The fact that Jews tend to be identified as liberal-leaning, urban, powerful in the business and media worlds and, worst of all, intelligent to some degree explains why they wouldn’t be popular with one side of the current American divide. Also, as is perhaps the most dangerous reality of our media-driven world, one highly publicized attack inspires the next. But that’s certainly not enough to explain why this is happening.
Sometimes in trying to understand a modern problem you need to go back to its roots. The anti-Semitism that has been business as usual in the western world - general disenfranchisement, persecutions, inquisitions and, ultimately, the Holocaust - finds its source in the notion in the “Christian” World that the Jews killed and rejected Jesus. This idea, like most ideas that feed mass paranoia, couldn’t be further from the truth.
The Jews didn’t reject Jesus as the Messiah. All of his followers, everybody who accepted him during his lifetime – his apostles, his disciples, John the Baptist, Mary and Martha, his Mother, everybody – were Jews. The Jews who rejected him were the members of the religious leadership, an elite group who were in collusion with the Roman Empire to keep their own people in line and who were the frequent targets of Jesus’ verbal attacks. He attacked them because they didn’t represent their own people but instead used their religion to exploit them (a trend which has survived). The priests had good reasons for wanting Jesus dead - but the simple truth is that they didn’t kill him. The Italians did.
The exoneration of the Roman Governor in the official Gospels and the shifting of blame for his execution to “the Jews” is beyond improbable. The high priest was appointed by the Roman Governor. Caiaphas worked for Pilate. His job was to keep the common people under control. The conversation between priest and governor regarding Jesus would have been very brief:
Caiaphas: “This guy is stirring up the people. Help me with my problem before my problem becomes your problem.”
Pilate: “String him up. And you owe me one.”
The notorious image of a Jewish crowd yelling “His blood be on us and on our children” that was used to justify two thousand years of persecution is one of two things:
- A scripted ploy by a handful of the high priests’ people, or
- A complete fabrication to whitewash Roman involvement in Jesus’ death after Christianity was co-opted by the Roman Empire in the third century with the formation of the Roman Catholic Church.
While the current resurgence in anti-Semitism seems to have regurgitated the “protocols of Zion” myth about a secret coven of Jewish millionaires plotting to take over the world, it undoubtedly has its origins in its “Anti-Christian” back story. Which is what it is, a story.
Somebody needs to say so.