The Reason For Potential Anti-Semitism

I. To be explained: the consistent presence of a significant anti-semitic portion of the population. What before why - historical survey - don't overestimate details of present condition

II.The most widespread human hatred

A.the ancient world

1.Egypt - Manetho (leprosy; 3rd c.B.C.E.), atheism (invisible G-d)

2.Antiochus (167 B.C.E.) - first religious persecution for 1000 years! - Apion: ritual murder

3.Roman persecution after defeat and exile


1.killers of messiah(Matt.27:25), devils (John 8:43-4,47)

2.St. John Chrysostom: synagogue=brothel, drunkenness, murder

3.libels - ritual murder (blood for matzo), poison

4.Luther: extreme persecution, "our misfortune"


1.lies - Torah laws as punishment (Quran 4:160), removed references to Muhammad from Bible (2:129, 9:32), not monotheists(!) - Ezra as son of G-d (9:30)!

2.systematic discrimination, periodic expulsion or murder


1.Voltaire: human sacrifice, revolting superstition, abominable

2.Mirabaud: anti-semitism -> Jews deserve to be hated

3.Fichte: civil rights -> Jews trample others

&#E.The Left

&&1.Marx: G-d=money, filthy, lepers

2.Fourier: parasites, emancipation=vice of society

3.Proudhon: poison, enemy, send to Asia or exterminate

F.Details of the record

1.absence in far East

2.possibility of conversion (except Nazis)

3.relative strength of hatred: enlightenment < ancient world < Islam < Left < Christianity < Nazis

III.Mistaken Explanations


1.why always the same scapegoat?

2.why hated in good times?

3.Nazis: why kill the scapegoat? Why risk defeat in WW II?

&#B.Economics,usury - confuses cause with effect - Jews lent money because they were denied other employment

C.Economics, riches - why hated when they were poor (19th, 20th cent. Poland, Russia)? Why not more anti-semitism in contemporary U.S.A.?

D.Psychological - anti-semitism as sickness: too widespread, why always the same object?

IV.Correct Explanation: Hatred of Competing Ideology

A.Exclusive Jewish G-d, universal morality

&#B.Chosen people

C.Exclusive practices, e.g. no intermarriage, dietary laws

D.Jewish nation -> dual loyalties (even before state of Israel)


V.Explanation of Facts

&#A.Far east - too few Jews for serious competition

&#B.Conversion is natural solution

&#C.Relative strength of hatred

&#.enlightenment: progress through education, Judaism too "primitive" for serious competition

2.ancient world: liberalism of polytheism: semi-competition

3.Islam: agreement on all theology, but competition for the Bible

4.The Left: violent political campaign, Jewish Ideology contradicts at all points

5.Christianity: various theological disagreements, competition for the Bible, militancy

6.Nazis: rejection of all Nazi values, impossibility of two chosen peoples, unrestricted violence

VI.Diagnosis: As long as ideological competition exits the potential for anti-semitism exists.

VII.Solutions - Long Term

A.Assimilation - unrealistic for all Jews, unfair

B.Social action - limited to sympathetic society

C.Eliminate ideological competition by persuading the world of the truth of basic Jewish ideology (but

NOT by conversion)

VIII.Solutions - Short Term

&#A.Depend on local conditions - natural allies based on shared basic values and world-view

B.Not conflict with long term - evaluation of custodians of the long term perspective


For further reading, see Prager and Telushkin, Why the Jews?

Simon and Schuster, 1985