JEWISH misery has two forms, the material and the moral. In Eastern Europe, in those regions which shelter the vast majority of our race, we see a painful fight for the maintenance of a bare existence. In Western Europe, the Jew has bread; but man does not live on bread alone. His misery is moral. It exists in the constant wounding of self-respect and honour.
MAX NORDAU, 1897.
IREMEMBER when I used to come home from the Cheder11, bleeding and crying from the wounds inflicted upon me by the Christian boys, my father used to say, ‘My child, we are in Golus (exile), and we must submit to God’s will’. And he made me understand that this is only a passing stage in history, as we Jews belong to Eternity, when God will comfort His people. Thus the pain was only physical; but my real suffering began later in life, when I emigrated from Roumania to so-called civilized countries, and found there what I might call the Higher Anti-Semitism, which burns the soul though it leaves the body unhurt.
S. SCHECHTER, 1903.
NOT rarely a Jew is heard to murmur that we must learn from our enemies and try to remedy our failings. He forgets, however, that the anti-Semitic accusations are valueless, because they are not based on a criticism of real facts, but are merely due to the psychological law according to which children, savages, and malevolent fools make persons and things against which they have an aversion responsible for their sufferings.
Pretexts change, but the hatred remains. The Jews are not hated because they have evil qualities; evil qualities are sought for in them because they are hated.
MY grandmother, the beautiful daughter of a family who had suffered much from persecution, had imbibed that dislike for her race which the vain are too apt to adopt when they find they are born to public contempt. The indignant feeling that should be reserved for the persecutor, in the mortification of their disturbed sensibility, is too often visited on the victim; and the cause of annoyance is recognized not in the ignorant malevolence of the powerful, but in the conscientious conviction of the innocent sufferer.
BENJAMIN DISRAELI, 1848.
ANTI-SEMITES accuse the Jewish people of an incapacity for forgiveness and love. Let these preachers of love first practise it. Let them refrain, at least, from incendiary slanders against Israel who, among all the peoples of the world, has agonized and suffered most from hatred, malice, and all uncharitableness at the hands of others. Let such preachers of love remember the Mosaic Law: ‘Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour’.
J. H. HERTZ, 1919.
NOT one man alone has risen up against us to destroy us, but in every generation there rise up against us those who seek to destroy us; but the Holy One, blessed be He, delivers us from their hands.
NO weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgement thou shalt condemn.
ISAIAH 54. 17.