A strong statement against anti-Semitism appears, not surprisingly, in the Genealogy , the same work in which ancient priestly Judaism is also condemned—and for the same genealogical reason. "They [the anti-Semites] are all men of ressentiment , physiologically unfortunate and worm-eaten, a whole tremulous realm of subterranean revenge, inexhaustible and insatiable in outbursts against the fortunate and happy" (GM III:14).
In Beyond Good and Evil Nietzsche chides the anti-Semites who seek to curb Jewish immigration to Germany:
"Let no more Jews come in! And shut the doors, especially towards the East (also towards Austria)!"—thus commands the instinct of a people whose nature is still feeble and uncertain, so that it could be easily wiped out, easily extinguished by a stronger one. The Jews, however, are beyond any doubt the strongest, toughest, and purest race at present living in Europe; they know how to succeed even under the worst conditions (in fact better than under favorable ones) by means of virtues of some sort, which one would like nowadays to label as vices—owing above all to a resolute faith which does not need to be ashamed before "modern ideas"; they alter only, when they do alter , in the same way that the Russian Empire makes its conquests—as an empire that has plenty of time and is not of yesterday—namely, according to the principle, "as slowly as possible." (BGE 251)
In contrast to the young and artificial nations now arising in Europe, Nietzsche adds, the Jews are a stable and ancient race, of the sort that exists forever. Then he makes a significant observation, which I cite here for its tone and timbre (expressing clear empathy for the Jews) no less than for its content:
It is certain that the Jews, if they desired—or if they were driven to it, as the anti-Semites seem to wish—could now have the ascendancy, nay, literally the supremacy over Europe, that is certain; that they are not working and plan-
ning for that end is equally certain. Meanwhile they rather wish and desire, even somewhat importunely, to be insorbed and absorbed by Europe; they long to be finally settled, authorised, and respected somewhere, and wish to put an end to the nomadic life, to the "Wandering Jew";—and one should certainly take account of this impulse and tendency, and make advances to it (it possibly betokens a mitigation of the Jewish instincts): for which purpose it would perhaps be useful and fair to banish the anti-Semitic bawlers out of the country. (BGE 251)
This passage, which clearly defends the Jews, should be read in conjunction with another, high-sounding passage on the Jews, from Daybreak , which says among other things:
The psychological and spiritual resources of the Jews today are extraordinary. . . . Every Jew possesses in the history of his fathers and grandfathers a great fund of examples of the coldest self-possession and endurance in fearful situations, of the subtlest outwitting and exploitation of chance and misfortune; their courage beneath the cloak of miserable submission, their heroism . . . surpasses the virtues of all the saints. . . . They themselves have never ceased to believe themselves called to the highest things, and the virtues which pertain to all who suffer have likewise never ceased to adorn them. . . . They themselves know best that a conquest of Europe, or any kind of act of violence, on their part is not to be thought of: but they also know that at some future time Europe may fall into their hands like a ripe fruit if they would only just extend them. To bring that about they need, in the meantime, to distinguish themselves in every domain of European distinction and to stand everywhere in the first rank. . . . And whither shall this assembled abundance of grand impressions which for every Jewish family constitutes Jewish history, this abundance of passions, virtues, decisions, renunciations, struggles, victories of every kind—whither shall it stream out if not at last into great men and great works! (D 205)
Close to his proposal to expel not the Jews but the "anti-Semitic bawlers," Nietzsche gives pointed expression to his view of anti-Semitism itself. In Nietzsche contra Wagner he cites this offense as one of the worst signs of decay: "Since Wagner moved to Germany, he had condescended step by step to everything I despise—even to anti-Semitism" (NCW 8:1). And in The Antichrist , another late work, speaking of the anti-Semites' "inner conviction," he says:
Long ago I posed the problem whether convictions are not more dangerous than lies as enemies of truth. . . . "Respect for all who have convictions!" I have heard that sort of thing even out of the mouths of anti-Semites. On the contrary, gentlemen! An anti-Semite certainly is not any more decent because he lies as a matter of principle. (A 55)
The published texts speak for themselves. Of even greater significance are Nietzsche's intimate letters—especially those written within the family
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