You would think that someone as renowned as Albert Einstein, whose contribution to science in general, and to the US in particular, is unquestionable, would escape the plight of antisemitism. He did not. In a recently discovered letter from 1936, he wrote to a friend about his situation in the US: “A tremendous degree of antisemitism exists here,” he confessed.
After fleeing Germany in 1922 for the exact same reason, the scientist discovered that antisemitism knows no boundaries. It affects all Jews, regardless of social, academic, or political status. These days, wealthy Jews in Beverly Hills and at the top of Biden’s administration are making the same grim discovery.
In Einstein’s days, antisemitism in the US was overshadowed by the horrors of Nazi Germany. The scientist wrote that Jew-hatred in the US “never takes the form of brutal speech or action, but simmers all the more intensely under the surface. It is, so to speak, an omnipresent enemy, one that is impossible to see, and whose presence you only perceive.”
Today, antisemitism in the US is already brutal in both speech and action. There have been several massacres in recent years, violent incidents have become ubiquitous, and hate speech is more prevalent than ever. For example, a few days ago, antisemitic fliers left outside homes in Beverly Hills declared, “Every single aspect of the COVID agenda is Jewish.” Moreover, the flier listed more than a dozen Jews in key positions related to the American health system.
There has always been antisemitism in America. It used to be easier to ignore it, and governments had an interest to conceal it since Jews were regarded as major contributors to the economy. In a country where money sets the tone, those who have it are the powerful. But when too many people have too little, as is happening now, the wealthy become targets. And when the wealthy are Jewish, it is a sitting duck, and the duck will be shot.
No one is impervious to antisemitism; it is a law of nature. Just as you cannot escape gravity, if you’re a Jew, you cannot escape Jew-hatred.
In fact, the root of antisemitism goes even deeper than the most basic laws of physics. The ancestors of the Jewish people waved the banner of altruism. They coined such terms as “Love your neighbor as yourself,” “that which you hate, do not do unto your neighbor,” and established their society on mutual responsibility and mercy.
Moreover, they did not build their society for themselves, but in order to be “a light unto nations,” to set an example for the world to follow. They were a chosen people, chosen to pass on the message that man can rise above self-absorption and form a thriving society without disparaging competitiveness and oppressing leaders. Is it any wonder that no one wanted their success? At the same time, if they fail, who will show the way out of the darkness of egotism?
Indeed, Jews represent the struggle between good and evil. When they succeed, they are a bright light that shines as a beacon of hope for the entire world. When they fail, they are worse than any selfish person on the planet. Not only do they wallow in self-centeredness, they also deny the world the necessary example in order to emerge from it. Therefore, when they are selfish, they are hated more than any nation, person, or being in existence.
The Beverly Hills flier we just mentioned targets such high profile individuals as CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, Secretary of Health Xavier Becerra, his assistant Rachel Levine, and founder and president of the American multinational investment management corporation BlackRock, Robert Kapito. There is a good reason for mentioning such high profile individuals. It shows that we cannot argue in our defense that we are contributing to the community; people want something else from us, and when they do not get it, they hate us.
Specifically today, when greed, selfishness, and narcissism set the tone, a different voice must rise—a voice that champions consideration and social responsibility. It is a far cry from the exemplary society of the ancient Jews, but it is a step in the right direction. Naturally, the ones who are expected to lead the way toward it are the Jews. It is our legacy and our obligation to the world. For its part, the world expects nothing less from us.
Now that the people of Israel are scattered around the world, we must grow and develop within the world. We must show the world that we place unity above division, that our society is an example they can follow, an example of unity above division, and care rather than alienation. Only a united people of Israel can lead humanity toward unity in its struggle against egoism, and the world will not forgive us if we fail it.