Benjamin Disraeli, Karl Marx, and the Search for Identity

I must begin by expressing my gratitude to this distinguished Society for being so large-minded as to have elected me President for the current year. This is a generous act, for I am not, and have never claimed to be, a historian, still less a historian of the Jews. This is why I have chosen a theme which, I hope, may be of some general interest, but which does not require me to display erudition which I do not possess, or the gifts of the historical researcher, with which I am not endowed. To offer you a learned historical discourse is beyond my capacities. It would be pure presumption for an amateur to seek to instruct an audience which has among its members so many professional social, political, and literary historians.

But there is, of course, a larger sense in which all Jews who are at all conscious of their

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