Facing History and Yourself
Discrimination Places “Them” Beyond “Our” Universe of Obligation.
Every nation has a universe of obligation—the individuals and groups for whose welfare the government is responsible, whose rights are respected, and in whose name justice is sought. Those that have been placed outside that universe of obligation cannot count on the government to speak or act on their behalf. In the 1800s, some Jews formed groups to protect themselves in an increasingly hostile world. In 1860, for example, a few French Jews created the Universal Israelite Alliance to aid their fellow Jews through education, publicity, and diplomacy. Their early successes led to the founding of similar organizations in Britain, Austria, Germany, and the United States. Those very successes, however, also inspired new myths of Jewish conspiracies and false charges of Jewish disloyalty.