The Age-Old Hatred

You know, I am genuinely shocked at the level of free-floating antisemitism on offer and open display these days. Yes, it is being dressed up as anti-Zionism, as if that made any difference in the same old Jew-hatred that’s been around since … I don’t know, as long as there have been Jews as a discrete and identifiable religious minority, even well before a certain sub-sect branched off, upon accepting that a relatively obscure itinerant Jewish preacher was really the son of G*d, accepting his destiny as a sacrifice in atonement for the sins of us all.

I am also certain – from my education as an old-style Lutheran in readings from the Old Testament and my own general studies in history – that the ancient historic Hebrew nation had enemies. Damn few of them are around today in a recognizable guise. The pharaohs of Egypt, the Assyrians, the Seleucid Greeks, the Roman Empire – all had a bash at ancient Israel, some with more success than others. The Roman Empire, though – that sent the ancient Jews a-wandering, after putting down a hard-fought rebellion in the first century as the Christian era is reckoned. For nearly two millennia, a people – hardy, resourceful, self-identified and adaptable, given to the work of the mind rather than the body – took their chances in the larger and intermittently viciously hostile world. In some ways, I am reminded of how the native American coyote was hunted, trapped, poisoned as a pest and a blight, nearly wiped out of the habitat for a time … and yet all that has resulted is the making of a hardier, wilier, more daring and successful coyote.

Such was the fate of the Jews, culminating in the Shoah of Nazi-occupied Europe. In the wake of that horror it seemed as if open Jew-hatred was something that just wasn’t acceptable. The first time I ever personally witnessed an open act of anti-Semitic hostility was in the sixth grade, and the offender was bounced into the principal’s office so hard and fast that I am certain his ears rang for years afterwards. Other than that – for decades it looked to me as if the uglier forms of Jew hatred were in the history books, although there was some leakage on the campus of CSU-Northridge in the late 1970s, just about all of it from the kook fringe. And there were some definite kooks wandering around, muttering to themselves and sometimes handing out badly mimeo’d and incoherent leaflets. I wish that I had kept my personal collection of such, which I called the Phreak Phile – likely most of them would be an amusing break from the current version.

I did detect a certain uptick in Jew hatred when I started blogging in 2002 – especially when I touched on the topic of Israel, which wasn’t all that often. Some of the regular commenters at the old SSDB back then were pretty hostile whenever the topic came up. When I blogged at Open Salon a few years later, some OSers practically frothed at the mouth whenever the matter of Israel and the poor pitiful Palestinians came up, but that was a tempest in a tea pot compared to what I read now; near to riots in Paris, synagogues having to be protected by police from mobs, kids on a school bus in Australia threatened by drunken yobs, pro-Palestinian protestors in American cities getting physical with the pro-Israeli demonstrators … and on and on.

I don’t really have much of an explanation as to why Jew-hate would have flared up again so virulently. It could be that it’s been almost seventy years since the Holocaust and memories are fading as the generations which can recall it at first-hand fall away. I also wouldn’t be surprised to find that a lot of the most virulent and public Jew-hatred is the variety which has been bought and paid for, with a money trail leading variously from the middle east or Russia. Middle-eastern Jew hatred may also be rooted in frustration that modern Jews aren’t rolling over and walking tamely into the gas chambers this time, allied with resentment over the fact that Israel is vibrant, technologically advanced, moderately wealthy, tolerant and successful. Israel is everything that practically every other middle eastern country isn’t – and even the rich ones with oil are hardly healthy and self-supporting societies. Finally, European Jew-hatred might also be derived from festering guilt over the Holocaust itself – a kind of retroactive justification along the lines of ‘See! Look how those nasty Israelis miss-treat the innocent Palestinians! That’s how they are, and Hitler gave them what they deserved, so we don’t need to feel responsible any more!’
Or not. Discuss.

19 thoughts on “The Age-Old Hatred”

  1. You need to read both Shlomo Sand’s “Invention of the Jewish People” and Israel Shahak’s “Jewish History Jewish Religion.”

    Ashkenazi Jewry has little in common with the Ancient Israelites, genetically or religiously. You mythification of the seamless garment of such
    is passe.’
    But the real answer to the thrust of your question resides in Israel’s theft of a nation, its behavior since,no it has not been tolerant, nor are its laws from marriage (forbidden to Arabs and Jews and containing a mythical biological stricture regards “Cohanim line”) to property rights “tolerant” of Palestinians) and its parasiting off the American Host via its fifth column of loyalists, pushing us into wars the majority do not wish and would not wish if not lied to.)

    The world is hip to the deceit on all fronts.

  2. I read somewhere that the phrase “anti-semitism” was originally coined to be more socially acceptable than “jew hating” (“I don’t hate Jews, I just don’t like Semites”) And true enough, the phrases don’t literally mean the same thing, just like “anti-Zionist” doesn’t literally imply hating Jews–in theory, and to some degree historically. In practice, on the street…

  3. Most people would never leap from the shambling catastrophe that is Liberia or Sierra Leone to the idea of justifying the virulent hatred of black people wherever they may be found in the world. But it’s not hard to find people who are completely comfortable criticizing the behavior of Israeli and jumping right to unabashed Jew-hatred. Bring back the ovens! It’s all good now!

    I really would not want to be a Jew in Europe right now. I hope it will turn out to be OK to be a Jew in the United States, if only because they’re entitled to arm themselves here.

  4. I believe, much as Texan99 said, that the problem is that the country and the religion are inextricably tied together, so people who dislike one, dislike both, possibly doubling the number of people who dislike them.

    On a slightly different note, why doesn’t anyone hate or blame the UN for creating Israel?

  5. Pat Buchanan has a certain attraction for those whose hatred needs justification. I wonder why a certain strain of conservatism needs Jew hatred ?

    In the West, a militant secularism has seized state power and the de-Christianization of America is well advanced. In the East, we had best recognize that the rage, militancy and intolerance so often on display are the unmistakable marks of a rising, not a dying, faith.

    Perhaps it comes from the original source, Christianity. But Christianity is derived from Judaism, just as Islam is. Both showed some resentment toward the Jews who did not adopt the new version of their religion. By the time Christians had evolved into the pseudoreligious state typified by Pope Alexander VI, Islam had retreated and had been savaged by the Mongol invasion .

    Jew hatred in Europe had some elements of opportunism in it as when the Jews, whose commerce had been restricted to money lending, were expelled from England.

    Economically, Jews played a key role in the country. The church at the time strictly forbade the lending of money for profit. This created a vacuum in the economy of Europe that Jews filled due to extreme discrimination in every other economic area; canon law was not considered applicable to Jews, and Judaism permits loans with interest between Jews and non-Jews).[4] As a consequence, some Jews made large amounts of money. Taking advantage of their unique status as his direct subjects, the King could appropriate Jewish assets in the form of taxation. He levied heavy taxes on Jews at will without having to summon Parliament.[5] The Jewish community acted as a kind of giant monetary filter: Jews collected interest on money lent to the people which the King could take at his pleasure.

    Eventually, his debts became excessive and he found a way to expunge them.

    In the duchy of Gascony in 1287, King Edward I ordered the local Jews expelled.[10] All their property was seized by the crown and all outstanding debts payable to Jews were transferred to the King’s name.[11] By the time he returned to England in 1289 King Edward I was deeply in debt.[12] The next summer he summoned his knights to impose a steep tax. To make the tax more palatable, King Edward I in exchange essentially offered to expel all Jews.[13] The heavy tax was passed, and three days later, on July 18,[14] the Edict of Expulsion was issued.

    It was pure self interest, so to speak. Much of anti-Semitism has been similar in origin. Buchanan probably knows this but it does seem to appeal to a certain type who buy his books.

  6. “why doesn’t anyone hate or blame the UN for creating Israel?”

    Two reasons. One is that the UN is so incompetent that few consider it anything but a debating society of beggars. The other is that few know history.

  7. My daughter and I talked about this, one morning as we were walking the dogs – and we are wondering if the reason for this particular virulence is that the usual Jew-haters are getting serious push-back, this time around … and no particular love from the usual Arab nations in the vicinity. Hamas is a Muslim Brotherhood affiliate, or so I gather — and in Egypt, the MB is about as popular these days as a hooker with herpes at an orgy. Also, spend ten years of sending rockets into Israel, and talking big about exterminating Jews … and the residents might get just a bit tetchy.

    And creative – see the post above, about how they have taken a certain anti-Israeli pop song and mockingly made it their own. How Alinsky of them – taking a negative and turning it inside out, upside down and turning it into a positive.

    *golf clap*

    Well done!

  8. Mom: Thanks for taking down amspirnational.

    I want to address one of his notions: The idea that Ashkenazic Jews (i.e. Jews from Germany and Eastern Europe) are the descendants of a Turkish tribe, the Khazars, that ruled the lands between the Don and the Volga in the 9th Century, and who are claimed to have converted to Judaism. This idea seems to have derived from literary works of the Sephardi Jewish community in Spain during the middle ages. The best known of which was the Kuzari of the 12th century poet/philosopher Yehuda HaLevi. In the 20th Century, the Khazar claim was revived by Arthur Koestler, a writer whose best known work was the anti-Stalinist novel, “Darkness at Noon”. Shlomo Sand, an Israeli leftist, cited by the commentor above, used it in his book.

    The Khazar claim is rubbish. A historical and literary de-construction of the idea is presented by Shaul Stampfer, a professor of Soviet and East European Jewry at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. His article: “Did the Khazars Convert to Judaism?” was published in the Journal “Jewish Social Studies”, Vol. 19, No. 3, Spring/Summer 2013 at pp. 1-72. You can download it from this link, but, it is pay-walled. An English language lecture where Stampfer reviews the topic is on YouTube for free.

    Perhaps more importantly, Genomic research shows that Jews are not related to populations believed to be descended from the Khazars in southern Russia. See “No Evidence from Genome-wide Data of a Khazar Origin for the Ashkenazi Jews” by Behar, et. al. at pp. 859-900 of Vol. 85, No. 6 the journal Human Biology titled: “From Generation to Generation — The Genetics of Jewish Populations” Edited by Noah A. Rosenberg and Steven P. Weitzman. This article is available at this link. Sadly, it is pay-walled as well.

  9. Reading the history of the Western attitude toward Jews over the last 2,000 years is simply looking into the heart of darkness. Century after century, a European community would accommodate Jewish members for a time, then relapse into accusations of baby-kidnapping, host desecration, and well-poisoning. Over and over and over. It’s a sickness that never dies.

  10. Reading an intellectual history of France 1900-1940. Apparently there was a considerable cult of Joan of Arc circa 1900 through the First World War, among secular as well as religious people. And there was evidently a fairly common belief that Joan had been burned because of the influence of the Jews.

  11. “And there was evidently a fairly common belief that Joan had been burned because of the influence of the Jews.”

    I’m reading a history of Joan now and will see if that appears. The English are the ones who burned her but we’ll see what appears.

  12. David Foster: That was the conservative position of that era. It was formed in the opposition to the French revolution, which was less than universally popular in France. For instance, in 1793-96, there was a revolt against the revolutionary regime in the Vendee (a province in eastern France south of Brittany) that took about a quarter of a million lives.

    The tendencies of the conservative mind-set were formed in opposition to the revolutionary ideology. It was nationalistic as opposed the the revolution’s universalism. The revolution was was anti-clerical and anti-Catholic. The opposition was staunchly Catholic. Joan of Arc was a perfect hero for the conservatives.

    Anti-Semitism existed all levels of French society, but it was amplified and turned into a left-right wedge issue by the Dreyfus Affair. The affair was based on the accusations of treason against Captain Alfred Dreyfus of the French Army, an Alsatian Jew. As Wikipedia puts it: “The Affair from 1894 to 1906 divided France deeply and lastingly into two opposing camps: the pro-Army, mostly Catholic “anti-Dreyfusards” and the anticlerical, pro-republican Dreyfusards.”

    This form of conservatism collapsed in the wake of WWII, discredited by the utter collapse of the French Army in 1940 and wide spread collaboration with the Nazis in the attempted extermination of French Jews.

    After WWII, the left resumed its form split between the Socialists and the Communists. The opposition them was embodied in the person of Charles DeGaulle. He was, at best, an odd duck. He was fiercely anti-Communist, but he was opposed to Anglo-American Liberalism as well. He was not interested in re-litigating the 1789 revolution. And he ultimately did a lot to extend the power of the French bureaucracy over the society and economy.

  13. Yes, thanks for the links, Robert … it was in my mind about recent genomic results ruling out the Khazar thing, but I couldn’t recollect what and where to link.

    I was halfway tempted to deep-six amspirnational’s comment for a couple of seconds and then I remembered that this is not a college campus. And that in fairness, I ought to leave it up for y’all to have fun with.

  14. RS…this book (I’ll dig it out of the virtual Kindle shelf and see if I can find some interesting relevant quotes) suggests that the cult of Joan was not limited to Catholic or even religious people, but was also extended to purely secular nationalists. Which is entirely understandable since Joan can be viewed as a patriotic heroine, not only a saint. What seems utterly bizarre, though, is blaming Joan’s execution on Jews.

  15. Okay, the book is The Embrace of Unreason, by Frederick Brown. I was a little off on the dates:

    –in 1894, Joan was dubbed “Venerable” by the Church

    –Pope Leo XIII, who inveighed against “the iniquity of capitalist greed,” advised French Catholics that they could in good conscience swear allegiance to the French Republic

    –a national monument to Joan was ereted at Valcouleurs, with the first stone laid by the local bishop. Raymond Poincare, then minister of public instruction, celebrated Joan’s univerality: “She soars above parties, she is the prisoner of no sect, no group, no school.”

    –the Bourbon pretender asserted that “sectarians” threatened to strip Joan of her supernatural mission

    –the canon on Sacre-Coure prayed that the memory of Joan’s victory would inspire a victory over Freemasons and their ilk. “May you disappear forever, century of the Revolution”

    –Freemasons, though, laid a commemorative wreath “to Joan of Arc, relapsed heretic, abandoned by royalty and burned by the Church.” They were attacked by the crowd, which was chanting “Long live Jeanne! Down with Freemasons! Down with Jews!”

    –shortly before the first Dreyfus court-martial, the future Bishop of Corinth exclaimed “How twisted and Tartuffe-like, how cynical are these Jewish or Jew-tainted fulminations against the pathetic Bishop of Beauvois!”

    The author says: “Joan was more insistently dragged into the campaign against Jews, and Freemasons became more prominent as the case for Dreyfus’s guilt began to unravel. Could an army of facts marshaled in his defense hold their ground against the mute testimony of a mythic figure? Cries of “Long live Joan of Arc! Down with the Jews!” were heard at assemblies on the Place des Pyramides.

    There was also a suggestion that the Rothschild family was anti-French, and that “the forces arrayed against Joan combined Germans, diasporic Jews, and international capital.”

  16. Over the last 20+ years there has been a massive immigration of Muslims into Europe – especially into France, Spain and Italy by way of boat loads from Africa. The graffiti, the demonstrations, the gangs are all Muslims – legal and illegal immigrants. The native Europeans live in terror. After all most Europeans are Christians; and Muslims are currently killing Christians in Africa, Syria, Iraq, Egypt and in Europe. Also they kill Jews – but not so many because Jews fight back.

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