24 APRIL 1936, Page 21


[To the Editor of THE SPECTATOR.]

read with much interest the article by Mr. II. G. Wells (No. XIII) on "The Case for Persecution." I am not sure whether the views therein represent those of Mr. Wells himself or not. In any case, no matter. What interested me was his remarks about the Jews. Has he read Professor Hugo Valentin's Anti-Semitism? He will there see that Anti- Semitism is very largely Anti-Alienism—instinctive distrust of the herd for the foreign element therein. This can be gauged (except in Germany) by the fact that assimilated Jews suffer very little from the effects of Anti-Semitism. Mr. Wells has disclosed a very interesting fact when he compares the National Socialist Movement with the Jewish National Movement (or, more accurately, the Zionist National Move- ment). -Superficially, there may be a good deal to be said for the analogy. During the comparatively short time in which the Jews were actually a nation, the laws for the preservation

of the Race were fixed and arbitrary. Any Jew marrying outside the Faith was placed outside the Pale—" His soul was cut off from Israel." The Jews were taught to regard them- Selves as the Chosen People. Among the strictly orthodox Jews these laws hold good today. Zionists in reviving the "National" standpoint have resuscitated the Hebrew tongue, established the " Hatikvah " as a National Anthem, and are trying to found a " Jewish " State. Politics have usurped

the place of Religion, and Race has become confused with Nationality. Balfour did untold harm when he gave to the world his "National Home" statement. Many prominent Jews both here and in America told him so at the time. The greatest harm he did was to the Jews themselves. He per- petuated for all time their separateness. With more circum... speetion he might have assured for them a perpetual Home" but without that fatal and significant qualification "National." This first introduced the political element.

A vast colony of Palestinians, where Jews would have absolute right of entry to the utmost limit of the country's capacity under the protection of England, would have eliminated all Jingoism. Trans-Jordan might then have been included without causing distress to the Arabs (Arabs and Jews worked admirably together until politics intervened to arouse national passions). Had such a course been taken then, it is possible that room might profitably have been found now for most of the German Refugees. If Zionists eventually succeed in founding a State in Palestine, let us at least hope that no intelligent person will make the mistake of calling it a "Jewish" State. Judaism is a religion. It might perhaps be called a Race (though Mr. Wells speaks truly when he says it is no more purely Jewish than the English are purely Nordic) and is certainly an ideal and a tradition. Jews are the" People of the Book," and were never intended to become the "People of the Land.". The return to Palestine was, some think, to be a spiritual return. In any case a Crown Colony exempt from any taint of political bias would in the opinion of a great many people have gone far to solve the sans patrie problem.

You shall be my witnesses among the peoples of the earth" is supposed to have been the mission assigned to the Jews in the Old Testament—a scattered people with the spiritual bond of the Jewish religion to unite them ; no national flavour about their interdependability. We have moved, sad to relate, a long way from this conception of Judaism, but none the less I think it remains the essentially true conception. Many Zionists have even discarded all religion. How then can Zionism, which is essentially National, be confused with Judaism, which is essentially spiritual ?—Yours very truly, A JEW IN ENGLAND.