Why Do People Hate The Jews?

It has been said that the history of almost all of the Jewish holidays can be summed up succinctly: "They wanted to kill us; we won. Let's eat." Why has anti-Semitism been so pervasive in so many countries, in so many time periods and for so many reasons? (One begins to wonder. Perhaps there is something wrong with the Jews and Judaism? After all, there is an old Yiddish saying -- "If one person calls you a donkey, ignore him; if two people call you a donkey, buy a saddle.")

Between the years 250 CE and 1948 CE - a period of 1,700 years - Jews have experienced more than eighty expulsions from various countries in Europe - an average of nearly one expulsion every twenty-one years. Jews were expelled from England, France, Austria, Germany, Lithuania, Spain, Portugal, Bohemia, Moravia and seventy-one other countries.

Historians have classified six explanations as to why people hate the Jews:

  1. Economic -- "We hate Jews because they possess too much wealth and power."
  2. Chosen People -- "We hate Jews because they arrogantly claim that they are the chosen people."
  3. Scapegoat -- "Jews are a convenient group to single out and blame for our troubles."
  4. Deicide -- "We hate Jews because they killed Jesus."
  5. Outsiders, -- "We hate Jews because they are different than us." (The dislike of the unlike.)
  6. Racial Theory -- "We hate Jews because they are an inferior race."

As we examine the explanations,
we must ask -- Are they the causes for anti-Semitism or excuses for Anti-Semitism? The difference? If one takes away the cause, then anti-Semitism should no longer exist. If one can show a contradiction to the explanation, it demonstrates that the "cause" is not a reason, it is just an excuse. Let's look at some contradictions:

  1. Economic -- The Jews of 17th- 20th century Poland and Russia were dirt poor, had no influence and yet they were hated.
  2. Chosen People -- a) In the late 19th century, the Jews of Germany denied "Choseness." And then they worked on assimilation. Yet, the holocaust started there. b) Christians and Moslems profess to being the "Chosen people," yet, the world and the anti-Semites tolerate them.
  3. Scapegoat -- Any group must already be hated to be an effective scapegoat. The Scapegoat Theory does not then cause anti-Semitism. Rather, anti-Semitism is what makes the Jews a convenient scapegoat target. Hitler's ranting and ravings would not be taken seriously if he said, "It's the bicycle riders and the midgets who are destroying our society."
  4. Deicide -- a) the Christian Bible says the Romans killed Jesus, though Jews are mentioned as accomplices (claims that Jews killed Jesus came several hundred years later). How come the accomplices are persecuted and there isn't an anti-Roman movement through history? b) Jesus himself said, "Forgive them [i.e., the Jews], for they know not what they do." The Second Vatican Council in 1963 officially exonerated the Jews as the killers of Jesus. Neither statement of Christian belief lessened anti-Semitism.
  5. Outsiders -- With the Enlightenment in the late 18th century, many Jews rushed to assimilate. Anti-Semitism should have stopped. Instead, for example, with the Nazis came the cry, in essence: "We hate you, not because you're different, but because you're trying to become like us! We cannot allow you to infect the Aryan race with your inferior genes."
  6. Racial Theory -- The overriding problem with this theory is that it is self-contradictory: Jews are not a race. Anyone can become a Jew - and members of every race, creed and color in the world have done so at one time or another.

Every other hated group is hated for a relatively defined reason.
We Jews, however, are hated in paradoxes: Jews are hated for being a lazy and inferior race - but also for dominating the economy and taking over the world. We are hated for stubbornly maintaining our separateness - and, when we do assimilate - for posing a threat to racial purity through intermarriages. We are seen as pacifists and as warmongers; as capitalist exploiters and as revolutionary communists; possessed of a Chosen-People mentality, as well as of an inferiority complex. It seems that we just can't win.

Now we know what are NOT the reasons for anti-Semitism.

The Reason for Anti-Semitism (article)
The Reason for Anti-Semtism (online seminar)

by: Rabbi Kalman Packouz

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The History of Jewish Persecution
The Anti-Semitic Disease
Why Do People Hate The Jews? by Ken Spiro from AishAudio.com
Hitler Quotes

  “Of all the extreme fanaticism which plays havoc in man’s nature, there is not one as irrational as anti-Semitism. … If the Jews are rich [these fanatics] are victims of theft. If they are poor, they are victims of ridicule. If they take sides in a war, it is because they wish to take advantage from the spilling of non-Jewish blood. If they espouse peace, it is because they are scared by their natures or traitors. If the Jew dwells in a foreign land he is persecuted and expelled. If he wishes to return to his own land, he is prevented from doing so.”

- Lloyd George stated in 1923

  "The uniqueness of anti-Semitism lies in the fact that no other people in the world have ever been charged simultaneously with alienation from society and with cosmopolitanism, with being capitalistic exploiters and also revolutionary communist advocators. The Jews were accused of having an imperious mentality, at the same time they're a people of the book. They're accused of being militant aggressors, at the same time as being cowardly pacifists. With being a Chosen people, and also having an inferior human nature. With both arrogance and timidity. With both extreme individualism and community adherence. With being guilty of the crucifixion of Jesus and at the same time held to account for the invention of christianity."

- A speech about the irrationality of anti-Semitism
by professor Michael Curtis, of Rutgers University, 1987

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