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The Perspective of American Jews on Antisemitism Must Change

By Michael Anbar Ph.D.

Antisemitism is on the rise worldwide and every Jew should be concerned about it since it endangers the very existence of the Jewish nation. To assess this danger and fight it we must understand the reasons for this troubling trend and know its sources. For one, we must identify our enemies and also know who our allies are. It is troubling to see that many American Jews, biased by the centuries-old Christian- Jew hatred and sensitized by the rise of Neo-Nazism, tend to ignore the growing Judeo-Christian alliance while discounting the danger of misojudaic militant Islam.

Misojudaism did not originate in the polemic writings of the Gospel of John, which prompted Christian misojudaism based on the alleged role of Jews in the death of Jesus. Hatred of Jews (misojudaism in Greek) existed hundreds of years earlier, as evidenced in the Book of Esther. The first known misojudaic pogrom against a Jewish community in the Diaspora occurred in pre-Christian Alexandria in 38 A.C.E., about the time of the Crucifixion, more than a hundred years before the Gospel of John was written. There are, therefore, other reasons for misojudaism than the polemics of the gospels. The hatred of Jews today is certainly not limited to some practicing Christians.

There is little doubt that worldwide antisemitism is on the rise. It might endanger the very existence of the Jewish people, especially if the Iranians acquire nuclear bombs and try to “wipe Israel off the map.” But this rise is not due to its rise among Christians but to militant misojudaic Islam augmented by atheistic “liberals.”

Islam aligned with the secular left is responsible for the growing hatred of Jews, especially in Europe and Canada. We must realize that blatant misojudaic statements in the Koran are now weekly recited in mosques all over the world, and especially in Islamic countries.

The growing misojudaism in the American black community is not rooted in Churches but in the growth of political power of the “Black Muslims” (see Louis Farrakhan). Anther contributing factor in the recent rise of Jew-hatred has been the emergence of prominent Jews like Noam Chomsky and Norman Finkelstein, who are considered self-hating Jews. Naive people might think that if “genuinely liberal” Jewish professors deny the Holocaust and hate Judaism for what it is, something must be very wrong with this people and their religious ideology. Misojudaism must be OK, therefore, they may say, thus the Arian Nations and the Nation of Islam may then not be wrong in what they say about the Jews. In brief, willingly or unwillingly, these misojudaic Jews legitimize antisemitism and enhance it in the secular American and European communities.

On the other hand, misojudaism has been declining significantly in the Christian community worldwide. In 1965 the Roman Catholic Church has taken a new theological position expressed in Nostra Aetate, the “Declaration on the Relation of the Church with Non-Christian Religions”, which has absolved the Jewish nation from its alleged “guilt” for the death of Jesus. For the last 40+ years Catholic schools have been instructed to promote this new doctrine of the Vatican. Although it may take another generation for the age-old misojudaism to die out in Roman Catholic communities, it would certainly diminish, if not eliminate Jew-hatred among 17% of the world’s population, Roman Catholics who constitute 1040 million people.

Further, an overwhelming majority of the 60+ million American Evangelics, who do support Israel and certainly do not hate Jews, do not espouse to the “replacement theology,” which calls for conversion of Jews. These are the “Christian Zionists.” The political influence of the Christian Zionist has been increasing and with it msojudaim must be declining in the public at large.

However, there does exist a sizable faction of liberal, anti-Zionist Protestants, whose anti-Israeli stance might very well be intrinsically misojudaic, because Zionism and Judaism are inseparable. However, their number is reportedly dwindling, predicting an additional diminution of misojudaism in the American Christian population as a whole.

Consequently, the recent increase in misojudaism in the US is due to increased anti-Jewish sentiments in the secular, mostly leftist American population, and to the significant rising influence of misojudaic Muslims. This increase seems to outweigh the decrease in the Christian communities.

On the global scene, the “anti-Zionist” alliance between the secular left and Muslims has led to the highly significant increase in misojudaism in Western Europe. There is enhanced antisemitism also in Russia where the strengthening of the Eastern Orthodox Church (not bound to Rome) is associated with its age-old misojudaism, which is augmented by the hatred of Judaism by traditional communists (remember Joseph Stalin).

The world we live in today is a world where Jews have been murdered by Muslims in Israel, France, Russia, Argentina, Azerbaijan and Pakistan just because they were Jews. Jews are banned from Arabia and denied residency in Jordan, among many other Islamic states, including the territory of the “Palestinian Authority,” just because they are Jews. While Holocaust denial, a prime indicator of misojudaism, is a crime in Germany, there are many prominent Muslim Holocaust deniers including Ahmadinejad, Nasrallah, Mashal, and Abu Mazen. This is a world where the Czarist antisemitic pamphlet “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” is a best seller in Islamic counties and its Egyptian dramatization is broadcast on TV throughout the Islamic world.

The misojudaic ideologies of the KKK, the Arian Nations, the Skinhead movement and their sympathizers, pose just a minute problem to the Jewish people, because they constitute a fringe minority in our society. These traditional Jew-haters should not be the focus of our concerns about the worldwide rise in misojudaism at this point in time.

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