E. Belfort Bax, F.J. Gould and the Jews, Justice, 15th February 1917, p.8. (letter)
Transcribed by Ted Crawford.
Marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.
Proofread by Chris Clayton (May 2007).
Dear Comrade, – Our friend Gould, in his article on National Socialism, in which, according to his views, Internationalism takes a very back place, makes some observations concerning the rôle played by the Jewish race, which, I contend, is utterly opposed to the facts. He abuses Marx for lacking the “sense of nationality.” He goes on to develop the thesis that the Jew is essentially an anti-nationalist, anti-advocate of cosmopolitan ideals. Now I submit that any statement more directly contradicting the actual facts of the case could hardly be made. All the Jews that I have ever met with, certainly outside the Socialist movement, have been strong patriots, and in many cases fire-eating Jingoes, as regards the country of their birth or even naturalization. This aggressive patriotism of the Jew towards the country of his birth or adoption has always struck me as a singular phenomenon. The Jew, one would think from his history, ought to be cosmopolitan and indifferent to the claims of modern nationalities, only it so happens he isn’t. Where, I ask, will you find a stronger British patriot than the average Stock Exchange Jew? Again, I think, the British patriotism of Mr. Ellis Barker ought to satisfy even our friend Gould.
It is the same in Germany. There the Jews are nearly all, save for a few Socialists amongst them, Pan-Germanists. Even in the Socialist Party the bulk of the leading Jewish members are in the ranks of those holding the views of the present Reichstag “majority.” Jews are even to be found among “Jew-baiters” in the interests of their modern nationality. Thus I believe I am correct in saying that alike the founder and the present editor of that well-known French Jingo and anti-Jewish organ, La Libre Parole, were and are of Jewish race. Can our comrade Gould give me the name of a single Jew in this country who was a declared pro-Boer during the South African war? I only knew of one, and he was a Dutch Jew, which only illustrates my point. No, most emphatically, the facts show us the Jew is in every country alike the fanatical supporter of the Nationalist and Imperialist aspirations of that country, as against Internationalism and cosmopolitanism. Marx’s contempt for the principles of nationality as such arose from the strength of his convictions as an original thinker, and was in spite of rather than because of his Jewish descent
For my part, my Internationalism, or Cosmopolitanism as Gould may call it, has been rather strengthened than otherwise by the present war. We have had an object lesson indeed in National Socialism in the Reichstag “majority” of the German Party. Does Gould like it? A National Socialist Party need not be a party of National Socialism any more than a Yorkshire branch of the party need not be a society for the promotion of Yorkshire Socialism. The whole of civilised humanity to-day is divided into territorial and ethnical sections. This is a matter of fact which we all have to take account of whether we like it or not. But it need not affect Socialist principles.
In conclusion I would commend to Gould’s attention the fact that German National Socialism, in opposition to the International or Cosmopolitan Socialism of Karl Marx, had for its protagonist also a Jew – by name Ferdinand Lassalle. – Your fraternally,
E. Belfort Bax
Last updated on 28.5.2007