitism. During the Reconstruction era, Jews achieved a considerable measure of influ-

{p. 7} ence, but beginning in the 1880s they were systematically excluded from many key institutions in American society. Jews played important roles in Wilsonian Progressivism, but then were assailed through the post-World War I Red Scare and the immigrant restriction movement. The influence of Jews rose during the New Deal era, but institutions in which Jews were prominent, such as government bureaucracies, labor unions, and the entertainment industry, came under attack - at times manifestly anti-Semitic in character - during the McCarthy period.

In this way, the experience of Jews in America echoes the more general pattern of Jewish history. In a number of places and times, for example, fifteenth-century Spain, the Ottoman Empire, Weimar Germany, and post-revolutionary Russia, Jews achieved great power only to lose their influence and find themselves under assault.

Most theories of anti-Semitism seek to identify the roots of ethnic prejudice. Some theorists locate these in economic relations. Others emphasize the role of religious institutions. Still others look to cultural differences and misunderstandings. No doubt, all of these explanations have some validity. It is not clear, however, that there is any mystery here to be explained. Whatever its psychological, social, economic, or even evolutionary basis, suspicion of strangers is the norm in all societies, while it is acceptance of outsiders that is unusual and generally ephemeral. When times are good and foreigners play a recognized and useful role in the community, they may be tolerated. On the other hand, when times are hard and outsiders seem to compete with their hosts, any latent popular xenophobia is more likely to manifest itself, and foreigners may become useful targets for rabble-rousing politicians. Recent events throughout Western Europe are unambiguous examples of this phenomenon.

Certainly, everywhere that Jews have lived, their social or economic marginality - their position, "outside society," as Hannah Arendt put it - sooner or later exposed Jews to suspicion, hostility, and discrimination. Even in multiethnic societies, Jews have usually been the most successful and visible - and, hence, the most exposed - outsiders. In America, Jews currently appear to be accepted by the larger community. Nevertheless, at least in part by their own choosing, American Jews continue to maintain a significant and visible measure of communal identity and distinctiveness in religious, cultural, and political matters. At the same time, most gentiles continue to perceive Jews to be a peculiar and distinctive group. Though Jews have learned to look, talk, and dress like other Americans, they are not fully assimilated either in their own minds or in

{p. 8} the eyes of their neighbors. Even in America, the marginality of the Jews makes them at least potentially vulnerable to attack.

In America as elsewhere, moreover, Jews are outsiders who are often more successful than their hosts. Because of their historic and, in part, religiously grounded emphasis on education and literacy, when given an opportunity Jews have tended to prosper. And, to make matters worse, Jews often, secretly or not so secretly, conceive themselves to be morally and intellectually superior to their neighbors. Jews, to be sure, by no means have a monopoly on group or national snobbery. In contemporary America every group is encouraged to take pride in its special heritage and achievements. The problem is that Jews as a group are more successful than virtually all the others. Indeed, Jews are extremely successful outsiders who sometimes have the temerity to rub it in. As one outraged right-wing columist noted recently, a Yiddish synonym for dullard or dope is "goyischer kopf," that is, someone who thinks like a non-Jew.

The question with which this book is concerned, however, is not so much the roots of anti-Jewish sentiment as the conditions under which such sentiment is likely to be politically mobilized. As we shall see, where an anti-Semitic politics becomes important, usually more is involved than simple malice toward the Jews. In politics, principles - even as unprincipled a principle as anti-Semitism - are seldom completely divorced from some set of political interests. In the case of anti-Semitism, major organized campaigns against the Jews usually reflect not only ethnic hatred, they also represent efforts by the political opponents of regimes or movements with which Jews are allied to destroy or supplant them. Anti-Semitism has an instrumental as well as an emotive character. Thus, to understand the cycle of Jewish success and anti-Semitic attack - and to understand why the United States is not exceptional - it is necessary to consider the place of Jews in politics particularly, as Hannah Arendt noted long ago, their peculiar relationship to the state.

Jews and the State

For nearly two thousand years, Jews lived as scattered minorities while preserving a considerable measure of communal identity and cultural distinctiveness from the societies that surrounded them. Their distinctiveness was maintained by Jews' religious and communal institutions and was often reinforced by the hostility of their neighbors and the antipathy of Moslem and Christian religious institutions. Jewish religious practice required male participants to read

{p. 9} prayers and other texts, and hence Jewish men received a measure of education that made them considerably more literate and numerate than the people among whom they lived. Their geographic dispersion and literacy combined to help Jews become important traders in the medieval and early modern worlds. Jewish merchants linked by ties of religion, culture, and often family, played an important role in international commerce.

At the same time, however, their literacy, commercial acumen, and even their social marginality often made Jews useful to kings princes, and sultans. Into the eighteenth century, rulers regularly relied upon Jews as a source of literate administrators and advisors. European monarchs, moreover, depended upon Jewish financiers to manage their fiscal affairs and relied heavily upon Jewish merchants and bankers for loans. In addition, because Jews remained outsiders to the societies in which they lived, sovereigns found them useful instruments for carrying out unpopular tasks, notably collecting taxes.

For their part, Jews, who like Sikhs and other ethnic minorities offered the state's protection in exchange for services, have usually conceived it to be to their advantage to undertake these tasks. Indeed, Jews often saw this as their only viable alternative. Social marginality made Jews the objects of popular hostility at times shading into violence, and kings could offer a Jewish community protection in exchange for its services. At the same time, the crown could provide Jews with financial opportunities and allow them to enter commercial fields that would otherwise have been closed to them. This exchange of protection and opportunity for service was the foundation for a centuries-long relationship between Jews and the state. Such alliances were responsible for the construction of some of the most powerful states of the Mediterranean and European worlds, including the Hapsburg, Hohenzollern, and Ottoman empires.

These patterns persisted into the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Jews have maintained a sense of distinctiveness from surrounding societies and have, as a result, continued to experience a measure of suspicion, hostility, and discrimination. Concern about their neighbors' attitudes toward them has continued to lead Jews to seek the protection of the state {most recently through legislation against free speech}. At the same time, modern Jewish secular culture, like its religious antecedents, has emphasized education. This has enabled Jews to acquire professional and technical skills that can make them as valuable to presidents, prime ministers and commissars as they had been to monarchs.

Where Jews have been unable to obtain protection from existing

{p. 10} states, they have often played active roles in movements seeking to reform or supplant these regimes with new ones more favorably disposed toward them. Thus, in the nineteenth century, middle-class Jews were active in liberal movements that advocated the removal of religious disabilities. At the same time, working-class Jews were prominent in socialist and communist movements that sought the overthrow of existing regimes in the name of full social equality. In some cases, including Wilhelmian Germany and Hapsburg Austria-Hungary, regimes provided access to a small number of very wealthy Jews while subjecting the remainder to various forms of exclusion. In those cases, Jews could be found both at the pinnacles of power and among the leaders of the opposition.

Over the past several centuries, then, Jews have played a major role both in the strengthening of existing states and in efforts to supplant established regimes with new ones. Their relationship to the state has often made it possible for Jews to attain great wealth and power. At the same time, however, relationships between Jews and states have also been the chief catalysts for organized anti-Semitism.

Even when they are closely linked to the state, Jews usually continue to be a separate and distinctive group in society and, so, to arouse the suspicions of their neighbors. Indeed, in the service of the state, Jews have often become very visible and extremely powerful outsiders and thus awakened more suspicion and jealousy than ever before. As a result, the relationship between Jews and the state is always problematic. An identification with Jews can weaken the state by exposing it to attack as the servant of foreigners. Correlatively, Jews' identification with the state invites political forces that are seeking to take over or destroy the established order to make use of anti-Semitism as a political weapon.

In contemporary America, for example, radical populist fringe groups such as "The Order" and the "White Aryan Resistance" refer to the administration of the United States as the "ZOG," or "Zionist Occupation Government" - a corrupt tool of the Jews who are so prominent in the American political elite. Not so differently, Patrick Buchanan has referred to the United States Congress as "Israeli occupied territory," in this way defining a political institution controlled by his liberal Democratic foes as nothing more than a Jewish front.

It is in these struggles between regimes and their enemies that popular supicion of Jews is often mobilized by contending political forces and transformed into organized anti-Semitism. This is when

{p. 11} the embrace of the state, initially filled with so much promise, can prove to be fatal.

In the remainder of this chapter, we shall first examine the centuries-long history of the relationship between Jews and the state in Europe and the Middle East. Second, we will look at the ways in which this association can give rise to organized anti-Semitism. In subsequent chapters, we shall examine the relationship between Jews, the state, and anti-Semitism in American history.

Chapter 2 will treat the period between the Civil War and the great Red Scare that followed World War I. Chapter 3 will focus on the New Deal, the Kennedy and Johnson periods, and the era of the "New Politics" in the 1970s. At the turn of the century, Jews had been extruded from American political and social life. By the 1970s, however, Jews had attained enormous influence in the political process. Chapters 4 and 5 will examine two of the major threats to that influence. Chapter 4 will discuss the contemporary conflict between Jews and blacks, while Chapter 5 will analyze the rise and fall of the Jewish/Republican alliance of the 1980s. Chapter 6 will assess the prospects for a revival of anti-Semitism in contemporary America. As we shall see, the Jewish experience in America has not been exceptional, even though the embrace of the state has not been fatal - at least not yet.

Jews, States, and Anti-Semitism

Jews played key roles in constructing a number of the most important states to emerge in the Mediterranean and Atlantic worlds over the past 700 years. These have included an extraordinary variety of regimes running the gamut from absolutist through liberal to Socialist governments. For many of these states, Jews were crucial in building and staffing institutions of extraction, coercion, administration, and mobilization. As we shall subsequently see, these relationships between Jews and the state have been the chief catalysts for organized anti-Semitism.

As a foreign minority, wherever they lived Jews have faced disabilities and dangers. The protection of the state, therefore, has for centuries seemed to represent opportunity and safety. For example, in both Europe and the Middle East during the medieval era, Jews were eager to induce rulers to grant them privileges and provide them with protection from potentially hostile neighbors. Because Jews tended to stimulate commerce and were a useful source of tax revenues, rulers were often happy to oblige.

The bishopric of Speyer is a typical example. During the eleventh

{p. 12} century, the Jews of Speyer asked the ruling prince-bishop to grant them a charter of privileges and to build a defensive wall around their quarter. Because the Jews were economically valuable and he wished to induce more to settle in his city, the bishop agreed. Subsequently, the bishop protected the Jewish community from rioting crusaders, going so far as to hang the ring leaders of the mob that sought to attack the Jewish quarter.

Similarly, in twelfth-century Germany, in the wake of crusader pogroms, Jews sought and were granted royal protection under the "Land Peace" of the German king. Here, too, the activities of Jewish merchants were deemed economically useful. It is an interesting fact that the yellow badge Jews were required to wear in Nazi Germany and German-occupied Europe during the 1930s and 1940s originated as a symbol of the official protection Jews enjoyed in Muslim lands during portions of the Middle Ages. The badge was a visible reminder to Moslems that it was not permissible to attack Jews.

Frequently, Jewish communal leaders sought an alliance with the state for still another reason. Not only did they offer protection and opportunity for the community, but the Gentile authorities could bolster the position of their Jewish colleagues by providing them with what they otherwise lacked: coercive powers through which to enforce their commands. In turn, the Gentile authorities welcomed a cooperative relationship with Jewish communal leaders because this facilitated the collection of taxes from the Jews. Thus, the Gentile government and Jewish communal authorities could serve one another's interests.

For example, in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Poland, the verdicts of Jewish courts were enforced by the royal authorities, sometimes even in cases involving non-Jews. In exchange, the Jewish authorities ensured the proper collection of taxes from the Jewish community. For a similar reason, in medieval Spain, edicts of the Jewish authorities, even in matters pertaining strictly to religious practice such as the wearing of a hat on the Sabbath, were enforceable by the crown's officials. In the Byzantine empire, the state recognized Jewish courts of law and enforced their decisions. ln the Muslim Middle East, the alliance between the Gentile state and the Jewish leadership could sometimes be very strong, indeed, with the leaders of the Jewish community serving, simultaneously, as officials of the host state.

Partly as a consequence of this historic experience, Jews often continued to look to the state for protection even when it was the

{p. 13} state itself that was the source of their problems. Thus, in his famous work, Shevet Yehuda, written in the wake of the Jewish - and his personal - expulsion from Spain, Solomon ibn Verga sought to portray the rulers of Spain, including Ferdinand and Isabella who ordered the expulsion, as the allies of the Jews.

In a similar vein, as Arendt and others have observed, to the very end many German Jews could not believe that the German state would fail to protect them from the excesses of Nazi fanatics. The historical dependence of Jews upon the state also gave rise to a Jewish philosophical tradition, beginning in the seventeenth century with Spinoza and continuing through the maskilim of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, in which the state is glorified and venerated and seen, essentially, as a kind parent worthy of total obedience.

As we shall see, Jews have continued to look to the state for protection and opportunity through the modern era. And, for their part, rulers have continued to see advantages in allying themselves with Jews. A confluence of three circumstances is most likely to encourage rulers to cultivate alliances with Jews. These are the desire to strengthen the powers of the state, substantial opposition to this endeavor from established elites, and the absence of alternative sources of financial, intellectual, and administrative talent. The latter consideration has also led many liberal and socialist movements to draw upon the support of Jews.

Jews and the Absolutist State

Despite the severe disabilities to which religious minorities were typically subject, Jews played a remarkable role in the building of a number of absolutist regimes in both Christian Europe and the Muslim Middle East. Rulers were most likely to turn to Jews when they sought to expand their domains at the expense of foreign princes or centralize their power over the opposition of domestic magnates. The Jews who served absolutist regimes secured riches and power for themselves and protection for their communities.

In Europe this pattern was especially notable in Christian Spain from the eleventh through the fifteenth centuries. Medieval Spain consisted of a number of independent kingdoms containing large numbers of Muslims as well as more than 300,000 Jews in a total population of about 5 million. Throughout Spain, Jews were active in the crafts, trade, scholarship, and in the learned professions, especially medicine. Jews were so prominent in the economies of the Spanish kingdoms that their tax payments were major factors in

{p. 14} royal treasuries, sometimes accounting for half of all royal revenues.

In sharp contrast to England and France where clerical orders played an important part in the royal administration, the Spanish church and clerical orders had been militarized during the centuries-long war against the Moors, and had come to be more closely linked with the territorial nobility than the crown. As a result, kings had little alternative but to draw heavily upon the talents of Jews as administrators. Spanish kings also depended upon Jews as tax collectors and financiers, particularly in Castile, the most powerful and populous of the Christian realms where, as John Crow has noted, royal power in essence was sustained by Jewish money, industry, and intelligence. Jews played a particularly important role in the efforts of Alfonso X (1252-1284), Pedro the Cruel (1350-1369), Juan II (1406- 1454), and Henry IV (1454-1474) to centralize royal authority at the expense of the nobility as well as in the efforts of these monarchs to expand the boundaries of the Castilian state.

To be sure, Jews were ineligible to serve in the very highest offices. The number of literate and educated Christians in medieval Spain, however, was small. Consequently, to secure administrators with the requisite talents, Spanish kings often found it necessary to appoint Jews who had nominally converted to Christianity - so-called conversos or New Christians - to high administrative positions. At the end of the fifteenth century, for instance, the occupants of the five highest administrative offices in Aragon were all conversos. Indeed, even the Spanish church was heavily dependent upon this source of administrative talent. A particularly notable example is the career of Salomon Halevi. Though he served as chief rabbi of Burgos, Halevi was converted to Christianity in 1390, adopting the name Pablo de Santa Maria. Soon thereafter, as Henry Kamen reports, Halevi took holy orders and became in turn bishop of Cartagena, bishop of Burgos, tutor to the son of Henry II, and papal legate. One of his sons, Gonzalo, became bishop successively of Astorga, Plasencia, and Siguenza. Another son, Alonso de Cartagena, succeeded him as bishop of Burgos. As we shall see, the extraordinary position that Jews occupied in the Spanish kingdoms was directly linked to their later expulsion.

Jews also played a major role in state finance and administration in the medieval Muslim world. As the Umayyeds expanded their control of the Iberian peninsula in the tenth and eleventh centuries, they depended heavily upon Jewish administrators and diplomats. Hasday b. Shaprut (905-975), for example, was a major figure in

{p. 15} the courts of the caliphs Abd al-Rahman III and al-Hakam II. In the eleventh century, Jews attained the highest levels of political power in Muslim Spain, including the viziership of Grenada, a position held by Samuel b. Naghrela (Samuel ha-Nagid), a Jewish soldier and politician, from 1026-1056. Other powerful Jewish administrators included Yequtiel b. Hasan (d. 1039) in Saragossa and Abraham b. Muhajir (d. ca. 1100) in Seville.

In Fatimid North Africa during the tenth and eleventh centuries, Jews were important bankers, financiers, and advisors to the caliphate. During the reign of al-Mustansir, who succeeded to the caliphate in 1036 while still a small boy, the power behind the Fatimid throne was the Jewish financier and courtier, Abu Saed Ibrahim al-Tustari. Dhimmis, or nonbelievers, were precluded from holding the very highest Fatimid offices, such as the vizierate. Paralleling the case of Christian Spain, however, several nominally converted Jews became viziers.

{this shows that Jewish covertness was not CAUSED by the Inquisition}

One such official, Yaqub b. Killis, converted to Islam specifically in order to advance his political career and, as vizier, helped to plan the Fatimid conquest of Egypt in 969. Subsequently, he reorganized the new province, revamping its fiscal system and currency, and prepared Egypt to become the seat of Fatimid government. Other converts who became Fatimid viziers included Hasan b. Ibrahim al-Tustari and Sadaqa b. Yusuf al-Fallahi. The Ayyubids (1171-1250), who succeeded the Fatimids. also employed large numbers of Jews and Jewish converts as administrators.

During the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, Jews came to play a major role in the fiscal affairs and administration of the Ottoman empire. After the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492, the Ottomans accepted thousands of refugees because they valued the financial, administrative, and manufacturing skills that the Jews brought with them. Sultan Bayazid II is reported to have remarked that King Ferdinand was foolish to have expelled such talented subjects. Jews were particularly useful to the Ottomans because they lacked ties to any of the subject populations of the multiethnic empire and, thus, could be entrusted with unpopular tasks such as tax collection.

Jews dominated the imperial revenue system, serving as tax collectors, tax farmers, tax intendants, and tax inspectors. Jews also created and operated the imperial customs service. Indeed, so complete was Jewish control over this segment of the Ottoman state that Ottoman customs receipts were typically written in Hebrew. Jews also accompanied provincial governors or "pashas," as financial ad-

{p. 16} visors and fiscal administrators. In the latter days of the empire, when provincial governorships became hereditary or quasi-independent, local Jewish financiers continued in this capacity. For example, the Farhi family of Damascus directed the financial affairs of Syria from the eighteenth century through the termination of Ottoman rule after World War I.

{see J.L. Talmon on the Jewish offer to pay Ottoman foreign debt in exchange for Palestine: talmon.html#OttomanDebt}

A number of Jews also became important advisors to the Ottoman court. The most famous was Joseph Nasi, who was the principle counselor to two sultans and was ennobled as the duke of Naxos. Nasi used his influence to secure the sultan's support for the reestablishment of a Jewish homeland in Palestine, then under Ottoman rule. With the sultan's help, a Jewish settlement was created in Safed, in the upper Galilee, that became a center for rabbinic study. Unfortunately, not all of Nasi's advice was sound. It was his plan that helped to bring about the Turkish naval defeat in the battle of Lepanto in 1571, and, as a result, his influence at court declined.

Another major Ottoman state institution that relied upon Jewish administrators was the imperial army - the janissary corps. Jews dominated the position of ocak bazirgani, or chief quartermaster for the corps. This became the hereditary possession of a small group of Jewish families in Istanbul and Salonika. In addition, each provincial janissary garrison had its own quartermaster, virtually always a Jewish merchant.

Absolutist regimes were constructed throughout Europe from the sixteenth century. Some state-building monarchs, most notably those of France, England, and Tsarist Russia were able to make use of the church or to co-opt segments of the aristocracy for this endeavor. The church was a particularly important source of literate and experienced administrators. Cardinals Richelieu in France and Wolsey in England are notable examples.

Where, for one or another reason, monarchs were unable to make use of established institutions and elites in this way, they often found it useful to turn to Jews. For example, to finance his conquest of England, William of Orange turned to the Dutch Jewish financiers who, descended from Spanish exiles, had helped to make Holland a major commercial center and played an important role in the finances of the Dutch state. In 1688, William obtained a loan of two million gulden from the Lopez Suasso family. After he secured control of the English throne, William encouraged a number of Jewish financiers, most notably the Machado and Pereire families, to move to London where they financed William's effort to form a military coalition against Louis XIV.

{p. 17} In the less heavily urbanized and commercialized European periphery, the savings of Jewish merchants and traders represented one of the few sources of liquid capital. Jewish financiers could mobilize this capital and provide monarchs with loans to underwrite war making and state building. Thus, in Central Europe, so-called Court Jews served as administrators, financiers, and military provisioners. The Hapsburg emperors of Austria relied upon Jews for these purposes from the late sixteenth century and, in return, provided Jews with protection from riots and pogroms. For example, when a mob attacked Frankfurt's Jewish quarter in 1614, Emperor Matthias moved forcefully against the rioters and hanged their leaders.

After the Thirty Years War broke out in 1618, the Hapsburg emperor, Ferdinand II, turned to financier Joseph Bassevi of Prague to finance the war effort. Bassevi was allied with the most powerful figure at the imperial court, Prince Liechtenstein, and with General Wallenstein, commander of the imperial armies. In exchange for loans to finance the war, Emperor Ferdinand leased the imperial mint to Bassevi, Liechtenstein, and Wallenstein. The three men recouped their investment by debasing the coinage. Bassevi also established a network through which to supply the imperial arrnies with food, fodder, arms, and ammunition. During and after the Thirty Years War, virtually all the major states in Central Europe and Scandinavia found it necessary to make use of the resources and talents of Jews to compete with their rivals. The Hohenzollern rulers of Prussia relied initially upon Israel Aaron and then upon the Gomperz family. The Behrends served the court of Hanover and the Lehmans Saxony, while the Fuersts served Schleswig-Holstein, Mecklenberg, and Holstein-Gottorp. The Danish royal family employed the Goldschmidts, while Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden relied upon Jewish contractors to provision his army.

Jews continued to serve absolutist states in these ways through the nineteenth century. The most prominent of these Jews, of course, was the Rothschild family whose name came to be synonymous with international finance. The founder of the dynasty, Mayer Amschel Rothschild of Frankfurt, was the chief financial agent for William IX, elector of Hesse-Cassel. During and after the Napoleonic wars, Mayer dispatched his sons to the major financial capitols of Europe - London, Paris, Vienna, and Naples. Nathan Rothschild, who headed the London branch of the family, saved William IX's fortune by investing it in England and served the British government by transferring millions of pounds in gold to the British army in Spain.

In the decades after the war, governments became increasingly

{p. 18} dependent upon foreign borrowing - an activity that the Rothschilds came to dominate. Between 1818 and 1832, Nathan Rothschild handled 39% of the loans floated in London by such governments as Austria, Russia and France. Similarly, the Vienna and Paris branches of the family raised money and sold bonds for the Hapsburgs, Bourbons, Orleanists, and Bonaparts. By mid-century, the entire European state system was dependent upon the international financial network dominated by the Rothschilds.

In the 1860s and 1870s, another Jewish financier, Baron Gerson von Bleichroeder, was a principal figure in the creation of a united German state. Bleichroeder helped Bismarck obtain loans for the war against Austria after the chancellor failed to secure financing from the Prussian parliament. Subsequently, Bismarck entrusted Bleichroeder with negotiating the indemnity to be paid by France after its defeat in the Franco-Prussian War in 1871 (on the French side, negotiations were conducted by the Rothschilds). During Bismarck's tenure as chancellor of a united Germany, Bleichroeder continued to serve as his chief confidente and fiscal advisor.

Absolutist regimes provided a small number of Jews with the opportunity to exercise considerable power and acquire great wealth. Liberals in the nineteenth century, by contrast, advocated legal equality and national citizenship for all Jews, holding out the promise of economic opportunity for broad segments of the Jewish community. As a result, Jews supported liberal movements everywhere and benefited from their success. Where liberal forces were strongest - in France, Britain, and, of course, the United States - this Jewish support was not critical to liberalism's success. Jewish participation, however, was important in Southern and Central Europe where liberal movements faced their greatest obstacles.

Jews in substantial numbers supported Mazzini's "Young Italy" movement and took part in the uprisings of the 1830s. In addition, Mazzini received considerable financial aid from the Jewish banking firm of Todros in Turin. Subsequently, the Jewish banking houses of Rothschild, Bendi, and Tedesco financed Cavour's efforts to unify Italy. Jews were also important in Cavour's inner circle, serving as publicists for his cause and members of his cabinets. From early in his career, Cavour was a staunch advocate of Jewish emancipation.

Significant numbers of Jews participated in the liberal revolutions of 1848 in central Europe. In Germany, Jews fought at the barricades in Berlin and helped to lead the Prussian national assembly and

{p. 19} Frankfurt parliament. Such intellectuals as Heinrich Heine and Ludwig Borne were major publicists and propagandists for the liberal cause. In Austria, Jews participated in the Vienna uprising and helped to formulate a new liberal constitution. In Hungary, 20,000 Jews enlisted in the national army formed by Louis Kossuth. The constitutions of most of the liberal regimes established in 1848 provided for emancipation of the Jews. After these regimes were overthrown by conservative forces, however, many of the Jews' new privileges were rescinded. Central European Jews continued to support liberal movements even after the revolutions of 1848 were defeated. In the 1860s and 1870s Austrian and German rulers were compelled to make concessions to liberal forces, and Jewish disabilities were removed as they had been earlier in France and Britain when liberal regimes were consolidated in those countries.

If the distinctive contribution of Jews to the construction of absolutist states lay in the realm of finance and military provisioning, their characteristic role in the development of liberal regimes was in the domain of political mobilization and opinion formation. Liberal regimes removed religious disabilities and opened up opportunities for Jews in business and the professions. This cleared the way for a great expansion of the Jewish business class and fostered the emergence of an important urban Jewish stratum consisting of lawyers, journalists, writers, physicians, and other professionals. These businessmen and professionals became important figures in the popular politics of the liberal era as publishers, editors, writers, politicians, political organizers, and party financiers. In these capacities, Jews were staunch supporters of the liberal state and important allies for those leaders who sought to strengthen it.

In France, Jews supported the liberal revolution of 1848. Two prominent Jews, Adolphe Cremieux and Michel Goudchaux, served the Second Republic as ministers of justice and finance, respectively. The accession of Napoleon III brought an end to this short-lived regime, and Jews played little role in the Second Empire that followed. After the rout of French forces in the Franco-Prussian War and the collapse of the Second Empire in 1870, Jews were active in the founding of the Third Republic. The Rothschilds organized the payment of the German war indemnity, and a number of Jews participated in the early republican governments. Cremieux once again served as minister of justice; Eugene Manuel, Narcisse Leven, and Leonce Lehmann occupied important government posts; and several Jews served in the Chamber of Deputies. Throughout the history of the Third Republic, until its destruction at the hands of the Germans

{p. 20} in 1940, Jewish politicians, financiers, and publicists were active participants in the defense of the Republic against those institutions and forces in French society - the army, aristocracy, and clergy in particular - that sought its downfall.

A small number of Jewish financiers had become wealthy during the period of the Second Empire. On the whole, however, most French Jews lived in relative poverty in Alsace prior to the 1870s. With Germany's annexation of Alsace in 1870, thousands of Jews moved to Paris. Under the auspices of the Third Republic economic opportunities opened to Jews, and they used these to make significant places for themselves in banking, commerce, and the professions.

Between the Franco-Prussian War and the First World War, Paris was a major international banking and financial center, and Jews were among the dominant figures in French finance. In the late nineteenth century, roughly one-third of all Paris bankers were Jews. Among the most prominent were the Rothschilds, the Camondos, the Leoninos, and such financiers as Bamberger, Reinach, Stern, Deutsch, Heine, Ephrussi, Goudchaux, Lippmann, Pereire, and Bischoffsheim.

These bankers were heavily involved with the development of railroads and industry within France and also loaned large amounts of money abroad, especially in the Middle East and North Africa. Their clients included the rulers of Egypt, Tunis, Turkey, and Morocco. Louis-Raphael Bischoffsheim, a prominent Jewish banker, was typical of this group. He financed a number of railways in the south of France as well as provided funding for both governments and private ventures in North Africa. He served as a director of the Banque des Pay-Bas, the Credit Foncier Colonial, the Franco-Egyptian Bank, and the Societe du Prince Imperial.

Similarly, the financiers Emile and Isaac Pereire founded the Credit Mobilier, one of the first investment banks in France. Isaac's son Eugene, also a banker, developed railroads in the Midi {sic} and in Spain. Isaac Pereire had interests in the Middle East as well, and at one point he served as France's honorary consul in Persia. Isaac Camondo, whose father immigrated from Turkey, was a major figure in French industrial development, serving as head of the Banque de Paris et des Pays-Bas as well as president of a number of railroad, natural gas, and cement companies.

Jews were very active in the political life of the Third Republic. Before the First World War, they were most closely identified with

{p. 21} Leon Gambetta's liberal "Opportunist" faction of the Radical Republican party. Prominent Jewish Gambettists included Cremieux, Leven, and Lehmann as well as Isaie Levaillant, Edouard Millaud, Joseph Reinach, and David Raynal. Cremieux was Gambetta's first political mentor; Reinach was the owner and editor of the Gambettist newspaper. Jews figured so prominently in the Gambettist faction that its opponents often charged that Gambetta himself must be a Jew. After Gambetta's death, Jews continued to be closely aligned with his most prominent political heir, Jules Ferry.

Early in his career, Gambetta had been something of an economic radical. By the late 1870s and 1880s, however, the Gambettists had come to be identified with a probusiness position similar to that of American Republicans during the same period. In addition, the Gambettists were the chief proponents of anticlerical legislation and, especially under Ferry's leadership, pursued a policy of French imperial expansion in Africa, the Near East, and Asia.

These positions were congenial to the interests of French Jews. The Gambettists' anticlerical legislation reduced the political power of the Catholic church, an institution that by definition excluded Jews. Jewish businessmen welcomed the Gambettists' program for promoting domestic economic development, which included a protective tariff, tax incentives, and support for railroad construction. Gambettist colonial policy served the interests of those who sought protection for the investments in North Africa and the Near East.

Through their political activities, Jews helped to strengthen the liberal state vis-a-vis its opponents. In particular, Jews threw their weight behind the anticlerical campaign, thus helping to undermine the power of a leading bastion of opposition to the Republic. In alliance with the army, the aristocracy, and the administrative corps, the Catholic church opposed the Republic and sought the restoration of a monarchy.

The church's control of the nation's educational system made it an especially important member of this alliance. Thus, from the perspective of republican forces, it was critically important to strip the church of its educational functions. Joseph Reinach, Alfred Naquet, and Georges Mandel, along with other Jewish politicians and journalists, played a leading role in the republican anticlerical campaign. Jews helped to formulate the educational program of the Ferry government which, in 1882, broke the church's educational monopoly by establishing a system of free primary schools where religious instruction was forbidden. This reform of the educational system, fol-

{p. 22} lowed in 1884 by the Ferry government's enactment of a law permitting divorce, was seen as a major blow against the political power of the Catholic church and, hence, the entire antirepublican coalition.

In Britain, Jews did not figure in the creation of the liberal state. However, Jewish politicians, publishers, and financiers helped to strengthen the liberal regime and expand its popular base between the Crimean War and the First World War. During the mid- and late nineteenth centuries, British Jews achieved considerable wealth, status, and political influence. The Rothschilds were one of the two most important banking families in Britain. Other important Jewish financiers included the Sassoons, the Cassels, the de Hirsch family, and the Semons. By the First World War, though Jews constituted only 1% of the total population of Britain, 23% of Britain's nonlanded millionaires were of Jewish origin.

In the middle decades of the nineteenth century, Jews also came to be a major factor in British journalism. The Reuters News Agency, founded by Paul Julius Reuter (whose name was originally Israel Beer Josaphat) in 1848, was the chief purveyor of information on world events to the entire British press and, at times, the government as well. The Sassoons owned and edited the Sunday Times, Harry Marks founded the Financial Times, and Sir Alfred Mond controlled the English Review. Jews were especially important in the popular press. The Daily Telegraph, controlled by the Levy Lawson family, was London's first penny newspaper and, in the 1870s, had a circulation of just under 200,000. The Telegraph appealed mainly to a lower-middle- and working-class audience and specialized in sensational coverage of both domestic and foreign events. Harry Oppenheim had a major interest in another mass circulation daily, the London Daily News. Sir Alfred Mond published the Westminster Gazette, a paper that provided its popular audience with dramatic coverage of the exploits of British military forces in the far-flung reaches of the empire.

During the same period of time, a number of Jews served as members of Parliament and rose to positions of considerable influence in the British government. Obviously, the most notable example is Benjamin Disraeli, a converted Jew who served twice as prime minister between 1868 and 1880, and along with William Gladstone was the dominant figure in British politics in the late nineteenth century. Other prominent Jewish politicians in the pre-World War I era include G. J. Goschen, who served as chancellor of the exchecquer from 1887 to 1892; Farrer Herschell, who was lord chancellor in 1886 and again in 1892-1895; Sir George Jessel, solicitor general from 1871 to 1873; Rufus Isaccs, who served as solicitor general in

{p. 23} 1910, attorney general from 1910 to 1913, and lord chief justice in 1913; and Edwin Samuel Montagu, who served as under-secretary of state for India.

These Jewish political and business elites helped to consolidate the liberal regime in Britain by reconciling conservative forces to democratic politics and by expanding the resources and popular base of the British state. The key figure in this process was Benjamin Disraeli. Disraeli helped develop the techniques of party management and electioneering that ultimately restored the competitiveness of the Conservative party in the aftermath of the expansion of the suffrage in 1832. Moreover, Disraeli himself engineered a further expansion of the suffrage in 1867 that brought portions of the lower-middle and upper working classes into the national electorate. By showing Conservatives how to win in this new political universe, he cemented their attachment to the liberal state.

In addition, Disraeli helped to fashion an imperialist program that, in the latter decades of the nineteenth century, bound together the aristocracy and the military and administrative establishments with segments of the financial community, the press, and the middle class in a coalition that would support his efforts to strengthen the British state. The Disraeli government's policy of imperial expansion in India, the Middle East, and Africa yielded important political and economic benefits for the participants in this coalition. The aristocracy, the military, and the administrative elite secured positions of influence and control over a larger share of the nation's resources. At the same time, for members of the middle class lacking family and social connections, the work of building and administering the empire offered career opportunities often superior to those available at home. These benefits provided the members of the imperialist coalition with strong reasons to favor expansion of the British state's scope, sweep, and power.

Jewish financiers and newspaper publishers were important participants in this coalition. In the late nineteenth century, more than one-fourth of all British capital was invested overseas. Long-established financial interests invested primarily in North America and Australia where property owners could rely upon the protection of local laws and authorities. Newer banking houses, a number of them Jewish, were more heavily invested in the Middle East, India, Asia, and Africa where local laws and authorities offered little security for foreign property. Here, British investors had to depend upon the protection of their own government and its military forces. This dependence gave Jewish financiers a stake in the creation of a strong

{p. 24} national government able and willing to project its power throughout the world.

Jewish financial and business interests were important participants in the imperialist enterprise. For example, the Indian railroad network that the Sassoons helped to finance was closely integrated into the imperial administration, and Julius Reuter's wire service functioned as the command and control mechanism of the colonial government. Upon occasion, the British government also turned to Jewish banking houses to finance imperial expansion. Disraeli's purchase of the Suez Canal in 1878, for example, was made possible by Henry Oppenheim's extensive contacts in Egypt and a four million pound loan from Lionel Rothschild. The role played by Jewish capital in the creation of Britain's nineteenth-century empire was not lost on its critics. In his classic work, which became the basis of Lenin's theory of imperialism, J. A. Hobson argued that "men of a single and peculiar race, who have behind them centuries of financial experience," formed "the central ganglion of international capitalism."

This theme also was prominent in the work of Goldwyn Smith, a noted scholar and opponent of Disraeli's imperialist policies. Smith frequently charged that the Disraeli government's foreign policies were motivated more by Jewish than British interests. He often extended his attacks to Jews in general, claiming that no Jew could be a true Englishman or patriot. Indeed, Smith asserted that Jewish emancipation had itself been a tragic error. Eventually, Smith left England - refusing to be governed by a Jew - and joined the faculty of the newly established Cornell University in rural New York. Today, one of Cornell's major buildings honors Smith's memory, and excerpts from his writings and speeches are reprinted often in official university publications.

For its part, the Jewish-owned popular press worked to rally public support for the government's imperialist endeavors. The press depicted the conquest and subjugation of foreign territories as a great adventure. Generals like Kitchener and Gordon were portrayed as heroic ligures. Journalists captured the popular imagination with accounts of the exploits of British forces in faraway lands. The Westminster Gazette's vivid depiction of a minor British military expedition in the Sudan is typical:

{quote} A large number of the Tommies had never been under fire before ... and there was a curious look of suppressed excitement in some of the faces ... Now and then I caught in a man's eye the curious gleam which comes from shedding blood - that mysterious impulse which, despite all the veneer of

{p. 25} civilization, still holds its own in man's nature, whether he is killing rats with a terrier, rejoicing in a prize fight, playing a salmon or potting dervishes. It was a fine day and we were out to kill something. Call it what you like, the experience is a big factor in the joy of living. {endquote}

The Reuters news service was particularly important in popularizing imperialism. Reuter's specialized in the collection and dissemination of news from the furthest outposts of the empire. Its dispatches, upon which all British newspapers came to rely, emphasized the positive, "civilizing" aspects of British colonial administration and military campaigns. The steady diet of campaigns, battles, and raids in Reuter's dispatches, along with news of the more mundane details of colonial rule, maintained popular interest in the empire and made it an accepted part of British life. The press benefited in a direct way from its coverage of these matters. The British popular press, like its American counterpart during the Spanish-American War, discovered that exciting tales of empire building gave an enormous boost to circulation and revenues.

Jews also played a major role in German liberalism. Before the First World War, though Jews comprised barely 1% of the German population, they constituted a major segment of the bourgeoisie and an important base of support for liberals. Jews had been particularly important in the liberal press. Two of the most important liberal newspapers, the National-Zeitung of Berlin and the Frankfurter Zeitung, were owned and edited by Jews. Of the twenty-one daily newspapers published in Berlin during the 1870s, thirteen were owned by Jews and four had important Jewish contributors. All three newspapers specializing in political satire were controlled by Jews.

In the aftermath of World War I, Jews strongly supported the creation of the liberal Weimar Republic. Indeed, a Jewish socialist, Hugo Preuss who served as minister of the interior in the provisional government established after the collapse of the monarchy, was primarily responsible for drafting the Weimar constitution. Throughout the life of the Weimar regime, Jewish businessmen, journalists, and politicians were among its most active and ardent supporters.

Through their commercial and banking activities, Jews contributed to the substantial economic development and reconstruction that took place during the Weimar era. Jewish firms accounted for nearly 80% of the business done by department and chain stores, 40% of Germany's wholesale textile firms, and 60% of all wholesale and retail clothing businesses. Almost half of all private banks were owned by Jews, as were the largest and most successful of the credit

{p. 26} banks. The most important was the DD bank, formed from the merger between Arthur Salomonsohn's DiscontoGesellschaft and the Deutsche Bank. The DD bank helped to revive and rebuild Germany's heavy industry and merchant navy after World War I. The equally important Dresdner Bank was directed by Eugen Gutmann until his death in 1925 and then by Henry Nathan. The Darmstadter and Nationalbank, directed by Jakob Goldschmidt, was largely responsible for obtaining major loans of working capital for German industry Irom Holland, Sweden, and the United States.

In a continuation of the pre-World War I pattern, Jews were influential in the liberal press of the Weimar Republic. Three of the nation's most important liberal newspapers, the Berliner Tageblatt, the Vossiche Zeitung, and the Frankfurter Zeitung were owned by Jews. Jews also owned the two largest publishing houses in Germany, the Ullstein and Mosse concerns, as well as many smaller publishing firms.

In addition, Jews were extremely important in the professional, intellectual, and cultural life of Weimar Germany. Approximately 11% of Germany's physicians and 16% of its lawyers were Jews. Jewish academics, intellectuals, and artists were the leading figures in German theater, literature, music, art, architecture, science, and philosophy during the Weimar era. Jews were also the most influential critics of drama, art, music, and books as well as the owners of the most important art galleries and theaters.

Their central place in the economy and cultural life of Weimar Germany gave Jews a major stake in the liberal regime. The commitment of the Jews to this regime was, of course, greatly increased by the rise of the Nazis and other anti-Semitic movements seeking to overthrow the Weimar Republic. The virulent anti-Semitism of these groups provided Jews with a very strong incentive to fight for the survival of the Republic.

Although Jews had participated in the creation of the German Communist party (KPD), the overwhelming majority of German Jews backed parties and politicians who supported the Republic against its enemies on both the left and right. Most Jewish voters identified with the moderate Democratic party. A smaller number belonged to the Social Democratic party (SPD) which had largely abandoned its more radical prewar stance and given its support to the liberal regime. Many important Jewish politicians were liberals independent of party ties. These included Walter Rathenau, minister of the interior who was assassinated by right-wing extremists in

{p. 27} 1922, and Curt Joel, the leading figure in the Reich ministry of justice from 1920 to 1931.

Because Jews constituted only 1% of Germany's population, their electoral weight was slight. Jews, however, were important financial contributors to liberal parties, and the political influence of the Jewish legal establishment, press, publishing industry, and other media was substantial. Jews were a major source of financial support for liberal parties including the Center, Democratic, and Social Democratic parties as well as the Bavarian People's party. As the militancy of the Nazis and other anti-Semitic parties on the political right grew after 1930, Jews also helped to fund the paramilitary "Reichsbanner" units formed by the Social Democrats to defend against violent attacks from right-wing thugs and paramilitary groups.

The Jewish legal establishment, too, played a role in opposing right-wing opponents of the Weimar Republic. Politicians of the right specialized in arousing their followers with inflammatory speeches that often provoked violent action. Lawyers funded by the Jewish Centralverein adopted the tactic of pressing charges of disorderly conduct or slander against such speakers and their followers. As a result of this technique, a number of prominent right-wing politicians, including Julius Streicher, Gregor Strasser, and Pastor Munchmeyer, were compelled to pay fines or serve short jail terms.

Jewish journalists, writers, dramatists, and intellectuals were among the most determined opponents of the institutions and forces associated with the antirepublican political right. Writers like Kurt Tucholsky and Ernst Toller enraged conservative opinion by mounting fierce attacks on the Junkers and the army - the twin pillars of the old regime. Similarly, Jewish journalists were relentless in their criticism of the right-wing political parties and politicians that emerged after the war. In the end, of course, the exertions of the Jews on its behalf were not sufficient to save the Weimar regime. As we shall see, moreover, their strong identification with and defense of Weimar helped to make the Jews a more inviting target for the Republic's foes.

Jews and the Communist State

In Western Europe, middle- and upper-class Jews gave their support to liberal states that provided them with equality before the law, the right to participate in politics, professional opportunities, and protection for their investments. In nineteenth-century Eastern Europe, however, most Jews lived in poverty and faced a constant

{p. 28} threat of violence from their neighbors and, often, from the authorities as well. Socialist movements spoke most directly to their concerns. They held out the hope of a state that would improve the economic conditions of the Jews and protect them from violence. Jewish subjects of the Russian and Austro-Hungarian empires were a major base of support for socialism. When millions emigrated to Central and Western Europe and the United States at the turn of the century, they often carried their socialist commitments with them.

In addition to the Jewish proletariat, middle-class Jewish intellectuals were often drawn to socialism. Particularly in Central Europe, many Jewish university graduates found that their career opportunities were not commensurate with their educational qualifications. In Germany, Jewish students were able to gain access to higher education; indeed, the proportion of the population attending universities was far greater among Jews than any other group. In Prussia, the largest German state, the proportion of Jews receiving university educations was ten times greater than the percentage of Protestants and Catholics. At the same time, however, Jewish university graduates were effectively barred from the civil service careers that attracted many of their fellow students.

Those Jews who sought to pursue academic careers found that their opportunities to attain secure professorial appointments were limited by the anti-Semitism that pervaded German universities. Before the First World War, nearly 20% of the part-time and temporary teaching staff at German universities were of Jewish origin. However, less than 7% of the full professors were Jews. At the most prestigious university, Berlin, there was not a single Jewish full professor. Examples of the difficulties faced by Jewish scholars are numerous. Georg Simmel, one of Germany's most brilliant sociologists and philosophers, was not awarded a full professorship at the University of Strassburg until four years before his death at the age of sixty. Similarly, Ernst Cassirer, Germany's leading neo-Kantian philosopher, could only secure a professorship at the new and struggling University of Hamburg.

This lack of appropriate career opportunities often bred alienation among Jewish intellectuals and encouraged them to imagine a social and political order that allowed fuller play for their talents. As a result, members of the Jewish intelligentsia figured prominently, both as theoreticians and activists, in socialist and communist movements. For their part, such movements found that Jews' intellectual skills rnade them useful propagandists and organizers. Thus, in the

{p. 29} late nineteenth century, Jewish intellectuals came to be a major element within the leadership of left-wing parties and movements.

In pre-World War I Germany, for example, Jews were extremely important in the Socialist party. The SPD was founded by a Jew, Ferdinand Lasalle, and Jews, including such individuals as Eduard Bernstein and Otto Landsberg, were among the party's most prominent parliamentary leaders. In addition, the party's leading journalists were Jews as were its most notable theorists - Bernstein, Adolf Braun, and Simon Katzenstein; its leading expert on municipal administration was a Jew, as was its expert on electoral law and its chief youth organizer, Ludwig Frank.

Socialists dominated the provisional government established in Germany in the immediate aftermath of World War I. Two of this government's six cabinet members, Otto Landsberg and Hugo Haase, were Jews. Other Jewish Socialists also played important roles during this period. Kurt Eisner was prime minister of Bavaria in 1918-1919. Georg Gradnauer was prime minister of Saxony from 1919 to 1921. In Prussia, Paul Hirsch served as prime minister from 1918 to 1920 and Kurt Rosenfeld as minister of justice in 1918. As noted earlier, Hugo Preuss formulated the Weimar constitution and served as minister of the interior. After the creation of the Weimar Republic, Jews continued to play important roles in the leadership of the SPD. About 10% of the party's Reichstag deputies were Jews, including Rudolph Hilferding, who was minister of finance in 1923 and from 1928 to 1930.

Among the most vehement opponents of the Socialist provisional government was the German Communist party, whose leadership also included a number of Jews. In 1919, under the direction of party chief Paul Levi, the KPD staged a revolt against the Socialist provisional government. One of the most prominent leaders of this revolt was Rosa Luxemburg, who was later captured and murdered by rightist paramilitary forces. Jews were also among the leaders of the Communist government that the KPD briefly established in Bavaria after the murder of Kurt Eisner. Eugen Levine was head of the short-lived Bavarian Soviet Republic, Gustav Landauer was its commissar for propaganda and cultural affairs, and Ernst Toller commanded its "red army." This regime was crushed in May 1919 by free corps forces.

Jews were also important in Socialist and Communist movements in a number of other nations including Britain, France, the United States, and most of the nations of East Central Europe. In Hungary,

{p. 30} for example, Jews were prominent in the prewar Socialist movement and in the "Galileo Circle," the center of Budapest student radicalism. The Hungarian Communist government established by Bela Kun in 1919 was dominated by Jews. Twenty of the regime's twenty-six ministers and vice-ministers were of Jewish origin. This government was overthrown after one hundred days by French-backed Rumanian forces.

In Russia a number of Jews, most notably Paul Axelrod and Lev Deutsch, were among the founders of the Social Democratic party in the 1890s. In addition, the Jewish Socialist Bund organized tens of thousands of workers in the Pale and played a major role in the unsuccessful 1905 revolution. During the period leading up to the 1917 Revolution, Jews were active in both the Menshevik and Bolshevik leaderships.

{Jews in Communist regimes  - early USSR}

After the Revolution, among the first official acts of the victorious Bolsheviks was outlawing the pogroms and anti-Semitic movements that Russian Jews had feared for centuries. In a radical break with the Russian past, moreover, the new regime provided Jews with the opportunity to participate fully in government and society. They quickly came to play a major role in the ruling Communist party and Soviet state. Jews were among the few supporters of the Revolution with even a modicum of education and literacy {what happened to the educated people of the old regime?}. Thus, they soon assumed positions of leadership in areas requiring such skills - foreign affairs, propaganda, finance, and administration.

Three of the six members of Lenin's first Politburo - Trotsky, Kamenev, and Zinoviev - were of Jewish origin. Trotsky, in addition was commissar of defense and organized and commanded the Red Army during the civil war that followed the October Revolution. Kamenev and Zinoviev became members of the triumvirate (along with Stalin) that ruled the Soviet Union immediately after Lenin's death in 1924. Other prominent Jews in the early Soviet government included Yakov Sverdlov, president of the Communist party central committee, Maxim Litvinov, commissar for foreign affairs, and Karl Radek, who served as press commissar. In subsequent years, Jews continued to play major roles throughout the Soviet state. Lazar Kaganovich, for example, was one of Stalin's chief aides, commissar of heavy industry during the Second World War, and a member of the Politburo.

If the distinctive contribution of Jews to the absolutist state was in the realm of finance, and their singular role in liberal regimes was the mobilization of opinion, the special contribution of the Jews to the Bolshevik state involved the organization of coercion. From the

{p. 31} beginning, the Soviet state relied heavily upon military, police, and security services to sustain itself, and Jews were active in these agencies. Like Sikhs and Gurkhas in British India, Jews had traditionally been at the margins of Russian society and, hence, prepared to staff and direct the coercive instruments upon which the state relied to control its citizens.

During the 1920s and 1930s, Jews were a major element in the secret police and other Soviet security forces. Genrikh Yagoda, for instance, served as chief of the secret police during the 1930s. Yagoda had been a pharmacist before the Revolution and specialized in preparing poisons for his agents to use in liquidating Stalin's opponents. Other high-ranking Jewish secret policemen included Matvei Berman and Naftali Frenkel who helped to expand and institutionalize the slave labor system. Slave laborers working under Frenkel's supervision built the White-Sea Baltic Canal in 1932. As many as 200,000 workers perished while completing this project. Another Jewish security officer, K. V. Pauker, served as chief of operations of the secret police in the 1930s. Lev Inzhir was chief accountant for the Gulag. M. T. Gay headed the special secret police department that conducted the purges of the 1930s. In what came to be called the "Great Terror," he supervised the mass arrests, trials, and executions of Stalin's opponents. Two other Jewish secret policemen, A. A. Slutsky and Boris Berman, were in charge of Soviet terror and espionage abroad during the 1930s. Jews were also important in the Red Army. In addition to Trotsky, prominent Jewish generals included Yona Yakir, who was a member of the Communist party central committee; Dmitri Schmidt, a civil war hero and commander of the Kiev area; and Yakob Kreiser, a hero of the defense of Moscow during the Second World War.

Another domain in which Jews were particularly visible was the Soviet cultural and propaganda apparatus. Semyon Lozovsky was deputy chief of the Soviet government's information bureau and chief Soviet press spokesman during World War II. Jews dominated the Soviet film industry, which Stalin viewed as an especially important propaganda instrument. Prominent Jews in the film industry included directors Sergei Eisenstein, Mikhail Romm, Mark Donsky, Leonid Lukov, and Yuli Reisman.

One important Soviet propaganda agency operated entirely by Jews, albeit under Stalin's overall direction, was the Jewish AntiFascist Committee (JAC), established during the Second World War to propagandize on behalf of Soviet causes. Leading members of the JAC included the famous actor-director Solomon Mikhoels, writer

{p.32} Ilya Ehrenberg, violinist David Oistrakh, and film director Eisenstein. The JAC helped to mold a positive image of the Soviet Union among American and Western European intellectuals. {for more about Jews in the USSR: scroll down to p. 53}

A third area in which Jews played a particularly noteworthy role was the governance of the Soviet Union's Eastern European satellites after World War II. Indigenous Jewish Communists provided the Soviets with a useful leadership cadre in Czechoslovakia, Poland, East Germany, and Hungary. Many of these individuals had received training in Russia, survived the war years in the Soviet Union or with Soviet-sponsored partisan forces and, as a result, had strong ties to the USSR. A typical case was Hirsch Smolar, an important postwar Communist party leader. Smolar had been born in Poland, was trained in Moscow as a Communist party agitator, and sent to Poland in 1936 to organize underground party cells. During the war, Smolar fought against the Germans as a member of a Soviet-sponsored partisan unit. With the defeat of the Germans, he returned to Moscow but was soon dispatched to Warsaw to assist in consolidating Soviet rule. Smolar was active in organizing the Polish Worker's party and directed the Central Jewish Committee, through which the Communist party sought to dominate the Jewish community.

As in Russia, the social marginality of Eastern European Jews made them useful instruments for the imposition of Soviet rule over reluctant populations during the postwar period. Jews were, on the one hand, willing to organize and administer unpopular programs. At the same time, because Jews were often shunned by the local populace and dependent upon Soviet power for their positions and even personal safety, they could be trusted to remain loyal to the Soviet Union.

Czechoslovakia provides a notable example of the prominence of Jews in Eastern European regimes after World War II. Fewer than twenty thousand Czech Jews, out of a prewar community of several hundred thousand, had survived Nazi extermination camps. Despite these small numbers, however, Jews were a major force in the Czech Communist regime. Rudolph Slansky was secretary general of the Czech Communist party. Within the government, Jews effectively ran the ministries in charge of foreign affairs, foreign trade, planning, and propaganda.

Similarly, in Hungary, Mathias Rakosi served as head of the Communist party while General Peter Gabor commanded the secret police. In addition, Joseph Revai served as minister of culture and chief Communist party propagandist while other Jews headed the state planning office, the ministry controlling industry and commerce, and

{p. 33} Radio Hungary. Similar situations prevailed in Romania, where from 1947 until 1952 Ana Pauker served as Communist party secretary and minister of foreign affairs, and in Poland and East Germany as well.

The role played by Jews in the governments of the Soviet satellites after World War II is one reason that during the 1980s and 1990s, in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union, anti-Semitic sentiments were often voiced by nationalist forces in these countries. By the 1980s, hardly any Jews remained in Eastern Europe, so this outburst of hatred was often labeled "anti-Semitism without Jews." Nationalists, however, were appealing the continuing memory of Jewish association with the Soviets. Of course, in large measure, Jews had been associated with the Soviets because of the brutal treatment they had previously received from their own countrymen.

Anti- Semitism

Historically, alliances between Jews and states or state-building movements have been the chief catalyts for organized anti-Semitism. Typically, of course, anti-Semitic campaigns proceed from a mixture of motives. Pure hatred of Jews obviously is one important animus for the participants in anti-Semitic groups and movements. However, as was noted earlier, in societies where an anti-Semitic politics becomes important, usually more is involved than simple dislike of Jews. Anti-Semitism, as we shall see, has an important instrumental aspect.

There are three circumstances under which anti-Semitism is likely to become an important political factor. First, political forces that oppose a state in which Jews are prominent may seek to undermine the regime and its supporters by attacking its Jewish backers and depicting the government as the puppet of an alien group. Typically, in this circumstance, anti-Semitic appeals are used to create what might be termed coalitions of the top and bottom. In the modern world, these are associated with Nazism, but in early modern Europe they were sometimes associated with efforts by the church or aristocracy to rally popular support against the crown. They are used by forces that attempt to mobilize the masses while avoiding threats to the interests and property of elite strata. Thus, anti-Semitic ideologies are typically espoused either by radical populists who court elite support or by a segment of the upper class seeking to arouse and mobilize a mass base for an assault on the established order.

{p. 52} tions in the civil service or to be considered Mischlinge and subject to a number of disabilities.

The eagerness of such Germans to upgrade their status led to the creation of a new occupation, that of Sippenforscher, or genealogical researcher specializing in helping individuals prove their Aryan descent. Fortunate Mischlinge might be able to secure reclassifications, or "liberations," thus enhancing their career opportunities while diminishing their fear that the regime might one day decide to consider them Jews.

Moreover, millions of other Germans with no discernible Jewish ancestry had past or present social, business, professional, and romantic relationships with Jews that could bring them to the attention of the authorities. Often, Germans could be denounced to the Gestapo by their enemies, hostile neighbors, or business rivals for such associations, especially if they involved violations of the laws against sexual relationships with Jews. Thus, through its racial policies, the Nazi regime politicized sexual and personal relationships. In this way, as in fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Spain, the campaign against the Jews not only reinforced the Nazis' hold on the German state but also strengthened the Nazi state's grip upon German society.

Ultimately, the use of anti-Semitism as a state-building tool, and its incorporation into the fabric of the Nazi state, made the European Holocaust possible. In the context of a European welfare state, agencies and officials are rewarded for developing more effective ways of providing services to their clients. Similarly, in the context of a state whose construction was so dependent upon and legitimated by the need to solve the "Jewish problem," state agencies and bureaucratic officials could make their marks and enhance their power, status, and claims upon state resources by developing and perfecting means of ridding first Germany, and then the territories conquered by Germany, of the source of this problem. It is an indication of the efficiency of the German state that it very nearly succeeded in this endeavor.


On a number of occasions in Europe and the Middle East, antiSemitic campaigns have been used by political forces that had been allied with Jews to drive them from the leadership of states and regimes they had helped to build. This may come about when the programs and policies of a regime linked to Jews spark political opposition - especially opposition tinged with anti-Semitism. In response, a government may seek to deflect the assault by distancing

{p. 53} itself from the Jews or even joining in the attack upon their erstwhile Jewish confederates.

As we have seen, this occurred in Hungary between the First and Second World Wars. Before 1917, Jews had been closely allied with the Magyar gentry. However, during the interwar years, the Magyar elite's stake in this alliance diminished and the former allies of the Jews acquiesced in the anti-Semitic campaign launched by the forces of the radical right when this began to pose a threat to the regime. In a similar vein, the non-Jewish members of a governing coalition may endeavor to jettison or subordinate their Jewish colleagues in order to enhance their own power and to make room for cadres with stronger roots in civil society who can help the regime consolidate and stabilize its authority.

{Jews in communist regimes  - the Stalinist period}

Stalinist Russia is a notable example of a regime that had been closely identified with Jews, whose non-Jewish leadership turned to anti-Semitism to deflect opposition, subordinate its Jewish allies, and forge new alliances that would help it to consolidate its power. As we saw earlier, in the aftermath of the Bolshevik revolution, Jews played an extremely prominent role in the Soviet regime. During the struggles that followed Lenin's death in 1924, however, anti-Semitic appeals to the Communist Party's rank and file were among the weapons used by Stalin to defeat Trotsky, Zinoviev, and Kamenev and seize the party's leadership.

{Stalin being the only non-Jew among them; but since Marx's theory did not mention that Jews would rule under Communism, Stalin might be more true to Marx - were the others really Zionists of a sort? In 1946, the Baruch Plan for World Government was presented to Stalin, drafted by American Jews. Might a Jewish-led USSR have accepted such a plan? Terrible though Stalin was, he foiled one of the most dangerous plots in history}

Indeed, much of the invective used by Stalin in the intraparty battles of this period was designed to appeal to anti-Semitic sentiment inside and outside the party. For example, the label, "left oppositionist," used by Stalin to castigate his enemies, was a euphemism for Jew. In a similar vein, Stalin's advocacy of the doctrine of "socialism in one country" was partly designed to limit the influence of foreign Jewish Communists who often had ties to Jewish Communists in the Soviet Union itself.

During the 1930s, Stalin moved to consolidate his power by intimidating or eliminating all potential sources of opposition within the Communist party, the army, the secret police, and the administrative apparatus. Jews exercised a great deal of influence within all these institutions and, as a result, formed the largest and most important group of victims of the Stalinist purges. Jews consituted about 500,000 of the ten-million purge victims of the 1930s and comprised a majority of the politically most prominent victims.

In a series of show trials, during this period, the key Jewish officials of the Communist party and Soviet state were accused of plotting against the revolution and were systematically killed. These included Kamenev, Zinoviev, Radek, and Rykov. Important Jewish

{p. 54} military commanders such as Yakir and Schmidt were also liquidated. The secret police forces used to implement these purges often were led by Jews who were killed in their turn, until the influence of Jews within the secret police was substantially diminished. Those liquidated included Yagoda, Pauker, Slutsky, and the Berman brothers.

Given the paucity of other educated individuals, the Soviet regime was compelled to continue to rely upon the talents of Jews in the party and the state bureaucracy. Their influence in the Soviet hierarchy, however, had been greatly reduced. Stalin's purges continued during the 1940s. At the 1941 party conference, for example, Litvinov and Antselovich were demoted from full to candidate membership on the Communist party Central Committee, while G. D. Vainberg and Molotov's wife, Zhemchuzhina, were expelled altogether. In 1939, Jews had comprised 10% of the membership on the Central Committee. A decade later, they constituted barely 2% of the committee's members. This not only gave Stalin total control of the Communist party apparatus but also allowed the regime to broaden its political base by increasing the representation of other nationality groups in the party leadership.

During the Second World War, Jews played prominent roles in the Soviet government, particularly in the realms of propaganda and foreign relations. After the war, however, the regime was confronted with an upsurge of popular anti-Semitism, most notably in areas that had been occupied by the Germans. The populations of these areas, who had often cooperated with the Nazis, feared that returning Jews would seek restoration of their homes, property, and positions. Nationalist movements, particularly in the Ukraine and Lithuania sought to exploit this popular anti-Semitism to attack the Soviet regime.

Stalin, who disliked and distrusted the Jews, reponded to the nationalist threat by embarking on a new anti-Semitic campaign of his own. The Soviet press began to impugn the loyalty of Jews and to suggest that they might betray the socialist motherland. A number of the leading figures of the wartime Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee (JAC) were accused of plotting to transform the Crimea into a Zionist republic to serve as a base for American imperialism. Shlomo Mikhoels, head of the JAC and director of the Moscow State Yiddish Theater was murdered by the KGB in January 1948. By the early 1950s, Jews had been effectively barred from the Soviet foreign service, from foreign trade institutes, from positions of military command, and from senior positions in the bureaucracy as well as from positions of leadership within the party itself. The positions formerly

{p. 55} held by Jews were given not only to Russians but also to members of minority nationality groups as part of the regime's effort to curb nationalist opposition and expand its political base.

Because Jews constituted the best educated and most talented group in the Soviet populace, the regime could not completely dispense with their services in the professions, in scientific research, or in the civil service. The government, however, relied upon a policy of intimidation to check Jewish influence. This was one factor behind the arrest of some of the Soviet Union's leading Jewish physicians in 1953. In the case of the so-called doctors' plot, a number of Moscow physicians were charged with conspiring with American intelligence services to destroy the Soviet leadership. Hundreds of other Jewish doctors throughout the USSR were dismissed from their posts. The accused physicians were saved from execution only by Stalin's sudden death.

{Stalin was murdered, soon after the Doctors' Plot arose: death-of-stalin.html}

After Stalin's demise, the Soviet regime continued its efforts to placate the nation's various nationality groups by increasing their representation in the civil service, the professions, and in institutions of h;gher education. This was often accomplished at the expense of Jews who were progressively relegated to marginal positions in the bureaucracy, the educational system, and the economy. By the 1960s, Jews exercised little power in the Soviet regime.

A similar sequence of events occurred in the Soviet Union's Eastern European satellites. As indicated above, in the aftermath of World War II, Jews played major roles in the puppet governments established by the Soviets in Czechoslovakia, Poland, East Germany, Hungary, and Romania. This prominent Jewish presence allowed nationalist and religious forces to use anti-Semitic appeals to mobilize popular opposition to Communist rule in these nations. For example, in Czechoslovakia, underground anti-Communist groups pointed to the "tremendous influence" of Jews in the Communist party and government. In Poland, the Catholic church fostered antiSemitism as part of its struggle against the Communist regime. In 1946, for instance, Cardinal Hlond, the Catholic primate of Poland, averred that "animosities" caused by "Jews in the government" were the cause of a pogrom in the city of Kielce.

During the early 1950s, to combat its nationalist opponents and solidify its hold on Eastern Europe, the Soviet Union systematically purged Jewish Communists from their positions of power in the satellites. In Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, and Romania, Jews were replaced by local cadres who had better ties to the dominant nationality groups within each country. Thus, in 1950 and 1951,

{p. 56} virtually all Jewish Communists in Czechoslovakia were purged. These included Communist party Secretary General Rudolph Slansky, Deputy Secretary General Otto Sling, and top officials in the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade, and Information. Several were accused of the crime of "counterrevolutionary Zionism." Similarly, in 1953, many prominent Jews in the Hungarian government were purged and killed. These included General Peter Gabor, head of the secret police, as well as a number of other top military, police, and Communist party officials.

Despite these purges, however, the nationalist and religious opponents of Communist regimes in Eastern Europe continued to attack them as tools of the Jews. This is why, as I noted earlier, a good deal of anti-Semitic sentiment and rhetoric surfaced in Eastern Europe after the collapse of the Soviet empire and the subsequent breakup of the Soviet Union, in the late 1980s and early l990s.

Conservative Anti-Semitism

A final political use of anti-Semitism is the defense of established regimes. Jews have often played active roles in movements seeking to reform or supplant states to which they were unable to acquire access. Regimes seeking to shield themselves against such movements frequently make use of their Jewish ties to discredit them.

For example, during the late nineteenth century Jews were strongly associated with liberal movements in Germany and Austria. Forces such as the church and aristocracy that defended the status quo as well as anticapitalist parties representing the peasantry and lower-middle classes often found anti-Semitism a useful weapon against liberalism. Thus, in imperial Germany, the court chaplain Adolf Stoecker founded the anti-Semitic Christian Social Workers party in 1878, seeking to appeal to tradesmen, artisans, and other members of the lower-middle class threatened by capitalist development. In the 1880s, Bismarck gave Stoecker a measure of support, hoping to use his party as a weapon against liberal forces. In the Hapsburg empire, the anti-Semitic Christian Socialist party, led by Karl Lueger, mayor of Vienna, united the same lower-middle-class strata with elements of the Catholic clergy.

In Eastern Europe, Jews were more likely to be associated with Socialist or Communist than with liberal groups, and governments sought to use anti-Semitism as a weapon against these movements. In Tsarist Russia, for example, from the mid-nineteenth century, the government sought to attack and discredit revolutionary forces by linking them to Jews. After Alexander II's assassination in 1881

{p. 57} by revolutionaries who included a Jew, Hessia Helfman, the government charged that revolutionaries were part of a Jewish conspiracy and fomented pogroms throughout Soutern Russia and the Ukraine. The Ignatiev Report of 1882 recommended that harsh measures be taken against Jews to quell popular protest. The resu ting May Laws of 1882 severely limited areas of Jewish settlement, slashed Jewish quotas in schools and universities, and attempted to dislodge Jews from trade and the professions. In 1891, the Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Kharkov Jewish communities were expelled to the countryside.

Tsarist attacks on the Jews continued in the twentieth century. In 1902 and 1903, under the command of the interior minister Wenzel von Plahve, major pogroms were launched in Bessarabia and White Russia. Peter Stolypin, appointed minister of the interior in 1906, vowed to "drown the revolution in Jewish blood." Under Stolypin's direction, the paramilitary forces of the Union of the Russian people, called the "black hundreds," carried out a series of assassinations of liberal and radical opponents of the regime as well as a campaign of terror against the Jews. Stolypin sought to depict oppositlon to the monarchy as a Jewish conspiracy in an effort to maintain the loyalty of peasants, workers, and lower-middle-class strata.

Anti-Semitism, Jews, and the State

Thus, over the past several centuries, Jews have played important roles in the construction of absolutist, liberal, and socialist states as well as major parts in movements seeking to reform or supplant regimes to which they were unable to obtain access. Jews have traditionally offered their services to the state in exchange for the regime's guarantee of security and opportunity. Ironically, however, precisely this relationship between Jews and the state has often sparked organized anti-Semitic attacks. To be sure, where Jews forge a close relationship with the state, they may well obtain protection and a considerable measure of power. In ancient Babylonia, all citizens were required to bow before the exilarch, or leader of the Jewish community. During the eighteenth-century heyday of the European court Jew, Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice could be performed in Berlin only if preceded by an apology to Jewish members of the audience. In twentieth-century Russia, Jews commanded powerful instruments of terror and repression.

The power and protection offered Jews by the state, however, has

{p. 58} tended to be evanescent. It lasts only so long as Jews' allies in governing coalitions continue to find them useful and ''their" state continues to have the capacity to defend them from attack. In the meantime, by employing the state to hold off their enemies, the Jews add its foes to their own.

This is the great dilemma of Jewish history, and it is a dilemma that has no solution. Should Jews eschew the protection and opportunity afforded them by a connection with the state in order to avoid the dangers inherent in the relationship? This is not truly possible. Jews are trapped by the logic and structure of their situation. They want to maintain their identity while securing protection and opportunity. Thus, they can hardly be expected to resist the embrace of the state. As we shall now see, this dilemma is a useful backdrop for understanding the history of Jews and anti-Semitism in the United States.

{p. 59} 2 Jews, State Building, and Anti- Semitism in Nineteenth-Century America

Prior to the Civil War, the Jewish population of the United States was small and its role and visibility in American life minimal. Although anti-Semitism occasionally manifested itself in such incidents as General Ulysses S. Grant's famous order barring Jewish peddlers from his military district, hatred of Jews was not a significant phenomenon. Indeed, in the years before the Civil War, American racist and nativist concerns were focused primarily on the much larger and more visible Catholic minority as well as, of course, upon blacks.

In the decades following the Civil War, however, Jews came to be important factors in American banking and finance and became politically influential. In this period, German-Jewish merchant bankers, usually recent immigrants to the United States, marketed American government, municipal, and corporate securities in Europe and served as major conduits for European - especially German and French - capital into the United States.

As important dealers in securities and major investors in their own right, Jewish financiers became involved with all aspects of American fiscal and monetary policy as well as with corporate organization and reorganization and even with American foreign policy in the late nineteenth century. In short, Jews became factors in planning and implementing American economic development, political reconstruction, imperialism, and state building during the latter half of the nineteenth century.

In these endeavors Jews developed close ties to the new, fabulously rich stratum of Northeastern financiers and industrialists who effectively governed the United States during the Gilded Age. Jewish bankers helped to finance the corporate expansions, mergers, and acquisitions that made this stratum so wealthy and participated, as well, in their efforts to dominate the political processes of the era. As a result of their alliance with Northeastern industrialists, the prominence and influence of Jews in the United States increased substantially. For example, at the start of his first administration, President Grant invited Joseph Seligman, a German-Jewish financier, to serve as secretary of the treasury - an offer Seligman declined. {end quotes}

More of Ginsberg: Jewish involvement with Blacks in America

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