Brighton born & bred
NSC Licker Extraordinaire
- Oct 20, 2022
As a Jewish person, I may be able to offer a slightly different perspective than you might find elsewhere in non-Jewish sources;There is a question that has puzzled me for many, many years. Antisemitism (I know a word, an act, a mindset, certainly not a question). As many others have stated in this thread, the Jews have been the target of hatred, genocide, war crimes, prejudice etc etc, for many centuries across Europe, and before that in the Middle East.
Now for the question (not loaded in any way, I just do not know the answer), why have they been the target of the above over a very long period?
You may find this article below helpful background - as it provides an historical emphasis of anti-semitism that is often missed by non-Jewish people in the interpretation of the persecution narratives (ie those that emphasise religion, faith, power, wealth etc as explanations of anti-semitism - which in themselves are often used as anti-semitic tropes) - The article below might help to understand too why the concept of C19th Zionism and the drive for a Jewish State is so entrenched in persecution history and the significance that has for the Jewish identity: The Jewish people have a complicated history but the following are key factors in the persecution narrative:
- Anti-semitism is concerned more with exclusion politics and expedient scapegoating than it is with religion or wealth - Non-assimilation of ancient-Israelite Jews into cultures and countries of the first (Great) diaspora after the exile from Babylonia, left them always seen as the ‘other’ - a group with a strong sense of cultural identity, monotheism and dietary rules that set Jewish people apart from the pagan traditions that hitherto had prevailed in ancient Egypt and the Hellenic Empire.
- European anti-semitism which had it’s own specific characteristics and that lead to the Holocaust, was rooted in Nazi-racial theories that targeted all outsiders and those not of ‘Aryan descent’ who would ‘pollute racial purity’ - so Jews, Blacks, Gypsies, Gays, Slavs, any ethnic minority became grounds for discrimination - but the European anti-semitism did not happen in a political vacuum - Third Reich and extremist nationalist movement in Germany in the 1930’s grew directly out of the 1929 Great Depression and the economic collapse of the Weimar Republic - a group that is ’homeless’/‘stateless’ in any society has always been used as a rationale for discrimination and expulsion, especially when a leadership is weak or particularly when natural and social resources are low …
- Ironically, the very birth of the State of Israel gave rise to a whole new era of anti-Jewish feeling rooted in anti-colonialism and anti-occupation, or more accurately anti-Israel - modern anti-semitism in the Arab world is not against Jews but against the State of Israel.
In modern western culture there is a sort of reverse psychology taking place with regard to anti-semitism - increasingly ‘anti-semitism’ itself is being misappropriated for political expediency - the ‘other’, the ‘outsider’ has become Islam, far right ideologies now target Muslims in diaspora and both the State of Israel and Western anti-semitism are serving weak and far right leaders as a springboard to promote Islamophobia and Great Replacement Theory in the face of rising immigration and depleting public resources - this phenomenon not only diminishes and detracts from the very real and genuine anti-semitism that still exists within contemporary Western culture but those that misappropriate anti-semitism are themselves, it can be argued, being anti-semitic when doing so despite the rhetoric being portrayed as the opposite.
Who are Jews? An overview of Jewish history from ancient times on, and the origins of antisemitism - UW Stroum Center for Jewish Studies
Judaism, Jewish history, and anti-Jewish prejudice: An overview By Mika Ahuvia, Associate Professor of Jewish Studies & Comparative Religion Watch a video version of this […]
“anti-Jewish attacks are generally not about Jews as people, or about their religious differences. Attacks on Jews are primarily about their fragile status in society, their position as “outsiders,” and about the useful role outsiders can play for political leaders and others as scapegoats during times of crisis.”