Endemic hatred of Jews
By SETH J. FRANTZMAN
Recently there has been surprise about the frequent outburst of European politicians who hate Jews. Statements these politicians never make about any other group are considered acceptable so long as they are made against Jewish people. In many cases the hatred of Jews is paired with visceral hatred for the Jewish state. But why is there such surprise. Europe bred hatred for two thousand years. Anti-Jewish laws, pogroms, expulsions, massacres, were an integral part of European culture. Most European countries and people collaborated with the Nazi Holocaust. The Nazis were not the exception, but a natural progression of European history. They were not a low point in European civilization, so much as among its highest form. The brief hiatus of the last few decades in which hatred of Jews was not completely normal and state policy is a momentary exception.
It is interesting to see Europe today wrestling with migration from other countries. The “refugees welcome” banners some have put up were never put up for Jewish refugees. Europe hunted down and exterminated Jews. Today parts of it try to embrace diversity and multi-culturalism. In some ways the hatred of Israel and Zionism in Europe is a way for Europeans to transfer ingrained anti-semitsm into a new more acceptable kind of hate. There is no country in the world subjected to the kind of zealous hatred as Israel is in these European circles. Syria’s Bashar al-Assad has sent 11 million people into refugee life, and slaughtered hundreds of thousands, but no European politician suggests dismantling Syria and “transferring” Syria to America, as one European politician suggested be done with Israel. The hatred of Israel hides behind the idea that Israel is a democracy so the whole country is to blame for the policies of its leader. But no one suggests eradicating other democracies that elect deplorable leaders who commit abuses, such as the United States, Austria or Hungary. Only with Israel is the solution posited that the country should be exterminated. Exterminated? Yes. They’ve done it before, so for them the concept that large numbers of Jews can be disappeared and eradicated does not seem far fetched. Only with the Jewish people is the people’s existence considered an acceptable discussion in these European circles. The crimes of the Nazis were so monstrous but no one suggested destroying Germany entirely. Ironically today when European politicians have outbursts comparing Zionism to Nazism, their extermination solution for the Jewish state is entirely different then they would have suggested for Germany’s Nazis. That is because they hate Jewish people.
The moment the gas chambers finished operating many European states embraced “human rights” and began lecturing the world on “human rights.” The day they stopped committing war crimes, they wanted to have an international criminal court to put on trial non-Europeans. The continent that produced the greatest engineered mass murder in human history, on such a precise, mechanical scale, then became the arbiter of what is “human rights”. It would be like the Mongolian hordes suddenly lecturing the world about peace and the importance of borders. But since so much of the world refuses to challenge Europe on its view of itself as a natural decider on what is right and wrong, this incredulous mantle is given to the place that exterminated so many.
Why did so many Europeans hate Jews? What did the Jews do to them? Very few Europeans truly seek this answer today. Why did a continent produce so much hatred, so much discrimination? In order to whitewash their history these Europeans now have decided that the Jewish state is the “new Nazis”. Hitler was a Zionist says the former mayor of London.
They hate Zionism. But why did Zionism come into being? Because France persecuted Dreyfus which led Theodor Herzl to see that assimilation would not work. Jews tried to assimilate to this European civilization. They gave up their religion, their traditions. They dressed like Europeans, embraced European culture, music, philosophy, law and even nationalism. They spoke the European languages. Even as Europeans drew and re-drew borders over places like Galicia, Jewish people accepted the new borders. They predated the presence of these new states that came and went, but they accepted the new nationalisms. But that was not enough for Europeans, who then invented the concept of anti-semitism to replace the religious excuse for the hatred of Jews.
At the precise point when many Europeans abandoned Christianity, which had been their excuse for hating Jews who were accused of “killing Christ”, Europeans now decided Jews were a separate “alien” and “parasitical” race. Secularism informed them of race theory and social Darwinism and Jews were at the bottom of that ladder. Anti-semitism, the hatred of Jews as being semitic and thus non-white, non-European, became the new reason to hate Jews. In each generation in Europe the reason for hating Jews took on a new logic. Grandfather hated them for being non-Christian. Dad hated them for “racially scientific reasons”, for being semites. And the current generation hates them for being nationalist and having a state.
European nationalism and extremism led directly to Zionism, for which Jews were then blamed by Europeans for being nationalist. Ironically early Zionism aped European nationalism. It sought answers to the “Jewish question”, which the Europeans said must be “answered”, in a separate state. Other Jews sought other answers, such as assimilation, or communist concepts. In each case, whatever Jews did as a reaction, they were then blamed for having done it. Communism was labelled a “Jewish” movement, and the reason to hate Soviet Russia, “because it is Jewish.” Jews became capitalists and were then hated as “harming the workers.” Today many people, including academics, will post online stories about the “Rothschilds control the world” or “no war for the Rothschilds.” Whatever is the ‘other’, becomes Jewish in the European imagination. If they are left wing, then the Jews are right wing, if they are right wing then they blame Jews for being cosmopolitan. Jews are said to be ethnocentric and anti-Arab, and at the same time said to support multi-culturalism and immigration to Europe.
European history often changes what its ultimate “good” and bad qualities are. But along the way Jews are always said to represent whatever is out of fashion, whatever is “bad” in the European mainstream.
It’s extraordinary that such a small group of people in the world, who only make up some 12 million or so out of 7 billion, are always the object of this European obsession. It isn’t enough they put 6 million in gas chambers. Nothing satisfies the anger and visceral obsessive, pathological hatred in these European minds but the disappearance of the Jewish people. In Norway, France, the UK, so many politicians, academics and others obsess over Jews. They don’t obsess over Sikhs or Albanians, they aren’t concerned with Burma or Zimbabwe, only with Jews and Israel.
Important and very valid points. But it is, as the author noted on Twitter, a rant which, I’d argue, is too much of one to be more broadly useful.
Great article, Seth.
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