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A 1920’s Catholic Traditionalist View of Jews. Insights into Polish-Jewish Antagonisms,

jan peczkis|Saturday, December 12, 2015

Nowadays, the pre-Vatican II view of Jews is unilaterally demonized. In light of this, the reader may be surprised at the measured reasoning and even-handedness of this devout Catholic author. He lets the Jews tell their side of the story. Contrary to what might be expected, he rejects any theologically-based explanations for the Jews’ situation in the world. (pp. 277-278). His reasoning is almost entirely secular in nature.

My review is based on the original 1922 edition. The author was a Briton of French origin.

Belloc sees Jews as a nationality, and not only a religion. Lest this sound strange, or even racist, to modern ears, it was not. In fact, it was common for Jews themselves to believe in even a quasi-racial essentialism that can survive assimilation. For instance, please click on, and read my detailed review, of You Gentiles.


Author Hilaire Belloc comments, (quote) It has been a series of cycles invariably following the same steps. The Jew comes to an alien society, at first in small numbers. He thrives. His presence is not resented. He is rather treated as a friend. Whether from mere contrast in type—what I have called “friction”—or from some apparent divergence between his objects and those of his hosts, or through his increasing numbers, he creates (or discovers) a growing animosity. He resents it. He opposes his hosts. They call themselves masters in their own house. The Jew resists their claim. It comes to violence. It is always the same miserable sequence. (unquote). (p. 11).


The author unambiguously condemns anti-Semitism. He scorns industrialist Henry Ford for his attitudes towards Jews. (p. 295). Far from having a Manichean view of Jews, Belloc rejects both extremes—that of seeing Jews as all-powerful and evil, and that of seeing them as faultless, innocent victims. (e. g, p. 148, pp. 160-161, 287-288).

However, he suggests that, (quote) The anti-Semitic movement is essentially a reaction against the abnormal growth in Jewish power, and the new strength of anti-Semitism is largely due to the Jews themselves. (unquote). (p. 159). In particular, Belloc believes that the suppression of legitimate questions about Jews eventually fuels public anger, and leads to anti-Semitism, including its more virulent forms. (p. 263; See also p. 61).


Author Hilaire Belloc soundly rejects the premise that Jews are in conspiracy to rule the world, or that Jews are in some kind of overarching "racial solidarity" with each other to further Jewish power and influence at the expense of the GOYIM.

The author accepts the validity of the following Jewish explanatory reasoning: A Jewish shopkeeper assures us that he only wants to succeed in shopkeeping, and that he has no intention of dominating the gentiles. A Jewish lawyer says the same about his profession and the gentiles, and the Jewish banker does likewise. (pp. 190-191).

Clearly, the author does not believe that Jews, as a group, work to increase Jewish power over the gentiles. Instead, he believes that Jewish power and influence is an outcome of individual Jews working independently, or in semi-organized fashion. (pp. 191-192). That is how Jews, as a collective, end up having what he considers to be excessive power and influence.


Belloc writes, (quote) We have seen the artificial protection of the Jews of Eastern Europe because individual Statesmen have been subservient to the commands of very rich individual Jewish bankers. But the thing has been done blunderingly. It has served only to anger the independent nationalities of the East, notably the Poles, the Romanians, and the Hungarians who have experienced the difficulties inseparable from an alien minority. (unquote). (pp. 89-90; See also p. 39, 51).

Evidently alluding in part to the so-called Minorities Treaty, he adds that, (quote) In Poland and in Romania the old fiction [that Jews in Poland are just a religion and otherwise just like everybody else] has been temporarily imposed by force. The Jew, who in both these countries is felt to be more alien than any other foreign European could be, is imposed upon the Government and society of each country by the Western Governments as a full citizen. The strain here is immensely aggravated because it arose not from the nature of society but from the action of outsiders; the English, the French, the American Governments (but particularly the American and the English) have erected in Eastern Europe this unstable, unjust and artificial state of affairs. It cannot last, for it is unreal. (unquote). (pp. 305-306). [No wonder that Poland eventually rejected much of the so-called Minorities Treaty that it had been forced to sign.]


Those who believe in the group intentionally of Jewish conduct suggest that Jews purposely try to weaken Christianity because they want a more pluralistic and secular society wherein they will feel less as a minority group, and in which there is a lesser chance of them being persecuted. According to a less charitable interpretation of supposed Jewish intentionality, the Jews purposefully act to weaken Christianity so that it is easier for them to increase their power and their influence.

Belloc rejects any form of Jewish group intentionality directed against Christianity. Instead, he sees the negative Jewish impact on Christianity as arising as an indirect outcome of increased Jewish presence in public life. He elaborates, (quote) It [Jewish domination] is exercised primarily through finance; next through the skeptical Universities, the anonymous Press and the corrupt Parliaments, and, lastly, by the presence of institutions which greatly favor the rise of the Jew in competition with his hosts; each favors international knowledge; each favors anonymity; each still favors the old Liberal nonsense which calls itself “toleration” and was really an indifference to the most fundamental of all social motives—religion—save, of course, where an exception is made to permit attack upon the Catholic Church. (unquote). (p. 199).

The author then gets specific, (quote) It was a Jew who produced the divorce laws in France, the Jew who nourished anti-clericalism everywhere in that country and also in Italy, the Jew who called in the forces of Occidental nations to protect his compatriots in the East, and the Jew whose spirit has so largely permeated the Universities and the Press. (unquote). (p. 199).


Belloc remarks, (quote) The Jew took international action for granted. He took the narrow and false economic view of property—that it was a mere institution to be modified indefinitely, and, if necessarily, abolished. (unquote). (p. 175).


The author alleges that a handful of wealthy Jews had gotten very rich because of the Great War [now called WWI]. For instance, the Rothschilds owned lead mines, which were used for the production of ammunition, and these greatly increased the Rothschild’s wealth. (p. 93).
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