On Antisemitism

January 26, 2022

Antisemitism represents a much broader problem.

 There are countries in the world that have no Jews. They still hate the Jews. People there don’t know what a Jew is, how a Jew looks like, how a Jew behaves. They still hate them. What’s going on?

 When there are problems that people cannot easily analyze and understand, they look for an explanation. It is human nature to seek explanations. We cannot live in a situation where we don’t know what’s going on and simply accept ignorance. This human need for understanding gave birth to research. To science. To education. To religion.

 The world is becoming increasingly complex. Change is accelerating. In this environment, problems are compounding and becoming more frequent. It is difficult if not impossible for some to analyze a multi-dimensional problem of social, economic, racial and political complexity. A simple solution is a witch hunt,  to say this is the person, or ethnic or religious group, who can be blamed for the problem. Jews have been assigned the role of being the witch that needs to be hunted throughout history.

 As the complexity of the world increases, and its problems become more and more difficult to solve, as people suffer more and more, they look for a culprit and antisemitism has run rampant. Antisemitism however should not be understood as just being anti-Jewish, although Jews bear much of the burden of providing answers to people’s suffering. Others are deemed culprits as well. Recently, in America, Asian Americans are being hunted. White racists go after Blacks, and Black racists go against Whites. And all over the world often the culprit is the government. The politicians. The leaders.

 I saw once a sign on the wall of a politician in Washington: “Why we need government? Because we can not accuse only our spouse”

 What’s the solution? I don’t think it’s going to be easy to change people’s attitudes by educating them to analyze problems rather than looking for scapegoats to blame. The solution is to legislate much stricter anti-hate laws than we have today and to ardently prosecute those who personify complex problems by spewing hostility and advocating violence against innocent people. Our prosecution of crimes of hate is not strong enough. Unless we change our laws and enforce them, we’ll continue to fall apart as a nation. It is hard to predict where it will end. But, for sure, that end is not appealing.

Written by
Dr. Ichak Adizes