Out of all the hatreds in the world, anti-Semitism is unique.
So irrational are the lies told about the Jews that even an utter rationalist like Sigmund Freud had to say, “With regard to anti-Semitism, I don’t really want to search for explanations; I feel a strong inclination to surrender my affects in this matter and find myself confirmed in my wholly nonscientific belief that mankind on the average and taken by and large are a wretched lot.” What then are some of the explanations offered to explain the phenomenon of anti-Semitism? And does Christian anti-Semitism adequately explain Islamic anti-Semitism?
(1) “It all traces back to Christianity,” meaning that the charge that the Jews killed Jesus (see #45), thus making them guilty of deicide (killing God) has so permeated Western history and culture that “Christian” anti-Semitism provides a link between all manifestations of anti-Semitism. And what of Christian philo-Semitism, a direct result of the testimony of the very New Testament that allegedly produced worldwide anti-Semitism? As George Orwell remarked, “However true the ‘scapegoat’ theory may be in general terms, it does not explain why the Jews rather than some other minority group are picked on, nor does it make clear what they are a scapegoat for.” (3) “It is because of the Jewish religion, which makes the Jewish people different,” and so people attack what they don’t understand.
Not only so, but the Nazis slaughtered Jews who were even “one-quarter” Jewish—meaning only one grandparent was Jewish—also murdering Jews who had converted to Christianity.
There is also worldwide animosity toward the modern state of Israel, despite the fact that the nation is far more secular than it is religious.
This horrific crime included several nations and led to the cooperative and systematic execution of six million Jews, including 1.5 million babies and children.
So depraved were the Nazis (and other Jew killers) that Jewish infants were sometimes thrown into burning pits alive in order to save a bullet, leading to the oft-quoted dictum of Rabbi Irving Greenberg: “Moreover, summon up the principle that no statement should be made [about the Holocaust] that could not be made in the presence of the burning children.” Nothing more needs to be said.
First, it is the longest hatred of all time, dating back at least 2,300 years (and even longer if the book of Esther is included). ” Today, Anti-Semitism is at its highest levels since immediately before the Holocaust, equaling, in fact, those pre-Holocaust levels. These words penned twenty-five centuries ago, still ring true in the hearts of many anti-Semites today: “There is a certain people dispersed and scattered among the peoples . whose customs are different from those of all other people and who do not obey [international] laws; it is not in [our] best interest to tolerate them” (Esther 3:8, with slight modifications made to make this more contemporary).
As expressed by the Catholic scholar Edward Flannery, “Antisemitism is the longest and deepest hatred of human history. Why has this hatred and fear of the Jews persisted for so long?
Consider this attack on the Jewish people made in Ezra’s day, also roughly 2,500 years ago: The king should know that the Jews who came up to us from you have gone to Jerusalem and are rebuilding that rebellious and wicked city.
They are restoring the walls and repairing the foundations.
When the Black Plague decimated Europe, Jews were accused of starting the plague by poisoning the wells with a mixture made of spiders, lizards and the hearts of Christians mixed together with the sacred elements of the Lord’s supper.