Mark Twain on the Root Cause of Antisemitism

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In 1898, Harper’s Magazine published an essay by Mark Twain titled Concerning the Jews, in which the author responds to a letter from a lawyer who asks Twain to explain why antisemitism is so rampant in society and why Jewish people throughout history have born the brunt of so much hatred and hostility. Twain essentially argues that the main reason why antisemitism exists is because of Jewish success, and the envy, resentment, and anger this engenders among non-Jews. In his view, religious prejudice is a minor cause of antisemitism, and ignorance and fanaticism cannot fully account for the level of anti-Jewish bigotry that exists.

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Originally published at on January 6, 2021.

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