Antisemitism is no reflection on the Jew

Antisemitism is no reflection on the Jew. It is a reflection on the antisemite. Draw all the ugly cartoons, make all the libelous claims. It doesn’t really take much convincing to seduce the susceptible mind. They are mostly weak, and haunted by unremitting, vague waves of guilt when the raging stops, in the interrupted quiet of their solitude. The kind of guilt which is then morphed into their righteous self-protection. Or, in a most tragic turn, they have arrived to adulthood already loathing themselves more than anyone could imagine. Both, often.

No white skin, no blonde hair, no blue eyes, no nice clothing, no fancy car, no fine education, no tough persona, no loyalty to tribe, no sanctioned hatred of Israel- none of these erase the kind of deep, subterranean self hatred which festers inside. Self hatred which is inescapable and only grows with each passing dagger slung at the Jew, who is once again to blame, in a reverse spasm of projection. Although we often question why, and often work mightily towards repair, although there are those among us who succumb to blind hatred ourselves, although we fear for our safety, and our peace, and our children, and our lives even, the life of the antisemite is ultimately more tortured. And that is because antisemitism is an “original hate”. Antisemitism is a hate whose wellspring was dug in childhood by jolts and spikes of humiliation, shame, entitlement, unprocessed contempt, and unbridled rage. Antisemitism is a disabling hate which not only destroys the ability to think and feel, it destroys the soul.

And if you call him “antisemite”, he will, in a bid to hide that which he cowardly parades only in numbers, say, “How dare you! You people are the schemers and the thieves!” Too frightened to look at his own hideous image in the mirror which is uglier than any propaganda cartoon he can draw, he will predictably cast blame.

Antisemitism is no reflection on the Jew. It is a reflection on the antisemite. I know it, the reader knows it, and you know it in the recesses of your being; in that place you keep hidden from yourself. That place, when exposed, morphs you from the child you once were with all of his beautiful potential, into the adult who has surrendered and collapsed under the weight of his own alienation, and despair, and rage.

I am the Jew. I am the target of your hatred and yet, it is I who is truly free.

I have seen men, in a bid to be released from internal bondage before their departures, tally up and reckon with brutal honesty, the regrets of their lives, on their deathbeds. Is it too late now? There is work to be done and a life to be lived which held promise and once belonged to you. It still does. It does actually, until the last minute. It is unique and it is a reflection of that original, childhood beauty. Do you have the courage reclaim it?

I am the Jew and though I am the target of your hatred, it is you, who is afraid of me.

There are fourteen million of us in this world, and we have learned to fight passionately for our survival- both physical and spiritual. Yes. We falter. No. You will not win.

Antisemitism is no reflection on the Jew. It is a reflection on the antisemite, and given the choice, I’d always rather be a Jew who doesn’t succumb to hatred.


And on this, we must all agree.

About the Author
Laura Ellen is a Jewish American psychologist, who received her doctorate from Yeshiva University in 1996. She works in private practice in South Florida as a clinical psychologist. Her specialties include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for anxiety and depression, Collaborative Problem Solving with adolescents, family therapy, and school consultation.