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  • The Jews - Hilaire Belloc


    Hilaire Belloc, The Jews (1922), éd. Constable & Co, 1922, p. 91-224.


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    There is already something like a Jewish monopoly in high finance. There is a growing tendency to Jewish monopoly over the stage for instance, the fruit trade in London, and to a great extent the tobacco trade. There is the same element of Jewish monopoly in the silver trade, and in the control of various other metals, notably lead, nickel, quicksilver. What is most disquieting of all, this tendency to monopoly is spreading like a disease.

    But the real causes of that alliance between the English and the Jews which is seen in the late seventeenth century, which quickened throughout the eighteenth, and became so very marked in the nineteenth century, was the cosmopolitan position of England as the leading commercial State. This it was which led to something like identity between the interests of Israel and the interests of Britain, an identity which has lasted so long that now, when divergence is beginning to appear, it still seems odd and novel to the older generation that there should be any Jewish action which is not favourable to England. They cannot understand what the new indifference to Jewish interests, let alone the new hostility to them, can mean.

    There were, of course, many other causes contributory to the peculiar position which the Jew came to enjoy in modern England, a position which he has not yet lost in external circumstance, though it is so badly shaken morally. There was the fact that England was the Protestant power of the West.

    This religious motive played a great part. Between the Catholic Church and the Synagogue, there had been hostility from the first century. In so far as it was possible to take sides in that quarrel it was natural for the Protestant power to take sides against the Catholic tradition and therefore in favour of the Jews.

    Every new economic enterprise of the British State appealed to the Jewish genius for commerce and especially for negotiation in its most abstract form — finance. Conversely, every Jewish enterprise, every new conception of the Jew in his cosmopolitan activities (until these became revolutionary) appealed to the English merchant and banker.

    The two things dovetailed one into the other and fitted exactly, and all subsidiary activities fitted in as well. The Jewish news agencies of the nineteenth century favoured England in all her policy, political as well as commercial; they opposed those of her rivals and especially those of her enemies. The Jewish knowledge of the East was at the service of England. His international penetration of the European governments was also at her service — so was his secret information. With the consolidation of the Indian Empire after the Mutiny the Jews were again an ally from their traditional hatred of the Russian people, which hatred has led them in our time to wreak so awful a vengeance upon their former oppressors. The Jew might almost be called a British agent upon the Continent of Europe, and still more in the Near and Far East, where the economic power of England extended even more rapidly than her political power.

    And the Jew pointed to the English State as that one in which all that his nation required of the goyim was to be found. He here enjoyed a situation the like of which he could not hope to enjoy in any other country of the world. All antagonism to him had died down. He was admitted to every institution in the State, a prominent member of his nation became chief officer of the English Executive, and, an influence more subtle and penetrating, marriages began to take place, wholesale, between what had once been the aristocratic territorial families of this country and the Jewish commercial fortunes.

    After two generations of this, with the opening of the twentieth century those of the great territorial English families in which there was no Jewish blood were the exception. In nearly all of them was the strain more or less marked, in some of them so strong that though the name was still an English name and the traditions those of a purely English lineage of the long past, the physique and character had become wholly Jewish and the members of the family were taken for Jews whenever they traveled in countries where the gentry had not yet suffered or enjoyed this admixture.

    Specially Jewish institutions, such as Freemasonry (which the Jews had inaugurated as a sort of bridge between themselves and their hosts in the seventeenth century), were particularly strong in Britain, and there arose a political tradition, active, and ultimately to prove of great importance, whereby the British State was tacitly accepted by foreign governments as the official protector of the Jews in other countries.

    We shall have a most imperfect picture of the causes which gradually made the Jews regard this country as their centre of action if we omit one essential point.

    England was secure.

    During the whole period which saw the rise of the Jews to eminence in this island and their ultimate alliance with its political and commercial system, English society enjoyed a profound peace.