Freemasonry is neither anti-Semitic, nor pro-Semitic. The question lies outside of, and apart from, the Fraternity ; and ever has. It would therefore have no proper place in this or in any other Masonic book had it not been that during the period between World War I and world war II the ruling parties, or governments, or both of Spain, France, Italy, and Germany forced the question on the Fraternity's attention. To understand why and how that was done a number of facts from the past are required :
1. Ever since the end of the Israelites Period of their history Jews have mingled with and joined with and lived peaceably with a number of Gentile peoples : the Arabs, Syrians, Persians, Ethiopians, Egyptians, Turks, Armenians, and a number of peoples in North Africa, etc. The fact proves that there is no necessary, conflict between jews and Gentiles, or between Gentiles and Jews. The question arises : where, how, and why did anti-Semitism arise? The answer is set forth in the next paragraph :
2. "In the Island of Corfu also the bells are mute, and the clocks are stopped the last days of Holy Week, but at 11 A. M. on the Saturday morning the whole town seems to have gone mad. All of a sudden a most fearful noise and Babel of sounds ensues, bells ring their loudest, and crockery is thrown out of the windows. . . . With regard to throwing crockery down into the street . . . she is a happy woman who can contrive to hit a Jew with one of her fragments. . . . Both those who fire off guns, and the smashers of old crockery, give us their reason for doing so that their intention is to kill the arch-traitor, Judas Iscariot!" This is quoted from page 196, of Symbolism of the East and West, by Mrs. Harriet Murray-Aynsley; London ; George Redway ;'1900. (She contributed papers to Quatuor Coronati Lodge.) Working, every-day anti Semitism, in its popular, down-on-the-street form, had a theological origin.
When that peculiar religion of Sacerdotalism, called Medieval Catholicism, was set up after Charlemagne had broken away from Constantinople, its theologians in the headquarters at the Vatican laid it down as one of the corner-stones the doctrine called, in its official form, extra ecclesiam nulla salus; "outside the Church there is no salvation"; and this ecclesiam carried on vigorous proselyting in every country it could reach, even in the Near East. Long before this time Judaism already had laid down a similar cornerstone for itself: "Outside the Covenant is no salvation"; only to the circumcised "were the promises made"; and Jews vigorously proselyted in every avialable country-the Pharisees "compassed sea and land to make one proselyte," but so did every synagogue. When these two proselyting religions, both exclusive, met in western Europe, conflict was inevitable; and since the Catholic Church won out, Jews were looked down on less as religious rivals than as a conquered people. There is no evidence that Medieval Masons, as Masons , ever took part in anti-Semitism, but it is very probable that the charge to apprentism that they "be true to Holy Church" (which in most instances was the Church of England, not the Roman Church) aimed at excluding Jews from the craft. A certain German called Hermann Goedsche had seen Some of the crude Anti-Semitic brawls on Holy Days of the type described by Mrs. Murray-Aynsley.
He had been discharged from the Secret Police for forgery. To get even with the German Socialists and their half-Jewish leader, Karl Marx, on whom he laid the blame for his troubles, Goedsche wrote a series of stories in the style of historical romance which he palmed off under the English pseudonym, "Sir John Ratcliff" In one chapter two of his characters are supposed to overhear the "Elect of Israel," under the headship of the "Holy Rabbi," in a meeting held only once a century, discuss the age-old plot they were fostering to overthrow the whole of Christian Europe.
Out of this tawdry stuff was formed the forged, famous "Protocols of the Elders of Zion," of which so much use was made by the Pan-Germans under Treitschke and Stocker before World War I, and by Ludendorf after it.
At first these "Protocols," printed in broadsheets by the millions, were used to stir up fear and hatred of Jews in Germany. They were then re-issued, somewhat revised, and directed at England to stir up hatred of the English. In Russia the "Protocols" were used to back up charges against the Jews for "ritual murders." It is said that Alfred Rosenberg, "the Black Balt," who helped write Mein Kampf, and was Hitler's official philosopher, came upon his first copy of the "Protocols" in Russia. He, Hitler, and Goebbels together gave the document a new twist, and by that means linked it to Freemasonry, alleging that Freemasonry was nothing but the vehicle of the Elders of Zion; and this was made large use of by Fascists in both Italy and France. Even in England this madness took hold, and burst into the open when the Morning Post, as conservative a newspaper as The New York Times, published under the head of "The Cause of World Unrest" seventeen articles in sixty or so columns of print, and the London Times almost followed suit. English Freemasonry had never had any known or conceivable connection with Judaism, but these monstrously ignorant articles attacked the two as if they were one thing.
Arthur Edward Waite published a conclusive reply but did not reach a large public. The effectual reply was written by Lucien Wolf, a colleague of Bro. Sir Alfred Robbins, who used the columns of the Manchester Guardian, Spectator, and Daily Telegraph.
This masterpiece of polemics was published in book form (53 pages) entitled The Myth of the Jewish Menace in World Affairs (The Macmillan Co. ; New York; 1921). When World war II came, Nazis, Beckists, Iron Guardsmen, Fascists, Phalangists, and Vichyites attacked not Judaism nor Freemasonry but a hyphenated monstrosity which they called Judaeo-Masonry; so that in spite of itself, and manage two whole centuries of keeping out of politics and aloof from controversy, English-speaking Freemasonry was dragged into the very focus of world-affairs; and European Masonry, which was not clear of political involvement, was obliterated. The Protocol of Zion fraud did not take hold in the United States, but it may be that the end is not yet, because the fraud already is proved to possess a salamarider's longevity. (See article on LUDENDORF, etc.)
Shakespeare's "Merchant of Venice" has long been a document in the history of Anti-Semitism, but it has not been until modem Shakespearean scholarship cleared up the provenance of the play that its true significance could be understood. Until near the end of the Middle Ages the lending of money on interest (securities were permitted if of no greater value than the loan) was forbidden by the Church as a mortal sin, and by the State as illegal. The Jews had no such rule in their religion, and could therefore lend money when governments permitted or ignored them-Tudor kings hid behind the feudal fiction that the persons of Jews were their private property, and they protected them as such.
This dike was broken, first, when Knights Templar began to make loans on interest (they were virtually state bankers) ; and, second, when Christians from one of the provinces of France appeared in London as money lenders. Such persecutions of the Jews as had occurred before these two developments had some justification on the grounds that money lending was a sin and a crime. When Christians began to lend money these grounds of persecution were removed; from then on any persecution was directed at the Jew solely as Jew. This is the point of Shakespeare's play. In an anti-Semitic wave which swept London at the end of the Sixteenth Century Queen Elizabeth's personal physician, Dr. Lopez, a Spanish Jew, was hanged at Tyburn in 1594. It was in the midst of that uproar that Shakespeare wrote and produced "The Merchant of Venice" ; the Shylock in it is no longer the anti-Christian or the criminal usurer, but is the Jew. (See page 139 OE. of Mr. Shakespeare of the Globe, by Frayne Williams; E. P.Dutton & Co. ; New York; 1941.)
In his Jews and Masonry Before 1810 Samuel Oppenheim (not a Mason) has chapters on Hayes, Saxas, da Costa, David Bush; his findings were that Jewish Masons were no larger in number than their proportion to the Jewish population; and that most of the Jewish Masons of the period were either Spanish or French.
The Rothschild family of France contributed members to the Craft, but did not take any position of leadership. Baron Nathan Mayer Rothschild was initiated in Emulation Lodge, No. 12, October 24, 1802, in London ; he had been born in Vienna in 1777.
There is no record of an exclusively Jewish Lodge in England ; there are many in the United States. Discrimination by Masons against Jews in Germany began as early as 1742; as late as 1940 three-fifths of the German Lodges excluded them.
(See The Jew in Freemasonry, by Dudley Wright.) In his history of the Riom trial, Pierre Cot, a minister of the French government under Leon Blum, says that in the many Fascist circles before World War II their writers and speakers were under instruction always to call the Republic "the Judaeo-Masonic Government." (See also Jews in a Gentile World; The Problem of Anti-Semitism,'edited by Isaque Graeber and Steuart Henderson Butt, a symposium by a number of authors ;Macmillan & Co.; New York; 1942. Books of this type are needed on anti-Gentilism, because the record of Jewish persecutions of Gentiles is a long one and they have sometimes been carried out with unspeakable cruelty; the Old Testament itself is in some chapters obviously anti-Gentile.
when the Soviet Government broke down the "pale" in southwestern Russia, in which Jews had been segregated so long, in order to give them a country of their own and equal rights, the officials in charge, of whom the majority were themselves Jews, reported to Moscow that anti- Gentilism obstructed them more than anti-Semitism Since Jewish newspapers and books and sermon preached by the Rabbis cannot be read by Gentiles the latter seldom know the extent of anti-Gentilism in Jewish communities, in ghettoes, and in segregation even in small towns. Anti-Gentilism and anti-Semitism are two halves of one problem.)
The Encyclopedia Masonica exists to preserve the wealth of information that has been generated over the centuries by numerous Masonic authors. As Freemasonry is now Speculative and not Operative, the work of a Mason is now conducted in the quarries of symbolism, literature, history and scholasticism. Freemasonry encourages intellectual exploration and academic achievement in its members and many Masons over the years have taken up this calling. The result has been that an incredible amount of philosophy, symbolic speculation and academic insights have been created. However, as Freemasonry teaches, human knowledge is frail and fragile. It is easily lost in the turnings of the ages and unforeseen catastrophes can result in great setbacks to human knowledge.
For too long these great works have sat on forgotten shelves, gathering dust and concealing the light that could be shed on the darkness of our ignorance. The Encyclopedia Masonica has been created to act as an ark, sailing through time, to ensure that future generations of Freemasons have access to the same knowledge that inspired the Brethren that came before them. It will contain the works of such Masonic Luminaries as Albert G. Mackey, Manly Palmer Hall, G.S.M. Ward, Albert Pike and many others. The Encyclopedia Masonica is a living work and the volunteers of Universal Co-Masonry will continue to labor until the most comprehensive Masonic reference work the world has ever seen has been created. The Encyclopedia Masonica is open to any who wish to use it and will remain open so that the treasures contained within may increase the wealth of all those who seek its wisdom.
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