I downloaded the complete Mark Twain from Project Gutenberg
today, and my eye was caught by this essay (from Harper's Magazine, March 1898).
It's stunning how timelessly he writes, and this piece should still be considered required reading. I'm only sorry that I believe he's not entirely correct:Point No. 5.—'Will the persecution of the Jews ever come to an end?'
On the score of religion, I think it has already come to an end. On the score of race prejudice and trade, I have the idea that it will continue.
Twain's argument is that anti-Semitism has always been based on envy of the Jews business acumen (a generalization that he is entirely aware is such, but for which he makes a good case). Unfortunately, purely religious hatred continually flares, and those who hate Jews for their religion are more than happy to use others' envy to forward their own ends.
It's particular pleasing to see such a balanced and clearly unprejudiced article from the man who's been called a racist, and had his books banned, purely because characters use the language of the time and refer to "niggers".