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Jews and BoozeBecoming American in the Age of Prohibition$
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Marni Davis

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780814720288

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814720288.001.0001

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An “Unscrupulous Jewish Type of Mind”

An “Unscrupulous Jewish Type of Mind”

Jewish Alcohol Entrepreneurs and Their Critics

(p.104) 4 An “Unscrupulous Jewish Type of Mind”
Jews and Booze

Marni Davis

NYU Press

This chapter explains the emergence of a toxic image of the Jewish alcohol purveyor—a new iteration of the image of the Jewish economic villain in the United States. It discusses how political and social movements connected with prohibitionists, with the specific interests of each group helping shape the prohibition movement during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. And where these concerns included suspicion of and hostility toward American Jews, prohibition and anti-Semitism became intertwined. Anti-Semites and prohibitionists provided parallel ideological settings for Americans to express alarm about economic stratification and the increasingly commercial nature of the American economy, the growing presence of immigrants in American society, and challenges to the political and cultural dominance of white Protestants. They offered a harsh critique of American Jewish economic activity, implying Jews' presence in the alcohol trade proved their essential hostility to American values.

Keywords:   American Jews, Jewish immigrants, anti-Semitism, anti-Semites, prohibitionists, anti-alcohol movement, alcohol industry, Anti-Saloon League, prohibition movement

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