Jew-Hatred Then and Now
Jew-hatred (politely termed antisemitism) has returned to the US and the West, jolting some Jews but befuddling others who fail to recognize the phenomenon. We baby boomers grew up in era of acceptance of the Jew community. But this ancient hatred has reverted to the mean as the shock of the Holocaust has receded and Israel has become a powerful nation.
Even more Jew-hatred can be expected in the near future, now that the last Holocaust survivors are dying and its deniers becoming more outspoken. A disturbing phenomenon is the many organizations which include Jew-hatred with their efforts to radically change America and the West in general, following the doctrine of intersectionality: the conglomeration of many progressive goals, such as environmentalism and gender fluidity, with Jew-hatred. Adding to our apprehension is the disturbing trend of liberal Jewish organizations’ identification with some of the worst offending organizations. (see Appendix)
Two of the most ancient instances of pogroms against the Jews appeared in the First Persian Empire (aka Achaemenid Empire) around 410 BCE. Nearly one hundred years before, circa 525 BCE, Egypt had been conquered by the Persians, under Cambyses II (530 to 522 BCE), son of Cyrus the Great.
Expatriate Jews, who had fled Judea to Egypt ahead of the invading Babylonian army, welcomed the rule of the Persians, who were known to treat their subject peoples more liberally than the Assyrians or Babylonians. Some of the Jews volunteered for military service and were garrisoned at Elephantine Island, near Aswan, just below the Nile River’s first cataract in southern Egypt.
The Judean colony at Elephantine was allowed to build its own Temple, a policy markedly different from the Babylonians’ destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. The Jews prospered, albeit with some intermarriage and assimilation into Egyptian religious and social life. Nevertheless, the community managed to retain its distinct character. Taking advantage of the relatively lenient Persian colonial policy, the Jews became Persia’s most loyal subjects.
The Egyptians revolted against the Persian conquerors during the reign of Darius II (423BCE to 404BCE). The local priests and merchant class of the Elephantine incited the mob to attack the Jews and loot their Temple. It is the first pogrom recorded in history. What caused this violent attack, which was quickly suppressed? The reasons are familiar to us today: first, the most prosperous Egyptians used the Jews to divert lower class discontent from them to an alien group, the Jews, who were identified with the ruling Persian upper class. Second, the priests and merchants wanted the mob to destroy their economic and religious rivals from the Jewish community. This is verified by the archaeological discovery of the “Petition by Elephantine Jewry for Authority to Rebuild their Temple of Yaho,” a papyri dated to 407 BCE, three years after the pogrom. (There is no finding of a reply.)
At about the same time, in a far eastern part of the Persian Empire, a similar incident recorded in the Bible’s Book of Esther occurred in Susa (Shushan). Briefly, Haman, top advisor to the Persian monarch King Ahasuerus (or perhaps Xerxes), persuaded the king to give him the authority to plunder the empire’s Jewish community and destroy them. Again, the reasons are familiar today: the laws of the Jews were different from all other Persian communities’ laws, assuring that the Jews would remain separate and different, that is, antisocial. Therefore, Haman declared he would be performing a “public service” for the kingdom by destroying the uppity Jews. For permission to loot and kill the Jews, Haman offered to enrich King Ahasuerus with a gift of the enormous amount of 10,000 talents of silver. The king agreed.
From the Book of Esther we know that the pogrom was overturned by the Jews, who destroyed their enemies, after Queen Esther took her cousin Mordechai’s wise advice and revealed her Jewish faith to the king, who issued a decree allowing the Jews to defend themselves. The end result was the hanging of Haman and his ten sons, and the vanquishing of the Jews’ enemies. Mordechai himself then took Haman’s place as the king’s top advisor and favorite.
Historical facts presented here are from “Understanding the Bible Through History and Archaeology” (1972) by the esteemed Biblical scholar and translator Harry M. Orlinsky.
What about Jew-hatred today? Currently receiving the most publicity and credence today is Black Lives Matter (BLM), which is a constituent of the collective Movement for Black Lives (M4BL).
Many people believe that BLM is a worthy cause that must be supported. Large foundations and corporations have showered vast sums of money in support of it. Mayors, governors, politicians, other NGOs (non-governmental organizations), and even Jewish groups (see appendix) stand by BLM and promote it, for the supposed good of the country by “enlightening” its white-privileged (White?) citizens.
According to the BLM website: “what we believe,” the ethos of BLM includes the erosion of the nuclear family to be replaced by “community.” Cisgender privilege is presented as something bad. Merriam-Webster describes cisgender as “of, relating to, or being a person whose gender identity corresponds with the sex the person had or was identified as having at birth.”
On her own website, BLM founder and Marxist Patrisse Cullors discusses her trip to “the Occupied Palestinian Territory,” where “she saw firsthand the ethnic cleansing and brutality Israel has levied against the Palestinians.” Cullors believes that, “the Black Lives Matter movement can benefit greatly by learning about . . . particularly the Palestinian struggle” and by allying with oppressed Arabs. Signs and chants defaming Jews and Israel are a frequent occurrence at BLM events. (https://patrissecullors.com/)
Greater New York Black Lives Matter president Hawk Newsome warned that, “…if this country doesn’t give us what we want, then we will burn down this system and replace it.” He claimed it “a matter of interpretation” whether he was speaking “figuratively” or “literally.” (Sunday News Report Chris Wallace 6/28/20)
In M4BL’s 2016 policy program …a section titled “Invest-Divest” addressed US foreign policy and called Israel an “apartheid state,” alleging the country systematically carried out a “genocide” against the Palestinians. The M4BL platform supported the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) campaign against Israel and urged America to end its close ties with Israel, arguing it makes “US citizens complicit in the abuses committed by the Israeli government.”
Jew-hatred is the oldest hatred. Because it’s not rational, it is hard to eradicate, perhaps impossible. But the least we Jews can do is to fight it, certainly not to support it. It’s time for all true pro-Jewish/Zionist organizations to wake up and fight our detractors and enemies, not buy into their movements which include attacks against us.
by Josh Plank, World Israel News
Numerous left-wing American Jewish organizations have united to strongly denounce Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) President Morton Klein for making comments critical of the Black Lives Matter movement.
“As progressive pro-Israel organizations and members of the American Jewish community, we are appalled and outraged by the bigotry and hatred expressed and promoted by Morton Klein,” said a joint statement issued by J Street, the New Israel Fund, Partners for Progressive Israel, Reconstructing Judaism, the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association, and T’ruah on June 11. Sixteen of the 51 member organizations of the Conference of Presidents issued a separate letter on June 12 condemning Klein’s comments. The organizations included the Union of Reform Judaism, United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, National Council of Jewish Women, Americans for Peace Now, HIAS, and Ameinu. (https://thejewishvoice.com)
What Mort Klein said:
“Black Lives Matter is not only anti-Israel and antisemitic,” Klein said, noting the Marxist ideology of the Black Lives Matter campaign. “They’re anti-American. They want to defund all the police, get rid of the entire U.S. military armamentarium, they want to have reparations to Iraq, Somalia, and Libya. They want to end capitalism. They publicly say they’re trained Marxists. They’ve never condemned the riots, looting, or the killing and destruction in the last few weeks.” (https://www.breitbart.com/radio/2020/06/22/mort-klein-jews-scared-death-black-lives-matter/)