As Jews around the world prepare to celebrate Shavuot, the holiday marking the adoption of the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai, we are deeply saddened by the revival of global anti-Semitism. The deep connection between Sinai and anti-Semitism appears to be underappreciated.
The connection between the two can help us answer one of the most confusing mysteries of the Jewish people’s history. Seven decades after the Holocaust, hatred against Jews and Judaism has resurfaced with a vengeance in Europe’s main capitals.
Once again, it spread over the world under the pretense of anti-Zionism. Jews as a people and Israel as their homeland are once again held responsible for all of the world’s ills and the source of all of its wrongs.
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Why Do Some People Hate Jews?
The animosity directed toward Jewish people is one of the most pervasive and long-lasting forms of bigotry in the annals of human history. In addition to this, those who harbour this animosity have offered a wide variety of explanations for why they feel this way, all of which can be shown to be clearly false.
- When Jews were communists and when they were capitalists
- When they were stateless and when they had a state
- When they were religious and when they were secular
- When they “invaded and took jobs” and when they were rootless and barred from the marketplace
- When they were phenomenal achievers in the world and when they stayed in the study hall and did nothing but learn
- Even when they were present and (often) doing nothing more than learning; even when they were present and (often) doing nothing
In other words, Jews have been the target of hatred simply because they have not renounced their Jewish identity. Because despite the fact that they were subjected to the harshest persecutions, they did not give in to the pressure to change who they were.
Because they reflect back on the world the truth of the world’s own cruelty, and because they do it in a reflective manner. Because, as Maurice Samuel famously said, “no one loves their alarm clock.” Those who have accepted and welcomed the Jewish people have been blessed, just as the Bible predicted they would be.
And yet, despite making up only 0.2% of the world’s population, this extremely small tribe has managed to survive, serving as a living demonstration of the extraordinary resiliency of the Jewish spirit and the unbreakable promise of God.
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What Is The Solution To The Anti-Semitism Problem?
In the very name of the mountain where the Ten Commandments were given, the Talmudic rabbis recognised it. Hebrew for “Sinai” is “sinah,” which means “hate.” The hatred in the world was brought about by the Jews’ acceptance of a stricter code of morality and ethics.
Jews were the first to spread the Ten Commandments’ teaching that worshipping God includes upholding the second tablet, which calls for respect for one’s fellow human beings. Judaism, which is the mother religion of both Christianity and Islam, was the first to recognise the need of living in accordance with divine rule and the idea of the holy.
But anti-Semitism goes against the whole notion of civilization. It hates Jews because it recognises that Jews are the arbiters of morality and ethics for all of humanity. Amazingly, Adolf Hitler had the audacity to say it as justification for his scheme to exterminate the Jewish people: “Conscience is a Jewish creation like circumcision.
My responsibility is to liberate men from filthy, demeaning notions of conscience and morality. Anti-Semitism should be regarded as a badge of honour as Jews get ready to celebrate receiving the Ten Commandments.
The reason Jews are despised is not because they are evil, but rather because they never stop reminding the world of what it means to be good. Anti-Semitism is nothing less than a physical response to a guilty conscience’s cries.
History Of Hatred
Wilhelm Marr, a German journalist, is credited with popularizing the term “antisemitism.” Der Sieg des Judentums über das Germentum (The Victory of Judaism over Germandom), his polemic, was released in 1879. Marr presented himself as a totally modern, secular man.
He categorically denied the outdated but persistent Christian accusations that the Jews committed deicide or killed Christian children in ritual murder. In its place, he drew from the contemporary theories of French scholar Ernest Renan (who viewed history as a world-shaping contest between Jewish Semites and Aryan Indo-Europeans).
Marr asserted that the threat posed by Jews to Germany was racial. According to him, it originated from their “tribal idiosyncrasies” and “foreign essence,” which were immovable and destructive in nature. Antisemites like Marr tried to appear intellectually respectable by distancing their own contemporary, secular ideology from the irrational, superstitious bigotry of the past.
It is a strategy used by some modern antisemites who support “anti-Zionism,” an ideology whose precise definition subsequently sparks a great deal of debate. But many have witnessed the persistent anti-Jewish prejudice that has existed from pre-modern to modern times.
In actuality, antisemitism was just as prevalent in western Europe as it was in central or eastern Europe prior to the Holocaust. Think about how Captain Alfred Dreyfus, a Jewish army officer, was wrongfully accused and found guilty of espionage for Germany from 1894 and 1906, for instance, and how this led to a severe rift in French society.
Catholics battled Jews, and conservatives squared off against liberals and socialists. The older, “mediaeval,” legacy of religious intolerance clearly had a significant impact on many people who helped establish modern antisemitism, therefore Trachtenberg was undoubtedly correct in his assertion.
Sergei Nilus, a political extremist, an ultra-Orthodox, and a self-described mystic, was the editor of the infamous Protocols of Zion in Russia, a crude, ugly, but fatally influential fake that claimed a Jewish global conspiracy.
Nilus was convinced that the Antichrist would soon appear and that those who did not acknowledge the existence of “the elders of Zion” were merely victims of “Satan’s greatest ruse.” Nilus was driven by fear and hatred of the threats that modernity poses to traditional religion, social hierarchies, and culture.
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