Current Hollywood hottie and A list actor Mila Kunis admits anti-Semitism was the main reason she and her parents left their native Ukraine for the USA some 20-year-ago. The curious aspect of this not so unusual event is that most Jews in that part of Eastern Europe were murdered during WW2. How could there be strong anti-Jewish sentiment?
Mehdi Hansan's recent blog on Islamic anti-Semitism, although highly informative and interesting, lacked an in-depth explanation of why? Why are the world's 15 ½ million Jews, who have given the world so much, the butt of jokes or hate over much of the Earth?
This is an especially key time to ask this question. Easter is the holiest day of the Christian faith, when Christ died for the sins of mankind and was resurrected. It was also the basis, as illogical as it may seem, for Europe's wrath on Jews as "Christ killers," never once reasoning there probably wouldn't have been a Christian faith for them to love without the Easter passion.
In places such as Ukraine, Poland , Belarus and Hungary, the memory of their decimated Jewish communities seems to be lasting longer than memories of the War. Anti-Semitic epithets are part of the nomenclature.
Why? When a people in exile have outlived history, surviving while greater civilizations have disappeared, their main problem might be adapting to a changing world. This, actually, hasn't been too much of a problem. It's the results of their adaptability that have created problems.
The weight of history is heavy and it has burdened the Jewish People with virtually every opening imaginable to racist attacks: Being a minority religion, deicide, outsiders, successful, insular, tight with money, dress strangely, look different and have their own holidays.
All this is okay if you're in your own country. But, if you're in someone else's country, one that's peasant based and steeped in a specific dogmatic religion that preaches its primacy over the earth and its inhabitants, trouble could be just around the corner.
Judaism is at the root of both Christianity and Islam...two faiths that account for 2.5 billion followers. Yet, the world's small Jewish population has long fought way above its weight. And I feel this is a main cause of anti-Semitism.
There are two basic reasons for racism: Viewing a minority as not being not good enough or being too good for its own good. If you go unnoticed in just about any society you will probably not have any trouble. It's when a minority achieves prominence that the public takes notice. And if that minority can be tied to perceived hostility toward the majority's faith, a genuine hostile reaction from members of the majority is very probable.
After the Romans and Crusaders got through with the Middle East, large Jewish communities had sprung up in many Arab countries. And because of their ethnic similarities they didn't normally suffer the "slings and arrows of outrageous fortune" meted out them in Europe. On the other hand, as infidels they had second-class status to the "believers." Yet, as long as they weren't noticed there wasn't endless persecution.
Then came Zionism... that was nothing, more than establishing a Jewish refuge from European persecution in the Jews' ancient homeland. This was not promoted by Bibi Netanyahu's grandfather but by left-wing crypto Marxist intellectuals who bought some wasteland from the Turks. They wanted to see if collective farming and technology could make the desert bloom. They were hardly there to persecute Arabs or steal their land.
Unfortunately this was happening when the Ottoman Empire was collapsing and Arab nationalism, suppressed for 400 years, was also reborn. The sight of more and more European Jewish settlers appearing on the scene violated that main rule for peace: They became noticed. Things might have been a bit different if the Zionist settlers had been Arabic Jews...They wouldn't have been so visible
Fast forwarding to 1948, the bookies were giving long odds on Israel lasting more than a week against the massed Arab nations' war of annihilation. Confounding the odds makers and totally confusing the Arabs, the Jews won, something completely unscripted.
In a relatively short times span, the Jews went from being noticed and hated by some people in Europe to being noticed and hated in the Middle East and beyond. Why? Basically for the same reason the Catholic Church condemned them and the Nazis tried to exterminate them. When you tell your people you are the master race, the only faith, and you have a persecuted minority in your midst that excels while you may not, envy and jealousy can fuel your racism.
For the Muslim world a non-Arabic, non-Muslim nation existing as a regional superpower has been impossible for most Arab nations to digest.
A similar conclusion can be made about some UK Muslims. They see Jews as people who have defied Islam and still won. They seem wealthy and live well. It's hard come to grips with this. They must be in with the Devil...That's what some Christians used to claim.
Then there's the Palestinian issue...ongoing since 1948 and something that has to be solved. Yet, today it has become an excuse for racist behaviour. The refugees problem has been going on so long, many people have little idea of what is in play here. But, consider this: Had there been no Arab-Israel wars there would be no refugees or occupation.
There also wouldn't be Arab League Resolution 1542.... This is possibly the only international resolution where one race is acting in a racist manner against its own people. It denies Palestinians citizenship in other Arab nations solely because they are Palestinians. A Jew has a better chance than a Palestinian of getting citizenship in some Arab countries.
The irony here is that Israel has about 2 million Palestinian Arabs as full citizens of Israel, yet the Arabs nation will not accord their own Palestinian brothers citizenship. If some Muslims would examine this issue from history instead of issuing emotional responses that evolve into racist diatribes, they may have a less bigoted view of Jews.
Follow Dan Ehrlich on Twitter: www.twitter.com/danew13