Abram Epstein

The Core of Antisemitism

At the outset, I intend to distinguish between Palestinian-originated hate of so-called “Zionists” who, as Jews are blamed for their role in the continuing “occupation” — not just of the West Bank — but of all Israel, describing it as a criminal state built on the stolen land of the indigenous Palestinians by a colonizing theft commencing in the mid-1800s. That Palestinian perception, which regards the Jewish presence in Israel as an “invasion” has been dramatized by accusatory words such as “genocide.” With Israel’s recent rightwing ethnic cleansing of the West Bank, the term “genocide” has now been adopted by countries joining South Africa’s charge brought before the ICJ and is subscribed to even by some Jewish intellectuals. The carnage in Gaza has added vitriol to the contempt held toward Israel for its malign of Palestinians and increased vocal expressions of hatred towards Jews for their continued support of Israel.

That last manifestation of hatred of Jews (which I have labeled “ethno-hate”) often crosses a line and becomes Jew hate untethered to events in Israel. Still, one should be aware that the genre of Palestinian hate toward Israeli Jews is not typical antisemitism. Rooted as it is in the dispute over which People has historic right to a sole sovereign presence in the area of today’s Israel, only a future reconciliation toward a fully equal, cultural and religious bi-national state offers hope–one based on a united state of Jewish and Arab homelands, conceived with its citizenry not as invaders (the Jews) or as enemies (the Arabs)–but as Returnees, to dwell with their cousins in history, Descendants of Ishmael. Notably, Israel has a voting citizenry comprising about two million Arabs, and they are represented in the government. But many steps toward full equality remain to be taken.

[Please be aware among my very numerous Gentile friends, as I continue, most have been far more aligned with “Jewish” values than I have. I admit I know one antisemite as an acquaintance, but no longer communicate for obvious reasons. What I proffer here is a diagnosis of the disease called “antisemitism,” and while recognizing it is an American, even a current global epidemic, hardly cast aspersions that its symptoms are suspect in most Christians. Those who may wish to further their grasp of antisemitism, see, “The Case Against the Gospels False Accusation of the Jews.”]

Concerning genuine antisemitism 

ITEM: Marjorie Taylor Greene explained her “no” vote (May 4) against a bill defining antisemitism by saying that the bill rejects the “gospel” that “the Jews” handed Jesus over to his crucifiers.

  ITEM: 178 Jewish graves desecrated in Cincinnati (end of June, 2024)

As the ADL has emphasized, Jews across America are facing a sharp rise in threatening attacks. Let’s take a look at the hot core of hate enflaming such bigotry, and see if Marjory Taylor Greene, cited above, isn’t the tip of the volcano.

Almost always, we identify the origin of antisemitism as seminally associated with Jews participating in Jesus’ judgment and crucifixion. Jews are, in the vernacular, would-be “Christ killers,” passed down as a legacy to the Jewish People. In fact, the Catholic Church did little with its 1965 “Nostrae Aetate” declaration “forgiving” the Jews to ameliorate those Gospel canonized sentiments. Sadly, as I shall show, the depth of grievance toward Jewish rejection of the messianic Jesus was enhanced many times over by post-crucifixion discord.

Indeed, the post-crucifixion reality of antisemitism not only has its genesis with fabricated Jewish participation in the crucifixion, but is far more prospered by the following four doctrinal dogmas which Jews uniformly denied, creating seething hatred, forming the foundation of Christian antisemitism through the ages.

First, the Jews rejected Jesus as Christ; that he was their king, the son of God.

Second, the Jews rejected that he came to usher in God’s Kingdom.

Third, that he was teaching love, and forgiveness contra the Jewish God.

The FOURTH, in my view (here articulated for the first time)–is a much more potent and virulent motif activating antisemitism in every prone Christian heart. 

The Jews rejected his resurrection as a path to eternal life.

No message of Jesus is more central to Christian faith. And, countless Christians have believed and continue to believe  Jews killed Jesus because they were trying to stop his message of eternal life.

In other words, every Jew (certainly, in the fundamentalist theological perception of Christianity) actually wants every Christian–an embodiment of Jesus, as imitatio Yeshu to be mortal.

To Christianity, that is Satan’s goal: No heavenly salvation. The Jew (in Christological terms) is ready to kill the Jesus who challenges the Jews by offering his devotees their immortality.

They see their current existence as a struggle for the triumph of God over the Jewish satan. Ipso facto: They see the Jewish People as not only once wanting to kill their Christ, but still, by their very existence, enacting that very role trying to kill the Jesus-message of salvation which is proved alive and well with every antisemitic attack they make. That’s why they believe Jews who do not acknowledge Christ will all go to hell. It’s where the antisemites think satanic Jews came from in the first place. (Note: For Gospel references to the “satanic Jew” see my above-cited book, which is widely available.)

Is there an answer to this doctrinal deformity? Yes. The Catholic Church must not simply issue a Vatican edict (“Nostra Aetate,” 1965) forgiving Jews for “pressing for the death of Christ”–they must acknowledge the Jews had nothing to do with Jesus’ arrest, hearing or crucifixion and that the Jews aren’t just “forgiven,”–but “acquitted.” That would be a start to genuine ecumenicism.

About the Author
Abram Epstein, a New Yorker, has served as Director of Education for several synagogues and actively participated in the Manhattan Educators’ Council. His graduate studies at New York University’s Hagop Kevorkian Center focused on ancient Near Eastern religion and Biblical Judaism. He is a recipient of the university’s prestigious Founders’ Award for Academic Accomplishment and has a screen credit as Historical Consultant for "The Seventh Sign" starring Demi Moore. His other books include, "The Historical Haggadah," "The Matthias Scroll," "A Documented Biography of Jesus Before Christianity," and most recently, "The Matthias Scroll–Select Second Edition." Abram invites communication on his FB page: "Abram Epstein" or "Abram's Historical Writing."
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