The psychology of anti-Semitism and the link to anti-Zionism

It has been referred to as the oldest hatred — Jew hatred that is. It is a hatred that has persevered for millennia, transmuting and re-emerging in its various mutations and reincarnations.

The reason and cause of this persistent hatred has long been a subject of debate, in response to which multiple theories have been put forth.  But even though the Jews are not a perfect people (there are no perfect peoples) there is no real logical explanation or justification for the psychosis that perpetuates this non-relenting and devastating hatred.

Upon analysis, we discover that the hater himself, the anti-Semite, by implication demonstrates that at the very core his is indeed an irrational hatred, failing to provide true justification for the terrible historical wrongs and atrocities visited upon our people.

The big “give-away” is the utterly ridiculous lies anti-Semites are willing to believe about the Jewish people.

The anti-Semite relishes in his Jew hatred. It provides an outlet, a gratifying release of pent-up emotion. His fury against the Jew facilitates a catharsis of anger and frustration – it serves as a safety valve of sorts, releasing all kinds of pent-up dissatisfactions, allowing them to run riot with dizzying freedom.

The anti-Semite has a psychological need to rationalize his otherwise unjustifiable hatred, leading him to eagerly accept the most atrocious lies about our people. As a result, he will convince himself that the worst vilification of Jews is warranted. Having convinced himself that his hatred of the Jew is justified, he is liberated, set free to pour out and direct his soul’s frustrations against the Jews – history’s favorite scapegoat.

The Jews have been accused of the kidnapping and killing of both Christian and Muslim children for the purpose of using their blood for the preparation of the Passover matzot. Not hard to justify hatred of the Jews when you believe that one! Millions in the world today (particularly in the Muslim world) accept the Protocols of Zion as an authentic document. In the Middle Ages we were accused of orchestrating the black death, the plague that is estimated to have claimed up to 200 million victims.  Conspiracy to manipulate, oppress and murder the masses of humanity certainly comes in handy as an instrument to rationalize Jew hatred.

Historically, the most famous and damaging anti-Semitic libel the Jews have faced is the accusation that we as a people were and are responsible for the death of Christ – the Christ killer libel. Let’s think this one through. Even if we were to accept as fact that it was the Jewish religious leadership of the time that was responsible for convincing the Romans to crucify Christ, it still makes no sense for Christians to vilify and hate all Jews as a result.

I mean, come on!  Every single one of Christianity’s greatest heroes were Jews! First of all, Christ himself was of course a Jew, and so were all his disciples. Paul was a Jew. For crying out loud, the beloved Virgin Mary was a Jewess! Not to mention the admired Old Testament figures such as Moses, Kind David and the prophets. In a logical world, Christians should admire us, respect us. Instead, the mainstream of Christianity throughout most of its history categorized us as a people damned to hell.

And what about the Romans? Why not hate the Romans? Oh, the sweet irony of the very Roman Catholic Church propagating the hatred and vilification of the Jews for the killing of Christ!

These examples serve to illuminate the anti-Semite’s psychological and intellectual need to convince himself that the Jew deserves to be despised, oppressed, killed, eliminated from the face of the earth.

Let us now address the issue of whether there is truth to the assertion that anti-Zionism is in fact just good old fashioned anti-Semitism in disguise – a new mutation of the ancient hatred. Well, an application of the following litmus test provides a partial answer: do anti-Zionists believe the most ridiculous, unfounded and vicious lies about the State of Israel and Israelis? The answer is of course yes.

Therefore, while not claiming that all anti-Zionism is in reality anti-Semitism (it is not), certainly there is ample evidence to assert that there is a lot of anti-Semitism masquerading as anti-Zionism out there today.

Contrary to all basis in fact, millions in the world today believe we are war criminals, deliberately slaughtering innocent men, women and children. Polls show that approximately 40% of Europeans believe Israel is waging a war of extermination against the Palestinians! This is precisely the psychology of anti-Semitism engaging in its age-old methodology of justification for Jew hatred by the manufacture and proliferation of ridiculous and unfounded but deadly lies.

With all the outrageous misinformation flowing out there regarding Israel, one cannot deny that many of today’s anti-Zionists fall under the category of victims to lies and propaganda. But when otherwise intelligent normative people refuse to at all consider easily verifiable facts and irrationally persist in believing the most ridiculous fabrications about our country and our people, this is the psychology of anti-Semitism.

As a case in point, in 2009, a well established and legitimate Swedish newspaper enjoying a readership of close to 1.5 million published an article alleging Israeli troops as a matter of course kidnapped and killed Palestinians for the purpose of harvesting their organs for profit. Another example is the spread of the claim in Egypt that Israel introduced hormone laced gum into the Egyptian market serving as a powerful aphrodisiac meant to send innocent and pure Egyptian girls into a sexual frenzy, thus defiling themselves and Islamic culture.

They need to believe we are evil, our haters. They need to believe we are killers and world manipulators (a la the Israel Lobby pulling the strings of the Western world’s governments). The anti-Semitic anti-Zionists of today have the psychological necessity to believe these lies in order to justify and rationalize their hatred of us.

The ominous thing is, all these vicious lies being propagated against Israel and the Jews today is setting the stage: we have it coming to us, we have brought it upon ourselves. The world is being readied to cheer on our destruction.

About the Author
Ran Zev Schijanovich was born in Israel in 1970 to an Argentinian father and American mother, lived in Argentina through age 11, and then moved to New York. He made aliyah in 2005 and served as a combat soldier in Golani from the ages of 36 to 38. Ran is graduate of the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.
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