The Jew is the enigma of history. A giant shadow out of the East, the mystery and the problem of his destiny confront his own mind with a force as great as it strikes the minds of Christians and agnostics.
The evolution of the Jew is the romance of the races. He carries the Cross that he spurned on Calvary, and on his face is the dust of his humiliation; but to the mind’s eye he wears about his form something of the splendor of deniers. His toga is a winding-sheet, but he wears it proudly. His neck wrung for ages under the heel of Hatred and Bigotry, he emerges unconquered and is broken anew in the iron coils of circumstance. He challenges with a sneer on his lips the while his mind holds mystic parlance with his Dream.
His Dream! It is that that keeps him alive. He is a wanderer on the face of the earth who fingers perpetually the amulets of hope. He sees each race with its country, each religion with its hierarchy. Only the Hebrews are scattered to the four winds of heaven—cut, drawn and quartered, yet, like the amœba, they multiply by fission. A vague nostalgia keeps them alive, and above their heads is flaunted the mirage of Zion, the Utopia of Judaism, the Promised Land which Moses saw, but did not enter; the rebuilt city that shall wall in for eternity the despised of the earth, the butt of the years.
Along with this dream of a nationality resurrected there cling to the Jew the muddy wrappings of a coarse materialism. He is a mystic of the mire; he hears the trumpets from the minarets of the Temple calling him to prayer while his fingers  reach with an instinctive avariciousness for the glittering coins that symbolize power and earthly comfort.
The Jew is an egotist—and in this lies his grandeur. He believes that he is of the race of Chosen People—that the Eternal has elected his tribe to be its mouthpiece. The Hebrews believe that a special divinity watches over them, that their terrible God is trying them, testing the metal and fibres of their nature, and that they will somehow, though the grace of Jehovah, cross the threshold of the New Jerusalem to the fanfare of the acclaiming servitors of the Only God. To them, their history is the epic of the ages. An outrage against one is an affront to all. If you attack a Jew you attack his race. He is of the clan of God and when you scoff at him you scoff at the soul of the race, which soul is the adytum of the Lord.
Despised, degraded, shackled, outlawed, he has fashioned for a weapon of revenge a cudgel of gold dug out of the earth. The world is to-day in pawn to him. He has studied the weaknesses of his adversaries and measured his thrift and acquisitiveness against their needs. He knows in his heart of hearts that his Christian conquerors are at bottom things of earth like himself; that the dynasties of power in this world are dynasties fed from money-bags; that the joists of Authority, whether it be at the Vatican or the Quirinal, are mortared with lucre. He knows that more men pray to the Dollar than to God.
Proud, humble, calculating, thrifty, dreaming, the Jew wanders up and down the ages, preyed upon by the beasts of religious fanaticism and preying like a beast in turn. Rejecting the Cross, he, by a strange irony, has been transfixed to it since he rejected it. Dreaming of Zion, he erects his tent in Paris, London and New York, where he sits throned in a lustrous martyrdom. Driven out of the Temple, he rules from the market-place. He is unconquerable and indissoluble. His blood is intellectual, and his intellect has bloody intents.
Benjamin De Casseres.
Source: The Papyrus, April 1909, pp. 11-12
This essay was reprinted in the following periodicals with minor punctuation and capitalization changes:
- The Independent (Kansas City), Nov. 6, 1909, p. 14
- Harper’s Weekly, May 6, 1916, p. 512 (under the title “The Unconquerable Jew”)