Menu JTA Search

The New Jew

Download PDF for this date

by William B. Ziff Author of “Jewry Must About Face!”

It is perfectly natural that a people under unrelenting harassment should almost with a unified impulse seek a way out into a more pleasing, saner condition.

The Jews in the face of persesution were no exception to this. Their first stage was open rebellion in Palestine against their Roman masters. When this failed, they solidified themselves into a scattered religious-cultural group.

When this solution drew the unwelcome attention of an antagonistic clergy, they sacrificed the physical aspects of their culture, and withdrew into the dialectic dream-world of the Yeshiva. They found sustenance in a realm of abstractions and Talmudical scholarship. This solution in itself acted as a further magnet to contumely once it had outlived its usefulness. To the world the Jews became a parasitic, non-creative people and justified its hatred and contempt accordingly.

Although each of these transitions constitutes a wholly unnatural, distorted condition, they did possess a certain usefulness in that they served to protect the Jew from utter annihilation and allowed him to live. The Jews were thus an enforcedly neurotic people who, by one artifice or another, managed to just keep out of the way of actual strangulation.


It can hardly be imagined that the Jews were mere automatons who actually relished this gypsying of act and spirit. In the Jewish conscience was created a powerful search for a solution which was at once dignified and lasting.

Unfortunately this impulse was complicated with the Messianic delusion. This delusion at an early date was also useful, since it served to keep the Jewish spirit from being totally shattered in the face of otherwise unbearable persecution. Having once been shaped and brought into being, it showed a most surprising vitality in one form or another, and has unwittingly fouled the Jewish viewpoint ever since. Perhaps unrecognizable to its possessors, it is at the bottom of present Jewish weakness and passive acceptance of flagellation. It is the author of the sad attempt to solve the Jew’s own troubles in terms of world condition.

Thus, instead of dealing with wholly Jewish necessities, as sensible men would do, they deal with world political, economical and social equations which in their very terms tend to perpetuate the traditional Jewish disadvantage.


The sound instincts of our people have largely disappeared over this period of world wanderings and estrangements.

All through this unhappy time, strange panaceas were hailed.

They greeted as deliverers the feudal nobles who rescued them from the intolerance of the clergy and the brutality of the peasantry.

More strangely still, the appearance of political absolutism was hailed with joy since it saved them from the rapacity of the nobles and church alike. At every stage some grand and permanent plan of liberation occurred only to prove sadly disillusioning.

When finally the French revolution proclaimed the glorious advent of liberalism and democracy, eager Jewish intellects again envisaged a lasting solution to the age-old problem.


Their new ideology was founded on complete abandonment of their historic qualities in favor of a peculiar mediocre, fibreless condition which came to be called “assimilation.”

When, due as always to identical primary causes, liberalism failed them, they turned to a glamorous new theorem according to which civilization and emancipation were founded on state control of the means and instruments of production.

With the same eagerness that they had previously grasped them, they abandoned the previous dogmatic doctrine of individual determinism in favor of a close regimentation by society.

This in turn failing them, a new group is rising to claim that its reason for failure was that it simply did not go far enough. They are eyeing the complete leveling off of Communism which sets up yet another theory and seeks to create an enforced brotherhood in which again the causes of hatred and strife will be obliterated.


To many Jewish minds, unable to bear their present condition in society, this has become a fascinating postulate, even though it defeats the undeniable racial ego —an ego which always seeks to lift itself above the common level of humanity.

The trouble with Socialism and Communism is the trouble with all the quasi-solutions that have presented themselves before. They are totally false in essential principle from a Jewish point of view, and in no way strike at the heart of the problem. Nor can they prevent its recurrence in perhaps even more formidable form than before.

History shows that in the past, as each condition of liberation appeared, a new expression of anti-Semitism rose to meet it.

This ran the entire gamut of Roman dislike for a truculent, rebellious nation, to religious schism and antagonism; to mere strangeness; to a dozen other variations and, finally, to its latest expression in the form of middle class economic competition. This is its true basis at the present moment.

The possibilities for its development under the cure-all of Socialist doctrine are amply evident in both the Russian and German experiments.


It must be borne in mind that the present German Fascism was, in its early doctrines at least, a true expression of Socialism. To a very recent date it possessed a considerable left wing which adhered rigidly to Marx, although it denied his name. It had for its end social transformation based on the physical regimentation and control by the State of the means and instruments of production. Its very name, “National Socialist Laboring Man’s Party,” later corrupted to Nazi, is ample evidence of this.

Its point of departure from standard Socialism consisted largely in having invented a perfectly plausible doctrine of the superiority and inferiority of races.

That it should at a later date have belied its Socialist beginnings and become completely Fascist is a pure accident of chance. It is here that the true student of historical realities will recognize the primary difference between an imposed theory and the instinctive reactions of a people. Only a visionary theoretical economist can believe that whatever idyllic conception is set up will not shortly revise itself to come into harmony with the nature of the folk supporting it. Sometimes this goes to the lengths of a complete revision of the original conception while still masquerading in all its trappings. This is perhaps what is happening to our present day democracy.


Any one therefore who deliberately pursues an ideal which in itself at the mercy of events over own defenses simply places himself at the mercy of events voer which he can have no control.

All these empirical solutions ignored the existence of the Jewish personality, a deeply fabricated entity of itself, as truly the result of a physiological development as a tree or a flower. It was not nursed at the same teats as Germanism for instance. In its manifestations, even in completely Germanized individuals, it is logically at variance to that of the Teuton German. Does any sane man imagine for a moment that the Germanized Jews, is left to their own artifices, could possibly originate and sustain the bloody madness of Nazism?

Any calm analysis of Socialist doctrine betrays this weakness as far as the Jew is concerned. It denies the existence of anti-Semitism except as it is based on economic determinism. It asserts that the only friction is one of the classes, yet in analysis of the classes which presumably represent the only true elements of solidarity, we find that there is a war within the classes themselves against the Jew. No class is free from it, and if as a result of temporary phenomena it should for a brief space be, the mere existence of the energetic, aggressive, brooding Jewish character will again create it.


By weakening the Jewish structure and distracting the Jewish masses with these new opiates, these Jewish Socialists and Communists are easily our most dangerous foes. A great part of our battle is with them.

I do not set up any argument against Socialism in itself, as any and all of these politico-economic credos are a matter of indifference to me. I merely insist that Socialism, if it sets up to cure the disease of anti-Semitism, is another will-o’-the-wisp, since it cannot do so.

Moreover, there is an imperceptible line between Socialism and Fascism everywhere, though they are apparently at odds. That the leaders of Fascism are always Socialist ideologists who have made the transition appears to me to be highly significant.

Zealots will point out that Soviet Russia has removed all disabilities against the Jews. It can be pointed out in return that the French and American revolutions offered exactly the same freedom to all men, a freedom which is succumbing by perceptible degrees before our very eyes.


Its seeds are plain in Soviet Russia. First we have the derogation and expulsion of its great protagonist, patriot and military hero, Trotsky. As far as present Russia is concerned, his name has simply been erased as if he never had existed. This was followed by the virtual removal of all Jews from the ruling clique. Then we have the persecution of Zionism and Judaism by the Jewish Communists themselves, a harassment so fierce that it indicates an inner apprehension of these Jews as to their own acceptance within the Communist structure. It compares with the fear of infective trouble which causes the assimilation to eschew the too Hebraic Jew under liberalism.

An interesting comment on this is a remark of Jabotinsky, jailed after the Jerusalem riots, when he heard that a Jewish High Commissioner, Sir Herbert Samuel, was coming. He buried his face in his hands and cried, “Alas, a great misfortune has just befallen us!”

“But, why?” exclaimed some of his comrades.

“Because,” said Jabotinsky, “he will try to be more English than the English, and in the attempt will deliberately act against the interests of the Jews.”


Jabotinsky’s fears proved all too true and to the Jewish Samuel’s soulless policies can be laid many of the troubles which Zionism was ultimately to face. Almost any Englishman would have been far better for us than this kind of dehydrated Jews.

If you bring the Russian situation to a Communist’s attention, he is likely to point out the strictures which exist also against the Russian Orthodox Church. This hardly holds water since in Russia the Orthodox Church was regarded as the enemy of liberalism and a constant counter-revolutionary force, whereas the inoffensive Jewish synagogue was not only glad enough to be let alone but showed hardly enough vitality and spirit to be dangerous to any one.

It must never be forgotten that Russia is a land where over a long period, horrible periodic massacres were perpetrated against the Jews. It is here that the word “pogrom” originated. Given an unavoidable

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund