The Jewish Question

Jews have been in Europe for more than a millenia but they remain a distinct people. So why should anyone expect Muslims to integrate into the West? That’s naive. There’s no reason to expect that Arabs will become normal citizens in the Jewish state.

Japanese-Americans and Chinese-Americans are also distinct groups. Races don’t assimilate except in the most superficial of ways. Instead, they act out their genetic imperatives.


The Jewish question is the name given to a wide-ranging debate in European society pertaining to the appropriate status and treatment of Jews in society. The debate was similar to other so-called “national questions” and dealt with the civil, legal, national and political status of Jews as a minority within society, particularly in Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries.

The debate started within societies, politicians and writers in western and central Europe influenced by the Age of Enlightenment and the ideals of the French Revolution. The issues included the legal and economic Jewish disabilities (e.g. Jewish quotas and segregation), Jewish assimilation, Jewish emancipation and Jewish Enlightenment.

The expression has been used by antisemitic movements from the 1880s onwards, culminating in the Nazi phrase “the Final Solution to the Jewish Question”. Similarly, the expression was used by proponents for and opponents of the establishment of an autonomous Jewish homeland or a sovereign Jewish state.

The term “Jewish Question” was first used in Great Britain in around 1750. According to Holocaust scholar Lucy Dawidowicz, the term “Jewish Question”, as introduced in western Europe, was a neutral expression for the negative attitude toward the apparent and persistent singularity of the Jews as a people against the background of the rising political nationalisms and new nation-states. Dawidowicz writes that “the histories of Jewish emancipation and of European antisemitism are replete with proffered ‘solutions to the Jewish question.'”[1] The question was next discussed in France (“la question juive”) after the French Revolution in 1789, before arriving in Germany via Bruno Bauer’s treatise “Die Judenfrage” – The Jewish Question.

From that point hundreds of other tractates, pamphlets, newspaper articles and books were written on the subject, with many offering solutions including resettlement, deportation and assimilation of the Jewish population. Similarly, hundreds of pieces of literature were written opposing these solutions and have offered solutions such as re-integration and education. This debate however, could not decide whether the problem of the Jewish Question had more to do with the problems posed by the German Jews’ opponents or vice versa: the problem posed by the existence of the German Jews to their opponents.

From around 1860 the notion took on an increasingly antisemitic tendency: Jews were described under this title as a stumbling block to the identity and cohesion of the German nation and as enemies within the Germans’ own country. Antisemites such as Wilhelm Marr, Karl Eugen Dühring, Theodor Fritsch, Houston Stewart Chamberlain, Paul de Lagarde and others declared it a racial problem unsolvable through integration, in order to make their demands for the “de-jewifying” of the press, education, culture, state and economy, plausible, along with their demands for the condemnation of inter-marriage between Jews and non-Jews. They also used this definition to oust the Jews out of their supposedly socially dominant positions.

By far the most infamous use of this expression was by the Nazis in the early- and mid- twentieth century, culminating in the implementation of their “Final Solution to the Jewish question” during World War II.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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