Mark Twain on why Jews are hated

Source: Mark Twain, Concerning the Jews – 1898 Harper’s Magazine

1 In the cotton States, after the war, the simple and
ignorant negroes made the crops for the white
planter on shares The Jew came down in force, set
up shop on the plantation, supplied all the negro’s
wants on credit, and at the end of the season was
proprietor of the negro’s share of the present crop
and of part of his share of the next one Before long,
the whites detested the Jew, and it is doubtful if the
negro loved him

2 In the dull and ignorant England of John’s time
everybody got into debt to the Jew He gathered all
lucrative enterprises into his hands; he was the king
of commerce; he was ready to be helpful in all
profitable ways; he even financed crusades for the
rescue of the Sepulchre To wipe out his account with
the nation and restore business to its natural and
incompetent channels he had to be banished the

3 For the like reasons Spain had to banish him four
hundred years ago, and Austria about a couple of
centuries later In all the ages Christian Europe has
been obliged to curtail his activities If he entered
upon a mechanical trade, the Christian had to retire
from it If he set up as a doctor, he was the best one,
and he took the business If he exploited agriculture,
the other farmers had to get at something else Since
there was no way to successfully compete with him in
any vocation, the law had to step in and save the
Christian from the poor-house

4 The Jew is being legislated out of Russia The
reason is not concealed The movement was
instituted because the Christian peasant and villager
stood no chance against his commercial abilities He
was always ready to lend money on a crop, and sell
vodka and other necessaries of life on credit while the
crop was growing When settlement day came he
owned the crop; and next year or year after he
owned the farm, like Joseph

5 Trade after trade was taken away from the Jew by
statute till practically none was left He was forbidden
to engage in agriculture; he was forbidden to practise
law; he was forbidden to practise medicine, except
among Jews; he was forbidden the handicrafts Even
the seats of learning and the schools of science had
to be closed against this tremendous antagonist

6 “With most people, of a necessity, bread and meat take
first rank, religion second I am convinced that the
persecution of the Jew is not due in any large degree to
religious prejudice No, the Jew is a money-getter; and in
getting his money he is a very serious obstruction to less
capable neighbors who are on the same quest I think
that that is the trouble”


• The Jew has some discreditable ways
• He has a reputation for various small forms of cheating,
• and for practicing oppressive usury,
• and for burning himself out to get the insurance,
• and for arranging cunning contracts which leave
him an exit but lock the other man in,
• and for smart evasions which find him safe and
comfortable just within the strict letter of the law,
when court and jury know very well that he has
violated the spirit of it

Mark Twain on why Jews are hated