July 13, 2004

A $64,000 QUESTION (Why Anti-Semitism?)

by Yashiko Sagamori

Why do they hate us?

A friend of mine recently went to Hong Kong on business. His local associates invited him for dinner, and the conversation somehow turned to World War II. The host told my friend it was hard for him to believe that Germans had really killed 6 million Jews. My friend assured him that as incredible as it might sound, it was historic fact. The host responded,

"The Jews must have done something truly terrible if the Germans punished them in such a harsh way."

At first glance, his response may seem unashamedly anti-Semitic. Actually, for someone unfamiliar with intricacies of European history, it is perfectly logical. One person can be killed in anger, by mistake, by accident, or as a result of a misunderstanding. Killing six million people requires a well organized industry. Disposing of 6 millions bodies in a minimally sanitary fashion alone presents enormous technological and logistical problems. Besides, unlike most other industries, this one promised no hope of profit. Even if you confiscated everything those six million people used to own, from bank accounts to gold teeth to shoes to toys that silly Jewish kids dragged after them into the gas chambers, you wouldn't have collected enough to cover expenses. It is only reasonable, therefore, to conclude that Jews must have done something terrible to warrant such efforts. It is much more difficult to believe that Germans attempted to exterminate us out of totally selfless, completely unmotivated hatred.

Inevitably, within a generation or two, this simple logic will lead humankind to conclude that the Holocaust was nothing but a Jewish myth. Why not? The world has already decided, contrary to facts, that there is a people called "Palestinians" that somehow owns Israel's land, although even at the UN you won't find a single legal document making their ownership valid. If, in addition, humankind finally succeeds in implementing the final solution, then, soon afterwards, everyone will agree that Jews themselves were nothing but a myth. This will restore the balance: a terrorist organization created in 1964 will become an ancient nation, and an ancient nation will never have existed.

Let's look one step further. We know that the Nazis did not invent anti-Semitism. As far as we can tell, anti-Semitism has accompanied us throughout history everywhere we lived, no matter what we did or did not do. It could be violent or subdued; it could be explicit or subtle; but, it has always been present in the very air we breath. When Israel was restored, we hoped it would become our haven from anti-Semitism. Instead, humankind made Israel the focal point of its eternal hatred for the Jews. It is only reasonable to conclude that we have done something horrible to deserve it.

Take, for instance, the recent decision by the International Court of Justice (isn't that a truly Orwellian name?) regarding the legality of Israel's security wall. In essence, it means that Israel has no right to defend itself. The law of every civilized country allows a person to defend his or her life with necessary means. Only criminals sentenced to death are denied the right of self-defense in the face of imminent mortal danger. Obviously, Israel would not have been sentenced to death had the Jews not committed some terrible crime. Such a conclusion is so logical that even Jews cannot escape it. So, how can you expect gentiles to accept the fact that they hate us without any fault of ours?

But what exactly was our terrible crime against the rest of humanity? Crucifying Jesus couldn't be it, since we were hated long before we invented Christianity. Besides, even if you believe that Jesus really existed and really was crucified by Jews, you have to agree that not a single one of those bad Jews is alive today. Then what are you hating me for? I certainly have never crucified anyone, and neither has any Israeli.

Could it be the goyishe blood in our matzo dough? After all, how can one be sure what Jews mix in it? I know I've never killed anyone, whether to add my victim's blood to the dough or for any other purpose. But can I guarantee the same about other Jews? Take the Chassidim, for example. Compared to some other Jews, they look pretty menacing with their peyes and hats. Who knows what they do when no one is watching?

In March 1911, a body of a 10-year old Christian boy was found in Kiev. The boy had died of multiple puncture wounds. The police immediately adopted a working theory: the boy had been exsanguinated by Jews for the purpose of obtaining his blood, which, as everyone knew, was an essential ingredient of the matzo dough. Based on that theory, the police arrested Mendel Beilis, one of the very few Jews who lived in the area, and accused him of the murder. Fortunately for Mr. Beilis, his case attracted attention of Russian liberal journalists (a century ago in Russia the L word had a very different meaning than in today's U.S. of A.) who raised public awareness of it to the level of an international scandal and helped organize Mr. Beilis' defense. Renown experts on Judaism told the jury what could and what could not be added to the matzo dough and why the blood of even kosher animals (which the murdered child was not since he didn't have split hooves) is never used in Jewish recipes. After a two-year-long ordeal, the jury that didn't include even a single Jew (remember O.J. Simpson's trial?) acquitted Mr. Beilis.

Soon afterwards, the victim's mother and her common-law husband were arrested, tried for the murder of the boy and easily convicted. During their trial, it became clear that the police had overwhelming incriminating evidence against the parents from the very beginning. They knew Mendel Beilis was innocent when they arrested him. They knew who the murderer was while they were trying to extort a confession from Mr. Beilis by locking his young son in the adjacent cell and forcing him to listen to child's desperate cries. Why was the framing of a Jew more important than punishing those who murdered their own child? Was there any logic in it?

Of course there was. About a month before the murder, liberal factions in the Russian parliament, the Duma, introduced a proposal to abolish the Pale of Settlement. Imagine what would've happened if the law passed: 5.5 million Jews would've flooded Russian cities poisoning the lives of 200 million Russians by their vile presence among them. Mr. Beilis was acquitted, but his case had stirred up anti-Semitic sentiment in the population, and the law was defeated. The Pale of Settlement was abolished only when the entire tsarist government fell.

So, Beilis was framed in order to help prevent the abolishment of the Pale of Settlement. Does that explain it? Not really, since the next logical question would be, what harm would Jews really bring to the Russian majority by living among them? Why was it so important for the Russian Empire to keep Jews within what was essentially a huge ghetto?

I will try to answer that a little later. Meanwhile, let us forever remember the lesson of the Beilis case: Anti-Semites will murder their own children in order to falsely accuse Jews. Remember what Golda Meir said about the Arabs? Does it make sense? I guess it depends on whether you are a Jew or not.

Now, let's talk about the Arabs. Not so long ago, Saudi Prince Abdullah announced to his subjects and the world that the recent string of terrorist acts on the sacred soil of his kingdom had been perpetrated by Zionists. For some reason however, Saudi authorities did not even try to convince anyone that the four alleged terrorists they summarily killed without a trial were Jews. I guess, for Muslims that would have amounted to corpse mutilation, and, that, as they have convincingly demonstrated to us in Fallujah, is against their religion. Nobody asked how the four dead Muslim Arabs happened to be Zionists. Nobody asked why the Saudi kingpin, instead of fighting real terrorists, chose to libel the Jews who, by the way, are forbidden from setting foot on his piece of camel dung floating on top of an oil spill. Isn't there something painfully reminiscent of the Beilis case? The truth is that the Saudi royals are the leaders of the Wahhabi sect of Islam. The Wahhabi version of the "religion of peace" is the only variety of Islam allowed in the kingdom. This is despite the fact that, on the one hand, Saudi Arabia remains a faithful ally of the United States (I'd love to know, against whom), while, on the other, Wahhabism is exactly that extremist, militant variety of Islam against which out president declared his war on terror.

Oy, how complicated things are for those who stubbornly refuse to see the truth!

If you really want to understand why everybody hates us, imagine that you must kill someone. Never mind why, just play along for a while. Anyway, since you didn't have a choice, you killed him and, naturally, buried the body. The very next day you are peacefully strolling along, minding your own business, enjoying the weather and your peace of mind, when suddenly someone delicately taps you on the shoulder. You turn around and see your victim. No, it is not a ghost or a zombie. It's him, alive, although obviously unwell. Dirty bandages cover the terrible wounds you left on his body. A monstrous bruise decorates his face, which you accidentally hit with the shovel while dragging what you thought was his dead body to the shallow grave. Pieces of dirt are visible in his curly hair. The smell of earth emanating from him is overwhelming. All this confirms that you didn't dream up last night's murder. And yet, here he is, back from the grave. What terrifies you the most is that your victim isn't seeking revenge or even justice. All he wants is to live in peace with you, as if nothing had happened. He is smiling at you, squinting his eyes myopically, because you broke his eyeglasses last night. If you want, he will lend you some money. If you want, he will teach your child to play piano. Just tell him what you want; he will be happy to oblige; he will do his best.

I know you would never hurt a fly. I know if you had been in charge of Abu Ghraib, unbearable boredom would've been all the inmates could have possibly complained about. But, please, stretch your imagination. Here is your victim, the one you left for dead just yesterday, the living witness of your horrible crime, standing in front of you bearing no malice. Can you imagine what it would feel like? Had he tried to stick a knife in your back, it would hurt of course, but not as badly as having to live in this nightmare. Therefore, the most reasonable thing you can do under the circumstances is to wait for an appropriate moment and kill him again, and this time you make sure it is for good.

Imagine, now, that the morning after you feel that barely perceptible tap on your shoulder again -- not the second time in a row, not even the two hundred twenty-second time in a row, because you have long ago lost count of your attempts to end this unending nightmare, but haven't lost hope that one day your victim won't be able to crawl out from the grave you dug for him.

Anti-Semites hate us for the same reason they are forced to lie every time they need to accuse us of something. They hate and fear us the way a very bad person hates and fears his conscience. That should give you some idea of what's going to become of this planet when we are no longer among its inhabitants.