The anti-semitic paradox
“Anti-Semitism is nothing but the antagonistic attitude produced in the non-Jew by the Jewish group. The Jewish group has thrived on oppression and on the antagonism it has forever met in the world…the root cause is their use of enemies they create in order to keep solidarity…” Albert Einstein, quoted in Collier’s Magazine, November 26, 1938
“Fighting anti-Semitism seems to be for some Jews more important than any other expression of Jewishness … The danger appears when one becomes dependent upon them for one’s identity, so that one begins to need anti-Semitism.” Stanislaw Krajewski, (Polish Jew)
“For some Jews and perhaps some of the Jewish leadership, the fear is that if anti-Semitism completely disappears then the Jewish community might erode or dissolve.” Stanley Rothman
“And if real peace does come to Israel, the question will be asked: Can we, and how do we, survive without an external enemy?” Avraham Burg, head of the Jewish Agency
ANTI-SEMITISM is a positive force for Jewish people, a leading Welsh academic claims today. Lampeter University’s Dan Cohn-Sherbok controversially argues that anti-Semitism provides a paradox for the Jewish community – and its demise has left today’s Jews in chaos. Rabbi Professor Cohn-Sherbok says that hatred of Jews has kept Judaism alive for thousands of years.
But he argues that state of affairs is being threatened by the fact that anti-Semitism has gradually disappeared and in the last two centuries – with the exception of Nazi Germany – Jews have integrated into society.
He warned, “There is no solution to this problem. I don’t want anti-Semitism to continue, I want it to disappear but at the moment there is a risk the Jewish people will disappear if anti-Semitism disappears.”
Rabbi Professor Cohn-Sherbok said, “I have taught for more than 30 years and have written a number of books on anti-Semitism….Writing about all this, thinking about all this and experiencing all this, I have seen there is a positive side to it. Anti-Semitism has kept Judaism alive – and that is the paradox.”
“Jews hate anti-Semitism, we all hate it. We don’t believe that racial hatred is a good thing. It’s controversial to say what we hate is good for us. What’s very controversial about the book is that it is saying without anti-Semitism, in the modern world, traditional Judaism has disintegrated. “We have embraced the surrounding world and discarded our traditions because we are no longer hated. That is paradoxical.”
Cardiff Rabbi Mordechai Wollenberg said, “There is a certain truth to this. Whenever you are living under siege you have either got to survive or give in…”
Rabbis Cohn-Sherbok and Mordechai Wollenberg make some heartfelt points. We, as Jewish people, have used anti-semitism to support our own ethnocentrism and maintain group cohesion. What will happen to Jews when the last vestige of anti-semitism disappears from the face of this earth?
Even as I read this article, tears rolled down my cheeks. Anti-semitism is all but gone. What will we do now? How will we survive with no enemies? Secretly, I felt compelled to paint a swastika on my own synagogue, then call 911 and report this vandalism as a hate crime committed by virulent anti-semites. Could this be the glue that sticks Jews together? Could I pick up a paint brush and save the Jewish people from the dangers posed by secularism and assimilation, the same way an Austrian painter caused the Holocaust when he put down his paintbrush?
A smile widened on my face as I imagined police handcuffing skinheads (walloping them with clubs as they protested their innocence). Hymm… I also imagined the Plymouth Rock Institute of Research warchest growing with lots and lots of large financial contributions from the Jewish community to help “stop the hate.” This would justify a raise in my PRIR executive salary, and a few other noteworthy perks. Hymm…
But I paused. I couldn’t remember which way the swastika pointed: left or right? A backwards pointed swastika would be a tell-tale sign of a hoax, and I didn’t want to drawl suspicion onto myself. There can’t be any doubts as to who would be evil enough to do such a thing.
In doing a little research, I discovered that I am not the only Jew who has these strange proclivities for survival. This phenomenon appears to be growing in the Jewish community. More and more Jews are inventing anti-semitic attacks as a means to Jewish survival.
Consider the following cases:
Claremont College Professor scrawls anti-semtic graffetti on her own car
Jewish man burns Chabad house, blames anti-semites
In the end, I decided this venture was just too risky.
Perhaps–if I’m obnoxious and demanding enough–this problem will take care of itself?