From the age of 15 to 18 I lived in London in the house of a Rabbi and his family. He and his wife were wonderful and genuinely religious people who always looked for the good in people. Whenever you would declare a hatred for another person, the Rabbi’s wife would always respond by saying how one should never hate people. Setting aside her words of compassion and decency, one can make an argument that sometimes hatred is not only reasonable but justified. Ironically over the past few days I came to the conclusion that the hatred felt towards Israel and the Jewish people may not actually be reasonable or justified, but it may not be too difficult to understand. This is not because the people who hate us are good people, or that there is anything ethical about their hatred, this is merely because with what they are looking to accomplish and the message they are trying to get out there, the Jewish people may indeed pose a problem and a threat.
So to which group of people am I referring to? The short answer is anyone who believes their religion needs to achieve world domination at all costs. I could mince words and be politically correct, but since I believe in writing with integrity and honesty I will just state the reality. Most of these people are Muslims. Sure there are people of other faiths who hate the Jewish people as well, and I recognize that not all Muslims hate Jews, but to deny that most of the hatred is coming from those of the Muslim faith would be incorrect and irresponsible.
This whole discussion creates an interesting, and to be quite frank, a rather bizarre dynamic. There are countless Muslims who are outspoken about their hatred towards Israel and the Jewish people. There are thousands upon thousands of people who have expressed that hatred in one form or another. Anyone who is Jewish, especially someone who is a Zionist, finds themselves in a no-win situation. You are expected to be quiet and just accept that hatred, for if you actually identify it, you are identified as the racist. It’s not only bizarre, it is also a sad statement on what the world has become.
Depending on who you consider a Jew, there are anywhere between 13 to 19 million Jews on the planet. By some estimations there are 1.6 billion Muslims. Yet somehow the Jews are the threat. Why is this? Personally, this question has risen to the top of the list of the most important questions in today’s world. Since I believe unequivocally that there is a God, and I believe the pursuit of the meaning of life is actually a fun venture, no other question has become more important to me than the question, “why do they hate us?”
I’ve come up with numerous answers and would not be surprised if I come up with more as time goes on. The number one answer I always fall back on is that despite all efforts, us Jews just won’t go away. It sounds simplistic but as I sat in synagogue this past Saturday I was struck by the deeper meaning of it all. The portion read from the Torah this past week spoke of how Jacob, the Biblical Patriarch whose name would later be changed to Israel, had a dream of a ladder ascending to heaven from earth. He had this dream in what would be known as Beit El. Beit El which is in what we know as the West Bank and is right in the heart of the conflict the world hears so much about. The Children of Israel, who we now refer to as the Jewish people, run a government that controls this land. Still to this day, thousands of years after the story of Jacob, aka Israel, had the dream at Beit El, this same location is now a thriving town populated by Jewish people and part of the modern nation of Israel. After all the persecution, the pogroms, the gas chambers and the suicide bombers, the Jews are still living right there in this location designated by God as special to the Children of Israel. We may be small in number, but when you consider that it all started with a relationship with God, if your life is based around the belief that only your religion is right, of course we’re a threat.
Then of course there is the scapegoating concept. Jews have always been a good target. The character flaw that leads one to believe that everything wrong in the world is someone else’s fault, also exists on an organizational or national level. Case in point, the people of Gaza live in poverty and it is all Israel’s fault. Of course it has nothing to do with the misappropriation of funds and corruption that has a small minority living a billionaire’s life or the building of terror tunnels. It has nothing to do with self-serving politicians rallying their people to hate Israel and the Jewish people. It’s someone else’s fault, and the best and easiest people to blame always seem to be the Jews.
And last but definitely not least, it is plain old ignorance. Are the Jewish people perfect? Definitely not. There are some high-profile Jews that have committed acts that no normal decent person would condone. Israel as a nation makes mistakes and most likely has politicians that will manipulate the situation to benefit their personal career even if it hurts others in the process. That being said, that makes the Jews no different from any other people on the planet, and to somehow move us to the top of the list of evildoers is based on an ignorant perception caused by the choice to believe misrepresentations, or even worse being a victim of an education against the Jewish people. The misrepresentation of facts to adults and the education of young children in many parts of the Muslim world is creating millions of people who almost have no choice other than to hate Jews. This reality is frightening, sad, and for lack of a better word disgusting. But it certainly explains a lot.
The hatred is unreasonable, despicable, unjustified and bizarre, but if you look at what is driving those who hate us, it makes an awful lot of sense.
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