[….] To Marxists, anti-Semitism has always been known as “the socialism of fools,” since it protects the capitalists during crisis by encouraging people to thinks of Jews as their enemy. Most capitalists are not Jewish, and most Jews are not capitalists.
During the Middle Ages in Europe Jews constituted a “people class,” performing various functions Christians didn’t perform, of which moneylending (quite different from modern banking) is simply the best known (see ‘The Jewish Question’). This made them hated by the peasants and plebeians, and the kings and nobles, when they got too deeply in debt to Jews would encourage pogroms. In Russia, originally pogroms were officially called by the tzars (and the tsarist political police—the Okhrana—created the forgery known as the ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion.’ The Russian Revolution washed this away, although anti-Semitism was making a comeback under Stalin (see ‘On the Jewish Question’). But the mythology didn’t die with the social forces that brought it into being.
During World War II, thousands of Jews were looking for countries to escape the genocide, and after the war there were still many thousands with no homes. Not all of them were Zionists—regardless of their political or religious beliefs, they needed a place to live. The political current I support had fought for the US to open the borders to Jews fleeing death (see ‘The Founding of the Socialist Workers Party’ and ‘Socialists and the Fight Against Anti-Semitism,’ but Roosevelt refused to budge, even sending the ship the St. Louis filled with Jewish refugees back to Europe (see ‘While Six Million Died’)….