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A Dialog about Anti-Semitism

Mormons and Jewish scholars, recently completed in Israel, such conversations serve to identify our commonalities of interests as well as note the areas of our differences. In this second reflection in connection with our gathering, I want to give specific emphasis to the place of anti-Semitism in the Jewish historical consciousness and its contemporary meaning for both Latter-day Saints and Jews. In planning any discussions around faith and community, by necessity Jews need to reference the history of anti-Semitism as well as its contemporary impact.

No visit to Israel with a second faith community is complete without incorporating Yad Vashem. Dedicated to preserving the memory and meaning of the Shoah, this Holocaust remembrance museum pays honor to Jews who fought against their oppressors and to those gentiles who came to the aid of Jews during the Nazi era.

Yad Vashem, we are reminded, serves also as a research center studying the phenomenon of the Holocaust in particular and genocide in general.

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In planning our program, we saw our visit to the Museum as a prelude to engaging with our colleagues around the contemporary issues of anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism as well as to reflect as well on issues of prejudice and hate also being directed against other constituencies. In introducing the current focus on anti-Semitism, I suggested the following:. In this age where the political culture has seeded hate, division, and social tension, the Jewish community is not immune from these disruptive patterns of behavior. As the hate crime reports are being tallied, both the FBI and the ADL are reporting increased incidents of harassment, cyber hate, and physical threats and assaults.

Jews who were seen for decades as political outsiders are now defined as part of the established power class.

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If one looks carefully at the websites of the alt-right, the white supremacists and the neo-Nazis, their unique and particular focus on Jews is striking, if not scary. Jews are, indeed, over-represented in certain professions in the United States. But they are under-represented in other, equally important, vocations for instance, among company CEOs, politicians, diplomats, managers of higher education institutions, and senior bankers. Globally, Jews are severely under-represented or not-existent in virtually all professions due to their demography aging population, low birth-rates, unnatural deaths in wars and slaughters.

Argument number four - Jews act as a cabal or mafia. There is no organized, hierarchical, and centralized worldwide Jewish conspiracy. Rather the Jews act in a manner similar to al-Qaida: they freelance and self-assemble ad hoc in cross-border networks to tackle specific issues. Jewish organizations - many in cahoots with the Israeli government - serve as administrative backup, same as some Islamic charities do for militant Islam.

The Jews' ability and readiness to mobilize and act to further their plans is a matter of record and the source of the inordinate influence of their lobby organizations in Washington, for instance. When two Jews meet, even randomly, and regardless of the disparities in their background, they immediately endeavor to see how they can further each other's interests, even and often at the expense of everyone else's. Still, the Jewish diaspora, now two millennia old, is the first truly global phenomenon in world affairs.

Bound by a common history, a common set of languages, a common ethos, a common religion, common defenses and ubiquitous enemies - Jews learned to closely cooperate in order to survive.

No wonder that all modern global networks - from Rothschild to Reuters - were established by Jews. Jews also featured prominently in all the revolutionary movements of the past three centuries. Individual Jews - though rarely the Jewish community as a whole - seem to benefit no matter what. When Czarist Russia collapsed, Jews occupied 7 out of 10 prominent positions in both the Kerensky a Jew himself government and in the Lenin and early Stalin administrations.

When the Soviet Union crumbled, Jews again benefited mightily. Three quarters of the famous "oligarchs" robber barons that absconded with the bulk of the defunct empire's assets were - you guessed it - Jews. Ignoring the purposefully inflammatory language for a minute, what group does not behave this way? As long as people co-operate legally and for legal ends, without breaching ethics and without discriminating against deserving non-members - what is wrong with that? Argument number five - The Jews are planning to take over the world and establish a world government.

This is the kind of nonsense that discredits a serious study of the Jews and their role in history, past and present. Endless lists of prominent people of Jewish descent are produced in support of the above contention. Yet, governments are not the mere sum of their constituent individuals. The dynamics of power subsist on more than the religious affiliation of office-holders, kingmakers, and string-pullers.

Granted, Jews are well introduced in the echelons of power almost everywhere. But this is still a very far cry from a world government. Neither were Jews prominent in any of the recent moves - mostly by the Europeans - to strengthen the role of international law and attendant supranational organizations. What can I say? I agree with you.

Antisemitism in Poland Conference

I would only like to set the record straight by pointing out the fact that Jews are actually under-represented in the echelons of power everywhere including in the United States. Only in Israel - where they constitute an overwhelming majority - do Jews run things. Argument number six - Jews are selfish, narcissistic, haughty, double-faced, dissemblers. Zionism is an extension of this pathological narcissism as a colonial movement. Judaism is not missionary. It is elitist. But Zionism has always regarded itself as both a 19th century national movement and a colonial civilizing force.

Nationalist narcissism transformed Zionism into a mission of acculturation "White Man's Burden". In "Altneuland" translated to Hebrew as "Tel Aviv" , the feverish tome composed by Theodore Herzl, Judaism's improbable visionary - Herzl refers to the Arabs as pliant and compliant butlers, replete with gloves and tarbushes. In the book, a German Jewish family prophetically lands at Jaffa, the only port in erstwhile Palestine.

They are welcomed and escorted by "Briticized" Arab gentlemen's gentlemen who are only too happy to assist their future masters and colonizers to disembark. This age-old narcissistic defence - the Jewish superiority complex - was only exacerbated by the Holocaust. Nazism posed as a rebellion against the "old ways" - against the hegemonic culture, the upper classes, the established religions, the superpowers, the European order. The Nazis borrowed the Leninist vocabulary and assimilated it effectively.

Hitler and the Nazis were an adolescent movement, a reaction to narcissistic injuries inflicted upon a narcissistic and rather psychopathic toddler nation-state. Hitler himself was a malignant narcissist, as Fromm correctly noted. The Jews constituted a perfect, easily identifiable, embodiment of all that was "wrong" with Europe. They were an old nation, they were eerily disembodied without a territory , they were cosmopolitan, they were part of the establishment, they were "decadent", they were hated on religious and socio-economic grounds see Goldhagen's "Hitler's Willing Executioners" , they were different, they were narcissistic felt and acted as morally superior , they were everywhere, they were defenseless, they were credulous, they were adaptable and thus could be co-opted to collaborate in their own destruction.

They were the perfect hated father figure and parricide was in fashion. The Holocaust was a massive trauma not because of its dimensions - but because Germans , the epitome of Western civilization, have turned on the Jews, the self-proclaimed missionaries of Western civilization in the Levant and Arabia. It was the betrayal that mattered.

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Rejected by East as colonial stooges and West as agents of racial contamination alike - the Jews resorted to a series of narcissistic responses reified by the State of Israel. The long term occupation of territories metaphorical or physical is a classic narcissistic behavior of "annexation" of the other. The Six Days War was a war of self defence - but the swift victory only exacerbated the grandiose fantasies of the Jews. Mastery over the Palestinians became an important component in the psychological makeup of the nation especially the more rightwing and religious elements because it constitutes "Narcissistic Supply".

Happily, sooner or later most anti-Semitic arguments descend into incoherent diatribe. This dialog is no exception. Zionism was not conceived out of time. It was born in an age of colonialism, Kipling's "white man's burden", and Western narcissism. Regrettably, Herzl did not transcend the political discourse of his period. But Zionism is far more than Altneuland. Herzl died in , having actually been deposed by Zionists from Russia who espoused ideals of equality for all, Jews and non-Jews alike.

The Holocaust was an enormous trauma and a clarion call.

10 Steps Towards Dialogue

It taught the Jews that they cannot continue with their historically abnormal existence and that all the formulas for accommodation and co-existence failed. There remained only one viable solution: a Jewish state as a member of the international community of nations. The Six Days War was, indeed, a classic example of preemptive self-defense. Its outcomes, however, deeply divide Jewish communities everywhere, especially in Israel. Many of us believe that occupation corrupts and reject the Messianic and millennial delusions of some Jews as dangerous and nefarious.

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Like every other group of humans, though molded by common experience, Jews are not a monolith. There are liberal Jews and orthodox Jews, narcissists and altruists, unscrupulous and moral, educated and ignorant, criminals and law-abiding citizens. Jews, in other words, are like everyone else. Can we say the same about anti-Semites?

I wonder.

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  4. The State of Israel is likely to end as did the seven previous stabs at Jewish statehood - in total annihilation. And for the same reasons: conflicts between secular and religious Jews and a racist-colonialist pattern of deplorable behavior. The UN has noted this recidivist misconduct in numerous resolutions and when it justly compared Zionism to racism.

    But it is not and never has been a racist movement. Zionists of all stripes never believed in the inherent inferiority or malevolence or impurity of any group of people however arbitrarily defined or capriciously delimited just because of their common origin or habitation. The State of Israel is not exclusionary. There are a million Israelis who are Arabs, both Christians and Muslims. It is true, though, that Jews have a special standing in Israel.

    The Law of Return grants them immediate citizenship.