Since I was admitted to the Watcher’s Council I’ve been organizing my days so I could eventually use all of the Council’s content and participate in it as well. Today, I begin a regular Monday feature, The Watcher’s Forum:
Every week on Monday, the Council and our invited guests weigh in at the Watcher’s Forum, short takes on a major issue of the day, the culture, or daily living. This week’s question: Why Antisemitism?
Bookworm Room :The obvious answer, of course, is that in the West, the Jew is the perpetual outsider and in the Muslim world, the holy book instructs Muslims to be genocidal antisemites. Another obvious answer is that the medieval laws forcing Jews into being financiers (because they were barred from so many other professions but, unlike Christians, they were allowed to charge interest on money) meant that they became inextricably intertwined with the idea of capitalism., Leftists therefore hate them reflexively — never mind the actual facts on the ground, which is that for the majority of Jews throughout history have had little or nothing to do with capital and capitalism.
Honestly, though, I think the real answer is a more abstract one and it relates to the second and third core issues in the Bible. The first core issue in the Bible, of course, is God and each Jew’s relationship with God. While I suspect many are jealous of the Jews’ special relationship with God, I doubt that it drives too much antisemitism.
On the rare occasion I’ve had people speak sneeringly to me about the Jews’ status as “God’s chosen people,” I’ve reminded them that this covenant hasn’t always been a blessing to the Jews, reminding the snarkers that, while it’s true that Jews have outlasted all other societies on earth, this longevity has too often been paired with genocidal antisemitism. As Teyve said in Fiddler on the Roof, “We are Your chosen people. But, once in a while, can’t You choose someone else?”
As I said, the real issue for antisemites lies in the second and third issues the Bible raises. The second core issue is the moral demands Judaism places on people. These are hard demands that require us to be our best selves in relationship to God, our spouses, our family, and our society. And finally, the third core issue is the Biblical obsession with justice — not fairness, not equality, not feeling good, but justice.
Morality and justice are concepts that are antithetical to totalitarianism of any stripe, whether it’s economic, theocratic, aristocratic, oligarchic, fascist, nationalist, or something I haven’t named or that hasn’t even come into being. These concepts are inimical to immorality and cruelty. By their very existence, they mean that evil people and evil societies know, deep down inside, that they are evil, and that they put the actors outside of God’s love, protection, and his covenant. Even atheists, deep down, know that, if there’s an afterlife, they will not fare well there if they deviate from Biblical rules for good conduct.
In other words, Judaism is a mirror in which people are forced to acknowledge whether they are good or bad, moral or immoral, just or unjust. And for the bad, the immoral, and the unjust, every living Jew they see is an painful reminder of their existential failures.
The Razor : For over 5,000 years Jews have maintained their identity. They have been an ever present thread that has wound itself through the very fabric of civilization.
During that time empires have risen and fallen. Ethnic groups were absorbed and disappeared. But not the Jews.
That identity has come at a cost, the making of the Jew as the “other” or “outsider.”
It’s easy to blame the “other” and the “outsider” for our crimes and errors, and when times get tough we aren’t strong enough to resist the urge to blame the “outsider” for whatever torments us.
We aren’t strong enough yet to resist that temptation, as the rising tide of anti-Semitism in post-war Europe proves.
JoshuaPundit : Why antisemitism? It survives and will continue to survive because like any other psychosis or fantasy, it provides what appear to be certain necessary benefits, at least in the short run.
For starters, it’s a convenient excuse and rationalization of one’s own miserable circumstances. And a convenient excuse for theft.
After the Roman Diaspora in 70 CE, Jews became an educated, prosperous and powerless minority in both the Muslim and Christian worlds, which made them a convenient target both as a scapegoat and for plunder.
The pattern was repeated over and over; Jews are invited to settle, and improve the local economy with their skills as merchants, artisans and skilled professionals like doctors and architects. In the latter stages, some of them become intermediaries used by the local aristocracy to lend out their capital and as sources of loans for themselves. And when the time is right, you simply rile up the peasants or the fellahin to stage a pogrom..after which the Jews are either murdered or expelled, their wealth and property are confiscated and all loans outstanding get canceled to the rejoicing of all.
Aside from the obvious financial benefits, it also works well for the local clergy as a lesson to the faithful as to what can happen to ‘non believers.’
And a few years later, when the economy tanks again, you simply invite the Jews back, since they always need somewhere to live. And then you can simply repeat the cycle.
Nowadays, the pattern remains similar, although it’s been expanded somewhat by the advent of Israel. The Muslims did their very best to destroy Israel in1948 and even with modern weaponry and British officers lending a helping hand to jihad and genocide against the sparsely armed and outnumbered Jews, they failed.
But not entirely, since they were able to ethnically cleanse almost a million Jews from their countries and plunder everything they possessed. Their take from that heist in property and assets is estimated conservatively at close to a trillion US dollars in today’s money. But having gotten away with that crime (nothing much was ever done about it by the ‘international community’ or the UN) a funny thing happened. With no oil, surrounded by enemies and little in resources but the brains and sweat of their populace, the Jews created a free country with a booming economy, self sufficiency in water and food alone among the countries in the region and the strongest military in the area. Meanwhile, most of surrounding Arab nations wallow in squalor, poverty and despotism. Is it any wonder many of them think the Jews are getting assistance from Satan? How else could this happen,that they not only survive against Allah’s will but thrive?
In much of Europe as well, the old reasons of scapegoating, envy, and theft largely remain, to which we can add a new rationale when it comes to Europe – guilt.
Europe, with some honorable exceptions at best ignored and at worst avidly participated and profited from the Holocaust, one of the most successful pogroms in terms of plunder and body count in history. That behavior ripped the mask from the myth of European culture, and Europeans have never forgiven the Jews for it.
Couple that with the millions of Muslims Europe has imported and the need to appease them and you have the reasons for today’s attitude towards Israel& in much of Europe in a nutshell. And, as America increasingly imports Muslims and they ally with the Left as they have in Europe, we see this psychosis increasing in the US as well. Israel wasn’t supposed to survive, you see. It’s a problem, and if not for those stubborn, stinkin’ Jews the Muslims wouldn’t be all riled up. It’s their fault for not being victims like they were supposed to! You see, at this point, there are quite a few people who regret Israel’s existence and envy her success. They miss having the Jews as a powerless, easily targeted minority.
Mark Twain presciently summed this attitude up in his famous essay on Jews in Harpers back in 1897, writing about his contemporary Theodore Herzl’s early attempts at creating a Jewish nation:
“Speaking of concentration, Dr. Herzl has a clear insight into the value of that. Have you heard of his plan? He wishes to gather the Jews of the world together in Palestine, with a government of their own – under the suzerainty of the Sultan, I suppose. At the Convention of Berne, last year, there were delegates from everywhere, and the proposal was received with decided favor.
I am not the Sultan, and I am not objecting; but if that concentration of the cunningest brains in the world were going to be made in a free country (bar Scotland), I think it would be politic to stop it. It will not be well to let the race find out its strength. If the horses knew theirs, we should not ride any more.”
GrEaT sAtAn”S gIrLfRiEnD : Oh, that’s easy. For Xians – we believe nothing is ever truly random. After the Fall, mankind was promised a redeemer. The LORD was quite specific multiple times where He would come from. Generally speaking, from a lineage of Jews. More direct – from the House of David.
Thus Satan, made many attempts to enslave and destroy an entire race to prevent the arrival of the redeemer – whom we call Jesus Christ. A truly Satanic conspiracy of hideous intentions, Jewish history until the coming of Christ has several attempts chronicled. Notably the adventures of Esther and Haman among others – even King Herod got in the act with the infamous massacre of innocents to prevent the Savior.
After Christ’s death and resurrection, Satan became busy with an ersatz religion of sorts – upgrading an Arabian peninsula moon god with ancient ungodly assets – in order to deceive and damn souls into eternal Hell.
Anti you know whatism may have been passed on to infernal minions to become a daemonic conspiracy cultivated (probably as revenge for fulfilling the LORD’s prophecy) among people to harass, murder and enslave people for something they truly have no control over: Being born Jewish.
Truly, hatred and persecution are a normal part of the human experience. Taking a dislike, mild or intense, to people who are different in one way or another, by ethnicity, race, color, creed, eating habits—no matter what—is part of the normal human condition. It’s throughout recorded history, and found all over the world. Sometimes extraordinarily vicious and sometimes even amusing. –
Anti-Semitism is something quite different. It is marked by two special features. One of them is that Jews are judged by a standard different from that applied to others.
The other special feature of anti-Semitism, which is much more important than differing standards of judgment, is the accusation against Jews of cosmic evil. Complaints against people of other groups rarely include it. This accusation of cosmic, satanic evil attributed to Jews, in various parts of the world and in various forms, is what has come to be known in modern times as anti-Semitism and is Satanic and/or daemonic in origin.
Hatred and persecution are a normal part of the human experience. Taking a dislike, mild or intense, to people who are different in one way or another, by ethnicity, race, color, creed, eating habits—no matter what—is part of the normal human condition. We find it throughout recorded history, and we find it all over the world. It can sometimes be extraordinarily vicious and sometimes even amusing.
Laura Rambeau Lee, Right Reason :When I hear the word anti-Semitism I think of Evil. Biblicly and historically I understand the division between the Jewish people and the Arabic people who share the same patriarchy arising from Abraham. But to understand anti-Semitism we have to acknowledge the existence of God and His counterpart which is Evil. Evil grows when people as a society deny the existence of God and publicly mock true believers. When that void is created; when we turn away from God; Evil works its way into our lives by promising power to those who will embrace the most vile, perverse, and horrific acts imaginable.
Jews are a target in many instances I believe because of their relatively small populations in proportion to their ability to succeed and accumulate wealth. It is very easy when an economy fails to point to a group and demonize them as being the cause of everyone’s economic struggles. This cycle has been repeated over and over in history. Those who seek power will play on the emotions of the masses and vilify the “haves” as enriching themselves at the expense of the “have nots.” We see it happening today around the world. Here in America the socialists and communists, using the names Democrat or Progressive, are exploiting class warfare such as we have not seen in decades.
With an anemic economy and so many out of work or underemployed, along with our youth and young adults having been indoctrinated with social and economic justice propaganda, it’s likely to produce a growing anti-Semitic sentiment.
Neo-Nazi and White Aryan groups are growing in Europe today. An old German professor who grew up in Nazi Germany once told me there were a lot of professors at the university who would have made good Nazis. I asked him what makes a good Nazi, and he explained it was someone who would sell their soul for a little bit of power. When a people are led to believe they share a common enemy they end up doing unspeakable things to other human beings if they are convinced it is for the common good, especially if given the promise of power. Evil is quick to fill the void created by turning our backs on God. The promise of Power is the most successful tool Evil uses to achieve its goal. The ultimate goal of Evil is complete and total destruction.
Well, there you have it.
Make sure to tune in every Monday for the Watcher’s Forum. And remember, every Wednesday, the Council has its weekly contest with the members nominating two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. The votes are cast by the Council, and the results are posted on Friday morning.
It’s a weekly magazine of some of the best stuff written in the blogosphere, and you won’t want to miss it.