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"ANTI-SEMITISM" IN THE ENCYCLOPEDIA BRITANNICA

By Carlos Whitlock Porter

A truism of liberalism is that the truth may be approximated through a comparison of opinion. In the Encyclopedia Britannica, for example, all articles dealing directly with Jewish matters are written by Jews and Rabbis, dripping with self-pity and self-praise. Articles on peripheral subjects, however, tell a different story.

From the 1911 ENCYCLOPEDIA BRITANNICA

RUSSIA: "The Semitic race is represented by upwards of 5,000,000 Jews... The rapidity with which they peopled certain towns (e.g., Odessa) and whole provinces was really prodigious. The law of Russia prohibits them from entering Great Russia, only the wealthiest and best educated enjoying this privilege; nevertheless they are met with everywhere, even in the Urals. Their chief abodes, however, continue to be Poland... Organized as they are into a kind of community for mutual protection and mutual help, they soon become masters of the trade wherever they penetrate. In the villages, they are mostly innkeepers, intermediaries in trade, and pawnbrokers..." (vol. XXIII, p. 855).

"The numerous outbreaks against the Jews are directed, not against their creed, but against them as keen business men and extortionate money-lenders..." (p. 885).

"The wealth of Russia consisting mainly of raw produce, the trade of the country turns chiefly on the purchase of this for export... this traffic is in the hands of a great number of middlemen - in the West, Jews, and elsewhere Russians - to whom the peasants are for the most part in debt..." (p. 890).

"In the rest of the country they had not been allowed to reside in the villages, because their habits of keeping vodka shops and lending money at usurious interest were found to demoralize the peasantry..." (p. 906).

RUMANIA: "Their improvidence soon got them into the hands of Jewish money-lenders, who, fortunately for the peasants, were by law unable to become proprietors of the soil..." (vol. XXIII, p. 828).

"The bitter feeling against them in Rumania is not so much due to religious fanaticism as to the fear that if given political and other rights they will gradually possess themselves of the whole soil... in many places they have a monopoly of the wine and spirit shops, and retail trade generally; and as they are always willing to advance money on usury, and are more intelligent and better educated than the ordinary peasant, there is little doubt that in a country where the large landowners are proverbially extravagant, and the peasant proprietors needy, the soil would soon fall into the hand of the Jews were it not for the stringent laws which prevent them from owning land outside the towns. When in addition it is considered that the Moldavian Jews, who are mostly of Polish and Russian origin, speak a foreign language, wear a distinguishing dress and keep themselves aloof from their neighbours, the antipathy in which they are held by the Rumanians generally may be understood" (p. 829).

HUNGARY: "The Jews... monopolize a large portion of trade, are with the Germans the chief employers of labour, and control not only the finances but to a great extent the government and the press of the country. Owing to the improvidence of the Hungarian landowners and the poverty of the peasants, the soil of the country is gradually passing into their hands" (vol. XIII, p. 897).

GERMANY: "Nearly all the bankers and stockbrokers in Germany were Jews. Many of the leaders of the liberal parties, e.g., Bamberger and Lasker, were of Jewish origin; the doctrines of Liberalism were supported by papers owned and edited by Jews; hence the wish to restore more fully the avowed Christian character of the state, coinciding with the attack on the influence of finance, which owed so much to the Liberal economic doctrines, easily degenerated into attacks on the Jews" (vol. XI, p. 888).

From the 1922 ENCYCLOPEDIA BRITANNICA

POLAND: "THE JEWISH QUESTION: One of the most important questions to be considered by the new Polish State is that of the Jews. Numerically they form roughly one seventh of the population. In Warsaw a third of the population are Jews; in many provincial towns four out of every five inhabitants are Jews, and in some nine out of ten, and of these the vast majority are Eastern Jews who in language, religion, and customs differ from the population. Their language is Yiddish, a Middle-High German dialect; for the purposes of writing, Hebrew characters are used. Their dress is peculiar to themselves and their 'unclean habits and low standards of conduct' are neither European nor modern'. The Western Jew is the more civilized type which is generally found in Western Europe, speaking the language and conforming to the habits of Western civilization. 'The Eastern Jew is essentially a business or commercial man, but rarely a producer. He is usually a middleman or intermediary. In towns the majority of the shops are owned by Jews, but they are a race apart, hated and despised by the rest of the population, devoted to their religion, which is a primitive type of Judaism. The Jews have been settled in Poland between 800 and 1,000 years so that they can hardly be considered 'strangers' in the land; in fact the Slavs cannot be considered very much more native than they. It was not, however, until about 20 years ago that the present quarrel between the Jews and the Poles began. The Tsarist Government drove the Jews out of Russia but gave them exceptional advantages in Poland. These Litvaks (as they were called) openly professed themselves the partisans of Russia and founded the Jewish press which set to work openly to fight against Polish autonomy. The Poles attacked the Jews before the war by means of a national boycott, the only means by which one subject race could attack another. During and after the war the hostility to the Jews was increased by the fact that in the German occupation the Jew was a willing tool of the invader and by the close connection between the Jews and Bolshevism. The hostility to the Jews was marked in 1918 and 1919 by excesses in which some 200-300 have in fact been killed, but which have been enormously exaggerated by the Jewish press.'... Capt. Peter Wright, in his very valuable and interesting report states (Cmd 674, 1920, pp. 17-36) that the great majority of the poor Jews are of the Eastern type and extreme Orthodoxy (Chassidim). They form an immense mass of squalid and helpless poverty and Capt. Wright's only recommendation is that the richer Jews should study the condition of the poor Jews, who either trade as small middlemen, as hawkers or touts... They are driven to all sorts of illicit and fraudulent practices as in England, in the East End of London... too large a proportion of convictions for such offenses can be laid to their account. They are unfit for the modern economic world for want of education and for Western society because of their habits and want of cleanliness. They are devoted to their strange old religion but as they grow richer their piety, as the Chief Rabbi told Capt. Wright, is destroyed by wealth and they take too little interest in their poorer brethren. No one who knows Poland can be surprised at the Polish attitude or the desire of the Poles to be rid of this corrupting influence" (vol. XXXII, p. 123).

HUNGARY: "The Jewish question has become important in Hungary... As they grew rich through trade, the ghetto became too small for them. As they owned no land, they were not tied to the soil and streamed into the cities, where they found more opportunities of making money and adding to their wealth. Above all Budapest, as the centre of commerce and industry and the seat of the banks, had a strong attraction for them. Three distinct classes of the Jews grew up: the Orthodox, who wished to remain Jews with all the habits and customs of the ghetto; those who in most respects relinquished their position of religious isolation and strove after assimilation... and thirdly the cosmopolitan Jews, the revolutionaries, who were the enemies of all national feeling and represented materialistic internationalism. It was the part played by this third class of Jews... which has made the Jewish question acute in Hungary. As Hungary has no true middle class, they exercised great influence on the intellectual life of the country..." (vol. XXXI, p. 408).

"Instead of the national heroes, Marx, Engels & Lenin were glorified... In boys and girls schools, the pupils received enlightened instruction in the processes of generation, birth, etc., with disastrous results to the juvenile morality" (vol. XXXI, p. 416).

"The leaders of the Social Democrats and Bourgeois Radicals were, almost without exception, of Jewish origin. This was also the case with the most prominent members of Government of the Republic..; these were the men who had made it impossible to resist the invasion of Hungary by force of arms ..." (vol. XXXI, p. 415).

"Since most of the ruling politicians and People's Commissars... belonged to the younger generation of Jews anti-Communist feeling in the country assumed more and more the character of anti-Semitism" (vol. XXXI, p. 417).

"One consequence of the Bolshevist rule was the still more intense development of anti-Semitic feeling. Since the leaders of the Communists were chiefly recruited among the younger Jewish intellectual circles, the National Assembly in order to prevent the creation of a Jewish intellectual proletariat, in Sept. 1920, proclaimed 'Numerus Clausus' for the universities. Under this clause, Jews could only be admitted to the universities in proportion to their percentage of the population" (vol. XXXI, p. 418).

ANGOLA: "Southern Angola in 1909-11, was regarded as a probable choice by the Jewish Territorial Association as a field for colonization, and Portugal enacted land laws with a view to that contingency. But Angola was rejected as a home for the Jews" (vol. XXX, p. 139).

From the 1928 ENCYCLOPEDIA BRITANNICA

JEWS: "The Jewish population of the world on the outbreak of the War in 1914 may be estimated at about 14,900,000... The Jews whole-heartedly supported the revolution... Among the Bolshevik leaders and their satellites were a certain number of Jews... At the same time, the American Jews began to play a part of growing importance in the Zionist movement and were concerned in the negotiations leading up to the Balfour Declaration of which President Wilson was a consistent and influential advocate." (vol. II, p. 605).

"In both Russia and Hungary a prominent part in the Bolshevik movement was played by men who, though long disassociated from the Jewish community, were nevertheless of Jewish birth." (vol. II, p. 606).

HUNGARY: "The people's commissars and practically all the leading persons were Jews, a fact which explains the anti-Jewish feeling which later prevailed in Hungary..." (vol. II, p. 393).

ZIONISM: "Not long after the outbreak of the war, Dr. Weizmann and his friends were brought in touch with a number of influential public men... What the Zionists proposed was, in effect, that Great Britain should make it part of the policy to provide in the peace settlement for the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jews... By the beginning of 1916, the British Government had come to the conclusion that there were other and more practical reasons for taking Zionism seriously... The hour of decision was approaching in the United States, where there was a Jewish population of over 3,000,000... A declaration in favour of Zionism would help to rally Jewish opinion throughout the world to the side of the Allies... President Wilson had personally intervened to make it clear that he would welcome a British pronouncement in favour of Zionism... in 1922 resolutions associating the United States with the policy embodied in the Declaration were unanimously adopted by both Houses of Congress. At the insistence of Great Britain a Zionist delegation was given a hearing by the Peace Conference in Paris on Feb. 27, 1919..." (vol. III, p. 1139).

"The Arabs did not take kindly to the Balfour Declaration, which they did not altogether unnaturally misconstrue... there were anti-Jewish demonstrations in Jerusalem in 1920..." (vol. III, p. 1140).

BAVARIA: "Meanwhile, the Nationalist leagues had gained in strength and now began to defy the Governments orders. The most powerful of them were the National Socialists, an extreme militaristic, nationalist, and, above all, anti-Semite body, nominally democratic in tendency, but actually largely used by the rich to break strikes and attack Socialism. This body was raised from obscurity by one Hitler, a good demagogue but no politician... Hitler and other leaders were sent to prison or lunatic asylums" (vol. I, p. 342).

There is a saying in French: the more things change, the more they are the same. The Jew is eternal.

CARLOS W. PORTER
1994

Note:
The 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica is available on CD-ROM with 1922 and 1926 supplements, graphically scanned at 300 dpi, all volumes now for 89 jewbuckniks, from:

http://www.classiceb.com


Very good value for money.

The OCR-scanned HTML version available free on-line at http://www.1911encyclopedia.orgis not reliable (innumerable typographical errors rendering the text incomprehensible in places; texts incomplete; many articles missing (for example, "Infanticide"; the article on "Cannibalism" is not only incomplete, but is mixed up with another article halfway through); a thoroughly sloppy job.


 

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