By Sy Schechtman


       As has happened many times before in Jewish history,   the fires of anti Semitism are starting to burn brightly again. It is sometimes said that  no army is as powerful  as an idea whose time has come.   With  the Jews at this  time, this adage seems to be unhappily true. They have the most powerful military establishment in the world  other then the United States,   but the resurgence of  Jew hatred  almost world wide  has rendered  their armed might   almost  a problematic burden.     One or two fervent terrorists with strapped on, hidden explosives can devastate many  peaceful civilians, and structures,  and in their own death consummate  an eternal  bliss in the bosom of heavenly  Allah.    And the world approves.   

          The Jews, of course, are now viewed as oppressors.  Throughout history the Jews were viewed as victims mostly, and  were the oppressed, thought of as pariahs and outcasts, more or less contemptuously.   After the vast atrocity of the Holocaust this contempt  for awhile turned to guilty sympathy; but when the Jews  proved able to defend themselves in the new Israeli State that was to be their homeland  against  Arab and world relentless hostility,  seemingly ancient and  ineradicable venom was let lose.     Paradoxically, the Jewish State, mandated by the United Nations, which was to be  succor and savior of oppressed Jewry  world wide became the rallying cry of universal Jew hatred, even unto Dr. Mahatir Muhammid the Malaysian prime minister, no less, who proclaimed the Jew, behind the scenes, of course, of seeking world domination.  And nearer to  home, in western Europe  and Russia, where the Holocaust  was home  ground  to  the six million murdered Jews,  overt Jew hatred  is almost a fashionable thing.   Not to mention  the   outright pogrom incited by Cardinal Glemp in Poland  shortly after World War II  when liberated Jewish  concentration camp inmates returned “home” to seek their former  homes.

Now, in most places the overt  anti Jewish  State diatribes are cloaked in discrete anti Zionist fulminations---“Zionism is racism”.   Its proponents  piously proclaiming  that they are not anti Semites,  although overwhelminingly, all Jews, worldwide,  identify with the   preservation  of the Jewish state, even though they are firmly Diaspora rooted, and loyal citizens of   their own countries.  To the committed Jew at first this racism charge is a puzzling obfuscation, for oppression of the stranger and alien is repugnant to the”Wandering Jew” which  was the fate of all Jews until  the period of enlightenment and the nation state of the last few hundred years at best.  Before that almost two thousand years of  Diaspora homelessness  had been their lot.   But  the vitriolic hatred  spewed forth in the press, and the dogma and doctrine in the daily  press, especially in almost all Arab lands, is that of  “driving the Jews into the sea”, a goal dearly to be achieved and never revoked  from the foundation documents of all Arab states.   A new Holocaust by mass drowning   and somewhat delightfully different from the crematoriums the Auschwitz network  of murder—and less complicated.    This is plain old fashioned Jew hatred veneered over  for the gullible  and guileful!   The bottom in this calculus  is still eliminating  as many Jews as possible.

         The fanning of the anti Semitic flame  is so amazingly easy  to accomplish  because of Jewish exclusiveness.   They were God’s first Chosen People, and the initial innovators of the idea of ethical monotheism.    As keepers of the flame of these very radical ideas at that time some degree of separation and screening of outsiders seemed necessary.   To maintain this separation their diet was restricted –Kosher rules—and  hence  eating with non Jews, a prime social construct, was not possible.  The first recorded pogrom against the Jews was in pre Christian times, in Alexandria, the largest Diaspora city, in about 300 BCE.  This was the largest Jewish population recorded in the Diaspora.  At that time almost a half a million Jews lived there and because of  their separation ethnically; evidently the ”fear of the stranger” syndrome roused great hostility and  eventual some degree of killing and brutality to the resident Jewish population.  However, beyond that time Jews continued to live there successfully for many years.  Well into the new millennium and the advent of Jesus Christ.   By about the second century AD, thou, the Jewish population was markedly diminished in Alexandria, probably because of assimilation.

          Continued and serious Jewish harassment began with the nascent Christian church, as a direct result of Jewish non acceptance of the doctrine that Christ represented the culmination of Jewish history, The Savior, Redeemer, and Messiah.   As the new Christian Church started its ministry   it needed authenticity and validation as the seamless successor to Judaism and hence sought valiantly if only with minimal success to have Palestinian Jewry  join its ranks.   About  100 years later Paul was finally successful  by going outside the Jewish regions of the near east  and began very successfully  gaining converts  among the pagan populace in the Near East and Greece.   But only did his entreaties work when he abandoned  most of the “burden” of the Torah, the laws of Moses that  all Jews had lived by up until then---kashruth, circumcision, prayer three times  a day, and many of the commandments stipulated in the Torah.

          But the refusal to accept the divinity of Christ made the Jews  the sinful mother religion rejecting the new truths of the daughter Christian faith.   Refusing validation for the logical fulfillment of human aspiration, eternal life after mortal death granted because of Christ’s suffering on the cross.   Judaism had stressed making this world a holy place by  exemplary conduct, thus making it a fit place for the  coming of the Messiah here on earth.  Christian anger and frustration  at this rejection led directly to the Christ killer accusations, even though Christ’s avowed mission on earth was to redeem sinful mankind  by his suffering on the cross.   Jewish “rejectionism”, their continued “apartness” due to their  deliberate ethnic  and religious strictures understandably fueled much anti Jewish feeling.   It was difficult  to be the stranger, the non conformer, even in the midst of the urban life style of that time, such as it was.   Among the many other calumnies  circulated was the blood libel---that young Christian males were killed and their  blood used in the baking of matzo for the Jewish Passover Seders.  

          Many years later, around 650 CE, Mohammed had his profound revelations of God and also went first to the Jews to  get their validation of  his new interpretation of the will of God (Allah).  The Jews rejection again of this new divine revelation fueled much anti Jewish feeling and made Mohammed an uncompromising foe of the Jews.   And still later Martin Luther, soon after his epic break with the Catholic Church in Germany, also went first to the Jews for approval and validation.  Their continued refusal to accept his new Protestant faith as part of Jewish teaching made Luther a rabid anti Semite.      But gentile religious prejudice is not, in the modern world, the only “cross” that the Jews have to be bear.   It would seem that denial or non affirmation of the bliss of the afterlife is the main  element in  Christian and Moslem religious wrath at the Jews.  In the modern world, besides the deicide stigma, Jew hatred is focused on the attempt, still secret but devilishly pursued, of the Jew to dominate the world.   One of the all time best selling books besides the Bible is the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.   This fraudulent propaganda concoction emanated in late Czarist times in Russia, about 1890, and was    used by the   Russian police, usually at the Czar’s behest, to stir up anti Jewish pogrom enthusiasm and so divert the growing peasant unrest at economic hard times.   The Jew was the bearded, evil looking human demon counting his money and plotting world conspiracy in secret with his other Jewish loan sharks to achieve total human domination.   For awhile this  model primer of anti Semitism, after its great run in czarist Russia before the communist revolution, lost its’ popularity, but regained great success again with Hitler’s Josef Goebbels, the master Nazi propagandist.  Based on  the Protocols with Goebbels’  master spin, Hitler was able to scare his spellbound audiences with the sublimely evil conflation that the Jew both was the communist demon in Soviet  Russia overthrowing the established order, and the sinister capitalist plotter aiming to dominate and control all the world’s finances!   But the Protocols of the Elders of Zion has much longer staying power still!  It is alive and well now in serving as the anti Semitic grist mill of the Arabs.  Last year Egypt, Israel’s very friendly treaty signer to the south, televised a 41 part series based on the Protocols of Zion, and  this year neighborly  Syria broadcast a 26 part  TV series citing the Protocols as their main source to prove the utter villainy of the Jews.

          With the 21st century still in its infancy the Jewish State, and perhaps world Jewry, remain the ever shrinking demographic polity of the world.  A postage stamp entity  that represents less than the state of Rhode Island in mass, and world population of about ¼ of one percent of  all humanity--15 million.  In the ancient world they accounted for almost 6% of all people.  (Six million in about an estimated 100,000,000.)    But they still always seem to be in your face, massively overachieving, winning all sorts of prizes, awards, financial rewards, and influence. We all know that if we subtracted their total contribution to western thought and positive accomplishment all the world would seem mostly imploded---at the very least.   And , of course, for the overwhelming majority of people  in this world  the fact  that this minuscule amount of  Jewish  people is all that their fantasy fears amount to in fact, should serve as the catalyst for a rational and emotional acceptance of their right to exist in peace, with their naïve(?) Torah rectitude and their insisting on this earth as the proving ground and stage for paradise and not some nebulous afterlife.    But, of course we wait with baited breath about the fate of this “shitty little state of Israel” in the malevolent words of the current French foreign minister.  That the idea whose time has come is not to “drive the Jews into the sea” but to accept their presence at last and so abort all the anti Semitic hate not only in the middle east but world wide.

           But there is, of course, a more diabolic way of looking into the future---a not so ”and they  lived happily ever after” scenario.   A well known Jewish midrash ( Torah explication) says  that God created 10,000 worlds before He found this present   one satisfactory.   And we know that He was not too happy with this one.   As witness the story of Noah.  But He promised Noah that He would never destroy the world again, no matter what.  And the rainbow in the sky was witness to this Divine promise.    But fast forward to this most unhappy twentieth century, when it is estimated that over 100,000,000 people, men, women, and children  were killed in warfare of one kind or another.  More than in all previous centuries combined. No doubt He must be having profound  second thoughts about His creation again. 

          And do you think it was mere coincidence  that all the people involved  in the creation of the nuclear bomb---Einstein, Teller, Oppenheimer, Heisenberg, Bohr, Fermi, Szilard, Feyniman, --were all    full or half Jews?   Or did the Lord keep this lethal instrumentality on hold to sort of avenge his first beloved people, who were perhaps a tad better than the rest and somehow might survive as Noah did?   And is not now the  Lord, also full of suspense, waiting for humanity, at last,  to live up to meriting  the blessing of  brotherhood and peace and not the curse of hate leading to  nuclear war and annihilation?