Bernard Lazare      Antisemitism: its history and causes

Bohdan Khmelnytsky

Bernard Lazare, Antisemitism: its history and causes, University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln and London, 1995.  Originally published in 1894 as L'Antisémitisme, son histoire et ses causes.

As the barest of introductions to Lazare, I quote the first three sentences from Robert S. Wistrich's introduction to Lazare's book.  Wistrich is Neuberger Professor of Modern Jewish History at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and himself the author of Antisemitism: The Longest Hatred:

Bernard Lazare (1865-1903) is probably best remembered today for his pioneering role in the Dreyfus affair.  The young Jewish anarchist and literary critic carried the torch of the Dreyfusard cause in its earliest and loneliest phase.  Born in Nîmes, in Southern France, into an assimilated Jewish family, he had arrived in Paris in 1886, where he became involved in both the Symbolist and anarchist movements.

And below is Lazare's one-paragraph summary of Khmelnytsky:

All over Europe the Jews enjoyed the greatest tranquillity during the eighteenth century.  In Poland alone they fared badly for having once lived too well.  They had been prosperous there up to the middle of the seventeenth century.  Rich, powerful, they had lived on an equal footing with the Christians, treated as though of the people amid whom they lived; but they could not help giving themselves up to their usual commerce, their vices, their passion for gold.  Dominated by the Talmudists they succeeded in producing nothing beyond commentators of the Talmud.  They were tax collectors, spirit-distillers, usurers, seigneurial stewards.  They were the noblemen's allies in their abominable work of oppression, and when the Cossacks of Ukraina and Little Russia had risen, under Chmielnicki, against Polish tyranny, the Jews, as accomplices of the lords, were the first to be massacred.  It is said that over 100,000 of them were killed in ten years, but just as many Catholics and especially Jesuits, were killed as well.  (p. 80)