History's Oldest Hatred

[Boston Globe] Jeff Jacoby - Anti-Semitism is an ancient derangement, the oldest of hatreds. The misnomer "anti-Semitism" was coined in 1879 by the German agitator Wilhelm Marr, who wanted a euphemism for Judenhass, or Jew-hatred - though hostility to Jews has never had anything to do with being Semitic. In their classic study of anti-Semitism, Why the Jews?, Joseph Telushkin and Dennis Prager write: "Fascists have accused them of being Communists, and Communists have branded them capitalists. Jews who live in non-Jewish societies have been accused of having dual loyalties, while Jews who live in the Jewish state have been condemned as 'racists.' Poor Jews are bullied, and rich Jews are resented. Jews have been branded as both rootless cosmopolitans and ethnic chauvinists. Jews who assimilate have been called a 'fifth column,' while those who stay together spark hatred for remaining separate." Many Jews are no saints, but the paranoid frenzy that is anti-Semitism is not explained by what Jews do, but by what they are. They are the object of anti-Semitism, not its cause.

2009-03-11 06:00:00

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