The Jews have maintained their solidarity in all parts of the
earth, even in individual isolation one from another. The Jews bunch wherever
possible. That the Jews have preserved their individuality despite all
mutations of environment goes without saying. They have accomplished this
without absolute unity of language. They still constitute a distinctive
social unit wherever they chance to be.
To [territorial nationality] the Jew is indifferent, typifying still
the Oriental tribal idea. As a result he is out of harmony with his environment.
An element of dislike of a political nature, on the part of the Christian
is added to the irreconcilability of religious belief. It has ever been
the Aryan versus the Semite in religion throughout all history, as Renan
has observed; and today it has also become the people versus the nation,
as well as the Jew versus the Christian.
An element of social solidarity is sometimes, though rarely, found in
a community of physical descent. To the cementing bonds of speech, tradition,
belief, and contiguity, is added the element of physical brotherhood--that
is to say, of race. Can it be that herein is a partial explanation of the
social individuality of the Jewish people? Race, as we constantly maintain
despite the abuses of the word, really is to be measured only by physical
characteristics. [The question is answered at the end of the chapter.]
Not Russia, then, but southwestern Russia alone, is deeply concerned
over the actual presence of this alien population. [Ths was written in
1899, years before the 1917 Jewist Zionist Communist Russian Revolution.]
And it is the Jewish element in this small section of the country which
constitutes such an industrial and social menace to the neighboring empires
of Germany and Austria. In the latter country the Jews seem to be increasing
in numbers almost four times as rapidly as the native population....Wherever
the bars [to Jewish immigration] are lowered, there does this migratory
human element at once expand.
...[A]lways and everywhere, the Israelites constitute pre-eminently
the town populations. They are not widely disseminated among the agricultural
districts, but congregate in the commercial centres. It is an unalterable
characteristic of this peculiar people. The Jew betrays an inherent dislike
for violent manual or outdoor labour, as for physical exercise or exertion
in any form. He prefers to live by brain, not brawn.
The result is that in many parts of Poland the Jews form an actual majority
of the population in the towns. This is the danger for Germany also. Thus
it is Berlin, not Prussia at large, which is threatened with an overload
of Jews from the country on the east. This aggregation in urban centres
becomes the more marked as the relative frequency for the whole country
[Jews] seem to have been welcomed [in Poland after the Crusades, fleeing
from persecution], till the proportions of the movement became so great
a to excite alarm. Its results appear upon our map. Thus we know that many
of the Jews of Poland came to Russia as a troublesome legacy on the division
of that kingdom.
Drunkenness among Jews is very rare. Temperate habits, a frugal diet,
with a very moderate use of spirits, render the proportion of Bright's
disease and affections of the liver comparatively very small....In conclusion,
it may be said that these people are prone to nervous and mental disorders;
insanity, in fact, is fearfully prevalent among them. Lombroso asserts
it to be four times as frequent among Italian Jews as among Christians.
This may possibly be a result of close inbreeding in a country like Italy,
where the Jewish communities are small. It does not, however, seem to lead
to suicide...probably for the ...greater force of religion and other steadying
The boasted purity of descent of the Jews is, then, a myth.
A feature of my own observation, perhaps not fully justified, is a peculiar
separation of the teeth, which seem to stand well apart from one another.
Enough for us to know that there is something Jewish in these faces
which we instantly detect. Not invariable are these traits. Not even to
the Jew himself are they always a sure criterion.
It may indeed be affirmed with certainty that the Jews are by hereditary
descent from early times no purer than most of their European neighbors.
Both Jews and Basques possessed in a high degree a "consciousness of
kind"; they were keenly sensible of their social individuality. That of
the Jews was derived from the circumstances of social isolation, dependent
upon the dictates of religion. We have a potent selective force at work.
So far as in their power lay, the individuality of all these people [Basques,
Jews, and Armenians] was encouraged and perpetuated as one of their dearest
possessions. It affected every detail of their lives. Why should it not
also...determine their choice in marriage? Its results became thus accentuated
[There follows discussion of a Jewish facial type. Carleton Coon in
1939 asserted that there was indeed a generally recognized conventional
facial expression, but that it was a cultural trait among European Jews.]
The Jews are not a race, but only a people, after all. In their faces
we read its confirmation: while in respect of their other traits we are
convinced that such individuality as they possess--by no means inconsiderable--is
of their own making from one generation to the next, rather than a product
of an unprecedented purity of physical descent.