The conflict between numerous Arab nations and the nation of Israel has been much in the news. I wanted to write an article about anti-semitism, but the more I studied the issue, the more I realized that I didn’t understand it. I found that I was having more questions than answers.
I wondered about the statement of Arabic nations that they wanted to drive all Jews into the Mediterranean Sea and wipe the nation of Israel off the map. This seems to me to be a very irrational statement! What happened to cause so much hate between two groups of Heavenly Father’s children? I believe that this hate is the largest obstacle to peace in the Middle East. I went searching for answers with a great desire for understanding.
According to Wikipedia, “Antisemitism (also spelled anti-semitism or anti-Semitism) is `hatred toward Jews – individually and as a group – that can be attributed to the Jewish religion and/or ethnicity.’ …
“Antisemitism may be manifested in many ways, ranging from individual expressions of hatred and discrimination against individual Jews to organized violent attacks by mobs, or even state police, or military attacks on entire Jewish communities….
“While the term’s etymology might suggest that anti-Semitism is directed against all Semitic peoples, the term was coined in the late 19th century in Germany as a more scientific-sounding term for Judenhass (`Jew-hatred’), and that has been its normal use since then.”
Anti-semitism is not just a German problem or Middle Eastern problem or even a modern problem. Before Hitler and Nazi Germany attempted to destroy all Jews through the Holocaust, other extreme examples of anti-Semitism included the “First Crusade of 1096, the expulsion from England in 1290, the Spanish Inquisition, the expulsion from Spain in 1492, the expulsion from Portugal in 1497….”
Anti-semitism is increasing in the United States and across the world. Europe’s highest rates of anti-Semitic attacks since 2000 took place in Germany, France, Great Britain, Russia, the Netherlands, and Sweden. According to a survey taken by the Anti-Defamation League, “14 percent of U.S. residents hold anti-Semitic views.” The survey was taken in 2005 and found that “35 percent of foreign-born Hispanics” and “36 percent of African-Americans hold strong anti-Semitic beliefs, four times more than the 9 percent for whites.”
The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights announced on April 3, 2006, that anti-Semitic incidents on college campuses in the United States had become a “serious problem.” The Boston Review published a 2009 study stating that Jews were blamed for the 2008-2009 financial crises by almost 25 percent of non-Jewish Americans. An interesting additional fact was that more Democrats than Republicans held this view.
Rabbi Kalman Packouz [www.simpletoremember.com] stated that “Jews have experienced more than eighty expulsions from various countries in Europe” “between the years 250 CE and 1948 CE.” He claimed that historians have given six basic reasons for why people hate the Jews: 1) “Economic - `We hate Jews because they possess too much wealth and power.’” 2) “Chosen People - `We hate Jews because they arrogantly claim that they are the chosen people.’” 3) “Scapegoat - `Jews are a convenient group to single out and blame for our troubles.’” 4) “Deicide - `We hate Jews because they killed Jesus.’” 5) “Outsiders - `We hate Jews because they are different than us.’ (The dislike of the unlike.)” 6) “Racial Theory - `We hate Jews because they are an inferior race.’”
Rabbi Packouz then proceeded to explain why none of these excuses are the real reason why people hate the Jews. 1) Even though “Jews of 17th-20th century Poland and Russia” were `dirt-poor’ and `had no influence,’ they were still hated. 2) The Jews of the late 19th century in Germany tried to deny that they were “chosen” and tried to assimilate, but the holocaust started in Germany. Christians and Moslems have also claimed to be “chosen,” but they have been tolerated until recently by people who hate the Jews for the same reason. 3) To be an “effective scapegoat,” the selected “group must already be hated.” 4) Even though Romans – with Jews as accomplices – killed Jesus, there have been no anti-Roman movements. Claims that Jesus was killed by Jews came “several hundred years” after the event. Jesus said from the cross, “Father, forgive them,” and the Catholic Church “exonerated the Jews as the killers of Jesus” in 1963. Even so, none of these facts has lessened anti-Semitism. 5) When Jews try to assimilate as they did in Germany, they are hated for trying to “infect the Aryan race with your inferior genes.” 6) Jews are not a race. Members of “every race, creed, and color in the world” have become Jews “at one time or another.”
Rabbi Packouz stated, “Every other hated group is hated for a relatively defined reason. We Jews, however, are hated in paradoxes: Jews are hated for being a lazy and inferior race – but also for dominating the economy and taking over the world. We are hated for stubbornly maintaining our separateness – and, when we do assimilate – for posing a threat to racial purity through intermarriages. We are seen as pacifists and as warmongers; as capitalist exploiters and as revolutionary communists; possessed of a Chosen People mentality, as well as of an inferiority complex. It seems that we just can’t win.”
The explanations given by Rabbi Packouz made sense to me. After reading his article I could plainly see that the basis for anti-Semitism is not economics, chosenness, scapegoat, Deicide, being different, or racial.
What causes anti-Semitism to be so unique among all the hatreds in the world? Jews have been hated for thousands of years and in almost every area of the world. Antisemitism is especially strong, and yet there is very little agreement about why Jews are so hated.
Anne Frank, a Jewish teenager killed by Nazi Germany, seemed to understand the real reason why Jews are so hated. She wrote in her diary on April 11, 1944: “Who knows – it might even be our religion from which the world and all peoples learn good, and for that reason and that reason alone do we now suffer….”
When Moses led the Hebrews out of Egypt and to the Promised Land, he made an important stop at Mount Sinai. There Moses received the Ten Commandments and other instructions. The Jews learned at Sinai that there is one God and that this God demands morality from all humanity.
“A great many people simply can’t cope with the burden of being good. However, when they act in ways that are bad, they can’t cope with the resultant feelings of guilt. Try as they may, they can never cut themselves loose from the standards of absolute morality dictated by the Torah. Stuck in this `catch 22’ situation, people turn with their mounting frustrations against the Jews, whom they perceive as personifying humanity’s collective conscience.
“When the Jews entered the theological arena, they showed people all the mistakes they had been making: Pagan gods are nonsense – there is only one God for all of mankind, Who is invisible, infinite and perfect. Infanticide and human sacrifice are unacceptable. Every human being is born with specific rights. No one can live as he pleases, for everyone must surrender his will to a higher Authority” (Rabbi Packouz).
As I read these comments by Rabbi Packouz, I recognized the truth in them and then extended the understanding to Christians in general and Mormons in particular. Persecutions of Christians began while Christ was still living but increased after His death. Persecutions of those who believe in the Book of Mormon began before The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was even organized and continues to this day. Many people do not consider members of the “Mormon” church to be Christians. It appears that knowing the truths of God is a reason for hate and persecution. It seems to me that people simply have a difficult time accepting that others believe differently. It makes sense to me that religion is the reason why so many people hate Jews.
My next question was, why do most Arabs have such an intense hatred for the Jews? I've come to understand that this hatred could have started in the time of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The Bible tells us in Genesis that God made a covenant with Abraham to give certain blessings to Abraham and his righteous descendants. These blessings included the land of Canaan, great posterity, and the power to act in God’s name to bless all the inhabitants of the earth. We also learn from Genesis that this covenant was renewed with Abraham’s son Isaac and Isaac’s son Jacob - whose name was changed to Israel. The covenant continued through the twelve sons of Israel and their descendants who are known as the twelve tribes of Israel or the house of Israel. One of those twelve “tribes” was Judah or the Jews; most of the other tribes are “lost.”
I understand that Islamists believe that Ishmael was the covenant son of Abraham; therefore, they believe that the blessings of the Abrahamic covenant belong to them. When the Jews were scattered during the Diaspora, many Arabs moved into the land of Canaan and claimed the land as their own even though many Jews still lived in the area. Modern-day Palestinians believe that "their" land was stolen from them when the Jews were given their ancient homeland. Palestinians want “their” land back, and other Arab nations support this desire.
I understand that ordinary Arabs and Palestinians who know Jews personally do not hate Israeli’s, but their religious and national leaders fan the flames of hatred for Jews and the nation of Israel. These leaders gain support from the young and the unknowing.
Since I personally believe the Bible to be the Word of God as far as it is translated correctly, I believe that the descendants of Ishmael are usurpers of the Abrahamic covenant. I believe that the world will know of the true covenant people sometime in the near future.
I also believe that negative emotions such as dishonestly, envy, anger, and hate are tools used by Satan to inspire his followers to do his work of destruction. If the covenant people descended through Isaac and Jacob – and I believe that they did – it makes sense that Satan would inspire his followers to destroy God’s work by destroying His covenant people. I therefore believe that the root cause for this hatred of Jews is spiritual rather than physical and that antisemitism is being used by Satan in attempt to destroy the covenant people of God.