Antisemitism has risen considerably in the last few years. The recent gun attack during a Shabbat service in the Pittsburgh synagogue The Tree of Life is the deadliest assault on Jews in US history. The number of antisemitic incidents across the US as a whole rose 57% in 2017; In Britain, since the arrival of Jeremy Corbyn 727 such incidents occurred in the first six months of 2018 – the second highest figure recorded in more than two decades. (These hate crimes were considered serious enough to be investigation by the British police.)
Religious Origins Of Antisemitism
What is behind Antisemitism? What have the Jews ever done to deserve such irrational and unjustified hatred by adherents of both the other two Abrahamic religions, Christianity and Islam?
Among Christians the origin of this anti-Jewish hatred is rooted in Christianity itself (which it is worth noting has started life as a minor Jewish sect incubated and spawned from the belly of Judaism). The Church of Rome preached that the Jewish people were collectively responsible for the death of Jesus of Nazareth their “Lord and Saviour”. Jesus, a Salafist Jewish preacher who like many of his contemporaries wanted to reform his religion Judaism and restore it to its pure origins. A rebel against the established order of the Roman Empire, he was found guilty of terrorism and sentenced to death by crucifixion, the standard method of execution. As we can see Jesus was not executed by his fellow Jewish co-coreligionists but by the Roman government of Palestine at the time.
This historically inaccurate and inflammatory allegation by the church of Rome lasted until 1964 when it was abrogated by Pope Paul VI. It has nevertheless created a reservoir of anti-Semitic hatred still festering among Christians to the present day.
Muslims’ pathological hatred of the Jews is also rooted in their religion Islam. Muhammad’s attempt to forcibly convert the Jewish tribes of Arabia to Islam was thwarted at which point the majority of them were massacred and the remaining few were enslaved. Thus, followed a cascade of anti-Semitic suras in the Quran vilifying the Jews and calling for their exile from Muslim lands or their extermination.
The Quran, a “plagiarised and Arabized version of the Jewish Talmud” preaches death to the Kuffars (the infidels). Sura [5.33] states that “the punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His apostle is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified, or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides” and Sura [4.46] warns of those who are Jews Allah has cursed them because of their unbelief.
Throughout Islamic history, Jews became docile dhimmis (second class citizens) subject to Muslim domination.
This hatred of the Jews is not exclusive to religious texts only. It is found in school books for children as young as 3, complete with illustrations of Jews with monster-like qualities. Mainstream educational television programs are consistently anti-Semitic. In songs, books, newspaper articles, and blogs, Jews are variously compared to pigs, donkeys, rats, and cockroaches, and to vampires and a host of other imaginary creatures.
See also my article – Islam & Antisemitism
Jealousy, Resentment & Scapegoating
Religious bigotry, the incubator of Antisemitism has become the convenient tool of unscrupulous dictators; Hitler believed in a superior Aryan race which he couldn’t accomplish with the Jews around. In the 1940s he resorted to his final solution by committing one of history’s most notorious genocides, the murder of 6 million Jews in what became known as the Holocaust.
Extreme anti-Semitic episodes are not exclusive to dictators. They are often triggered by the slightest crisis for which the Jews are blamed. The deranged gunman, who massacred 11 Jewish worshippers in Pittsburgh, USA on the 29th of October 2018 had no reason for killing 11 innocent worshippers other than they were Jewish. “All Jews must die” he yelled. Similarly, before attempting a massacre against a Jewish synagogue in Paris, the Muslim perpetrator invoked the name of Allah by yelling “Allah Akbar” God is Great implying that he was fulfilling Allah’s command to kill Jews as ordained in the Quran.
Antisemitism runs deep in the veins of both Christians and Muslims. Jewish success in all fields of endeavour and their prosperity in most nations in which they reside put them at the receiving end of resentment, hatred and blatant jealousy. In 2017, of a total of 902 individuals who were awarded Nobel Prizes 203 or 22.5% were Jews. Jewish contribution to all disciplines of knowledge is even more remarkable in proportion to their numbers. Jews comprise less than 0.2% of the world’s population. This means the percentage of Jewish Nobel laureates is at least 112.5 times or 11,250% above average!
Ontological resentment of the Jews manifests itself in endless conspiracy theories The Jews run the world! They dominate Hollywood! They control the Media and Wall Street! They control the banking system and financial institutions etc and many more such outlandish allegations.
The successes of the State of Israel in the mere 60 years of its existence also gave ammunition of hate to the anti-Semites on both sides of the political divide in Europe and America. The only free and democratic nation in the Muslim Middle East and North Africa became the lightning rod for all anti-Semitic insanity. Israel’s foundation was also godsent to all Muslim leaders who were provided with the perfect excuse and justification to blame Israel for all their societies’ ills and backwardness. The accomplishments of the Jewish State continue to trigger feelings of resentment, and a sense of inferiority among all Muslims.
This meme of hatred must be eradicated from the DNA of all its carriers and replaced with a new meme of KNOWLEDGE. Education in Antisemitism beginning as early as the elementary stage of schooling is long overdue. Studies in Antisemitism must form part of the curricula of all social /political science and psychology programs in schools, colleges and universities.
RIP the 11 innocent prayers who perished in the Tree of Life synagogue October 2018,