Friday, 16 January 2015

Anti-Semitism: How did it originate?

Huge increase in anti-Semitism in Britain - now highest in 30 years
45% of Britons agreed with at least one ant-Semitic statement put to them during a YouGov pol such as “Jews chase money more than other people” (endorsed by a whopping 25%), and “Jews’ loyalty to Israel makes them less loyal to Britain than other Britons” (20%)
Surge in anti-Semitic attacks in Europe
According to one American Evangelist, even “the institutional church has sinned through much of its history and has much to answer for at the Judgment, especially for the anti-Semitism practiced against the Jewish people.”
Why is there so much hatred towards the Jewish race? Some might point to modern Israel’s role in the Middle East, particularly in view of recent bloodshed in Palestine.
But anti-Semitism goes beyond politics and present day conflicts. Hatred of the Jewish race has been raising its ugly head for centuries. So let’s examine why many people feel justified in holding anti-Semitic views.
Jews killed Jesus?
Some so-called Christians blame the Jews for Jesus’ death. However, the New Testament reveals that Jesus was greatly esteemed by the ordinary people. Opposition to his teachings came almost entirely from religious leaders such as the Pharisees and Sadducees. Jesus was particularly hated by Israel’s High Priest Caiaphas, whose hypocrisy Jesus exposed and who no doubt suffered financial loss after Jesus threw the money-changers out of the temple.  
Alarmed by the crowds who listened to Jesus, Caiaphas also feared this man’s teachings would be viewed as insurrection by occupying Roman forces, provoking armed intervention and a subsequent loss of power for him and his cohorts.  The die was cast. Eventually, following a mockery of a trial at the Sanhedrin, Jesus was handed over to the Romans for execution.
How ironic that it was his genuine popularity with ordinary Jewish people that led to Jesus’ death. Significantly, most of his followers were Galileans - warm, humble people who were subject to prejudice from the highly educated, haughty Judeans of Jerusalem. So who were the hordes clamouring for Jesus death?
Matthew reveals that the crowd was incited by “the chief priests and older men.” (Matthew 27:20) What lie could they have told to whip up such hostility? Perhaps it was the lie earlier presented at Jesus’ trial and repeated during his execution - that Jesus threatened to destroy the temple. (Matthew 26:60,61; John 2:19-21))
Careful examination of the Gospel accounts clearly proves that the Jews as a race were not to blame for Jesus’ death. As usual, it was the politicians and religious leaders of the day who found his teachings ‘inconvenient’!
Jews caused the plague?
Another old chestnut involves the Bubonic plague which ravaged Europe in Medieval times. In her book ‘Invisible Enemies’, Jeanette Farrell writes: “The plague gave this hatred an excuse, and the hatred gave people’s fear of the plague a focus.” 
As a result of this hatred, entire Jewish communities in Spain, France and Germany were slaughtered, even though the real cause of the disease was rats ( or gerbils, as has recently been suggested!)
Germany’s WW! Defeat
During the Holocaust, Adolf Hitler blamed the Jews for Germany’s defeat in World War II, while Rudolf Hoess, Nazi Commander of Auschwitz concentration camp said: “Our military and ideological training took for granted that we had to protect Germany from the Jews.” (The Holocaust also gave Nazis an excuse to loot wealthy Jewish families)
Similar beliefs continue with ‘Jewish’ conspiracy theories throughout the US and, of course, the Middle East – although criticism of Israeli policies are not at issue here. Disagreeing with Israel’s policies does not make someone anti-Semitic.
So what does? Where did this hostility originate? There is an answer, one which may surprise you.
The ‘Seed’ – The real reason
The first prophecy ever uttered at Genesis 3:15 speaks of “enmity between (Satan) and the woman (God’s heavenly organisation) and between (Satan’s) offspring and (the woman’s) offspring.” Eventually, the woman’s offspring (Jesus) would put an end to Satan and all his followers.
In Luke 4:6, 7; John 14:30 and 1 John 5:19, Satan is identified as the ruler of the world. Bearing in mind that his greatest enemy is Almighty God, it’s hardly surprising that Satan hates anyone who loves God and supports His sovereignty.
Foremost amongst these is Abraham – a man so faithful he became known as “God’s friend.” Because of Abraham’s faith and unbreakable loyalty, God promised that the Messiah would come through his line via Sarah - and the Jewish race was conceived to become God’s fleshly nation and a “people for his name”.
A direct descendant of Abraham and Sarah, Jesus could trace his lineage through Judah, Jesse and King David, while all the prophecies of the Hebrew scriptures - including the year of his arrival in 29CE (Daniel 9:24-26) - have proved beyond doubt that Jesus was the Messiah and the foretold King who will ultimately “crush Satan in the head”…….

A Jew!

6 comments:

  1. Always enjoy reading your Blog, this one has prompted me to share my views, which I hope will be taken as constructive.

    As an observation, France has been considered relatively an anti-Semitic society for decades; therefore it is not surprising that the ratcheting up of incidents against its Jewish citizens reached a tipping point with the attacks this year.

    It should also be noted that France has a general intolerance to difference or religious expression, as identified most recently with the restriction on secularity and conspicuous religious symbols in schools

    The statistics and surveys are always interesting, given the relatively small Jewish community in the UK, circa 250k, I would add that from my experience, I do not recognise the 54% sentiment regards “no future in the UK”, and would go as far as to say I have never heard that sentiment expressed.

    With respect to the seeds of Anti-Semitism, the examples you note, and many others, have fueled Anti-Semitism over the centuries. With many of these examples, it is hard to identify any meaningful facts, as with much of so call History, much of the narrative has been shaped and informed by perceptions or Politically driven, and often written by the Victors, with the objective of expressing their view of the world.

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    1. Thank you for your interesting (and very constructive!) comments, Arvid. I've heard that France is particularly opposed to certain religions. As for the quotes used, these were sourced in the aftermath of the Paris shootings, so were perhaps more dramatic than may otherwise have been the case.
      I have removed the 54% quote in line with your concern.

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  2. Thanks for the feedback, regards the 54%, this figure is out there in the public domain, however I think there needs to be some context around its use.

    The value of 54%, as I understand it, was not an output from the YouGov Survey, but the output from a separate Group, which I do not doubt was a valid result from the group surveyed, but do not know if that was a representative sampling.

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  3. Interesting blog post. I think there's a deeper psychological reason for anti-semitism: fear of difference. Particularly in pre-WWII Europe, Jews tended to live in their own communities. Their manner of dress and appearance, holy days, religious ceremonies and even their way of eating was markedly different from their non-Jewish neighbours. They were "different;" they were "other." Sadly, I think there's something very basic about mankind that hates and fears the "other." When times are hard, it's easy to blame that hardship on the "other," and Jews have long been blamed (under various guises - the killers of Christ, money-lenders, etc.) for economic woes they had little to do with. That seems to me the basis of anti-semitism, and it's incredibly sad that this group of people has suffered so long for what is, at base, an irrational fear.

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  4. Simple jealousy may also have been a factor. Both ancient and modern Jews are noted for their amazing acumen, excelling in everything they do - in finance, science and the arts.

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