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Jewish Power of Mimicry

An extract (perhaps too long) from Hilaire Belloc's book The Jews. Belloc does not describe "this marvellous characteristic in the Jews" as mimicry, or camouflage, or part of evolved parasitism, since he took the Roman Catholic view that 'man' has no connection with 'animals', and avoided biological comparisons. My emphases.

.... he does, as a fact, mould himself so very rapidly to his environment.

When men say as they are beginning to do that a Jew is as different from ourselves as a Chinaman, or a negro, or an Esquimaux, and ought therefore to be treated as belonging to a separate body from our own, the answer is that the Jew is nothing of the kind. Indeed, he becomes, after a short sojourn among Englishmen, Frenchmen, Germans or Americans, so like his hosts on the surface that he is, to many, indistinguishable from them; and that is one of the main facts in the problem.

That is the real reason why to the majority of the middle classes in the nineteenth century, in Western countries, the Jewish problem was nonexistent. Were you to say it of any other race negroes, for instance, or Chinamen it would sound incredible; but we know it in practice to be true, that a Jew will pass his life in, say, three different communities in turn, and in each the people who have met him will testify that he seemed just like themselves.

I have known a case in point which would amuse my non-Jewish readers but perhaps offend my Jewish readers were I to present it in detail. I shall cite it therefore without names, because I desire throughout this book to keep to the rule whereby alone it can be of service, that nothing offensive to either party shall be introduced; but it is typical and can be matched in the experience of many.
        The case was that of the father of a man in English public life. He began life with a German name in Hamburg. He was a patriotic citizen of that free city, highly respected and in every way a Hamburger, and the Hamburg men of that generation still talk of him as one of themselves.
        He drifted to Paris before the Franco-German War, and, there, was an active Parisian, familiar with the life of the Boulevards and full of energy in every patriotic and characteristically French pursuit; notably he helped to recruit men during the national catastrophe of 1870-71. [Siege of Paris—Belloc omits the possibility of Jewish financial intervention in war.] Everybody who met him in this phase of his life thought of him and talked of him as a Frenchman.
        Deciding that the future of France was doubtful after such a defeat, he migrated to the United States, and there died. Though a man of some years when he landed, he soon appeared in the eyes of the Americans with whom he associated to be an American just like themselves. He acquired the American accent, the American manner, the freedom and the restraints of that manner. In every way he was a characteristic American.
        In Hamburg his German name had been pronounced after the German fashion. In France, where German names are common, he retained it, but had it pronounced in French fashion. On reaching the United States it was changed to a Scotch name which it distantly resembled, and no doubt if he had gone to Japan the Japanese would be telling us that they had known him as a worthy Japanese gentleman of great activity in national affairs and bearing the honoured name of an ancient Samurai family.

The nineteenth century attitude almost entirely depended upon this marvellous characteristic in the Jews which differentiates them from all the rest of mankind. Had that characteristic power of superficial mutation been absent, the nineteenth century policy would have broken down as completely as the corresponding Northern policy towards the negro broke down in the United States. Had the Jew been as conspicuous among us, as, say, a white man is among Kaffirs, the fiction would have broken down at once. As it was, all who adopted that policy, honestly or dishonestly, were supported by this power of the Jew to conform externally to his temporary surroundings.

The man who consciously adopted the nineteenth century Liberal policy towards the Jews as a mere political scheme, knowing full well the dangers it might develop; the man only half conscious of the existence of those dangers; and the man who had never heard of them but took it for granted that the Jew was a citizen just like himself, with an exceptional religion each of those three men had in common, aiding the schemes of the one, supporting the illusion of the other, the amazing fact that a Jew takes on with inexplicable rapidity the colour of his environment. That unique characteristic was the support of the Liberal attitude and was at the same time its necessary condition.

The fiction that a man of obviously different type and culture and race is the same as ourselves, may be practical for purposes of law and government, but cannot be maintained in general opinion. A conspiracy or illusion attempting, for instance, to establish the Esquimaux in Greenland as indistinguishable from the Danish officials of the Settlement, would fail through ridicule. Equally ridiculous would be the pretence that because they were both subjects of the same Crown an Englishman in the Civil Service of India was exactly the same sort of person as a Sikh soldier. But with the Jews you have the startling truth that, while the fundamental difference goes on the whole time and is perhaps deeper than any other of the differences separating mankind into groups; while he is, within, and through all his ultimate character, above all things a Jew; yet in the superficial and most immediately apparent things he is clothed in the very habit of whatever society he for the moment inhabits.

HTML Rae West 19 Oct 2015