Monday, July 26, 2021

  • Monday, July 26, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon
If ever there was a time when one would think that antisemitism was not an issue, it would be 1946. 

The horrors of the Holocaust were apparent to all. Israel had not yet been reborn. What possible excuse could ther be for Jew-hatred in 1946?

Yet if you look at the Jewish newspapers from exactly 75 years ago, you can see the headlines:

In that same issue of the B'nai Brith Messenger was this article on antisemitism by Dr. Trude Weiss-Rosmarin, a German Jewish immigrant who founded the Jewish Spectator magazine. Her essay on antisemitism could have been written today.

You Can't Argue With Bigots


Can anti-Semitism be fought with reason ? No , says Dr . Rosmarin. The only defense is in reforging the armor of Judaism.

IF JEWISH history has proved anything ; surely it is the impossibility of fighting anti-Semitism with reason . The hatred of Jews is a primitive antagonism that sprouts from the aboriginal fear of the different , the nonconforming . Jew-hatred has never needed logical justification for enlisting followers . The triumphs of antisemitic agitators prove that the slogan "kill the Jews" is all that is needed to rally the masses . Those who would fight antisemitism with reason meet their most formidable obstacle in the nonsensical , illogical and contradictory charges they are expected to disprove . Simultaneously , antisemites charge Jews with being Communists and capitalists, internationalists and rabid Jewish nationalists , diabolically imaginative and utterly uncreative . There is no trait and its very opposite which have not been ascribed to| the same Jew . Where , then , is refutation to start , and what should be refuted ? Is there even a possibility of debating with Jew-haters ? 

The question arises whether some of the resources expended on fighting anti-Semitism should not be diverted to efforts to compensate for the psychological effects of the hatred , by strengthening the spiritual stamina of our people , so that we may be able better to withstand the corroding impact of antisemitism . This theory does not imply resignation and submission to our enemies . Rather , we must insist on our constitutional rights and fight individuals and movements that would infringe upon them . The resources used to convince our enemies of the absurdity of their anti-Semitism are spent in vain, for as three thousand years of Jewish history has verified , there is no possibility of achieving this goal . The eradication of antisemitism is a dream beyond the realm of possibility , as long as the Jews live as a minority , distinct and different , scattered among nations . In the words of Theodore Herzl , the nations in whose midst Jews live are all either overtly or secretly antisemitic . 

The Jews of history took antisemitism in their stride . They were sufficiently realistic to recognize the impossibility of outrooting it with the spades of reason and enlightenment , they investigated what lay beyond antisemitism. The Jew of the past was virtually immune to the psychological ravages of antisemitism . Medieval chronicles report of Jewish martyrs who died for Judaism , but there is no mention of Jews who choose death because they were Jews , as did Stefan Zweig and other Jewish intellectuals of our time . The Jew of the ghetto found Judaism satisfying and a compensation for the sufferings he had to endure for its sake .

But the modern Jew who no longer fulfills himself in Judaism , nervously concentrates all his efforts on fighting anti-Semitism , or he tries to escape from the Jewish community . 

 Although it sounds paradoxical , it is true that the survival of Judaism and the Jewish people was never threatened by anti-people , their philosophy and way and expulsions were tragedies for those directly affected and a heavy drain on the resources of the Jewish people as a whole , but they did not weaken nor even touch the core of the Jewish people , their philosophy and way of life , because those bases of Judaism always were beyond antisemitism . There is no power that can remake antisemites . Even in free America we are all but helpless before the politer forms of antisemitism . There is little we can do to turn anti-Semites Into philo-semites . Rather , we must arm ourselves so that their sting will not poison us . Instead of being concerned primarily with the negative of antisemitism , its prevention , treatment and cure , Jews should concentrate on the positive aspects of Jewishness , the eternal verities of our existence and survival . An observer of the contemporary American-Jewish scene easily could be led to believe that Judaism is a fight against rather than an effort for . 

 Jewish self-hatred has been popularized recently in our literature . But little is done to prevent and cure it . In the essay Hatzi Nechamah ( A Half-Consolation ) written in 1893 , Ahad HaAm . the Zionist philosopher , offered a novel and correct analysis of the impact of anti-Semitism on Jewish psychology by pointing out that if an accusation is hurled long enough at a person who is completely innocent , the victim ultimately may doubt his guiltlessness and be swayed to agree with his accusers . Jews constantly plagued by antisemitism eventually may reach the point where hatred by the majority will raise doubts of tha justice of their own cause and the merit of their people and their culture . 

This state of mind Ahad HaAm . diagnosed correctly as the real threat of anti-Semitism . Its grave peril lies in its propensities for breeding Jewish self-hatred . 

History attests that while the success of the fight against antisemitism is never commensurate with the effort , prophylactic measures against the spread of Jewish self-hatred are highly effective . These steps include the strengthening of Jewish self-respect and of psychological resistance by teaching what Judaism  really represents . That the Jew who is ignorant of the Jewish legacy and the meaning of Judaism is singularly vulnerable to Jewish self-hate is evident , for this type of Jew has nothing to compensate for the hurt of anti-Semitism . The intelligent and effective attack on anti-Semitism should be concentrated primarily on strengthening the inner Jewish bulwark . It is here that defense is needed most . 

Not anti-Semitism . but what lies beyond it in the Jewish sphere , is the challenge of the hour , the emergency which must be met if our people is to survive in creative vigor 
This isn't too far off my recent post on this topic.


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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

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