Anti-Semitism: A Convenient Hatred
Having seen anti-Muslim blogger Pamela Geller’s latest transit ad, highlighted on this Page by CriticalDragon1177, and being fully aware that many of her tactics aimed at demonizing Muslims are the same as those that have been used against Jews, I decided it was high time I go find a well-written & documented, historically accurate book on the subject of antisemitism. Indeed, find one I did.
While looking into the backgrounds of the authors of various books (yes, I do that before buying them, especially when they’re about subjects like this) I was lucky enough to find an hour-long interview with the author of the book I eventually purchased: A Convenient Hatred: The History of Antisemitism by Phyllis Goldstein.
I dislike the tabloid rag that the Huffington Post has become, but I’ll go ahead and link to it as Ms. Goldstein has an excellent article there from 2011 promoting her book and explaining some of the building blocks of hatred:
Hatreds are taught directly and indirectly, consciously and unconsciously, in small places close to home. Those teachings are bolstered by the media and other groups in a society, sometimes overtly and sometimes very subtly. Few people can recall how they came to see an entire group of people as “other” or “different.” It happens so gradually that it feels normal, natural, even right.
Once a collection of lies, stereotypes and myths are entrenched in a society, it has always been relatively easy for a ruler, a general, a charismatic preacher, a rabble-rouser, or a disgruntled neighbor to use them to achieve their own goals. Thus antisemitism has long been a convenient way of uniting one’s own followers and recruiting new ones by turning “us” against “them.” Those same lies have also been used to extort money and other property from Jews and divert attention from “our” own shortcomings. In times of stress, conflict and dis-ease, the cry is often heard: “The Jews are to blame!”
The history of antisemitism makes it clear that hatreds are not ideologies; they are not sets of beliefs but collections of often contradictory lies that play to our deepest fears and anxieties. And hatreds always evolve to reflect the times. […]
It should. People like Geller are making a profit off of using these exact same tactics against Muslims. They are toxic in the extreme. Any Muslim who harbors or spreads antisemitism should think about that long & hard.
Now, without further ado I give you the interview with Ms. Goldstein. Please do watch the entire video as there is some fascinating info about things like the Polish antisemites who risked their lives to save Jews from the Nazis—not because they didn’t blame Jews for the death of Jesus (a.s.), but because they felt that punishing them was something that God should do, not other humans.