Some time ago I recalled something that happened several decades ago that might have revealed a little about the nature and origin of anti-Semitism. Keep in mind that I am no expert on Judaism or anti-Semiticism. What I describe below is just some thoughts I had about it at the time.
I’ve heard a lot about anti-Semitism but I’ve actually never seen it. Of course, I’m aware of the Nazi’s and things like the Inquisition which targeted Jewish people, but these are things I’ve only heard about. Where I live there are very few Jews. I know they are here but I don’t know where they live or who they are. I, myself, have never known any Jewish people personally. I could probably count the number of Jews I’ve spoken to on one hand!
Despite this, it was in the early 1990’s that I became very fascinated with Moses and Judaism. I learned a lot about Moses and inquired a lot about what really happened (not the interpretation given by Christians of movie industry) and what it was all about. In the course of this inquiry I became familiar with Josephus, the Talmud, and so on. Over time, I developed great admiration for Moses and Jewish wisdom, which continues to this day. I became so impressed, in fact, that I wondered if I could convert to Judaism! The point being that I have great admiration for Judaism.
But it was about this time that a weird thing happened. I found that, when I saw pictures or footage of Jewish people (or even when I saw them), I had this weird contempt. This stunned me as I actually had great admiration for Judaism, as I said above. I kept alternating between admiration and contempt. It was really weird. Why would I feel contempt for these people? I saw absolutely no reason to. But, yet, I kept confronting this, a weird odd contempt that seemed to “come from nowhere”. For me, I never developed a hatred for Jews, just a weird contempt. But I can see that this contempt can very easily turn into hatred.
This weird dilemma made me wonder why I was feeling this way. As a result, I looked deep within myself to see if I could determine what it was, what it consisted of, and where it was originating.
How I ended up describing this strange contempt was rather interesting. My description, really, describes a social phenomena more than anything else. I said that I felt that it was a result of how Jewish people view themselves in relation to the people around them which created a general attitude that other people can sense. This general attitude of Jew/non-Jew created something like a wall between them and the people around them. This ‘wall’ distanced themselves from other people and also gave the ‘wrong message’ to other people. As a result, this general attitude created an ‘aura’ or ‘vib’ that they send out, so to speak, and in which other people can sense. Anti-Semitism is really the reaction to this ‘vib’.
Since this ‘vib’ is a general attitude it is something felt, more often than not, unconsciously. That is to say, it just makes people “react” to it, often without knowing why. This ‘unconscious’ sense is referred to a lot with anti-Semitism and I know that many people are mystified by anti-Semitism and why it exists at all. I’ve even heard some people say that they “are not sure why they don’t like Jews”. This unconscious quality gives anti-Semitism this weird mystery about it.
Just some odd months ago I was walking into the bathroom at the airport in Washington, D.C. and I saw, from the corner of my eye, a man walk by. For some reason I straightened up and looked back at the man. I felt this contempt . . . but why would I, toward a man I never saw or knew? I wondered why. As I looked more closely (I only saw his back for a matter of a few seconds) I felt that he was an Orthodox Jew, probably from New York, as he was dressed in clothing similar to what I’ve seen other New York Orthodox Jews wear and, if I recall right, he had the hair tassles (I can’t remember what they are called now) falling in front of his ears. I wondered if he was a Rabbi. The “vib” was so strong that it made me stop and look at the man! More importantly, it made me have that weird contempt that seemed to “come from nowhere”, as it wasn’t provoked by him . . . the ‘vib’ caused an unconscious “reaction” in me.
I’ve had a number of experiences like this before. I recall a similar instance where I felt a contempt for no apparent reason and, on turning around, noticed that a Jewish man was near me who made me feel that strange contempt. I then started to make that joke: “if I feel a sense of contempt I always say out loud, “is there a Jew in here?”
Much of this attitude, which causes the ‘vib’, is based in their belief. Some of the qualities their belief creates are:
- A sense of exclusiveness. Because they are the ‘chosen people’ of God it tends to create an attitude that they are ‘singled out’ and different from other people, and in a better way too. It has a similar quality to British snobbery, but it is very different. It is not based in a class struggle and it does not have this quality of “I’m better than you”, like we see in British society, but the reaction is, in many ways, similar. A snobbish mentality often creates a contempt in the people around them, often by their mannerisms and ways. Not only that, people can often ‘sense’ the exclusive mentality in people, which generally provokes a reaction of contempt. I’ve noticed that many Jews give a sense of “we’re the chosen . . . and you’re just not included.” In other words, “you are out of the picture”. And so, when you have anything to do with them you are not, in a way, anything important or significant. I know other people who have mentioned this as well. The general response to this sort of attitude is a sense of contempt or a hatred that comes about as a result. This type of attitude makes people say things like, “they think they are better than us” or “they think they are superior to us” or “they only care about themselves”.
- A sense of being punished – inviting punishment. The Jews seem to have this quality that they are being punished oftentimes. Their ‘not having a homeland’ is part of their punishment from God, as well as waiting for the land promised to Abraham, waiting for the messiah, and such, all reflect this attitude. Even Jesus’ emphasis on punishment reflects it as well. God is giving them a ‘hard time’, so to speak. I’ve even heard it said that this being given a ‘hard time’ shows they are ‘favored’ by God. As a result, they have, in a way, glorified their own punishment and condition as a sign of love from God. Because of this, the theme of punishment is prominent in their attitude. It makes it so they are not only willing to accept punishment but, in a way, want it, as a manifestation of God’s love. In this way, it develops this strange quality of “inviting punishment” from people, almost like they want it. You know the saying, “he’s a glutton for punishment”.
- Living off of another society that is not their own – being a ‘leech’. Their exclusive society, in a way, creates a wall around themselves that lets no one else in. They do this while, at the same time, they “live off” the people and country around them, using their system, economy, etc. to support themselves. In general, this creates a sense of contempt from the people around them. My experience is that this is not uncommon in society. I’ve found that there is a tendency for people to have contempt when people live off a society, benefitting from it, and then segragate themselves from it. In fact, Jews have became somewhat known for ‘living off’ of everyone else in the society, which they have segregate themselves from, and making fortunes in the process. This, alone, has caused great hatred toward Jews in history. I, myself, at one point joked that Jews are “leeches” on the society.
What all this appears to show is that anti-Semitism originates in the Jewish beliefs and its effects on the people around them. It creates a mentality and attitude that, in a way, alienates them from everyone around them. It also sets up attitudes that puts them at odds with the people around them. As a result, it creates a sense of contempt, which can easily turn into hatred, from the people around them. I think that you will find that the Jewish people who do not emulate these qualities (exclusiveness, punishment, and living off of another society) will not confront anti-Semitism as much. From what I understand, this is what seems to be the case.
Looking at it this way, I can see why anti-Semitism can appear. Anti-Semitism, as I described it, is really a reaction to a weird and unusual attitude and “vib” that jewish people give off to the people around them which can lead to contempt and hatred. As a result, it is not provoked directly by them. But their attitude and mentality, in a way, provokes these reactions from the people around them. This would mean that anti-Semitism is a manifestation of social phenomena more than anything else.
This is how I described those weird feelings of contempt that I felt.