Jews Must Live Forever

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Another book I stumbled across with another angle on things.
  Chapter IPROLOGUETHE GENESIS OF JEW-HATRED Dear Herbert: -I want you to learn of these things out of the overflowing of my pen, and know my feelings as if youhad heard my own voice uttering them. I would not want the tongues of others, strangers or pretendersto my friendship, to touch this story with the sour whimsy of gossip. In any other voice but my own itmust sound incredible and ugly that I should have taken this attitude towards our people. But it is notincredible because, as you see by my vouching for it, it is true. And nothing can be entirely without beauty that has lived so close to the fire which consumes.How shall I get you to understand what an agony of spirit is involved in the launching of this work? Itwas easy enough to write, I assure you. What I have set down here I had to or go out of my mind. Itstruck me like a tidal wave; and before I could make any effort to direct it, it had made an avenue of  progress out of every vein and artery of my body, it was riding every one of my living senses:everything I had ever seen, felt, heard and learned was being welded into artillery and commandeeredinto action in this new battle of my blood. Writing the book was really something of an organicnecessity. But to give it to the printer, read proofs, arrange pages, and ultimately sign to it my torturedname, that is a metamorphosis I am still agonizing through.People will say to you: It is obvious that Roth is deplorably blinded by what happened to him. Heapparently got mixed up with a set of ruthless Jews. They fleeced him. And he is ungallantlythrowing the onus on the whole Jewish people. Which is unjust and unfair.If it were not for what the Jews did to me, it is possible that I might never have come to this pass, for they lifted me bodily out of the set life of a Jew of forty and carried me here on their own shoulders.Does this impair my case against them? I do not think so. How, I ask you, have messages like this been brought to the world before? How have people been awakened before, to those strange andterrible visions which have catapulted mankind into what it describes itself today? Would my pleaseem more authentic if I presented it in the guise of a series of statistical studies proving what ahideous swamp the Jews have made of Western Civilization? Would it better establish my sincerity if,like one of the minor prophets in Israel, I began my vision with the words  And the Lord appeared tome and said? Is there any need to tell you what a lovely, fearful and proud thing my Jewishness has been to me allmy life? I remember that when you first wandered into my bookshop on Eight West Street yousported a silver cross ornament, so far had you strayed from the fenced consciousness of being a Jew.I made no effort, then, to learn how it had come about. I judge now that you must have been born intoa particularly ugly corner of Jewish life, and that the cross you wore was merely a symbol of the flashof fancy with which you raised yourself, by your bootstraps one might say, out of a contemptibleenvironment. My enthusiasm served as a hook-chain to drag you back. Yes, I could almost see youchange, as day by day you listened to me speak Yiddish and heard me discuss Jewish things. One daythe cross disappeared entirely, and you began to speak Yiddish yourself, not badly. You were presenton numerous occasions when I made myself the defender of our national integrity, as when I ordered acelebrated English poet out of my shop because he admitted that he was a contributor to G. K.Chesterton's anti-Semitic weekly.We lived those days in what the Jews call mockingly the Olem Hatoi , the world of illusion, asdistinguished from the Olem Hazai , the real world, of which they speak with awe and reverence. Welooked upon ourselves as free Jews, princes of the world's most precious blood, descendents of the  warrior-man Bar Cochba, and of the warrior-princes the Maccabees. For enchantment we had only tosound the names Abraham, Issac and Moses. For assurance: were we not an active and mighty factor in the upbuilding of America? And for reassurance: were not the deserts of Arabia blossomingunder our patient labors of rehabilitation of forty years? As Jews we were the living embodiment of the vision incarnate. Everything said against us was so much evil slander inspired by envy.disappointment, and an unreasoning hatred - Jew-hatred. Jew-hatred differed from every other hatredin the world because it was altogether inspired by lies. About that there could possibly be no question.In that spirit I wrote and published two books:  Europe (Liveright, 1919) and  Now and Forever  (McBride, 1925).  Europe was a sort of uncouth epic in free verse in which I attacked Europe for theoutrages she had wantonly practiced on the Jews during the great war. The face of Israel will shinewith power when Europe will be a name difficult to remember, was one of the taunts in it that particularly pleased Israel Zangwill, for he frequently quoted it.  Now and Forever    continued in prosemy reprisals against the gentiles, by means of an imaginary conversation on an imaginable variety of Jewish problems between myself and Zangwill who contributed a characteristic preface. If Iremember correctly you did not like either of these books because, you argued, it should be possiblefor a man to remain a Jew without developing a serious case of high blood pressure.But even in the blindness of my racial self-love I was observing things. In  Now and Forever  I pried asurgical knife into the anatomy of the God of Israel. I noticed the earthiness and unloveliness of Jewish women. I pricked the bubble of the theory that Jesus was a man of peace. I regretted that theZionists had not had the fundamental decency to remain faithful - in spite of alluring British promises - to their pre-war pledges to Turkey. And I suggested that I would probably live to see Jewsroasted alive on Fifth Avenue. My book was none the less a passionate defense of the Jews againsttheir enemies. Yet, under the heading A Playboy Prophet in Israel, a man named Franklin Gordon,reviewing my book in The American Hebrew of July 10, 1925, wrote: What is the significance of this book, its salient characteristic? Perhaps its absolute freedom fromcant, its plain speaking. So out-spoken is Mr. Roth in voicing his sentiments that one may question theadvisability of having a book like his too promiscuously circulated. So much of it is open tomisconstruction; so many pages in it could be lifted to serve as material for anti-Jewish propaganda. I remember that this paragraph perplexed me a little and amused me a great deal more. How could Itake seriously the possibility that I might be instrumental in adding to the already overcrowded armoryof the enemies of my people? Apparently I had pointed out serious blemishes in our poor defenses.But did even the most fanatic of Jews claim that we were a nation without faults? In their times, didnot the Prophets report the blemishes of Israel from the housetops? So, secure in my illusions, I restedtill the early months of 1933, the year of calamity. . . .It is one of the felicities of my life that accident, or it may possibly be fate, always dramatizes mymisfortunes by setting them up, as they occur, on a promontory. When news of the Nazi warfareagainst the Jews of Germany blazed out on the front pages of the American press, my own businessaffairs had just been swallowed in the waves of catastrophe. An employee of mine, a Jew, whom I haddischarged for dishonesty, had devised a scheme for seating my publishing business from me. Withthe help of several of my creditors, all Jews, a happy conspiracy was hatched. The available stock of my publishing firm, over fifty thousand books, well worth thirty thousand dollars, were sold by meansof a fraudulent marshal's levy to satisfy a dishonest judgment of some four hundred dollars. I shall gointo the details of this sale later - as an illustration of the working of the Jewish lawyer inAmerica - but for the present let it be sufficient for you to know that by that one stroke in the dark, for no inkling was given to me either of the judgment or the sale, my estate, worth easily a hundredthousand dollars, built up out of the hard work and consuming enthusiasm of fifteen years, becamevalueless.Almost the same day, as it usually happens in my life, the dreadful news from Germany broke. Adolf Hitler, having become Chancellor of the Third Reich in spite of what had appeared to be  insurmountable obstacles, was invoking all the powers of his new office against his political rivals, butespecially against all the Jews of the realm. A general boycott had been proclaimed against Jewish business men and Jewish professionals. Jewish lawyers were being ousted from German courts,Jewish doctors from German hospitals, and Nazi troops were stationed in front of Jewish stores towarn Germans against patronizing Jew-owned shops.Did you ever read Ovrohom Raisin's story of the little ghetto boy who set down in his notebook theJewish Almanac's figure of the world population of the Jews, and, as they were reported in the press,subtracted from it the number of Jews killed in the Russian pogroms? As a Jew you know how true a picture of a Jewish child this is. Jewish children are brought up to take to heart all the difficulties of their people, as if what is happening to  Kol Ysroel    [1] is the business of   Ben Ysroel    [2] .They get to feelthat way whether they are brought up to it or not.I was only ten years old when the Kishenev pogrom broke out in 1904. But on account of it I couldnot eat or sleep well for a month. I knew no one in Kishenev. Like millions of others I had never heard of the place before reports of the massacre emblazoned its name on my revolving mind. It wasas if people very close and dear to me had been assaulted. Fifteen years later I was on a Eighth Streetcross-town car when a newspaper, opened in a seat opposite me, headlined the news that GeneralDenikin was marching, through South Russia at the head of a vast army bearing on a multitude of  banners the slogan:  Kill the Jews and Save Russia . Tears gathered in my eyes. I got out at the nextcorner and wandered about the docks of Manhattan in a daze till past midnight.And so, in the midst of the news of the misfortune that had befallen the Jews of Germany, I wandereddown Broadway, my own plight almost completely forgotten, when I remembered that the Harlans,friends of ours, were coming to the house for dinner. I must get home a little earlier, I thought. Buttime had already passed me and left me far behind. When I reached home the Harlans were in mylibrary. Cocktails were being served; mine was already set aside for me. Still worrying about your business? asked Mrs. Harlan.It was not my business but rather the loss of it that was worrying me, I was about to reply when,suddenly, the peculiarity of my position flashed on me unpleasingly. The Harlans were gentiles.Moreover they had never tried to hide their dislike of Jews as a people. In this tragic moment of my people's disillusionment was I not giving comfort to the enemy? I considered it cowardly anddishonest to entertain such thoughts in secret, so I proceeded to explain myself the the Harlans. A fewdays ago, I said to them, German Jews and German Gentiles were meeting in a cordial fellowship,such as we are meeting here tonight. Today, thousands of German Jews are knocking in vain on thedoors of erstwhile friends, German Gentiles, for sympathy. Suppose, as appears to me entirely possible, what is happening in Germany today should break out in America tomorrow? I wonder if Imight not find myself coming to you to ask you to harbor my children from the violence of the mob,even as Jews are doing in Germany today, only to hear you say, as many an honest German burgher issaying today to a suppliant Jewish neighbor:  I cannot do what you ask of me. It is against law and order  . Mrs. Harlan, whose first novel I had just published, undertook to answer my question. We do not likeJews, as you know, she said. But we do like you, and we are particularly fond of your children. If in the fury of mob psychology we should so far forget ourselves as to forget in our anger against your race our affection for you and your children, I suggest that our loss will be even greater than yours. I felt both mollified and rebuked, and for a while the subject was dropped. After dinner, we played, asusual, two hours of Pope Joan. Game over, Mrs. Harlan leaned back and said: I should think, after what you've gone through in the last few days, that you'd become something of an anti-Semiteyourself. I looked up with surprise. Why?
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