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Anti-Semitism Evolves

by Daniel Pipes New York Sun February 15, 2005

Anti-Semitism may seem to be a static,
unchanging phenomenon but in fact the obsessive hatred of Jews has a history that goes
back millennia and continues to evolve.

Developments since World War II and the Holocaust have been especially
fast-paced and portentous. Here are four of the most significant shifts:

From right to left: For centuries, anti-Semitism was the hallmark of the
right and merely episodic on the left. To take the ultimate examples of these
trends, Stalin’s Judeophobia was peripheral to his monstrous project, but Hitler’s
was central to his. Even a decade ago, this pattern still basically held
true. But recent years have witnessed a rapid and global realignment, with the
mainstream right increasingly sympathetic to Jews and Israel and its leftist
counterparts cooler and more hostile.

From Christian to Muslim: Christians developed the abiding tropes of
anti-Semitism, (such as greediness and ambitions to world domination), and
historically Christians killed most Jews. Therefore, Jews regularly fled Christendom for
Islamdom. In 1945, this pattern abruptly changed. Christians came to terms
with Jews, while Muslims adopted both the old Christian themes and murderousness.
Today institutional anti-Semitism is overwhelmingly a Muslim affair. One
result has been a steady reverse exodus, with Jews now fleeing Islamdom for
Christendom.

From religious to secular: What began as a rejection of the Jewish religion
evolved over the centuries into a bias against the supposed Jewish race, (thus,
our continued use of the nonsensical term anti-Semitism) and lately has
evolved into anti-Zionism, or hatred of the Jewish state. An astonishing 2003 poll
in which Europeans found Israel to be the leading threat to world peace
indicates the depth of this new sentiment.

The conflation of anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism: Jews and Americans,
Israel and the United States \u2013 they have merged in the minds of many around the
world, so that one prejudice routinely implies the other one too. The two
hatreds also share a basic feature: neither is susceptible to rational argument, so
each is better understood as the symptom of a psychological disorder than of
some arcane political logic.

Combining these developments prompts several reflections on the parlous
future of three major Jewish communities.

Israel faces the most extreme danger, surrounded as it is by enemies who in
the past generation have dehumanized Jews in ways reminiscent of Nazi Germany
in the 1930s. In both cases, governments have engaged in a systematic campaign
to transform the Jewish next-door neighbor into a beast-like threat that can
only be controlled through his destruction. In Nazi Germany, this outlook
culminated in the death camps; today, it could, and I stress could – I am not
predicting it will – end up in a hail of nuclear bombs descending on Israel, a
prospect that one powerful Iranian leader has publicly mused on. This in turn
could result in a second Holocaust, again of six million Jews.

European Jewry is next most in danger, though in a more mundane way:
Political and social isolation, depredations by Islamists, Palestinian radicals, and
other hotheads, and a growing sense that Jews have no future in that continent.
An exodus may take place in the near future that replicates the post-World
War II exodus of Jews from Muslim countries, where the Jewish population has
collapsed from about a million in 1948 to 60,000 today.

And finally, the United States: American Jews may not have been conscious of
it, but they have lived these past 60 years in one of Jewry’s golden ages,
arguably more brilliant than those in Andalusia, Aragon, Germany, Hungary,
Lithuania, and Prague. But now, in a milder form than in Europe, Jews face similar
currents swirling through American life, especially the Islamist surge coddled
by leftists. The golden age of American Jewry, therefore, is ending. American
Jews have had the relative luxury of worrying about such matters as
intermarriage, coreligionists around the world, school prayer, and abortion; if current
trends continue, they increasingly will find themselves worrying about
personal security, marginalization, and the other symptoms already evident in Europe.

As the 60th anniversary of V-E and V-J days approach, it is clear that
problems apparently buried in the crematoria of Auschwitz and Birkenau have revived
and are increasingly with us.

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