“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”
Perhaps you recognize the opening paragraph from A Tale of Two Cities by the immortal Charles Dickens. He was providing analysis of the disruptive state of affairs in 18th century England, as well as across the Channel, in France. If you know about the disruptive state of affairs in the 21st century, perhaps you’ll appreciate the allegorical reference of these phrases of human affairs almost two and a half centuries later.
Why do people hate Jews? Well do they?
“Let God be true and everyone else is a liars” (See Romans 3.4).
Firstly, is this statement true and how universal is Jew-hatred?
Secondly, there are multitudes of people throughout the world that positively love Jewish people and do not have an anti-Semitic bone in their bodies.
Sweeping generalizations are not helpful at all when dealing with the love or hatred that may be held about a particular group of people.
In two recent films both that deal with the stereotypes that people hold about Jews, namely JoJo Rabbit an anti-hate satire and Hunters, inspired by true events.
Jojo Rabbit is a 2019 American comedy drama film written and directed by Taika Waititi, based on Christine Leunens‘s book Caging Skies. Roman Griffin Davis portrays the title character, Johannes “Jojo” Betzler, a Hitler Youth member who finds out his mother (Scarlett Johansson) is hiding a Jewish girl (Thomasin McKenzie) in their attic. He must then question his beliefs, while dealing with the intervention of his imaginary friend, a fanciful version of Adolf Hitler (Waititi). The film also stars Rebel Wilson, Stephen Merchant, Alfie Allen, and Sam Rockwell.
Hunters is about a rag-tag team of Nazi Hunters in 1977 New York City who discover that hundreds of escaped Nazis are living in America. Like a ‘bad-ass’ vigilante squad set out on a bloody quest for revenge and justice. The soon discover that a far-reaching conspiracy and must race against time to thwart the Nazis’ new genocidal plans, that not only targets Jews, but all those deemed to be of inferior racial origins. Only the ‘true white race is to be preserved.’
Particularly in Episode 8 Nazi racial stereotypes are expounded in a TV – Money Show:
It should not come as a suprise that these two films deal with the myths and racial stereotypes that many people hold concerning Jewish people. Alas, this is not a new phenomena but it has a very long history.
I find this question odd – as it presupposes that some stereotypes are true. One definition of the word “stereotype” is “A widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing”. So any stereotype must agree with the facts and more often than not is likely to be false because it is an oversimplification.
Nevertheless – there are numerous false stereotypes about Jews: So here goes with a list of stereotypes that are untrue:
1) Jews have big noses
2) Jews are all dark haired.
3) Jews are all white
4) Jews are all rich
5) Jews control the media
6) Jews control the banks and world finances
7) Orthodox Jews have sex through a hole in the sheet
8) Jews use human blood in cooking their Passover “bread” – matzoth
9) Jews killed Jesus
10) Jews hate Arabs and Moslems
11) Ponzi (Scams) Schemers
12) And just because they are Jews
There are many more – but let’s look at some of these:
1) Lots of Jews have small noses. Jewish noses show the same differences in size as non-Jewish noses.
2) There are lots of blonde haired Jews. Traditionally, King David was a red-head and there are lots of red-headed Jews too.
3) Jews are all white. False – look at the Ethiopian Jews living in Israel, or Jews from Iraq, Morocco, Algeria, and the rest of the Middle East. There are Indian Jews, and even some Chinese Jews. (Look up the history of the town called Kai Feng in China).
4) There are lots of poor Jews. Look at the story “Fiddler on the Roof” – it’s all about poor Jews. Look at the photos of Jews arriving at Ellis Island as immigrants to America. These were not rich Jews. Look at the films of Woody Allen describing his family. However one stereotype that is not false is that Jews put a high emphasis on education and so study and finish schooling. This means they are more likely to go into white-collar type professions and so be more successful than lesser educated non-Jews. However, in Israel there are lots of Jews below the poverty line – partly because even if all are literate, there are only so many jobs.
5 and 6) What about Jewish scientists, doctors, shopkeepers…. If you look at the world’s banks only are few are Jewish owned. It’s just that anti-Semites ignore Barclays, HSBC, Bank of America, Citibank, Chase, Swissbank, and 100s more not led by Jews and focus on Rothschilds and then say that this proves Jews control the banks. The same applies to the media – look at the top press barons and count the non-Jews versus the Jews. Non-Jews win out by far.
7) This is a joke – but some idiots will believe anything, like it is because they are Jews – that is is enough reason to hate them. You don’t need a reason just turn on the hate thing.
How sick can people get? This type of hatred without a reason
is verging upon insanity.
8) This is raised to create hatred, like the ‘blood lible,’ for if you read the Bible you will discover the Jewish views on eating blood. It is abhorrent to Jews. Jews are forbidden totally to eat blood – even black pudding (made with dried blood) is forbidden.
9) I wasn’t there. Nor were you – so this proves that this is stupid.
10) Why – we both revere Abraham as the first monotheist. There are millions of Jews who are of Arabic origin, so why should we hate Arabs. We hate those who want to kill us – whoever they are.
In fact there are more ultra-wealthy Arabs in today’s world than Jews.
Why do so many people have a negative attitude toward Jewish people?
It is not a question of what Jews have done, rather it is a question of how they are perceived. This often occurs through very tainted lenses. One should exercise caution when blaming the victim for such hatred. Having said that here are a number of different types of anti-Semitisms that I have identified in my reading.
I have qualified these seven types in my study of Jewish History. While they may not be independent from one another in the strict sense, they provide a useful methodology for understanding the historical hatred of the Jews.
The problem is that the noun “Jew” or the three-letter word “Jew,” for one thing, it’s been used as a very, very negative verb in English, so to “Jew” someone is to try to cheat them, so that’s a negative connotation of the word.
A hateful stereotypical image of a Jew
What are Jews like?
Not all stereotypes are negative, some are very positive and can result in an active appreciation of the particular group in focus. In contrast, negative stereotypes feed prejudice and will consequently result in negative, xenophobic, racist and anti-Semitic attitudes and action taking place.
The important question is not what religion is,
but what does it make you.
Jews are not all alike, for many are very different from each other. Just like the rest of humanity.
With very different social groups, differing by their relationship to religion – orthodox, conservative, reform, liberal, secular and atheistic identity, family values, clothing, food, work, physical appearance, people of other religions and ethnicity, language, politics, and a million other things.
Possibly the most frequently repeated positive stereotype about Jews is that Jews value education very much and do their best to give their children the best education possible. This may have some merit, given the relatively strong representation of Jews among Nobel prize winners, as well as physicians, lawyers and other professions that require long and difficult studies, but I also know a lot of Jews who unfortunately don’t care about their children’s education that much and blindly trust public schools, so it definitely doesn’t apply to all Jews.
The most frequent negative stereotype about Jews is that Jews are cunning liars who trick people out of their money and are trying to take over the world. It’s total nonsense and is based not on fact, but blind prejudice and often based on jealousy on the part of those who hold to such ideas.
What was Adolf Hitler’s rationale for hating Jews?
This answer begins in antiquity with the ancient Egyptians who feared the Hebrews because the had grown strong and numerous. In Medo-Persia, wicked Haman devised a plot to kill the Jews who refused to bow down and show him obesence. The the Greek Seleucids tried to destroy Judaism in the 2nd century B.C.E. The Roman empire did grant the Jews legal religiuos status. Many Jews prospered under Rome. The Roman empire’s strength depended upon its system of laws and its financial strength (much like the United States today).
The Romans needed good, honest tax collectors whom they could trust to collect taxes in their provinces (colonies) and send them to Rome. The Romans found the Jews the best people for the job.
After the fall of the Roman Empire, the Jewish tax collectors ended up with a lot of the Roman tax money and nowhere to send it. If they did, when the Roman Empire began to collapse, they saw no need to send all of the proceeds to Rome.
After War 1, Germany was very financially strapped due to the financial restraints placed upon it by the League of Nations. Life in Germany was very miserable at this time. Germany had a debt to repay the Allied Nations that was impossible to repay.
Jewish people are not pretentious or showy, yet they have a lot of financial power. They also stick together perhaps better than any other group of people.
A lot of the German people needed to borrow money for one thing or another. While some of the banking system in Germany had Jews involved in it, they were by no means the only financiers in Germany. Hitler in looking for someone to blame for Germany’s economic and financial woes saw the Jews as a ready scapegoat and he blamed them for the economic hardships that post WWI had imposed upon Germany at the Treaty of Versailles.
Adolf Hitler began to speak publicly about a new Germany that people will not have to borrow money from others at such high interest rates that they could not afford nor feel strapped by. His speeches gave the people of Germany new hope in a land that desperately needed some. He blamed the Jews for the hardship that they faced as a nation.
Hitler speeches aroused the German people and helped him come into power. His appointment as Chancellor of Germany did not happen overnight, but came after years of struggle Hitler’s Mein Kamph (stuggle). President Von Hindenburg though he despised Hitler, in a political stalemate, an old tired Von Hindenburg capitulated and following a series of failed national election, he allowed Hitler to form a minority government in 1933. Hitler convinced the industialists and bankers to the back him. With their financial support, he was on his way to control and rule Germany.
In Mein Kampf Hitler expresses his distrust towards the Jews that began as a loathing and developed into a pathological hatred. His psychological state was that of someone with an obsessive personality, that became a mental illness. He was prone to bouts of ranting and when this was directed at the Jews he worked himself up into a frenzied rage, spewing out his hate-filled bile.
Once in control of Germany, he began his systematic persecution and enactment of his anti-Jewish race laws that were ratified in Nurenberg. He sought a solution to the Jewish Question, that resulted in Hitler’s Final Solution of anihalating the Jews. This became known as the Holocaust and the Shoah. Forced the migration of Jewish people was one of the earlier polocies, before the march towards the death camps was enacted. The Jews were protrayed as the enemy of the people of Germany.
The beginning of his persecution of the Jews at first, he simply marked them by having them wear special marks and then by the time they were sent to the concentration camps they had numbers tattooed on them like branded cattle. It is true there were slums in Germany that we’re predominantly Jewish. These areas were “cleaned up.” Adolf Hitler perhaps as an effort to get the German people behind him. In addition, the bankers probably liked the idea of taking the assets of the wealthy Jewish people for their own use.
In essence, Hitler used the Jewish people as a way to get the Germans together against a common enemy which happened to be people of Jewish ancestry. To a large extent Hitler blamed the Jews for the condition that the country was in. Hatred and anti-Semitism resulted. On the other hand German people stood together for the first time since World War 1 and the crippling stipulations against it made during the peace treaty.
With the new diffusion of wealth, conditions in Germany changed for the better and the people actually fared better under Hitler.
Ironically, the same people that Hitler persecuted, were the same people that Hitler used to develop the jet engines, V-2 rockets, and many other technological advances that no one else in the world could match. In WWI over 100,000 Jews had served in the German Forces, with 10,000 being decorated for bravery and loyalty. This was forgotten.
It could be argued that if the United States had not been able to get the scientists out of Germany and put them to work for the Allied Nations developing the same weapons, we would be speaking German or Japanese now.
Don’t think that genocide is gone now.
It exists today and is as ugly as it has ever been.
With the rise of anti-Semitism,
Miriam Margolis, the British Jewish actress recently said,
‘pogroms could happen in the UK.’
What is your own personal view about the Jewish people?
- Jewish people are a the Rainbow Gatherings of people and this is particularly true in modern Israel
- in business (Russian Jews)
- in the Art (I like Sephardic Ladino music and kinda collect it, Leonard Cohen…Isaac Singer is one of my favourite authors…)
- in the science (I studied physics and spent a lot of sleepless nights with Feynman and Landau).
Turn to Loving Instead of Hating
Love is a very powerful force and I encourage us all to counter negative hateful stereotypes not only about Jewish people, but all kinds of God’s Rainbow People.
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