On The Left and the Myth of the ‘Jewish Proletariat’ by Andrew Joyce, Ph.D.
‘The weight of the Jews’ exploitation is great and their harmfulness unlimited. … If we find it possible to preach revolution, and only revolution against the nobles, how can we defend the Jews?’ Ukrainian Communist Revolutionary, 1876.
In the months immediately before his coronation in 1189, Richard the Lionheart became aware of rising anti-Jewish sentiment among the people of England. This ill-feeling was the result of decades of rampant usury, property seizures, social disparities, and what historian Robert Chazan described as the “effective royal protection” of Henry II. Eager to ally himself with the mood of the nation, particularly in the tenuous early days of his reign, Richard appealed to the sentiments of the masses by banning Jews from attending the coronation ceremony at Westminster Abbey. News of the ban was welcomed by the people, but the move was deeply unsettling to England’s Jews. The prohibition was nervously perceived by the nation’s Hebrews as a weakening of the vital Jewish relationship with the elite. This relationship, particularly the protection it provided to Jewish loan merchants, had been absolutely essential to the untroubled continuation of the Jews’ highly antagonistic financial practices among the lower orders. Without this protection, the position of the Jews in England would no longer be viable. Therefore, in a desperate attempt to resist a decline in Jewish influence, on the day of the coronation a party of senior Jews arrived at the doors of Westminster Abbey bearing lavish gifts and sycophantic tongues. The effort was in vain.
The Jewish party were refused entry by nobles and officials, and the group was then stripped and flogged for their flagrant defiance of royal orders. Since this punishment was a public display, a story soon circulated among the peasantry that the new king consented to general action against the Jews, and that the royal elite was now siding with the people. In the ensuing days, luxurious Jewish homes were burned, and castles containing Jewish debt rolls were stormed and their contents destroyed. These actions, however, were built on an assumption of elite backing that was in reality non-existent. The expectations of the masses were soon rudely crushed. The Lionheart’s banning of the Jews had been a mere measure of propaganda intended to endear him to his subjects, and the flogging of the intruding party was carried out without his consent. In truth, the King remained as beholden to the sway of mammon as his predecessors. When push came to shove, the peasantry, unlike ‘his’ Jews, were expendable. Richard wasted little time in rounding up and executing the ringleaders of the anti-Jewish action, even including those who had damaged Jewish property by accident. He then issued orders to “the sheriffs of England to prevent all such incidents in the future.” In the aftermath of this crushing of the people, the Jews of England would once again remain under high levels of royal protection until ‘the Lionheart’ left the country for the Third Crusade — a venture, ironically, to relieve people in foreign nations of the tyranny of ‘infidels.’ The entire affair remains a perfect illustration of the centuries-old symbiotic relationship between Jews and our native elites, and the thread of parasitic capitalism that binds them.