When and How Was the Jewish People Invented?

Discussion in 'Defence & Strategic Issues' started by ajtr, Jun 7, 2010.

  1. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    With recent Israeli raid on Turkish Flotilla in mind I thought of posting this thread looking into the history of Jewish people and the present conflict...Members are welcome to add their views and correct if some information is wrong....Mods are free to close this thread if members find it to be controversial...


    When and How Was the Jewish People Invented?


    summary...
    No one is more surprised than Shlomo Sand that his latest academic work has spent 19 weeks on Israel's bestseller list – and that success has come to the history professor despite his book challenging Israel's biggest taboo.

    Dr. Sand argues that the idea of a Jewish nation – whose need for a safe haven was originally used to justify the founding of the state of Israel – is a myth invented little more than a century ago.

    An expert on European history at Tel Aviv University, Dr. Sand drew on extensive historical and archaeological research to support not only this claim but several more – all equally controversial.

    In addition, he argues that the Jews were never exiled from the Holy Land, that most of today's Jews have no historical connection to the land called Israel and that the only political solution to the country's conflict with the Palestinians is to abolish the Jewish state.

    The success of When and How Was the Jewish People Invented? looks likely to be repeated around the world.

    Idea of a Jewish people invented, says historian

    by Jonathan Cook
    No one is more surprised than Shlomo Sand that his latest academic work has spent 19 weeks on Israel's bestseller list – and that success has come to the history professor despite his book challenging Israel's biggest taboo.

    Dr. Sand argues that the idea of a Jewish nation – whose need for a safe haven was originally used to justify the founding of the state of Israel – is a myth invented little more than a century ago.

    An expert on European history at Tel Aviv University, Dr. Sand drew on extensive historical and archaeological research to support not only this claim but several more – all equally controversial.

    In addition, he argues that the Jews were never exiled from the Holy Land, that most of today's Jews have no historical connection to the land called Israel and that the only political solution to the country's conflict with the Palestinians is to abolish the Jewish state.

    The success of When and How Was the Jewish People Invented? looks likely to be repeated around the world. A French edition, launched last month, is selling so fast that it has already had three print runs.

    Translations are under way into a dozen languages, including Arabic and English. But he predicted a rough ride from the pro-Israel lobby when the book is launched by his English publisher, Verso, in the United States next year.

    In contrast, he said Israelis had been, if not exactly supportive, at least curious about his argument. Tom Segev, one of the country's leading journalists, has called the book "fascinating and challenging."

    Surprisingly, Dr. Sand said, most of his academic colleagues in Israel have shied away from tackling his arguments. One exception is Israel Bartal, a professor of Jewish history at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Writing in Haaretz, the Israeli daily newspaper, Dr. Bartal made little effort to rebut Dr. Sand's claims. He dedicated much of his article instead to defending his profession, suggesting that Israeli historians were not as ignorant about the invented nature of Jewish history as Dr. Sand contends.

    The idea for the book came to him many years ago, Dr. Sand said, but he waited until recently to start working on it. "I cannot claim to be particularly courageous in publishing the book now," he said. "I waited until I was a full professor. There is a price to be paid in Israeli academia for expressing views of this sort."

    Dr. Sand's main argument is that until little more than a century ago, Jews thought of themselves as Jews only because they shared a common religion. At the turn of the 20th century, he said, Zionist Jews challenged this idea and started creating a national history by inventing the idea that Jews existed as a people separate from their religion.

    Equally, the modern Zionist idea of Jews being obligated to return from exile to the Promised Land was entirely alien to Judaism, he added.

    "Zionism changed the idea of Jerusalem. Before, the holy places were seen as places to long for, not to be lived in. For 2,000 years Jews stayed away from Jerusalem not because they could not return but because their religion forbade them from returning until the messiah came."

    The biggest surprise during his research came when he started looking at the archaeological evidence from the biblical era.

    "I was not raised as a Zionist, but like all other Israelis I took it for granted that the Jews were a people living in Judea and that they were exiled by the Romans in 70AD.

    "But once I started looking at the evidence, I discovered that the kingdoms of David and Solomon were legends.

    "Similarly with the exile. In fact, you can't explain Jewishness without exile. But when I started to look for history books describing the events of this exile, I couldn't find any. Not one.

    "That was because the Romans did not exile people. In fact, Jews in Palestine were overwhelming peasants and all the evidence suggests they stayed on their lands."

    Instead, he believes an alternative theory is more plausible: the exile was a myth promoted by early Christians to recruit Jews to the new faith. "Christians wanted later generations of Jews to believe that their ancestors had been exiled as a punishment from God."

    So if there was no exile, how is it that so many Jews ended up scattered around the globe before the modern state of Israel began encouraging them to "return"?

    Dr. Sand said that, in the centuries immediately preceding and following the Christian era, Judaism was a proselytizing religion, desperate for converts. "This is mentioned in the Roman literature of the time."

    Jews traveled to other regions seeking converts, particularly in Yemen and among the Berber tribes of North Africa. Centuries later, the people of the Khazar kingdom in what is today south Russia, would convert en masse to Judaism, becoming the genesis of the Ashkenazi Jews of central and eastern Europe.

    Dr. Sand pointed to the strange state of denial in which most Israelis live, noting that papers offered extensive coverage recently to the discovery of the capital of the Khazar kingdom next to the Caspian Sea.

    Ynet, the website of Israel's most popular newspaper, Yedioth Ahronoth, headlined the story: "Russian archaeologists find long-lost Jewish capital." And yet none of the papers, he added, had considered the significance of this find to standard accounts of Jewish history.

    One further question is prompted by Dr. Sand's account, as he himself notes: if most Jews never left the Holy Land, what became of them?

    "It is not taught in Israeli schools but most of the early Zionist leaders, including David Ben Gurion [Israel's first prime minister], believed that the Palestinians were the descendants of the area's original Jews. They believed the Jews had later converted to Islam."

    Dr. Sand attributed his colleagues' reticence to engage with him to an implicit acknowledgement by many that the whole edifice of "Jewish history" taught at Israeli universities is built like a house of cards.

    The problem with the teaching of history in Israel, Dr. Sand said, dates to a decision in the 1930s to separate history into two disciplines: general history and Jewish history. Jewish history was assumed to need its own field of study because Jewish experience was considered unique.

    "There's no Jewish department of politics or sociology at the universities. Only history is taught in this way, and it has allowed specialists in Jewish history to live in a very insular and conservative world where they are not touched by modern developments in historical research.

    "I've been criticized in Israel for writing about Jewish history when European history is my specialty. But a book like this needed a historian who is familiar with the standard concepts of historical inquiry used by academia in the rest of the world."

    This article originally appeared in The National, published in Abu Dhabi.
     
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  3. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Shattering a 'national mythology'

    By Ofri Ilani

    Of all the national heroes who have arisen from among the Jewish people over the generations, fate has not been kind to Dahia al-Kahina, a leader of the Berbers in the Aures Mountains. Although she was a proud Jewess, few Israelis have ever heard the name of this warrior-queen who, in the seventh century C.E., united a number of Berber tribes and pushed back the Muslim army that invaded North Africa. It is possible that the reason for this is that al-Kahina was the daughter of a Berber tribe that had converted to Judaism, apparently several generations before she was born, sometime around the 6th century C.E.

    According to the Tel Aviv University historian, Prof. Shlomo Sand, author of "Matai ve'ech humtza ha'am hayehudi?" ("When and How the Jewish People Was Invented?"; Resling, in Hebrew), the queen's tribe and other local tribes that converted to Judaism are the main sources from which Spanish Jewry sprang. This claim that the Jews of North Africa originated in indigenous tribes that became Jewish - and not in communities exiled from Jerusalem - is just one element of the far- reaching argument set forth in Sand's new book.

    In this work, the author attempts to prove that the Jews now living in Israel and other places in the world are not at all descendants of the ancient people who inhabited the Kingdom of Judea during the First and Second Temple period. Their origins, according to him, are in varied peoples that converted to Judaism during the course of history, in different corners of the Mediterranean Basin and the adjacent regions. Not only are the North African Jews for the most part descendants of pagans who converted to Judaism, but so are the Jews of Yemen (remnants of the Himyar Kingdom in the Arab Peninsula, who converted to Judaism in the fourth century) and the Ashkenazi Jews of Eastern Europe (refugees from the Kingdom of the Khazars, who converted in the eighth century).

    Unlike other "new historians" who have tried to undermine the assumptions of Zionist historiography, Sand does not content himself with going back to 1948 or to the beginnings of Zionism, but rather goes back thousands of years. He tries to prove that the Jewish people never existed as a "nation-race" with a common origin, but rather is a colorful mix of groups that at various stages in history adopted the Jewish religion. He argues that for a number of Zionist ideologues, the mythical perception of the Jews as an ancient people led to truly racist thinking: "There were times when if anyone argued that the Jews belong to a people that has gentile origins, he would be classified as an anti-Semite on the spot. Today, if anyone dares to suggest that those who are considered Jews in the world ... have never constituted and still do not constitute a people or a nation - he is immediately condemned as a hater of Israel."

    According to Sand, the description of the Jews as a wandering and self-isolating nation of exiles, "who wandered across seas and continents, reached the ends of the earth and finally, with the advent of Zionism, made a U-turn and returned en masse to their orphaned homeland," is nothing but "national mythology." Like other national movements in Europe, which sought out a splendid Golden Age, through which they invented a heroic past - for example, classical Greece or the Teutonic tribes - to prove they have existed since the beginnings of history, "so, too, the first buds of Jewish nationalism blossomed in the direction of the strong light that has its source in the mythical Kingdom of David."

    So when, in fact, was the Jewish people invented, in Sand's view? At a certain stage in the 19th century, intellectuals of Jewish origin in Germany, influenced by the folk character of German nationalism, took upon themselves the task of inventing a people "retrospectively," out of a thirst to create a modern Jewish people. From historian Heinrich Graetz on, Jewish historians began to draw the history of Judaism as the history of a nation that had been a kingdom, became a wandering people and ultimately turned around and went back to its birthplace.

    Actually, most of your book does not deal with the invention of the Jewish people by modern Jewish nationalism, but rather with the question of where the Jews come from.

    Sand: "My initial intention was to take certain kinds of modern historiographic materials and examine how they invented the 'figment' of the Jewish people. But when I began to confront the historiographic sources, I suddenly found contradictions. And then that urged me on: I started to work, without knowing where I would end up. I took primary sources and I tried to examine authors' references in the ancient period - what they wrote about conversion."

    Sand, an expert on 20th-century history, has until now researched the intellectual history of modern France (in "Ha'intelektual, ha'emet vehakoah: miparashat dreyfus ve'ad milhemet hamifrats" - "Intellectuals, Truth and Power, From the Dreyfus Affair to the Gulf War"; Am Oved, in Hebrew). Unusually, for a professional historian, in his new book he deals with periods that he had never researched before, usually relying on studies that present unorthodox views of the origins of the Jews.

    Experts on the history of the Jewish people say you are dealing with subjects about which you have no understanding and are basing yourself on works that you can't read in the original.

    "It is true that I am an historian of France and Europe, and not of the ancient period. I knew that the moment I would start dealing with early periods like these, I would be exposed to scathing criticism by historians who specialize in those areas. But I said to myself that I can't stay just with modern historiographic material without examining the facts it describes. Had I not done this myself, it would have been necessary to have waited for an entire generation. Had I continued to deal with France, perhaps I would have been given chairs at the university and provincial glory. But I decided to relinquish the glory."

    Inventing the Diaspora

    "After being forcibly exiled from their land, the people remained faithful to it throughout their Dispersion and never ceased to pray and hope for their return to it and for the restoration in it of their political freedom" - thus states the preamble to the Israeli Declaration of Independence. This is also the quotation that opens the third chapter of Sand's book, entitled "The Invention of the Diaspora." Sand argues that the Jewish people's exile from its land never happened.

    "The supreme paradigm of exile was needed in order to construct a long-range memory in which an imagined and exiled nation-race was posited as the direct continuation of 'the people of the Bible' that preceded it," Sand explains. Under the influence of other historians who have dealt with the same issue in recent years, he argues that the exile of the Jewish people is originally a Christian myth that depicted that event as divine punishment imposed on the Jews for having rejected the Christian gospel.

    "I started looking in research studies about the exile from the land - a constitutive event in Jewish history, almost like the Holocaust. But to my astonishment I discovered that it has no literature. The reason is that no one exiled the people of the country. The Romans did not exile peoples and they could not have done so even if they had wanted to. They did not have trains and trucks to deport entire populations. That kind of logistics did not exist until the 20th century. From this, in effect, the whole book was born: in the realization that Judaic society was not dispersed and was not exiled."

    If the people was not exiled, are you saying that in fact the real descendants of the inhabitants of the Kingdom of Judah are the Palestinians?

    "No population remains pure over a period of thousands of years. But the chances that the Palestinians are descendants of the ancient Judaic people are much greater than the chances that you or I are its descendents. The first Zionists, up until the Arab Revolt [1936-9], knew that there had been no exiling, and that the Palestinians were descended from the inhabitants of the land. They knew that farmers don't leave until they are expelled. Even Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, the second president of the State of Israel, wrote in 1929 that, 'the vast majority of the peasant farmers do not have their origins in the Arab conquerors, but rather, before then, in the Jewish farmers who were numerous and a majority in the building of the land.'"

    And how did millions of Jews appear around the Mediterranean Sea?

    "The people did not spread, but the Jewish religion spread. Judaism was a converting religion. Contrary to popular opinion, in early Judaism there was a great thirst to convert others. The Hasmoneans were the first to begin to produce large numbers of Jews through mass conversion, under the influence of Hellenism. The conversions between the Hasmonean Revolt and Bar Kochba's rebellion are what prepared the ground for the subsequent, wide-spread dissemination of Christianity. After the victory of Christianity in the fourth century, the momentum of conversion was stopped in the Christian world, and there was a steep drop in the number of Jews. Presumably many of the Jews who appeared around the Mediterranean became Christians. But then Judaism started to permeate other regions - pagan regions, for example, such as Yemen and North Africa. Had Judaism not continued to advance at that stage and had it not continued to convert people in the pagan world, we would have remained a completely marginal religion, if we survived at all."

    How did you come to the conclusion that the Jews of North Africa were originally Berbers who converted?

    "I asked myself how such large Jewish communities appeared in Spain. And then I saw that Tariq ibn Ziyad, the supreme commander of the Muslims who conquered Spain, was a Berber, and most of his soldiers were Berbers. Dahia al-Kahina's Jewish Berber kingdom had been defeated only 15 years earlier. And the truth is there are a number of Christian sources that say many of the conquerors of Spain were Jewish converts. The deep-rooted source of the large Jewish community in Spain was those Berber soldiers who converted to Judaism."

    Sand argues that the most crucial demographic addition to the Jewish population of the world came in the wake of the conversion of the kingdom of Khazaria - a huge empire that arose in the Middle Ages on the steppes along the Volga River, which at its height ruled over an area that stretched from the Georgia of today to Kiev. In the eighth century, the kings of the Khazars adopted the Jewish religion and made Hebrew the written language of the kingdom. From the 10th century the kingdom weakened; in the 13th century is was utterly defeated by Mongol invaders, and the fate of its Jewish inhabitants remains unclear.

    Sand revives the hypothesis, which was already suggested by historians in the 19th and 20th centuries, according to which the Judaized Khazars constituted the main origins of the Jewish communities in Eastern Europe.

    "At the beginning of the 20th century there is a tremendous concentration of Jews in Eastern Europe - three million Jews in Poland alone," he says. "The Zionist historiography claims that their origins are in the earlier Jewish community in Germany, but they do not succeed in explaining how a small number of Jews who came from Mainz and Worms could have founded the Yiddish people of Eastern Europe. The Jews of Eastern Europe are a mixture of Khazars and Slavs who were pushed eastward."

    'Degree of perversion'

    If the Jews of Eastern Europe did not come from Germany, why did they speak Yiddish, which is a Germanic language?

    "The Jews were a class of people dependent on the German bourgeoisie in the East, and thus they adopted German words. Here I base myself on the research of linguist Paul Wechsler of Tel Aviv University, who has demonstrated that there is no etymological connection between the German Jewish language of the Middle Ages and Yiddish. As far back as 1828, the Ribal (Rabbi Isaac Ber Levinson) said that the ancient language of the Jews was not Yiddish. Even Ben Zion Dinur, the father of Israeli historiography, was not hesitant about describing the Khazars as the origin of the Jews in Eastern Europe, and describes Khazaria as 'the mother of the diasporas' in Eastern Europe. But more or less since 1967, anyone who talks about the Khazars as the ancestors of the Jews of Eastern Europe is considered naive and moonstruck."

    Why do you think the idea of the Khazar origins is so threatening?

    "It is clear that the fear is of an undermining of the historic right to the land. The revelation that the Jews are not from Judea would ostensibly knock the legitimacy for our being here out from under us. Since the beginning of the period of decolonization, settlers have no longer been able to say simply: 'We came, we won and now we are here' the way the Americans, the whites in South Africa and the Australians said. There is a very deep fear that doubt will be cast on our right to exist."

    Is there no justification for this fear?

    "No. I don't think that the historical myth of the exile and the wanderings is the source of the legitimization for me being here, and therefore I don't mind believing that I am Khazar in my origins. I am not afraid of the undermining of our existence, because I think that the character of the State of Israel undermines it in a much more serious way. What would constitute the basis for our existence here is not mythological historical right, but rather would be for us to start to establish an open society here of all Israeli citizens."

    In effect you are saying that there is no such thing as a Jewish people.

    "I don't recognize an international people. I recognize 'the Yiddish people' that existed in Eastern Europe, which though it is not a nation can be seen as a Yiddishist civilization with a modern popular culture. I think that Jewish nationalism grew up in the context of this 'Yiddish people.' I also recognize the existence of an Israeli people, and do not deny its right to sovereignty. But Zionism and also Arab nationalism over the years are not prepared to recognize it.

    "From the perspective of Zionism, this country does not belong to its citizens, but rather to the Jewish people. I recognize one definition of a nation: a group of people that wants to live in sovereignty over itself. But most of the Jews in the world have no desire to live in the State of Israel, even though nothing is preventing them from doing so. Therefore, they cannot be seen as a nation."

    What is so dangerous about Jews imagining that they belong to one people? Why is this bad?

    "In the Israeli discourse about roots there is a degree of perversion. This is an ethnocentric, biological, genetic discourse. But Israel has no existence as a Jewish state: If Israel does not develop and become an open, multicultural society we will have a Kosovo in the Galilee. The consciousness concerning the right to this place must be more flexible and varied, and if I have contributed with my book to the likelihood that I and my children will be able to live with the others here in this country in a more egalitarian situation - I will have done my bit.

    "We must begin to work hard to transform our place into an Israeli republic where ethnic origin, as well as faith, will not be relevant in the eyes of the law. Anyone who is acquainted with the young elites of the Israeli Arab community can see that they will not agree to live in a country that declares it is not theirs. If I were a Palestinian I would rebel against a state like that, but even as an Israeli I am rebelling against it."

    The question is whether for those conclusions you had to go as far as the Kingdom of the Khazars.

    "I am not hiding the fact that it is very distressing for me to live in a society in which the nationalist principles that guide it are dangerous, and that this distress has served as a motive in my work. I am a citizen of this country, but I am also a historian and as a historian it is my duty to write history and examine texts. This is what I have done."

    If the myth of Zionism is one of the Jewish people that returned to its land from exile, what will be the myth of the country you envision?

    "To my mind, a myth about the future is better than introverted mythologies of the past. For the Americans, and today for the Europeans as well, what justifies the existence of the nation is a future promise of an open, progressive and prosperous society. The Israeli materials do exist, but it is necessary to add, for example, pan-Israeli holidays. To decrease the number of memorial days a bit and to add days that are dedicated to the future. But also, for example, to add an hour in memory of the Nakba [literally, the "catastrophe" - the Palestinian term for what happened when Israel was established], between Memorial Day and Independence Day." [/size]
     
  4. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    The interview of Professor Shlomo Sand gave us a broad perspective about the origins of the Jewish people.

    It is also pertinent to understand the historical relations between Jews and Christians in Europe. Christians tended to be prejudiced against Jews as being the "killers of Jesus Christ". Jews, in turn, tended to regard Christianity as a deviant doctrine.

    First, a little about the period in Jewish history known as the "Babylonian Exile"

    (By the way, this is the history the BoneyM song "By the Rivers of Babylon" is referring to.) A notable development during the Babylonian exile was the writing down of the Babylonian Talmud.

    Some of the Jewish attitudes towards Christians and other Gentiles comes out in the Babylonian Talmud, which was composed during the Babylonian exile. Some quotations follow (caveat: obviously we are not insinuating that any substantial number of present day Jews hold these attitudes)

    Two references for discussions on this material are:

    (1) Jesus in the Talmud by Peter Schäfer, Princeton University Press, 2007. Preview available at http://books.google.co.in/books?id=...&resnum=1&ved=0CD8Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false

    (2) Jewish History, Jewish Religion - The Weight of Three Thousand Years by Professor Israel Shahak of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Available online at http://www.biblebelievers.org.au/jewhis1.htm#Jewish History, Jewish Religion: . The Chapter on the Laws against the non-Jews is at http://www.biblebelievers.org.au/jewhis5.htm#The Laws Against Non-Jews

    Another issue that has poisoned relations between Jews and Christians are the persistent "blood-libel" allegations - that Jews carry out ritual human sacrifices of Gentiles.

    Now, we are not going to debate the veracity of these claims here. However, we will note that there was a book on the subject "Bloody Passover: Jews of Europe and Ritual Homicide" written in 2007 by Prof. Ariel Toaff of Bar-Ilan University in Israel. Apparently the book raised such a controversy that Professor Toaff was forced to recant, and the book was withdrawn from circulation. Nevertheless, it is available online at: http://www.bloodpassover.com/toafftableofcontents.htm

    With this background, we are ready to move to the next Chapter in this history - the Spanish Inquisition, and the Pogroms.
     
  5. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Marranos, Conversos, and New Christians


    Conversos and Marranos

    The terms “Marrano” and “converso” were applied in Spain and Portugal to the descendants of baptized Jews suspected of secret adherence to Judaism. Converso, from the Latin conversus, meant literally the converted. Various origins for the term “marrano” have been suggested, which include the Hebrew marit ayin ("the appearance of the eye"), referring to the fact that the Marranos were ostensibly Christian but actually Jews; mohoram attah ("you are excommunicated"); the Aramaic-Hebrew Mar Anus ("forced convert"); the Hebrew mumar ("apostate") with the Spanish ending ano; the Arabic mura'in ("hypocrite"); and the second word of the ecclesiastical imprecation anathema maranatha. All such derivations, however, are unlikely. The most probable is from the Spanish word meaning swine or pig, derived from the Latin verres "wild boar." The term probably did not originally refer to the Jews' reluctance to eat pork, as some scholars hold; from its earliest use, it was intended to impart the sense of loathing conveyed by the word. Although romanticized and regarded by later Jewry as a badge of honor, the term was not as widely used, especially in official circles, as is often believed. In Latin America, as a rule, it is not found in official documents, and there is little evidence of its unofficial use in most places. It is not clear if the "Old Christians" only, or the secretly practicing Jews also called themselves "marrano."

    “Marranos” started appearing with the first riots in the Juderias of Spain. Many were forced to convert to Christianity to save their lives. The laws in 14th and 15th century Spain became increasingly oppressive toward practicing Jews, and conversion was provded as an alternative to death. Large numbers of middle class Jews outwardly adopting Christianity to avoid the laws, while secretly practicing Judaism.

    “New Christians”

    "New Christians" is a term applied specifically to three groups of Jewish converts to Christianity and their descendants in the Iberian Peninsula. The first group converted in the wake of the massacres in Spain in 1391 and the proselytizing fervor of the subsequent decades. The second, also in Spain, were baptized following the decree of Ferdinand and Isabella in 1492 expelling all Jews who refused to accept Christianity. The third group, in Portugal, was converted by force and royal fiat in 1497. Like the word Conversos, but unlike Marranos, the term New Christian carried no intrinsic pejorative connotation, but with the increasing power of the Inquisition and the growth of the concept of "limpieza de sangre," cleansing the blood, the name signaled the disabilities inevitably heaped on those who bore it.

    The New Christians who continued secretly to observe the precepts of Judaism as much as possible after their conversion were not regarded as voluntary apostates. The basis of this decision was the statement by Maimonides that although one should allow oneself to be put to death rather than abandon one's faith in times of persecution, "nevertheless, if he transgressed and did not choose the death of a martyr, even though he has annulled the positive precept of sanctifying the Name and transgressed the injunction not to desecrate the Name, since he transgressed under duress and could not escape, he is exempted from punishment." In accordance with this ruling, other rabbis ruled that those New Christians who remained in their countries because they were unable to escape and flee, if they conducted themselves in accordance with the precepts of Judaism, even if only privately, were full Jews; their shehitah could be relied upon, their testimony in law cases accepted, and their wine was considered kosher.

    Some authorities ruled, however, that if the Marranos of a certain locality succeeded in fleeing to a country where they could return to Judaism, while others remained there in order to retain their material possessions, the latter were no longer presumed to have the privilege of being regarded as valid witnesses or even Jews. Other rabbis expressed more lenient views, and held that no one was to be deprived of their rights as a Jew as long as they were not seen to transgress the precepts of Judaism when there was no longer danger involved. Talmudic scholar Moses Isserles, too, ruled that even those Marranos who are able to flee but delay because of material considerations and transgress Judaism publicly out of compulsion while remaining observant privately, still are reliable Jews. The Marranos who had lived among gentiles for more than a century usually assimilated and intermarried, with the result that their children were presumed to be non-Jewish unless it could be proven that their mothers were Jewish.

    The scholars of Safed headed by Jacob Berab imposed flagellation upon Marranos who returned to Judaism as a punishment for transgressing the prohibitions that rendered them liable to karet, excommunication, in their previous condition. Yet, since flagellation can be imposed only by ordained dayyanim (judges). Jacob Berab and his colleagues wanted to enforce punishment when ordination was renewed (see semikhah). A Marrano who escaped from his native land, but was not circumcised through neglect, was prevented from participating in the services in the synagogue until he was circumcised.

    Movement From Spain

    New Christians began to leave Spain in the wake of the mass conversions of 1391, and Portugal after the forced conversions in 1497. The tide of emigration ebbed and flowed, but heightened during the Inquisition in Spain in 1481, and Portugal in 1536 and after 1630. To slow the continuing exodus, as early as the last decade of the 15th century, the authorities in both countries issued decrees prohibiting the emigration of New Christians. Even the so-called irrevocable permission to emigrate which the New Christians purchased from Philip III in 1601, during the union of Spain and Portugal, was short-lived, and rescinded in 1610. These decrees were frequently evaded, however, and Marranos regularly left the Peninsula clandestinely, or secured permission to take business trips abroad from which they never returned. There were even cases of Marranos leaving for the ostensible purpose of making a pilgrimage to Rome. Once the authorities became aware of such stratagies they tried to intercept Marranos as they moved through Europe to places where they could practice Judaism openly, and men like Jean de la Foix in Lombardy acquired notoriety for his inhuman treatment of those who fell into his hands. There were instances where the highest authorities in the Peninsula closed their eyes to New Christian emigration, however, particularly when it involved their settling in Latin America, where their skills and enterprise were desperately needed. Furtively and openly, in trickles and in torrents, thousands of New Christians left the Iberian Peninsula during the nearly three and a half centuries of the Inquisition's power.

    In Majorca, Spain, the community was converted in the 1430's and called Chuetas, from "pork lard" since they regularly kept pork lard boiling in cauldrons on their porches. They still called themselves "Israelitas" in private, and families typically gave their first born son to the Catholic priesthood as a means of gaining protection from Church persecution. As a result, many of the priests from across the Baleiric Islands are from Marrano families.

    During the Inquisition's extended sway over the Peninsula, the emigrating Marranos could flee to four different kinds of countries: Muslim lands, Protestant territories as they came into being, Catholic countries outside the jurisdiction of Spain and Portugal, and Catholic countries within the peninsular orbit.

    Muslim countries were the most natural places of refuge for Marranos seeking to live openly as Jews, for they were the archenemies of the Christians, with Spain and Portugal being particularly hated. Morocco had already become a haven of refuge for both Jews and Conversos at the end of the 14th century, but many more Jews and Marranos were attracted to the Ottoman Empire at the end of the 15th century and during the 16th. Sultan Bayazid II (Bajazet II; 1481–1512) mocked King Ferdinand for impoverishing Spain and enriching the Ottoman Empire through his expulsion of the Jews. In the 16th century, numerous cities in the Ottoman Empire had Jewish settlements, among them Cairo, Jerusalem, Safed, Damascus, Constantinople with some 50,000 Jews, and Salonika where the population of the Marranos exceeded that of the other Jews and the non-Jews as well.

    Protestant Lands

    Next to the Muslim countries, the Protestant lands offered the best prospects for Morranos, for here too the Catholics were detested, and the Inquisition was a hated institution because it was no more tolerant of Protestants than Jews. In places like England and Germany, Marranos began their existence as titular Catholics and secret Jews before the Reformation. They continued in this double life long after those areas had broken with Rome, since the Protestant authorities were not eager to grant official acknowledgment to the Jews.

    In Hamburg, destined to become one of the wealthiest and most productive Marrano centers, the settlement of Jews was not officially authorized until 1612 and Jewish public worship not until 1650. In England, where Jews had been expelled in 1290, the Marranos who originally settled in London and Bristol were never officially acknowledged as Jews, the question was simply ignored and Marranos were allowed to live undisturbed as practicing Jews. Actually this connivance, or de facto resettlement through official silence, proved salutary for the Jews, since the failure to grant official permission for their presence made it impossible to impose particular disabilities on them. From the middle of the 17th century at least, the Marranos were treated like all other nonconformist citizens. In 1664, the crown granted Jews an official charter of protection, thus further facilitating the development of the Marrano community. The ex-Marranos and their descendants continued to be the dominant element in British Jewry until the 19th century.

    In Amsterdam, the Marranos did not arrive until around 1590, some 11 years after the Union of Utrecht (1579) and the birth of the United Provinces of the Netherlands as a Protestant state. Here, too, they had to wait until 1615 before Jewish settlement was officially authorized, but the Marranos in Amsterdam differed from those in other Protestant countries in that they openly practiced Judaism almost from the moment of their arrival. Thanks to the Marranos, Amsterdam became one of the greatest Jewish centers in the world in the 17th century; it had some of the finest academies and produced some of the greatest Jewish thinkers. During this time, Amsterdam even became known as "the Dutch Jerusalem." The city was also a haven for oppressed Jews from places other than Spain and Portugal, including France in 1615 and Eastern Europe after the Chmielnicki massacres in 1648.

    Marranos from Holland were among the first settlers in Surinam and Curacao, where a substantial Sephardi community came into being after 1650. Other former Marranos were also found in Barbados and in other parts of the West Indies, including Martinique and the Leeward Islands.

    The Catholic lands outside the control of Spain and Portugal did not offer as secure a haven as the Ottoman Empire or the Protestant countries, but they had the advantage of being outside the orbit of the peninsular Inquisitions. At the same tim,e these areas were not without their inherent dangers, in the form of envy or rooted prejudice on the part of the local population, pressures from the Spanish and Portuguese Inquisitions upon the local authorities, and even the possibility of persecution galvanized by local initiative, and, in the case of the Papal States, an indigenous Inquisition. As a result, the existence of many of these Marrano communities, even if unclouded and prosperous for a time, was seldom free from molestation.

    Jews And Popes

    In the Papal States, the Marranos' presence was noticeable in Rome and, even more so, the seaport of Ancona, where they thrived under benevolent popes Clement VII (1523–34), Paul III (1534–49), and Julius III (1550–55). They even received a guarantee that if accused of apostasy they would be subject only to papal authority. But Paul IV (1555–59), the voice of the Counter-Reformation, dealt them an irreparable blow when he withdrew all protection previously given the Marranos and initiated a fierce persecution against them. As a result of the anti-Marrano campaign, 25 Jews were burned alive in the spring of 1556, 26 others were condemned to the galleys, and 30 more who had been arrested were liberated only after they had paid a substantial bribe. Thanks to the intervention of the Marrano patroness, Gracia Mendes Nasi, the sultan at Constantinople secured the release of all Marranos who were his subjects. Plans were laid to boycott Ancona and transfer all the Marranos' former business to neighboring Pesaro, in the friendlier territory of the duke of Urbino, but the project failed, and the duke expelled the Marranos from his territory.

    A document of 1550 indicates that there were some Marranos among the Spanish and Portuguese merchants in Florence who traded on a large scale with Spain and her colonies. In Ferrara, under the house of Este, the Marranos formed a large and thriving community by the middle of the 16th century, one of the most notable in their entire Diaspora. The dukes protected them until 1581, when Duke Alfonso II, bowing to ecclesiastical pressure, allowed many of them to be arrested. Three were eventually sent to Rome to be burned at the stake in February 1583. Marranos settled in Venice in the 15th and early 16th centuries but were subjected to decrees of expulsion in 1497 and again in 1550. Thereafter the city policy began to change. Venice not only welcomed Marranos but kept the Inquisition at bay. Theologians like Paolo Sarpi even claimed that the Jews were outside the jurisdiction of the Inquisition because they had been baptized by force.

    Equally fortunate was the situation in the grand duchy of Tuscany. In an attempt to woo the Marranos to Pisa and Leghorn, Ferdinand II issued a charter in 1593 granting them protection against harassment in matters of faith. As it was in decline at the time, Pisa did not attract many Marranos, but Leghorn did: the community there thrived and by the end of the 18th century its population approached 5,000. Emmanuel Philbert granted special privileges to induce Jews to settle in the duchy of Savoy, intending mainly to settle Marranos from Spain and Portugal in Nice to develop the city into a central trading port with the East. The privilege enraged Philip II of Spain, who considered the whole plan as seriously damaging Spain's interests in the Mediterranean as well as an incitement to Marranos to return to Judaism. The pressure of Spain led to the rescinding of the privilege and, on Nov. 22, 1573, the duke ordered a group of Marranos who had returned to Judaism to leave his territory within six months. This decree was probably not put into effect until 1581 when Charles Emmanuel I ordered the expulsion of all Portuguese Jews from the duchy.

    In France the Marranos had to maintain some semblance of Catholicism for more than two centuries, but they were seldom molested in their secret practice of Judaism. Though they were called "New Christians" or "Portuguese merchants," their Jewishness was an open secret. In the large settlements they lived in their own quarters, had their own burial grounds, developed their own schools and communal institutions, and even trained their own rabbis after first importing them from abroad. They gradually reduced their Catholic practices and eventually abandoned Church marriage and baptism. In 1730, they were officially recognized as Jews. Their more formal communities were situated at Bordeaux and Bayonne and there were numerous lesser settlements in such places as Toulouse, Lyons, Montpellier, La Rochelle, Nantes, and Rouen. Bayonne was the center of a cluster of communities, including Biarritz, Bidache, Peyrehorade, and Saint-Jean-de-Luz. In this last town, the Marranos had the misfortune of being expelled in 1619, and then, after a partial return, seeing the town captured by the Spaniards in 1636.

    In the far-flung Spanish and Portuguese possessions, in the Aragonese territories of Sicily, Sardinia and Naples, in Hapsburg territories such as Flanders, or the colonial territories in the Far East and the Americas, the situation of the Marranos was always precarious. They lived continually under the shadow of the Inquisition; even where a tribunal of the Holy Office was not in operation, episcopal Inquisitions and occasional inquisitional "visitors" were sent from the home countries to galvanize the search for heretics. Sicily and Sardinia, with Inquisitions introduced in 1487 and 1493 respectively, had no Jews living in them by the middle of the 16th century. There was opposition to introducing the Spanish Inquisition into Naples, but the papal Inquisition took over and managed to destroy most of the Marrano community by the middle of the 17th century.

    The situation of the Marranos was no less precarious in Antwerp, where they began to arrive early in the 16th century, often before moving to the Ottoman Empire. In 1526, New Christians' stay in the city was restricted to a 30-day period and, though settlement was fully authorized 11 years later, Judaism was strictly prohibited. With the decline of Antwerp, the center of Marrano life shifted to Amsterdam.

    The Colonies

    In their colonies the Portuguese set up an Inquisition at Goa and the Spaniards established one in the Philippines. Episcopal Inquisitions were always present in Latin America: Brazil never had a formal tribunal, but tribunals were established in the Spanish colonies at Lima, Peru in 1570, Mexico City, Mexico in 1571, and Cartagena in 1610. Latin America in particular attracted considerable numbers of New Christians. The advantage of these territories was that they offered the New Christians a familiar culture and the possiblity of direct — even if infrequent — contact with the mother countries. For New Christians wishing to live fully as Catholics, the distances from the Peninsula and the sparseness of the population of most of the territories aided in the obliteration of the record of their Jewish origins. These factors also helped permit the Marranos to practice Judaism.

    Religious tolerance was important in determining the direction of the flight of many of the Marranos, but also of great importance were the economic and social opportunities available in the various lands open to them at the time of their escape. These opportunities often made it more desirable for Marranos to continue living as secret Jews in Catholic lands, even those under Spanish and Portuguese domination, than to seek a refuge where they could practice Judaism openly. Conversely, in each of the territories where the Marranos appeared, they were allowed to enter and remain because they served definite economic, social, and political ends. In almost every one of their new homes they quickly rose to prominence in international and domestic trade, banking and finance. They helped to establish great national banks and were prominent on the stock exchanges.

    Marranos played an important role in large trading companies, such as the Dutch East Indies and West Indies Companies. They worked in the traffic of such commodities as coral, sugar, tobacco, and precious stones. The Marranos' common background and culture, their presence in the leading commercial centers, and often their ties of kinship, enabled them to establish an efficient and closely knit international trading organization. Great banking and trading families, such as that founded by Francisco Mendes at Lisbon, had branches throughout Europe. Marranos established manufacturing plants for soap, drugs, and other items, and made signal contributions in minting, handicrafts, armaments, and shipbuilding. The Marranos' international connections served to stimulate communications between nations and their separate competitive development. In this way the activities of the New Christians fostered the stability of their countries of settlement and facilitated their transition from a medieval to a modern economy.

    Jewish Professionals

    The Marranos also attained prominence in the professional life of the lands of their dispersion. From their midst came great diplomats like JoCo Miguez, the duke of Naxos (Joseph Nasi), and his mother-in-law, Gracia Mendes Nasi (Beatriz de Luna), who also distinguished herself as a great philanthropist and patron of the Jewish arts, as well as the equally colorful Diego Texeira de Sampaio (Abraham Senior Texeira). The Marranos produced scientists such as Immanuel Bocarro Frances, distinguished physicians like Amatus Lusitanus (Juan Rodrigo), Elijah Montalto (Felipo Rodrigues), and Antonio Ribeiro Sanchez, and a host of other distinguished names in secular literature, theater, and music.

    Reciprocally, many of the states and nations in their diaspora gave the Marranos an opportunity to develop their own institutions and culture; the printing press became an important instrument in the development of this culture. Ferrara's press, which published a famous translation of the Bible into Spanish, and Samuel Usque's Consolaam as tribulaoens de Israel in Portuguese, in addition to liturgical and other works, was the center of Marrano culture in the middle of the 16th century. By the end of the 16th century, Venice had the leading press. Other cities, too, like Leghorn, Hamburg, and London, had important presses, and printing in numerous smaller places helped to further spread Jewish culture.

    A number of Marrano writers became well-known including apologists such as Immanuel Aboab, Saul Levi Morteira, Lorenzo Escudero (Abraham Ger or Abraham Israel Peregrino), Isaac Cardozo, Isaac Orobio de Castro, and David Nieto; poets such as David Abenatar Melo, Daniel Lopez Laguna, Solomon Usque, JoCo (Moses) Pinto Delgado, and Daniel Levi (Miguel) de Barrios; playwrights such as Antonio Enriquez Gomez and Antonio Jose da Silva; and versatile writers such as the prolific Joseph Penso de la Vega, writer of plays, short stories, and one of the earliest and most comprehensive treatises on the stock exchange.

    Many Marranos also attained fame outside the Jewish fold. The aristocracy of many societies in Europe and the Americas was enriched by these people and their descendants. Frequently, as was the case with Benjamin Disraeli, they attained the highest diplomatic, military, and administrative positions.

    In Portugal, the Marquis de Pombal officially abolished all legal distinctions between Old and New Christians in May 1773. Comparable measures were not enacted in Spain until 1860, by which time much of the distinction had been eroded by assimilation and inquisitorial repression. Pockets of social discrimination against New Christians continued, for example, against the "chuetas" of the Balearic Isles.

    A Marrano community was discovered by Samuel Schwartz in Portugal in 1917, and from time to time there emerge individuals or even groups who do not identify as Jews, but who have retained some of the practices and customs of the Marranos while unaware of their Jewish ancestry. The most active Marranos are in the mountainous border areas of the Iberian peninsula between Spain and Portugal, in towns such as Belmonte. Jewish outreach in these areas is achieving success in bringing them forward and restoring full Judaic practice, but many still fear burning or other persecution if they go public with their practices.

    "Crypto-Jew" has now become the more politically correct term, as opposed to Marrano, and refers to all Jews forced to adopt a certain religion and political philosophy while maintaining Jewish practices in secret. In modern times, outwardly Muslim Crypto-Jews are known to be in Iran, and Turkey. Some Hispanics and Latinos, such as Rita Moreno and Fidel Castro, have acknowledged their Marrano ancestry.
     
  6. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    It is important to understand the role played by the Jewish people in banking, money-changing and money-lending.

    Here is a fascinating description from the Encyclopaedia Judaica, covering the period from ancient times to the middle-ages:

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    There is little likelihood that financial transactions played a prominent role in the pre-Exilic epoch in Ereẓ Israel; according to the ethos of Jewish society, then founded on a pronounced agrarian structure, lending was part of the assistance a man owed to his neighbor or brother in need (cf. Deut. 23:21). During the Babylonian era Jews had greater opportunities to come into contact with a highly developed banking tradition and to participate in credit operations. After the Exile, commerce and credit certainly had a place in Ereẓ Israel. Though the society remained predominantly agrarian, Jerusalem had a number of wealthy families, including tax agents and landowners, who speculated and deposited their gains in the Temple, which had in some ways the function of a national bank (see Heliodorus). Organized banking probably arose in connection with Ma'aserot ("tithes"), in particular Ma'aser sheni, and the pilgrimages to Jerusalem, through the activities of the money changers. The use of Greek terms indicates a strong Hellenistic influence on the establishment of banking. Meanwhile, the Jewish communities forming in the Diaspora, the most important at first being that of Babylonia, were given an impulse toward a new way of life by the longstanding traditions of a capitalist type of economy existing around them (see Nippur and Murashu's sons). In Babylonia, Jews engaged in financial transactions: some were farmers of taxes and customs, and the wealthiest of them were landowners; among the latter were Huna, the head of the academy of Sura, and Rav Ashi. However, talmudic references show that the standards of an agrarian economy were still dominant and therefore gamblers and usurers were not thought trustworthy witnesses (see e.g., Sanh. 3:3).

    Another important Jewish colony was to be found at Alexandria, center of the trade between the Mediterranean and the Arabian and Indian world, where Jews were engaged not only in commerce and international trade but in moneylending too. According to Josephus, a Jewish tax agent was able to make a loan of 3,000 talents. The alabarch Alexander Lysimachus, who loaned King Agrippa I 200,000 drachmas (Jos., Ant., 18:159–160), was also the steward of Antonia, mother of Emperor Claudius. Another Alexandrian Jew was treasurer to Candace, queen of Ethiopia.

    Middle Ages
    THE CALIPHATE

    With the rapid development of city life and commerce in the caliphate of Baghdad from the late eighth century and the transition of the majority of Jews under caliphate rule from agriculture and a village environment to the cities, banking became one of the occupations of some upper-class Jews, especially in Baghdad and later under the Fatimids (from 968) in Egypt. This Jahbadhiyya, as it was called, was a form of banking based on the savings and economic activities of the whole Jewish merchant class and not only on the fortunes of the very rich: the bankers loaned to the state and its officers money deposited with them as well as from their own fortunes. The vast sums at the disposal of these Jewish bankers and their relative immunity from confiscation by the autocratic authorities both tend to confirm that these Jewish "court bankers" from the beginning of the tenth century onward were well-known to their Muslim debtors as a kind of "deposit banker" for Jewish merchants. Under the Fatimid caliph al-Mustanṣir the brothers Abu Saʿd al-Tustarī and Abu Naṣr Ḥesed b. Sahl al-Tustarī (both died in 1048) were influential in the finances of Egypt. With the rise of *Saladin and the foundation of the Ayyubid dynasty in Egypt (1169), the position of the Jews deteriorated but they were able to continue their moneychanging activities at least. Toward the end of the Mamluk period (1517), Samuel, a moneychanger in Cairo, must have possessed considerable wealth, for the Arab chronicler Ibn Iyās tells that the sultan extorted from him more than 500,000 dinars. During the Muslim rule on the Iberian peninsula, Córdoba Jews were active in the financial administration in the tenth and eleventh centuries. The responsa of this period show a highly developed money economy existing before the First and Second Crusades.

    EARLY MERCHANTS IN EUROPE

    Persecution, such as occurred in Alexandria in 414 or the oppressive measures promulgated in the Byzantine Empire beginning with Constantine and intensified under Justinian, may have contributed to the fact that from the fifth century Jewish merchants followed their Greek and Syrian counterparts to Gaul and not only traded in luxury goods but also loaned money. With the disappearance of the Syrians and Greeks from Europe in the seventh century, the Jewish merchants were able to expand. Within the administration of the Merovingian kings (from 481) Jews possibly farmed taxes or advanced money on revenues to high officials; according to Gregory of Tours (c. 538–94), the count of Tours and his vicar were indebted to the Jew Armentarius. During the Carolingian period (from the mid-eighth century), Jews settled in the Rhineland again as they had done during the Roman Empire – some of them lending money on pledges or giving money to merchants in a kind of commenda partnership. Archbishop Anno of Cologne (d. 1075), as well as Emperor Henry IV (1056–1106), borrowed money from Jews.

    THE MONEYLENDERS IN EUROPE

    After the First Crusade (1096) the Jewish merchant, in his necessarily long journeys, no longer enjoyed even minimal physical security. In Western and Central Europe, especially in Spain, the crystallization of the essentially Christian nature of the rising city communes combined with this insecurity to drive out the Jews from commerce and prohibit them from engaging in crafts. In France, England (up to 1290), Germany, Austria, Bohemia, Moravia, and northern and central Italy, Jews had to turn to loan-banking on a larger or smaller scale in order to make a living. The canonical prohibition against taking interest by Christians, which was stressed in successive Church councils (especially the Fourth Lateran Council of 1215), and the vast opportunities for capital investment in land and sea trade open to the wealthy Christian made lending on interest for consumer and emergency needs virtually a Jewish monopoly in Western and Central Europe between the 12th and 15th centuries. By the 13th century the notion that the Wucherer ("usurer") was a Jew was already current, for example, in the writings of Berthold of Regensburg, Walther von der Vogelweide, and Ulrich von Lichtenstein. The word judaizare became identical with "taking interest." Testimony from the 12th century shows that moneylending was then becoming the main occupation of the Jews; this was the case of those of Bacharach (1146) and of Muenzenberg (1188). However, there is little data to suggest that Jewish banking transactions were on a large scale even in the 13th century, but there is evidence that the bishop of Basle had debts with Basle Jews and that various monasteries had Jewish creditors.

    The transition from a natural economy to a money economy in the course of the "commercial revolution," and the stabilization of territorial principalities opened new possibilities for Jewish banking activity, especially in the Rhineland and in southern Germany. Jews from Siegburg, Trier, Mainz, Speyer, Strasbourg, and Basle as well as from Ulm and Nuremberg appear as sources of credit. The most important banking transaction in the first half of the 14th century went through the hands of Vivelin the Red, who transmitted 61,000 florins in gold which King Edward III of England paid to Baldwin of Trier for becoming allied with him against France. Margrave Rudolf III of Baden was indebted to David the Elder, called Watch, and to Jekelin of Strasbourg and his partners. Muskin and Jacob Daniels served the archbishop of Trier in the administration of his finances; during the first half of the 14th century, Daniels was probably the most important Jewish banker of the Rhineland. He was followed in the service of the archbishop by his son-in-law Michael. At the same time Abraham von Kreuznach at Bingen had a similar position with the archbishop of Mainz. Gottschalk von Recklinghausen and his company was another group on the lower Rhine. Such banking activity is recorded in other parts of Central Europe as far as Silesia.

    Moneychanging and coinage privileges were often combined with moneylending, and Jews were frequently the sole agents arranging loans. From the first half of the 12th century moneychanging as a special form of banking is supported by documentary evidence. To spread the risk, partnerships of between two and ten persons were formed. As security, custom at first recognized mainly pledges, but from the middle of the 13th century the letter of credit came into use, though princess till preferred to pledge jewels. Often, instead of a pawn, bail was given by several persons. In western Germany hypothecation of real estate was preferred, and in this way Jews acquired in pledge houses, vineyards, farms, villages, castles, towns, and even seigneuries. Interest rates do not seem to have exceeded 36% but in the case of deferred payment they could rise to 100% or beyond. From the 12th century popes and princes exploited the financial capacity of the Jews by frequent remission of debts or forced loans. The Black Death and consequent persecutions of Jews gave rulers an opportunity forcibly to seize property and to restore pawns and letters of credit to debtors. The liquidation of Jewish debts by King Wenceslaus IV of Bohemia around the end of the 14th century is a well-known example of such royal rapacity. With these and other measures and the rise of the merchant class, who gradually took over the function of loan-bankers to the princes and even to emperors during the 15th and early 16th centuries, the Jews were deprived of imperial protection and forced to leave the towns. They retired to the small seigneuries or migrated to Eastern Europe, where a less-developed economy offered them possibilities of making a livelihood. In Bohemia, Hungary, and in Poland and Lithuania both princes and nobility made use of their financial help. As the Eastern European kingdoms developed with the colonization of the forests, Jews played an increasing part in commerce and especially in the *arenda. In the larger towns some engaged in moneylending and banking activities.

    In 12th-century France moneylending was an important Jewish business, but in the 13th century Jewish lenders came up against the superior competition of the Lombards, a rivalry even more intense in the Netherlands. In England, where Aaron of Lincoln and Aaron of York were powerful bankers, a special Exchequer of the Jews was set up to centralize Jewish transactions. However in the 13th century the crown began to rely on the greater resources of the Cahorsins and Italian bankers and in 1290 the Jews were expelled. In Italy Jewish bankers could expand their sphere of activity under the silent protection of the popes, despite resistance on the part of the Christian burghers (see Popes and the Jews). From the second half of the 13th century they spread throughout central Italy and gradually expanded toward the north, migrating at first to the smaller and medium-sized towns. In Pisa and then in Florence the Da Pisa family became important loan-bankers; in Florence in 1437 Cosimo de' Medici permitted a Jewish group to establish four loan-banks; in Venice in 1366 Jews, probably of German origin, obtained the right to lend on pledges. Here as in other places in northern Italy, Jewish loan-bankers from the south came into competition with Jews migrating from Germany or southern France. Finally only a few towns, such as Milan and Genoa, refused to admit Jewish loan-bankers. However, their activities were seriously challenged when the anti-Jewish preaching of the Franciscans resulted in the establishment of branches of the Monti di Pietà toward the middle of the 15th century.

    The Iberian Peninsula after the Christian reconquest offers many examples of large-scale credit activities and tax farming by Jews. It is known that they provided money for armaments against the Moors. El Cid borrowed from Raquel and Vidas, Jews of Burgos, for his expedition against Valencia. King Alfonso VI of Castile (1072–1109) also obtained loans from Jews for his military expeditions. His successors employed Jews in the financial administration, especially as almoxarifes (revenue collectors), an activity combined with moneylending. Thus, Judah Ibn Ezra was in the service of Alfonso VII, Joseph Ibn Shoshan of Alfonso VIII, and Solomon Ibn Zadok (Don Çulema) and his son Çag de la Maleha were almoxarifes in the service of Alfonso X, while Meir ibn Shoshan served as his treasurer. When Sancho IV (1258–95) came to the throne, Abraham el-Barchilon was prominent in the financial administration, supervising the farming of the taxes. Generally, in Castile the Jews abstained from farming the direct taxes, which from 1288 the Cortes opposed. The Jews therefore tended to prefer the administration of the customs and other rights belonging to the office of almoxarife. The court of Aragon relied on Jewish financial administrators in a similar fashion. King James I employed Benveniste de Porta as a banker, probably giving him as security for his advances the office of bailiff of Barcelona and Gerona. Judah de la Cavalleria, the most powerful Jew in the Aragonese administration, had control over all the bailiffs of the kingdom. Under Pedro III the family of Ravaya were most influential. Though during the 14th century the Jews in Aragon and Navarre were subjected to increasing pressures, Judah Ha-Levi and Abraham Aben-Josef of Estella were general farmers of the rents under Charles II and Charles III of Navarre. In Castile – in spite of the Cortes' opposition – Jews such as the Abrabanel family in Seville continued to be active as almoxarifes. The young Alfonso XI appointed Joseph de Écija as his almoxarife mayor (c. 1322); Pedro the Cruel (1350–69) made Samuel b. Meir ha-Levi Abulafia of Toledo, known as the richest Jew of his time, his chief treasurer, and Henry of Trastamara had Joseph Picho as his financial officer (contador mayor) despite his promise to remove all Jews from royal office (1367).
     
  7. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Spain had a significant population of Sephardic Jews, descendents of Berber converts who came from North Africa with the invading Arab armies.

    By the 13th Century, Christian rule was re-established over most of the Iberian peninsula.

    The Spanish Inquisition began 1481, to discover and punish crypto-Jews, i.e. those who had converted to Christianity, but attempted to secretly retain their Jewish identity. (Crypro-Jews are also called "Marranos", which means "pigs" in Spanish.) In 1492, an order was issued for the expulsion of all Jews from Spain. These are pivotal events in our narrative.

    The following in an excerpt from Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_Inquisition):

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    Background

    The Spanish Inquisition can be seen as an answer to the multi-religious nature of Spanish society following the reconquest of the Iberian Peninsula from the Moors (Muslims). For almost 600 years, much of the Iberian Peninsula was dominated by the Moors following their invasion of the peninsula in 711 until the early thirteenth century. Following the Christian victory at the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa (1212), and the fall of Cordoba (1236) and Seville (1248), Christian rule was re-established for most of the peninsula. Only the small region of Granada remained under Muslim rule which also ended with a final Christian victory in 1492. However, the Reconquista did not result in the total expulsion of Muslims from Spain, since they, along with Jews, were tolerated by the ruling Catholic elite. Large cities, especially Seville, Valladolid and Barcelona, had significant Jewish populations centered in "Judería".

    Post-reconquest medieval Spain has been characterized by Americo Castro and some other Iberianists as a society of "convivencia," that is relatively peaceful co-existence, albeit punctuated by occasional conflict among the ruling Catholics and the Jews and Muslims. However, as Henry Kamen notes, "so-called convivencia was always a relationship between unequals." Despite their legal inequality, there was a long tradition of Jewish service to the crown of Aragon and Jews occupied many important posts, both religious and political. Castile itself had an unofficial rabbi.

    Ferdinand's father John II named the Jewish Abiathar Crescas to be Court Astronomer. Nevertheless, in some parts of Spain towards the end of the 14th century, there was a wave of violent anti-Judaism, encouraged by the preaching of Ferrant Martinez, Archdeacon of Ecija. The pogroms of June 1391 were especially bloody: in Seville, hundreds of Jews were killed, and the synagogue was completely destroyed. The number of people killed was also high in other cities, such as Córdoba, Valencia and Barcelona.

    One of the consequences of these pogroms was the mass conversion of Jews. Forced baptism was totally contrary to the law of the Catholic Church, therefore anybody who had been forcibly baptized could legally return to Judaism. However, after the public violence, many of the converted "felt it safer to remain in their new religion." Thus after 1391 a new social group appeared and were referred to as conversos or New Christians. Many conversos, now freed from the antisemitic restrictions imposed on Jewish employment, attained important positions in 15th century Spain, including positions in the government and in the Church. Among many others, physicians Andrés Laguna and Francisco Lopez Villalobos (Ferdinand's court physician), writers Juan del Enzina, Juan de Mena, Diego de Valera and Alonso de Palencia, and bankers Luis de Santangel and Gabriel Sanchez (who financed the voyage of Christopher Columbus) were all conversos. Conversos - not without opposition - managed to attain high positions in the ecclesiastical hierarchy, at times becoming severe detractors of Judaism. Some even received titles of nobility, and as a result, during the following century some works attempted to demonstrate that virtually all of the nobles of Spain were descended from Israelites.


    The start of the Inquisition

    Alonso de Hojeda, a Dominican friar from Seville, convinced Queen Isabel of the existence of Crypto-Judaism among Andalusian conversos during her stay in Seville between 1477 and 1478. A report, produced by Pedro González de Mendoza, Archbishop of Seville, and by the Segovian Dominican Tomás de Torquemada, corroborated this assertion.

    The monarchs decided to introduce the Inquisition to Castile to discover and punish crypto-Jews, and requested the Pope's assent. Ferdinand II of Aragon pressured Pope Sixtus IV to agree to an Inquisition controlled by the monarchy by threatening to withdraw military support at a time when the Turks were a threat to Rome. The Pope issued a bull to stop the Inquisition but was pressured into withdrawing it. On November 1, 1478, Pope Sixtus IV published the Papal bull, Exigit Sinceras Devotionis Affectus, through which the Inquisition was established in the Kingdom of Castile. The bull also gave the monarchs exclusive authority to name the inquisitors. The first two inquisitors, Miguel de Morillo and Juan de San Martín were not named, however, until two years later, on September 27, 1481 in Medina del Campo.

    The first auto de fe was held in Seville on February 6, 1481: six people were burned alive. From there, the Inquisition grew rapidly in the Kingdom of Castile. By 1492, tribunals existed in eight Castilian cities: Ávila, Córdoba, Jaén, Medina del Campo, Segovia, Sigüenza, Toledo, and Valladolid.

    Sixtus IV promulgated a new bull categorically prohibiting the Inquisition's extension to Aragon, affirming that,

    In 1483, Jews were expelled from all of Andalusia. Ferdinand pressured the Pope to promulgate a new bull. He did so on October 17, 1483, naming Tomás de Torquemada Inquisidor General of Aragón, Valencia and Catalonia. Torquemada quickly established procedures for the Inquisition. A new court would be announced with a thirty day grace period for confessions and the gathering of accusations by neighbors. Evidence that was used to identify a crypto-Jew included the absence of chimney smoke on Saturdays (a sign the family might secretly be honoring the Sabbath) or the buying of many vegetables before Passover or the purchase of meat from a converted butcher. The court employed physical torture to extract confessions. Crypto-Jews were allowed to confess and do penance, although those who relapsed were burned at the stake.

    In 1484 Pope Innocent VIII attempted to allow appeals to Rome against the Inquisition, but Ferdinand in December 1484 and again in 1509 decreed death and confiscation for anyone trying to make use of such procedures without royal permission. With this, the Inquisition became the only institution that held authority across all the realms of the Spanish monarchy, and, in all of them, a useful mechanism at the service of the crown. However, the cities of Aragón continued resisting, and even saw revolt, as in Teruel from 1484 to 1485. However, the murder of Inquisidor Pedro Arbués in Zaragoza on September 15, 1485, caused public opinion to turn against the conversos and in favour of the Inquisition. In Aragón, the Inquisitorial courts were focused specifically on members of the powerful converso minority, ending their influence in the Aragonese administration.

    The Inquisition was extremely active between 1480 and 1530. Different sources give different estimates of the number of trials and executions in this period; Henry Kamen estimates about 2,000 executed, based on the documentation of the Autos de Fé, the great majority being conversos of Jewish origin. He offers striking statistics: 91.6% of those judged in Valencia between 1484 and 1530 and 99.3% of those judged in Barcelona between 1484 and 1505 were of Jewish origin. "In 1498 the pope was still trying to...gain acceptance for his own attitude towards the New Christians, which was generally more moderate than that of the Inquisition and the local rulers."

    Expulsion of Jews and repression of conversos

    The Spanish Inquisition had been set up in part to prevent conversos from engaging in Jewish practices, which, as Christians, they were supposed to have given up. However this remedy for securing the orthodoxy of conversos' religion was eventually deemed inadequate, since the main justification the monarchy gave for formally expelling all Jews from Spain was the "great harm suffered by Christians (i.e. conversos) from the contact, intercourse and communication which they have with the Jews, who always attempt in various ways to seduce faithful Christians from our Holy Catholic Faith". The decree of expulsion was issued in January 1492. The number of Jews who left Spain is not even approximately known. Historians of the period give extremely high figures: Juan de Mariana speaks of 800,000 people, and Don Isaac Abravanel of 300,000. Modern estimates are much lower: Henry Kamen estimates that, of a population of approximately 80,000 Jews, about one half or 40,000 chose emigration. The Jews of the kingdom of Castile emigrated mainly to Portugal (from where they were expelled in 1497) and to Morocco. However, according to Henry Kamen, the Jews of the kingdom of Aragon, went "to adjacent Christian lands, mainly to Italy," rather than to Muslim lands as is often assumed. Much later the Sefardim, descendants of Spanish Jews, established communities in many cities of Europe, North Africa, and the Ottoman Empire.

    Jews were baptised in the three months before the deadline for expulsion, some 40,000 if one accepts the totals given by Kamen: most of these undoubtedly to avoid expulsion, rather than a sincere change of faith. These conversos were the principal concern of the Inquisition; being suspected of continuing to practice Judaism put them at risk of denunciation and trial.

    The most intense period of persecution of conversos lasted until 1530. From 1531 to 1560, however, the percentage of conversos among the Inquisition trials dropped to 3% of the total. There was a rebound of persecutions when a group of crypto-Jews was discovered in Quintanar de la Orden in 1588; and there was a rise in denunciations of conversos in the last decade of the 16th century. At the beginning of the 17th century, some conversos who had fled to Portugal began to return to Spain, fleeing the persecution of the Portuguese Inquisition, founded in 1532. This led to a rapid increase in the trials of crypto-Jews, among them a number of important financiers. In 1691, during a number of Autos de Fe in Majorca, 36 chuetas, or conversos of Majorca, were burned.

    During the 18th century the number of conversos accused by the Inquisition decreased significantly. Manuel Santiago Vivar, tried in Cordoba in 1818, was the last person tried for being a crypto-Jew.

    The generally accepted number burnt at the stake by the Inquisition (including all categories such as Protestants, blasphemers, bigamists and crypto-Jews) is below 5,000 (see below).


    (end of Wikipedia Excerpt)

    ---------------------------------------------------


    It is an interesting aside that the day of the expulsion of the Jews from Spain, the 2nd of August 1492, was also Tisha B'av, the ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av.

    This is supposed to be the day that the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar is supposed to have destroyed the King Solomon's temple in Jerusalem, in 597 BC. It is also the day Roman General Titus destroyed it again, in 70 AD. That's why it is supposed to be a day of mourning and lamentation for the Jews. The site is presently occupied by the Al-Aqsa mosque. The Third temple is to be built here when the "Messiah" comes, and then Tisha B'av will become a day of rejoicing.

    It is also interesting that Christopher Columbus (who, according to some, was a Marrano), sailed for America just one day later, on the 3rd of August, 1492.

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  8. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    BANKING AND BANKERS


    Antiquity

    There is little likelihood that financial transactions played a prominent role in the pre-Exilic epoch in Ereẓ Israel; according to the ethos of Jewish society, then founded on a pronounced agrarian structure, lending was part of the assistance a man owed to his neighbor or brother in need (cf. Deut. 23:21). During the Babylonian era Jews had greater opportunities to come into contact with a highly developed banking tradition and to participate in credit operations. After the Exile, commerce and credit certainly had a place in Ereẓ Israel. Though the society remained predominantly agrarian, Jerusalem had a number of wealthy families, including tax agents and landowners, who speculated and deposited their gains in the Temple, which had in some ways the function of a national bank (see *Heliodorus). Organized banking probably arose in connection with Ma'aserot ("tithes"), in particular Ma'aser sheni, and the pilgrimages to Jerusalem, through the activities of the *money changers. The use of Greek terms indicates a strong Hellenistic influence on the establishment of banking. Meanwhile, the Jewish communities forming in the Diaspora, the most important at first being that of *Babylonia, were given an impulse toward a new way of life by the longstanding traditions of a capitalist type of economy existing around them (see Nippur and *Murashu's sons). In Babylonia, Jews engaged in financial transactions: some were farmers of taxes and customs, and the wealthiest of them were landowners; among the latter were *Huna, the head of the academy of Sura, and Rav *Ashi. However, talmudic references show that the standards of an agrarian economy were still dominant and therefore gamblers and usurers were not thought trustworthy witnesses (see e.g., Sanh. 3:3).

    Another important Jewish colony was to be found at *Alexandria, center of the trade between the Mediterranean and the Arabian and Indian world, where Jews were engaged not only in commerce and international trade but in moneylending too. According to *Josephus, a Jewish tax agent was able to make a loan of 3,000 talents. The *alabarch Alexander Lysimachus, who loaned King *Agrippa I 200,000 drachmas (Jos., Ant., 18:159–160), was also the steward of Antonia, mother of Emperor Claudius. Another Alexandrian Jew was treasurer to Candace, queen of Ethiopia.

    Middle Ages

    THE CALIPHATE

    With the rapid development of city life and commerce in the caliphate of Baghdad from the late eighth century and the transition of the majority of Jews under caliphate rule from agriculture and a village environment to the cities, banking became one of the occupations of some upper-class Jews, especially in Baghdad and later under the Fatimids (from 968) in Egypt. This Jahbadhiyya, as it was called, was a form of banking based on the savings and economic activities of the whole Jewish merchant class and not only on the fortunes of the very rich: the bankers loaned to the state and its officers money deposited with them as well as from their own fortunes. The vast sums at the disposal of these Jewish bankers and their relative immunity from confiscation by the autocratic authorities both tend to confirm that these Jewish "court bankers" from the beginning of the tenth century onward were well-known to their Muslim debtors as a kind of "deposit banker" for Jewish merchants. Under the Fatimid caliph al-Mustanṣir the brothers *Abu Saʿd al-Tustarī and Abu Naṣr Ḥesed b. Sahl al-Tustarī (both died in 1048) were influential in the finances of Egypt. With the rise of *Saladin and the foundation of the Ayyubid dynasty in Egypt (1169), the position of the Jews deteriorated but they were able to continue their moneychanging activities at least. Toward the end of the Mamluk period (1517), Samuel, a moneychanger in Cairo, must have possessed considerable wealth, for the Arab chronicler Ibn Iyās tells that the sultan extorted from him more than 500,000 dinars. During the Muslim rule on the Iberian peninsula, Córdoba Jews were active in the financial administration in the tenth and eleventh centuries. The responsa of this period show a highly developed money economy existing before the First and Second Crusades.

    EARLY MERCHANTS IN EUROPE

    Persecution, such as occurred in Alexandria in 414 or the oppressive measures promulgated in the Byzantine Empire beginning with *Constantine and intensified under *Justinian, may have contributed to the fact that from the fifth century Jewish merchants followed their Greek and Syrian counterparts to Gaul and not only traded in luxury goods but also loaned money. With the disappearance of the Syrians and Greeks from Europe in the seventh century, the Jewish merchants were able to expand. Within the administration of the Merovingian kings (from 481) Jews possibly farmed taxes or advanced money on revenues to high officials; according to Gregory of Tours (c. 538–94), the count of Tours and his vicar were indebted to the Jew Armentarius. During the Carolingian period (from the mid-eighth century), Jews settled in the Rhineland again as they had done during the Roman Empire – some of them lending money on pledges or giving money to merchants in a kind of commenda partnership. Archbishop Anno of Cologne (d. 1075), as well as Emperor Henry IV (1056–1106), borrowed money from Jews.

    THE MONEYLENDERS IN EUROPE

    After the First Crusade (1096) the Jewish merchant, in his necessarily long journeys, no longer enjoyed even minimal physical security. In Western and Central Europe, especially in *Spain, the crystallization of the essentially Christian nature of the rising city communes combined with this insecurity to drive out the Jews from commerce and prohibit them from engaging in crafts. In France, England (up to 1290), Germany, Austria, Bohemia, Moravia, and northern and central Italy, Jews had to turn to loan-banking on a larger or smaller scale in order to make a living. The canonical prohibition against taking interest by Christians, which was stressed in successive *Church councils (especially the Fourth Lateran Council of 1215), and the vast opportunities for capital investment in land and sea trade open to the wealthy Christian made lending on interest for consumer and emergency needs virtually a Jewish monopoly in Western and Central Europe between the 12th and 15th centuries. By the 13th century the notion that the Wucherer ("usurer") was a Jew was already current, for example, in the writings of *Berthold of Regensburg, Walther von der Vogelweide, and Ulrich von Lichtenstein. The word judaizare became identical with "taking interest." Testimony from the 12th century shows that moneylending was then becoming the main occupation of the Jews; this was the case of those of Bacharach (1146) and of Muenzenberg (1188). However, there is little data to suggest that Jewish banking transactions were on a large scale even in the 13th century, but there is evidence that the bishop of Basle had debts with Basle Jews and that various monasteries had Jewish creditors.

    The transition from a natural economy to a money economy in the course of the "commercial revolution," and the stabilization of territorial principalities opened new possibilities for Jewish banking activity, especially in the Rhineland and in southern Germany. Jews from Siegburg, Trier, Mainz, Speyer, Strasbourg, and Basle as well as from Ulm and Nuremberg appear as sources of credit. The most important banking transaction in the first half of the 14th century went through the hands of Vivelin the Red, who transmitted 61,000 florins in gold which King Edward III of England paid to Baldwin of Trier for becoming allied with him against France. Margrave Rudolf III of Baden was indebted to David the Elder, called Watch, and to Jekelin of Strasbourg and his partners. Muskin and Jacob Daniels served the archbishop of Trier in the administration of his finances; during the first half of the 14th century, Daniels was probably the most important Jewish banker of the Rhineland. He was followed in the service of the archbishop by his son-in-law Michael. At the same time Abraham von Kreuznach at Bingen had a similar position with the archbishop of Mainz. Gottschalk von Recklinghausen and his company was another group on the lower Rhine. Such banking activity is recorded in other parts of Central Europe as far as Silesia.

    Moneychanging and coinage privileges were often combined with moneylending, and Jews were frequently the sole agents arranging loans. From the first half of the 12th century moneychanging as a special form of banking is supported by documentary evidence. To spread the risk, partnerships of between two and ten persons were formed. As security, custom at first recognized mainly pledges, but from the middle of the 13th century the letter of credit came into use, though princess till preferred to pledge jewels. Often, instead of a pawn, bail was given by several persons. In western Germany hypothecation of real estate was preferred, and in this way Jews acquired in pledge houses, vineyards, farms, villages, castles, towns, and even seigneuries. Interest rates do not seem to have exceeded 36% but in the case of deferred payment they could rise to 100% or beyond. From the 12th century popes and princes exploited the financial capacity of the Jews by frequent remission of debts or forced loans. The *Black Death and consequent persecutions of Jews gave rulers an opportunity forcibly to seize property and to restore pawns and letters of credit to debtors. The liquidation of Jewish debts by King *Wenceslaus IV of Bohemia around the end of the 14th century is a well-known example of such royal rapacity. With these and other measures and the rise of the merchant class, who gradually took over the function of loan-bankers to the princes and even to emperors during the 15th and early 16th centuries, the Jews were deprived of imperial protection and forced to leave the towns. They retired to the small seigneuries or migrated to Eastern Europe, where a less-developed economy offered them possibilities of making a livelihood. In Bohemia, Hungary, and in Poland and Lithuania both princes and nobility made use of their financial help. As the Eastern European kingdoms developed with the colonization of the forests, Jews played an increasing part in commerce and especially in the *arenda. In the larger towns some engaged in moneylending and banking activities.

    In 12th-century France moneylending was an important Jewish business, but in the 13th century Jewish lenders came up against the superior competition of the Lombards, a rivalry even more intense in the Netherlands. In England, where *Aaron of Lincoln and *Aaron of York were powerful bankers, a special *Exchequer of the Jews was set up to centralize Jewish transactions. However in the 13th century the crown began to rely on the greater resources of the Cahorsins and Italian bankers and in 1290 the Jews were expelled. In Italy Jewish bankers could expand their sphere of activity under the silent protection of the popes, despite resistance on the part of the Christian burghers (see *Popes and the Jews). From the second half of the 13th century they spread throughout central Italy and gradually expanded toward the north, migrating at first to the smaller and medium-sized towns. In Pisa and then in Florence the Da *Pisa family became important loan-bankers; in Florence in 1437 Cosimo de' Medici permitted a Jewish group to establish four loan-banks; in Venice in 1366 Jews, probably of German origin, obtained the right to lend on pledges. Here as in other places in northern Italy, Jewish loan-bankers from the south came into competition with Jews migrating from Germany or southern France. Finally only a few towns, such as Milan and Genoa, refused to admit Jewish loan-bankers. However, their activities were seriously challenged when the anti-Jewish preaching of the *Franciscans resulted in the establishment of branches of the *Monti di Pietà toward the middle of the 15th century.

    The Iberian Peninsula after the Christian reconquest offers many examples of large-scale credit activities and tax farming by Jews. It is known that they provided money for armaments against the Moors. El Cid borrowed from Raquel and Vidas, Jews of Burgos, for his expedition against Valencia. King Alfonso VI of Castile (1072–1109) also obtained loans from Jews for his military expeditions. His successors employed Jews in the financial administration, especially as almoxarifes (revenue collectors), an activity combined with moneylending. Thus, Judah Ibn Ezra was in the service of Alfonso VII, Joseph Ibn Shoshan of Alfonso VIII, and Solomon *Ibn Zadok (Don Çulema) and his son Çag de la Maleha were almoxarifes in the service of Alfonso X, while Meir ibn Shoshan served as his treasurer. When Sancho IV (1258–95) came to the throne, *Abraham el-Barchilon was prominent in the financial administration, supervising the farming of the taxes. Generally, in Castile the Jews abstained from farming the direct taxes, which from 1288 the Cortes opposed. The Jews therefore tended to prefer the administration of the customs and other rights belonging to the office of almoxarife. The court of Aragon relied on Jewish financial administrators in a similar fashion. King James I employed *Benveniste de Porta as a banker, probably giving him as security for his advances the office of bailiff of Barcelona and Gerona. Judah de la *Cavalleria, the most powerful Jew in the Aragonese administration, had control over all the bailiffs of the kingdom. Under Pedro III the family of *Ravaya were most influential. Though during the 14th century the Jews in Aragon and Navarre were subjected to increasing pressures, Judah Ha-Levi and Abraham Aben-Josef of Estella were general farmers of the rents under Charles II and Charles III of Navarre. In Castile – in spite of the Cortes' opposition – Jews such as the *Abrabanel family in Seville continued to be active as almoxarifes. The young Alfonso XI appointed Joseph de *Écija as his almoxarife mayor (c. 1322); Pedro the Cruel (1350–69) made Samuel b. Meir ha-Levi *Abulafia of Toledo, known as the richest Jew of his time, his chief treasurer, and Henry of Trastamara had Joseph *Picho as his financial officer (contador mayor) despite his promise to remove all Jews from royal office (1367).

    THE CONVERSOS

    The persecutions of 1391 and the mass conversions which followed brought an important change. Some of the Conversos were able to use the act of baptism to climb to high positions in the financial administration: examples are Luis de la *Cavalleria, chief treasurer under John II of Aragon, Luis *Sánchez, royal bailiff of the kingdom of Aragon (c. 1490), and his brother Gabriel *Sánchez, who was treasurer-general. Under Henry IV of Castile (1454–74) Diego Arias de Avila was the king's secretary and auditor of the royal accounts; in spite of Diego's unpopularity his son Pedro succeeded him. Even Isabella the Catholic depended on the financial advice of the Jew Abraham *Senior, from 1476 chief tax gatherer in Castile, and Isaac *Abrabanel, who after having been banker of Alfonso V of Portugal served as the queen's private financial agent and loaned her a considerable sum for the war against Granada. The Converso Luis de *Santangel, chancellor and comptroller of the royal household and great-grandson of the Jew Noah Chinillo, loaned Isabella money to finance Columbus' expedition to America. Though some men like Isaac Abrabanel, who went to Naples, remained faithful to Judaism, a number of Jews of Spanish origin stayed in Portugal and, after accepting baptism, rose to financial influence there, especially in combination with the East Indian spice trade. Prominent among them were Francisco and Diogo *Mendes. The latter, who took up residence in Antwerp, became one of the most important merchant bankers there, lending money to the king of Portugal, the emperor, and Henry VIII of England. The firm "Herdeiros de Francisco e Diogo Mendes" was administered for some time after Diogo's death (1543) by Francisco's widow, Doña Beatrice de Luna (Gracia *Nasi) and her nephew João Miques (Joseph *Nasi). They subsequently immigrated to Turkey, where the latter combined commercial and banking activity with political influence. Another to rise to high position was Alvaro Mendes from Tavira, Portugal, who in Constantinople took the name Solomon *Abenaes. Jewish money-changers and tax farmers were to be found in many places of the Ottoman Empire. After the union between Spain and Portugal (1580), a number of influential Conversos took the opportunity to invest their capital in financing the various ventures of the crown, provisioning the army in Flanders and in the East Indies, and supplying contracts for Africa. Their activities expanded especially after the financial crisis of 1626 and continued until the Portuguese revolt of 1640 which restored independent sovereignty to the country. After this all members of the gente de nação (as Conversos were called) living in Spain became suspect. The last important financial venture by *New Christians in Portugal was the financing of the Brazil Company established in 1649. However, Jewish involvement in banking proper really begins with the activities of those Conversos who, fleeing the Inquisition in Portugal and Spain, settled in *Antwerp, *Hamburg, and *Amsterdam, some remaining nominally Christian and some openly returning to Judaism. In Antwerp the Ximenes and Rodrigues d'Evora families were outstanding among an important group of merchant bankers who had commercial relations extending as far as the East Indies and Brazil. While they remained Catholics (like the Mendes de Brito group in Portugal), those who emigrated to Hamburg and Amsterdam formed Sephardi communities. In Hamburg they participated in the founding of the bank in 1619; 30 (by 1623, 46) local Jews were among its first shareholders, and some of them were financial agents for various North European courts, especially those of Denmark and Schleswig-Holstein. Most famous in Antwerp were Diego Teixeira de Sampaio (Abraham *Senior), consul and paymaster general for the Spanish government, and his son Manuel (Isaac Ḥayyim Senior), who succeeded him as financial agent of Christina of Sweden. Manuel Teixeira was an outstanding member of the Hamburg exchange and participated actively in the transfer of Western European subsidies to the German or Scandinavian courts.

    At Amsterdam at first only a few Jews were shareholders in the bank founded in 1609 and of the East India Company. One hundred and six Portuguese had accounts in 1620. Generally their resources were not sufficiently great to add any special weight to the formative stage of Amsterdam capitalism. Through Holland's developing overseas trade, especially with Brazil (until 1654) and then with the West Indies, as well as through the growth of the Amsterdam capital market and the transfer of subsidies and provisioning of armies through Amsterdam, Jewish financiers rose to importance in the exchange market, and were especially active in trading company shares. Outstanding were the *Pinto family and Antonio (Isaac) Lopez *Suasso (Baron d'Avernas le Gras); nevertheless the wealth of the Sephardi families remained far below that of their Christian counterparts. In the second half of the 18th century the Pinto family remained prominent, and another influential financier of Sephardi origin was David Bueno de *Mesquita.

    Partly as a consequence of the marriage between Charles II of England and Catherine of Braganza (1662), and especially after William and Mary became joint sovereigns of England (1689), London, too, became a center of Sephardi banking, leading figures being Anthony (Moses) da Costa, Solomon de *Medina, and Isaac Pereira. In the reign of Queen Anne (1702–14), Manasseh *Lopes was a leading banker; during the 18th century Samson *Gideon, Francis and Joseph *Salvador, and the *Goldsmid brothers, leading members of the Ashkenazi community, were outstanding. In the middle of the 18th century Jacob Henriques claimed that his father had planned the establishment of the Bank of England (1694).

    THE HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE

    Only a few Jewish financiers, such as Joseph zum goldenen Schwan at Frankfurt or Michel *Jud, were active in the German principalities in the 16th century. In the early 17th century the Hapsburgs employed the services of Jacob *Bassevi of Treuenberg of Prague, Joseph Pincherle of Gorizia, and Moses and Jacob Marburger of Gradisca. The rise of the absolute monarchies in Central Europe brought numbers of Jews, mostly of Ashkenazi origin, into the position of negotiating loans for the various courts, giving rise to the phenomenon of *Court Jews. The most famous and most active of them in financial affairs were, in the second half of the 17th and the beginning of the 18th century, Leffmann *Behrends in Hanover, Behrend *Lehmann in Halberstadt, Bendix Goldschmidt in Hamburg, Aaron Beer in Frankfurt, and Samuel *Oppenheimer and Samson *Wertheimer in Vienna. Later Diego d' *Aguilar, and the *Arnstein and *Eskeles families became prominent. In the early 18th century Joseph Suess *Oppenheimer was the outstanding figure in southern Germany; his financial influence was widespread, especially in Wuerttemberg, until his fall and execution in 1738. Important court bankers around the end of the 18th century were Israel *Jacobson in Brunswick, the *Bleichroeder family in Berlin, Simon Baruch and Solomon Oppenheimer in Bonn, the *Rothschilds in Frankfurt, the Reutlinger, Seligmann, and *Haber families in Karlsruhe, the Kaulla family in Stuttgart, and Aron Elias Seligmann, later baron of Eichthal, in Munich.


    ITALY

    In the 15th and beginning of the 16th century the Italian loan-bankers reached their greatest eminence, including the Pisa, *Volterra, Norsa, Del Banco, *Rieti, and Tivoli families. In their wealth and style of life these men belonged to the Renaissance milieu as much as the artists and men of letters. However, with the expansion of the institution of the Monte di Pietà and the restrictive policy of the popes of the Counterreformation, their influence declined. The Da Pisa disappeared from Florence in 1570. However there were still between 60 and 70 loan-bankers operating in Rome toward the end of the 16th century and a century later about 20 were still in existence. In the first half of the 16th century about 500 loan-bankers were active throughout Italy; toward the end of the century about 280 remained in 131 places. Abraham del Banco was involved in the establishment of the famous Venetian Banco Giro in 1619.

    [Hermann Kellenbenz]

    WOMEN BANKERS

    Jewish matrimonial and property laws permitted women to manage capital they acquired through dowry, inheritance, and, in case of innocent divorce or widowhood, their ketubbah. While ketubbah payments to a widow or divorcée might include real estate and houses, highly portable pawn pledges and bonds were particularly suitable. The percentage of women involved in moneylending was high: they were responsible for half of all loans in Northern France in the 13th and 14th centuries and in many communities in 13th century England, one-third in 41 German communities between 1350 and 1500, and from one-twentieth of the larger to one-third of the small loan sums in Austria. These figures represent loans granted by women alone (often widows) or at the head of a business consortium and do not include the many women who acted in conjunction with their husbands or relatives. Some women, most of them widows, were active in top-level business with the nobility or rulers. Such female "top bankers" with loans from 1,000 to 12,000 florins, like *Licoricia of Winchester (active 1242–77), Plume of Klosterneuburg (Austria, 1320–40), Reynette of Koblenz (1365–94), Zorline of Frankfurt (ca. 1380–95), Gentlin of Konstanz (ca. 1420–30), Eva (Hefe) zum Buchsbaum of Frankfurt (1401–52), Ricke of Frankfurt (1451–71), and Sara, called Gutlein of Wiener Neustadt (c. 1475–80), sometimes achieved considerable influence. Due to their high tax contributions, some gained administrative power as tax collector (Selda of Radkersburg, Styria, 1338) and even as parnesset, an elected officer of the local Jewish community (*Kaendlein of Regensburg 1354, Joseppine of Regensburg 1374). Like wealthy male Jews, women were arrested to extort high ransoms and became victims of burglary and murder (*Dulce of Worms 1196, Licoricia of Winchester 1277, Kaendlein of Regensburg c. 1364). In contrast to the Sephardi world, women's mobility was not restricted in Ashkenaz. Although contrary to halakhic standards of female personal modesty, contacts with Christians in connection with business dealings were permitted; business-women traveling alone were allowed to disguise themselves as men or as nuns for self-protection (Sefer Hasidim). Some women used their husband's seal (Reynette of Koblenz 1374, 1384, Ricke of Frankfurt 1451–71), others had their own seals (Disslaba of Regensburg 1398). Some signed their records with their Hebrew signature (Mirl of Friesach, Carinthia 1372, Plumel of Maribor 1442, Priba of Maribor 1468, Leah of Voitsberg, Carinthia 1496). Ricke of Frankfurt left a German will (1470). Many women submitted their financial cases to non-Jewish courts and took oaths. Although systematic research on women's business activities in early modern Europe has yet to be done, it appears that the rate of female involvement was not as high as in medieval times. The outstanding personality was *Glueckel of Hameln (1646/47–1724); also important were other wives and widows of the early "Court Jews," Brendele of Frankfurt (active c. 1541–60), Gertraud Munk of Vienna and Prague (1590–1614), and Esther *Liebmann of Berlin (1677–1713).

    [Martha Keil (2nd ed.)]

    19th and 20th centuries

    Jewish banking in the 19th century begins with the rise of the house of *Rothschild in Frankfurt, a city which became the new banking center of Europe as a result of the political upheaval caused by the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars. The founder of the house (which became the symbol of the 19th-century type of merchant banking), Meyer Amschel Rothschild started as a banker to the elector of Hesse-Kassel. His sons rose to prominence as the major European bankers Amschel Mayer in Frankfurt, Solomon Mayer in Vienna, Carl Mayer in Naples, James Mayer in Paris, and Nathan Mayer in London. After the death of Abraham Goldsmid and Francis Baring in 1810, Nathan Rothschild became the dominant figure in the London money market. The majority of the English financial dealings with the continent went through the Rothschilds' offices. After the Congress of Vienna (1815) the Rothschilds extended their business into most European states, specializing in the liquidation of inflated paper currencies and in the foundation of floating public debts. In 1818 they made loans to European governments, beginning with Prussia and following with issues to England, Austria, Naples, Russia, and other stales, partly in collaboration with Baring, Reid, Irving and Company. Between 1815 and 1828 the total capital of the Rothschilds rose from 3,332,000 to 118,400,000 francs.

    THE MERCHANT BANKERS

    Prominent merchant bankers in Germany besides the Rothschilds were Joseph *Mendelssohn and Samuel *Bleichroeder. Mendelssohn founded his firm in Berlin in 1795, and was joined by his brother Abraham *Mendelssohn in 1804; they issued state loans for industrial development to several foreign countries, particularly Russia. Samuel Bleichroeder, Berlin correspondent of the Rothschilds, established his own business in 1803. His son Gerson Bleichroeder became a confidant of Bismarck and served as his agent for financing the war of 1866 and for the transfer of the French war indemnity in 1871. The Bleichroeder bank also made loans to foreign states. After the death of Gerson Bleichroeder in 1893 his partner Paul Schwabach continued the business. The brothers Moses, Marcus, and Gerson *Warburg founded a bank in Hamburg in 1798. Its main business was concerned with the Hamburg overseas trade, especially transactions with England and the United States. Paul M. *Warburg, a brother of Max M. *Warburg, head of the Hamburg bank before World War I, established a branch office in New York. Toward the end of the 18th century J.M. *Speyer, through his bank's provisioning of armies and exchange business, had a capital of 420,000 florins, the largest Jewish fortune in Frankfurt at that time. In 1809 G.J. Elissen opened a banking house which took the name of J.L. Speyer-Elissen in 1818 and Lazard Speyer-Elissen in 1838. Philipp Speyer and Co., the U.S. branch, negotiated the American credit during the Civil War, participated in the development of the railroads in America, and conducted transactions in Mexico and Cuba, partly in association with the Deutsche Bank. In 1928 Speyer amalgamated with C. Schlesinger, Trier, and Company to form Lazard Speyer-Elissen K.a.A., Frankfurt and Berlin. The bank established by Solomon *Oppenheim in Bonn in 1789 acquired a leading position; at the beginning of the 19th century Solomon moved to Cologne, where his son Abraham became one of the most influential bankers in the Rhineland, financing insurance associations, railroad construction, and industrial investment.

    Jewish bankers played an important part in the development of joint stock banks. Ludwig *Bamberger and Hermann Markuse were among the founders of the Deutsche Bank (1870), which was active in financing German foreign trade. The Disconto-Gesellschaft, established by David Hansemann in 1851, which amalgamated with the Deutsche Bank in 1929, had several Jewish partners. Eugen *Gutmann was the main founder of the Dresdner Bank, and Abraham Oppenheim was one of the founders of the Bank fuer Handel und Industrie (Darmstaedter Bank; 1853). The leading personality in the Berliner Handelsgesellschaft (established in 1856) was Carl *Fuerstenberg. Richard Witting, brother of Maximilian Harden, was one of the directors of the National bank fuer Deutschland; when it merged with the Darmstaedter Bank in 1921, Jacob *Goldschmidt, then director of the latter, took control of the new enterprise. In 1932 the two other most important banks in Germany, the Deutsche Bank and the Dresdener Bank, were directed by Oskar *Wassermann and Herbert Gutman respectively.

    In England, banks were established by Sir David *Salomons (London and Westminster Bank, 1832), the Stern brothers (1833), Samuel *Montagu (1853), Emile Erlanger (1859), the Speyer brothers, *Seligman brothers, and S. Japhet and Co., many of them immigrants from Frankfurt; the Speyer bank negotiated loans on behalf of Greece, Bulgaria, and Hungary, as well as for Latin American states. David *Sassoon and Company, established in Bombay in 1832, had branches throughout the Orient, handling extensive transactions. Sir Ernest *Cassel, partly in association with Sir Carl Meyer, established banks in Egypt and Turkey. Industrial banks were organized by Sir Moses *Montefiore and the Anglo-American Corporation, which was connected with the diamond and finance corporation of A. Dunkelsbueler, established by Sir Ernest *Oppenheimer. In South Africa the General Mining and Finance Corporation was set up by Hamilton Ehrlich and Turk, and one of the most important enterprises in South African financing was the Barnato brothers' company.

    In France Achille *Fould, a competitor of the Rothschilds, was a supporter of Napoleon III and later his finance minister. Together with his brother Benoit he inherited the Paris firm of Fould, Oppenheimer et Cie., which had been established by his father. Meanwhile the brothers Emile and Isaac *Péreire, who moved to Paris from Marseilles in 1822, financed railway construction in France and Spain. Through the Crédit Mobilier, organized in 1852, they mobilized credit for various investment projects, but ran into difficulties in 1867. Among the other important Jewish banks was the Banque de Paris et des Pays-Bas (1872), with Henri Bamberger as one of the directors. The leading position among the private banks was held by Rothschild; from 1889 to 1901 all loans to Russia from Paris were issued through the Rothschild bank. Baron Maurice de *Hirsch from Munich, son-in-law of the Brussels banker Raphael Jonathan *Bischoffsheim, invested successfully in railroad construction. Other Jewish banks were those of Louis Dreyfus and Lazard Frères. In Italy, where Luigi *Luzzatti's agricultural associations were largely philanthropic, Jewish bankers played a leading part in the foundation of the Banca Commerciale Italiana and the Credito Italiano. The Rothschilds, Sterns, and Goldsmids also invested money in Spain and Portugal.

    RUSSIA AND EASTERN EUROPE

    A number of Jewish banks were established in Vienna during the 19th century, the most influential of which was Arnstein and Eskeles. This bank however was declared bankrupt in 1859. Weikersheim and Company and from 1821 Salomon Rothschild also established banks in Vienna. Jews participated in the foundation of the Niederoesterreichische Eskomptgessellschaft (1853) and the Kreditanstalt (1855), which made an essential contribution to the development of the Vienna stock exchange and extended international loan facilities, also investing in industry and railroads. Leading private banks in Hungary were of Jewish origin, such as the Ungarische Allgemeine Kreditbank (Hungarian General Credit Bank; established in 1867) with Siegmund Kornfeld as a general director, the Pester Ungarische Kommerzial-bank (Hungarian Commercial Bank at Pest), established in 1841 by Moritz Ullmann, and the Ungarische Hypotheken-bank (Hungarian Hypothecary Credit Bank; 1869) with Nándor (Ferdinand) Beck de Madarassy as its general director. In Prague the *Petschek family established a bank in 1920; in Galicia, under the Austrian regime, Brody (Nathanson, Kallir) and Lemberg had Jewish banks. Between the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th Jewish banks of some importance rose in Russia. In St. Petersburg Nicolai and Ludwig *Stieglitz, immigrants from Germany, opened a bank in 1803, which under Ludwig (who with his brother was converted to Christianity in 1812) became one of the leading financial institutions in Russia. Otherwise Jewish banking activity was limited to southern Russia, especially to Berdichev and Odessa. In 1860 Yozel (Yerzel) *Guenzburg, originally a tax farmer, established the St. Petersburg bank J.Y. Guenzburg, and later the discount and credit bank there, managed by his son Horace; Guenzburg also established banks in Kiev and Odessa. Lazar (Eliezer) *Poliakoff opened a bank at Moscow in 1860 and participated in the foundation of the Moskowsky Zemelny Bank and other Moscow banks. Poliakoff and his two brothers also founded banks in southern Russia. Abram *Zak was director of the Petersburg Discount and Credit Bank (1871–93), and Soloveitchik established the Siberian Trade Bank. At the beginning of the 20th century private banks of some importance were those of H. *Wawelberg in St. Petersburg, and O. Chayes and R. Sonschein and Company in Odessa.

    Toward the end of the 18th century several bankers such as Koenigsberger, Levy, and Simon Simoni emigrated from the west to Poland. Jacob *Epstein, court purveyor to King Stanislas II Augustus, founded an important dynasty of bankers. The Polish revolt of 1863 caused the bankruptcy of many Jewish banks. The bank of Wilhelm Landauer in Warsaw, established in 1857, closed in that year. However, Landauer returned to Warsaw some years later and opened a joint stock company in 1913. Mieczyslaw Epstein founded the Warsaw Discount Bank in 1871. Leopold *Kronenberg took part in the foundation of the Warsaw Credit Union in 1869 and the following year established the first joint stock bank in Poland, Bank Handlowy at Warsaw. The Natanson family bank was in operation between 1866 and 1932. In Romania, Maurice *Blank (d. 1921) established the house Marmorosch, Blank and Company, which his son, Aristide, directed after him.

    SCANDINAVIA AND THE NETHERLANDS

    The Goeteborgs Bank in 1848 was established in Sweden through the agency of L.E. Magnes, Morris Jacobsson, Edward Magnus, and others. Theodor *Mannheimer was the first managing director of Scandinaviska Kreditakteibolaget, and Louis *Fraenkel managed Stockholm's Handelsbank from 1893 to 1911. The Danish merchant financiers Joseph *Hambro and his son Carl Joachim *Hambro settled in London in 1832 and founded Hambro's Bank there. A leading Danish banker was Isaac *Glückstadt, who managed the Landsmans-Bank at Copenhagen from 1872 until his death in 1910; he was succeeded by his son Emil. A. Levy Martin was finance minister in 1870 and from 1873 till 1897 director of the Copenhagen Handelsbank. From 1913 until his death in 1923, Markus Rubin was director of the Danish Notenbank. In Holland the firm of Lissa and Kann was established in 1805. Another Dutch firm of the same era was Wertheimer and Gompertz, later known as the Bankassociatie. In 1859 the firm of Lippman, Rosenthal and Company was established as a subsidiary of the International Bank of Luxembourg. Its international activities were widespread, especially through Netherlands state loans. The bank of Elzbacher in Amsterdam later merged with the Amsterdamsche Bank. In Rotterdam Rothschild was represented by Moses Ezechiels en Zonen (liquidated in 1888). The bank of Benjamin Marx (established in 1869), later Marx and Company, was in existence until 1922. In Belgium Jacques Errera, Joseph Oppenheim, and Isaac Stern, all from Brussels, and the brothers Sulzbach and J. May from Frankfurt participated in the foundation of the Banque de Bruxelles in 1871. Private banks were those of F.M. Philippson and Company, the Societé Henri Lambert and Cassel and Company. Moving from Alsace to Switzerland in 1812, Isaac Dreyfus established a bank in Basle; after 1849 the firm was known as Isaac Dreyfus Soehne. It participated in the foundation of the Basler Handelsbank as well as the Basler Bankverein. The Hitler regime spelled the end of Jewish banking in the greater part of Europe; all Jewish banks in Germany were liquidated or transferred to a non-Jewish company (Solomon Oppenheim Jr. and Company in Cologne, for example, was changed into the firm of Pferdmenges and Company).

    THE UNITED STATES

    Already in early colonial times individual Jews were active in America as money brokers, such as Asser *Levy, who functioned in New York City during the second half of the 17th century. Often such figures were helped by their extensive family or fellow-Jewish contacts overseas, as was the case with David *Franks, who was instrumental in raising money for the British army during the French and Indian War with the aid of his brother Moses, a London financier. The best known Jewish financier of the times was the legendary patriot Haym *Salomon, an immigrant from Poland who succeeded under extremely trying conditions in raising large amounts of desperately needed cash for the American Revolution by negotiating bills of exchange with France and the Netherlands. Yet another figure who helped finance the war for American independence was Isaac *Moses, later among the founders of the Bank of New York. It was not until the middle of the 19th century, however, with the arrival in America of a large German-Jewish immigration, that Jewish banking houses on the European model came to exist in the United States. Some of the founders of these firms, like Philip and Gustav *Speyer of Speyer & Co., went to the United States as American representatives of already established European concerns; others, like August *Belmont, crossed the Atlantic with a degree of previously acquired banking experience; still others, like the *Lehman brothers, Meyer and Emanuel, were essentially self-made men. Among other Jewish banking houses started by immigrants from Germany that developed into financial powers during the years 1840–1880 were Kuhn, Loeb Co., Lazard Frères, J.W. Seligman Co., Goldman, Sachs & Co., and Ladenburg, Thalman & Co. All of these firms functioned essentially as investment bankers – the more established field of commercial banking offered relatively few opportunities to the German-Jewish immigrant – a capacity in which they helped to finance large numbers of American utilities and corporations whose rapid growth throughout the latter half of the 19th century created an insatiable demand for capital. To raise such funds these Jewish houses not only freely utilized their widespread European connections, particularly in France, England, and Germany, but created a chain of interlocking associations and directorates among themselves which enabled them quickly to mobilize sums many times larger than their individual holdings and to compete successfully with gentile firms several times their size. Not only was it common for the children and relatives of a given firm to marry each other, but marital alliances frequently occurred as well among different Jewish banking families, as was the case with the *Loebs, the *Kuhns, the *Schiffs, and the *Warburgs. Frequently too the children of such families married into families of large German-Jewish companies in a variety of other fields and the latter would then proceed to raise capital through the banking houses which they had joined. Socially, the result of such commercial and kinship ties was the creation of a German-Jewish banking and business aristocracy based in New York City whose descendants continued for over a century to play a dominant role in the financial, cultural, and political life of the American Jewish community, and to a lesser extent, of the nation at large. The contribution of such Jewish banking houses to the process of capital formation in the United States in the late 19th and early 20th century was considerable by any standard. Several of them, such as Speyer & Co., August Belmont & Co., and J. & W. Seligman, raised large sums for the federal government both during and after the Civil War (the Jewish house of Erlanger Co., on the other hand, obtained sizeable loans for the Confederacy); others, such as Kuhn, Loeb, were particularly active in the westward expansion of the railroads. In the late 19th century Seligman Co. alone was capitalized at an estimated $10,000,000, while during the Russo-Japanese War of 1905 Jacob *Schiff of Kuhn, Loeb was able on short notice to float a bond issue of $200,000,000 on behalf of the Japanese government. Although the total assets of such Jewish firms were nevertheless small when compared to those of the American banking system as a whole, their clannishness and ability to coordinate their actions made them the focus of antisemitic agitation from the 1890s on, when caricatures of ruthless Jewish oligarchs at the head of an international Jewish money conspiracy began to abound in the ranks of the Populist movement. In reality, however, the fiscal policies of the German-Jewish firms tended to be highly conservative and their owners exercised their fortunes with an unusual degree of social as well as fiscal responsibility. Although a number of the great 19th-century Jewish banking houses such as Lazard Frères and Kuhn, Loeb have survived into the present, none has continued as a family or even exclusively Jewish concern and even the most prosperous of them have lost their former importance as a result of the steady trend in the American financial market toward the predominance of ever larger and more impersonal corporations. At the same time, the general field of commercial banking in the United States has remained relatively closed to Jewish participation despite heavy Jewish involvement in such related fields as stock brokerage, investment analysis, and corporate management. A study undertaken by B'nai B'rith in 1939 revealed that out of 93,000 bankers in the United States only 0.6% were Jewish, and that even in New York City Jews formed only 6% of banking executives as compared to 28% of the general population. Similar statistics for a later period are unavailable, but reports of discrimination against Jews in major banks throughout the country persist and in 1968 the American Jewish Committee publicly filed a complaint before the Human Rights Commission of New York City charging the banking system with job bias against Jews.

    [Hermann Kellenbenz]

    In the latter years of the 20th century and the early years of the 21st, the banking industry consolidated, and some old-line "Jewish" firms were bought or incorporated into others as buyouts and mergers changed the landscape. As Jews assimilated into American life, many advanced in the workplace less along ethnic lines and more along lines of achievement. To be sure, there were many Jews in leadership positions in prominent financial institutions: Felix *Rohatyn at Lazard Frères, Bruce *Wasserstein at several large firms, Sanford *Weill at Citibank, and others, but their financial success was largely attributed to their business acumen rather than to their religious or ethnic background.

    George Soros, a Hungarian immigrant, became one of the most successful investors and later spread his wealth to nonprofit organizations and to political causes. Michael Steinhardt and others made their mark in hedge funds or as independent venture capitalists, accumulating great wealth but also making large philanthropic contributions. Carl *Icahn and Irwin L. *Jacobs developed reputations as corporate raiders. Abby Joseph Cohen was the leading investment strategist for Goldman Sachs, and Henry Kaufman, a well-known economist, offered advice about the stock market that was followed by many. In addition, on Wall Street, such firms as Schwab & Co., headed by Charles *Schwab, achieved great success as a low-price stock-market firm.

    Some investors – Ivan *Boesky, Michael *Milken, Marc *Rich – became infamous for their questionable financial activities, but whether their religion played a role is highly unlikely. They were perceived as corrupt financial figures, not corrupt Jewish financial figures.

    In the last years of the 20th century, a number of Jews had important positions in the nation's economic community. Alan *Greenspan, a Republican, headed the Federal Reserve System for almost 20 years and became a powerful force in Washington. During the Clinton administration, Jewish economists, including Robert *Rubin, the Treasury secretary, and Lawrence *Sommers, his successor and later president of Harvard University, held Cabinet-level positions, and James D. *Wolfensohn headed the World Bank from 1995 to 2005. His successor, chosen by President George W. Bush, was Paul D. Wolfowitz, a veteran foreign policy and defense official in Republican administrations.

    [Stewart Kampel (2nd ed.)]

    Assessment of the Role of Jewish Bankers

    As shown above, Jewish activity, in particular in the late Middle Ages and in the 18th and 19th centuries, often played an important, sometimes a central, constructive role in the economy and social life of various countries, sometimes even internationally. However, banking always remained a subsidiary Jewish economic activity. Frequently, when Jews appeared to command large assets, they gave this impression because they mostly owned mobile property. The wealthy Jews always formed a small group, particularly in comparison with the wealthy nobles or Christian merchants. It was really only in the 19th century that Jewish financiers achieved remarkable wealth, largely resulting from the activities of some European courts in consequence of the upheavals brought about by the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars. With the growth of joint stock banks and of central banks in the middle of the 19th century the field of private banking became limited. Around the beginning of the 20th century, Jewish influence in finance and banking had reached its zenith; afterward it declined at an accelerating rate.
     
  9. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    St Ignatius of Loyola and his Society of Jesus (or the Jesuit Order)
    (Taken mostly from ref [1] below, other references are cited where necessary)

    Ingnacio de Loyola, youngest of thirteen children, was born in 1491 in the family castle in the Basque province of northeastern Spain, near the French border. As befitted a boy from an aristocratic family, he spent some time as a page at the court of Ferdinand and Isabella, the rulers of Spain. Here, by his later testimony, he was involved in gambling, wenching, and duelling. He got into trouble with the law, but escaped punishment because he was technically a cleric. (This does not mean that he was destined for the priesthood. In those days someone becoming a priest went through seven steps: doorkeeper, reader, exorcist, acolyte, subdeacon, deacon, and priest. The first four were called Minor Orders, and did not involve any serious commitment, but they did make one technically a cleric, which was useful if one got arrested for anything less than murder or treason. Probably many young noblemen took the first step simply as a precaution. Later the law extended the definition of "cleric" to anyone who could read.) He then entered military service, but fought in only one major battle, the defense of Pamplona against the French in 1521. The professional solders knew that their position was indefensible, and proposed to surrender. Inigo (or Ignatius, to give him the Latin form of his name) had visions of military glory, and urged his comrades to fight. He was promptly hit in the leg by a cannon ball, the town surrendered anyway, and the French sent him home on a stretcher.

    The leg was badly set, and did not heal properly. It had to be rebroken and reset, and again it healed crookedly and let him with a permanent limp. Meanwhile, he was bedridden for many months, and spent the time reading. He asked for tales of knightly adventure, but instead was given a Life of Christ, written by a Carthusian monk. He read it, and his life was transformed.

    Back in Spain, he spent ten years (1524-1534) getting an education at Barcelona, Alcala', Salamanca, and Paris, beginning by going to elementary school to learn Latin grammar, and ending with a Master of Arts degree from the University of Paris.

    In those days, the Alumbrados (Illuminated Ones) was a term used to loosely describe people who were suspected of indulging in heresy, under the cover of mystical Christian practices. The Alumbrados were prosecuted by the Inquisition, and most of those accused of being Alumbrados were Conversos (Jewish converts) or Moriscos (Moorish converts) suspected of reversion to original religious practices. (ref. [2])

    Interestingly, Ignatius himself was twice imprisoned by the Spanish Inquisition and questioned about his beliefs, an experience that made a deep impression on him. Ignatius may fave fallen under suspicion because of his practice groups of people assembled by chance; in those days a layman undertaking to preach on his own, without a license or supervision, was automatically suspected of heresy. He was finally acquitted, but forbidden to discuss religious matters for three years. As a result, his followers, the Jesuits, distance themselves from the Inquisition, and indeed are aggressively proud of the fact that no member of their order has ever sat on an Inquisitorial tribunal.

    Some suggest that Ignatius himself was a Marrano, but this is probably not credible. However, many of his followers were indeed of Jewish descent. Ignatius himself was known to be a philo-semite. Indeed, when Ignatius was accused of having Jewish ancestry, he replied, "If only I did! What could be more glorious than to be of the same blood as the Apostles, the Blessed Virgin, and our Lord Himself?"

    The Society under its first three generals—Ignatius, Diego Laínez (a descendant of Spanish New Christians), and Francis Borgia—became known throughout Europe as a haven for New Christians, including some of the most prominent members of the Society during the sixteenth century. (ref. [3])

    Jesuits as Royal Confessors

    The Jesuits became the predominant group supplying confessors to (meaning, hearers of the confessions of) kings and princes and those in authority. As the NEW CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA says, "they acted as royal confessor to all French kings for 2 centuries, from Henry III to Louis XV; to all German emperors after the early 17th century; to all Dukes of Bavaria after 1579; to most rulers of Poland and Portugal; to the Spanish kings in the 18th century; to James II of England; and to many ruling or princely families throughout Europe." Naturally, in this exalted role, they had a significant influence on political policies.

    The Suppression of the Jesuits

    Although we are going ahead in our story, let us take a look at what happened to the Jesuits in the succeeding centuries. By the middle of the 1700's, the Jesuits had made many powerful enemies, both inside and outside the Roman Catholic Church. Governments turned against them because it was thought that the political advice they gave was bad advice. And so they were banned in one Roman Catholic monarchy after another: Portugal in 1759, France in 1764, Spain and her territories in 1767, followed by the Sicilies and Parma.

    Next the Pope was pressured to suppress the order altogether. Clement XIII refused. When he died in 1769, anti-Jesuit forces backed a candidate who won and became Clement XIV. Four years later, in 1773, he disbanded the order. The Jesuits would remain banned until 1814.

    However, the move to suppress the Jesuits appears to have been half-hearted. The execution of the Brief of Suppression having been largely left to local bishops, there was room for a good deal of variety in the treatment the Jesuits might receive in different places. (ref. [4]) Members of the order continued to function as secular priests, and in some places were allowed to continue to teach and to run schools, though not as Jesuits.

    The survival of the order was greatly assisted by the two monarchs, Catherine II of Russia, and Fredrick II of Prussia (ref. [4]). Interestingly, both of these monarchs were in close contact with Enlightenment figures such as Voltaire and d'Alembert, who in turn were linked with Adam Weishaupt and his "Illuminati" secret society. It was this "Illuminati" society that orchestrated the revolution in France against the Catholic monarchy. Furthermore, Adam Weishaupt's society is also linked with the House of Rothschild. (We will be discussing these connections in more detail later.)

    To summarize, the Spanish Inquisition, by persecuting Marranos and expelling Jews, damages relations between the Jews and the Catholic monarchies. Thereafter, there rises within the Catholic Church, Society of Jesus with a distinctly philo-semitic character. About two centuries later, the Catholic monarchies feel threatened by the Jesuits, and pressurize the Pope to abolish this order. Although the Jesuits are banned for a while, they are supported by monarchs close to the Illuminati/Enlightenment and to the Syndicate. These monarchs are, at the time, collaborating with the Enlightenment and the Syndicate against the Catholic monarchy of France.

    [1] James Kiefer's biography of Ignatius of Loyola, http://elvis.rowan.edu/~kilroy/JEK/07/31b.html
    [2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alumbrados
    [3] Clerical Matters, by Thomas M. Cohen, associate professor of history at the Catholic University of America. http://www.companysj.com/v263/clerical-matters.html
    [4] Catholic Encyclopaedia, http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14099a.htm[/quote]
     
  10. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    The Revolutionary Jew and His Impact on World History


    by E. Michael Jones

    This article was published in the September, 2003 issue of Culture Wars magazine. Order


    1648 Annus Mirabilis

    According to the Zohar, the year 1648 was to be the mystical year of resurrection, when the Jews could expect deliverance from their more than millennium long exile. Heinrich Graetz, a German Jew, a devotee of the Enlightenment and author of one of the most frequently cited histories of the Jewish people, calls the Zohar that "lying book" and by extension impugns the entire Kabbalistic tradition. Since the Enlightenment was in many ways a direct result of the disappointment which followed from the failure of the Messianic expectations which reached their fever pitch and denouement in the second half of the 17th century, his skepticism is understandable, as is his scorn for the Kaballah, the mish-mash what he considered Gnostic and Talmudic mumbo-jumbo that had led to the rise and fall of Messianic hope in the first place. Graetz espoused a worldview which was the complete antithesis of the Messianic fever of the mid-17th century. He was so convinced in his opposition to the Kaballah because he had the benefit of historical hindsight and could see where its vaporous illusions were leading the Jewish people. Expectation of redemption fostered by widespread dissemination of Kabbalistic doctrine made the Jews, in Graetz’s words, "more reckless and careless than was their custom at other times."

    Just what Graetz meant by reckless can be derived from his analysis of Polish Jewry, which had become by the time of the period in question a hotbed of Kabbalistic thought. Beginning with the Statute of Kalisz in 1251, the Jews of Poland were granted rights like nowhere else in Europe. They were even granted their own autonomous legal system, known as the kahal, which allowed them to adjudicate intra-Jewish disputes without recourse to the Polish Christian legal system. This autonomy, in turn, necessitated the intensive study of the Talmud, which, according Graetz, led to the peculiar corruption of Polish Jews. The reliance on the Talmud as the basis of Jewish legal autonomy created a culture of "hair-splitting judgment" among the rabbis, according Graetz, as well as "a love of twisting, distorting, ingenious quibbling, and a foregone antipathy to what did not lie within their field of vision," which in turn trickled down to find expression in the behavior of vulgar, who "found pleasure and a sort of triumphant delight in deception and cheating." Since by the end of the 18th century, the overwhelming majority of Jews lived in Poland, Jews in general earned, as a result, the reputation of being "a nation of deceivers," to give Immanuel Kant’s formulation. "It does indeed seems strange," Kant, the quintessential Enlightenment philosopher, continued, "to conceive of a nation of deceivers, but it is also very strange to conceive of a nation of merchants, the majority of whom, bound by an ancient superstition accepted by the state they live in, do not seek any civil dignity, but prefer to make good this disadvantage with the benefits of trickery at the expense of the people who shelter them and at the expense of each other. In a nation of merchants, unproductive members of society . .. . it cannot be otherwise"( Kant, Werke Bd. vii, p. 205-6). From his vantage point in Koenigsberg, the capital of what was then East Prussia, a country which the Teutonic Knights wrested by force from the Slavic natives, all Jews were Polish Jews.

    Graetz, the Enlightenment Jew and apostle of German culture and Jewish assimilation to it, echoes Kant but confines his censure to the Jews of Poland, who, according to his judgment, "acquired the quibbling method of the schools and employed it to outwit the less cunning." Piety and knowledge of the hair-splitting distinctions of the Talmud became one and the same thing for the Polish Jew, a combination which, when added to the dogmatism of the rabbis, "undermined their moral sense" and made them prone to "sophistry and boastfulness."

    Largely as a result of the concessions of the Polish crown which began with the Statute of Kalisz, Poland became known throughout Europe as the "paradisus Judeorum," the paradise of the Jews. When persecutions would flare up in the traditionally Jewish sections of Europe, in the German principalities, particularly in the urban centers of the Rhein valley, as they frequently did throughout the middle ages, the Jews who wished to escape persecution inevitably headed east toward Poland, taking their language, "juedische Deutsch," or Yiddish with them. When Isaac Bashevis Singer won the Nobel Prize toward the end of the 20th century, he was designated a Pole by the selection committee, and yet in spite of that fact had to admit in a moment of candor that he understood Polish only with difficulty, even though he lived his entire youth in Poland. Jews did not assimilate in Poland; most of them did not learn the language of the Christian Poles, because, other than rudimentary commerce and illicit sexual activity, the Jews had virtually no contact with the Poles even though they had lived in their country for centuries. The Jews established their own state within a state there; they established their own legal system and courts there as well, and, if demographic evidence is conclusive in matters like this, the Polish paradise was the most successful modus vivendi Jews ever found in the West.

    Jewish Demographics

    A short summary of Jewish demographics gives some indication of how successful the Jews were in living under Polish rule. Between 1340 and 1772, when Poland was partitioned for the first time, the Jewish population of Poland increased 75-fold while, during the same period of time the Christian population only quintupled. The disparity in population increase is explainable in simple terms. Persecution in the west, largely during the period from the 11th to the 16th century, caused massive immigration. Jews moved to Polish territory during that period of time in unprecedented numbers. By the time Poland was partitioned for the third and final time in 1795, 80 percent of the world’s Jews lived there.

    This phenomenal expansion of the Jewish population in Poland was matched by a correspondingly rapid increase in wealth, and that, in turn, corresponded to a dramatic expansion of the territorial limits of Poland. The Golden Age of Polish Jews, according to Pogonowski, lasted from 1500 to 1648. By 1634, which is to say toward the closing years of this age, Poland had become the largest country in Europe. Its territory extended from the Baltic almost to the Black Sea and from Silesia in the west to what is now the heart of the Ukraine, two hundred kilometers east of the Dnieper River. As a result, by the middle of the 17th century, as much as 60 percent of Poland’s population was not ethnically Polish, a situation which was bound to cause friction sooner or later, depending on how wisely the Polish rulers treated their alloethnic subjects.

    Instead of wisdom, what followed was a classical case of cultural drift in which imperial expansion covered over internal decay until finally the contradictions and injustices which had become an integral part of the system became so insupportable that the bubble burst, and an orgy of violence followed, eventually dragging the Polish state into extinction. The story of Poland was in many ways the story of Imperial Rome writ small. Imperial expansion to the east into what is now the Ukraine, the Crimea and Belorus resulted in the creation of huge estates, some the size of western European countries like Holland and Switzerland. The estates were called Latifundia, an ironic comment on the blindness of the Polish nobility, who failed to see the mischief which the Latifundia system had wrought in ancient Rome. The Polish Noble’s republic was a classic oligarchy, as Plato defined the term in his Republic. As in ancient Greece, so in Poland; wealth concentrated in fewer and fewer hands, led to rebellion among the lower classes. As in ancient Rome, wealth concentrated in fewer and fewer hands fueled a system of imperialism in which the chief losers were the overwhelming majority of the Polish people, in particular, as in Rome, the citizen soldiers, who were driven to the wall by the monopoly conditions the Latifundia fostered. When the rebellion finally came, all Poles would be held responsible for the excesses of the magnates who created the system which had dispossessed the average Polish citizen in the first place.

    As in ancient Rome, the citizen soldiers who had been the backbone of the republic’s legions became the disenfranchised rural proletariat once wealth became concentrated in the hands of the magnates. "The citizen-soldiers who owned small and medium estates," according to Pogonowski, "suffered numerous bankruptcies and were becoming landless while still retaining their full civil rights and privileges." As a result, "many of them had to seek employment in the huge estates called latifundia." This, of course, meant that more political power migrated to the land magnates, who were now the employers of the enfranchised. As a result, "the political machines of the owners of the latifundia enabled them to attain an oligarchic control of the politics of Poland. Their control of the national parliament was based on their grip on the provincial legislatures."

    In 1633, the Sejm passed a law forbidding Poland’s nobility from selling liquor or engaging in commercial activities. The Polish noble citizens—both the wealthy and the impoverished—, in other words, retained political control of the country, but lost economic control because they were forbidden to engage in commercial activity. Because the Polish magnates owned the land but were unable to engage in commerce, they were forced to hand over the job of income extraction to the nation’s Jews, who would pay a set fee for a lease to raise the money the nobles needed. The system of pre-paid, short-term leases was known in Poland as "arenda." The connection between the arenda system of tax-farming and the Jews was so intimate that it eventually found expression in the Polish language. In legal contracts in the 17th and 18th century, the Polish word "arendarz" or tax-farmer and "Jew" are synonymous. According to Pogonowski, "15 percent of urban and 80 percent of rural Jewish heads of households were occupied within the arenda system."

    The Jewish legal system, or kahal, brokered these licenses to well-to-do Jews, who in turn often subleased them to less well-to-do relatives. In Polish private law, arenda was defined as "the leasing of immovable property or rights. The subject of the lease might be a whole territory, held either in ownership or in pledge [or] the subject might be a tavern, mill or the right to collect various payments such as a bridge toll or a payment connected with a jurisdiction." A Jew, for example, might take out a short-term lease on a church, in defiance of church law. This meant that he was in sole possession of the key to the church door, which could only be opened for the performance of weddings or baptisms after payment of a fee, a practice which naturally led to resentment among Christians. Since the lease was of necessity a short-term lease, it was in the Jew’s interest to charge as much money as he could to make back his investment and some profit, since the lease might not be renewed. Or, if it were, someone else might outbid him for it. There was, in other words, no financial incentive to create good will among the local population from which the arendator earned his living. The Jewish tax-farmers had the support of the state—Pogonowski estimates that 20 to 70 percent of the income of the large estates was generated by tax-farming leases held by Jews— but lacked the good will of the community which was the source of that livelihood. Since the Jew was not a part of that community, and in fact had developed, as Graetz indicates, a whole culture of treating the goyim with contempt, he could exploit the situation well beyond what would have been considered tolerable had Catholic Poles been running the system:

    Arenda-type short -term leases resulted in intensive exploitation of the leased estates, as the lessees tended to overwork the land, peasants and equipment without worrying about long-term effects. The peasants experienced additional hardships when Jewish arrendators obtained the right to collect and even impose taxes and fees for church services. The peasants and Cossacks in Kresy [the newly colonized lands of the east] bitterly resented having to pay Jews for the use of Eastern Orthodox and Greek-catholic churches for funerals, baptism, weddings and other similar occasions (Iwo Cyprian Pogonowski, Jews in Poland: A Documentary History The Rise of Jews as a Nation from Congressus Judaicus in Poland to the Knesset in Israel [New York: Hippocrene Books, Inc.1993], p. 68).

    Because of the arenda system and the prohibition against distilling spirits which became legally binding in 1633, the Jews assumed total control of the liquor business, which meant that, on the one hand, they could manipulate the price of grain by diverting it to more profitable use as distilled spirits and that, on the other hand, it was in their interest to engage in the intense promotion of alcohol consumption, to maximize profits during the short-term of the lease. This led to chronic drunkenness, decreased productivity, and, of course, increased resentment against Jews, as a group which was perceived as constantly seeking to exploit the weaknesses of the majority population as a way of enhancing their own wealth and power.

    Graetz talks about the Jew experienced in financial matters as a salutary counterbalance to the impetuous, headstrong, and ultimately child-like Polish nobleman:

    "The high nobility continued to be dependent on Jews, who in a measure counterbalanced the national defects. Polish flightiness, levity, unsteadiness, extravagance and recklessness were compensated for by Jewish prudence, sagacity, economy and cautiousness. The Jew was more than a financier to the Polish nobleman; he was his help in embarrassment, his prudent adviser, his all in all."

    There are other ways of viewing the "unique utilitarian alliance [that] was formed between the huge landowners and the Jewish financial elite." Looked at one way, Jewish migration to Poland brought with it Jewish capital, and Jewish capital was soon put at the disposal of the Polish crown and the large landowning magnates, whose estates expanded dramatically in size. The Polish magnates proceeded to use both the Jews and their money to expand the Polish empire into the fertile steppes of the Ukraine, Belorus and the northern shore of the Black Sea. Looked at in another way, this alliance concentrated the wealth into fewer and fewer hands, especially during the period of intense Jewish colonization in the Ukraine during the 80 year period between 1569 and 1648. Since the leases involved monopoly rights, the Jewish tax-farmers could increase the political power of their wealthy patrons, and their own wealth and influence as well, by driving the smaller independent landowners to the wall. Increasing their power in the short term, however, only increased the magnitude and violence of the reaction when it eventually came. It was during this Drang nach Osten, this expansion to the East, that troubles began to appear in the Jewish paradise. The success of the new system contained within in it the seeds of its own destruction.

    Radical Disjunction

    The radical disjunction between political and economic power in Poland meant that the enfranchised noble citizens gradually lost control of their culture. The easy-going Polish oligarchs, wedded to an economic system that seemed so eminently successful in bringing new lands under the Polish crown, failed to understand that the control over those territories was being undermined from within by the very people they relied on for its administration. This happened gradually, of course, and it began to manifest itself first in the area of religion. Flush with the short-term wealth which the arenda system created and the territorial expansion which it enabled, the Polish kings ignored the biggest cultural crisis of their day, the Protestant revolt against Catholic hegemony over Europe. There was no Inquisition in Poland. As a result, what might have happened in Spain did happen there. Poland became a model for tolerance, but in doing so paved the way for its own extinction at the end of the 18th century.

    At a time when the Duke of Alba was battling Calvinists and Jews in the Netherlands and in effect setting up a barrier beyond which the Reformation would not pass, saving all of southern Europe beginning at Antwerp from the rebellion which had devastated England and the North, Sigismund August II, ruler of both Poland and Lithuania, surrounded himself with Jews and the Protestant revolutionaries the Poles called Demi-Jews. The "Reformers" in Poland were largely Unitarian and Socinian followers of Michael Servetus, who, in Graetz’s words, "undermined the foundations of Christianity," by "rejecting the veneration of Jesus as a divine person."

    Flush with the money they provided, King Sigismund indulged his disordered passions and handed the country over to his Jewish and Demi-Jewish administrators for them to rule as they wished. As a result peasants everywhere groaned under the predations of the Jewish tax-farmers, who in turn lent money to the king at usurious rates of interest, thereby keeping him under their power as well. Rabbi Mendel Frank of Brest, according to Walsh, "was so influential that he was called the King’s Officer." As in England at the same time, the Polish nobles were torn between religious principle and economic interest. As in England, economic considerations won out and "the nobility in most cases held its protecting hand over the Jews to whom it was tied by the community of economic interests." In other words, the Polish oligarchs "were either in debt to the Jews, or employed them to squeeze taxes from them out of the peasants, naturally at a good profit for the tax-farmers, who took their toll from dairies, mills, distilleries, farms." The Jews "were indispensable to the easy-going magnate, who was wont to let his estates take care of themselves and wile away his time at the capital, at the court, in merry amusements, or at the tumultuous sessions of the national and provincial assemblies, where politics was looked upon as a form of entertainment rather than as a serious pursuit. This Polish aristocracy put a check on the anti-Semitic endeavors of the clergy." The Jesuits warred with the Jews over the mind of the Polish oligarchs, but there was no Inquisition in Poland, and no Counter-Reformation. Calvinism was spreading among these nobles virtually unchecked by any official Catholic resistance. As a result, Poland became, in Graetz’s words, "a second Babylon for the Jews."

    By the death of Sigismund II in 1572, the Jews had attained enough power to name his successor in collaboration with the Porte in Constantinople, the Huguenots in France, and the English Protestants. The man who brokered the deal was Solomon ben Nathan Ashkenazi, adviser to Grand Visier Mohammed Sokoli. Solomon Ashkenazi was a German Jew by birth who had migrated, as so many of his race had, to the paradise of the Jews, where he eventually became chief physician to King Sigismund. He then migrated by way of Venice to Constantinople, where he served the sultan as faithfully as he had served the Polish king. Solomon Ashkenazi had succeeded Joseph Nasi, also an adviser to the sultan, as "a sort of unofficial leader of world Jewry." Like Nasi, Ashkenazi orchestrated events following the death of Sigismund from behind the scenes. "Christian cabinets," Graetz informs us, "did not suspect that the course of events which compelled them to side with one party or the other was set in motion by a Jewish hand. This was especially so in the case of the election of the Polish king."

    Locked into such a profitable alliance with the Jews, the Polish magnates saw little reason to change a system from which they profited so effortlessly and enormously. As a result the exactions of the Jewish tax-farmers became onerous to the point of intolerable among the peasantry in general, but especially among the newly colonized Cossacks, who never felt themselves a part of the Polish nation or, as Orthodox, part of the Catholic culture of the west. The political crisis, which had been growing during the last 80 years of Polish imperial expansion, corresponded as well to the worst excesses of the arenda system. Reform of the system was urgently necessary; and a bill of reform eventually made its way to the Seym.

    In 1647, as one of the preconditions that prepared the way for a Polish crusade against the Ottoman empire, the Cossacks were promised full civil rights and enfranchisement over a period of time as Polish citizens. That meant that "the harsh exploitation by Jewish holders of short time leases was to be lessened by banning the collection of such payments as church fees for funerals, weddings, baptisms, etc." It also meant that disobedience to the tax-farmers was no longer to be considered a capital crime. It also meant that the Jesuits would no longer be assigned to Cossack territory in the Southern Ukraine, and that as a result they would no longer pressure Orthodox to submit to Rome’s authority. Finally, it meant that the Jews were to be evicted from the southern Ukraine along with the Jesuits.

    When the bill came to a vote in 1648, the Seym, dominated by the alliance of huge landowners and their Jewish administrators, defeated the measure, providing a classic instance of how the concentration of wealth and power into a few hands can enable that group to pursue its own interests, with total disregard of the common good, over the brink of that self-interest into national disaster.

    The situation in Poland during the first half of the 17th century was roughly analogous to the situation in Spain a century and a half earlier. Spain was the only other country in Europe with an equally influential Jewish population. As in Poland, many Sephardic Jews engaged in behavior that caused resentment among the lower classes. During the famine in Cuenca in 1326 Jewish usurers charged farmers 40 percent interest on the money they needed to borrow to buy grain for sowing. Blasphemy had become a Jewish custom in Spain. Moses, according to Walsh, "had condemned blasphemers to death. Yet it was a custom of many Jews to blaspheme the Prophet for whom Moses had warned them to prepare." The Jews, as a result, "were disliked not for practicing the things that Moses taught, but for doing the things he had forbidden. They had profited hugely on the sale of fellow-beings as slaves, and practiced usury as a matter of course, and flagrantly." Blasphemy went hand in hand with Jewish proselytizing, which often took place by compulsion. Jews would force Christian servants to get circumcised as a condition of employment. They would encourage people to whom they had lent money to abjure Christ.

    The Jews who defined themselves as the antithesis of Christianity had developed the habit of conspiring with Christendom’s enemies. Although they flourished under Visigothic rule in Spain, they were not long thereafter found conspiring with the Arabs in Africa to overthrow the Visigothic monarchy. At the beginning of the 8th century they used their contacts with African Jews to prepare the invasion of the Mohammedan Berbers across the straits of Gibraltar. Once the Mohammedans conquered Spain, the Jews flourished under their rule, achieving as a result one of the most sophisticated cultures in Europe at the time. The Jews excelled in medicine and brought Aristotle to Europe. However, the flower of Sephardic culture drew its economic substance from unsavory roots. The Sephardic Jews grew rich on slaves and usury.

    When the Spaniards began their reconquista, the Jews were not persecuted. According to Walsh,

    "Saint Fernando, on taking Cordoba from the Saracens, turned over four mosques to the large Jewish population, to convert into synagogues, and gave them one of the most delightful parts of the city for their homes, on two conditions: that they refrain from reviling the Christian religion, and from proselytizing among Christians. The Jews made both promises, and kept neither."

    Resentment against usury combined with the suspicion that the Jews were using their influence to thwart the reconquista, or take control themselves of the already reconquered regions with the secret help of the Moors led to the riots of the late 14th century. If the monarchs did nothing to curb Jewish influence, the outraged citizens simply took the law into their own hands and widespread bloodshed was the result. Leniency only created more violence, as in the case of Pedro the Cruel, who was perceived as giving "his Jewish friends complete control of his government; a circumstance that led his enemies to call him a Jewish changeling, and contributed to his denunciation by a Pope as ‘a facilitator of Jews and Moors, a propagator of infidelity, and a slayer of Christians.’" By the end of the 14th century, Spain’s Christian population, convinced that the Jews were "planning to rule Spain, enslave the Christians, and establish a New Jerusalem in the West" began acting on their suspicions by taking the law into their own hands. Widespread bloodshed was one result. Widespread conversion, both sincere and forced, was another.

    Rabbi Solomon Converts

    The similarities with Poland are obvious. The Sephardic Jews were, if anything, more a part of Spanish culture than the Ashkenazim were part of Polish culture. The differences, however, are even more striking than the similarities. Unlike the situation in Poland, many Spanish Jews became sincere converts to Christianity. Resentment against the Jews had led to widespread rioting in 1391, and that in turn riveted the attention of the church on the Jews. St. Vincent Ferrer, as a consequence, led crusades for the conversion of the Jews. In 1391 he achieved his most spectacular success when Rabbi Solomon ha-Levi converted to the Catholic faith and became Paul of Burgos or Paul de Santa Maria (1351-1435). Levi was thoroughly conversant with Talmudic literature and was acquainted with the leading Jewish scholars of his day as well. He embraced Christianity as a result of the efforts of St. Vincent Ferrer and reading the works of St. Thomas Aquinas. His conversion, however, only increased the general animus against the Jews by revealing the evidence of anti-Christian conspiracy from the inside, so to speak. There was evidence enough. The man formerly known as Rabbi Solomon ha-Levi was, after all, a Jewish insider if there ever was one, and he followed up on his conversion by implicating the Jews in a conspiracy to overthrow the Christian monarchs of the Iberian peninsula. After his conversion, Levi published "two dialogues in which he categorically declared that the Jews were bent upon ruling Spain."

    Similarly, another Jewish convert Fray Alonso de Espina eventually became confessor to Henry IV and Rector of the University of Salamanca. In 1459 Espina wrote Fortalitium Fidei, one of the most bitterly anti-Jewish documents in history. In his diatribe against the Conversos, Espina "suggested that if an Inquisition were established in Castile, large numbers of them would be found to be only pretending Christians, engaged in judaizing and in undermining the Faith they professed."

    Not all of the conversions following the turmoil of 1391, as numerous Jewish converts themselves indicated, were sincere. The fear which the reprisals created led to an equally unfortunate spate of forced conversions, which only compounded the problem of subversion, which had led to the riots and forced conversions in the first place. Forced conversion is antithetical to the Christian faith. "The unwilling," Pope Gregory the Great wrote at the beginning of a tradition that would remain unchanged throughout the papacy, "are not to be compelled." Gregory is also responsible for the creation of the formula which would guide later popes in their dealings with the Jews, "Sicut Judaeis non, " a formula which, according to Synan, was "destined to recur endlessly in papal doucments concerning Jewish rights and disabilitiies thorughout the Middle Ages":

    "Just as license out not to be presumed for the Jews to do anything in their syangogues beyond what is permitted by law, so in those points conceded to them, they ought to suffer nothing prejudicial" (Edward A. Synan, The Popes and the Jews in the Middle Ages [New York: The Macmillan Company, 1965], p. 46.

    Popes throughout the period in question walked a fine line between two extremes, symbolized in our account by Poland, which erred by allowing Jews to usurp Christian privilege and Spain, which erred by excessive rigor, especially by promoting the abuse of forced conversion. Popes protested both abuses, but, in the case of Spain, unscrupulous politicians, seeking in forced conversion a quick fix to a difficult problem, ignored the warnings and created a deeper more intractable problem instead of solving the original problem. Many Jews accepted baptism as a way of retaining possession of their goods and their lives. "Given the forced nature of the mass conversions of 1391," Kamen writes, "it was obvious that many could not have been genuine Christians." The king of Aragon repudiated the concept of forced conversion and made it clear to the Jews there that they could return to their ancestral religion, but that was not the case in Barcelona, which, as a result, became a hotbed of subversive activity all the way up to the time of the Spanish Civil War.

    Collaboration
    The rabbis collaborated with the unscrupulous Spanish politicians by allowing for conversion under duress. The early Church was split over whether Christians who renounced the faith during the Roman persecutions should be readmitted to the Church. The less rigoristic debated which penances should be applied, but the Church never condoned renunciation of the faith, even if death were the consequence. Talmudic Judaism, however, came up with an accommodation of the practice of lying about conversion based on a distinction which would have consequences which were every bit as serious as those which followed from the forced conversions in the first place. In the fifteen century, the Rabbis in North Africa distinguished between anusim or unwilling converts and meshumadim, those who converted voluntarily. As a result, the only sort of Jew who was ostracized by the synagogue was the sincere convert. The fact that the liar and dissembler was tacitly tolerated, in clear violation of the scriptural principle articulated in the Book of Maccabees was to have far-reaching consequences. One of the most obvious is that the rabbis and the unscrupulous anti-Semitic Christian politicians collaborated in creating an atmosphere where subversion flourished. Jews who had prospered by converting and thereby ignoring the tenets of their own religion could continue to prosper as Christians while retaining the same opportunistic attitude toward Christianity. The Christians who were moved to violence against Jews now harbored the same animus, clouded by religious ambiguity, against the conversos, whom they now called Marranos, a derogatory term of dubious origin which means swine. Forced conversion, in other words, only strengthened the very suspicions it was supposed to allay. And the rabbis were instrumental in strengthening them. As a result, Jews were regarded as a fifth column within the state, and conversos were regarded, because of the very conversion that was forced on them, as an even more dangerous fifth column within the Church. Some conversos were precisely that. Fray Vicente de Rocamora, the confessor of Empress Maria, sister of Philip II, "threw off the mask of Catholicism and joined the Hebrew community at Amsterdam as Isaac of Rocamoro." The Jewish community at Amsterdam in the 17th century was made up almost exclusively of conversos who had thrown off the Catholic faith shortly after escaping from Spain and Portugal and arriving there. It was made up, in other words, of apostate Catholics who had lied about their faith.

    The system of forced conversion was exploited by the cynical Jews who converted insincerely as a way of retaining power and wealth, and it punished those Jews whose conversions were sincere because they continued to suffer the rigors of anti-Semitism. Later Jewish apologists seem unaware of the complexity of the situation and the implications which flow from it. Describing the aftermath of the forced conversions, Cecil Roth writes that

    "within a generation or two, the Marranos became assimilated enough. Their worldly success was phenomenal. They almost controlled the economic life of the country. They made fabulous fortunes as bankers and merchants. They thronged the liberal professions. . . . Many of them attained high rank even in the Church. But with all their eminence, the vast majority (and those who had entered Holy Orders were no exception) remained faithful at heart to the religion of their fathers, which they handed on, despite unbelievable difficulties from generation to generation. Their Christianity was merely a mask.... They were Christians in nothing, and Jews in everything but name."

    Roth’s justification of false conversion lends credence to the claims of the anti-Semites in two ways. First of all, it ignores the fact that many conversions were sincere. Both Roth and the Spanish anti-Semites dismiss this possibility out of hand. Secondly, Roth’s justification of duplicity condones subversion and in many ways makes it a Jewish characteristic. In this Roth is simply following the example of the rabbis of the time, who in contrast to the scriptural example of the Maccabees, accepted the idea of outward conversion as long as it was coupled with an inward denial of what was professed outwardly. This rabbinic acceptance of duplicity would have far-reaching consequences for European Jewry. In the short term, it set the stage for the conversion of Sabbetai Zevi, the Jewish Messiah, to Islam in 1666. Because of the tradition established by the Sephardic rabbis, Zevi, the false Messiah, could claim, with some plausibility, that his conversion to Islam was only for show. He could claim that it was really an attempt to subvert the Turkish empire from within. Of course, he could also make similar claims to the sultan of Constantinople, claiming that his preaching in the synagogues of the Levant was really an attempt to convert Jews to Islam.

    By condoning false conversion under duress, the rabbis created a nation of subversives. The net result was chaos and confusion so total, so demoralizing and so debilitating that medieval Judaism did not survive the crisis. Medieval Judaism, like medieval Islam, was ultimately incapable of negotiating a modus vivendi which accommodated both faith and reason. Medieval Judaism broke apart on the rock of false conversion, as manifested in the case of Sabbetai Zevi. European Jewry, which was virtually unanimous in accepting Zevi as the Messiah, attempted to repress any indication that Zevi had existed after his conversion to Islam, but the evidence of his existence was like the rock just beneath the surface which determines traffic on the river. The messianic fever which infected Europe beginning in 1648 reached its peak and denouement when Zevi converted to Islam in 1666, another Annus Mirabilis. Thereafter, the ship of medieval Judaism foundered and eventually broke into two parts, corresponding to faith and reason respectively, since their union could find in Judaism no unifying force any more. On the one hand, reason found itself represented by Spinoza’s rationalism, which led to the German Enlightenment Jew epitomized by Moses Mendelssohn, the man whom Lessing immortalized in German literature as Nathan der Weise. On the other hand, faith divorced from reason led to the Jewish form of quietism known as Hassidism, which continued to thrive in the shtetls of Poland and the Pale of the Settlement all the way up to the Nazi genocide.

    As anyone with a rudimentary sense of the relationship between Christianity and culture could have anticipated, the regimen of false conversions in Spain did nothing but make a bad situation worse. The cynical Jewish converts continued to exploit the situation to their advantage under the protection of the Church, while at the same time the sincere Jewish converts were forced to live under constant and intolerable suspicion.

    Spain’s response to this intolerable situation was the Inquisition. By the 1470s, it was becoming increasingly clear that forced conversions had not solved Spain’s Jewish problem. They had in fact made it worse by making it more inaccessible. The longer the government did nothing, the more mob violence increased. Queen Isabella’s predecessor is now known to history under the unfortunate name of Enrique el Impotente precisely because he was perceived as handing over to the unscrupulous insincere conversos the administration of both Church and state and doing nothing to curb the rioting and pillaging of the Jews and their possessions which followed in the wake of his inaction. When the civil disorder against the Jews became a serious threat to Spain’s military campaign against the Moors, the Spanish crown, united now under Ferdinand and Isabella, imported the Inquisition, created by St. Dominic as away of ridding Southern France of the Albigensian heretics, in order to bring legal order to resentments which were leading to the mob violence which threatened to engulf Spain. On September 27, 1480 a papal bull commissioned the Dominicans Juan de San Martin and Miguel de Morillo to begin inquiries into reports of subversion of the faith. The Spanish Inquisition had come into existence. Twelve years later, Ferdinand and Isabella, after expelling the Moors from Spain, expelled the Jews as well. In doing so, they saved Spain from the fate of Poland by exporting a problem they could not solve. Over the course of the 16th century, northern Europe inherited the problem which Spain could not solve and cities like Antwerp became, as a result, a hotbed of revolutionary activity.

    Cultural Matrix

    The combination of the expulsion of the Jews and rabbinical justification for false conversion effectively established the cultural matrix from which the revolutionary Jew would emerge. If a Jew according to Talmudic teaching could profess what he claimed was an idolatrous false religion in public and still remain a Jew in good standing, then he simply could not be trusted, and the anti-Semites were right in viewing him as a fifth-column who threatened the existence of both Church and state. Forced conversion was wrong, but the acceptance of it on the part of the Jews was just as wrong as the imposition of it on them. Worse still, acceptance of insincere conversion enshrined the principle of deception and subversion as an acceptable part of Jewish life. The Jew, according to the principles established in the Old Testament from the time of Moses to the resistance which the Maccabees provided against the Hellenizers under King Antiochus, had a duty to resist what he perceived as idolatry and incorporation into idolatrous religions, and he was duty-bound to resist that incorporation to the point of death. The fact that Talmudic teaching condoned false conversion indicated a radical break in continuity between what they taught and what Moses taught. The Marranos, if by that term we mean insincere Jewish converts to Christianity, made subversion and deceit a way of life.

    In this their behavior and world view was similar to other disaffected Catholics from other parts of Europe. The German monks who violated their vows of celibacy with impunity led double lives as well. And living a lie helped create animosity toward the institution to whom they had made vows they would not fulfill. In this regard, the first Lutherans and the first Calvinists were virtually indistinguishable from each other and from the conversos, both in theology and practice. Both movements drew their leadership from the sexually corrupt lower Catholic clergy. Calvin’s lieutenant, the erstwhile Catholic, Theodore Beza was, according to Walsh,

    "a glaring example of the too-common corruption. Though not even a priest, he enjoys the incomes of two benefices, through political influence, lavishes the Church’s money on his concubine, and generally leads a vicious and dissolute life. When the Church is under attack, he hastens to join the enemy. As Calvin’s lieutenant, this righteous man thunders against the [corruption of the] Old Church, of which he was partly the cause."

    Beza’s example was not uncommon. The monasteries of Europe were full of monks leading double lives:

    "There is no doubt about the laxity of the monasteries of Sevilla and Valladolid, whose members embraced Protestantism; nor of the degeneracy of the Augustinians in Saxony, who broke away from the Church almost en masse in 1521. In England it was the reformed Observatine Franciscans who withstood Henry VIII even to death, while the relaxed Conventuals and other badly disciplined monks and priests formed the nucleus of the Church of England. The first Protestants, as a rule, were bad Catholics" (Walsh, Philip II, p. 252).

    Once the Jews who were expelled from Spain began to regroup in the newly-Protestant regions of the North, their settlements began to draw Marranos like a magnet, and the disaffected Catholics who had once been living double lives as clerics with concubines in places like Saxony and Thuringia now began to make common cause with the Jews who had led double lives as well by converting to Catholicism simply to preserve their wealth. Revolution, which is to say, a pan-ethnic coordinated attack on the cultural hegemony of the Catholic Church over Europe, emerged as a force in world history when these two groups merged in places like Antwerp in the middle of the 16th century. Revolution was, in other words, a Protestant-Jewish alliance from its inception. The Jews, as Newman shows so well, promoted every "reform" movement in Europe, from the Hussites to the Anabaptists, as a way of weakening the hegemony of the Catholic Church, reasoning—falsely in the case of Luther—that the enemy of their enemy was their friend. In places like Antwerp and Amsterdam, the Jews put their wealth as well as their considerable expertise in finance and publishing at the disposal of the libidinous German monks and their princely protectors as their way of waging cultural warfare against the Catholic Church and Spain, its defender. When Johan Bokelzoon established his sexual liberationist communist dictatorship in Muenster in 1533, the native population was quickly overrun by libidinous nuns recently "liberated" from their convents by the Lutherans. (Martin Luther, in fact, got his wife, Catherine von Bora, from a Lutheran raid which liberated a convent in Saxony. He offered the youngest and prettiest of the ex-nuns to the Bishop of Mainz if that worthy agreed to convert to the Lutheran party.) The nuns under Bokelzoon’s tutelage quickly adopted his sexual liberationist practices and began having visions of the coming of the new Jerusalem which caused them to practice glossolalia while rolling naked on the ground, frothing at the mouth. Liberation from the stress of living a double life as a faux Catholic was intoxicating, and the intensity of the intoxication was some indication of the stress that caused it.

    The revolutionary link between Jews and Reformers was theoretical as well as practical. The "Reformers" for their part could justify their criminal behavior only by cloaking it in the imagery of the Old Testament. Regicide was the most heinous of crimes and viewed with revulsion by all of Christian Europe, and yet Cromwell justified his role in the murder of Charles I by appealing to the story of Phineas. "Be not offended at the manner," Cromwell wrote to Lord Wharton in January 1650,

    "perhaps no other way was left. What if God accepted the zeal, as He did that of Phineas, whose reason might have called for a jury? What if the Lord have witnessed this approbation and acceptance to this also, not only by signal outward acts, but to the heart also? What if I fear my friend should withdraw his shoulder from the Lord’s work . . . through scandals, though false, mistaken reasonings."

    The subjunctive mood of Cromwell’s self-justification gives some indication that not even the models he dragooned from the Old Testament could erase the guilt of regicide from his conscience, but even if they could not absolve him of his sin, they certainly acted as a palliative. Cromwell, according to one commentator,

    "was making a startling reference to the biblical story of Phineas, who thrust a javelin through a sinfully copulating couple, thus saving the people of Israel from the wrath of God. In the end, only brutal summary justice against the King had served to complete God’s work to save the nation from His wrath and to secure his continuing love."

    By 1649, when Charles I went on trial, the tradition of Judaizing which had been extirpated from Spain had struck deep roots in England. The English judaizers were known as Puritans, and Cromwell as their leader was as versed in using Biblical figures as a rationalization for his crimes as he was in using Jewish spies from Spain and Portugal as agents in his ongoing war with the Catholic powers of Europe. The Puritans in England could implement the idea of revolution so readily precisely because they were Judaizers, and that is so because revolution was at its root a Jewish idea. Based on Moses’ deliverance of Israel as described in the book of Exodus, the revolutionary saw a small group of chosen "saints" leading a fallen world to liberation from political oppression. Revolution was nothing if not a secularization of ideas taken from the Bible, and as history progressed the secularization of the concept would progress as well. But the total secularization of the idea in the 17th century would have made the idea totally useless to the Puritan revolutionaries. Secularization in the 17th century was synonymous with Judaizing. It meant substituting the Old Testament for the New. The concept of revolution gained legitimacy in the eyes of the Puritans precisely because of its Jewish roots. Graetz sees the attraction which Jewish ideas held for English Puritans quite clearly. The Roundheads were not inspired by the example of the suffering Christ, nor were they inspired by the medieval saints who imitated him. They needed the example of the warriors of Israel to inspire them in their equally bellicose campaigns against the Irish and the Scotch, who became liable to extermination because the Puritans saw them as Canaanites. Similarly, the King, who was an unworthy leader, like Phineas, deserved to die at the hands of the righteous, who now acted without any external authority, but, as the Jews had, on direct orders from God. "The Christian Bible," Graetz tells us,

    "with its monkish figures, its exorcists, its praying brethren, and pietistic saints, supplied no models for warriors contending with a faithless king, a false aristocracy and unholy priests. Only the great heroes of the Old Testament, with fear of God in their hearts and the sword in their hands, at once religious and national champions, could serve as models for the Puritans: the Judges, freeing the oppressed people from the yoke of foreign domination; Saul, David, and Joab routing the foes of their country; and Jehu, making an end of an idolatrous and blasphemous house—these were favorite characters with Puritan warriors. In every verse of the books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings, they saw their own condition reflected; every psalm seemed composed for them, to teach them that, though surrounded on every side by ungodly foes, they need not fear while they trusted in God. Oliver Cromwell compared himself to the judge Gideon, who first obeyed the voice of God hesitatingly, but afterwards courageously scattered the attacking heathens; or to Judas Maccabaeus, who out of a handful of martyrs formed a host of victorious warriors."

    Graetz puts his finger on the heart of the issue when he identifies Puritan role models as "at once religious and national champions." Revolution as practiced by the Puritan Judaizers of England was a reversion to a more primitive, pre-Christian model. There was no separation the two swords of pope and emperor here—or, to use the terms of a later more secular era, no separation of church and state—instead, both pope and emperor were fused into one charismatic revenant of King David. Israel had become ethnic once again, except that now the real Jews were Englishmen, the visible elect on earth, and England (or New England) was the New Jerusalem.

    When the Puritan poet and propagandist John Milton wanted, as a result of personal circumstances, to have the Puritan solons in Parliament legalize divorce in 1642, he attempted to help the divines overlook the inconvenient fact that Jesus Christ condemned the practice explicitly by appealing in general to Old Testament models and to Moses, "an author great beyond any exception," in particular. Milton then quickly gets to the Messianic politics that lies at the heart of Puritan-Jewish revolutionary thought. England’s legalization of divorce will provide the world with a "magnanimous example" which "will easily spread far beyond the banks of Tweed and the Norman isles." England as the new Israel has a mission to save the world, a mission which was later adopted by equally messianic descendants of Jews and Puritans in America. "It would not be the first or second time," the author of Paradise Lost continues,

    "since our ancient druids, by whom this island was the cathedral of philosophy to France, left off their pagan rites, that England hath had this honor vouchsafed from heaven, to give out reformation to the world. Who was it but our English Constantine that baptized the Roman Empire? Who but the Northumbrian Willibrorde and Winifride of Devon, with their followers were the first apostles of Germany? Who but Alcuin and Wycliffe our countrymen, opened the eyes of Europe, the one in arts, the other in religion? Let not England forget her precedence of teaching nations how to live."

    One can almost hear in Milton’s tendentious pleading for the legalization of divorce, the devotees of Planned Parenthood arguing that the logical sequel to America’s conquest of Afghanistan or Iraq should be contraception and abortion. Messianic politics and sexual liberation have gone hand in hand from the beginning, and they still do, now that America is the uncontested new Israel. Messianic politics cannot function without Old Testament models, as Milton’s appeal to Moses on the issue of divorce makes clear.

    Messianic politics lies at the heart of what the Jewish and Puritan revolutionaries of the 16th century had in common, which is to say, both the Puritan and the Jew shared a desire to attain the spiritual goods promised in the Bible by secular means. Messianic politics was a form of magic, since the attainment of wealth and power by spiritual means had always been the goal of Simon Magus and his followers, and as such it had a powerful appeal to a group of people who were just discovering the natural sciences at the same time that they were full of revulsion at the cross of Christ and the ideal of suffering which it embodied. "It is better," St. Augustine wrote, summarizing the Catholic alternative to Simon Magus, "to love God and make use of money, than to love money and make use of God." The Puritan rejection of the medieval worldview of the Catholic Church (and its Anglican surrogates) was ultimately traceable to the Jewish rejection of the suffering Christ as an unworthy Messiah. "The chief priests," St. Matthew tells us, "with the scribes and elders mocked him in the same way. ‘He saved others,’ they said, ‘he cannot save himself. He is the king of Israel; let him come down from the cross now, and we will believe in him.’"

    The Jewish/Puritan Alliance

    The Jewish/Puritan alliance was born in a mutual rejection of the cross and all it stood for, and the substitution of King David or Simon bar Kokhba or Sabbetai Sevi or Oliver Cromwell or Napoleon Bonaparte as an alternative to the suffering Christ. The Jews were so enamored of Cromwell as a potential Messiah that they sent a delegation to examine his baptismal records in Huntington, to see if he were descended from the lineage of King David. Cromwell, as Graetz points out, was driven to consummate this revolutionary alliance between Jews and Puritans on both the theoretical and the practical level:

    "To bury oneself in the history, prophecy, and poetry of the Old Testament, to revere them as divine inspiration, to live in them with every emotion, yet not to consider the people who had originated all this glory and greatness as preferred and chosen was impossible. Among the Puritans, therefore, were many earnest admirers of "God’s people" and Cromwell was one of them. . . ."

    The consummation of this revolutionary alliance against the Catholic Church and Catholic countries like Spain involved, in other words, not only rummaging through the Bible for images that would justify regicide, it also entailed bringing Jews, so recently expelled from the Iberian peninsula, out of their temporary home in the low countries into the land now governed by the Puritan saints. According to Graetz:

    "A desire was excited in the hearts of the Puritans to see this living wonder, the Jewish people, with their own eyes, to bring Jews to England, and, by making them part of the theocratic community about to be established, stamp it with the seal of completion. The sentiments of the Puritans towards the Jews were expressed in Oliver Cromwell’s observation, "Great is my sympathy with this poor people, whom God chose and to whom He gave His law; it rejects Jesus because it does not recognize him as the Messiah." Cromwell dreamt of a reconciliation of the Old and New Testament, of an intimate connection between the Jewish people of God and the English Puritan theocracy. But other Puritans were so absorbed in the Old Testament, that the New Testament was of no importance. Especially the visionaries in Cromwell’s army and among the members of Parliament, who were hoping for the Fifth Monarchy, or the reign of the saints, assigned to the Jewish people a glorious position in the expected millennium. A Puritan preacher, Nathaniel Holmes .. . wished . . to become the servant of Israel and serve him on bended knees. The more the tension in Israel increased . . . the more public life and religious thought assumed Jewish coloring. The only thing wanting to make one thing [was the return of the Jews]."

    Cromwell’s followers felt that by readmitting the Jews to England they could bring about the second coming of Christ, the millennium, and the fifth monarchy mentioned in the book of Daniel. In short, the middle of the 17th century was suffused with an apocalyptic vision of Christ’s kingdom being actually established in the here and now. Jewish refugees from Spain and English Ranters and Fifth Monarchy men were of one mind on this issue. The Kingdom of God was at hand. Something like this had been held by Christians for over a millennium and a half, probably because its advent had been pronounced by Christ himself. What had changed, though, was the kind of kingdom Christ’s followers were supposed to expect.

    St. Augustine gave the definitive Catholic explication of The Book of Revelation in the City of God, where he explained that the millennium was supposed to be understood as a spiritual allegory concerning an essentially spiritual reality. The Millennium had begun with the death of Christ on the Cross, and the New Jerusalem was fully realized in the Catholic Church. Augustine’s explanation became Church doctrine when it was adopted as the definitive explanation of the millennium by the Council of Ephesus in 431. From that time on, belief in the millennium as a worldly kingdom was dismissed generally as a superstitious aberration and particularly as "the error of the Jews."

    As Archbishop Laud made clear in a sermon in 1621, it was precisely this "error of the Jews" that the Puritans were bent on resurrecting. The Puritans, according to Laud, "Enclyne to Judaisme as the newe sect of the Thraskites and other opinionists concerninge the terrene Kingdome of the Jewes." Taking the Jews who had rejected Christ on the cross as their model, their Puritan revolutionary co-belligerents now announced the advent of the Kingdom of God on earth, or in Laud’s terms, "the terrene Kingdome of the Jewes" in England. Heaven on earth was to be instituted by a government of English saints at some point in the decade following 1650. Since one of the inaugural events in the coming of this new kingdom was the murder of the English king, it promised to be a bloody kingdom for those with the eyes capable of seeing its true lineaments. But a kingdom nonetheless, and a worldly kingdom as well, in which sainthood was the first job requirement of every politician.

    Since there had been no Jews in England since their expulsion in 1290, at least not officially, English philo-Semitism had a distinctly utopian cast to it. The English Judaizers tended to idealize Jews according to their own idiosyncratic reading of the Old Testament. They did not, as one has come to expect of the English, evaluate them according to empirical observation, at least not at the dawn of the Messianic era in 1648. If they had been less preoccupied with their own revolution at home, the English could have learned something about Christian-Jewish relations by observing the apocalypse that was brewing in Poland at the very moment the English were debating the fate of their king. An objective study of what had happened in Spain might have been helpful as well, but an objective English study of anything Spanish is the historical equivalent of an oxymoron.

    By 1540 the Converso issue was over in Spain. Figures from the tribunal of Toledo in the years from 1531 to 1560 suggest that only three percent of the cases which came before the Inquisition there dealt with Judaizers. Spain had saved itself from the fate of Poland first by importing the Inquisition from southern France, and then by exporting its problem to the north of Europe. For some indication of what might have happened in Spain if the situation created by the Jews there had gone unchecked, we need only look at the situation in Poland. Jewish influence over Polish political life not only continued in the century after it had abated in Spain; it increased in intensity as well, fueling Polish imperialism in the East. The same violence that appeared periodically in Spain beginning in the late 14th century was repressed in Poland where laws in effect codified Jewish hegemony over large areas of Polish cultural life. Since disobedience to the predations of the Jewish tax-farmers was a capital crime, there is some indication that 1) animosity against the Jews was widespread and 2) that it was severely repressed. The combination of those two factors made an explosion of violence all but certain, and the explosion came when the Seym, dominated by the Polish magnates and their Jewish administrators, rebuffed Cossack aspirations for political reform. Cultural drift in Poland under the self-serving hand of the oligarchs had led to an explosion of the sort that the Inquisition had prevented in Spain, and as a result of that explosion, the Polish nobles republic went into a state of terminal decline, only to expire altogether 147 years later.

    The defeat of their cause in the Seym turned the hopeful expectation of the Cossacks into equally vehement outrage. That outrage was mobilized by a Cossack leader by the name of Bogdan Chmielnicki. Chmielnicki, who was 53 years old when the Seym voted against enfranchising the Cossacks, had a personal stake in the matter as well. A Jew by the name of Zachariah Sabilenki, according to Graetz,

    "had played him a trick, by which he was robbed of his wife and property. Another had betrayed him when he had come to an understanding with the Tartars. Besides injuries which his race had sustained from Jewish tax farmers in the Ukraine, he, therefore, had personal wrongs to avenge."

    Chmielnicki’s claim that "The Poles have delivered us as slaves to the cursed breed of Jews" resonated among the Cossacks enough to bring them into open revolt. When Chmielnicki and his Cossack and Tartar hordes defeated the Polish army on May 16, 1648, the way was open to widespread looting, pillaging and murder. It is estimated that 100,000 Jews perished in the ensuing mayhem. Some pretended to be Christians to escape the wrath of the Cossacks. Some, as in Spain a century and a half before, accepted baptism as the price of saving their lives. Chmielnicki’s pogroms became what the riots in Spain would have become without the benefit of the Inquisition. Resentment had built up for too long for this blaze to burn itself out quickly.

    As Chmielnicki’s comment to the Cossacks indicated, the Poles were held responsible for the behavior of the Jews, even if they suffered from the same system of financial exploitation that had enraged the Cossacks. Prince Vishnioviecki, the man Graetz calls, "the only heroic figure amongst the Poles at that time," did what he could to protect the Jews who came under his power, but that wasn’t much given the magnitude of the forces which opposed him. In many towns, the Jews put aside their separatist instincts and allied themselves with the local Catholics in a pact of mutual defense against the bloodthirsty Cossacks. Sometimes that pact succeeded; sometimes it didn’t. When Chmielnicki’s Cossack hordes arrived at the gates of Lwow, he demanded that all the Jews within the city’s walls be handed over to him as a condition of lifting the siege. The Poles refused, and many Jewish lives were saved as a result. According to the Jewish historian Henryk Grynberg: "the Polish armies, who were at war with [the Cossacks] were the sole defenders of the Jews." Chmielnicki’s animus was directed equally against the Catholic Church and the Jews. When he was sober enough to dictate the conditions of peace after an attack, those conditions invariably demanded the expulsion of both the Catholic Church and the Jews from the provinces controlled by the Cossacks.

    Poland’s neighbors exploited the situation to their own advantage, setting in motion a chain of events which would eventually lead to the partition of Poland at the end of the 18th century. Muscovy, Prussia, Sweden, Brandenburg and the Ottoman empire all began nibbling away at pieces of territory which Poland was now too weak to defend. In addition to losing territory, Poland lost 200,000 inhabitants, half of whom were Jews. The Uniates of the Ukraine were forcibly converted to Orthodoxy, diminishing the Catholic and Polish influence on the southern flank of Lithuania, which had converted to Catholicism largely as a result of Polish influence.

    As some indication of the hold which the Kaballah exercised over the mind of Polish Jews, the Chmielnicki pogroms, occurring in what was supposed to be the Messianic year of redemption, only strengthened the faith of those Jews who felt that messianic deliverance, ushered in perhaps by catastrophe, was closer than ever. The idea that the Messiah would hear and answer the prayers of his people in time of need became transmuted into a belief that dire need was a sign that the Messiah’s arrival was imminent. The alembic which enabled this religious alchemy was Kabbalah, the very thing which had instilled the messianic expectation in the first place.

    Scholem disagrees with those who see the Chmielnicki uprisings as the cause of the Messianic fever which swept European Jewry during the middle of the 17th century. "If the massacres of 1648 were in any sense its principal cause," Scholem argues, "why did the messiah not arise within Polish Jewry?" The source of messianic fervor, according to Scholem, was "none other than Lurianic kabbalism, that is that form of Kabbalah which had developed at Safed, in Galilee, during the sixteenth century and which dominated Jewish religiosity in the seventeenth century." According to the Kaballah, catastrophe and utopianism go hand in hand. The presence of a catastrophe like the Chmielnicki massacres and the ensuing predations of the Swedish army meant, therefore, that redemption was at hand.

    Lurianism and Revolution

    Lurianic Kaballah not only prepared the way for the Chmielnicki catastrophe, it was also the result of the other great catastrophe of Jewish life at the time, the expulsion of the Jews from Spain. Isaac Luria Ashkenazi was born in 1534. By the time of his death in Safed in Palestine in 1572, he had gathered around him a group of disciples who were bent on spreading his explanation of Jewish exile, of recent catastrophes like the expulsion from Spain and how these events fit into the plan of divine redemption. In order to do this Luria had recourse to the Gnostic mythology which had been circulating in the Mediterranean world since the time of the first heresies of the Christian era. God or En-Sof had created bowls to contain the light of his understanding. The bowls, however, proved incapable of containing that light and broke scattering the light throughout creation where it remained imprisoned in matter. The purpose of man’s existence on earth became, as a result, tiqqun or healing, or restoring the lights to their original place in the universe before the breaking of the vessels had released the forces of sin and evil into the world. After the fall of Adam and Eve, each Jew had as his purpose in life the great process of re-integrating the sparks into their original place in the universe. The Diaspora of the Jews was now readily explainable. They had been dispersed over the face of the earth so as to be better able to discover the holy sparks, extract them from the matter they had become enmired in, and then return them to their rightful place in the universe. When this was accomplished, the Messiah could come, and redemption would be complete. Redemption, according to the Lurianic doctrine, was equally bound up with man’s efforts and the process of history, a combination which was incorporated, via Hegel, into Karl Marx’s revolutionary theory three hundred years later. The realm of qelippah, where the sparks are held in bondage, is a distinctly political realm, which is "represented on the terrestrial and historical plane by tyranny and oppression." The role of the Jew is to bring about redemption, which is not something that descends suddenly, "in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye" from on high but rather appears as the logical and necessary fruition of Jewish history. Israel’s labors of tiqqun are, by definition, of a messianic character. Final redemption is therefore no longer dissociated from the historical process that preceded it: "The redemption of Israel takes place by degrees, one purifying after another, one refining after another." The messianic king, far from bringing about the tiqqun, is himself brought about by it: he appears after the tiqqun has been achieved. The cosmic redemption of the raising of the sparks merges with the national redemption of Israel, and the symbol of the "ingathering of the exiles" comprises both.

    The political implications of the Lurianic Kaballah seem clear enough. The Messiah must now wait upon man’s efforts. He can only come once the process of tiqqun or purification and healing has been accomplished by man, i.e., by the Jews here on earth, who act as the vanguard of redemption much as the communist party at a later date would function as the vanguard of the proletariat. Without tiqqun, "it is impossible that the messianic king come." From here it is but a short leap of thought to the conclusion that Israel had become its own Messiah, or as Scholem says, "By transferring to Israel, the historical nation, much of the redemptive task formerly considered as the messiah’s, many of his distinctive personal traits, as drawn in apocalyptic literature, were now obliterated."

    Horowitz sees much the same political meaning emanating from the Lurianic revision of the meaning of exile. Once the meaning of exile had been transformed by its incorporation into the Gnostic creed of Luria’s Kaballah, "redemption is no longer a divine release from the punishment of exile, but a humanly inspired transformation of creation itself." What is true of Israel’s exile is a fortiori true of mankind’s exile in the qelippoth or husks of matter. Luria’s essentially Gnostic thought projects evil away from the heart of man into structures outside of himself, which is to say, political structures, which can be changed by human effort. Now instead of evil emanating from the heart, evil emanates from evil things in an evil universe, which is begging to be changed by those who know its secrets, i.e., the kabbalists. "Practical" Kaballah, according to Scholem, "is synonymous with magic." Some of Luria’s followers felt that they could "force the end" by an act of "practical Kabbalah," which is to say by invoking holy names and Kabbalistic formulae." Since the sparks have been "tricked" into being enmired in matter, it might even be able to trick them out again by the use of what Hyim Vital termed "holy fraud." Like the concept of insincere conversion, the concept of "holy fraud" would find its most immediate embodiment in the apostate Messiah Sabbetai Zevi, but it would perdure long after Sevi’s demise in a tendency toward subversion which would find expression in Jewish revolutionary activity in the Pale of the Settlement in Russia in the 19th century and elsewhere. The kabbalists will lead the world to redemption through magic (or applied science and technology) and trickery but not by leading good lives while waiting patiently for the redeemer to come, because "in the Gnostic view, the evil that men do emanates not from their own flawed natures, but is the result of a flaw in the cosmos they inhabit, which they can repair." As a result of the Gnostic transformation of Jewish thought that Luria accomplished, "Man" becomes "his own redeemer" (Horowitz, p. 131). Exile of the sort suffered by Jews for over a millennium and most recently in exile from Spain is, according to Luria,

    "no longer a punishment, but a mission; no longer a reflection of who we are, but a mark of our destiny to become agents of salvation. In this Gnostic vision, Israel is dispersed among the nations in order that the light of the whole world may be liberated. In the words of the Kabbalist Hayim Vital: "This is the secret why Israel is fated to be enslaved by all the Gentiles of the world: In order that it may uplift those sparks of the Divine Light which have also fallen among them. . . . And therefore it was necessary that Israel should be scattered to the four winds in order to lift everything up." The Israelites are the first revolutionary internationalists."

    The Lurianic Kaballah was a reaction to the Inquisition. By the time of the Chmielnicki massacres, the other great catastrophe for Jews at the dawn of the modern era, it had spread to all parts of the Diaspora. "Wherever Lurianism came," Scholem writes, "it produced messianic tension." It produced expectation of redemption. But now, as Scholem points out, "redemption meant a revolution in history." Since Lurianism created the Messianic fervor of the mid-16th century, it is not an exaggeration to say that it created the revolutionary mindset which characterized the modern world as well. The modern world emerged when medieval Judaism, having fostered northern Europe’s rebellion against Rome, cracked open and fell apart itself when Lurianism found its fulfillment in Sabbetai Zevi, the false Messiah. Jewish Gnostic messianism, with the help of English puritan revolutionaries, was released from the ghetto into the nascent modern world, the world which succeeded the medieval world and was its antithesis. The Messianic age of the mid-17th century "was an age characterized by rebellion against the Catholic Church and the order which the Church had imposed on Europe since the fall of the Roman Empire. A millenium of Catholic culture was threatened by the resurgence of an old idea."

    The old idea was the notion that the millennium meant the restoration of the "terrene Kingdome of the Jewes," the idea which had been condemned, but not destroyed, by the Council of Ephesus in 431. The new name for that old idea was revolution. When the ghetto was cracked open, but not destroyed, by the subsequent blows inflicted on it—by the Inquisition, the Chmielnicki pogroms, and, most devastating of all, the disillusionment which followed on the heels of the False Messiah’s conversion to Islam— the concept of revolution escaped through those cracks in the ghetto walls into European culture at large, where it was implemented at first by Judiaizers like the English Puritans and finally by the revolutionary Jew in propria persona, at the helm of his own political movement to produce via socialism, Marxism, Zionism, sexual liberation, or neoconservatism "the terrene Kingdome of the Jewes" or heaven on earth.

    The most immediate consequence of the Chmielnicki uprising was a massive exodus from the Jewish paradise in the east. Penniless Jewish refugees began streaming west. It was at this moment that the legend of the wandering Jew was born. A race whose scriptures begins with a description of paradise and whose formative moment was escape from bondage in Egypt could not get the idea of escape into another paradise out of its head, and so having heard stories of how the displaced Sephardim were now prospering, their impoverished Ashkenazic cousins began streaming toward places like Hamburg, but more importantly, toward Amsterdam, which by the mid-17th century had achieved the reputation of being the Dutch Jerusalem. Amsterdam, as a result, became a crucial staging area for the ongoing experimentation in revolution which was the modern world. With the two main branches of Judaism converging there in a land recently ripped by force from the Spanish empire by the Demi-Jews known as Dutch Calvinists and their English fellow travelers, the Pilgrims and the Traskites, a new modus vivendi was inevitable. It was the revolutionary idea, promoted by Jews (most of whom were baptized Catholics) full of outrage at the Inquisition and by German-speaking Catholics full of revulsion at the order which the Church had imposed on European culture.

    On January 30, 1649, eight months after Bogdan Chmielnicki had defeated the Polish army, while the slaughter of Jews was in full swing, the Puritan Demi-Jews presided over the execution of the English king. His death warrant was signed by 59 "saints"; Cromwell’s name was third on the list. One commentator claimed that the execution of the king was "an earth-shattering event." He would have done better to call the regicide world-shattering instead, because it shattered a number of worlds, all of them medieval. Both the Jew and the Demi-Jew presided at the birth of a new age, an age seen by Jews and Demi-Jews alike, as the dawn of redemption. That new age and the Jewish/Puritan alliance at its heart is with us still, driving American foreign policy, to give a recent example of its activity, into a war with Iraq. Like all of the wars it spawned, that new age would turn out to be every bit as bloody as the events which inaugurated it.
     
  11. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    the emergence of the philo-semitic Jesuit order within the Catholic Church, in the aftermath of the Inquisition.

    In parallel, there was also a "Reformation" movement in progress, to draw people away from the Catholic Church. The two leading figures of this Reformation are Martin Luther and John Calvin.

    Today, we shall take a look at Calvin (1509 – 1564). Calvin was educated the Collège de Montagu in Paris, where, interestingly, his stay overlapped with that of Ignatius of Loyola. (refs [1], [2]).

    The orientation of the Calvinist Churches is best understood via the testimony of one who grew up in that denomination. Armand Laferrère is a former adviser to the French minister of the interior, Nicolas Sarkozy, and a member of the board of directors of the Franco-Israeli Friendship Association. This is what he wrote in 2006:

    There were allegations (in the London Catholic Gazette of February 1936) that Calvin himself was of Jewish descent, but these are based on hearsay, and therefore cannot be relied on. Nevertheless, the philo-semitic character of Calvinism is apparent.

    The First Revolution:

    The Cavinist movement played an important role in the independence of the Netherlands. At that time the Netherlands was a part of the Holy Roman Empire, and was ruled by the King of Spain. The pretext for the revolt against Spain (the "Eighty Years' War") was freedom of worship for the Calvinists. William I of Orange, the main leader of the revolt was himself a convert to Calvinism (ref. [4]). An important role in the financing of the revolt was played by Marcus Perez, a Marrano who converted to Calvinism (refs [5], [6]). (It is pertinent to remark that William's great-grandson, William III, later became King of England, after the "Glorious Revolution", which began with Cromwell in 1640, and was successfully concluded in 1688.)

    Thus, it may be fair to give the independence of the Netherlands the distinction of being "the first revolution" in a long chain of revolutions. (The Conquest of England, 1640-1688, shall then be deemed the second revolution.)

    The behavior of the Calvinists during the revolt shows their deep fanaticism - there was incitement of crowds in open-air sermons, attacking of Catholic Churches, killing of priests, and destruction of works of art (ref [7]).

    The protestant movement of England began with King Henry VIII, (1509 - 1547). When Henry wanted to annul his marriage to Catherine of Aragon and marry Anne Boleyn, the Pope would not agree to it, so Henry confiscated the lands and wealth of the Catholic Church in England and declared that it would now be known as the Church of England, or the Anglican Church, with himself, the king, as its head. Henry then appointed an official that would grant his annulment. The Anglican Church was a Protestant Church, but in its structure and rituals it remained very much like the Catholic Church it had replaced. (ref. [8])

    Thus, the Church of England, at its inception, had nothing to do with the Calvinist movement. But the Calvinists were soon able to take over. As we shall see, this was to play a major role in the Conquest of England.

    To conclude, in the aftermath of the Inquisition, we not only see the establishment of the philo-semitic Jesuit Order within the Catholic Church, but also the establishment of philo-semitic reform movements that draw adherents away from the Catholic Church. These reform movements played a significant role in the revolutions in the Netherlands and in England.

    [1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ignatius_of_Loyola
    [2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collège_de_Montaigu
    [3] http://www.azure.org.il/article.php?id=43
    [4] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_religion_in_the_Netherlands
    [5] Guido Marnef, The Dynamics of Reformed Religious Militancy: The Netherlands, 1566-1585 http://www.knaw.nl/publicaties/pdf/981100_04.pdf
    [6] Encyclopaedia Judaica http://www.geschichteinchronologie.ch/eu/holland/EncJud_juden-in-NL02-17jh-ENGL.html
    [7] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beeldenstorm
    [8] http://instruct.westvalley.edu/gallup/17aonlinepuritans.htm
    [9] http://www.apuritansmind.com/Reformation/ShortHistoryCalvinism.htm
     
  12. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    German priest Martin Luther (1483 – 1546), the founder of the Lutheran Church; His split from the Catholic Church began in 1517, with his opposition of the "selling of indulgences" (ref. [1]). Apparently the Catholic Church used to offer a deal whereby you could get your sins erased in exchange for a payment to the Church.

    At the beginning of his career, Luther was apparently sympathetic to Jewish resistance to the Catholic Church. He wrote, early in his career:

    Also,

    But towards the end of his life, he became virulently anti-semitic, writing that Jewish homes should be destroyed, their synagogues burned, money confiscated and liberty curtailed. These statements have made Luther a controversial figure among many historians and religious scholars. But the Lutheran Church gained a significant number of adherents in Scandanavia and Germany.(ref. [1])

    There are unconfirmed claims (London Catholic Gazette of February 1936) that Luther was initially supported by Jewish elements, but later turned against his benefactors.


    References:
    [1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Luther
    [2] Jewish Virtual Library, http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/anti-semitism/Luther_on_Jews.html
    [3] http://www.glaird.com/luth-heb.htm
     
  13. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    there was a significant Jewish influence on various Islamic sects and break-away groups, just as there was in the case of Christianity. One such sect is the Ismaili Shia sect, which was taken over in 873 AD by one Abdullah bin Maymun, who is said to have been of Jewish origin. A reference for this is Bernard Lewis' "The Origins of Ismailism", 1940. Bernard Lewis also has another book "The Jews of Islam", Princeton University Press, 1984. (I have a soft copy but can't remember where I downloaded it from.)

    The Ismailis later established the Fatimid Caliphate in Egypt, in 973 AD.

    In 11th century Persia, the work of Abdullah bin Maymun was carried on, with the help of the Fatimid dynasty, by Hassan Sabbah, who founded the Nizari Ismaili subsect and the cult of the Assassins. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hassan-i_Sabbah)

    It is interesting that the way these sects were organized is extremely similar to the structure of the Freemasons of Europe. In fact, Freemasonry is said to have been introduced into Europe by the Knights Templar, who were initiated into it by the Assassins, when they crossed paths in the Holy Land, at the time of the Crusades. A reference for this is the book "Secret Societies and Subversive Movements" by Nesta Webster (http://www.gutenberg.org/files/19104/19104-h/19104-h.htm).

    The present head of the Nizari Ismailis is the Prince Karim Aga Khan IV. The Aga Khans moved to India from Iran in 1840's, and have been working with the British. Aga Khan III became, in 1906, the first President of the All-India Muslim League (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aga_Khan_III#Career). In recent times, some members of the Aga Khan family have also been involved with supporting the Taliban in Afghanistan.

    The prominence of the Aga Khan family may be attributed to their long-term involvement in the Occult and Illuminati-sponsored Muslim terrorism.

    The Aga Khan is the hereditary leader of 15 million Ismaili Muslims who trace their descent directly to the notorious Assassins of Islam. Many believe that the Knights Templars learned their occult doctrines form the Assassins during the Crusades. In fact, according to Scottish Rite Freemasonry, the Templars "rescued" a number of "Eastern mystics", and brought them to Scotland, where their traditions were preserved.

    Leading scholars of the Kabbalah, like Gershom Scholem, and more recently Nathaniel Deutsch, speculate that a lost Gnostic tradition survived among the Sabians (Assassins), before it was introduced to Southern France and became known as the Medieval Kabbalah. There, it spawned the heresy of the Cathars, from which the Templars emerged, and lead to the legends of the Holy Grail.

    Terrorism is a foreign practice to Islam. The first instance of terrorism in Islam can be traced to the Assassins, derived from a heretical splinter group of Islam, known as the Ismailis.



    SATANIC SECRET SOCIETY



    The Ismailis devised grades of initiation, wherein the leaders could adhere to heretical Gnostic beliefs, while restricting the lower levels to professing some degree of orthodoxy. This allowed them to appear to defend the faith, all the while working towards its destruction, thus recruiting the lower ranks into undermining the religion they falsely believed themselves to be representing.

    One of their first important leaders was Abdullah ibn Maymun, who, according to Nesta Webster, taught:

    "Imams, religions, and morality were nothing but an imposture and an absurdity. The rest of mankind the "asses," as Abdullah called them, were incapable of understanding such doctrines. But to gain his end he by no means disdained their aid; on the contrary, he solicited it, but he took care to initiate devout and lowly souls only in the first grades of the sect. His missionaries, who were inculcated with the idea that their first duty was to conceal their true sentiments and adapt themselves to the views of their auditors, appeared in many guises, and spoke, as it were, in a different language to each class...

    By means such as these the extraordinary result was brought about that a multitude of men of diverse beliefs were all working together for an object known only to a few of them..."

    The Assassins, were lead by Hasan al Sabah, who split off from the Ismailis, and succeeded in obtaining the fortress of Alamut in Persia, on the Caspian Sea. There he completed the plans for his great society, the infamous Assassins, deriving their name from the Arabic hashishim, or "eaters of hashish," referring to the marijuana which he used to create the first mind-controlled terrorists.

    INTERNATIONAL WAR OF TERROR


    The Assassins waged an international war of terror against anyone who opposed them, but eventually turned on each other. Finally in 1250 AD, the conquering Mongols swept over Alamut an annihilated them. Nevertheless, their followers survived, led by an imam called Aga Khan, who moved from Iran to India in 1840.

    His subjects, who are estimated to number in the millions, are still found in Syria, Iran, and Central and South Asia, the largest group being in India and Pakistan, where they are known as Khojas.

    Aga Khan II, came to be one of the founders of the Muslim League, which was sponsored by the British in 1858. The 48th Imam, Sir Sultan Mohammed Shah Aga Khan III, was very close to the British royal family during his 72-year reign, and held the post of chairman of the League of Nation's General Assembly for a year.

    The 49th Imam, the currently reigning Prince Karim Aga Khan IV, was given the British title "His Highness" by Queen Elizabeth II in 1957.


    MYSTERIOUS ALLIANCES

    Just as the 11th century Assassins were responsible for the development of Islamic terrorism, so in the 19th century, did the Ismailis continue to maintain mysterious alliances. At the end of the nineteenth century, the Aga Khan was regularly visited in India by a notorious impostor by the name of Jamal ud Din al Afghani, founder of the Salafi movement, currently spearheaded by Saudi Arabia, and from which all modern Islamic terrorism derives.

    Afghani was the purported head of the Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor, which supposedly represented the survival of Ismaili Gnosticism in Egypt. According to Robert Dreyfuss, in his book Hostage to Khomeni, Afghani became the chief agent of the Oxford Movement, a project to spread Scottish Rite Freemasonry to the Middle East. It was headed by Edward Bulwer-Lytton, who was the leading figure in the Occult Revival in the mid 19th Century. He headed the SRIA, or English Rosicrucians, many of whom flocked to Egypt to study under Afghani. His returning students founded a related Hermetic Brotherhood of Light, out of which emerged Aleister Crowley's satanic OTO.

    Afghani is regarded as the founder of the Salafi "reform" movement, the most famous development of which is the Muslim Brotherhood. The group was commissioned by Hitler, to act as an arm of German intelligence in Egypt. With the demise of the Nazis following WWII, control of the organization passed to the CIA, who in turn recruited former Nazis to continue to handle the terrorist organization.

    This was part of a wider strategy of employing Nazis and the promotion of terror, which also included the Gladio network, responsible for the "strategy of tension" which rocked Italy throughout the 70s with the terrorist actions of the Red Brigade.


    AGA KHAN = CIA = MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD = MUSLIM TERRORISM


    Essentially, the continuing relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood ostensibly represented the same age-old relationship that existed between the Templars and the Assassins, of which the Aga Khan is the current head. Dean Henderson, author of Geopolitics: The Global Economy of Big Oil, Weapons and Drugs, summarizes the significance of this relationship:

    "Part of this Faustian bargain may have involved the House of Saud chieftains providing information to US intelligence on how to create mind-controlled assassins. The Muslim Brotherhood claims to have first perfected this technique during the 11th century Crusades when it launched a brutal parallel secret society known as the Assassins, who employed mind-controlled "lone gunmen" to carry out political assassinations of Muslim Saracen nationalists. The Assassins worked in concert with Knights Templar Christian invaders in their attacks on progressive Arabs, but were repelled."

    When the Americans wanted to lure the former Soviet Union into their own version of Vietnam, they did so by financing and supporting factions of the Muslim Brotherhood in Afghanistan, the most notorious proponent of which is Osama bin Laden.

    Deeply involved in providing safe haven for the Afghan Mujahideen, and facilitating their dispersal throughout the world, was Ismaili Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan, uncle to the current ruling Prince Karim. (source: http://www.larouchepub.com/other/1995/2241_aga_khan.html)

    About the origins of the Muslim Brotherhood, from a Muslim source: http://www.salafipublications.com/sps/downloads/pdf/MNJ180008.pdf

    The Iranian theocracy is also said to be part of the Muslim Brotherhood. It is difficult to say how much influence western intelligence agencies have on the Iranian leadership at present.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2010
  14. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    The Jews of Islam
    BERNARD LEWIS


    A READING of medieval and modern Jewish history would seem to suggest that Jews in the Diaspora can only flourish,perhaps even only survive in any meaningful sense, under the aegis of one or the other of the two successor religions of Judaism—Christianity and Islam. Virtually the whole panorama of Jewish history, or rather that part of it which is of any significance between the destruction of the ancient Jewish centers and the creation of the new Jewish state, is enacted either in the lands of Islam or in the lands of Christendom. There were occasional Jewish settlements in areas dominated by other civilizations and religions, such as India and China,but—despite the very large measure of tolerance they enjoyed—they did not flourish. They had no great share in the life and culture either of those countries or of the Jewish people, and appear to have produced nothing of any real importance for the one or the other. In India it was only with the advent of Islam that the small Jewish communities of that country received a modicum of attention and played a small part. In the realms of Hinduism, Buddhism, and the religions of the Far East, the Jews remained few and inactive, attracting neither persecution nor favor nor even attention. In Hindu India and in China, Judaism atrophied. When Arnold Toynbee used the term "fossil" to describe the Jews and some other minority groups that survived from the ancient world, he was vehemently criticized. Indeed the term ''fossil," applied to something as vibrant as Jewish life in the Middle East, in Europe, and in the Americas, seems an absurdity. It is less absurd when applied to the isolated and immobilized Jewish communities of southern and eastern Asia. The main centers of Jewish life and activity since the early Middle Ages have always been in the lands of Islam and Christendom.It seems that these two religions share some quality that is conducive to active Jewish life and that is lacking in societies dominated by Hinduism, Buddhism, and other faiths,
    to which perhaps in our own day we should add communism.Under Christian or Muslim rule, Jewish life has not always been comfortable. Jews may be slighted or hated; they may
    be despised or oppressed or slaughtered, but they are never ignored. For both Christianity and Islam, and therefore for both Christians and Muslims, the Jews and Judaism have a
    certain cosmic stature. They are known; they have a place,and indeed an important place, in both the theological and historical scheme of things. For good or for evil, they are seen
    as significant. The Christians even adopted the Jewish scriptures. The Muslims, though they did not go that far, were prepared to recognize the Jewish scriptures as a corrupt relic
    of an authentic revelation. For the Christian and the Muslim alike, the Jewish religion was neither alien nor absurd. It was a faith of the same kind as his own, but in an earlier and
    outdated version. He might punish the Jew for not catching up with his own, final version of God's message; he would not brush him aside as a votary of one minor sect or cult
    among a multiplicity of others. For the believer, persecution is easier to endure than disregard. There are, it would seem, certain preconditions required to make possible the kind of cultural symbiosis—and still more the mutual and interacting cultural influences—that gave rise to what is now commonly called the Judaeo-Christian tradition in the Western world, and its equivalent in Islam. Until the twentieth century, when the positions of both Jews and Muslims underwent radical change, the term "Judaeo-Islamic" is at least as meaningful and as valid as "Judaeo-Christian" to connote a parallel and in many ways comparable cultural tradition. As far as I am aware, the term "Judaeo-Islamic" has been used only by Western scholars and was never adopted either by Jews or by Muslims in the Islamic lands, since neither side saw their relationship in this light. At the present time it is a term of purely historical relevance, since the Judaeo-Islamic tradition no longer exists as a living force. The tradition has been destroyed, and its bearers have gone into exile or to Israel, where the two great branches of the Jewish people, the Jews of Islam and the Jews of Christendom, are meeting again for the first time in centuries and are struggling to create a new synthesis based on their common Jewishness. Their encounter repeats in miniature the clash of the two civilizations from which they come, and the aim of unity will not easily be achieved. The attempt will in part determine, in part be determined by, the parallel effort—so far of little avail—to create a new and different symbiotic relationship between Israel and the Islamic world by which it is surrounded.In the following pages I have tried to examine the origins, the flowering, and the ending of the Judaeo-Islamic tradition, and to set these processes against the background of both Jewish and Islamic history. At most times and in most places, the Jews of Christendom were the only non-Christian minority in an otherwise wholly Christian land. Under the rule of Islam,in contrast, the Jews were normally one of several religious minorities, usually not the most important. The attitude of Islam to Judaism, of Muslims to Jews, is thus one aspect of
    a larger and more complex issue. The first chapter is therefore devoted to a general consideration of the relations between Islam and other religions—in theology and in law, in theory
    and in practice. The second chapter deals with the beginning and formation of the Judaeo-Islamic tradition, and is mainly concerned with the formative and classical periods of medieval
    Islam. The third chapter concentrates on the Ottoman Empire,the last of the great Islamic world states and the home of large and important Jewish communities; it also touches more briefly on other Muslim states in North Africa and in Asia. The fourth and last chapter, covering the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, takes as its theme the era of Western impact on the world of Islam, and the final phase of the Judaeo-Islamic tradition.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2010
  15. amoy

    amoy Senior Member Senior Member

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    India seems to have a Jewish community since ages...

    Lots of Jews migrated to China and inhabitated long long ago. But most Chinese mixed them up with Arabs and Persians especially of their religions. Soon they were assimilated...

    In late 19th century Jews like Sassoon and Hartoon (Baghdad Jews) came and made big fortunes along with the Brits in China. But they initially were engaged in dirty opium trades to get their first bucket of gold.

    During Soviet revolution in Russian Empire and WW2, lots of Jews fled to China for assylum.
     
  16. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Hamas, Son of Israel

    by Justin Raimondo, January 28, 2006
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    Amid all the howls of pain and gnashing of teeth over the triumph of Hamas in the Palestinian elections, one fact remains relatively obscure, albeit highly relevant: Israel did much to launch Hamas as an effective force in the occupied territories. If ever there was a clear case of “blowback,” then this is it. As Richard Sale pointed out in a piece for UPI:

    “Israel and Hamas may currently be locked in deadly combat, but, according to several current and former U.S. intelligence officials, beginning in the late 1970s, Tel Aviv gave direct and indirect financial aid to Hamas over a period of years. Israel ‘aided Hamas directly – the Israelis wanted to use it as a counterbalance to the PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organization),’ said Tony Cordesman, Middle East analyst for the Center for Strategic [and International] Studies. Israel’s support for Hamas ‘was a direct attempt to divide and dilute support for a strong, secular PLO by using a competing religious alternative,’ said a former senior CIA official.”


    Middle East analyst Ray Hanania concurs:

    “In addition to hoping to turn the Palestinian masses away from Arafat and the PLO, the Likud leadership believed they could achieve a workable alliance with Islamic, anti-Arafat forces that would also extend Israel’s control over the occupied territories.”

    In a conscious effort to undermine the Palestine Liberation Organization and the leadership of Yasser Arafat, in 1978 the government of then-Prime Minister Menachem Begin approved the application of Sheik Ahmad Yassin to start a “humanitarian” organization known as the Islamic Association, or Mujama. The roots of this Islamist group were in the fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood, and this was the seed that eventually grew into Hamas – but not before it was amply fertilized and nurtured with Israeli funding and political support.

    Begin and his successor, Yitzhak Shamir, launched an effort to undercut the PLO, creating the so-called Village Leagues, composed of local councils of handpicked Palestinians who were willing to collaborate with Israel – and, in return, were put on the Israeli payroll. Sheik Yassin and his followers soon became a force within the Village Leagues. This tactical alliance between Yassin and the Israelis was based on a shared antipathy to the militantly secular and leftist PLO: the Israelis allowed Yassin’s group to publish a newspaper and set up an extensive network of charitable organizations, which collected funds not only from the Israelis but also from Arab states opposed to Arafat.

    Ami Isseroff, writing on MideastWeb, shows how the Israelis deliberately promoted the Islamists of the future Hamas by helping them turn the Islamic University of Gaza into a base from which the group recruited activists – and the suicide bombers of tomorrow. As the only higher-education facility in the Gaza strip, and the only such institution open to Palestinians since Anwar Sadat closed Egyptian colleges to them, IUG contained within its grounds the seeds of the future Palestinian state. When a conflict arose over religious issues, however, the Israeli authorities sided with the Islamists against the secularists of the Fatah-PLO mainstream. As Isseroff relates, the Islamists

    “Encouraged Israeli authorities to dismiss their opponents in the committee in February of 1981, resulting in subsequent Islamisation of IUG policy and staff (including the obligation on women to wear the hijab and thobe and separate entrances for men and women), and enforced by violence and ostracization of dissenters. Tacit complicity from both university and Israeli authorities allowed Mujama to keep a weapons cache to use against secularists. By the mid 1980s, it was the largest university in occupied territories with 4,500 students, and student elections were won handily by Mujama.”

    Again, the motive was to offset Arafat’s influence and divide the Palestinians. In the short term, this may have worked to some extent; in the longer term, however, it backfired badly – as demonstrated by the results of the recent Palestinian election.

    The Hamas infrastructure of mosques, clinics, kindergartens, and other educational institutions flourished not only because they were lavishly funded, but also due to being efficiently run. Sheik Yassin and the future leaders of Hamas acquired a reputation for “clean” governance and good administrative practices, which would greatly aid them – especially in comparison to the PLO, which was widely perceived as corrupt. Indeed, “clean government” – and not the necessity of armed struggle – was the main theme of their successful election campaign.

    The response of Israel and the U.S. has been shock, horror – and a stated refusal to deal with any government dominated by Hamas. U.S. congressional leaders – who unhelpfully passed a resolution prior to the Palestinian poll that demanded Hamas be banned from running – are now calling the entire “peace process” into question. Yet no one acknowledges that the victory of the Suicide Bombers Party demonstrated, in practice, an ancient principle expressed, I believe, by no less an authority than the Bible (Galatians 6:7):

    “Be not deceived. God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”

    This “blowback” principle applies to Hamas not only insofar as Israel was involved in funding and encouraging Mujama, but also, after the consolidation of Hamas as an armed group, due to Israeli military policy. The much-touted “withdrawal,” which amounts to Israel giving up Gaza while strengthening its hand elsewhere in the occupied territories, has been grist for the radical Islamist mill, as has the Wall of Separation and the attempt to quash the vote in East Jerusalem. Israel’s relentless offensive against its perceived enemies – first Fatah, now Hamas and Islamic Jihad – has created a backlash and solidified support for fundamentalist extremist factions in the Palestinian community.

    Likewise, the victory of Hamas will embolden the ultra-Zionists in Israel, who similarly mix a fanatic theology with faith in a military “solution” to the Palestinian “problem.” The electoral victory of Hamas was only a few hours old before Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu went on television explaining why any concessions to the Palestinians – including the Gaza pullback – only served to embolden the most radical elements, such as Hamas.

    The stricken Ariel Sharon lies in his hospital bed, unconscious – while his unilateral “land for peace” plan suffers from a very similar condition. Sharon’s newly-formed Kadima Party is the big potential loser in all this, with Netanyahu’s Likud looking to gain bigtime. The irony is that, as defense minister, it was Sharon who helped conceive and oversee the Village Leagues scheme that did so much to implant and empower Hamas. Like some Middle Eastern version of Dr. Frankenstein, he wound up being struck down by his own monstrous creation.

    There is a lesson in there, somewhere, though it isn’t one the Israelis or their American sponsors seem capable of learning just yet.

    The idea that voting is some kind of panacea that will cleanse the Middle East of a self-defeating radicalism is an illusion that died a painful death with the election victory of Hamas. It had earlier suffered near-fatal convulsions with the ascension to power in Iraq of a Shi’ite fundamentalist coalition closely tied to Iran. The bitch-goddess of capital-D Democracy is a fickle and often perversely cruel deity, whose worshippers have been hit with a one-two punch as they seek to transform an entire region according to the canons of their peculiar dogma.

    NOTES IN THE MARGIN

    More on Hamas and the “blowback” effect from Robert Dreyfuss, one of my favorite writers, in this podcast interview with the History News Network’s Rick Shenkman.

    Maybe this is why the president and his supporters often refer to the “war on terrorism” as if it will go on forever.

    David Frum, former presidential speechwriter and National Review’s resident neocon commissar of political correctness, cheers Jacques Chirac’s threat to nuke hundreds of thousands of innocent human beings. Frum’s only worry is that Chirac’s nuclear sabre-rattling won’t be believed. On the other hand, it would be all too believable if the prime minister of Israel – who has his finger hovering over the nuclear button – were to make such an explicit threat. Which puts Iran’s ambition to go nuclear – the real subject of Frum’s outburst – in perspective.

    Be sure to check out the theory and practice of Republican Leninism, and go to Jane Hamsher – where else? – for the latest in Fitzology.
     

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