Can we think for a moment about anti-Semitism? Bookworm will be our guide.
In the early Middle Ages, England was as one with other European countries: Jews were allowed to live in the kingdom but they did so at the King’s sufferance. The monarchy (including attendant courtiers) looked to Jews for ready cash. (The quick answer to why were the Jews money lenders is as follows: Early Christianity barred charging interest on money, something that made loans financially impossible. Jewish law, however, did not prevent charging interest, although the rabbis had rules against usurious interest. Additionally, European laws banned Jews from most other livelihoods.)
As long as the cash was flowing in its direction, the British monarchy allowed the Jews to exist in the country and protected them. When members of the court, the King included, could no longer pay the Jews or when the King decided that he could do better by simply stealing all the gold rather than borrowing it, that protection went out the window.
Some of you may be asking “Protection against what or from whom?” Obviously, some of that protection was from the King himself. Early medieval British Jews always had to deal with the monarch’s philosophy, which was “Do right by me and I won’t kill you.” Doing right meant low-interest loans to begin with; no-interest repayment plans when the monarch demanded a plan change; and, eventually, forgiving the debt entirely when the monarch wouldn’t or couldn’t replay it.
Most of the protection, though, was against the ordinary English people who believed wholeheartedly in what have become the classic Christian antisemitic tropes: Jews used the blood of Christian children for their evil Passover rituals; Jews defiled innocent Christian maidens; Jews killed Christ and their descendents should be punished for eternity. Christ, who was himself a Jew, never taught these things.
If those classic tropes sound familiar, they should. Modern day Muslims, from the Palestinian strongholds, to Egypt, to Saudi Arabia, to Iran, to Dearborn, Michigan currently rely on 1,300 year old Muslim variations : Jews use the blood of Muslim children for their Passover evil rituals; Jews defile innocent Muslim maidens; Jews were disrespectful to Mohamed and their descendents should be punished for eternity. Same song; slightly different words. More on this later.
In 1190, the fevered antisemitism that powered the British people culminated in the York massacre. The Christian citizens’ bloodthirsty hunt for the Jews became so fervid that many Jews opted for a peaceful, immediate death at their own hands, rather than an inevitable, brutal death at the hands of an enraged mob.
To summarize — For the last 1,000 years, we’ve seen four different types of antisemitism:
Christian antisemitism. Medieval Christian antisemitism, which was grounded in religious faith and was intermittently genocidal.
“Othering” antisemitism. Post-Enlightenment 19th and 20th century British and American (and sort of French) antisemitism, which was based upon cultural “othering” and was not genocidal, although Jews were certainly victimized.
Socialist or Leftist antisemitism. 20th and (sadly) 21st century socialist antisemitism, which draws on all the old hatreds but reconfigured itself as an antipathy to control over capital. When mixed in with a European nationalist fervor (e.g., Germany), a nation’s traditional Christian Antisemitism (i.e., those nations that Nazis conquered that still willingly handed over their Jews), or a leader’s paranoia (e.g., Stalin, who feared the Jews would overthrow him), it can range from ugly insults to unconstrained genocide.
Muslim antisemitism. Like Christian antisemitism, this is tied to faith. Like socialist antisemitism, it’s also tied to control over capital. Like “othering” antisemitism, it’s tied to Jews generally, not just religious Jews. Unlike all the other types of antisemitism, Muslim antisemitism is not tied to a specific century or movement. Muslim Antisemitism has existed unchanged since Mohamed’s time. He is the prophet so his excoriations and incitements to murder are graven in stone and must be obeyed at all times and in all places.
The above list leads to this question: Today, in the 21st century, which is the antisemitism that Jews need to fear.
Neither Christian nor Othering antisemitism should worry Jews today. Serious Christian antisemitism is a thing of the past. Indeed, when it comes to genocide, the sad truth is that, throughout vast swaths of the world — swaths that not-so-coincidentally align perfectly with Muslim-majority or Muslim-controlled regions — Christians are on the receiving end of a massive genocide. In America, I know that there are Christians who don’t like Jews, whether in classical medieval terms or in “othering” terms, but they are not genocidal. One particular individual might be a crazed killer, but the the small cadre of Christian antisemites in America is not worth worrying about.
Othering Antisemitism was never something to fear. It barred Jews from career and social advance, and made them the object of opprobrium, but it did not end with them burned in buildings, dead in the street, or gassed and burned. In America, Jews overcame it by being so damn good at the things Americans needed that the Americans of necessity had to invite them into the bank or law firm or buy their products.
In the last 50 years, Muslims and Socialists have joined forces and are creating a situation that’s ripe for genocide. Israel is ground zero. Socialist antisemites try to frame their antipathy to Israel in terms of “two states,” and “imperialism,” and “anti-Arab racism,” but some, surely, must understand that Hamas and its fellow travelers have always been brutally honest about their plans: They intend to kill every Jew they find. Muslims make no effort to hide their goal.
Thanks to this socialist moral support, Muslims are getting increasingly aggressive against European Jews. This is especially so in France which, until Frau Merkel’s immigration folly, had a greater percentage of Muslims making up its population than any other European country. It’s not just headline attacks such as the Hyper Cache antisemitic attack (which Obama, when unscripted, carelessly glossed over as “a bunch of folks in a deli in Paris” getting killed).
French Jews, who must disguise their faith on the streets and surround their homes and institutions with armed guards, see the genocidal handwriting on the wall. They are frantic to leave France. They understand that, while Israel may be directly under Iran’s nuclear umbrella, at least Israel’s Jewish government is not largely composed of socialists sympathetic to Muslim antisemitism, anti-Zionism, and genocidal fury.
Conclusion? Jews need to fear Leftist and Muslim antisemitism, both of which are alive and well, and which history demonstrates too often end in genocide. Muslims are explicitly told to practice genocide. Socialism, once it gains critical mass, simply seems to end up in genocide.
…In early 21st-century America,the scary kind of American antisemitism, the genocidal kind that isn’t just about “I don’t like you and don’t marry my daughter,” is a Muslim and Leftist phenomenon. These two groups are the ones that, in the 21st century, engaged in genocide. For the Muslims, it was then, as it is now, a daily religious obligation. For the socialists, it was the inevitable end of their fealty to Karl Marx’s ideas. In the 21st-century, these two groups are drawing together (1) to marginalize Jews in the diaspora (harass them, insult them, kill them one at a time) and (2) to destroy the Jews entirely in their homeland of Israel.
Bookworm goes on to describe what Donald Trump is doing to fight anti-Semitism. Read the rest here.