Friday, January 20, 2017

Famous French Enlightenment Writer Voltaire On The Jews

See the Wikipedia write-up on Voltaire here. I guess we should put him on this list. See here for what the former Israeli minister said about anti-Semitism.


"If we read the history of the Jews written by an author of another nation, we would have sorrow to believe that there were indeed fugitive people of Egypt which came by express order from God immoler seven or eight small nations that they didn't know; to cut the throat without mercy of a woman, old men and children with the udder, and to reserve only the small girls; that these holy people were punished of his God when it had been enough criminal to save only one man devoted to the anathema. We would not believe that so abominable people (Jews) had been able to exist on the earth. But as this nation itself brings back all its facts in its holy books to us, it should be believed.
  
—Voltaire, Essai sur les mœurs (1756) Tome 1, pages 158–159

"[The Jewish nation] dares spread an irreconcilable hatred against all nations; it revolts against all its masters. Always superstitious, always avid of the well-being enjoyed by others, always barbarous, crawling in misfortune, and insolent in prosperity. Here are what were the Jews in the eyes of the Greeks and the Romans who could read their books. —Voltaire, Essai sur les mœurs (1756) Tome 1, page 186

"If these Ismaélites (Arabs) resembled to the Jews by the enthusiasm and the thirst for plundering, they were prodigiously higher by courage, by the nobility of soul, by the magnanimity: their history, or true or fabulous, before Mahomet, is filled of examples of friendship, such as Greece invented some in the fables of Pilade and Oreste, of Thésée and Pirithous. The history of Barmécides is only one continuation of amazing generosities which raise the heart. These features characterize a nation. We do not see on the contrary, in all annals of the Hebrew people, no generous action. They do not know nor hospitality, nor liberality, nor leniency. Their sovereign happiness is to exert wear with the foreigners; and this spirit of wear, principle of any cowardice, is so natural in their hearts, that it is the continual object of the figures that they employ in the species of eloquence which is proper for them. Their glory is to put at fire and blood the small villages they can seize. They cut the throat of the old men and the children; they hold only the girls nubiles; they assassinate their Masters when they are slaves; they can never forgive when they are victorious: they are enemy of the human mankind. No courtesy, no science, no art improved in any time, in this atrocious nation. —Voltaire, Essai sur les mœurs (1756) Tome 2, page 83

"You seem to me to be the maddest of the lot. The Kaffirs, the Hottentots, and the Negroes of Guinea are much more reasonable and more honest people than your ancestors, the Jews. You have surpassed all nations in impertinent fables in bad conduct and in barbarism. You deserve to be punished, for this is your destiny.[2] —Voltaire, From a letter to a Jew who had written to him, complaining of his antisemitism in L'Essai sur le Moeurs

"… [Jews] are, all of them, born with raging fanaticism in their hearts, just as the Bretons and the Germans are born with blond hair. I would not be in the least bit surprised if these people would not some day become deadly to the human race.[2] —Voltaire, Lettres de Memmius a Ciceron (1771)

"I know that there are some Jews in the English colonies. These marranos go wherever there is money to be made... But whether these circumcised who sell old clothes claim that they are of the tribe of Naphtali or Issachar is not of the slightest importance. They are, simply, the biggest scoundrels who have ever dirtied the face of the earth." —Voltaire, Letter to Jean-Baptiste Nicolas de Lisle de Sales, December 15, 1773. Correspondance. 86:166


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