Jewish Ethos

Dr. Jakob Klatzkin

writing in Krisis und Entscheidung


“The Jew is the Plague of Peoples!”

We are not hyphenated Jews; we are Jews with no qualifications or reservations. We are simply aliens; we are a foreign people in your midst, and we emphasize, we wish to stay that way. There is a wide gap between you and us, so wide that no bridge can be laid across.

Your spirit is alien to us; your myths, legends, habits, customs, traditions and national heritage, your religious and national shrines, your Sundays and holidays … They are alien to us. The history of your triumphs and defeats, your war songs and battle hymns, your heroes and their mighty deeds, your national ambitions and aspirations, they are all alien to us.

The boundaries of your lands cannot restrict our movements, and your border clashes are not our concern. Far over and above the frontiers and boundaries of your land stands our Jewish unity… Whosoever calls the foreign land a Fatherland is a traitor to the Jewish people … Jewish heroes in foreign wars mean nothing to us. The Jewish people has no reason to decorate them with medals; they are not Jewish heroes… A loyal Jew can never be other than a Jewish patriot…. We recognize a national unity of Diaspora Jews, no matter in which land they may reside. Therefore, no boundaries can restrain us in pursuing our own Jewish policy… The Jewish religion is rich in “hedges” which keeps our community intact from foreign influences… In contrast to other religions, ours is not a collection of dogmas and tenets [Ideenlehre] but a Code of Laws [Gesetzeslehre], and thus by keeping and practicing these laws we have demonstrated our right of self-determination, that is, being governed by our own laws in everyday life.

We have lost our State, but not the Constitution; we have kept and preserved the latter one as a “portable State” which, in fact, enables us to enjoy a sort of national autonomy in the Diaspora… The secret of a two thousand year old extra-territorial, Jewish reality is the secret of the Jewish religion… It kept us bound to one another in unity, segregated just for ourselves; even in dispersion it kept us a nation with a nation: as a State within a State … We were never just a religious community… A strong wall, erected by ourselves, separated us from the host nation, and behind that wall there existed the Jewish State in miniature…

SOURCE: Liberty Bell, May 1992

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