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Paul de Lagarde on Liberalism, Education, and the Jews: German Writings (1886)

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By the way, one is quite mistaken if one believes the Jewish question to be a question of religion and tolerance. It is just as much an issue of power as the Catholic question is, except that Rome at least has not overrun Germany with Catholicism to the extent that anti-evangelical Judaism has done with ancient Israel for centuries. Also, for modern Jewry, monetary possessions and the monopolization of the press are not ends in themselves but rather a means toward dominance.

Our mission vis-à-vis the Jews in Germany – it is unfortunate that we cannot sharply separate these Jews from the Jews resembling them in the remaining countries – our mission will not be dictated to us by love of our neighbor (compare the Torah V 15:3; 17:15; 23:20; 21) but by love of our enemy. This love of our enemy, however, would be cowardly were it not to offer a clear portrayal of the actual state of affairs, were it not to spell out that Jews could very well be accepted in a Germany that incorporates so many foreign elements – and that they have been, in many cases, to the great delight of their friends – but that they can and may only be accepted at the price of emphatically renouncing the Asiatic or Egyptian caste system of the Kohns and Levis that necessarily regards its proselytes merely as second-class Jews, of renouncing their insistence on being in a preferential state of grace, their claims to world dominance, the links with their blood relations living outside of Germany, and their religion, which consists of a worthless statistical note and the most grotesque rites. The love of our neighbors, however, would also be cowardly were it not to tell Germans that Germany will only be capable of amalgamating those Jews seeking kinship with the nation’s existing children when it has bid farewell to commonplace views about liberating education, as the expression goes, and when, instead of this liberating education, it has recognized and experienced for itself the internally binding new birth that comes from the holy spirit, and has made this the most essential element in its innermost, historically grown nature. However clearly this seems to be expressed to me, to avoid all misunderstandings, I will add to these sentences the explicit explanation already contained within them: a superficial withdrawal from a Judaism that has been utterly disgraceful for 1,800 years and has not contributed one iota to history for almost 2,000 years, and a superficial entry into a Germany not conceived as the result of a roughly 2,000-year history is pointless, indeed nothing short of harmful.

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