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Anti-Semitism: We Must Take a Second Look

Written by Rabbi Michael Weygant on . Posted in Antisemitism

It is an indicator of the state of the world in which we live that we deem it necessary to again approach in written form the subject of anti-Semitism.

One can hardly believe the tremendous amount of political change that we have been witnesses to during the last few decades. We have seen the dismantling of totalitarian governments, the formation of new political and economic alliances, and the embryonic development of a so-called ‘new world order’ which has the distinct potential to affect all of our lives radically if allowed to maximize. Hidden behind all these images of change and supposed progress is a stubborn foe of the Jewish people and by inference of the world at large. That foe is the specter or spirit of anti-Semitism. To put it succinctly: we should be continuously aware that the avowed enemies of the Jewish people have not suddenly disappeared from the face of the planet during this time of rapid global change. Their agenda remains the same: the humiliation, degradation or even the total annihilation of the people of Israel. Furthermore, the force behind these wicked goals has not thrown in the proverbial towel in defeat. The spirit of anti-Semitism must be reckoned with, be taken seriously and should not be disregarded.

Wherever the Jewish people are found the potential for brazen acts of grievous prejudice against them remains intact. The amount of progressive societal change in a given nation of residence does not equate to commensurate inoculation against the sickness of anti-Semitism or its variants, anti-Israelism and anti-Judaism. What then is the bottom line in our discussion? Real change in relationship to anti-Semitic actions can only come from real inner change in the hearts and minds of the individuals who comprise the society in which we live. In other words, to window-dress the outer may do little or nothing for the inner, that contemptuous attitude that lies within. There are no cosmetic solutions to the problem of rising incidents globally of actions of anti-Semitism.

In our own backyard so to say, here in the United States and in the relatively safe haven that we know as the Western Hemisphere, the stakes in this matter are high. In this wonderful land of freedom where the constitution is upheld by documented laws, there remains no guarantee that the spirit behind anti-Semitism will not have eventual impact. The documents of our nation’s founding fathers speak of ‘certain inalienable rights’ for all our citizens. Yet such pseudo-Christian groups as the Christian Defense League, the Christian Patriots Defense League, the Aryan Nations and others have continued to spew forth a venom of anti-Semitism and hatred towards all who are not ‘created in their own image’. In the world of serpents, only a small amount of venom may be required to be lethal. Anti-Semitism is lethal to most who are bitten in soul by its purveyors.

There are other hate groups that do not even bother to hide behind a guise of Christianity. With unabashed boldness these groups attempt to inculcate hatred and to pollute the minds and hearts of their audience at every opportunity. The leader of a Black Muslim group, Louis Farrakhan, who is reportedly fighting against cancer in his own physical body, stated a number of years ago that Judaism is "a gutter religion" and that Hitler was a "great man." Meanwhile, on the opposite end of the spectrum can be found those who ascribe to the warped teachings of the so-called ‘skinhead movement’. We have been hearing less of this movement in recent years and admittedly the number of individuals claiming membership remains negligible. Yet, this virulently anti-Semitic movement has not disappeared. The emergence of this misguided movement has brought converts to the xenophobic worldview of neo-Nazism. Violent actions against Jews among others have been perpetrated by, and attributed to this small group of people. What is the centerpiece of their worldview? Their conclusion that the Jewish people are dangerous pariahs. Therefore, according to their jaundiced rationale, Jewish people must be dealt with swiftly and decisively. But the question remains: what could be the unseen motivating force prompting this continual disdain and irrational hatred for Israel and for the Jewish people?

First, there can be no doubt that there is a deep spiritual dimension contributing to the hatred of Jewish people. To restate this idea in one revealing and terse phrase will amplify our point: anti-Semitism is inherently demonic. We can observe throughout the Biblical account that the Jewish people have been the victim of dastardly and diabolical plots to murder and maim during the greater part of recorded human history. The list of perpetrators1. in the Biblical narrative runs long and is diverse even as the goal of harm and annihilation is surprisingly uniform. In the book of Revelation2. we note that the force behind the warfare against the woman (Israel) that brought forth the son (Yeshua) who rules was the "dragon". In the same chapter of Revelation the "dragon" is identified as none other than "the serpent of old who is called the devil and satan, who deceives the whole world."3 The literal definition of the untranslated Hebrew word ‘satan’ is ‘accuser’4. The next verse, Revelation 12:10, affirms our point. This same satan is designated in the book of Zechariah as the one accusing Joshua the high priest5. This accuser and deceiver functions in a similar crafty manner at the Garden of Eden6. and in the opening scenes of the book of Job7. The accuser behind these aforementioned incidents was actively directing, inciting, and accusing those in special relationship with the GOD of Israel. The accuser’s goal and purpose was to lie and deceive, to destroy, murder and to accuse Israel and the Jewish people. Concisely, the accuser desires to afflict and destroy the covenant people and to besmirch the blameless character of the covenant-keeping GOD of Israel.

Secondly, we can assuredly state that the spiritual attitude of pride has been an incentive and driving force for anti-Semitism throughout the centuries. We know from a careful examination of the Biblical account of the rebellion of satan against the GOD of Israel that pride was at the very core of his downfall8. It should come as no surprise then, that the servants of this proud and rebellious "covering cherub" should be motivated by the same inner sinful attitude. Anti-Semitism in its simplest form states that the Jewish people are inferior to a given group. That is to say in the converse, that a particular group is superior to Jewish people. We need only to reexamine recent history to see that millions of Jewish people have been massacred as a direct result of "Aryan" arrogance and pride. This by no means indicts all Germans or Poles, but it does reflect upon the third crucial element in our attempt to decipher the underlying reasons for anti-Semitism. Our third element could be termed abuse of power.

Government officials and those wielding authority can be a tool for good or for evil. As was so obviously the case in Nazi Germany between 1933 and 1945, unrighteous government officials were able to carry out atrocious crimes against humanity, and more specifically against Jewish people, through abuses of their governmental positions of authority. Sadly, the debacle that was experienced under the German Reich last century bears similarity to numerous historical events that the Jewish people have been able to endure by the grace and providence of Almighty GOD. Other rulers have sought to humiliate or vanquish the Jewish people. Nebuchadnezzar9, Pharaoh10, Haman11, and numerous others according to the Biblical record have vigorously opposed the Jewish people. None have been successful at annihilating Israel and no one ever will.

The Jewish people are a people of covenant with the True and Living GOD. Do we not refer to this covenant keeping GOD by the specific term ‘the GOD of Israel’? Even though at times the Jewish people have been temporarily estranged from GOD, the covenant honoring GOD has continued to remember them and to uphold Israel as the very "apple of His eye"12. When the anti-Semites attempt to degrade the Jewish people and reject them, they are in serious error and stand in direct contradiction to the Almighty’s own example. To borrow from the writings of Rav Shaul (the Apostle Paul): GOD has not rejected His people, has He? May it Never be!...GOD has not rejected His people He foreknew. (Romans 11:1,2a)

With these important ideas in mind, we can conclude that despite the demoniacally inspired and satanically energized attempts to eradicate the Jewish people, the Jewish people by the grace of GOD have continued to thrive. Ironically, wherever they are allowed true inalienable rights they have risen to the top of virtually every vocational or professional field in which they have endeavored. Their achievements here in the United States certainly bear that out. This fact has even been noted in the Encyclopedia Britannica in a revealing entry under the subtitle, ‘Jews’:

"It is a noteworthy fact of history that great conquerors, Alexander, Caesar, and Napoleon, have always treated the Jews well: they recognized their religious function and sought to give it freedom to develop, for their own advantage as well as that of the Jews. On the other hand, lesser men, endowed with narrower outlooks, have failed to recognize the Jew and have sought to crush him. In their desire to impose an artificial uniformity, they broke down the boundaries of people and ‘put down the inhabitant’ (Isaiah 10:13). But such Procrustean methods are contrary to nature, and tyranny, whether towards Jews or others has never secured permanent results. The same policy of religious unification has characterized subsequent dynasties, from the Assyrians to the Romanovs, and the same fate has overtaken them. The Jew has survived their appearance."

Footnotes:

  1. Pharoah, Haman, Goliath and Balak are prime individual examples of those who sought to harm Israel. The Philistines, Edomites and Babylonians serve as examples of national groups that have sought to destroy Israel or at the very least wreak irreparable damage and affliction.
  2. Revelation 12:5
  3. Revelation 12:9
  4. See lexicographer Rabbi Ernest Klein, Ph.D. ‘Etymological Dictionary of the Hebrew Language’
  5. Zechariah 3:1
  6. Genesis 3:1ff
  7. Job 1:9-11
  8. Compare Isaiah 14:12-15 and Ezekiel 28:13-19.
  9. 2 Chronicles 36:9ff
  10. Exodus 14
  11. Esther 3
  12. Deuteronomy 32:9-10; Zechariah 2:8