7 November, 2014

Atisemitism, long time history but still present

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Category: Antisemitism, Armed conflicts, Fascism, Holocaust, Peace, Victims of hate crime
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photo03Written by Balint Josa

Antisemitism started certainly not with Adolf Hitler and the concentrated camps und unfortunatelly it did not end with him either. It has a long sad tale with verbal and phical abuse, misinterpretation of their habits, laws and regulations against them and various other violations of their right.

The tribes that left Israel after it`s occupation by the Roman Empire and the destruction of the second Temple, encountered different cultures and religions and some were hostile some were welcoming. First the the ancient Greeks and Romans welcomed the high civilised merchants but often misunderstandings or jelousy ended up in violence and pogroms happened in several cities already before 300 BC. The first clashes were more religious oriented. The traditions of Tora and different custums like circumstision or clothes and food were making the jewish everywhere different and visible so easy targets of superstition and occasianally aggression. The early middle ages brought Cristiaity and Islam, both not so friendly with jews, but not fudamentaly opposing the trade and cooperation with jews. For example during the Ottoman times (XVI-XX century middle east)  the jewish population  could pay a small fee as a religious tax and were unharmed and protected by the authorities. In Cristian Europe the biggest issue was the passion of Jesus, and it is still one of the key antisemitic arguments that the jews are responsible for the torture and crucifixation of the son of God. Well if we accept the story there are some things to consider. The crucification was implemented by the Roman soldiers commanded by the Roman governor, the sentence made by the religious elit of the Jewish priests, and after all, it was erasing all our sins after all, so it happend for everybodies salvation…Sure it is also important to mention, that the people who were present might be hold accountable but not their decendants 2000 years later. Possible that the reaction towards jewish immigrants arriving to Europe is based on the distrust of others and resulted in most Cristian countries a law against their ownership of land, for the reason, that they cannot spread their religion and gain real poltical power. It was difficult for them to travel, and impossible to buy land so the only reaction to this was the interest in trade and commerse. Most prejudices come against jewish people mention their richness and their good instinct to money issues. Surely many merchants of the early middle ages were jewish and their only way to surivive was to establish a network that supported traveling merchants, exchanging their currencies providing them with information and aid. This is the basis of the theory of their plan to dominate the world, and that the keep bods outside the system, and that they support each other better than other (host-majority) nations. It is obvious, that not the jews ivented captalism and banks and loans appeared everywhere in Europe not of jewish origin. Its also a fact, that history cannot remember the countless bankrupcies and unsuccesfull jewish businessman, but the pschihology of streotipes work that way, that we remeber and acknowledge the examples that reinforce our preconceptions, but tend to forget everything else, or labeling it as exeptional. The most horrible cases antijudeism was practiced out of simple greed or nobelities used antijudeism as a way to avoid paying back loans they took. In England or Spain sometimes the complete population was outcasted and murdered or had to flee. They were accused of black magic, poisiing wells, causig the Plague, helpig turks, mongols, demons, devil worshippers. Jews were subject to expulsions, including, in 1290, the banishing of all English Jews. In 1396, 100,000 Jews were expelled from France many of those expelled fled to Poland. They were also accused of drinking the blood of Christian children in mockery of the Christian Eucharist. The accusation was that the jewish elite gathered in secret places (or in the synagoge) and replayed the passion on cristian child and murdered it, than drunk its blood. One saint, Simon of Trent is a result of this, as he was supposedly was killed this way and was canonised as the victim of jewish blood sacrifice and still used as a symbol of why cristians should hate jews.  If they were not banned in most cities they had to live in Ghettos and had to wear special clothings (jewish hat, special ribbons, their symbols etc) and had to stay away from cristian holy places and festivals.  The persecution resulted in a growth of jewish population in Poland and Hungary where many cities were populated with assimilated jews and flourished from their contribution to science, art and finances.

The end of the middle ages brought the enlightment and a with it a new form of antisemitism, where the new elite saw the comptetition in the well established, urbanised jewish popoluation and groups of antisemitism were formed to lower this treath. Here the religious aspect changed to a race based antisemitism.

As civil rights grew ad some sort of citisenship idea became a reality to many, the national perception of the state was in contradiction to the segregated but also selfsufficient jewish diaspora. After the French Revolution many countries accepted equal rights for the jewish population and erased restriction on marriage, jobs, land ownership etc. Some antisemitic conspiracies also see this as an evidence that the Revolution itself is a otcome of the jewish conspiracy.  A different example is Russia where the ortodox curch allied with the nobels to ban jews entering political carrer or migrating to Russian territory from occupied Poland. At the XIXth century 3 million askenazi (east european) jews were fled to the USA to find a new home. Mostly for the equal rights and new opportunities but also from the pogroms that were the result of bad economical situation in this region (Poland, Russia, Ukraine, Hungary)  at that time. This region is also birthplace of Cionism, the political movement to establish a homeland somewhere for the Jewish people as an emancipated country and a refuge against antisemitism. (the word comes from the Mountain of Sion but it refers to Jerusalem. The founder Tivadar Hertzl was a not religious journalist who promoted moving to Palistine and the right to establish a country in the formal territory of Erez Israel the Holy Jewish Land.

Beginning in the early 1880s, declining food and land prices also created elements of the new form of antisemitism where the religion has no more influence at all,  but  rich Jewish individuals or families were perceived evils of capitalism and industrialism more specifically, because of the alleged financial manipulations of Jewish financiers such as the Rothschilds.

The long XX.th century brought the most suffering and violence to the Jewish nation, but also the funding of their home in 1948. The situation of Jews all over Europe has worsened as nationalism and religious intolerance grow and the Jews were often labeled as unreliable and were prosecuted by state and individuals. The worst was Russia, where the Tzar ordered the secret service to list and observ Jewish people and ordered to wirte the notorious Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a document assumed to be a transcription of a secret plan by Jewish elders to achieve global domination. Violence against the Jews in the Kishinev pogrom in 1903 was continued after the 1905 revolution and The Beilis Trial of 1913 showed that it was possible to revive the blood libel accusation in Russia.

The 1917 revolution ended official discrimination against the Jews but was followed, however, by massive anti-Jewish violence by the anti-Bolshevik White Army and the nationalist Ukrainian army in the Russian Civil War. From 1918–21, between 100,000 and 150,000 Jews were slaughtered. The defetead white emigres from revolutionary Russia fostered the idea that the Bolshevik regime, with its many Jewish members, was a front for the Jewish World Conspiracy, outlined in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which had by now achieved wide circulation in the west and it is still quoted and refferred by antisemitist world wide.

USA: Between 1900 and 1924, approximately 2 million Jews immigrated to America mostly from Eastern Europe. Where before 1900, American Jews were under 1 percent of America’s total population, by 1930 Jews formed about 3½ percent. This fast increase and the succesfull mobility of some Jews was accompanied by a resurgence of antisemitism. Street violece and antisemitic discourse was a widely spread and as self defence resulted in founding the Anti Defamation Leuge a global society to protect and help Jews anywhere. During the WWII the antisemitic lobby groups tried to leave Europe to Hitler and many influental figures took part in them like Henry Ford or Charles Coughlin and were openly supporting the ban of letting Jews flew from Nazi Germany.

In the first half of the 20th century, Jews in the United States faced discrimination in employment, in access to residential and resort areas, in the membership of clubs and organizations and in tightened quotas on Jewish enrollment and teaching positions in colleges and universities.


In Germany, following World War I, Nazism arose as a political movement incorporating racially antisemitic ideas, expressed by Adolf Hitler in his book Mein Kampf. After Hitler came to power in 1933, the Nazi regime sought the systematic exclusion of Jews from national life. Jews were demonized as the driving force of both International Marxism and Capitalism. The Nuremberg Laws of 1935 outlawed marriage or sexual relationships between Jews and non-Jews. Antisemitic propaganda by or on behalf of the Nazi Party began to pervade society. Mass violence against the Jews was encouraged by the Nazi regime, and on the night of 9–10 November 1938, dubbed Kristallnacht, the regeme sanctioned the killing of Jews, the destruction of property and the torching of synagogues.    As Nazi occupation extended eastwards in World War II, antisemitic laws, agitation and propaganda were brought to occupied Europe, often building on local antisemitic traditions. Following the invasion of Russia in 1941, a campaign of mass murder in that country was conducted against the Jews by Nazi death squads called the Einsatzgruppen.  On 20 January 1942, Reinhard Heydrich, deputed to find a “final solution” to the “Jewish problem”, chaired the Wannsee Conference at which all the Jews resident in Europe and North Africa were earmarked for extermination. Of the eleven million who were targeted, some six million men, women and children were killed by the Nazis between 1942 and 1945. This systematic genocide is known as the Holocaust. To implement this horrific plan, Jews were transported to purpose-built extermination camps in occupied Poland, where they were killed in gas chambers. Extermination camps were located at Auschwitz-Birkenau, Chełmno, Bełżec, Majdanek, Sobibór and Treblinka. These camps accounted for about half of the total number of killed Jews.

From this horrible crime against humanity two important outcomes arose, one is the forming of Israel and the other the international Nürnberg Trials. The Trial was a cooperation of the future enemies USA and USSR to publicly give justice to the victims and by that also created the legal backgroud of further international criminal courts and the legal definition of crimes against humanity.

Israel, founded in Isreal was a dream for many, but a nightmare for others. The former Turkish Ruleres and the British mandate allowed the Arab and Jewish populatio to coexist, but the forming of the principally Jewish state and the vast immigration into Palestine than the 3 Arab-Israeli wars shifted the balance towards a strong military occupation of the West Bank, a not equal political system for non jewish citizens and coused the rise of antisemitism all over the world. The political left and most of the radical right allied to the representatives of the “Palestinian Case” an idea that would limit the military support and aid to Israel and create a two state solution, but has no answer to the fundamentalist antisemitsm that has the goal to “push all Jews to the sea” and  ideologically supports terrorsit actions (RAF) and regulary condems Isreal using military power to defend its citizens or the targeted killings of Palestinian leaders. In the same coflict most European and USA allies support the “the right to defed itself” idea, where the vast military superior Israel can use any tools it finds neccessary to vipe out the treats. The München Olympics story in 1973 is classical phenomenon showing the dilemma clearly. The terrorist used the world biggest sportvent to kill 13 Israeli athletes to “collect political support for the case” and after, without any international legal basis or trial Israel used its infamous secret service to hunt down everybody who was part of this plan.

I personally believe that Israel has a right to exist and its people to live in peace, but if there wont be a solution to the key issues that this two nations face, there will be never be a peace in the middle east and violece will occure again and again.

Other forms  of “modern” antisemitism:

Holocaust denial or relativisation.

By definition Holocaust Denail says that the Holocaust did not happen, or was not happened how the Jewish ifluenced History tells us, or if it happened we should move on, and not compesate the victims, or not blame the nations that took part.  The theory that the Jews themselves caused it, benefitted from it, or in countries where the state was cooperating (France, Hungary for example) it is common to blame the Germas alone. All forms and versions of this are considered as antisemitism and sopposed to be banned or illegal in every COE country.

Conspiracy Theories

The fantasy that a smaller group (all Jewish or allied to Jews) is ruling the world and causing wars, famine, desases and global warming, promoting liberal values and tolerance. The most wild ones are even consdiering the Jewish race is extra terrestial and secretly trying to destroy humankind, brainwashing us with mass media, poisoning us with Chemicals ( E labeled food Cola, Clor in the water system etc. ) or in some countries the Jewish New World Order or Freemaisons or Bilderberg group  or the Illuminati are trying to escape Israel and take over their territory. Cospiracy theories based on the Protocols of the Elders of Zion mixed with the old blood ritual or other previous mentioned prejudice against Jews can spread unchallenged in social media and reach millions of youngsters globally, tune them for dehumanisig Jews and radicalising them.

There is a big difference between believing the Jews are talking too much about the Holocaust  and vandalising a Jewish cemetary or shooting on schoolchildren, but their roots are the same. The culture, looks, tradtions are still different and the propaganda and streotipes and conspiracy theories make it possible to blame them for every misery we face in the world. The issue of Israel-Palestine is splitting Europe (and the world) and our own Human Rights Movement. The mostly unsuccesfull integration of immigrant and/or unemployed youth to a functioning democratic, equal society will provide enough hate to fuel antisemitism for long time. There is few good examples of discussion, peace building and a lot of politically motivated, populist hate speech that leads to violence against innocent people.

* The history of antisemitism – defined as hostile actions or discrimination against Jews as a religious or ethnic group – goes back many centuries; antisemitism has been called “the longest hatred.”[1] Jerome Chanes identifies six stages in the historical development of antisemitism

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