Friday, October 23, 2009

Antisemitism, Can It Be Stopped?

A few years ago, when I was leading a group of christians to a tour of Tel Shiloh, a little girl innocently asked:

"Why do people hate Jews?"
In some ways it was the most difficult question I had ever been asked. Her family and other members of the group stood around embarrassed, happy that they weren't expected to respond.

The irrational emotion/ideology of antisemitism has been around a long time, probably since our forefathers, Abraham, Issak and Jacob wandered the HolyLand thousands of years ago. Until the true Moshiach ben David, Messiah son of David brings us Redemption, we Jews will suffer from hatred, discrimination and violence.

No doubt that modern Jews aren't the first to mistakenly believe that we can find a cure for it.
It's so ingrained in many cultures, that people are unaware that their statements show strong anti-Jewish sentiment

And too many Jews think it's up to us to irradicate it.  They think there's a simple cure, like antibiotics against bacteria/infections.  The Israeli Government thinks rebranding will get us more allies, not being willing to recognize that latent and "out of the closet" antisemtism is the cause of our diplomatic isolation.

We must fight antisemitism by recognizing it, labeling antisemites in all instances and making it clear in actions and words that we're proud Jews.  We do what's best for us regardless of what others think or want.

This will give us respect, both self-respect and respect from others.  That's it, straight and simple.

Shabbat Shalom u'Mevorach
May You Have a Peaceful and Blessed Shabbat


Anonymous said...

Not to excuse anti-Semitism, but if we would be what we should be, there would be much less of it and what there would be, Hashem would protect us from.

That's a Torah-true guarantee!

Shabbat Shalom.

Keli Ata said...

Shabbat shalom Batya and Guy.

Can anti-Semitism be stopped? Probably not. It's too ingrained in too many cultures for reasons even they don't understand.

Take this situation with my niece when she was only five--we were watching the Sound of Music and got to the part where the Hitler Youth kid wants to shoot the father, who is hiding from the Nazis.

My niece asked who this kid was and what he was. I said a Nazi. She asked what a Nazi is. What to say to a five year old!?

I told her that Nazis hurt Jews because of how they prayed to G-d.

She was still troubled and asked if there were any Nazis around today. I said no.

She said, and I quote, "Well, I think there are." At five years old convinced that there were Nazis in the world when up until then didn't know the word Nazi existed.

That's why I say anti-Semitism is ingrained in some people. Just as my niece knew instinctively that there were Nazis and they were evil other kids feel without knowing why that Jews are evil.

I can't explain it though. Perhaps Hashem hardens the hearts of some cultures and people for generations on this matter?

We need to recognize anti-Semitism in all its forms from the overt crude remarks to the more subtle anti-Israel pro-Palestinian stances people make.

The more overt crude slurs garner a lot of media attention and public condemnation. The more subtle precious little.

Shy Guy is right, too. Also, Jews need to stop the inhouse Jewish jokes that perpetuate stereotypes. The attitude of "I can say that because I'm Jewish" is bs.

Sammy Finkelman said...

"Why do people hate Jews?"

The answer is simple: Plagiarism.

Very few people are inventive enough to invent their own libels.

About the 5 year old: The way Keli-Ann explained it, there *would* be a lot of Nazis in the world. This was however a one time organization, and the cloest thing maybe found to the Nazis these days may be in least they were there in 1957. I read the book "A Passage Through Pakistan."

In general you may find Jew haters, but very few defenders of Hitler - not even or especially not at the United Nations

Even those people who have defended Hitler have tred to retend he didn't do what he did or want what did.

Batya said...

shy, yes, I agree
keli, sammy,
If we'd only act with self-respect we could reduce it.

Unknown said...

I blame Christianity.
Ancient peoples hated the Jews because the Jews refused to be "civilized" and worship other gods. But anti-Semitism as we know it is a product of Christianity, pure and simple. The early Christian Roman emperors (those who came after Constantine) passed laws against the Jews, who they regarded as rebellious troublemakers who wouldn't swallow teachings like "love your enemies" and "turn the other cheek." And it's been downhill from there. The Arabs have simply adopted Christian lies and prejudices and then added their own. After so many centuries it's ingrained in Western culture and has spread around the world. I'd be more optimistic about stopping anti-Semitism if Christians were not so blind about their religion's responsibility for it. Even so-called liberal ones refuse to see it.

Batya said...

H, good points, thanks