H G Wells on the Jewish problem, with footnotes by H G Wells

From H G Wells: The Fate of Homo Sapiens (1939), The New World Order (1940)
And from You Can’t Be Too Careful (Dec 1941)

Complete chapter, which was printed in two different books. Unaltered except for numbering of notes. HTML Rae West. First uploaded 28 July 2000.
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Interesting assessment by Wells in the late 1930s. Wells came to support war against Germany, regarding it as a war against nationalism. Meanwhile, he pondered the 'Jewish problem’ or 'Jewish question’. He accepts all the rather shallow traditional assessments of Judaism in his historical readings—roughly handled, pogroms, and so on. He seems never to have read the Talmud in translation, or the other Jewish books; the Old Testament was enough for him. He was aware of the Khazar theory, and that many Jews seemed to originate from southern Russia. But he had no idea of influences such as Baruch in the USA, and Jewish 'Communists’ in the USSR, and Jewish loans in Britain; he even met 'Colonel House’ in England, but suspected nothing. Wells seems never to have read Hitler in any depth, or even Nesta Webster, though he dismisses her in a short passage on 'persecution mania’. He comments on then-recent books, which he accepts at face value, having apparently no idea of Jewish use of puppets. He talks of Jewish threats, 'orthodox’ Jews (obviously not the Jewish expression), and arguments on immigration which are similar to more modern propaganda.
    Wells’ conclusion: I can see no other destiny for orthodox Judaism and those who are involved in its obloquy, unless that enormous effort to reconstruct human mentality for which I have been pleading arrives in time to arrest their march to destruction. That, if it is to save our species, must be a reconstruction so bold and wide, an amnesty so fundamental, that it will sweep the religion of the Chosen People and this age-long feud of Juif and anti-Juif out of the living interests of mankind altogether.

        FIRSTLY BECAUSE OF its illuminating quality, we must consider the progressive segregation of the Jewish community. It has diverted, wasted and sterilised an amount of ability and moral energy that mankind at large can ill spare. In the previous chapter we have shown how naturally it arose out of the state of world affairs of the centuries before and after the Christian era, and how the realistic genius of Saint Paul sought an escape from its perilous limitations. From the very beginning, there must have been men of vision among the Jews who realised and rebelled against the moral isolation to which they were being condemned, there must have been a continual seeping-away of individuals to the larger opportunities of the outer world, but the uncompromising tradition carried by the old Bible and the associated writings which grew into the Talmud has been sufficient to hold together a core of inassimilable and aggressive orthodoxy to this day clinging obstinately to every detail of ritual, behaviour and avoidance that emphasised the central legend of a Chosen People.
        It is this orthodox remnant and its behaviour and influence, the repercussions it evokes and the dangers to which it has exposed the whole Jewish community, which constitute the Jewish problem. There would be no distinctive Jewish question at all were it not for this remnant and its activities.
        The whole question turns upon the Chosen People idea, which this remnant cherishes and sustains, which it is the “mission” of this remnant to cherish and sustain. It is difficult not to regard that idea as a conspiracy against the rest of the world. It is essentially a bad tradition, and the fact that for two thousand years the Jews on the whole have been very roughly treated by the rest of mankind does not make it any the less bad. Almost every community with which the orthodox Jews have come into contact has sooner or later developed and acted upon that conspiracy idea. A careful reading of the Bible does nothing to correct it; there indeed you have the conspiracy plain and clear. It is not simply the defensive conspiracy of a nice harmless people anxious to keep up their dear, quaint old customs that we are dealing with. It is an aggressive and vindictive conspiracy. People are apt to catch up and repeat phrases about the nobility of the Book of Isaiah on the strength of a few chance quotations torn from their context. But let the reader take that book and read it for himself straightforwardly, and note the setting of these fragments. Much of it is ferocious; extraordinarily like the rantings of some Nazi propagandist. The best the poor Gentile can expect is to play the part of a Gibeonite a hewer of wood and a drawer of water for the restored elect. It is upon that and the like matter that the children of the orthodox have been fed. It is undeniable. There are the books for everyone to read. It is not tolerance but stupidity to shut our eyes to their quality.
        It is difficult to imagine how minds brought up under the influence of such teaching can be expected to refrain from preferential and exclusive dealings. Because, since they are born to it, it will seem to any but the more thoughtful among them to be in the nature of things. This, they learn, is how God has ordered the world, and they behave accordingly. They do not feel they are being cunning about it, they feel they are doing right about it. That is the common charge against the practising Jews and it is brought against them in every locality and in every industry in which they are numerous. And their Sacred Book with its supplementary accumulation, the Talmud, substantiates these charges and more than accounts for such behaviour.
        Every sort of man is disposed to get together with his own sort of people and prefer them to strangers. That is the natural disposition of our species, fair-play to the outsider is one of the last and least assured triumphs of civilisation, but the indictment against the Jewish community is that their religion of a Chosen People takes this universal human vice, justifies it and stimulates it to the form of a persistent organised attitude of self-exclusion from the common fellowship of the world.
        Everywhere the same reaction occurs and everywhere the Jew expresses his astonishment. Not only Christians but Turks have resorted to pogroms. In contact with the Arab, the Koran-taught Arab from the desert, who shares the Jew’s cosmogony, who practises similar dietetic taboos, who is equally free from Trinitarian theology and sacrificial bloodshed, and has indeed a much stronger claim to be called Semitic, the angry reaction to the theory and practice of a Chosen People, to the practice much more than the theory, is just as violent as it is in any other part of the world.
        It is this Chosen People tradition, and still more the habit of mind which betrays itself in those who have come under its influence, which is the ever-recurrent cause of the trouble. It seems to me beside the mark to look for any other.[1]
        Estimates of the number of Jews in the world vary between fourteen and sixteen million. The latter figure is given by Louis Golding in The Jewish Problem and by Lewis Browne in the careful and scholarly work he has entitled so flippantly, How Odd of God. (“How odd of God to choose the Jews!” —W. N. Ewer.) This is not a very great total. They have and always have had abundant and well-cared-for families. Probably outside the range of definitely associated Jews, there has always been a much larger world of sympathetic kin, sharing and affected by the feelings of the stricter core, capable of co-operating with it and responding to modifications of the central idea, but gradually slipping away beyond recall.
        As we have noted in chapter 11 (and see also Note 11B) most of us probably have a more or less considerable proportion of “Jewish” blood in our veins, using “Jewish” in the larger sense.[2] But orthodox Judaism has always been a narrower and intenser strain. It has passed through phases of leakage and recovery. The Protestant Reformation was a phase of leakage. Browne doubts whether there were half a million Jews in Europe in 1600, “fewer than were to be found in Castile alone four hundred years earlier.”
        Of the sixteen million Jews to-day, Browne estimates that there cannot be more than four million who are strict adherents to and observers of the Law and that perhaps another six million are what he calls semi-observant; they are lax about food and drink and the Sabbath, but when it comes to celebrating marriages, funerals, taking an oath and so forth they follow the ancient formulae, they attend the main annual feasts, they pay their pew rents and do their full duty by the Jewish charities. They are very much like the Anglicans who don’t go to Church very much but would never dream of being married in a registry office. Then comes another three million who have become entirely indifferent to the Law. They do not attack it, but they put it aside. Yet they cling as nationalists to the solidarity it has preserved through the ages. They are Reform Jews or Radical Nationalists, like the Law—disregarding young Jews of Palestine. Mr. Browne is himself a Reform Rabbi and he can write incidentally:
        “There are certain writers who become tremulously nostalgic and tender when describing the life of those pietist Jews. Ensconced in laurel-embowered English cottages, or seated in cafes on Montparnasse, such writers will wax ecstatic as they discourse on the effulgent mysticism en-haloing the ghetto hovels. But that, I fear, is because they have never entered those hovels. Had they done so they would in all likelihood realise—unless sentimentality had too thickly blurred their sight—that life in them is not bathed in the lambent light of unearthly wisdom: that instead it is dark and scabrous with superstition.”
        Yet he can still make a case for the Jews holding together against mankind at large, as we shall see.
        The remaining three of these sixteen million Jews are rapidly ceasing to be Jews at all. Mostly they are becoming Communists, and he notes with a sort of calm amazement that “a cult which had lasted for centuries could be shattered in a decade.” The younger generation has been given equality in the U.S.S.R. excellent schools and a new and exciting creed. Nominally they remain Jews, and their language, Yiddish, is one of the national languages recognised by the Union. But Hebrew has vanished—the Law, the Promise and Jehovah!
        And at this point Browne and I part company. Judaism may vanish in Russia under Communism, he has to admit, but it will live on elsewhere not by virtue of its own quality but because of Gentile intolerance. He argues that Gentile intolerance makes the Jews and keeps them together. I argue that the Jews make themselves and that Gentile intolerance is a response to the cult of the Chosen People. To get down to ultimate things, we are in substantial agreement, I find, in that we desire a world enlightened, scientifically administered, free, a world-wide new civilisation open to everyone, where there will be neither Jew nor Gentile, bond nor free. Nevertheless we differ diametrically in our interpretation of the root cause of the Jewish problem, and as a consequence upon the question where the tentative for denationalisation should begin. Thirteen million Jews—at least—still make the implacable Gentile the justification for their own persistence. They still hold to that hard core of national separatism in spite of the steady evaporation of every traditional religious justification. Yet they have a world-wide organisation for calling off that attitude and the Gentiles have no corresponding representative network to speak for them to the same extent. The Holy See has recently condemned racialism very clearly and definitely. So has the White House.
        But let me go on with what I believe is the truer version of the Jewish story, and the reader, with a glance at the notes at the end whenever he needs confirmation, must judge between me and the defenders of persistent Jewish nationalism.[3]
        The hostile reaction to the cult of the Chosen People is spreading about the entire world to-day. In the past the Jews have been subjected to much resentful treatment and much atrocious cruelty and injustice, now here, now there, but there has never been such a world-wide—I will not use the word anti-Semitism because of the Arab—I will say anti-Judaism. Now, because of the physical unification of the world, the resentment against the theory and practice of a Chosen People is much quicker and more contagious than it used to be; it is becoming world-wide and simultaneous. The idea is becoming everywhere more and more intolerable than it has ever been before.
        The cultivated, exaggerated, national egotism of the Chosen People has never been so conspicuous as it has been in the present century and particularly since 1918. As their spiritualism has weakened their nationalism has increased. I recall a conference that took place in ’19 or ’20 in a room in the House of Commons. A number of French writers had deputed Madame Madeleine Marx to discuss with various English men and women of letters the possibilities of concerted action and possibly organisation in the cause of world peace and world understanding. In those days Israel Zangwill had adopted the role of Champion of the downtrodden and suffering Jewish race, and more particularly of that section of it which was to be found in the wealthier mansions of West Kensington and Tyburnia, en route from the East End to the House of Lords. He sustained its racial pride, if indeed that needed sustaining. He insisted upon Israel’s distinction and its inappeasable hunger for restoration to the land of the protracted Promise. He told them of the Dreamers of the Ghetto. He reminded them of their origins with humour and emotion. He helped them to “feel different” , as the American car salesmen say, and mystically better. They were, he persuaded them, not really having the good time they seemed to be having; behind the brave face they put upon things they were weeping by the waters of Babylon. The true voice of Israel was to be heard not in the West End of London but when it went off for a trip to Palestine and, following the customary routine, wailed at the Wailing Wall. Always he spoke of “My people” .
        He brought his championship to our deliberations. We various British authors had had our trivial shares in the “war to end war” , and we were very willing to fall in with any proposals that would help to rationalise the heated and punitive atmosphere of the Versailles peace. We felt that a peace that would indeed end war was slipping away from us. But we found this conference dominated by the communist dogmatism of Madame Marx, against which Bernard Shaw protested, and Zangwill’s preoccupation with “his people” . The world’s necessity, it seemed, was Israel’s opportunity. He laid down the conditions that would satisfy their needs; he insisted on what would satisfy them, what would make them willing to help us, and the difficulties an offended Jewry could create for us. So far as I could grasp his drift he was dealing with us as the British Empire. We were not the British Empire, but it was vain to protest. Zangwill was a very resolute character and that was the drama he had in mind. Just as in our private disputes he would insist on treating me as a devout Christian. Then he could say: “But your Saviour was a Jew!” Useless to plead that I was not a Christian, and that there might be considerable prepotency in the Holy Ghost. Zangwill was being the captive nation making his terms with the oppressor. It is the drama so many people still have in mind when discussing this question. Miss Rebecca West has a rough and caustic wit. She is eminently free from racial prejudices but she had listened with a growing impatience to these demands, and suddenly she was inspired to a concentrated expression of our general impatience. “Mr. Chairman” , she said, “should I be in order if I moved a pogrom?”
        In those days we in the victorious allied countries were all ready to believe that the world was really recovering from the War and entering upon a phase of comparative freedom and hope. We did our best not to think too much about the state of affairs in Germany. Everybody was talking of reconstruction and rationalisation, and it was possible to deal jestingly with things that have now become intolerably grim.
        The Zionist movement was the crowning expression of what I, in flat contradiction to Mr. Browne, hold to be the obdurate insistence of orthodox and semi-orthodox Jewry upon their peculiarity. In the years immediately following the War, there was a lull even in the normal persecutions in Eastern Europe to which the orthodox were subjected. They suffered indeed during the civil disorders that preceded the consolidation of the Bolshevik government; Whites, Reds and Greens were alike guilty of pogroms of varying degrees of virulence, and there was in consequence a certain exodus westward, but as the new law and order were established in Russia these outrages ceased and the process of rapid assimilation, to which reference has already been made, began. But already the champions of Judaism were advertising to the whole world how implacably they insisted upon their eternal essential foreignness. They had demanded a national home, so that elsewhere they could be for ever foreigners. They might within limits accept the advantages of citizenship of the country they lived in, but essentially they would not belong. They would vote, hold office, rule, but always with Zion in their hearts. They ignored the manifest fact that the day of small sovereign states is drawing to an end, and that, in a world of ever-growing violence, to plant themselves massively in any particular area was to invite a wholesale disaster.
        To many people of a more flexible disposition, a certain habit of insistence upon the strict letter of a bond, in spite of unforeseen contingencies, is uncongenial. The Bible-trained Jew, one must realise, has had a very legalistic training. Esau made a bad bargain and was held to it. That was the beginning of the Arab trouble. Shylock is how Shakespeare saw this unrelenting trait. The Jews dun Jehovah still, at the Wailing Wall and elsewhere, for a Promise he perpetually evades. And now they are dunning the poor old British government for the bright hopefulness of the Balfour Declaration, irrespective of its other quite contradictory entanglements. They are, the Zionists are, taking no thought for the common dangers and the common welfare of the race. The rest of the world may go hang. In these matters these Zionists are not showing themselves citizens of the world. They are behaving like infuriated creditors. Here are the promise and the declaration, and covenants are the breath of life to them. They express their indignation by rioting, by throwing bombs, and it does not dawn upon them that the Gentile world, which is always being bilked and making the best of it and going off to something else, and which is now in a state of increasing tension and danger, may be very disagreeably affected by this single-minded debt-collecting. They make such a pother about it that it becomes almost impossible to think about the greater issues of the time.
        To-day, when the whole world is being subtly pervaded with anti-Jewish feeling, and when the restraints upon the predatory and persecuting impulses in the human animal are being rapidly weakened, these implacable nationalists are still conspicuously seeking suitable regions where they can go on being a people by themselves, where, pursuing an ancient and irrational ritual so far as it suits them, they can sustain a solidarity foreign and uncongenial to all the people about them.
        No country wants them on such conditions. Why should any country want these inassimilable aliens bent on preserving their distinctness? Palestine is an object lesson. Until they are prepared to assimilate and abandon the Chosen People idea altogether, their troubles are bound to intensify. No one can help them while even a die-hard minority—a minority that the general body of them does not disavow, a nucleus about which habit and association and sentiment gather very readily and to which it is easy for lost sheep to return—prefers these exasperating pretensions of a special right and claim to becoming frankly and of their own accord common citizens of the world.
        These are the elementary facts of the quandary to which the Chosen People have come, the more relentless dragging the doubters and half-hearted with them. They are facts that have to be stated, even though matters are now coming to a complexion which gives a flavour of ruthlessness to their bare statement.
        In the last two paragraphs of chapter 5, the essential facts of the present rapid dislocation of social order have been stated. Social disintegration is now a world-wide reality, it is a convulsive breaking-down everywhere of long-established systems of law and order, an almost cataclysmal dissolution. It is a process far vaster than this Jewish question we are discussing and it arises from causes that have no special connection with that trouble. But it catches up the Jewish question in its swirling eddies and spins it about so that its fluctuations become indicative of the character of the entire process.
        The Jewish question is already something very different from what it was a score of years ago when Zangwill championed and threw that glamour of racial romance and Maccabean heroism about the ancient ways. Those were tolerant days. At that time it was easy for people to fall away from the old observances if they chose and become Christians or unconforming sceptics. Now, and it is the most ominous aspect of the new phase, in many parts of the world the doors of escape from orthodox Jewry are being closed. These doors are not being closed from the inside; there is no way of closing them from the inside. They are being closed from the outside. Those who are disposed to apostasy are being turned back by the outer world. Nothing of this sort was happening twenty years ago. A number of people, and some of them are very sinister people indeed, are beginning to say, “You insisted upon being Jews. Jews you shall be.”
        The operating causes in those wide alternations between social confidence, a sense of stability and a prevailing lawfulness and tolerance, and phases of insecurity, fear, dishonesty and general unrighteousness, which have manifestly occurred in the human story, have still to receive anything but the most casual attention from the historian. Those happier periods, when the social machine was running smoothly, men were able to move about freely and almost fearlessly, to work with a sense of fair reward, when there was something definite and reasonably satisfactory and hopeful for most of the young men to do, have been by far the less frequent and the least secure. Order and peace have been precarious always in the growing human societies of the last four or five thousand years. There have been constantly recurrent phases of mutual pressure, expansion and that dislocation without which readjustment is impossible. Then doubt and suspicion invade men’s minds. They lose that feeling that they are being properly taken care of; there is no confidence that services will be rewarded or debts paid; mutual trust gives way to suspicion. Social behaviour deteriorates. The strong and cunning no longer feel that the weak will be protected. The suspicious look for scapegoats to blame, for evil-doers who have offended the gods, for conspirators. Particularly for conspirators.[4]
        We do know and we have already stated in general terms the forces that have produced the particular phase of violent social disintegration that is going on to-day. They are worldwide and unprecedented. Socially they are more destructive than anything our species has ever faced before. The disintegrating changes in the social order of the past were probably due to much more localised and quite different influences: to unrecorded fluctuations in the relative welfare of classes, to the social shifting due to new economic processes, to the influence of groups of bad people in positions of authority, to the infiltration of foreign ideas and practices, to foreign pressure, to epidemics—no history can be complete without a proper study of the social sequelae of plague, the Black Death and the like—to sustained bad weather, drought for example, over a number of years, to a stimulating and disorganising influx of gold such as happened after the discovery of America. These and a thousand other disturbing forces have been enough to tilt the always unstable and insecure social balance back to general distrust and convulsive, self-protective dishonesty. The adaptive culture fails. Things go to pieces. Man reverts to his more natural state of a fear-and-desire-driven beast.
        In the history of any social system such periods of disorganisation display almost parallel phenomena of demoralised mass action. The strong are looking for the weak not only individually but collectively in order to gratify their craving for power, the crowd is seeking the furtive enemies of the state, the fearful are looking for the strange wickedness and secret mischiefs that have brought about the discomforts of the time. In such an atmosphere any marked kind of people are liable to be set upon, are liable to be ringed about for victimisation and punitive plunder.
        Such a convergence of hostility has by no means been confined to the Jews. The Albigenses, for example, in the south of France, had no very special relationship to the Jewish community. They were a Christian sect with certain heretical ideas derived by way of Bulgaria from the Gnostics and Manichaeans. They were charged, by their exterminators, to whom we owe most of the knowledge we have of their beliefs, with abnormal sexual practices. What is more certain is that they protested vigorously against the corruptions of the Church and were markedly anti-sacerdotal. They spread throughout Provence and prospered throughout the twelfth century. Their movement was in several respects an anticipation of the Protestant Reformation. Whereupon the Church invoked the harder, ruthless and more Catholic north, and preached a Crusade against them. Moral and religious indignation and the prospect of loot implemented their destruction. Here we cannot tell the tale of massacres, burnings alive—two hundred in one auto-da-fe—the sadistic terrorism and blackmail of the Holy Inquisition.
        The Armenians again are another much massacred, non-Jewish but distinctive people.
        But it is the Jews who have generally been the marked people throughout the realms of Christendom and Islam. They have generally “got it first” . And repeatedly the door has been slammed upon Jews who have been seeking to get away or were actually getting away from the threats that darkened over them.
        Lewis Browne gives a compact and effective account of the fate of the Marranos in Spain and Portugal. He tells of the forcible baptism and conversion of the Jews in 1391 in the face of a storm of popular hostility. The government, because of their financial and administrative usefulness, opened a door of escape for them. They were given the choice between exile and massacre or Christianisation. A great majority chose the latter, and since all the synagogues were closed and the practice of the Jewish law sedulously suppressed, within three or four generations most of these baptized Jews became just as good or better Catholics than their neighbours. This from the outset was a huge disappointment for those neighbours who had been whetting the knife, so to speak, for an orgy of murder and plunder. It seemed to them the meanest trick conceivable. They called these desperate converts the New Christians or more familiarly swine (= Marranos), and set as rigid a bar as possible on any intercourse with them. As Jews they had been “dogs” but now they were “swine.” “Conversion indeed” they said. “You don’t get away with that.”
        In complete good faith the majority of the Marranos in the next generation or so were Catholics. “These hapless creatures” , says Browne, “took no pride in their past. On the contrary they were through and through ashamed of it and groaned that it be forgotten.” That did not help them in the least. Massacre and detailed persecution closed in on them. The tale is fully told in Mr. Cecil Roth’s History of the Marranos. It is a frightful story, but from the point of view of the present discussion it is almost the same story, Inquisition and all, as that of the Albigenses, who were not Jews at all.
        An entirely parallel treatment has been meted out in the last decade to the Christian Jews in Germany. They have been herded back upon their orthodox brethren, in the same spirit and for the same reason that the Marranos were kept apart for destruction. We are witnessing now a swifter and vaster repetition of that Marrano tragedy.
        A time has come when a multitude of men and women of more than average intelligence, men and women who in reality have no essential racial difference from the average European, are finding themselves with no foothold whatever upon the earth, dispossessed and hunted from country to country, marooned in impossible regions, deprived of the normal protection of the law, beaten up by anyone who chooses to beat them up, outraged, tortured, sterilised, stripped of everything, ill-treated in every possible way. They seek escape from one country to another, and the countries where they would take refuge, suffering now from the fast-spreading economic and social malaise of this current phase in human history are more and more chary of receiving them even as assimilable individuals. Everywhere employment is dislocated. Everywhere they encounter the protest: “We have our own unemployed!” [5]
        A great book, a book of victims with thousands of authenticated cases, could be filled already with the tale of forced suicides, murders and abominations done upon these refugees, and there is no reasonable prospect of surcease. From the narrower point of view the compilation might be called The Jewish Book of Martyrs but from another it could be entitled The Natural Man, because its broader interest lies in the clear demonstration of what the inherent brute in man can do when the grip of law and order relaxes. It is a horrible recrudescence of primordial human reactions, but that is no reason why we should shut our eyes to the role of the alien nationalism of the Chosen People in exposing them first and foremost before any other people to this accumulating outbreak of hatred, cruelty, bestiality and every sort of human ugliness. They are the first to suffer in the social dissolution of our epoch, because they have stood out most conspicuously. They are the most obvious “murderees” and “plunderees” . They come first. But they are only the first.
        I have enlarged upon their case because it is not only conspicuously challenging at the present time but because it brings into the picture most of the elements of the present human situation, the general disposition of any established community to adhere to forms and traditions of living long after their survival value has disappeared, the normal blindness of human beings to the onset of novel and more exacting conditions until disaster actually supervenes, the swiftness with which social balance can now be overturned.
        I can see no other destiny for orthodox Judaism and those who are involved in its obloquy, unless that enormous effort to reconstruct human mentality for which I have been pleading arrives in time to arrest their march to destruction. That, if it is to save our species, must be a reconstruction so bold and wide, an amnesty so fundamental, that it will sweep the religion of the Chosen People and this age-long feud of Juif and anti-Juif out of the living interests of mankind altogether.

Footnotes/Endnotes by Wells
(Renumbered. One of the notes is a short passage from Wells’s previous chapter).

Note [1] [..Chosen people.. ever-recurrent cause of the trouble..]:
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Some of those who, in spite of much subsequent enlightenment, still cling, out of natural affection and association, to traditions of their home and upbringing that have become a dear and necessary part of themselves, take refuge, I know, in the plea that the idea of the Chosen People has become altogether spiritualised, that they are now segregated not for an ultimate conquest but for a mission. Their mission is to serve and exalt all mankind. They are just a little vague about the nature of that service. None of the Bible story, they assert, means what it plainly means. But for all that they still propose to remain distinctive and hang together. They want to get together in a land of their own, revive their ancient Hebrew learning, and consolidate their drama, literature, learning and so forth, so as to be able to sally forth, refreshed, and with a strengthened mutual understanding, to take control of the intellectual life of the world out of incompetent Gentile hands. The stimulating, organising and purifying activities which have given us the contemporary cinema are also to pervade and dominate the dramatic world, publishing, criticism, the world of art in an ever-intensified degree. It is difficult for a stiff-necked Gentile to respond to those generous intentions with an adequate gratitude.
      There is moreover another line of sublimation with a bolder appeal, and that is the line taken by that great neglected genius; David Lubin, the founder of the International Institute of Agriculture in Rome. His Israel was indeed an Israel with a mission, but then he claimed everyone who participated in constructive work as one of the elect. To Lubin I was an honorary Israelite.
      “But why then call it Israel?” I protested.
      This sort of transfiguration of the objectives of the Chosen People is all very well in apologetic discussion, but there is nothing to sustain it in the normal ceremony and practice and teaching of the cult, which remains a narrow and troublesome nationalism. Let these sublimators repudiate the Bible and the Promise and say what they mean plainly. Then we shall be better able to believe in their assertions of an exalted inaggressive modernisation. [Back to text]

Note [2] [..Jewish “blood”]:
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During the course of these conquests there was naturally a great intermingling of blood. The subjugated Semitic and pre-Semitic peoples were certainly in the majority in the Latin, Greek, Persian and Macedonian empires; history records no general ban upon intermarriage, and we can hardly doubt that the actual blood of the ruling Aryan-speaker was the smaller factor in that continually stirred-up mixture which is now the European and Europeanised world of to-day. [Back to footnote number in above text]

Note [3] [.. persistent Jewish nationalism]:
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Louis Golding (in The Jewish Problem) argues that anti-Judaism is due to the fact that the Jews cried “Crucify him” when Jesus came before Pilate. Jesus, as everybody knows, was crucified (a particularly Roman method of execution) not by the Jews but by the Roman Pontius Pilate. Countless people who criticise the Jews to-day are extremely impartial about the Crucifixion, and I find it difficult to believe that Mr. Golding, who, I presume, is himself a product of orthodox Jewish education, is so entirely unaware of the effect of this Chosen People cult upon the outside world as he seems to be. He ignores it absolutely.
      Browne also, refusing to face that primary issue, accounts for the unpopularity of the Jewish community in an entirely different manner. He theorises brilliantly about Jews being urban while non-Jews are rustic. Certainly the Semitic-speakers were prevalently urban in the first century B.C. The balance, says he, must be corrected and all will be well. So the Jew, he decides (1935) had better go to Palestine and dig himself out of his troubles. Both writers then launch out into an account of the great intellectual superiority of Jews to Gentiles, wholesome rather than ingratiating reading for a puffed up Gentile, and cite a string of names, Sigmund Freud, for instance, and Einstein and so on, who are as a matter of fact no more orthodox Jews than I am. They are citizens of the world, they work for all mankind. Even now Freud is busy, he tells me, in a patient analysis of the legend of Moses. Moses, he concludes, was an Egyptian! His monotheism was Akhnaton’s sun-worship. (Moses and Monotheism).
      Both Golding and Browne are typical of a vast literature on the Jewish question. There is no need to multiply instances. Neither, I think, realises quite clearly what it is that encompasses them, because they are themselves enveloped in it. They accept this taught and cultivated idea system, this ex-religious bias, this artificial solidarity I am arraigning as though it was in the nature of things and could not be prevented and thence they wander off into a limitless jungle of controversial irrelevancies, of the rights and wrongs of ancient hates,—misunderstandings, persecutions and reprisals, to which there can be no conclusion
      But the eloquent and emotional Mr. Josef Kastein, who dedicates his History and Destiny of the Jews quite incongruously to the entirely unorthodox Einstein, concludes his Jews in Germany with the real irreconcilable note:
      “... we were once in Egypt. Already we have compelled a Pharaoh to set us free. We have outlasted the Pyramids. We shall outlast the denials of all those who surround us.”
      As a matter of fact the Pyramids were there a long time before the Jews.
      I reiterate that the whole scheme and purport of this book is to insist upon the supreme decisive importance of what in chapter 4 I have called the mental superstructure of the human animal. The reconstruction of its idea system is its only practicable method of adaptation, and here is an idea system that resists and evades reconstruction very obstinately. In chapters 8 and 9 I have assembled and summarised the nature of the great intellectual effort which is needed if our species is to adjust itself to the terrific new conditions that have risen about it. The Jewish conflict disregards this, cuts athwart it, arrests and prevents it, like a noisy quarrel in a laboratory. All the countervailing evil in the world cannot make a bad tradition a good one. Killing or ill-treating a man does not put him in the wrong, but also, we have to remember, and that is not so easy for the liberal-minded, it does not put him in the right. The idea of the solidarity of the Chosen People, evade it or not, remains the fundamental Jewish idea, and this fundamental Jewish idea like any other nationalism, is an offence against the unity of mankind. [Back to footnote number in above text]

Note [4] [.. conspirators.]:
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Persecution mania is a well-known form of insanity. With certain variations of phrase and form, due to the current ideas of the period, it presents an almost stereotyped pattern through the ages. Formerly it was usually witches and warlocks who were supposed to be at the root of the matter. Anyone odd, anyone different, came under suspicion, old crones and afflicted and odd-looking men were distrusted, and very often the suspects caught a touch of the infection and tried doing the things they learnt were so potent. Multitudes of sorcerers have confessed, under no great duress, to impossible crimes. They brewed potions, stuck pins in wax images, cast spells, sent familiar spirits to gibber and creep and whisper in the night.
      Madness like everything else moves with the times; it clothes itself in new fashions while remaining essentially the same. Nowadays the witches have become “Occult Powers” . They use hypnotism, electricity, infections (Pah!), they radio voices making threats and evil suggestions. Every prominent publicist continually gets letters from sufferers with this type of obsession. Such delusions may easily make the patient a danger to himself and others, and then he is “certified” and taken care of. But in times of social movement and stress this disorder may become contagious, witness the witch mania of the early seventeenth century. It is then more difficult to deal with. Like a dark shadow to the rational objections that can be made to the in-and-out double nationalism of the Jews, there is a sustained campaign of sinister suggestion with a considerable literature of its own.
      Some years ago four or five books written by Mrs. Nesta Webster attracted considerable attention. She is a very competent writer and so sound a Christian, of a faith so uncritical, that she is quite unable to understand that many honest people find a vast amount of Christian doctrine impossible. How impossible, I have sought to show in chapters 13 and 14. To her there is nothing good except in Christianity, and this is so obvious to her that any objection to the faith seems necessarily part of some diabolically hatched conspiracy. She has set herself with the greatest industry to trace and link together the long-drawn succession of Cabalists, Gnostics, Manichaeans, the Old Man of the Mountains, Knight Templars, Satanists, Rosicrucians, Illuminati, Freemasons, Rousseau, Voltaire, Cagliostro, Madame Blavatsky, Mrs. Besant, Trade Unions, Anarchists, Socialists, Theosophists, Communists, Those Bolsheviks, a frightful horde all plotting and getting hold of power and handing it on and doing down Christianity and the Christian life. Her books are written with conviction enough to make one look under the bed at nights. She has never quite committed herself to those famous forged Protocols of the Elders of Zion which were published as the articles of association so to speak of that world conspiracy, but she stoutly maintains that though that book may not be genuine, it nevertheless shows the sort of thing of which the Jews are capable. Her book Secret Societies and Subversive Movements concludes “For behind the concrete forces of revolution—whether Pan-German, Judaic or Illuminist—beyond that invisible secret circle which perhaps directs them all, is there not yet another force, still more potent, that must be taken into account? In looking back over the centuries at the dark episodes that have marked the history of the human race from its earliest origins—strange and horrible cults, waves of witchcraft, blasphemies and desecrations—how is it possible to ignore the existence of an occult Power at work in the world? Individuals, sects, or races fired with the desire of world domination, have provided the fighting forces of destruction, but behind them are the veritable powers of darkness in eternal conflict with the powers of light.”
      I should describe Mrs. Nesta Webster as a perfectly sane and capable person with insane ideas so widely do I disagree with her. I believe her influence has spread far beyond the circle of her actual readers. Milder forms of the same intellectual malaise at any rate are now very prevalent throughout the more prosperous classes in Great Britain and America. It is the only way to account for the behaviour of Mr. Neville Chamberlain, for example, or old Lord Rothermere, the British newspaper proprietor, towards the Jews, towards Russia, during the past decade. Mr. William Teeling again, to whom I refer in chapter 13, is another case. A tepid passive Christianity is becoming an aggressive Pro-Christianity under the stresses of the time. [Back to footnote number in above text]

Note [5]: [.. we have our own unemployed:]
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Sir Norman Angell and Mrs. Dorothy Frances Buxton, in a very clear and almost pressingly persuasive book, You and the Refugee (Penguin Books, 1939), argue for a practically unrestrained admission of these outcasts. They show in particular how beneficial a large refugee immigration might be to the British Empire. It would bring in new trades, new skill, find fresh work for the unemployed, and in Great Britain arrest the approaching decline in population—if that is desirable. Their plea for a more generous treatment of refugees, so far as assimilable individuals are concerned, is unanswerable.
      But our authors’ arguments for an inassimilable immigration en bloc are less convincing. That would only renew the trouble at a later date. There is no time to begin that old history again in new regions and among fresh difficulties. Disaster is advancing too rapidly upon our entire species. Jewish nationalism like every other nationalism must end and end soon. And even though the plea of existing unemployment is an irrational social barrier to assimilable immigrants, it is, in a country where the sense of social insecurity is growing, where confidence in the intelligence and good faith of the government is diminishing, and where large masses of the population, and especially the accumulation of untrained and unemployed young men, see no clear prospect of a tolerable life ahead, none the less a barrier. Implicitly the British authorities admit “We do not know how to handle our own people, we are getting more and more bothered—by everything—and if these people come into our muddle there is bound to be serious trouble” . And so in effect they give them up to destruction, not outrageously and openly as the Germans do, but by looking in the opposite direction, and delaying action.
      In a scientifically organised, forward-looking social order, there will be no people unemployed and there will be no difficulty whatever in the movement of population from point to point. The whole world will be everyman’s and the fullness thereof. The bare possibility of such a rational order sustains whatever hope there is for mankind in this present survey of the human outlook. But this world we are living in is not a rational world and the harsh reality we have to face when we cast the Jewish horoscope is this closing-up of the avenues of escape.
      Already in the past year or so, a multitude, scores and possibly hundreds of thousands, must have been done to death. And still it goes on. ...
      In You and the Refugee, however, I came upon one passage that affected me very disagreeably and I think I ought to say a word about it here. It is too germane to this discussion to omit:
      “Not all Jews are Zionists, but all Jews will resent the letting down of Zionists, the surrender of Zionists to Arab terrorism. And their resentment will be world-wide. We do not perhaps realise the possible repercussions.
      “For nearly a century the relations of Great Britain and the United States were bedevilled and rendered difficult by the attitude which the Irish element in America took towards any move of Anglo-American rapprochement. Again and again the influence of the Irish vote, of Irish politicians, Irish newspaper owners, blocked opportunities of Anglo-American co-operation. Englishmen have never disguised the political importance for the Empire, for world peace, for the future of Anglo Saxon civilisation, of a close co-operation of the two great English-speaking peoples. Are the obstacles thereto that Irish mistrust and hatred erected to be followed by Jewish mistrust and hatred? The Jews have not less influence in the United States to-day than the Irish have had yesterday.
      “The power of world Jewry is moral—the power of journalists, writers, dramatists, scientists. It is worth while for an Empire as gravely menaced as the British to have that power on its side.” ...
      That is a threat and a very evil and embittering threat. Happily it is not made by Jews but by two over-officious Gentile champions on their behalf. I do not see things from the Imperialist standpoint of these authors. I think the British Empire has outlived its usefulness. But the consolidation of the English-speaking people as the vehicle of a world civilisation is quite another matter, and a matter of great urgency. Yet unless the British government does what it is told in Palestine, the Chosen People we are told will devote themselves to preventing that consolidation. They will do all the mischief they can to the growing Gentile understanding. The unification of the world, it seems, will prove a small matter in face of the offended God of Israel. The wrongs and the revenge of Israel are to take precedence. Israel, the immortal and the unforgetting, will sit triumphant among the ruins still muttering “We have outlasted the Pyramids”. I think that it is a very unhappy suggestion indeed. It does no justice to the intellectual quality of Israel. I doubt if any representative Jewish writer could be quoted in support of it. But it is exactly what the Jews are accused of doing by their worst enemies. My first reaction to it, until I realised that this dream of vindictive sabotage was a purely Gentile invention, was acute resentment and anger. I believe these two authors would be wise to take that tactless and unjustifiable passage out of any further editions of their well-intentioned book. [Back to footnote number in above text]

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You Can’t Be Too Careful is a biographical novel by Wells, (‘A Sample of Life 1901-1951’ though the later years did not appear) of Edward Albert Tewler—name selected on Dickensian lines—from birth to war and destruction; as with H G Well’s autobiography, younger years dominate. The chapters are short—4 pages, say—except when Wells discusses (for example) Aristotle and city states, philosophers, homo sapiens, theology, town non-planning, and multitudes having deeds forced upon them. Much of this must have been autobiographical, but with seediness either introduced or emphasised—a bit unfairly, as many such people had bought his books and made his money. The novel must (I assume) have been intended for Secker & Warburg’s Christmas market, and may have been truncated, judging by internal evidence.
This (extract below) was written by Wells at about 75. He thinks mankind should unite, or at least consider world problems as needing urgent mutual discussion and action—a traditional English socialist doctrine. But a problem with traditional socialism is the assumption that all peoples are the same, without evidence: this allows Wells to regard Britons, depending on his mood, as comic, or reasonable, or (as in this novel) unpleasant, without considering that detailed knowledge of other groups might show them as far different. Wells simply has no comprehension that Jews want conflict, and go to great lengths to get it—for other people and peoples. Wells appears to know nothing of events such as the establishment of the 'Federal Reserve', the Balfour Agreement, or the primacy of loans over war deaths, despite the fact he knew Great War propagandists and must have been partially informed of shenanigans at Versailles. Particularly in view of his position in the world of political writing, this was a truly contemptible dereliction of his duty.
      Reading Wells here, it's obvious he had no idea of what's now called 'crypsis'—secrecy over intentions. ("If Jews are so different you ought to be able to tell.") He seems to have had no idea even of Marrano Jews, which were slightly accepted as an idea in English-speaking countries as part of their Inquisition conceptions and misconceptions. Wells had no idea about immigration/invasion: he mocks the idea Jews have enormous families, without facing the fact that extended families of extended areas might numerically exceed an entire nation. "The most they did was to irritate. The great Jewish conspiracy is and always has been a fantasy" says Wells, and "a dread expressing itself defensively in an irrational fear of “Bolshevism”"—must have amused Secker & Warburg. Wells even regarded the BBC in an “Auntie” type of way; I suppose they had after all publicised him in radio broadcasts. What a pity Wells lacked moral and intellectual courage.
      From pp. 236-238:–
      “Well, anyhow, we’ve got to be quit of this Parliament nonsense,” said Mr Copper, “and all this criticising of everybody and doing nothing, while the Bolshies and Jews run away with everything we’ve got.”
      “Jews?” said Edward Albert, questioning himself.
      It is interesting to note that our specimen Englishman for the first thirty years of his life was practically unaware of contemporary Jews. He thought they were a disagreeable lot of people in the Bible whom even God had had to give up at last, and that had been the end of them. We lived in the New Dispensation, He went to school with Jews and half-Jews and quarter-Jews and never perceived any distinctive difference between them and his other school-fellows. He thought Circumcision was something religious, and enquired no further into the matter. Was Buffin Burleybank a Jew? Was Jim Whittaker? Was Evangeline Birkenhead, on either side, Jewish? [3 characters in Wells' story-RW] It never occurred to Edward Albert to ask, and there is no need to introduce irrelevant information into this story. If Jews are so different you ought to be able to tell.
      But as the vague uneasiness of the Georgian decadence spread and sought forms of expression, it was necessary to protect oneself from any sense of responsibility in the matter by finding scapegoats, and almost any outstanding group of people was exposed to the honour of vicarious atonement. A certain section of the mixture of peoples called the Jews, especially those hailing from Eastern Europe, is ghetto-conscious and suffers from an Adlerian assertiveness, and it has always been a temptation to bright young men of the Armenoid type to set up as “Champions” for their “people”, to revive the sense of being downtrodden if it threatens to wane and insist upon a preferential association. Jew must help Jew. Such economic bad manners reveal a universal human tendency; Scotchmen hang together, Welshmen control the milk and drapery trades in London, and so on; only the drastic contempt of more broadly civilised individuals can do anything to correct this exclusiveness.
      Unhappily at the conclusion of the 1914-18 phase of the world war, the professional Jewish “Champions” set themselves with particular energy to inflame this racial segregation in every possible way and to ignore as blatantly as possible the common need for a world settlement. They did not want to go on to a new world; they headed their “people” for Zion. They became Maccabean, they became heroic; boys in West Kensington dreamt of being Davids and their sisters Esthers. No public man, no writer, no Journalist could go anywhere without having the Jewish Problem thrust into his face as though it was the one supreme interest of mankind. He was threatened implicitly or explicitly with boycotts and mischief if he refused his appointed rôle as a Gideonite, [sic; presumably Gibeonite-RW] {238} hewer of wood and a drawer of water for the Great Race. The mildest, most broadminded of humanitarians found themselves provoked into saying, “Oh, damn those Jews!”
      Admittedly the Jews are tactless and vain and clannish, but that after all is the worst that can be said about the worst of them. The most they did was to irritate. The great Jewish conspiracy is and always has been a fantasy.
      But it was disastrous of these Champions and leaders of Jewry, considering how widely dispersed and how vulnerable their “people” were, to make them so conspicuous in a world in urgent need of scapegoats. Homo Tewler Teutonicus, licking his sore vanity after defeat, found himself all too ready to be persuaded that he had been betrayed to defeat by the Jews. Morningside Prospect throughout the western world, looking for some scapegoat to explain the increased rocking of the financial boat, found it plausible to attribute it to “international finance” and easy to believe that international finance was essentially Jewish. It is not. It is less so than ever it was.
      And come to think of it, said the Christian Churches, why, in spite of all our educational efforts, are congregations shrinking and our people losing their religious ardour? Some one, something, not ourselves, must be to blame. Why are our flocks restricting their birth-rate, while Jews, as we all know, invariably have enormous families? Why is there this increasing incredulity in the beautiful incomprehensible dogmas of our religion? How can people disbelieve what they cannot possibly understand unless they are stirred up by mischief-makers? And what is there at the back of this upset in Godless Russia, which was once so devoted to the Little Father on earth and his and Our Father in Heaven? You can read all about the ramifications of these satanic plottings in Mrs Nesta Webster’s Secret Societies and Subversive Movements. Or you can study how the new pogromism was revived in that curious and impudent forgery, The Protocols of the Eiders of Zion. There you see how craziness festers into mania. p 239
      That, in terms of general contemporary history, is the why and wherefore of the world epidemic of pogrom fever in the second Georgian period ...
      ... You see here in Morningside Prospect in our Edward Albert just the same threefold mental stir that was to be found in the whole Morningside Prospect side of civilisation; the sick dread of some profound rearrangement of economic and social relationships impending, a dread expressing itself defensively in an irrational fear of “Bolshevism”; the same unpleasant realisation of a common nerveless conduct of affairs leading to the craving for a saviour and leader, and the same disposition to discover a scapegoat, for which rôle the Jewish Champions were already preparing their “people”. The world now and henceforth is doomed to live in an increasing Community of interpretations, and these three factors were to be found among the threatened governing classes, all round the globe from pole to pole. The Bolshie, the Jew and the inspired Leader, all essentially imaginary beings, were becoming the three cardinal figures in a new mythology of escape from thought, starkness and courage.

Pp 288-292 ('Flying Sparks') deal with the later lives of characters from his novel, including enthusiasts, retirees, officious types, and deaths. Wells never seems to have risen to the level of appreciation of warmongers and their policies; he seems to take some delight in condemning his ineffectual, unintellectual, impercipient characters, and their lack of 'ideers', perhaps conscious of their cousinhood to his own impercipience. I'd intended to make further notes on this novel, but seem to have never done this.

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HTML Rae West. First uploaded 28 July 2000. You Can't Be Too Careful added 26 July 2017.