Monday, August 29, 2005

(Very) Short History of Anti-Semitism

Here's a "short" little rough summary of anti-Semitism, according to me. This was originally an e-mail that I sent to a person that I know.

It basically began when the Roman emperor Constantine adopted Christianity (around 325 CE) as the official religion of the Empire. Previously, Jews and the to-be Christians (who were also Jews) were two minority groups in the Empire, and when the latter started to spread throughout the Roman Empire (by way of Paul), Constantine adopted it as the state religion.

That Jewish "sect," as it is called, was not on good standing with Judaism as a whole, and years later, as Paul was spreading it to the varying polytheists of the Roman Empire, it became "polytheized." When it was still a Jewish "rival sect," it could have been considered Jew-on-Jew hostility, but once it became a polytheistic religion, it was a matter of two peoples that did not know each other (although the latter possessed a certain "memory" of the Jews, particularly as the murders of their deity). Only then did Constantine "convert" to Christianity, and Christianity converted to a Roman religion with it. The basis for religious resentment by Christians (when they were still Jews) towards Jews as a whole became one of the political bases of the Roman Empire, and to where it spread.

Since then, anti-Semitism was a general European social problem, since, more or less, Rome's spirit lived on in the subsequent European countries, along with the resentment for Jews that it inherited. Europe was made up of many different peoples, but to some degree, resentment of Jews was a common thing. Jews eventually became a commodity to the different places, and the varying kings and philosophers each had different ideas of what should be done with them, some were more friendly than others. What ended up happening was that Europe tossed the Jews around like a rag doll, and when something bad would happen, somehow the Jews were suspected of causing it. Europe had its own problems and I wonder how they would have been dealt with if the Jews weren't there.

As Europe changed (the Enlightenment, French Revolution, etc...) anti-Semitism also changed; it was too common-place to just go away over night. The French Revolution is a good example. Up until that point, Jews in France were not given citizenship, which is one thing that the Revolution wanted to do, to make everybody in France a full French citizen. This seemed like a good thing for the Jews, but it was a double-edged sword since Jews had to break ties with their religious way of life if they were to be accepted as full citizens of the State, and the Jews that decided not to were decidedly anti-State.

This made the French mad, because after all this time of not having equal rights, France was now handing it to them on a silver platter, and yet the Jews rejected it. This brought up "ancient" resentment for the stubborn Jews (Jesus offered them salvation on a silver platter and they rejected that too), and this marked the beginning of the option of secularism for Jews, which did not develop on their own accord. The type of resentment that this brought to the Jews was not religiously motivated, for many of the French of the French Revolution were secular themselves, products of the Enlightenment, and it introduced what many historians call "secular anti-Semitism," held by the elites of society. The spirit of the French Revolution spread to other European peoples.

Interestingly enough, Jews who secularized,such as Richard Dreyfus, who was notorious for putting his French citizenship ahead of his being a Jew and was faithful to France to his dying day, even after being sent to Devil's Island for treason without a trial (against the state that he loved so much), was lambasted as being "that Jew Dreyfus" by those that didn't like him. Turns out that his escape from Jewishness in his own mind wasn't perceived by others. The slogan "mort a la Juif" (death to the Jews) became popular somewhere around this time. Marx's (who was a Jew that came from a family of Rabbi's) ideology of Communism was not just ideologically motivated, it was vehemently anti-religion (a coincidence that Judaism is a religion?) because he said that it, along with money (another Jewish stereotype) were the causes of the world's problems; he was quick to associate anything "Jewish" with evil. So ironic that Marxists are notorious for disliking Jews. Power and money became inseparable from dogmas about Jews, and were barely grounded in reality. Society was hinged on a pyramid of evil, which Jews silently ran. Of course, no straight-thinking Jew-hater is able to highlight this intellecual dissonance this without blushing and being labeled by his fellow haters a "Jew-lover." Therefore, the evidence is just "so abundant," The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, for example.

Secular anti-Semitism still freely wanders in the realm of academia and intellectual circles, and since the inception of the State of Israel, it has again changed in shape, now focusing on Jewish statehood, which is called Zionism. And again, the arguments are compelling (as they always were to those who wanted to believe them). Among them are the arguments of all types, criticizing Zionism for one thing, and when that argument is proven wrong, criticizing Zionism for the opposite. For example, some anti-Zionists will say that Zionism was inavlid because the religious Jews opposed it vehemently (which is not entirely accurate), and yet other anti-Zionists will criticize it on the basis that it was a form of religious extremism. Both cannot be true.

These people have to be careful with the insults that they toss around, because if they say that the genuine of the religious Jews rejected Zionism on the basis of it being religious fanaticism, then they are implying that the representatives of the Jewish religion were moral and moderate people, rejecting extremism. Oops, can't say that now, can we?; go back to the drawing board, suckers. If one looks at the argumentation made by anti-Semites through history, you will see that they were of the same nature; Jews were simultaneously blamed for being both capitalist pigs and Communist fruitcakes. Either anti-Semites are stupid people, or something about the nature of anti-Semitism clouds their minds with stupidity.

In the last forty or so years, anti-Semitism has wiggled its way into the Arab countries and their media. Maybe more than forty years ago actually. Before Israel was a state, Hitler met with Hajj Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, and the two discussed their plans. European anti-Semitism was cross-pollinated with Muslim Jew-resentment, which was not exactly anti-Semitism in the same form that Europe had it, but was close enough for their DNA patterns to be spliced.

The wierdest thing to see is the alliance between Arab Muslims and American white people in bashing Israel. Each is motivated in a different way, and have much different lives, but come together when it comes to hating on Israel. There is a certain amount of this in campus anti-Israel groups, which are sometimes affiliated with a professor or a department, or some socialist screw-loose who runs a group of white kids, and more often than not, you get a Jew in there that wants to save the world. Sometimes Muslim student groups get together with these groups, an unfortunate (yet not totally unexpected) occurence. On this campus (University of Arizona), specifically, there is an African professor that speaks loudly against Israel and joins in the ranks of these groups, occasionally opening as the speaker for their presentations. It just melts my heart to see that anti-Semitism is such an open-minded and pluralistic venture.

Another strange thing is when these "bored white kids," as I call them, step up in support of the Palestinians. It's so wierd to see them sporting Palestinian flags and otherwise getting caught up in their black, green, red, and white parifernalia, because the forefront of Palestinian identity is represented by Muslim religious extremists, and these communist-types hate religion. They are willing to put their seething hatred for religion aside when it comes to supporting terrorism against Jews. Mind you, the fact that Jews live there doesn't bother them, it's just that it's a Jewish state that drives them mad; pay no mind to the twenty three Muslim states in the region or the countless Catholic or Protestant states in Europe and abroad.

*** Theodor Herzl, the father of (secular) Zionism (a Viennese Jew of the late 1800's), was disgusted by what he saw in Europe as an allergy to Jews, and wrote the book on the theory of auto-emancipation, "Der Judenstaat," "the Jewish State." Many religious Jews disagreed with the notion of a return to the Land of Israel on a secular basis, a point of disagreement that still stands today with the Jews living in Israel as well. Nevertheless, it marked the beginning of a concerted effort for Jews to settle in what had become, in the last two thousand years, to be informally labeled "Palestine." When the Romans seized Israel in the year 70 C.E., they changed its name to "Philistina," which was a derivative of the word "Philistine," (the enemy nation of the Kingdom of Israel). The Romans did this in order to break the Jews' allegiance to the land.

However, the Romans eventually dissipated while the Jews remained, and along with them, so did Israel. One thousand eight hundred and sixty two years later (in 1932), the name given to Israel proved to have served its purpose well; the name "Palestine" didn't sound "particulary Jewish" to anyone, as did "Israel." In 1932, the League of Nations officially recorded the name of this region as "Palestine," a derivative of the word "Philistina." Therefore, the Jews settled in Palestine. Today, Palestinians and other Arabs recognize Israel as "Falestin."

1 comment:

EoSoZ said...

Hahaha! Your ridiculous history of "anti-Semitism" is good for a laugh. You have chutzpah to post that tripe in the information age when anyone with a nose for bullshit can google and confirm your post is indeed bullshit. My ancestors certainly had you people pegged with this proverb "the jew cries out in pain as he strikes you!". The people who ran the worldwide slave trade for the past 5,000 years want to claim they are victims! Chutzpah!