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Edmond Picard's anti-Semitic articles in L'Art Moderne 1887-88

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  • Edmond Picard's anti-Semitic articles in L'Art Moderne 1887-88

    In Belgium, as elsewhere in Europe, critiques of Capitalism often invoked anti-Semitism. Perhaps nowhere in Belgium did this take a more antagonistic form than in the writings of Edmond Picard, the lawyer and Socialist politician who helped to lead Les XX. In 1887-88, he published a series of increasingly strident articles in L'Art Moderne about biblical scholarship in which he enumerated supposed differences between the "Semitic race" and the European, "Aryan race.". After representing the Jews of antiquity as barbaric and superstitious, he enlisted contemporary research in an attempt to prove that Semitic "racial characteristics persist" from antiquity until the present, among which he counted financial rapaciousness and a tendency to "grow upon the life forces of Aryan nations." These short essays later formed the basis for two lengthy volumes by Picard in the early 1890s, Synthése de l'Antisémitisme (1892) and L'Aryano-Semitisme (1898). He began the former book by attempting to demonstrate that the two great social problems facing Europeans in the late nineteenth century, "the Social question" and "the Jewish question," were intertwined, and that Jewish interests threatened to dominate European ("Aryan") culture. Picard was only the most vocal of many members of anti-Capitalist groups (Octave Maus was another) who called for a redistribution of power and resources through the deployment of racialism and anti-Semitism.
    Patricia G. Berman, James Ensor - Christ's Entry into Brussels in 1889, pp. 59-60

    Portrait of Edmond Picard ca 1900.
    (*V*)

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