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CHAPTER 1

CAUSES OF THE JEWISH PROBLEM

"The United Kingdom is a thickly populated industrial community with at present a large number of unemployed. Competition with foreign countries is very keen. It is difficult for many of our fellow-countrymen to make a livelihood and keep their industries going without failures. Moreover, there is an underlying current of suspicion and anxiety, rightly or wrongly, about immigration on a large scale. It is a fact — and the House had better face these facts frankly — that below the surface, and I know this from my own experience, there is the makings of a definite anti-Jewish movement."

It must be many years since such words were used in Parliament by a responsible Minister, yet the quotation is from the official report of a speech made in the House of Commons on November 21, 1938, by Sir Samuel Hoare, the Home Secretary. And when a Labour member interjected with a remark to the effect that Fascists were responsible, the Home Secretary replied:

"There is more to it than that."

Every man and woman in this country, both Gentile and Jew, must face the fact that Britain'e Jewish problem has crystallized. It has come to a head after years of subterranean rumblings. Just as the volcano gives ominous warnings of the explosion to come, so the rumblings of anti-Jewish feeling should warn the country of the upheaval that is near at hand. The familiar wheel of history has nearly turned full circle. We are facing the last phase of that circle — and the worst.

As far as the Jews are concerned, history presents a series of examples so similar and uanimous that its lesson cannot be ignored. Look where you will, the Jewish problem has always presented the same features, and the wheel of history, in its turning, has always followed the same set course, the same unchanging procedure.

This procedure can be followed through its stages from any given point, but the most convenient stage from which to start is, paradoxically enough, the expulsion of all Jews from the country concerned. The people of that country decide that the Jews are a menace or, at best, an irritating minority, and steps are taken to expel them all. The period of expulsion may last for a decade — or for centuries. But inevitably there comes a time when that anti-Jewish feeling withers and dies. It is the prelude to a return of the Jews.

At first, there is only a small influx, but this trickle soon swells into a stream and then into a flood. No longer harassed, but welcomed, Jews begin to permeate the nation's life by inter-marriage, by filtration into public offices and universities, and by their interest in trade. And even if the open welcome is not sustained, it is replaced with an easy tolerance that enables the Jew to thrive and become a power in the land.

This state of affairs can often be long-lived, but there is an end to it, and the beginning of the end is the slow disappearance of tolerance. Sporadic murmurings of discontent become more widespread, and they culminate in open and determined anti-Semitism. It is the writing on the wall for the Jews. The result, call it a pogrom or what you please, means expulsion in large numbers. Out the Jews have to go to resume their wanderings. But sooner or later the anti-Semitism is forgotten and Jews are again admitted. And so the process goes on.