Wednesday, April 28, 2010
The Origins of the Ghetto (EXCLUSIVE)
By Douglas Reed
In the Twentieth Century the masses have been misled to think of "the ghetto" as a kind of concentration camp for Jews set up by Gentile persecutors. The same operation on fact has been performed on the entire history of oppression in the West; in the Twentieth Century all else has been drained away until what remains is presented solely as "the Jewish persecution".
The many persecutions of men during the last 1900 years have involved the Jews in proportion to their numbers, so that their share of the total mass of suffering was small (in the most notorious case of the present century, that of Russia, they were the oppressors, not the oppressed). I do not know if I should ever have elicited this fact, had not my own experience confronted me so sharply with it.
The ghetto was not something inflicted on the Jews by the Gentiles. It was the logical product of the Talmudic Law, and derived directly from the experiment in Babylon. Dr. Kastein describes the Talmud as "the home" which the Jews took everywhere with them. However, for physical life they also needed four walls and a roof. The Talmud itself decreed that the Gentiles were not "neighbours" and that a Jew might not sell landed property adjoining that of a Jew to a Gentile. The express object of such provisions as these was the segregation of Jews from others and their isolation in ghettoes.
The first ghetto was that which the Babylonian rulers allowed the Levites to set up in Babylon. The next was the Jerusalem around which Nehemiah, backed by the Persian king's soldiers, built new walls, wherefrom he drove out all non-Judahites. From those models the European ghetto took its shape. This institution is probably the most onerous part of the modern Jew's spiritual inheritance:
"The ghetto, friend, the ghetto, where all hopes at birth decay".
Jews who never saw a ghetto carry a half-conscious memory of it within them like a haunting fear, yet it was essentially a Talmudist conception, to which their ancestors surrendered. It was the perfect means of corralling a scattered congregation, imprisoning people's minds, and wielding power over them.
The demand for a ghetto often came from the Talmudists (that is to say, outside Poland, where all Jewish life, of course, was ghetto-life). The modern suggestion that the ghetto signified inferiority is part of the legend of "persecution", which is chiefly meant to intimidate Jews, so that they shall always fear to venture outside the fold; today's myth of "antisemitism" is intended to produce the same effect on them.
In ancient Alexandria (the New York of its day) and in medieval Cairo and Cordova the Jewish quarters were established at the insistence of the rabbis, intent on keeping their flock isolated from others. In 1084 the Jews of Speyer petitioned the ruling German prince to set up a ghetto; in 1412, at Jewish request, a ghetto law was enacted throughout Portugal. The erection of the ghetto walls in Verona and Mantua was for centuries celebrated annually by the Jews there in a festival of victory (Purim). The ghettoes of Russia and Poland were an essential and integral part of theTalmudic organization and any attempt to abolish them would have been denounced as persecution.
When the Roman ghetto was destroyed at Mussolini's order in the early 1930's the Jewish press (as Mr. Bernard J. Brown records) lamented the event in such words as these:
"One of the most unique phenomena of Jewish life in Goluth is gone. Where but a few months ago a vibrant Jewish life was pulsating, there now remains a few half-destroyed buildings as the last vestige of the quondam ghetto. It has fallen victim to the Fascist passion for beauty and under Mussolini's order the ghetto has been razed. . ." .
The implication of this is that the razing of the ghetto was "Fascism", just as the original creation of ghettoes (at Jewish demand) is presented as persecution by the Zionist historians of today.
With emancipation the ghetto disappeared; its maintenance would too blatantly have shown that the rulers of Jewry had no true intention of sharing in emancipation on an equal basis.
The Jewish Encyclopaedia recorded in its 1903 edition that "in the whole civilized world there is now not a single ghetto, in the original meaning of the word: The qualification is important, because in many places and ways the Jews continue the closed-community life, though without the identifying walls, and the law forbidding the sale of neighbour-land to Gentiles, without permission, has not lapsed (to give one instance, illustrative to those who know the city: in Montreal an entire district east of the Mountain has by such methods been made almost as solidly Jewish as if it were a ghetto).
The decline of the ghetto, during the century of emancipation, was a blow to the main prop of Talmudic power. A substitute had to be found unless the ghetto-spirit (as distinct from the physical ghetto) was to disintegrate altogether, and one was found in Zionism, which is the new method devised to re-corral the communities:
"There are many who desire greater control over Jews by Jews, and who resent the dissolution of this control in Russia, where once a ghetto made such control easy and absolute" (Rabbi Elmer Berger). "Only the intellectually blind can fail to note that the promotion of group life, centered around ancient religious traditions and cultures, is a return to the ghetto. . . There can be no glory in a group of people striving to perpetuate ghetto life . . . Even a cursory reading of history shows that the Jew built his own ghettoes" (Mr. Bernard J. Brown).
Zionism is the true revival of Talmudic ghettoism, as these two Jewish authorities state. It is designed to undo the work of emancipation, to re-segregate the Jews, and to reimpose the creed of "severance" on them in full force. The chauvinist appeal of conquest and empire in the Middle East is being used to disguise this true meaning of the process.
The direction in which Jews were moving before Zionism set out to recapture them may be seen in this quotation from the article on The Attitude of Modern Judaism in the Jewish Encyclopaedia, 1916:
"Modern Judaism as inculcated in the catechism and explained in the declarations of the various rabbinical conferences, and as interpreted in the sermons of modern rabbis, is founded on the recognition of the unity of the human races; the law of righteousness and truth being supreme over all men, without distinction of race, or creed, and its fulfilment being possible for all. Righteousness is not conditioned by birth. The Gentiles may attain unto as perfect a righteousness as the Jews . . . In the modern synagogues, 'Thou shalt love thy neighbour like thyself' (Leviticus 29) signified every human being".
Much has changed since 1916, and in 1955 these words are but the picture of what might have been. No doubt individual rabbis continue to "interpret their sermons" in this sense, but unless they are of the stuff of which heroes and martyrs are made they cannot long defy their congregations, and these have been taken back centuries by the appeal of Zionism.
The Zionists have gained political control over Gentile governments and the Jewish masses alike, so that what the individual remonstrant says is of little weight. The Zionists have restored the Levitical Law, in its Pharisaic and Talmudic interpretations, in full force. Their actions towards others in the past have been and in the future will be guided by that, and not by what "the attitude of modern Judaism" was in 1916.
The great change came in the year, 1917, which followed the publication of the words quoted above. The tradition of the Talmud and the ghettoes was still too strong, among the masses of Jewry, for "the attitude of modern Judaism" to prevail over the fanatical elders who then appeared.
From the book The Controversy of Zion, pp. 94-97