The Death of Venice
While Jews had been in Europe for a very long time, it wasn't until the 11th century and the disintegration of feudalism that they began to be prohibited from certain occupations and sequestered in "quarters" or "ghettos." These laws were the seeds that allowed Jews to become the successful in the areas of finance, banking, commercial operations, merchantilism, trade, specialised craftsmanship, etc. Whereas, European Christians were more apt to farm the land, European Jews flourished in the cities. Because of the Church, Christians were not allowed to lend money and charge interest. In the late 14th century, Christians finally got into the banking business when Cosimo de'Medici created the Medici Bank in the late 14th century and, even then, it took very creative accounting to get around religious and municipal laws. Nevertheless, the small Jewish community in Europe had a strong foundation with the wealth, education, and culture upon which to thrive.
In the second half of the 19th century, Germany became the first country to develop systematic anti-Semitic political and intellectual movements. Adolf Stocker’s Christian Social Party (1878-1885) combined anti-Semitism with left-wing, reformist legislation. The party attacked laissez-faire economics and the Jews as part of the same liberal plague. Stocker’s movement synthesized medieval anti-Semitism, based in religion, and modern anti-Semitism, based in racism and socialist economics. He once wrote: “I see in unrestrained capitalism the evil of our epoch and am naturally also an opponent of modern Judaism on account of my socio-political views.”
"I see in unrestrained capitalism the evil of our epoch and am naturally also an opponent of modern Judaism on account of my socio-political views.” - Adolf Stocker, Socialist
E. J. Hobsbawm characterised the evolution of capitalism during the nineteenth century as both The Age of Revolution and The Age of Empire. As Hobsbawn opines, "it was in this context of socio-political disruption accompanying the process of modernity that the Jewish populations were drawn into the whirlwind of European politics. Anti-Semitism was part of the general xenophobia that came to the fore during times of hardship. In countries like France, Germany, Sweden, and Norway where Jews accounted for a small proportion of the populations, anti-Semitism was directed at bankers, entrepreneurs, and others who the little folks identified with the ravages of capitalism. "Anti-Semitism," one German socialist leader, Bebel, felt, "was ‘the socialism of idiots;'" yet, what strikes me as most important is that by the end of the 19th century the idea that "Jew = Capitalist" was linked in the minds of Socialists.