The following is the full transcribed text, including scanned page images of chapter 1, ‘Causes of the Jewish Problem’ from the 1939 publication, ‘Britain’s Jewish Problem’ by Fleet Street journalist M.G. Murchin and published through Hurst & Blackett, Ltd (London). It had a second printing in 1940. I do not have the publication itself, as it is extremely rare and expensive. I do, however, have the page scans of the first chapter and this is where I transcribed the below from. If I had the publication, I would happily take the time to make the entire book available for free. – Hamilton P. Rudberry
The blurb from the dust jacket reads, “The problem of the Jews in Britain, and the power they wield in public affairs, is a matter of the most absorbing interest in these days when propaganda has clouded the issue and made it almost impossible for the ordinary man to see the subject in its true perspective. This book is a critical but strictly impartial analysis written by a well-known Fleet Street journalist who has studied the whole problem for a number of years in the light of events since the Great War.”
In the introduction M.G. Murchin states, “Anyone who has spent, as I have, a considerable time studying the Jewish question and discussing it with people of all classes and types, must now realise that this problem needs to be ventilated without delay — before it is too late.”
Chapter 1: Causes of the Jewish Problem (pages 9-23) from the book Britain’s Jewish Problem (1939) by M.G. Murchin, Hurst & Blackett, Ltd (London). 223 pages.
"The United Kingdom is a thickly populated industrial community with at present a large number of unemployed. Competition with foreign countries is very keen. It is difficult for many of our fellow-countrymen to make a livelihood and keep their industries going without failures. Moreover, there is an underlying current of suspicion and anxiety, rightly or wrongly, about immigration on a large scale. It is a fact—and the House had better face these facts frankly—that below the surface, and I know this from my own experience, there is the makings of a definite anti-Jewish movement."
It must be many years since such words were used in Parliament by a responsible Minister, yet the quotation is from the official report of a speech made in the House of Commons on November 21, 1938, by Sir Samuel Hoare, the Home Secretary. And when a Labour member interjected with a remark to the effect that Fascists were responsible, the Home Secretary replied:
"There is more to it than that."
Every man and woman in this country, both Gentile and Jew, must face the fact that Britain's Jewish problem has crystallized. It has come to a head after years of subterranean rumblings. Just as the volcano gives ominous warnings of the explosion to come, so the rumblings of anti-Jewish feeling should warn the country of the upheaval that is near at hand. The familiar wheel of history has nearly turned full circle. We are facing the last phase of that circle—and the worst.
As far as the Jews are concerned, history presents a series of examples so similar and unanimous that its lesson cannot be ignored. Look where you will, the Jewish problem has always presented the same features, and the wheel of history, in its turning, has always followed the same set course, the same unchanging procedure.
This procedure can be followed through its stages from any given point, but the most convenient stage from which to start is, paradoxically enough, the expulsion of all Jews from the country concerned. The people of that country decide that the Jews are a menace or, at best, an irritating minority, and steps are taken to expel them all. The period of expulsion may last for a decade—or for centuries. But inevitably there comes a time when that anti-Jewish feeling withers and dies. It is the prelude to a return of the Jews.
At first, there is only a small influx, but this trickle soon swells into a stream and then into a flood. No longer harassed, but welcomed, Jews begin to permeate the nation's life by inter-marriage, by filtration into public offices and universities, and by their interest in trade. And even if the open welcome is not sustained, it is replaced with an easy tolerance that enables the Jew to thrive and become a power in the land.
This state of affairs can often be long-lived, but there is an end to it, and the beginning of the end is the slow disappearance of tolerance. Sporadic murmurings of discontent become more widespread, and they culminate in open and determined anti-Semitism. It is the writing on the wall for the Jews. The result, call it a pogrom or what you please, means expulsion in large numbers. Out the Jews have to go to resume their wanderings. But sooner or later the anti-Semitism is forgotten and Jews are again admitted. And so the process goes on.
Whether we in Britain like it or not, the last turn in that tragic wheel is not far distant. It may come in one year or it may be put off for a decade—but come it will. The Jews have been here since the time of Cromwell. Consolidating their position in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, they became a real power in the nineteenth, with a Jew even occupying the position of Prime Minister. But, by the opening of the twentieth century, the first real anti-Jewish mutterings were beginning to be heard. Faint at first, they began to gather strength, only to be quietened by the more important business of war. But they were not completely stilled. If anything, stock was laid up for a later date by the suspicions that many war-time profiteers were of Jewish origin.
But the mere presence of anti-Semitism, and open recognition of it, are two very different things, and the final upheaval cannot come until the battle is dragged out into the public gaze. That struggle is now going on before our eyes. Anti-Jewish feeling, insistent and ever-widening, has scaled the last rampart. The Home Secretary has not only admitted its presence, prominent Jews such as Mr. Anthony de Rothschild have not only deplored it, but the British Press has begun to report and even encourage it, though this is done in the most guarded tones. There are few newspapers that would come out openly on the side of those with strong anti-Jewish feelings, but there are not a few who are already protesting against the wholesale admission, into this country, of Jewish refugees. That attitude could hardly be described as pro-Jewish.
To hold that Fascists are responsible for all these developments is wrong on two counts. It is wrong, in the first place, because it attributes to British Fascism a power that Fascists do not possess. British Fascists are a small, but clamorous, minority, the very violence of whose anti-Semitism repels as many as it attracts. To assert that anti-Jewish feeling has been created only by British Fascism is to credit that movement with influence to which it is definitely not entitled.
The second error lies in the fact that there are strong anti-Jewish feelings among people who have never been, and probably never will be, Fascists. This anti-Semitism is far more widespread than any small movement could engineer. It is due to a variety of causes that will be analysed, in detail, in succeeding chapters, but at the present time it is very directly connected with employment and livelihood.
Men who have spent weary years looking for work are not asking why Jews should have jobs when they have not; doctors who are finding it difficult to make a living out of their practices are wondering why there should be a rush of refugee Jewish doctors into a profession that is already overcrowded; small shopkeepers, fighting a losing battle against combine and chain stores, are complaining that their lot is made even worse by the competition of cut-price establishments that are now almost a Jewish monopoly; business men controlling medium-sized and small concerns are asking, rightly or wrongly, why their existence should be menaced by the power of Jewish finance. The reader can extend this list indefinitely, but the fact remains that the feeling is there—and it is spreading.
On the other hand, can the unemployed man feel justifiably bitter if, while waiting for the right job to turn up, he sees the enterprising Jew jump in and take the first work that is offered, not matter what it is; can a doctor rightly complain of skilled Jewish competition if he regards his practice—and his patients—as a means of income in return for the leisurely dishing out of mixtures that are mostly water; can them small shopkeeper ignore his own inefficient methods and cry out against the Jew who will work like a slave to attract customers; or can the business man revile Jewish financiers when he does not even know what part they play in the world of commerce? These questions have to be answered, too.
Still, the problem is there and no reasonable man would believe that it has arisen solely because of Gentile jealously. If there was ever an instance to which one could apply the old saying: ‘It takes two to make a quarrel,’ this is it. There are faults on the Gentile side, and no one would deny them. But there are faults on the Jewish side, too, and attempts to hide or whitewash them only make things worse. Such efforts at evasion and secrecy are now being practiced wholesale, and I will show, in later chapters, how they have recoiled on the heads of those whom they were meant to protect.
That which I believe, however, to be one root cause of such anti-Semitism is a factor for which no Jew can be blamed. A Jew cannot help being born a Jew and a member of an alien race. Yet that fact that he and his fellow-Jews constitute a small, but powerful alien minority in this country, is responsible for the deep suspicion with which many Gentiles regard Jews in general. Worse still, the fact that the alien minority can prosper in this country while Britons are in want only rubs salt into the wounds of our self-respect.
Take the case of two ordinary British business men who are in competition with one another. If one succeeds to the detriment of the other, the failure may feel bitter towards his opponent. But I the majority of cases, that bitterness is short-lived. If, on the other hand, the man who fails is a victim of Jewish acumen, acumen that may have been used with transparent honesty, that man will often nurse a bitter hatred of all Jews for years. Why? Because nothing galls him more than the thought that he has been beaten by an alien—a man who is not of his own race. In such cases, the man who fails will frequently attribute his failure to sharp practices on the part of his Jewish competitor, and the fact that some Jews do indulge in questionable tactics only deepens the suspicion. These facts will be instantly admitted by anyone who has had extensive commercial experience, and I have myself known a number of such instances.
Yet many Jews heatedly deny that they are aliens They point to the fact that British Jews fought gallantly in the last war. They will declare that they are just as ready to fight for Britain should the need arise, and they may add that they were born and bred in this country of families that have been here for generations. Now this is all true, but it does not explain away the fact that Jews are aliens just because they are Jews—and their very attitude towards fellow-Jews in other countries shows that Jewry comes first, and the country of their adoption second.
The Jew has a passionate interest in the welfare of brother Jews, no matter where they may be. They belong to his race, and anything that affects them affects him. This is quite clear from the attitude of world Jewry towards events in Germany. No sensible man would blame or revile the Jews for taking an interest in their persecuted brethren, but the fact that they do makes it clear that Jews, as a race, are not a national unit but international.
He problem of Jewish refugees will have tremendous repercussions before it is solved. We are now faced with the problem to an extent without parallel in history. Anti-Semitism is springing up everywhere, and while the ordinary man in this country will resist anything in the shape of large-scale immigration, particularly when there is such a large number of unemployed, the aim of British Jews is to make this country a sanctuary for as many refugees as possible. The result of this conflict may be far more grave than many of us imagine.
So far, the 350,000 Jews in this country have had an addition of 11,000 to their numbers, in the shape of refugees from Germany and Austria. It is true that a number of them have opened new businesses and thus have done something to reduce unemployment here. But the number is small compared with the total influx, and those who try to exaggerate the beneficial results of immigration might remember that many of the Jews who have come here have had to leave their possessions behind them. Nor is the situation improved by reports, from a number of sources, which tell of Jewish refugees accepting work at wages far below those of trade union standards, and, in consequence, displacing British workmen. Small wonder that many of the appeals for such refugees fall on deaf ears. And when Jewish influence in the United States is directed towards making more difficult Britain’s unenviable task in Palestine, a fact that will be shown in detail in a later chapter, one can scarcely be surprised at the reaction here.
Being an alien, the Jew must have a different outlook and a different mentality from that of the ordinary people in this country. The Jew’s ways are not British ways but Jewish ways, and the fact that they are different sets up a continual friction between the Jewish minority and the majority with whom they have to live. But the mere fact that the Jew is an alien does not create the friction. There is something else.
‘When in Rome do as the Romans do,’ runs the old tag, and if the Jews had adhered to that sound advice we would not now be faced with anti-Semitism and all its inherent evils. But the Jews, unfortunately, make little or no attempt to put that precept into practice. On the contrary, there are writers on the Jewish side who go as far as to declare that there is no Jewish problem in Britain—but a Gentile problem! The natural inference is that the Jews are a blameless minority in the grip of a cruel and ruthless majority; that it is not up to the Jews to do their share of putting things right for the simple reason that they have done no wrong; that it is not the duty of the minority to mould itself into the majority’s pattern; and that the majority should put its own house in order and show proper respect for its guests. In short, Briton’s are told to acquire the Jewish outlook instead of asking Jews to be a little more British.
To some people, nothing could be more infuriating than this typically superior attitude of the Jew who regards Britain not as a land which offers him refuge, but as a land which owes him a great debt of gratitude. And this superiority complex is not confined to a small number of Jews, to a handful of men whose ability and culture put them in the front rank. It is common to the majority of Jews, so that the East London Jew considers himself as much superior to the working-class people by whom he is surrounded as the wealthy Jew considers himself in relation to the people of those classes in which he moves. Whether it infuriates or not, it is part of the Jewish mentality and the Jew will not change it. It is the superiority so well expressed in the statement of a leading American Rabbi. He declared: “I am not an American citizen of Jewish faith. I have been a Jew for four thousand years. Hitler is right—we are a people.” Substitute the word ‘British’ for ‘American’ in that sentence, and it would apply to most Jews here.
Now this may be a courageous attitude, but in the circumstances it is a mistaken one because it does not even concern a question of principle. If a Jew is asked not to be so ostentatious in flaunting his wealth before poor, unemployed Gentiles, he is not being asked to sacrifice anything essential. This is a fact admitted by Jewish writers, one of whom suggests quite bluntly that if the 350,000 Jews in this country behaved as though they numbered 175,000 and not 3,000,000, things would be better all round. Few will disagree with that sentiment.
At the same time, it must be admitted that the British majority does not go out of its way to soft-pedal its own sense of secure superiority. There are far too many people in this country who regard all Jews, irrespective of culture and attainment, as pariahs who must be shunned and even sneered at. Thus you will see upstarts treat honourable, cultured Jews as though they were lepers, and this happens just as frequently as East End Jews swagger among quiet, respectable Gentiles with a contempt that is all the worse for being so openly displayed.
This latter fact is a clear indication of the feelings of security which most Jews in this country have to a marked degree. The man who is not sure of his position will never go out of his way to antagonize those who outnumber him. The only exception is the fool—and Jews do not come into this category. But Jews would do well to mark the lessons of history. While one can reasonably plead for more tolerance on the part of Gentiles, one can also warn Jews against the perils involved in fomenting anti-Jewish feeling among a large number of Gentiles. Courageous and resourceful though the Jew may be, he could do little when outnumbered by more than 120 to 1.
It is an unfortunate fact that the Jew is often inclined to place too much reliance on the power of the purse. This is a weakness that, now and again, causes Jewish writers to forget their discretion, and indulge in such statements as that which is often quoted from The Jewish State, by Theodore Herzl. Speaking of the Jews, the writer declared: ‘When we sink, we become a revolutionary proletariat, the subordinate officers of all revolutionary parties. But when we rise there rises also our terrible power of the purse.’
When an alien minority bases its actions towards the majority among whom it lives on sentiments such as these, there are good reasons for understanding the hostility of those who also have other causes for anti-Semitic feelings. And it must always be remembered that oppression of a minority not only disgraces those who oppress, but monstrous injustice is done to those innocent members of the minority who have no control over the offenders in their ranks.
Another point of great importance is this. Taking into consideration the comparatively small number of Jews in this country, the ordinary man cannot help being struck by the fact that they wield an influence entirely out of proportion to their numerical strength. (So, I admit, do the Scots. But they are not aliens.) The Briton’s vague, but general, suspicions are only heightened by this thought, and the realization that Jews have a large measure of control over non-Jewish affairs. The natural reaction, therefore, is redoubled suspicion, and this is a state of mind in which the seed of anti-Semitism soon flourishes.
The foregoing, will, I think, give a fair outline of the stresses and friction that the Jewish problem has set up. It is from this basis that an edifice of rumour, distortion, and all kinds of propaganda has sprung. If something is not done, and done soon, to bring the whole problem into the light of fair examination, there is no knowing what the end will be. It is my intention to show what private investigation into the problem has revealed.
There is, however, one matter worthy of mention here, and this is the extraordinary sensitiveness of the majority of Jews towards any examination of the various questions affecting them. No Jew, any more than a Gentile, is perfect, and some Jews, in fact, are the enemies of their race by their evil-doing. Yet the moment any attempt is made to point this out, the author responsible is labelled as a Fascist, a Nazi, a violent partisan of anti-Semitism, and these accusations, supported by pressure from powerful Jews, have undoubtedly stifled much valuable and constructive criticism. The result has been, and still is, that few writers dare to touch on the Jewish question because they fear reprisals, and so public opinion on the problem is bottled up and silenced. Most of us, however, know the dangers of the process. Open criticism is a safety valve. To stifle it may delay the explosion—only to make the final outburst all the more severe.
The fact that one should express opinions not uniformly complimentary to Jews is no reason for the taunt of Nazi. On the contrary, if the Jews faced up to the widespread, though silent, opposition now being worked up against them in all parts of the country, we might soon see a clear solution to the problem. But that problem cannot be solved by one-sided action. If we have our part to play, so have the Jews, and it is at least promising to see Jewish writers drawing attention to Jewry's minor faults. If those writers would only give similar time to the major faults that undoubtedly exist, the outlook would indeed be promising.
But a campaign of compulsory silence has now been going on for so long that a mass of rumour and distortion has been allowed to grow unchecked owing to the lack of clear and truthful criticism. Many people now believe quite sincerely that a large number of Jews cheat in business; that Jewry is out t destroy the moral fibre of Christianity as a whole; that Jewish interests exercise a stranglehold over the British Press by their influence on advertising; that Jews are the main supporters of monopolies and the trend towards the extinction of the small trader; and that, in brief, the Jews aim at the complete overthrow of everything we hold dear. The reader may regard the whole idea as completely fantastic, but if he cares to discover the opinions of the ordinary man he will find, as I have found, that such beliefs are not the exception, but the general rule.
It is only of late that Jews in this country have thought of answering these charges, but here againthe old feeling of superiority has crept in, and some of the defensive arguments have become almost arrogant. That is not the way to clear the air. But, in the main, the Jews do not bother to refute such accusations, possibly out of the mistaken idea that they would not be believed whatever they said. This is a clear example of the way in which silencing can have the opposite effect to that intended!
This applies even more emphatically to a factor which is both a source of strength and a great weakness to Jews in general—the Jewish habit of secrecy. This may help the Jew to hide his affairs—and, in many cases, his identity—from the outside world, but it has also given his opponents a weapon which may yet prove to be extremely dangerous to the Jewish cause. If one can rightly accuse the Jews of secrecy then it is not asking much of the imagination to arrive at the conclusion that the Jews have something to hide, something which may not be at all creditable.
This secrecy, in fact, makes any investigation of the Jewish problem far more difficult that it ought to be. Few people have the time or the doggedness to follow up the mass of conflicting evidence only to be faced by an almost impenetrable wall of secrecy an evasion. That, in the opinion of anti-Semitic elements, is just what the Jew desires. But whether this is true or not, the Jews have, more or less, pitched their camp behind this wall, and though it may prevent the outside world from knowing all that is going on inside, it also helps the vigorous anti-Semite to exaggerate the evil in our midst. Unfortunately for the Jews, this exaggeration is now generally regarded not as distortion, but as the whole truth.
Yet there is not reason why the Jewish problem should not be investigated impartially. A problem it certainly is, as any one who cares to observe for himself will soon discover. Anti-Jewish murmurings are growing in intensity, and have spread to all sections of the community. The Jews will find comfort in the fact that they are not likely to be subjected to a cruel pogrom in this country. That is not our way of doing things. But they might also remember that Britain was the first country to expel them lock, stock, and barrel, and history have a very unhappy habit of repeating itself.