In fact, however, as Zeev Sternhell pointed out in his book Neither Right Nor Left (1986), French fascism and anti-Semitism are rooted in revolutionary anti-capitalism as well as in anti-revolutionary Catholicism. The syndicalists, inspired by Georges Sorel, believed in a proletarian revolution, not by democratic means but through violence, which Sorel regarded as a form of political cleansing – this explains his sympathy for the Bolsheviks. In the early years of the twentieth century, Sorel joined forces with the fiercely anti-Semitic Action Française. Like Charles Maurras, the notorious anti-Dreyfusard and founder of Action Française, Sorel came to believe that Jews were a barbarous force undermining the very foundations of French society by infiltrating its main institutions with money, and corrupting the masses through obscene literature and intellectual treachery. Maurras was an early National Socialist. Mussolini, a great admirer of Sorel, began his career as a Socialist.
Karl Marx, the grandson of a rabbi, liked to say, “Money is the jealous God of Israel”. Marx was no Jew-baiter, though. His hope was that once the worker’s paradise was achieved, ethnic and religious distinctions would cease to matter. Alas, he was wrong. Stalin distrusted Jews – “rootless cosmopolitans” and “agents of international capitalism” – as much as many Nazis did.