“Interest on debts grows without rain.”-Yiddish Proverb
Some things never change, and one of these things seems to be the Jewish connection to usury. During a recent conversation with a good friend who now finds himself at the sharp end of the financial downturn, he mentioned having been forced to turn to the ‘services” of what has become known as a “payday loan” company. The relatively small, short-term, unsecured loans offered by these companies, to those struggling to hold onto the socio-economic ladder, very often come with eye-watering rates of interest. As the conversation continued, my friend despondently informed me that because of the rate of interest on his current loan, when the end of the month came he was in all likelihood going to be facing the prospect of paying off his loan only to have to immediately take out another.
He was trapped. Looking at this younger man, who also has a baby on the way, I offered to cover the totality of the interest on this particular loan on one condition: that he avoids at all costs taking out another loan. He gratefully accepted my offer, but I couldn’t help but feel that it won’t be long before the allure of quick (but expensive) cash begins to tug at him once more.
Cicero once remarked on “how large an income is thrift,” and I would also echo the sentiment that thrift is a matter of character more than of economics. But more immediately pressing to me in this case was the fact that although my young friend believed he was dealing with a fairly small-scale operation, with a “down-home” feel, he was in fact becoming ensnared in an international web that thrives and feeds on people just like him — the hard-working but economically weak victims of “the system.” The small storefront instant loan operations in your hometown, or the comforting names of the seemingly small-scale online lender, are simply the extremities of this web. Sitting at the feast table of this feeding frenzy on the working poor are a large number of businessmen who hail from an ethnic community which has a long, rich, and unbroken history in precisely this line of work. Regardless of those screeching cries of ‘stereotype,” this history is a well-documented one, and with the publication of this article I hope it will be documented better still. Moreover, I might add, despite the obfuscations of those with obvious bias, this particular tribe has more often than not engaged in this trade out of choice. After all, unlike crops which require toil, sweat, rootedness and, yes, rain, interest grows simply and incessantly with the tick of the clock.
Nevertheless, in order to counter any allegations of “prejudice” which this article may attract, I draw attention to the painstaking research which I have undertaken into the companies and individuals detailed below, and I ask simply that the facts I am about to adduce be left to speak for themselves. I aim, primarily, to explode the idea that the link between Jews and exploitative finance is a myth or a stereotype. With a historical survey, as well as detailed factual evidence on a large number of contemporary individuals, companies and business practices I hope to establish the premise that there is occurring in our midst a vast and detrimental transfer of wealth and resources from non-Jews to Jews, and that this is occurring via the employment of age-old methods. I will detail, and provide evidence for, the typical features of these methods, the most starkly apparent of which is financial fraud. In the third part of this essay. I will offer my thoughts on what might be done, as well as broader reflections on the nature of economic contact between Jews and non-Jewish over historical time.
In Separation and Its Discontents Kevin MacDonald notes that a common situation resulting in accusations of economic domination “was the tendency for Jews to be involved in moneylending to gentiles.” MacDonald states that moneylending was “a very potent source of anti-Semitic writing in traditional societies.” Seen as inherently exploitative, moneylending evoked an even more negative reaction when pursued by “an ethnic group whose separation from the borrowing class was obvious and many members of which were engaged in this profession.” The ethnocentric nature of Jewish communities and their position as alien agents of the elite contributed to perceptions that moneylending was itself a form of inter-tribal warfare. In fact, Jewish historian Robert Chazan has argued that the perception was rife during the medieval period in Europe that “Jewish moneylending was a vehicle through which Jews carried on their never-ending struggle against Christianity and Christians.”
Moneylending became, in several respects, the focal point of non-Jewish protests against Jewish successes in resource competition. Haim Hillel Ben-Sassoon remarks in Economic History of the Jews that from the twelfth to the fifteenth centuries “usury became the main source of livelihood” for Jews across Europe, and that as a result “anti-Jewish persecutions acquired an economic as well as religious character.” Acts of violence which had an outwardly religious motivation, such as the so-called “Blood Libel,” were in fact much more closely linked to extortionate local Jewish moneylending operations, and the desire of the peasantry both to escape debt and to receive some sort of absolution by doing it in the name of piety. The period did, however, witness a growing literary and artistic link between Jews, blood and money, as artists, writers and public figures drew allegories depicting money as the “life blood” of society which was being drained exclusively for Jewish benefit. A great example of the confluences involved in an artistic expression is a six-part praedella by Paolo Ucello.
Paolo Uccello (1397-1475), Praedella of Profanation of the Host
The image depicts a Jewish pawnbroker’s home. There is blood emanating in the background, and seeping under the door, where the moneylender has evidently attempted to cook the Host — the body of Jesus in Catholic theology. Angry citizens attempt to beat down the door, presumably to protect the Host and exact their revenge.
The work was commissioned by the local Confraternity of the Holy Sacrament, but its religious element was likely to have been of only tangential significance to everyday people. As Jay Berkovitz concedes, the charge of Host desecration, and the related charge of ritual murder, were very often just convenient “excuses for popular anti-Jewish uprisings.” However, I should myself concede that some of these incidents may well have been solely provoked by accusations of Host desecration, although I should further add that at least some of the accusations are likely to have had some factual foundation. For example, as late as 1908 a Jewish professor from Austria named Feilbogen, along with his wife and sister-in-law, received international notoriety when, during a visit to Rome, they received communion from the Pope only for all three to immediately spit the wafer onto the floor. (See the Washington Herald’s coverage of the story here). The incident prompted a major damage-limitation effort by Jews internationally. Authorities at Felibogen’s university immediately took steps to remove him from his academic post, at which point the undoubtedly insincere Jew expressed his desire to convert to Catholicism in order to atone for his behavior.
Real incidents of Host desecration aside, most acts of violence against Jews in the period were the direct result of economic factors, and ethnic rivalry in resource competition. Despite the relative frequency of non-Jewish reactions against exploitation by Jews and the non-Jewish elite, the practice of usury remained attractive to Europe’s Jews throughout that period, suggesting that the benefits of the Jewish strategy and position in European society considerably outweighed potential negative outcomes. On the most basic level, moneylending enabled Jews to acquire sufficient resources for population growth — a key marker of success in any evolutionary strategy. As Chazan expresses it:
To be sure this specialization [moneylending] was costly in multiple ways. … On the other hand, the moneylending speciality did permit the eventual growth of the Jewish population of medieval western Christendom, which was a major positive development in medieval Jewish history.
Rather than small-scale, localized, acts of violence, the biggest threat appended to moneylending was the threat of expulsion in the event of a failure of the alliance with native European elites. Since elite protection was crucial to compensate for the socially odious position in which Jews plied their widely despised trade, the removal of state protection normally marked the cessation of Jewish activity and habitation in that location. This normally occurred in the form of rapid and complete expulsion. In England, for example, Jews persisted in moneylending until the tension among the peasantry (and later the nobility) reached such an unbearable level that Edward III was forced to pass severe anti-usury laws in 1275. When Italians were called in by the English to fill the position of moneylender, the Jews finally turned to coin-clipping. This was the practice of trimming small amounts of precious metal from coins and then returning them to circulation, before melting down the trimmings to make new coins and thereby creating money from nothing. It was the discovery of large-scale Jewish coin-clipping operations, and the now economically useless position of the Jews, that led to a Royal edict of expulsion in 1290.
In Regensburg, probably typical of Rhenish and south German cities, Jews had been gradually expanding moneylending operations from 1250 to 1400. This lending was mainly provided for the municipality, the nobility and the clergy. After 1400, lending switched for the first time to the lower orders of society, as it had in England much earlier. Ben-Sassoon remarks that “knights, burghers and artisans pawned objects for short terms, and borrowed small sums at high rates of interest.” As in England, tension slowly increased until all Jews were expelled from the city in 1519. Elsewhere in Germany, where Jewish communities were permitted to settle, surviving municipal charters from the 13th to 15th centuries show that “articles regulating moneylending” were implemented in all localities in which Jews came to dwell. Concern at restricting Jewish lending practices is evident across Europe in the same period. In Italy, the activities of Jewish moneylenders were regulated by the condotta, conditions set out in charter treaties between municipalities or rulers and Jewish lenders. They fixed interest rates and set down as law the principle that the charge of interest was never to exceed the value of the pledge. The first privilege granted to Jews in Poland in 1264 contained similar restrictions.
With the rise of conventional banking in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and the drift of the wealthiest Jewish moneylenders into that sphere of economic activity, the importance of “traditional” Jewish moneylending declined in importance. It also began to diversify in its expression, as Jewish innovations in trade such as payment for goods “on credit” provided Jews with a means of remaining in the loan business but this time less obviously because of the involvement of goods. In Eastern Europe, where trade was less developed, moneylending and the deriving of income from credit were most often practised by the ubiquitous Jewish tavern owner. Since the late fifteenth century elites in many Eastern European states had given Jews “an exclusive monopoly on the production and sale of alcohol.”
The Jewish alcohol monopoly was associated with Jewish credit and loan facilitation, forming an almost inescapable social web in which the peasants were entangled. A report from Minsk to the Czar in 1797 explained peasant poverty as the fault of “landowners who keep Jews under leases in taverns in their villages. … By selling liquor to the peasants on credit … the Jews lead them into squalor.” The monopoly was also widely associated with fraud. In Hungary, for example, a commonly held stereotype was that of a Jewish tavern owner who entices the local peasantry to drink on credit. The drunken peasant quickly loses count of how many drinks he has had, and is forced, along with enduring a hangover the following morning, to accept the Jew’s tally as legitimate. Tension over the sale of alcohol on credit, as well as Jewish financial malpractice, reached such a fever pitch in the 1780s that at one point Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor, proposed cancelling all Jewish-held tavern permits across the nation.
When many of these tavern-owning Jews emigrated west from Russia and the surrounding countries in the nineteenth century, they brought with them this extensive experience in credit and loans. Although no longer able to corner the market in alcohol production and sale, the same financial skills were applied to retail, in the form of payment for goods on the instalment system, and the trade in cash (pawn-broking and conventional moneylending). Pawn-broking in particular had a long history among the Jews of Europe, and especially in Italy where Raymond Scheindlin states it “often provided the entire raison d’être for a Jewish community.” Jewish involvement in moneylending and pawn broking was also accompanied by a strong strategic drive to achieve Jewish monopoly in these economic areas. Indeed, the famous humanist Antonio Ferrari, known as Galateo (1444–1517), pointed out that Neapolitan Jews engaged in trade and free professions but “enjoyed an actual monopoly in the lending business.”
It was also, thanks to Jewish lobbying, a legally enforced monopoly. Leon Poliakov traces the monopoly in fifteenth-century Italy to efforts where Jewish communities successfully lobbied local elites for exclusive rights to conduct these businesses, with the result that “to start with, pawn-broker’s licenses for Christians were no longer renewed. Then at the end of 1437 the monopoly of lending was granted to a Jewish group.”
Likewise, when mass Jewish emigration to the United States occurred, beginning in the 1850s, pawn-broking very quickly became dominated by Jewish immigrants as family networks and interest-free loans between Jews facilitated the buying up of the industry. A New York Times report in 1866 on the trade in stolen goods observed that Jews had “a monopoly of the pawnbroking business in this City.” Wendy Woloson notes in her excellent history of pawning in America that in the United States, by 1860, “pawnbrokers and resale traders in most cities were predominantly Jewish, and extended inter- and infra-familial involvement in various sectors of the used goods business was fairly common.”
One such family operation was the early twentieth-century Sam’s Loans, once located on Michigan Avenue in Detroit. Today you can watch Sam’s grandson, Les Gold, operate his own store, American Jewelry and Loan, on truTV’s Hardcore Pawn. Still in the family business, Les and his children can be witnessed charging high levels of interest to an overwhelmingly poor, African-American clientele. Even cursory searches for information on the show turn up a high number of articles and comments on the allegedly racist picture it conveys. But since the show is apparently unscripted one must accept that the financial practices of the Gold’s and the low-IQ and high level of aggression of their clients should be accepted at face value. Having watched a few episodes now, I can state that it’s a bizarre mix of trash TV and enlightening racial anthropology.
As in the past, money-orientated Jews have been eager to take new opportunities to diversify and complicate the way in which they persist in the business of creating money from nothing. From coin-clipping to offering poor quality loans on the goods of their customers they have rarely spurned innovation, and this has been apparent with both the boom in storefront lending, and in the relatively new online moneylending model. It is with these new “business models” in mind that we now turn our attention to Jewish moneylending today.
One of the standout stars of the online moneylending business is Al Goldstein, a Jew from Uzbekistan who arrived in America with his family in 1988. Goldstein is the co-founder and CEO of AvantCredit.com, one of America’s fastest growing online providers of consumer loans. After securing more than $1 billion in funding, AvantCredit was the most funded company in Chicago in 2014. The company has issued more than 100,000 loans operating in 46 U.S. states and in the United Kingdom where it has operated under the brand SpringCoin.co.uk. But these aren’t the only strands in Goldstein’s web. A major trait of these Jewish moneylending mega-operations is that they start off with a single company and then spawn innumerable new branches and brand names over time. In such ways, the ownership and liabilities for these companies quickly becomes obscured. For example, Goldstein was also co-founder, President and CEO of CashNetUSA, which then changed its name to Enova International, from 2004 until 2008. Enova trades under several more company names in Canada (Dollars Direct), Australia (Dollars Direct Australia), and Great Britain, where it operates as QuickQuid, Pounds to Pocket and also On Stride Financial. As for where Goldstein might put some of his “rainless crop,” I note that Goldstein is an “active member” of the America Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).
Unlike most White Americans, who look on with horror at the declining fortunes of the American middle class, Goldstein sees opportunity in it. In 2009 he started Pangea Properties in order buy thousands of foreclosing properties. This Uzbek Jew now owns more than 10,000 homes previously in the hands of debt-saddled Americans. Enova has been recorded boasting that “demand in the consumer segment we serve has been influenced by several demographic and socioeconomic trends, including an overall increase in the population and stagnant to declining growth in the household income for this segment.” It touts a recent National Bureau of Economic Research survey in which nearly half of U.S. consumers said they couldn’t come up with $2,000 in emergency funds even if they had a month to do so. They predict more and more citizens will be turning to them for financial “assistance,” and Goldstein’s operation has been described as “ideal” by Dan and Bob Wolfberg, the co-founders of another Chicago-based loan firm, PLS Financial Services Inc. Another increasingly influential player in the American online moneylending game is LendUp, founded in 2011 in San Francisco by Sasha Orloff and Jacob Rosenberg.
Online lending hasn’t just been pioneered by Jews in relation to small loans. One of the major contributing factors in the economic crash was the advent in 2000 of easy online mortgage loans. One of the biggest companies in this area of moneylending is Quicken Loans. Quicken is owned by Daniel Gilbert, whom Wikipedia describes as “born to a Jewish family in Detroit.” Quicken Loans was originally called Rock Financial Mortgage when it was founded in 1985 by Gilbert and his younger brother Gary, along with fellow co-ethnics Ron Berman and Lindsay Gross. Gilbert’s firm has done well out of the economic devastation that has befallen Detroit, and as of last year it remains America’s second biggest mortgage lender. Although Gilbert has been careful to try to maintain a clean image of his company, Quicken has attracted several federal lawsuits. In particular, CBS has reported that employees have come forward with information to the effect that the company was heavily involved in the kind of reckless, illegal lending that typified lending behavior in the run-up to the housing crash. Employees interviewed by federal authorities have accused the company of using high-pressure salesmanship to target elderly and vulnerable homeowners, as well as misleading borrowers about their loans, and falsifying property appraisals and other information to push through bad deals. … A group of ex-employees, meanwhile, have gone to federal court to accuse Quicken of abusing workers and customers alike. In court papers, former salespeople claim Quicken executives managed by bullying and intimidation, pressuring them to falsify borrowers’ incomes on loan applications and to push overpriced deals on desperate or unwary homeowners.
A former loan salesman at Quicken has reported that senior figures in the company put employees under pressure to “lock the customer into a higher interest rate, even if they qualified for a lower rate, and roll hidden fees into the loan.” In 2010 a West Virginia court found Quicken guilty of fraud for misleading a mortgage borrower, gouging her on fees and wrongly inflating the value of her home. The judge overseeing the case described the company’s conduct in the case as “unconscionable.” Quicken appealed the decision, only to be hit with $3.5 million in punitive damages for continuing to avoid dealing fairly with the customer. Like Al Goldstein, Gilbert is generous when it comes to his fellow Jews. When not engaged in immoral lending practices, Gilbert is keenly involved in the US Friends of the Israeli Defense Force and sits on the Israeli and Overseas Committee of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit.
But Quicken wasn’t even the worst of the sub-prime mortgage lenders. The consensus is that one of the most predatory was Ameriquest, founded in 1979 in California by Roland Arnall. Wikipedia states that Arnall was born in Paris, France in 1939 to “Eastern European Jews.” Ameriquest wasn’t the first thing founded by Arnall. Like Goldstein and Gilbert, Arnall was a pillar of the Jewish community. Two years before founding Ameriquest, Arnall, a “long-time supporter of Israel,” helped found the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles. Arnall wasn’t so charitable or honest when it came to non-Jews using his company to buy a home. Arnall’s Wikipedia entry states that by the end of 2005 two of Arnall’s companies, Ameriquest and Argent, had funded almost $75 billion in bad subprime loans. A major factor in the development and growth of his companies was yet another Jewish credit “innovation”: Arnall is widely acknowledged as having originated the “stated income loan,” often called “liar loans,” because they were loans given without verification of income.
These loans were then bundled by major Wall St. financial firms, certified as investment-grade securities by companies like Standard and Poor’s, and then sold to investors who lost billions, resulting in the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Recently Standard and Poor’s agreed to a fine of $1.37 billion because they were paid by companies whose securities they were rating. This means that the total paid out by American financial institutions for malfeasance leading up to the financial crisis is $40 billion — widely considered a slap on the wrist given the profits involved, the ongoing damage caused, and the fact that “not one top executive at S.&P., or any major Wall Street firm, was charged criminally for the misdeeds during the era.” Quite obviously, there can be no trust in our financial elites. As Matt Taibi noted (see here), “The real problem is that it doesn’t matter what regulations are in place if the people running the economy are rip-off artists. The system assumes a certain minimum level of ethical behavior and civic instinct over and above what is spelled out by the regulations. If those ethics are absent — well, this thing isn’t going to work, no matter what we do. ”
In Chain of Blame: How Wall Street Caused the Mortgage and Credit Crisis, Paul Muolo and Matthew Padilla state that at least thirty per cent of Arnall’s business was based on “stated-income or limited-documentation mortgages.” A fellow financial predator was reported by the authors as stating: “[Arnall] plays by his own rules. He’s the guy who started stated-income loans, the guy who started no-documentation loans.” By 2005 Ameriquest stood accused of misrepresenting and failing to disclose loan terms, charging excessive loan origination fees and inflating appraisals to qualify borrowers for loans. Despite costing the United States billions of dollars, playing an instrumental part in bringing the nation to its knees, and throwing untold numbers of hard-working American families into pits of despair, in early 2006 the company was permitted to pay just $325 million in a settlement with state attorneys general and law enforcement agencies and financial regulators in 49 states and the District of Columbia. This criminal, who brought so much damage to America, was then inexplicably made a US Ambassador to the Netherlands from 2006 until his death in 2008.
Or, perhaps, it’s more explicable than we might think given that Arnall was one of the biggest donors for pro-Israel neoconservative Republicans, and an especially lavish contributor to George W. Bush and California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. As an example of the distance between the elite and the people, when challenged on Arnall’s funding, Schwarzenegger explained that the sources of Ameriquest’s ill-gotten gains “are not our area of concern” — which would best be translated as “ordinary Americans are not our area of concern.”
Like his fellow Jewish financial predators, Arnall spared no expense when it came to supporting Jewish interests with his “rainless crop ”(see also “The Sandlers and the Arnalls: The sub-prime meltdown funds Jewish political activism.”) According to Judaic Studies teacher Rabbi Aaron Parry, he gave tens of millions of dollars to charity every year, including to “every single Jewish educational organization in [Los Angeles], regardless of denomination.” Arnall was also instrumental in buying land and homes from Arabs near the Western Wall in Jerusalem, in order to sell them cheaply to Jews who wanted to live there. Utlimately it was a simple formula — take homes from Americans in the U.S., give them to Jews in Israel.
Returning to the thriving industry of small-scale, high-interest, online moneylending, the title of kingpin probably goes to multi-millionaire Jeffrey Weiss. Weiss, 71, is the chief executive of Dollar Financial or DFC Global Corp, a US-based payday lender which is expanding rapidly in Canada (where it operates under the name of Money Mart) and Britain, where it assumes several trading names. Britain has attracted these international Jewish lenders because for a long time the country, unlike increasing numbers of American states, had no limits on what interest rates could be charged. Looking at some articles from the UK, it’s clear that Dollar Financial owns The Money Shop, with 370 stores across the nation. It charges 1,311% annual interest on 30-day loans and made £33 million ($51 million) profits last year, up 21% from the previous year. Dollar Financial also owns online lenders Payday UK and Payday Express, which charges 1297% APR interest on loans of up to £800 ($1200). Profits at Payday Express more than tripled last year to £4.9 million ($7.5 million).
Because more and more US states were taking action on the interest rates charged by the companies operated by Dollar Financial, Weiss turned his attention overseas: “We have dramatically diversified out of the US where the regulatory environment … is at best unclear. We have diversified into geographies like Canada and the UK with relatively little competition where we can build a dominant market position.” Weiss calls his customers “Alice” — “asset-limited, income-constrained, employed.” “Because they are under skilled and undereducated, the opportunity for them to advance above that income bracket is very limited.” So he tempts them with easy but crippingly expensive cash.
Cash comes easier to Weiss, however. On top of his basic salary of $1 million annually, Dollar Financial also pays Weiss’s $34,000 country club membership last year and his $17,000 tax and legal bill. He also doesn’t need to worry about his company’s interest rates. In 2005, Dollar forgave Weiss $2.3 million in interest on a loan he had from the company, believed to be for more than $15 million. This comes on top of other benefits far too numerous to cite here, but available for the viewing of the curious.
America may be a net importer of goods and services, but the payday lending industry dominated is becoming one of the nation’s fastest growing exports. Payday lending, pioneered by Jewish financiers, has spread like a weed into most of the Western economies in the developed world. Weiss and DFC lead the way with subsidiaries in the U.S., the U.K., the Czech Republic, Spain, Poland, Scandinavia, and Canada. Not to be outdone, their rival EZCorp has stores in almost thirty countries. By far the most influential shareholder on the EZCorp board is Phillip Cohen. According to Wikipedia Cohen is an Australian private equity investor with a background at Kuhn Loeb and Oppenheimer & Co. After taking advice from fellow co-ethnics, and notorious fraudsters, Michael Milken and Ivan Boesky, Cohen founded Morgan Schiff & Co. Cohen then became majority and then exclusive shareholder of voting stock for EZCorp.
Among its American assets, Cohen’s EZCorp has a portfolio which includes EZ Pawn, Pawn Plus, Value Pawn and Jewelry, Premier Pawn and Jewelry, USA Pawn and Jewelry Company, Easy Cash Solutions, Jerry’s Pawn Shop, and CashMax Payday Loans. Internationally, it also owns Cash Amigo in Mexico, as well as the Cash Converters International Brand. EZ Corp has joined the U.K. feeding frenzy by offering the online payday lending “service” Cash Genie. As well as coming under criticism for charging annual interest rates of 2,986% on its loans, Cash Genie has been forced to repay money to its customers after the Financial Conduct Authority found that the company applied unauthorized charges to customer accounts and permitted customers to become indebted far beyond their means.
But the problems faced by Cohen’s U.K. customers are merely the tip of the iceberg. Newspaper reports suggest three-and-a-half million British adults are considering taking out an extortionate payday loan over the next six months as almost half the population struggle in the aftermath of a crisis instigated by the likes of Arnall and Gilbert. The number of people who run out of cash before the month is up has increased by seven percentage points since this time last year. Payday loan companies are now worth more than $3 billion a year, with some lenders charging interest rates of more than 4,000%, leaving borrowers drowning in debt.
As well as the intrusions of American Jews into the British loan market, the country also has a number of “home-grown” online moneylenders. They all have friendly names such as Wonga, Mr Lender, and Uncle Buck. Mr Lender styles himself “Your Friend Until Payday.” But who is Mr Lender? The founder and owner of the company is Adam Freeman, a member of the South West Essex and Settlement Reform Synagogue who was also selected for the U.K.’s version of The Apprentice. Even with new laws and restrictions, Mr Lender still charges 1,269.6% APR on his loans, so I’m pretty sure that come payday he really won’t be your friend any longer.
By far the most notorious “domestic” online moneylender in Britain is Wonga. It was the astonishing 5,853% rate on Wonga’s annual loans that finally prompted the British government to begin closing the loopholes which permitted the moneylender’s feeding frenzy on the British people. Wonga, which still charges annual interest rates of 1,509%, was founded by two South African Jews, Errol Damelin and Jonty Hurwitz. According to his Wikipedia entry, Damelin “grew up in a Jewish family where he attended the University of Cape Town. Following his graduation in 1992 he immigrated to Israel. He began his career working as a corporate finance banker at an Israeli bank that later merged into Israel Discount Bank.” He founded Wonga in 2007, with the company soon attracting criticism for “fraud and the exploitation of the most vulnerable in society.” Among the company’s practices was the forging of legal letters in order to terrorize customers into paying ever higher fees. Because such practices are completely illegal the company was later subject to a criminal investigation.
Like a rat deserting a sinking ship, Damelin stepped down from his leadership at Wonga (retaining shares) just two weeks before the company was due to be hit with new regulations from the Financial Conduct Authority as well as a $4 million compensation demand. As of November 2014, however, Wonga had yet to pay thousands of customers.
Damelin isn’t as tardy when it comes to supporting Jewish interests. He is active in supporting Jewish charities such as World Jewish Relief and Jewish Care, but when challenged by the press over the way in which his company treats British customers, he disclosed “that he felt no moral personal issues relating to Wonga’s much criticised trading ethics.”
Those finding themselves in the grasp of the online moneylenders are often forced to turn to those in another burgeoning but related industry — businesses built on consumer debt relief and debt consolidation. For example, you might turn to the services of Consolidated Credit Counseling Services Inc., one of America’s largest credit-counseling firms. In 2013 it generated $31 million in revenue. It’s more than a little interesting, however, that Consolidated is owned and operated by David Dvorkin, who also has financial interests in the very same payday lending companies that get his customers into trouble in the first place, thereby benefiting from both sides of the financial trap. Apparently this is no big deal to Dvorkin, who counters press enquiries on the matter with sob stories about his father dying the week before his bar mitzvah. My heart bleeds.
Some of the money funding the expansion of Jewish payday loan companies might come from surprising sources. For example, Bloomberg reports that money from Harvard University has been implicated in a number of suspect ventures (“Secret Network Connects Harvard Money to Payday Loans”). In 2007, Vector Capital, a fund operated by San Francisco Jewish financier Alex Slusky was tasked by Harvard and other investors with raising $1.2 billion to buy and turn around struggling software companies. Slusky instead worked with co-ethnics, and fellow Venture comrades, Robert and Daniel Ziff to build “a network of payday-lending websites, using corporations set up in Belize and the Virgin Islands that obscured their involvement and circumvented U.S. usury laws.” Employees connected to the scam claim that Slusky was behind “CashYes.com, CashJar.com and at least four other payday-loan websites.” Although Slusky refused to respond to e-mailed media enquiries, and actually hung up when called for comment, I note that the companies quickly disappeared after Bloomberg’s exposé.
As well as luring in the vulnerable with online mortgages and small loans, Jews have also been reaping the “rainless crop” via online gambling. One of the pioneers and biggest players in the online poker industry was Isai Scheinberg, an “Israeli-Canadian” former programmer for IBM. Scheinberg is the co-founder and former co-owner (with his son Mark Scheinberg) of PokerStars “the largest online poker cardroom in the world.” In United States v. Isai Scheinberg et al., federal authorities accused Scheinberg, along with associates and co-ethnics Howard Lederer and Rafael Furst, of extensive fraud and money laundering. The case concerned the fate of approximately $3 billion in assets; authorities sought prison terms for all the executives concerned, apart from Mark Scheinberg. One of the named executives, Ira Rubin, attempted to flee to Guatamala, but was arrested there on Monday, April 25, 2011. Rubin was subsequently sentenced to three years in prison, with the judge remarking: “You are an unreformed con man and fraudster.” Isai Scheinberg is still under indictment in the U.S., but has relocated himself and PokerStars to the Isle of Man, a self-governing British Crown dependency in the Irish Sea. He recently became a billionaire after selling the company to the Canada-based Amaya group. But some things never change, and the Chairman and CEO of gambling conglomerate Amaya is another co-ethnic, David Baazov. Baazov has been described by Jewish Business Week as the new “king of online gambling.”
Online gambling, like online moneylending, is currently one of the world’s largest growth markets. And given what we have discussed above, it is perhaps not all that surprising that Israel is emerging as a global center for online gambling companies. In fact, some commentators have credited Israel with “essentially creating the online gambling industry back in the 1990s.” Although Israelis are banned from targeting their own people with these websites, this has not prevented them from “catering” to gamblers abroad. Some of the biggest names in the online gambling industry are Israeli, such as Playtech, the world’s largest online gaming software supplier. Other well-known online gambling companies that maintain a sizeable presence in the Jewish State include 888, Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment, William Hill Online, Ladbrokes Digital, and Caesars Interactive Entertainment.
As online moneylending and gambling takes off, adding to the financial woes of consumers, more and more Americans, Europeans, Canadians and Australians will fall into the hands of the Jewish CEOs and companies I have listed. These citizens will descend into an inescapable spiral of debt. Across America, household debt is increasing at an alarming rate. It now approaches $12 trillion. Both Canada and Australia have household debt figures that are higher even than those in the United States. In the UK, household debt is predicted to grow three times faster than salaries over the next four years.
The flies are struggling in the web, but become only ever more fastened to it. I therefore contend that the Jewish CEOs and companies listed above, along with their “innovations,” fraudulent procedures, and practice of dual ethics represents a clear and present danger to the wealth, interests, and well-being of our societies.
Josephus, the first-century Jewish “historian,” anticipated many of his co-ethnic apologists in Against Apion, his two-volume defense of Judaism. In it, Josephus contested the early reputation for Jewish economic unscrupulousness, arguing that robbery “is alien to us, as are wars for enrichment, since we delight not in merchandise or the world of trade.”
Two thousand years later, Abraham Foxman would write another blanket denial of reality in Jews and Money: Story of a Stereotype. Although only spending about 5% of the book even discussing the nature and impact of Jewish wealth (the remainder predictably advocating harsh restrictions on free speech), Foxman makes the ridiculous claim that “Jews are just another ethnic minority, with both winners and loser in the race for economic success.” As a true reflection of the nature of Jewish economic activity through the ages, this clearly leaves a lot to be desired. Thus, although separated by two millennia, Josephus and Foxman both have the same basic exhortation: “Move along. Nothing to see here.”
But of course there is something to see here, and that “something” is the story of the Jewish quest for the “rainless crop” — for the money to be made from money, from coin-shavings, or from air. Time and again, as many of these people have admitted or even boasted, Jews have been at the forefront of innovations in debt. Loans for monarchs, knights and peasants in England. Credit for alcohol in deepest Russia. Expensive credit and the instalment plan for cheaply made goods in Germany. Pawnbroking in Chicago. The stated income loan across America. Online moneylending throughout the West. Online gambling around the globe. They pioneered and expanded these spheres of economic activity and they remain its largest beneficiaries. I’ve established with ease that those billionaires who sit at the very top are loyal to those of their own ethnicity and comparably heartless to the millions of their customers who aren’t members of their impeccably moral tribe and “Light unto the Nations.” Jewish financial conduct, as well as reactions to it from within the Jewish community, are rife with ethnocentric cooperation and the age-old practice of dual ethics.
Among the businessmen and companies listed here, there is a high level of within-group altruism. Hundreds of Jewish charities and organizations, as well as the State of Israel and Israeli occupiers in Palestinian land, are very much benefiting from the vast transfer of wealth from needy non-Jews to these companies. (Relatedly, the theme of Jewish financial criminals and their contributions being welcomed in the Jewish community appears in my series on Marc Rich (see also Edmund Connelly’s “The Culture of Deceit”)). This raises uncomfortable, but vitally important, questions about the level of responsibility which should be shouldered by the Jewish community as a whole for the actions of those they refuse to condemn, or even ostracize. In fact, it is extremely concerning that these figures are held up as heroes by those within the Jewish community, and that Errol Damelin was even invited to give a business seminar by Jewish Care, the largest Jewish health and charitable society in London, which last year held “An Evening with Wonga.” The concept of “collective guilt” is one normally much-favored by organized Jewry, particularly in relation to the German people. But the Jewish refusal to accept responsibility for the hundreds of thousands of miscreants within their ranks, and their eager acceptance of ill-gotten funds, reveals more about the character of the majority of that population than any number of TOO essays could ever convey.
Outside the group, there is apparently little concern for the interests of the millions of non-Jewish customers who have fallen into these “innovative” economic traps. Desperate and unwary American homeowners were sold expensive mortgage deals by Gilbert, and Arnall’s Ameriquest lured in the vulnerable with the stated income loan. Millions were put in fear by Wonga’s fake legal letters. Many more were duped into paying hidden fees and added costs, and they continue to labor under high interest rates which plunge them deeper into the cycle of debt.
It is a heart-breaking fact that our elites turn a selfish blind-eye to the suffering of their people, arguing, like Schwarzenegger did, that it is not “an area of our concern.” Whites are everywhere abandoned by their leaders. Hundreds of thousands of American men, women and children have been thrown onto the streets. I have a vivid personal memory of seeing this hardship from last summer. My wife, mercifully a thrifty woman, wanted to go touring garage sales one weekend and we cast our net a little wider than usual, ending up wandering through some small towns in the area of Washington State along the Columbia River. We happened upon one medium-sized, modest home, most of the possessions of which had evidently been strewn on the front lawn. After striking up conversation with the patriarch of the family who lived there, he told me that it was a house clearance. Assuming the family was up-sizing, I asked him where he was going to move. “I don’t know,” he pensively replied. “We’ve been foreclosed.” The veil of obliviousness now lifted, I saw the faces of the family members in a new light. Premature lines of worry etched into the faces of the young. Despondency and hopelessness written in the eyes of the old. It was unusually warm for Washington that summer, but I left the area feeling cold.
The problem is cultural and well as financial. The West has been saddled with a sick consumer culture that threatens to eat it alive, and which drives the international debt machine that I have analyzed. Millions of families are foundering under the weight of consumer debt. It will only worsen. I am reminded of one of the most powerful passages from Julius Evola’s Revolt Against The Modern World (1934) in which Evola pours scorn on the kind of “innovations” which the above named businessmen have brought us:
Modern civilization has pushed man onward; it has generated in him the need for an increasingly greater number of things; it has made him more and more insufficient to himself and powerless. Thus every new invention and technological discovery, rather than a conquest, really represents a defeat and a new whiplash in an ever faster race blindly taking place within a system of conditionings that are increasingly serious and irreversible and that for the most part go unnoticed. This is how the various paths converge: technological civilization, the dominant role of the economy, and the civilization of production and consumption all complement the exaltation of becoming and progress; in other words, they contribute to the manifestation of the “demonic” element in the modern world.
Evola, a Traditionalist philosopher of remarkable insight, traced the beginning of modern cultural decline to a “regression of the castes” and the error of the West in making industrial progress the focal point of their civilization:
Aristocracy gave way to plutocracy, the warrior, to the banker and industrialist. The economy triumphed on all fronts. Trafficking with money and charging interest, activities previously confined to the ghettos, invaded the new civilization. According to the expression of W. Sombart, in the promised land of Protestant puritanism, Americanism, capitalism, and the “distilled Jewish spirit” coexist. It is natural that given these congenial premises, the modern representatives of secularized Judaism saw the ways to achieve world domination open up before them.
In this, Evola was echoing Karl Marx, of all people. But Marx probably uttered some of the most important and prophetic words of the nineteenth century when he wrote in On the Jewish Question that:
The Jew has emancipated himself in a typically Jewish fashion not only in that he has taken control of the power of money, but also in that through him, money has become a world power and the practical Jewish spirit has become the spirit of the Christian people. The Jews have emancipated themselves insofar as the Christians have become Jews.
I might quibble with choice of word, but the essence of what Marx states holds true. Over the course of the last century non-Jewish society has developed an acquisitive character that sharply contrasts with earlier periods. When we meet a man, the worst among us may form a judgment on his value according the car he drives or the size of his home. Our children come home asking for the latest iPhone, not because they need any of its “innovations,” but because most of their friends have it. And to have in this culture is to be, to the extent that a person with nothing becomes nobody. As a convinced atheist, I hesitate to remark that part of this is related to the decline of older forms of Christianity and the ascetic ideals and cultural norms associated with it. However, to deny the influence of this factor would be intellectually dishonest of me. Our values have changed for the worse.
It’s hard to tempt a man who is satisfied with his lot in life. But, as Evola argued, modern civilization, replete with the “distilled Jewish spirit,” has bestowed upon man the “gifts” of “restlessness, dissatisfaction, resentment, the need to go further and faster, and the inability to possess one’s life in simplicity, independence and balance.” Human needs, in the form of food, warmth and shelter are remarkably basic. With just these three factors, ably provided by pathological Whites, Africa’s population is predicted to double by 2050. White populations meanwhile decline around the world. We are heading for minority status because we live in the era of the invention of need, and the needs we are chasing are chimerical and pathological — the need to have “fun” and “independence” rather than having children being among the most racially suicidal. Or, to put it another way: we care more about possessing designer jeans than genes.
If our culture is sick, and enables our exploitation by the international moneylenders, the question remains: What can we do about this?
Firstly, raising awareness is vitally important. When we allow “the economy” to dominate the way in which we perceive events we enable the bigger picture to escape attention. As race realists we appreciate that ethnicity is both a crucial factor in how the world works, and the way we should react to how it works. As such, I argue that an economy is only useful to the extent that it enables and permits the perpetuation of my race. “Our” current economy enables the transfer of vast amounts of wealth (and also therefore influence) towards individuals and a community who are not of my race, and are not in sympathy with its interests. All this economy offers me in compensation is debt, and modern versions of the shiny trinkets and baubles that we ourselves gave to natives centuries ago when we wanted to colonize them and take their resources.
I recognize that the material inducements of modern culture are no adequate compensation for mass biological failure in the form of racial extinction. I therefore condemn the current economic system as unfit for purpose and alien to the interests of the White race. Whites should be made aware of the extent to which their resources are being transferred from them, the manner in which this is being carried out, and the destination to which their funds are headed. They should also be made aware of the dismissive attitude towards this by their elites, and the fact that the Jewish community as a whole refuses to condemn this international group of robber barons. For too long there have been vague and unsophisticated references in White advocacy to “international Jewish finance.” This should be replaced with more and more research on the international networks I have described. Uzbek, South African, French, American — many nationalities are represented in this network, but only one ethnicity. These are the names and faces of international Jewish finance. Make them known.
Secondly, Whites are in dire need of profound cultural change. I want to see Whites shrinking from material comforts and once more making their mark on the earth. I want them to get their priorities in line with biological success and to once more compete in the race for life. I want to see this ancient and storied group of people, united by blood and history, get off its knees and fulfil its potential. I believe that a man should see his grandchildren, rather than the contents of his 401 (k), as the greatest thing to look forward to in retirement. As race realists, we are aware of biological and historical truths which shape the way in which we see the world. We need to share these truths but also show them in action. We should be evangelists for our cause in every way, above all, in being examples to our fellow Whites. In as many social interactions as possible we should be the tidiest, the most well-read, the most sober and measured, the most responsible with money, and the most orderly. I imagine that proceeding to a discussion of the problems of my race with a slovenly, ignorant, debt-ridden White liberal, his inferiority will be made evident before we even begin the exchange. But, much as I despise his doctrine as poisonous, I embrace him as a fellow of my own blood. I desire that he find in me a model worth emulating.
Thirdly, we must fully embrace the idea of boycott with all of our energy and all of our talent. Although necessary, agitating against the specific misdeeds of Jewry offers only limited benefits. Aside from a small number of exceptions, throughout history it has most often led to an increase in the level of security for Jews and the limitation of freedoms for non-Jews. As further restrictions on free speech may be on the horizon throughout the West, our best opportunities may lie in developing ideas, groups and practices designed to improve our own group. The overarching goal of such an effort would be to reduce the susceptibility of our race to exploitation. While we should avoid seeing the economy as the summum bonum, we should also investigate precisely how and why our economic culture is prone to Jewish predations, and develop practical internal strategies to proof our economic life against such predations. We should acknowledge that by encouraging thrift and selective buying behavior among our family, friends, and fellow Whites we starve the debt beast and those behind it. Declining incomes for the CEOs of the debt machine will mean less money going to Jewish organizations, and less money going to Israel.
Ultimately, I want the debt machine to be put out of business. I want to see the Simon Wiesenthal Center unable to pay its electricity bill. I want to see the ADL worrying about how much the phone bill will be this month. I want to see the funds that enable powerful alien businessmen to sway our political fortunes be reduced to pennies.
I opened these essays with a Jewish proverb. I’ll close with a Norse one from the Hávamál.
Where you recognize evil, speak out against it, and give no truces to your enemies.