Monday, June 25, 2018

Anti-Semitism Is a Mental Disease

Anti-Semitism Is a Mental Disease

By Shoula Romano Horing

As a Jew and an Israeli, every time I write an online article about Israel and the Middle East, Jew-haters come out of the woodwork or the sewer like cockroaches, with a barrage of comments full of hatred, prejudice, bigotry, fake news, and fake history against Jews in general and the Jewish state in particular.

For me as an Israeli, the world's sick obsession with the world's only Jewish state, which constitutes a tiny area of around ten thousand square miles, including the disputed territory of the West Bank, compared to the 13 million square miles of the Arab world, 3.79 million square miles of the U.S., and the 3.931 million square miles of Europe, is bewildering, irrational, and outrageous.  

For me as a Jew, the world's repeated attempts to scapegoat and blame the Jewish people for many of world's ills have been sad and revolting, knowing that the Jewish population worldwide totals just 14.5 million, including the 6.5 million in Israel and the 5.7 million in the U.S., who make up only less than 2% of the country's population of approximately 325 million.  In contrast, the population of the Muslim world totals 1.3 billion, which includes 423 million Arabs, and the world's Christian population numbers 2.1 billion.  

Obviously, anti-Semitism is not a new phenomenon for Jews.  It has been called history's oldest hatred and mental disease, and it has shown itself to be remarkably adaptable, stretching back thousands of years.  But what is worrisome to me now is that it seems that 73 years after the Holocaust, Jew-hatred is re-emerging in Europe and the Western world as the barbarous events of World War II recede from collective memory and the cultural and political taboo of being an anti-Semite has disappeared.

Moreover, it includes anti-Semites from the far right and the far left, Christians and Muslims, including those in private and public life, many in the political establishment and leadership positions and many individuals in academia.  It manifests itself in physical attacks on synagogues in Sweden; arson attacks on Jewish institutions in France; and a spike in hate crimes against Jews in the U.K., France, Germany, and the U.S.

At its base, Jew-hatred is a neurotic condition based on irrational fear of the Jews and a lack of personal responsibility for one's failure to achieve success and happiness.  Anti-Semites fear Jews because they perceive them as all-powerful individuals who control the U.S. government and the world as well as the banks and economic systems.  This neurotic worldview makes rational analysis impossible for anti-Semites.  Everything is a Jewish plot and conspiracy for them in business and politics.  Through circular reasoning, anti-Semites see Jewish fingers in everything bad that happens to them.

Historically, anti-Semitism has taken the form of a double standard of labeling certain characteristics as specifically Jewish when they are in fact common to all of humanity: Jews are greedy, tricky, ambitious, rich, and clannish, as though Jews were uniquely or disproportionately guilty of all these.  Since Israel was established, in 1948, Jews and the Jewish state have been condemned whenever they claim or exercise the right to do things that all other people are accorded without question, like having a state and defending its security and borders.

Today, similar double standards are evident in the fact that 86 percent of U.N. resolutions single out Israel while ignoring human rights abuses in countries such as Syria, North Korea, and Iran. 

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) said in a new report in February 2018 that the number of anti-Semitic incidents in the U.S. is nearly 60 percent higher in 2017 than 2016, the largest single-year increase on record and the second highest number reported since the ADL started tracking incident data in the 1970s.  There were 1,986 anti-Semitic incidents reported across the United States in 2017, including physical assaults, vandalism, and attacks on Jewish institutions.  Every part of the country was affected, with an incident reported in all 50 states for the first time in at least a decade. 

One of Britain's most senior Jewish leaders alleged last week that Jeremy Corbyn, the head of the Labor Party, the main opposition party, has anti-Semitic views and associates himself with anti-Semites delegitimizing Israel's existence, and that he is causing British Jews to question their future in the country.

Last week, Turkish state-controlled media blamed the "Jewish lobby" for the sudden drop of the value of the country's currency.

In a recent May 2018 survey conducted by Ifop polling company in France, some 53 percent of the French respondents agreed with the statement that "Zionism is an international organization that seeks to influence the world and societies to the Jews' benefit."  Furthermore, in the poll, Israel was described as a "threat to regional stability" by 57 percent of respondents, while in reality, all the wars Israel was involved in were due to Arab, Palestinian, and Muslim attacks and threats.  In the same poll, Israel was described as a "theocracy" by 51 percent, even though in reality it is the only vibrant democracy in the Middle East.

In Germany, there were 1,453 anti-Semitic incidents reported in 2017, including 947 in Berlin, and these came at a time when Germany is grappling with an influx of more than one million mostly Muslim migrants, along with the rise of a right-wing nationalistic parties.

Concerning European Jewry, I believe that there is no solution for European Jews other than to come and live in Israel.  Anti-Semitism has never gone from the hearts of the Europeans for over 2,000 years, and now it has evolved into anti-Israel hatred.  Jew-hatred is here to stay and has even worsened as Europe continues to decline economically and morally.

In the U.S., anti-Semitism is mostly limited to universities and the liberal media on the far left, and to Nazi groups on the far right, but it has never been embraced by a majority of the American people and has never evolved into anti-Israeli hatred.  On the contrary, Israel's favorability score is the highest in the country since 1991.  According to a 2018 Gallop Poll, over 74 percent of Americans view Israel favorably versus the Palestinians.

The only way to fight those outlier groups is by confronting them head-on with facts and true history, in every public stage, forum, newspaper, magazine, school, and university.  There must be zero tolerance for any fake news provided by the leftist media, as well as legislation sidelining those groups calling for boycotting or divesting from Israel.  

Increased education in high schools and colleges telling the truth about Jewish history and the evil of anti-Semitism will hopefully guarantee that being an anti-Semite remains a taboo in the United States.   

Shoula Romano Horing is an Israeli-born and raised attorney.  Her blog:

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