The First Step to Fighting Anti-Semitism Is Recognizing How Irrational It Is

(Forward) Deborah E. Lipstadt - There is no easy solution to prejudice because it is an irrational sentiment. The word Prejudice means to pre-judge, to decide what a person's qualities are long before meeting the person. If a person with blond hair were to do you wrong and you, as a result, condemned all people with blond hair, everyone would no doubt think it absurd. Why then, if a Jew or a person of color does you wrong, do we not think anti-Semitism or racism absurd? Anti-Semitism has certain unique characteristics that set it apart from other hatreds. First of all, it is a conspiracy theory. Those who subscribe to these theories tend to rely on familiar "enemies" - e.g., Jews - to give events that may seem inexplicable an intentional explanation. Secondly, unlike other prejudices, anti-Semitism comes from the right and from the left. This fight might be one that can never result in total victory. The roots of this hatred may be too deeply embedded to ever be fully eradicated. However, we must act as if we will be able to achieve that victory. The costs of not doing so are too great. The writer is Professor of Holocaust History at Emory University. This is from her testimony to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom on Jan. 8, 2020.

2020-01-17 00:00:00

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