Antisemitism: Rational or Irrational?
Elie Wiesel, the Nobel Laureate and Auschwitz survivor, made the remark, “The world has changed in the last 2,000 years, and only antisemitism has remained … The only disease that has not found its cure is antisemitism.” (1)
Where does antisemitism come from and why? Is antisemitism rational or irrational. This is the sixty four million dollar question and the answer is: – “it is both rational and irrational”.
The Goals and Purpose of Antisemitism
To the propagators of antisemitism and anti-Israel bias, antisemitism is understood to be a powerful psychological weapon in the interest of national policy.This is very rational and goal directed. Both Hitler and the current day jihadists/Palestinians, understand this very well. Hermann Rauschning, who claimed to be Hitler’s ‘confidant’, said in the mid-1930s:
“Anti-Semitism … was beyond question the most important weapon in [Hitler's] propagandist arsenal, and almost everywhere it was of deadly efficiency. That was why he had allowed Streicher, for example, a free hand. The man’s stuff, too, was amusing, and very cleverly done. Wherever, he wondered, did Streicher get his constant supply of new material? He, Hitler, was simply on thorns to see each new issue of the Stürmer. It was the one periodical that he always read with pleasure, from the first page to the last”.
And now here is the deceptive and irrational part exemplified by deceptive books and newspapers, such as the The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, Hitlers’ Mein Kampf (which was largely based on the previous book and Der Sturmer, the antisemitic German newspaper which began its publication in Germany in 1924. I quote from wikipedia:
“Beginning in 1924, Streicher used Der Stürmer as a mouthpiece not only for general antisemitic attacks, but for calculated smear campaigns against specific Jews…Streicher orchestrated his early campaigns against Jews to make the most extreme possible claims, short of violating a law that might get the paper shut down. He insisted in the pages of his newspaper that the Jews had caused the worldwide Depression, and were responsible for the crippling unemployment and inflation which afflicted Germany during the 1920s. He claimed that Jews were white-slavers and were responsible for over 90 percent of the prostitutes in the country. Real unsolved killings in Germany, especially of children or women, were often confidently explained in the pages of Der Stürmer as cases of “Jewish ritual murder.”
One of Streicher’s constant themes was the sexual violation of ethnically German women by Jews, a subject which served as an excuse to publish semi-pornographic tracts and images detailing degrading sexual acts. These “essays” proved an especially appealing feature of the paper for young men. With the help of his notorious cartoonist, Phillip “Fips” Rupprecht, Streicher published image after image of Jewish stereotypes and sexually-charged encounters. His portrayal of Jews as subhuman and evil is widely considered to have played a critical role in the dehumanization and marginalization of the Jewish minority in the eyes of common Germans – creating the necessary conditions for the later perpetration of the Holocaust.”
Although Julius Streicher was able to escape the consequences of his writing during Nazi times. (He was frequently sued for libel but manged to evade guilty verdicts): in 1945 he was one of the nine Nazis tried and found guilty by the Nuremberg Tribunal. Julius Streicher was one of the nine Nazis who were convicted for “Crimes against Humanity.” and died on the gallows.
Joshua Muravchik in his book “Making David into Goliath” documents the pro-Palestinian leanings of the EU. Is this political stance rational or irrational? Joshua Muravchik points to the policy of appeasement of Palestinian hijackers by European states in the wake of Palestinian terror attacks such as the plane hijackings which were so ubiquitous in the 1960′s and the Munich Olympics terror attack in 1973.
We know that several European governments made quiet deals with the Palestinians to keep the violence off their soil. One barometer of this was that in virtually every case – and there were dozens – where the perpetrators were taken into custody after a hijacking or terror act, they were soon released. This was sometimes in exchange for other hostages who had been seized by the terrorists and sometimes as part of some other diplomatic deal. This was a measure of how much governments, particularly European governments, didn’t want to be embroiled in a conflict with these groups and were inclined to make concessions to keep things quiet.
Thus for policy reasons, European nations have turned a blind eye towards the anti-Israel terrorism on their own soil and on Israeli soil. Of course, this policy has come back to bite them big time. As many have noted “antisemitism may begin with the Jews but it never ends with the Jews.”
These are the Rational Purposes of Antisemitism: What about the Irrational Aspects? What about those ideas prevalent since the middle ages and into the present time, that Jews use human blood to create matza (unleavened bread) for Passover. Can any rational person believe this? And then there are the even more outlandish internet videos on youtube that spew lies about Jews and Israel the following is just a very abbreviated list:•
(By the way I have not watched all of these but any brief look at the titles will advise you of the nature of the content.)
And then there are the conspiracy theory antisemites highlighted inthese kinds of videos.
But we have not yet talked about the most significant driver of antisemitism, the emotional psychological driver. It is well known that emotional arguments suffused with fear and anxiety have a powerful hold on individuals both children and adults and take precedence over critical thinking. The best example of this is the claim that “Jews murdered Jesus”. This calumny is what motivated Christian antisemitic pogroms as it was promoted by the Christian church to the masses who then felt justified in hating and murdering Jews through many centuries of Christian church influence.