Sunday, November 02, 2003

On Hating Jews

Here is a very long commentary that seeks to answer why anti-semitism has such a long history.

"NO HATRED has as rich and as lethal a history as anti-Semitism--"the longest hatred," as the historian Robert Wistrich has dubbed it. Over the millennia, anti-Semitism has infected a multitude of peoples, religions, and civilizations, in the process inflicting a host of terrors on its Jewish victims. But while there is no disputing the impressive reach of the phenomenon, there is surprisingly little agreement about its cause or causes."

On Hating the Jews by Natan Sharansky

He takes the long way around before hitting the nail on the head but then I think he bends the nail a bit. He looks to some ancient anti-Semites to find the answer.

"Here is the reasoning invoked by Haman, the infamous viceroy of Persia in the biblical book of Esther, to convince his king to order the annihilation of the Jews:

There is a certain people scattered and dispersed among the people in all the provinces of your kingdom, and their laws are different from those of other peoples, and the king's laws they do not keep, so that it is of no benefit for the king to tolerate them. If it please the king, let it be written that they be destroyed. [emphasis added]

This is hardly the only ancient source pointing to the Jews' incorrigible separateness, or their rejection of the majority's customs and moral concepts, as the reason for hostility toward them. Centuries after Hellenistic values had spread throughout and beyond the Mediterranean, the Roman historian Tacitus had this to say:

Among the Jews, all things are profane that we hold sacred; on the other hand, they regard as permissible what seems to us immoral... The rest of the world they confront with the hatred reserved for enemies. They will not feed or intermarry with gentiles...  They have introduced circumcision to show that they are different from others... It is a crime among them to kill any newly born infant.

Philostratus, a Greek writer who lived a century later, offered a similar analysis:

For the Jews have long been in revolt not only against the Romans, but against humanity; and a race that has made its own life apart and irreconcilable, that cannot share with the rest of mankind in the pleasures of the table, nor join in their libations or prayers or sacrifices, are separated from ourselves by a greater gulf than divides us from Sura or Bactra of the more distant Indies.

Jewish tradition claims that Abraham was chosen as the patriarch of what was to become the Jewish nation only after he had smashed the idols in his father's home. His descendants would continue to defy the pagan world around them, championing the idea of the one God and, unlike other peoples of antiquity, refusing to subordinate their beliefs to those of their conquerors.

I don't know much about Jewish tradition but I know Abraham was promised many things by God because of his faith and obedience. One promise was that he (his offspring) was to become a great nation.

Genesis 18:18 since Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him

Skipping a bit, his grandson, Israel, had twelve sons by various mothers. They all went to live in Egypt where they lost all knowledge of the God of Abraham over the years, but God did not forget. God used Moses to take the Israelites out of Egypt to establish their own nation. God taught them about His laws and way of life (previously known and kept by Abraham, Isaac and Jacob [Israel]), and promised to bless them if they would obey Him. Even though God was with them and His presence was visible to all, they did not obey. Over and over and over. On at least one occasion God thought to destroy them all and start over with the descendents of Moses. God, however, kept with it. Eventually they were given land to dwell in. Skipping, skipping.

They eventually became two nations, Israel to the north, and Judah to the south. The capital of Israel was Samaria and the capital of Judah was Jerusalem. Israel did not do very well keeping the laws of God and eventually stopped keeping the Sabbath and they were taken into custody by successive waves of enemy attack.

Judah also failed miserably to please God, however they did continue to keep the Sabbath and their own variation of God's laws (their traditions). See I and II Kings and I and II Chronicles for the separate histories of Judah and Israel (I'm not making this up). Israel was dispersed and disappeared, blending with the nations that took them captive (mainly Assyria), however they continue to exist, unknown to themselves. Judah, while also dispersed and taken captive, remained known to themselves and others by their Sabbath keeping and traditions. However today I think they believe they are Israel in it's entirety - all Israelites are Jews and all Jews are Israelites. The truth is all Jews are Israelites but not all Israelites are Jews. Just a side note, it doesn't matter for the purposes of this comment.

Another side note, speaking of Ephraim and Manasseh, the sons of Joseph - a non-Jewish Israelite:

Genesis 48:16 The Angel who has redeemed me from all evil, Bless the lads; Let my name be named upon them, And the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; And let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth."

So the name Israel is especially meant for the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh, whatever great multitude they are today.

OK, OK, sorry. What was I talking about. Oh yeah.

The reason Jews have been hated so much through so many years. Gods way is so different from the way every one else lives that by keeping His laws you automatically stand out. Jealousy plays a role. And God ordered Israel (all the tribes) to actually completely destroy (man, woman, child, and animal) the nations of the lands God gave them to inherit. However, they did not always do as they were told and those nations do not forget their hatred - even if the original reason is lost to them. Of course today, as the commentary hints, God is forgotten and the Jews actually developed and created their own laws and traditions, which makes them seem even more evil. The Jews stand out (to the world) as God's people so they get the brunt of the hatred. And I didn't even mention the millions (?) of fallen angels that live right here on this earth, among us, influencing us -and they hate God and, by extension, human beings. (It's amazing how many people believe in UFO's, or who love Star Trek, not that there is anything wrong with that, and are perfectly willing to believe there are beings like Klingons or whatever out there, or ghosts - but deny the existence of angels or demons, which is precisely what they want.)

The closer you get to the one, true God the more people hate it. Even the Jews had moved so far from God by the time of Jesus that most of them didn't recognize the very God they worshiped as He walked among them "in the flesh." He wasn't what they were looking for.

John 1:10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.

John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us,

The God of the Old Testament (the Word) became the man we know of as Jesus Christ. If He lived today He would not be recognized, He would be hated, and He would be killed. No doubt. Even in America. And when He returns the nations will fight Him.

Revelation 19:19 And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army

Believe it or not.

Did I ever tell you how happy and thankful I am to live in this great country, the U.S. of A? True.

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