THE RELATIONtSHIP ΒETWEEN JUDAISM & FREEMASONRY
By Julius Evola
The problem of the relationship between Judaism and Freemasonry is certainly of the greatest importance to all those who have mustered at the battlefield against what has been called accurately enough the “dictatorship of hidden powers” in our times. This problem, we may add, is not new: in Germany especially, it has often aroused the interest of militant anti-Semitism. However, as is generally the case with the latter, hasty conclusions were always reached, which were certainly able to build a “myth” (whose efficiency and practical justification there is no cause for questioning here), but not to lead to objective views on these matters.
For that matter, besides, it must be acknowledged that researches of this kind are not easy, not only because they concern organizations more or less surrounded with secrecy and mystery, but also, and especially, because in this respect what comes into play is not so much these organizations in themselves, as political semi-secret societies, as the even more subterranean influences upon which they directly or indirectly depend, whether they know it or not. This is why we are not to be blamed, in developing a few brief considerations on this subject, for sticking to an inductive plane and seeking to reach something positive in the order of ideas rather than in that of the actual facts.
The problem of the relations between Masonry and Judaism shows three main aspects : the first, doctrinal, the second, ethical, and the third, political.
To start with the first, it is widely believed that a Jewish influence was at work in Masonry, right from its origins, since a great part of Masonic ritual and symbolism contains elements coming from Jewish tradition, whether biblical or kabbalistic. The symbolism of the Temple of Solomon is central in Masonry, so much so that, in some Nordic lodges, the Great Master bears the title of Vicarius Salomonis. The six pointed star, also called ‘Seal of Solomon’, is found among the main Masonic emblems. The legend of Hiram, to which we shall return, is of Jewish origin, just as, undeniably, are many of the “pass-words” of the various Masonic degrees, such as, for example, Tubalcain, Shibboleth, Giblim, Jachin, and Boaz.
As for the character to whom a decisive role is attributed in the organization of the inner aspect of Anglo-Saxon Masonry — namely Elias Ashmole — he was a Jew.
If all this is undeniable, and if many other elements of the same kind can be added, yet what follows is to be noted. First, besides these elements, there are many others in Masonic symbolism, which refer to non-Jewish traditions — Pythagorean, Hermetic, and Rosicrucian — and secret elements of medieval guilds, especially that of the “builders.” In the second place, Jewish elements themselves refer to the plane of a sort of esotericism which, as kabbalah, was always regarded with suspicion by Talmudic orthodoxy, which lies at the center of actual Judaism.
Finally, it must be pointed out that, if the fact of having borrowed elements from the Jewish tradition was enough for an accusation, then the accusation against Masonry could easily be extended to Christianity itself ; and such is in fact the path followed, quite consistently, by radical racist anti-Semitism, in connection with which it was rightly said that anti-Semitism follows the trajectory of a boomerang : leveled originally against Jews by the Church, anti-Semitism threatens to turn against the latter because of what Semitic elements it retains. But the most decisive argument in this connection is that, whenever we talk about genuine esotericism and symbolism, we are on a virtually metaphysical plane, on which, in their fundamental principles, all traditions converge and the contingent and human aspect of each of them is not very important. The Judaism which is rightly fought by national revolutions has nothing to do with this plane : its “occult” aspect is of a very different nature. It is true that we can legitimately wonder why Masonry has favored specifically Jewish symbols, and, then, it can also be wondered whether the use, even unconscious and purely formal, of certain rituals and certain formulae linked to a given tradition, does not amount to establishing, invisibly, relations with determinate “influences” inseparable from the people to which this tradition is peculiar. If this latter problem is more important than many people assume, it is nevertheless clear that its study would involve considerations of a “technical” character which cannot find room here and would require notions which are certainly foreign to the majority of our audience. Besides, any possible conclusions in this connection would have to find, as proofs, their counterpart in the order of facts; something which comes down, basically, to defining directly the relations between Judaism and Masonry on the other, more conditioned and more exterior, planes.
Thus, as far as the first point is concerned, Freemasonry is hardly incriminated simply because it has a Jewish component. Besides, we have shown in our previous article that all which is “esotericism” in Masonry, when it is not reduced to a dead “ceremonial” superstructure, has undergone an inversion which has completely destroyed or perverted its original spirit. In modern Masonry, what matters is above all its politico-social ideology and the pathos which is related to it. Thus, we come to the second aspect of the problem, which is to see what there may be in common, in this respect, between Masonry and Judaism.
We have already mentioned the legend of Hiram. Hiram is a character who appears in the Bible (as Adoniram), but features more prominently in the Talmud. In Masonry, he is conceived of as the builder of the Temple of Solomon, treacherously assassinated by his three companions, who wanted to drag the secret of the art of builders out of him and hide away the corpse. Any Mason admitted at the ceremony of the third grade is seen as Hiram found again, which is to say reborn, who through this rebirth, rises to the dignity of Master of the sect. According to some (Ragon, Reghini), there is here a correspondence with the symbolism of classical, Eleusian, Dionysian, initiations.
This is a tendentious comparison, which, in any case, can be valid only to the extent that those ancient initiations were subject to Asian, Jewish, or Levantine influence. The pathos of the predestined victim and of the wait for his rightful rebirth are specifically Semitic elements: they have pervaded the “chosen people” pandemically from its fall on. This figure of Hiram, central in Masonry, cannot but make us think of the mysterious character who, in the so-called Kahal, and in a certain Zionist international Judaism, is called “the Prince of Slavery,” and conceived of as the supreme Master in the period which still separates Israel from its new “kingdom.” But, even more generally, it can be recognized that legends like that of Hiram offer great scope for the development of humanitarian and at the same time rebellious views; and, in this domain, the meeting between Judaism and Masonry is undeniable and almost reaches identity. This is the basis according to which Masonry has often appeared to Jews as a complement of the Jewish Law, if not in fact as the active instrument of their messianic hope — naturally, duly secularized, democratized, and materialized.
The Mason Otto Hieber wrote verbatim in his “Leitfaden durch die Ordenslehre der grossen Landloge von Deutschland”: “The Master taught us to love each man as a brother, and the Jew is, as we are, a son of God. The more our credo of the assertion of human rights advances, the more the Jewish problem will be ameliorated, whereas, with the oppression of the Jew, our higher principle will be infringed.” The exact counterpart is found in Jewish statements, as, for instance, this one: “Israel only wants social justice. The court, the army, the hereditary aristocracy are unbearable to it. The idea of fatherland is for it the idea of justice, and the idea of justice is social equality.” Israel tirelessly carries out “its historical mission of redeemer of the freedom of peoples, of collective Messiah of human rights” in favor of the “egalitarian and leveling (sic) regime of the republics — obviously of true republics, not of bourgeois republics” (Elias Eberlin, “Les Juifs d’aujourd’hui,” p.136, p.143, p.153). And if we know that all this applies most exactly to Masonic ideology and action, words like these should not come as a surprise: “The spirit of Masonry is the spirit of Israel in its most fundamental conceptions: it is its very ideas, its very language and practically its organization” (Vérité Israélite, cf. de Poncins, p.243).
Readers of the previous article in this series have already got to know documents which prove irrefutably the convergence between the League of Nations idea and the Masonic action. Among the numerous related Jewish testimonies, here is one of the most significant: “The League of Nations is not so much a creature of Wilson as it is a great work of Judaism, of which we can be proud. The League of Nations idea is related to that of the great prophets of Israel. Isaiah once said that swords will have to give way to plowshares and that never again will one people have to fight another. It is to this ancient order of Jewish ideas that the League of Nations brings us back. Its origin lies in the world-outlook of the prophets, pervading the whole world with love. Thus, the idea of the League of Nations, the fraternity of peoples, is a pure Jewish heritage” (cf. Fritsch, p.202). If the Masonic International Congress of Paris in 1907, with which the aforementioned article dealt (1), listed among the real objectives of world war, besides the constitution of the League of Nations, the necessary destruction of imperial and monarchic forms still existing in Central Europe, the Jews saw in the collapse of those “unbearable” forms (as the Jew Ludwig called them) an obstacle-clearing essential to the fulfillment of their policy (cf., for instance, the paper Der Jude, the January 1919 issue).
It is thus hardly surprising that Jewish elements have flowed to the ranks of Masonry and have done everything they could to turn it into one of their most powerful instruments of work. The extremist hypothesis, according to which Jews created Masonry in all its parts with the occult domination of the world in mind, cannot, in our opinion, be taken seriously. However, it must be conceded that, in the Jewish international on one hand, and in the modern political form of Masonry on the other hand, extremely closely related influences manifest themselves and, on this basis, as Masonry became more and more directly aligned to subversive and anti-hierarchical humanitarianism, Judaism was to enjoy in the sect a part which was perhaps more important than profane or even high-ranking Masons could suspect. Already in 1848, Baron von Knigge, member of a German Masonic lodge which, until relatively recent times, like some English lodges, had a conservative character, decided to denounce the danger of Jewish infiltration into Masonry, warning that “the Jews saw in Masonry a means to strengthen their movement towards a secret kingdom” (2). In 1928, in an enthusiastic speech on Masonry, rabbi M. J. Merrit said: “No place can be more fit for the Masonic cult than this one: since Masonry is inseparable from the history of the people to which this temple (a Jewish temple) belongs: Masonry is born, really, of Israel.” This statement from another Jewish source, quoted by Vulliaud, is just as significant: “The hope which supports and strengthens Masonry is that which enlightens and confirms Israel on its painful way, by showing the inevitability of its future triumph. What is the advent of messianic times if not the solemn notice and the definitive declaration of the eternal principles of fraternity and love, the association of all hearts and all efforts, the crowning of this wonderful house of prayer of all peoples whose center and triumphant symbol Israel will be?” As always, this Jewish declaration of love is quickly echoed by Masons. Apparently on the basis that the Jewish church does not have dogmas, but symbols, just as does Masonry, the Masonic paper “Acacia” (3) once stated, for instance: “This is why the Israelite church is our natural ally, this is why it supports us, this is why a great many Jews militate in our ranks.”
Here we reach the more decisive point for our problem, the interpretation of which will nevertheless vary according to one’s ideas regarding the real influence of Judaism and its goals, if indeed one can speak at all of goals in the sense of a unitary international plan. To establish statistically what percentage of Jews there are in the ranks of Masonry, in this respect, is not important, because it is well-known that Jewish tactics, like those of any concealed power, are not to assert their presence by force of numbers, but rather through an opportunistic infiltration which allows them to gain control imperceptibly, from above and from behind the scenes, of all the vital organs of a given organization: and a study along these lines, by the nature of things, is doomed to get bogged down in the imponderable. The convergence of Masonry and Judaism exhausts itself more or less on the plane of “elective affinities,” since the Jew spontaneously supports any liberal, democratic and internationalist idea, simply because owing to its condition no people has more to gain than his from the triumph of ideologies of that kind, and from the elimination of any hierarchical, authoritarian, national, and traditional order. Besides, the age-old resentment of the Jew against Catholicism goes perfectly with the Masonic hatred against Rome and with the symbol of a temple which bears a Jewish name which, in the final analysis, has the signification of a rallying point for the forces of an international front hostile to supranational Catholic authority.
However, things appear differently if one considers that the destructive influence exercised, either calculatedly or instinctively, in so many domains by many Jewish elements does not exhaust the true and secret goals, but, precisely according to the myth of the famous “Protocols,” is only preliminary to further enterprises perfectly known by the leaders of international Jewry — if those leaders exist — that is, immanent, so to speak, in the “spirit” of Israel. In fact, it is unnecessary to refer to the most controversial “Protocols”: many positive declarations can arouse similar suspicions, and, for example, it may be enough to recall the words which Baruch Levi wrote to Karl Marx, which are not well-known and are worth quoting : “The Jewish people, as a whole, will be its own Messiah. Its domination on the world will be achieved by the union of the other human races, through the elimination of frontiers and of monarchies, which are the ramparts of particularism, and through the formation of a worldwide republic, in which the Jews will enjoy their rights everywhere. In this new organization of humanity, the sons of Israel, who are now scattered throughout the world, will be able, without obstacles, to become everywhere the leading element, especially if they manage to place the working masses under the control of certain of their own number. The governments of the peoples constituting the worldwide republic, with the help of the proletariat, without this requiring any effort, will all fall into the hands of the Jews. Private property can then be subject to rulers of Jewish origin, who will control the state goods everywhere. Thus, the promise of the Talmud will be fulfilled, according to which Jews, when the time comes, will possess the keys of the wealth of all the peoples of the world (cf. Revue de Paris, 35, 11, p.574).
That the true Jew is as anti-traditional, with respect to the other peoples of the milieu in which he is, as he is tenaciously attached to what is peculiar to his people and to his tradition, is as singular a paradox as it is instructive. The question therefore is whether the humanitarian and democratic sermons of Judaism are only forms of well-thought-out hypocrisy, in the sense that the freedom dreamt of by the Jew within the leveled and fraternalistic world of the Masonic-liberal ideals, and such milieus, would not correspond to the intention of the Jews to melt and vanish into this subnational pulp, but that this freedom would be instead the necessary condition for an unchecked action, aiming at the affirmation of Israel and at the reversal, in favor of this people, of the relations of subordination which it detested so much in the anti-liberal, traditional world. The fact is that everywhere the Jews were given a free hand, they managed to rapidly attain important positions of command in public life while never ceasing to keep in touch with each other with the tenacious, mutualistic solidarity of a sect. Is it possible — as a mathematician would put it — to “extrapolate” the significance of that fact, and to interpret on this basis the general action of liberal-democratic Judaism? It is certainly a serious question. It amounts to asking whether, behind Judaism as an anti-tradition, more or less linked to any given subversive movement of our epoch, there is a Judaism as tradition, the two being in the same relation with each other as an army is to its clear-minded headquarters. If it was so, we could share the conviction expressed by an expert on Freemasonry, Schwartz-Bostunitsch, in saying : “The secret of Masonry is the Jew.” Here, once again, we do not want to fall into mythology, but only to refer to possible invisible connections which, in the dynamism of the deepest forces of history, may be decisive to the ultimate signification of determinate collective currents, especially when these are not devoid of ritual evocations and reproduce a facsimile of hierarchy, without the energies organized this way having a solid point of reference in visible leaders.
From the practical point of view, it is obvious, whatever the case may be, that one hypothesis leads to the same consequences as the other. Politically and socially, Masonry and Judaism combine into one and the same campaign, against which it is good to fight, whether by doing so one fights simply a humanitarian, leveling utopianism, having its principle and its end in itself, or whether, on the other hand, one may by doing so paralyze one of the main instruments in the service of the occult will-to-power of a race which is not ours, and whose triumph, visible or invisible, could only mean the decline of the highest heritage of the best Indo-European civilization.
1) “Società delle Nazioni: superstato massonico” (“League of Nations : a Masonic Superstate”).
2) Evola must be mistaken, since von Knigge lived in the eighteenth century, not in the nineteenth, as was pointed out by Renato del Ponte. Evola mixed up dates, but this doesn’t mean that he was wrong in attributing to von Knigge this warning against the “infiltration” of Jewish elements into Freemasonry. As a matter of fact, he was initiated into Masonry in 1773, and Weishaupt convinced him later on to join the notorious sect of the Illuminati, which is arguably the core of Masonry, and which he left suddenly in 1784 because of a disagreement with the latter. Now, to listen to Henry Wilson Coil (Coil’s Masonic Encyclopedia, 1961), like many of the “noblemen (who) were found in abundance in the most fraudulent orders in Germany claiming some Masonic connections,” von Knigge “showed little interest in Freemasonry” after his initiation. After all, he wouldn’t have been the first German nobleman or intellectual to realize the harmful nature of Masonry only after having joined it. It is true that, as recalled by Dieter Schwarz, Goethe was raised in 1782 to the Degree of Master and accepted into the Inner Order, but, “By the end of 1782, the Weimar lodge closed its doors due to quarrels which broke out, due to the confusion of lodges, among the lodge brethren. Goethe’s later opinion of Freemasonry is shown by a report written by Goethe in his capacity as Minister Of State to Prince Karl August, when the lodge brothers in Jena filed an application for reinstatement of their lodge in 1807. In it, he stated: Freemasonry creates a State within a State. Wherever it is already present, the government should attempt to rule it and make it harmless. To introduce it where it has not existed is never advisable. Admittedly, in small towns, such as Rudolfstadt for example, such an organization serves a sort of social purpose. Here in Weimar we really don’t need it, and in Jena I consider it dangerous, on the grounds mentioned above and on several others as well. Anyone who could imagine in detail the likely composition of the lodge six months after confirmation would consider the matter distressing.” “That Goethe was not the enthusiastic lodge brother so blithely depicted by the Freemasons is openly admitted by the well known Masonic reference works, General Handbook Of Freemasonry and International Lexicon Of Freemasonry.” “Frederick The Great took part in no lodge meetings after the first year of his reign (1740), and adopted a critical position against various lodge activities during the last years of his life, wishing them to function as bourgeois social associations only (see his letter of 1779 against the application for titles by Freemasons). Lessing and Fichte left the lodges in anger. The Stolberg brothers quit, and Herder, who entered a lodge in Riga in 1766, never acknowledged himself as a Mason in Weimar.” So, why on earth did they join Masonry in the first place? Schwarz gives a plausible explanation: “The humanitarian ideal of antiquity had already been fundamentally misunderstood and distorted by Christianity. Now we see Freemasonry take over the same concept and turn it into an ideology denying all nations and races, in crass contradiction to the racially based concepts of antiquity. In the doctrinal declarations of Freemasonry, insofar as any were issued, this contradiction was, at any rate, not very obvious. To the enlightened spirits of the time, Freemasonry must have appeared to be an ideal merger of the best. This is why Frederick the Great, Goethe, Herder, Klopstock, Fichte, Lessing, and many others entered the temples of the lodges.” One may argue that the true ideal of antiquity was not a “humanitarian” one, and they were thus victims of their own illusions in entering Masonic lodges. However, they soon realized their mistake, unlike Potocki and many other figures of a European nobility which, in its combination of Enlightenment rationalism and romantic thirst for anything syncretistically esoteric and generically oriental, that is, at the end of the day, in its immature cerebral search for exoticism in any form, deserves to be called “degenerate.”
3) Acacia is one of the main symbols of Masonry, as acknowledged in “Morals and Dogma” by none other than Albert Pike (whose writings, let’s bear in mind, are extracted to a large extent from the books of the French magician, Eliphas Levi): “Masonry still retains among its emblems one of a woman weeping over a broken column, holding in her hand a branch of acacia, myrtle, or tamarisk (…)”. The sprig of Acacia plays a central part in the third degree ritual; a sprig of Acacia is sometimes laid in graves or on caskets at Masonic funerals, and it is also seen on the 14th Degree cordon. As a matter of fact, in ancient Egypt, from which Masonry claims to have borrowed a large part of its imagery, the thorn of acacia was conceived of as a symbol of the birth-and-death mother-goddess Neith. In the Old Testament, from which Masonry also took much to add to the decoration of its lodges, the Acacia is said to have been used in the building of the Tabernacle (Exodus: 26) and of the Ark of the Covenant (Exodus: 37). According to some sources, the crown which Jesus-Christ wore on his crucifixion was made of acacia thorns, and his cross was made of acacia wood.
What is less well-known is that an acacia tree, or a cluster of acacia trees, is the symbol of Al-Uzza, an Arabic goddess who rules birth, death, marriage, warfare, raids, the Zodiac, the change of the seasons, the course of heavenly bodies, and Venus as the morning star. Green, her sacred color, was adopted by Islam as its own favorite color. Meteorites, such as, for instance, the black stone in the Ka’aba (“cube”), are her sacred stones. Al-Uzza received blood offerings, sacrifices of humans and animals. The acacia, as we have just pointed out, is her sacred tree. It is under an acacia tree that the companions of Muhammad took a pledge of fidelity (known as Ba’ait al-Ridwan — “Pledge of Good Pleasure”) to him the day before the signing of the Treaty of Hudaibiya, a treaty which brought about the political victory of Islam throughout Arabia.