[photo of Alice Bailey]

Antisemitic Stereotypes
in Alice Bailey's Writings

(Photo of Alice Bailey)

Below are some quotes by the late Alice Bailey, which clearly demonstrate her negative attitudes towards Jews. Bailey wrote most of this in the 1930's and 40's. She is considered by some New Agers to be a major architect of the "Age of Aquarius" and is the author of the "Ascended Masters' Plan" for the "New World Order." More responsible New Agers, however, currently denounce her as a loose cannon and a bigot. (She doesn't even merit an entry in Harper's Encyclopedia of Mystical and Paranormal Experience, published in 1991.) Read her quotes and my commentary below and decide for yourself.....

Bailey's words are in italics like this My comments are in enclosed in brackets [like this].

Alice Bailey wrote:

The Jewish race, who loved the possessions of the world more than they loved the service of Light, joined ranks with the rebels against God [and against the Aryan race, whom Bailey admires] Thus the history of the wandering Jew began and the Jew since has known no lasting peace."

[Here we have the old self-fulfilling prophecy about der ewige Jude, or the "Wandering Jew,", i.e., that the Jews are cursed to be homeless anyway, so if they are driven from land to land by bigots it's their own fault for refusing to "see the light" and convert...

During the European Middle Ages, this myth of "the Wandering Jew" was used as a justification for persecuting real-life Jews. Bailey seems to be following in that ugly tradition, since she uses it to justify the suffering of the Jews, including the Holocaust !!! Nor is this the only place where she makes this claim.

The following quotes come from her 1949 book, Esoteric Healing, beginning on page 263 and continuing for several pages. They are not out of context, folks. I just can't quote the whole thing here for copyright reasons. These are the lowlights, in the order she wrote them:]

Their [the Jews] aggressive history, as narrated in the Old Testament, is on a par with present-day [1940's] German accomplishment...

[Accomplishment? This is a strangely positive word for describing the Nazi atrocities. Not to mention that there is a big difference between a Biblical battlefield and a concentration camp...]

Their religious history has been built around a materialistic Jehovah, possessive, greedy, and endorsing and encouraging aggression...

[This stereotyped portrayal of Jews is followed by a hackneyed diatribe against the Biblical Hebrews, based upon the "angry Jehovah" theology of nineteenth-century Protestantism. Jews do not, and never have, worshipped an angry vengeful god, and we Jews never, ever call God "Jehovah."]

Today [1949] the law of racial karma is working and the Jews are paying the price [for evil done in past lives], factually and symbolically ...

[To begin with, Jews are not a race. A race is a biologically distinct group, such as Negro or Caucasian. Jews come in all colors, from the black Jews of Ethiopia to the white Jews of Europe, and everything in between. According to Jewish religious law, there is a geneological aspect to being Jewish, i.e., Jewishness is passed matrilineally (through the mother) down the family line. But this is not racial, because it is possible for non-Jews (of any race) to convert to Judaism. The children of a female convert then join the family tree as bona-fide Jews. (Children of a male convert are not Jewish unless their mother is a Jew.) Because of this matrilineal descent, Jews could be defined as a tribal people. In that case, the biblical Twelve Tribes were actually clans. "Converting" to Judaism is more like being to be adopted into the tribe -- regardless of your biological race.

Beyond the issue of whether or not "racial karma" even exists, we see here a pretty clear statement that Bailey believed the Jews deserved to "factually" suffer in the Holocaust because of their "racial karma" as she defined it. She also felt that Jews are persecuted because there is something inherently wrong with them "as a race":]

They [the Jews] have never faced candidly and honestly as a race the problem of WHY [sic] the many nations, from the time of the Egyptians, have neither liked nor wanted them... Yet there must be some reason, inherent in the people themselves, when the reaction is so general and universal.

[Nothing like the old "blame the victim" theory to shift responsibility from the perpetrators onto the persecuted. Notice the circular reasoning here: Everybody persecutes the Jews, so there must be something wrong with the Jews themselves or they wouldn't be persecuted... This is a bit like saying that men all over the world have been known to beat their wives, so there must be something inherently wrong with women or the men would not beat them... Not!

Note how she makes the Egyptians into the good guys in the Exodus story, conveniently forgetting that they enslaved the Jews with hard labor, killed the male Jewish babies, and refused to grant the people their freedom. Elsewhere she refers to a karmic "purging by fire" as being necessary to clear up this "Jewish karma" -- again written after the Holocaust, when the fires of the crematoria were well-known. Bailey apparently saw the Holocaust as something that the Jews deserved because of bad karma from Old Testament times.

However, the theory does not wash, because although Jews were warriors at that time, and although there are some pretty brutal battles described in the Bible, they are no more brutal that those of the other nations of that time period. (I'm not justifying war, just stating historical facts. I myself happen to be a pacifist.) So why isn't the Holocaust a "karmic payback" for the Philistines, the Moabites, the Hittites, etc. -- many of whom were far more barbaric than the Jews!

For that matter, why isn't the Holocaust also the karma of the Spanish Inquisitors, the Crusaders, the Kossacks, the Conquistadors -- who maybe came back as Nazis? If the past 2000 years of Christian history were included in their New Testament, it would be as barbaric as that of the Biblical battles -- if not more so. So why does Bailey single out the Jews for her "racial karma" theories? Her answer, as we learn elsewhere, is because:]

The Jews are the reincarnation of spiritual failures or residues from another planet... The Jew represents materialism, cruelty and a spiritual conservatism, under the domination of the separative, selfish mind, that from which all good [New Age] disciples want to emerge.

[So now I'm a reincarnation of a spiritual failure from another planet? Obviously, she did not even consider Jews to be human! If we are merely alien "residues" then why grieve if six million of us were murdered? Good riddance, according to Bailey.

With this statement, she demonized my people as "The Jews" into an archetype of evil -- an idea that, unfortunately, still circulates in supposedly enlightened New Age circles. Nor did she ever balance this with any positive statements about Jews, except to say in passing that Jesus was a Jew -- but of course, she saw him as an exception to the rule. Look up Jews in the index of her books, then look up the references, and you will see that they are consistently negative. Small consolation that she spouted similar racist theories about the "symbolism" of other races and peoples, too. Cultures and civilizations, to her, were merely one-dimensional symbols of personality traits. And of course, the Aryans get all the good cards in her stacked deck.]

The word "love" for others is lacking in Judaism... The Jew has never grasped the love of God. The God of the Jews is possessive and greedy. Jehovah is not God.

[Obviously this woman never read a Jewish prayerbook or met a Jewish philanthropist, or even read Leviticus for that matter, where it is clearly stated that: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." This supposedly "new" law of Christianity was nothing more than a re-statement of something already in the Jewish Torah, of which Leviticus is a part. Ditto for loving God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might, etc. which comes from Deuteronomy -- again in the Jewish Torah. Both of these laws are central to the Orthodox Judaism that Bailey seems to hate so much.

As for Jehovah not being God, if she means the "angry god of the Old Testament" as taught in 19th-century Christian theology, then I heartily agree. Because real Jews do not worship a vengeful God -- that's antisemitic medieval propaganda invented by Christian theologians. The real God of the Jews is the same loving, forgiving Creator of the Universe that Christians know as "the Father," or the Creator in Genesis -- the One who gives life to all things.]

Christ came to bring an end to the Jewish dispensation which should have climaxed and passed away as a religion with the [astrological] movement of the sun out of Aries into Pisces.... They [the Jews] rejected that which was new and spiritual in the desert;

[Apparently this "rejecting that which was new and spiritual in the desert" refers to the incident of the Golden Calf, etc. True, the Golden Calf does represent backsliding into old ways -- back to the same Egyptian idols that Bailey so admires! (BTW, the point of the Biblical story is about idolatry, not worshipping gold. The gold on guilded idols represented the sun god, not wealth.) And of course, Bailey fails to balance this with the fact that the Jews later reaffirmed their acceptance of God's teachings given at Sinai -- "that which was new and spiritual" -- and have remained loyal to God's Covenant ever since. In fact, as we shall soon see, she is annoyed by this very same loyalty of the Jews to the Covenant at Sinai. In a different book she wrote:]

They did it [rejected a new religion, i.e., Christianity] again in Palestine 2000 years ago; will they do it again, as opportunity is offered to them? The difficulty with the Jew is that he remains satisfied with the religion of nearly 5000 years ago and shows little desire as yet to change. (Bailey, The Reappearance of Christ, p. 81.)

[This speaks for itself. She obviously felt the Jews "should have" accepted Jesus as the messiah, then died out as a people. She is obviously very annoyed that we did not do that, and are still around today. She saw it as a "problem" that we are loyal to the Covenant at Sinai (even though she previously chastised us for breaking it in the wilderness!) It now irks her that the Jews steadfastly refuse to trade the Torah of God for her own new religion, The so-called "New Age Plan."

What Bailey completely misses here -- as do many other critics of Judaism -- is that Judaism is not "stuck" in a 5000-year-old mode of thinking. As humanity has evolved, so has Judaism, through the continuing, ongoing guidance of God through the Jewish prophets and teachers, right down to our own time. The Torah is a Tree of Life, not dead wood -- it continues to grow with each generation of Jews. Much of what Bailey thinks is "new" in Christianity and Judaism was already present in Judaism before the preaching of Jesus.

In addition to the Bible, there is a vast amount of other material held sacred by Jews. The problem is, that Christian theology only accepted the Bible itself, and then taught that God's guidance to the Jews ended with the coming of Jesus (not true). So the non-Jewish world does not bother to study anything about Jews and Judaism besides the Biblical text. A big mistake, since many of the most beautiful, inspirational materials which shape Orthodox Jewish thought today -- such as the prayerbook, the Talmud, the Midrash, the Zohar, the Hasidic teachings -- are not familiar to most Christians, and were apparently unknown to either Bailey or her "Tibetan spirit guides."

Bailey's philosophy seems to be built on a planned-obsolecence model which says that newer is automatically better. However, she does not apply this equally across the board. Nowhere did she call for the destruction of Tibetan Buddhism -- another very ancient culture, but one that Bailey happened to admire. So of course, it's OK for Buddhists to continue to exist as Buddhists, following their 2000-year-old religion... We return now to her discussion of Jewish karma in Esoteric Healing:)

The Jewish problem will be solved by the willingness of the Jew to conform to the civilization, the cultural background and the standards of living of the nation to which -- by the fact of birth and education -- he is related and should assimilate.

[Conform to standards of living??? Well, my house looks pretty much like the houses of my gentile neighbors. Standards of living are based on economic opportunities, not religion or race. If Jews were living in squalor in parts of Europe, it was because there were so many restrictions against them made by the European rulers, that they could not earn a decent living.

As for assimilation, the pre-Holocaust German Jewish community was the most assimilated in the world at that time, yet that did not save them from persecution by the Nazis. The assimilationist model does not work for minorities, as any student of multi-cultural issues can tell you. Bailey then goes on to offer her solution:]

It [the solution to the Jewish problem] will come by relinquishment of the pride of race and of the concept of selectivity; it will come by renouncing dogmas and customs which are intrinsically obsolete and which create points of constant irritation to the matrix in which the Jew finds himself. It will come when selfishness in business relations and the pronounced manipulative tendencies of the Hebrew people are exchanged for more selfless and honest forms of activity... (Esoteric Healing, p. 263 et. seq.)

[Here we have all the old negative anti-Jewish stereotypes rolled into one convenient paragraph, right down to the old "money-grubbing Jew" stereotype! As we shall see below, her solution to the "Jewish problem" was for Jews to cease to be Jews. No more Jews, no more problems... She continues in this same vein:]

The Jew, owing to his rays [psychic energy] and point of development, is outstandingly creative and artistic. This he must recognize and not seek as he now does to dominate in all fields, to grasp all opportunities away from other people at the expense of others. Release from the present situation will come when the Jew forgets that he is a Jew.... The Jewish problem will be solved by intermarriage; that of the Negro will not. This will mean concession and compromise on the part of the orthodox Jews -- not the concession of expediency but the concession of conviction. (Esoteric Healing, p. 267.)

[The Jews should all become artists? How ludicrous! Note how she always defined being Jewish as something negative -- this time as "grasping all opportunities away from other people" -- and then called for Jews to forget that they are Jews. It never seemed to occur to her that there might be something good about being Jewish. If we Jews appear to "dominate" in many fields, it is because we are, by and large, hard-working people who take education seriously. But did she see this as setting a good example? No -- she saw us as grabby.

Note also that she felt she must specifically state that she does not see intermarriage as a solution to the "Negro problem." I suppose she didn't want to be accused of promoting "race mixing." (Was she even aware that there are black Jews?) I have no idea what these "compromises" are that she wanted from Orthodox Jews here, but elsewhere she calls for the total destruction of Orthodox Judaism and for Jews to give up all Jewish practices. Her idea of "compromise" seems to be total annihilation of my religion and the identity of my people as a distinctive culture.]

The evil karma of the Jew today [written in 1949] is intended to end his isolation, to bring him to the point of relinquishing material goals, of renouncing a nationality that has a tendency to be somewhat parasitic within the boundaries of other nations, and to express inclusive love instead of separative unhappiness..."(Ibid.)

"Evil karma of the Jew" in 1949? She's justifying the Holocaust here, folks -- in the name of "ending isolation" and leading Jews to happiness. That's a pretty bizarre idea, considering that the Holocaust was based on segregating the Jews from the rest of the population in order to persecute us. And frankly, I don't see her expressing any "inclusive love" toward the Jews who died in the camps. Rounding us up and confiscating our property, then starving, beating, raping, and gassing us to death -- this is supposed to make us become more spiritual??? A strange concept of spirituality, to be sure... But then again, her goal is not acceptance of Jews as Jews. Elsewhere, we read in Bailey's "Plan for the New World Order," in the section on the "reorganization of world religions," that Goal No. 2 calls for:]

The gradual dissolution - again if in any way possible - of the Orthodox Jewish faith, with its obsolete teaching, its separative emphasis."

[So now, at last, we have all the cards on the table -- her goal is nothing less than the destruction of Judaism itself, which she defines as "separative" and therefore something bad to be. We should also note that Alice Bailey was the author of a prayer known as The Great Invocation which is still widely used in New Age circles today. The Invocation ends with "Let Light and Love and Power restore the Plan on Earth." That sounds nice and innocent, doesn't it? At least until you start to read what her "Plan" was concerning the Jewish people...

But enough of this drivel already -- you get the point! Bailey consistently defined everything negative in the world as "Jewish" then called for the total destruction of Judaism -- and even hints at the destruction of the Jews themselves as well. She saw nothing wrong with the Holocaust -- it was just that old "Jewish karma" coming back at last. And she felt that Jews would continue to deserve such karma until they converted to Christianity -- her brand, of course.

In Bailey's twisted theology, the Jews deserved to suffer for refusing to give up their religion and join hers, because, in her eyes, Judaism is "obsolete" and "should have" died out. Obviously she is "constantly irritiated" that it did not. This is not an isolated quote or two -- all of her references to Jews are like this. The single positive reference I could find was praise for assimilated, secularized Jews for giving up the practice of their religion. But for observant Jews she had nothing but scorn.

Whatever Bailey was "channeling" as "The Tibetan," (supposedly her spirit guide and the esoteric source of this drivel) it was certainly hateful towards Jews and Judaism. Frankly, I don't think this came from anything higher than her own sick mind. Garbage in, garbage out. But unfortunately, Bailey's books are still widely available -- in major bookstores even! -- and her pseudo-intellectual style can seem very impressive to the beginner in esoteric studies. But under all that fancy blather lurks a raging bigot -- so don't be taken in by this antisemitic junk, folks.

And please, if you are unfortunately of the Bailey persuasion, do not waste your time and mine writing long diatribes to me in her defense. I have heard it all before, and believe me, there is nothing new you can add. As for scholarship, just because this article is written in an informal manner does not mean that I am an ignoramus. Yes, I've read the quotes in context. (Frankly, I can't think of any context in which these statements would be acceptable.) Yes, I've read Blavatsky, too. Yes, I am aware of "new age" Jews and rabbis. In fact, had you found me through my main website instead of this page, you would probably be classifying me as a "new age rabbi" also, since I believe in reincarnation, angels, spiritual healing, etc. I am also the same Rabbi Gershom who is the author of Beyond the Ashes: Cases of Reincarnation from the Holocaust, and other works on reincarnation, Jewish spirituality, etc.

And yes, I am also a practicing Orthodox-Hasidic Jew! Being spiritual and being Orthodox are not mutually exclusive! Like I said earlier, Orthodox Judaism is nothing like the ignorant stereotypes given by Alice Bailey. And no, this essay is not coming out of a "Jewish persecution complex" nor is it coming out of "unresolved issues" as a Jew. I'm over 55 years old, I've lived more than half a century and have long ago resolved my personal issues about being Jewish. I'm proud to be a Jew, I am happy with Hasidic Orthodoxy. I have no intentions of changing my religion.

In short: I am not against spirituality, only against racism, antisemitism, and bigotry in general -- with which Alice Bailey's books simply reek. I am not the olny person with this opinion of her -- Read the Amazon reviews of Esoteric Healing and you will see that others have also picked up on the same quotes as bigotry. Serious spiritual seekers of all paths can do a whole lot better than the low-level junk. As someone once said, don't be so "open-minded" that your brains fall out.

© copyright 1997, revised 2005 by Rabbi Yonassan Gershom. All rights reserved.

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Further reading and study resources:

For a further discussion on the issue of "Jewish karma" and the Holocaust, go to Part 2 of the Holocaust and Reincarnation FAQ This FAQ discusses a number of theories -- "new age" and othwerwise -- regarding why the Holocaust happened, the lessons in it for the Jews and for all of humanity, etc.

And last but not least, for a nifty full-color, interactive software program exploring common stereotypes about Jews (suitable for use in classrooms, homeschooling, civic groups, multi-cultural dialogues, etc.), download a free copy of Speaking of Jews.

Go to Rabbi Gershom's homepage