Introduction: How can a Jew even raise as an issue, “insecurity” for Christianity? As the Jewish people are in a downward population spiral, Christianity in its multiplicity has not just grown, but multiplied more than three-fold in, “the last 100 years, from about 600 million in 1910 to more than 2 billion in 2010.” Jews today number approximately 13.4 million. Yet over the ages Christianity has viewed Jews and Judaism as threat, the elephant fearing the mouse. Why would Christianity fear the Jews?
This question is the theme of my recent article, Christian Insecurity and the Jewish Problem: The Introduction, in which I begin to discuss the supporting evidence. My blogstream has several Christian participants, one of which, an evangelical, took offense at my implication regarding himself and his religion. It is not my purpose to offend or blame Christians for the history described in my writings. By choosing an Israeli periodical my intended audience is, of course, Jewish. I see our history in the Diaspora as having most recently led to the Holocaust. I also understand that antisemitism is too deeply ingrained in Western society to be excised; not even editing out anti-Judaic references in Christian scripture would impact upon the future history of Jews in the West.
Still, I recognize that well meaning Christians also benefit by participating in the forum, and do not want to offend. So my response to “Chris” was an explanation of the purpose for my blogstream. This article expands on that “response,” presents a brief outline of the threat to Jewish survival, the next and final Final Solution to the West’s Jewish Problem.
Try to see the problem from my perspective, Chris: The very foundation Christianity, its scriptures contain whether read literally or not, the charge contained in Matthew 27:25 that “the Jews” killed Jesus, even demanded that guilt and punishment follow us forever! Christian exegesis over the millennia expanded on this charge inciting centuries of persecution as just punishment.
During the Middle Ages the fear generated by that theology, those teachings, morphed into a sort of perceptual shorthand, antisemitic stereotypes that are current even today. Those same stereotypes can be seen in Nazi propaganda from the 1930′s, appear also today in antisemitic publications in the US and Europe (also in Arab publications, but my topic is Christian antisemitism). Twentieth century “science” combined with the justification provided by scriptural anti-Judaism (Luther in particular) transformed the traditional Jewish threat, the demonification of “the Jew” from mere deicide and ally of Satan into a deadly pathogen, an insidious virus that physically threatens mankind and has to be exterminated.
How change the trajectory of something so deeply engrained in the psyche of Western society? Even were Christianity in all its diversity to unify in the determination to remove anti-Judaism from its scripture, not just as an act of contrition, but finally save itself from the cancer of hate at the very heart of a self-proclaimed religion of love, would that change the secular memory of centuries Judeophobia, of targeting the ever-present Other available whenever social tensions require a scapegoat? And what of the costs to Christianity for editing out those offending and corrosive passages?
Several post-Holocaust Christian theologians considered the problem and concluded that the cost of in any way modifying what is widely considered the inerrant word of God would undermine the entire edifice of the religion. If the gospels are God’s word then who is Man to question God?
And anyway, as one theologian concluded, what would be left if anti-Judaism was removed from scripture but… Judaism!
Education? Teaching our neighbors that Jews are not a threat, that Jews are just people, fellow Americans, has always been our preferred way to combat antisemitism. The Anti-defamation League (ADL) in fact was a response to an innocent Jew, Leo Frank, lynched in Georgia in 1915. The ADL is consistent and persistent in promoting understanding, providing education. What has a century of ADL “education” achieved? Has it reduced antisemitism in the United States? In fact American antisemitism fairly closely paced German levels during the decades before, during and following the Holocaust! Most indicators reduced in recent decades to an overall idling level, relatively unchanging over the past thirty years with virtually all non-Jews expressing some identification with antisemitic stereotypes. But most tellingly the level of Americans holding what ADL describes as “violently antisemitic views” remains fairly stable at around 10 to 20% (17% in 2002). The first poll of American antisemitism that I am familiar with was by Roper in 1939. It found that,
only thirty-nine percent of Americans felt that Jews should be treated like other people. Fifty-three percent believed that “Jews are different and should be restricted” and ten percent believed that Jews should be deported. Several surveys taken from 1940 to 1946 found that Jews were seen as a greater threat to the welfare of theUnited Statesthan any other national, religious, or racial group.”
While that survey was taken at a high point in anti-Jewish feeling in the country (one year after Krystallnacht; the year German einsatsgruppen troops began to systematically murder Jews in Poland and “the East”) it is clear that the best efforts of ADL and others dedicated to “education” over these years has had little, if any, appreciable impact on antisemitism in the United States.
My purpose for this forum, Chris, is to provide a vehicle by which Jews are able to openly discuss issues which we feel in our guts to be real, issues important to our survival. This does not mean that Christians are un welcome, but “educating” Jews, not Christians is my primary purpose. If at time in participating in the forum I offend, such is not my purpose. Christianity and its secular inheritor are the threat to Jewish survival. Christendom’s omnipresent Jewish Problem is both fatal and eternal.
For Jews salvation will be through what Pinsker described as “self-emancipation.” How this may be achieved will occupy future months of this forum.