Why is anti-Semitism so popular?

Why is anti-Semitism so popular? Why are Jews singled out as the cause to just about every problem in this world, past and present? What specifics do people give for claiming that Jews are “bad” and “evil” and are out to take over the world?

I am currently reading “The Rise & Fall Of The Third Reich”, and I realized that I have never heard any detailed, specific arguments as to why the Jews are singled out so often. I am half Arab-Jew, and have put up with racial comments and taunting since I can remember. But why? Is it just ignorance that’s been perpetuated over the centuries? Or can somebody quote me some historical “evidence” that this religion/race is really out to get everybody?

(Ducking so when the feces hits the fan it won’t hit me)
I think some people trace it back to the bible. As for direct evidence, don’t be naive, since when does direct evidence have anything to do with perception. Racism in general has more to do with perception than facts and evidence.

People are always going to put blame on those who are “different.” Jews, throughout history, have been different. They have dressed differently, acted differently, believed in a different god, obeyed a different sabbath, eaten different foods, and gone into different professions (in some cases, professions that were “forbidden” to Christians). If you’re some country’s leader, and you’re looking to whip up a fervor, blame those who are different – the Jews!

“Everybody hate somebody sometimes” The easy ‘somebody’ for the ‘everybody’ European Christian was the jew, diferent enough to recognize,near at hand,enough of them to make it worth while,(Wipe out the romanies and you gotta find somebody else), and generally pacifistic.the Arab anti-Jew thing is more of an anti-Israel thing.They used to get along a lot better,especially against the european Christian.

Let’s also remember that the Jews were Jesus’ people, who “rejected” him, under traditional Christian theology. Also, for many centuries, the Jews were blamed for killing Jesus (although Jewish law had no such thing as crucifixion, that was a Roman delight.) Thus, anti-semitism has a strong foundation in Christian theology, and it is only the past fifty years or so that there has been a serious attempt to redress that.

Now now, Dex, Pope John Paul II officially forgave the Jews for killing Jesus. No more mentioning that, or being taunted for it.

“Jesus himself was a Jew, until his Faddah sat him down one day and said ‘that’s enuffa that.’” --Archie Bunker

And with those words ringing in your ears, I send thee off to David B, whom I can feel breathing down my neck.

Please correct me if I’m wrong (PapaBear, I might need you here), but it is my understanding that the Jews (whatever the word implies as classification) have been as racist, separatist, cruel, etc. as any other peoples in the history of mankind.

In ancient times they were in favor of slavery, they were cruel warriors trying to conquer other peoples, and so.

Besides, they kept (and still do, if I’m correct, though not all, I admit) insisting that they were God’s heirs, and the one and only owners of the “true” religion. Not too different from other peoples, true, but then they had the misfortune of being hosts to one of the events of greatest impact in mankind’s history: the birth of christianism.

I guess that if you put all this facts together, plus the fact that (for whatever reason) Jews stand together (or it seems so), it kinda’ makes sense (and I’m not justifying this at all) to make them the subject of continuous attacks.

I’m too tired to elaborate more on this, but I hope someone here gets my point, and takes it to either destroy it, or widen it.

Excellent book. I hope you can make it through all 1,143 pages!

Shirer’s work was a seminal piece of publishing history, giving rise to many other scholar’s works on the same subject. If you are really interested, may I recommend some other books that may shed light on the Nazi’s anti-Semitism? (I wrote my senior thesis in college on the Third Reich and various aspects of Nazism—as well as having studied this period for at least 25 years—and I have actually read all of these books, mostly in whole, some in part.)

Bullock, Alan. * Hitler—A Study In Tyranny * Smithmark, 1962.

Davidowicz, Lucy. * The War Against the Jews, 1933-1945 * Holt, Rinehart, & Winston, 1975.

Deschner, Gunther. * Reinhard Heydrich—A Biography * Stein and Day, 1977.

Fischer, Klaus. * Nazi Germany—A New History * Continuum, 1995.

Goebbels, Joseph. * Diaries 1939-1941 * G.P. Putnam & Sons, 1982.

Hitler, Adolf. * Mein Kampf * Houghton Mifflin, 1971. * Hitler’s Secret Conversations, 1941-1944 * Signet, 1953. (Both of these are difficult to wade through—very muddled. Be warned.)

Hohne, Heinz. * The Order of the Death’s Head * Coward-McCann, 1970. (Hard to find in English any more—but German copies can still be found in places like NY and Chicago.)

Lifton, Robert. * The Nazi Doctors * Basic Books, 1986.

Nova, Fritz. * Alfred Rosenberg—Philosopher of the Third Reich * Hippocrene, 1986.

Padfield, Peter. * Himmler—Reichsfuhrer-SS * Henry Holt, 1990.

Speer, Albert. * Inside the Third Reich * Macmillan, 1969.

Waite, Robert. * The Psychopathic God–Adolf Hitler * DaCapo Press, 1977.

Yahil, Leni. * The Holocaust * Oxford University Press, 1990.

There are ten thousand other books out there dealing with this, but these can give anybody a decent overview. These are the titles that I would say are more or less indispensable. If you can find anything by Alfred Rosenberg (* The Myth of the Twentieth Century *) or Julius Streicher, it will help to give you an idea of the incredibly sick minds these people had----their books are diseased. You probably won’t be able to find much in English, however, and probably nothing outside of a university library. In any event, keep studying! The Third Reich is an eye-opening period, especially when you look around and see what’s happening right now in the USA. There are some disturbing similarities in some areas.

So I’m walking the streets in Nashville one cool fall evening. And an older guy with an even older Bible approaches and starts to teach the word…

“I’m Jewish,” I tell him, which is my common reply to Bible-thumpers. It’s also technically true, since my mother was Jewish (but my Dad was raised Catholic, which means twice the guilt).

Anyway, the guy said, “Well! That’s GREAT! You’re one of the chosen people! And you killed Jesus!” all with a huge smile on his face!

He wasn’t listening when the Pope took the blame off my peepz. And there are a lot of people who still don’t eat meat on Friday, if you know what I mean…

Brian O’Neill
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E1skeptic wrote

To whatever extent that charge is true (that’s neither a confession nor a denial, that period of history is simply one of my weaker areas), I don’t think that the Jews were significantly worse than the other nations, as E1skeptic himself writes in his previous sentence.

My guess is that the main cause of antisemitism is (as others here have already explained) the convenience factor. The “Jews killed Jesus” thing is a factor, too, despite the Pope’s retraction, for 2 reasons: (1) The Pope does not speak for all Christians, and (2) even among those who he does speak for, there’s an awful lot of inertia to overcome. But the convenience is the main thing.

And don’t forget that Jews are often very successful. They have a strong communinty, strong family values and a good work ethic.

When a group that is different becomes successful, you get a lot of folks saying “Well why should they have all the money? They must be crooked, or in league with Satan.”

I think the same thing happens with Asian immigrants with successful businesses in poor neighborhoods.

YOu want to piss people off, become successfull with less advantages while they flounder. It is easier to blame jews than it is to stop drinking the beer on the front porch and work 16 hour days.

Mr.Zambezi is pretty much on-target. We’re smart, we’re successful, we work hard, we bounce back from adversity–it’s jealousy, darling, pure and simple.

Yes, yes, I know I’m an atheist, but I consider myself “socially Jewish.”


I won’t claim that Jews didn’t practice slavery once upon a time (as everyone did), but if you think they were no less cruel, then maybe you should read up on the Biblical laws governing treatment of slaves. Runaway slaves had to be sheltered from their masters. If a master is cruel to the point of the slave’s losing even a single tooth, the slave was automatically freed. Slavery to a Jew was far preferable over slavery to people of other nations (although, I’ll admit, not preferable to freedom, but remember - anti-slavery is a relatively recent thing, in the scheme of history).

Ditto with war. Torah law mandates that if the Israelites wage war on a city (with the exceptions of seven nations which were considered particularly evil), that they first offer a peaceful settlement. It may not sound great, but compared to their contemporaries, it was considerably less cruel.

And quite different from other religions in a major way: while they did (and we do, for contemporary Jews) believe to know “the truth”, they did (we do) not believe that only Jews get into heaven.

Chaim Mattis Keller

“Sherlock Holmes once said that once you have eliminated the
impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be
the answer. I, however, do not like to eliminate the impossible.
The impossible often has a kind of integrity to it that the merely improbable lacks.”
– Douglas Adams’s Dirk Gently, Holistic Detective

I think cmkeller has answered most of Skeptic’s points on-target.

A few comments to expand:

  • Where Hammurabi’s code said that the penalty for stealing a loaf of bread was to have your hand cut off, the Bible (Jewish and Israelite law) says that you pay back what was stolen measure for measure. (The idea of “eye for an eye” was often used to condemn the Jews as being merciless; in fact, the idea was to moderate the punishment fits crime, it’s not an eye for a life.) Thus, while ancient Israelite law was harsh by modern standards, it was extremely humane by ancient standards.

  • The “success” of Jews in certain areas surely created some jealousy. Part of this success was that Jews were often limited to professions (such as money-lending) that Christians felt were dirty or low or contemptible. Small wonder that, if the only money-lenders are Jews, a number will be successful and prominent at earning money!
    (Similarly, in the early 1900s, when acting and the entertainment industry was considered a lower-class profession, Jews were not restricted from becoming comedians, movie-producers, etc, where Jews were restricted from entering other professions.)

  • The notion of the Jews as “God’s chosen people” is another concept that was misinterpreted. The chosen-ness implied a required higher moral and behavioural standard – Jews could not eat certain foods, but non-Jews could. Judaism has always taught (the lesson is in the most ancient writings of the Bible) that ALL mankind are brethren, and that being a good person has nothing to do with being a member of a certain religious group: in Judaism, eternal reward is not restricted by religious affiliation.

The roots of anti-semitism are, I think, very strongly connected with the need for early Christianity to explain:
(a) why the Jews didn’t accept Jesus
(b) why it was OK to change the covenant between God and Israel (by making Christianity the “new” Israel)
© how the Jews could still exist as a people when they had rejected Jesus

Since the Romans accepted Christianity and the Jews didn’t, it was politically expedient to blame the Jews (rather than the Romans) for crucifying Jesus (that is, for killing God.)

Antisemitism thus became an integral part of Christian teaching, for many, many centuries. Sad, for a religion whose major Teacher said things like, “Love thy neighbour as thyself” and “Turn the other cheek.” But don’t get me started on how un-Christ-like most of historic Christianity has been.

But we all know the real reason: Anybody with a big nose makes a great target for mockery.

Actually Jews were only persecuted in Europe and the near east. I’ve never heard the Chinese communists blaming things on the Jews. That’s because Jews could be found almost anywhere in those areas. How many European countries didn’t at least once in their history have a significant Jewish minority?

In pre-WW1 Austria it was the Serbs who were perpertrators of all evil. The only reason Jews are seen as constantly persecuted is because it was a common thing among many nations. And we all know there’s nothing that brings a people together like a common hatred.