The Wandering Jew

This post was originally published in February of 2005.

The wandering Jew

Masked Boy: Go back to Germany! [unintelligible]. Get [the hell] back to Germany!

The world does not like the Jews. Oh no, they say reflexively, that isn’t true. Some people don’t like Jews, but certainly not everyone. No, not everyone. But indifference and inaction is as good as anti-Semitism, because the end result is the same: Dead Jews.

Sixty years after the Russian liberation of Auschwitz, 500 Russian journalists and 20 politicians sent a letter to their Prosecutor General, asking for an investigation into, and outlawing of, Jewish organizations in Russia. Why? Because they are “extremist.” Because they are “anti-Christian and inhumane, which practices extend even to ritual murders.” They even blame Jews themselves for anti-Semitic acts that have taken place in Russia, to “take punitive measures against patriots,” whatever that means. It doesn’t really matter what it means; the interpretation is clear: Jews are always to blame. Jews bring punishment upon themselves.

The Russians would know about things like this, because they have a long, bloody history of anti-Semitism. The Russians would know about this because they are the authors of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the Czarist forgeries that have been used against Jews for nearly a century, and are even now being promoted in Muslim nations as the truth behind worldwide Jewish conspiracies. The Russians would know about this because even now, the Prosecutor General said he would not follow up on the charges because 19 of the 20 legislators withdrew their support from it—not because the charges were baseless and anti-Semitic. Because the letter was withdrawn.

The Russians do not like the Jews.

Europe does not like the Jews. Last year, the European Union commissioned a report on European anti-Semitism. When it was finished, they refused to release it. They said it was flawed. The real reason? The report showed that much of Europe’s anti-Semitism was attributed to its Muslim immigrants, and the Europeans are reluctant to portray Muslims in a bad light—even when the facts demand honesty and openness. The report was released anyway, and published by many Jewish sites—but overlooked almost entirely by the rest of the world media.

In Holland, soccer fans chant “gas the Jews.” Dutch soccer fans have been yelling anti-Semitic slogans for decades, but now they’ve added this charming phrase: “Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the gas.”

French anti-Semitic attacks have nearly doubled. And for some time, the French were refusing to admit there was a problem. Now, they’re making an effort to stop the synagogue fires, physical attacks, cemetery desecrations, and nonstop anti-Semitism from Muslim immigrants in French schools.

Europe does not like the Jews.

England does not like the Jews. In 2003, the Independent published a cartoon of Ariel Sharon eating palestinian babies. The cartoonist ultimately won an award for it. Tom Dalyell accuses a cabal of Jews of running Washington, mentions that Jack Straw has a Jewish heritage, then says he’s not an anti-Semite. Anti-Semitic attacks are up sharply in Great Britain, egged on by a media outcry against Israel. (Remember, Great Britain was the loudest and shrillest about the massacre-that-wasn’t in Jenin.) Muslim leaders boycotted Britain’s commemoration of the Holocaust. Rabbis are attacked and beaten on the streets. Synagogues are being burned down. A London community is suffering a series of anti-Semitic physical attacks. Cemeteries are desecrated. And diplomats complain that Israel, that “shitty little country,” is the cause of all the world’s problems.

England does not like the Jews.

Muslims do not like the Jews. Really, this category is almost too broad to enumerate. But let us use mathematics, one of the Muslim world’s proudest achievements. In 1948, there were 150,000 Jews in Iraq, 75,000 in Egypt, 100,000 in Iran, 30,000 in Syria, 20,000 in Lebanon, 38,000 in Libya, 105,000 in Tunisia, 55,000 in Yemen, and 140,000 in Algeria.

Today, the total population of Jews in all of those countries numbers less than 20,000.Muslim anti-Semitism? Yeah, we’ve got that.

Muslims do not like the Jews.

Palestine is not for Jews. An Israeli statesman tells an anecdote: The graffiti in Europe during the 1930s read “Jews, go to Palestine.” The graffiti in Europe today says “Jews, out of Palestine.”

The two-state solution is under attack, with much of the world starting to get behind the one-state solution, a “completely democratic” state, with all Palestinian refugees (including, of course, third-generation palestinians who were born in different countries entirely) flooding the state of Israel and creating, in effect, a Palestinian state with a Jewish minority. In other words, no state for you, Jews. No state for you.

Palestine is not for Jews.

Jews, go back to Germany. Germany’s Jewish population was in danger of dying out, at fewer than 30,000 only a few years ago. Then the German parliament enacted a law that allowed generous Jewish immigration from Russian Jews fleeing persecution, and the population is now at 200,000, close to what it was before the Holocaust. That, however, appears to be the limit of Germany’s patience for Jewish immigration. They don’t want any more Jews in Germany.

And so the circle closes, and the Jews are left outside.

The world does not like the Jews. The Jewish philosopher Emil Fackenheim says that Jew hatred has three stages:

You cannot live among us as Jews.
You cannot live among us.
You cannot live.

The world does not like the Jews.

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14 Responses to The Wandering Jew

  1. FWGMills says:

    Wow…that’s a great post. The Jews are welcome in my neighborhood anytime.

    It’s bad to see that the world seems to be uniting behind the “We hate the Jews” mantra. If every Jew disappeared today, those people would find some other group to hate. That’s too easy for the simple minded…they know they have to hate something and the butt-whuppin’ that Israel is inflicting on the nations that hate them…well…is just getting their attention.

    If you have a lot of little flying biting stinging insects around, you bug bomb the house and spray the foundation and the yard…don’t you?

  2. Veeshir says:

    The world does not like the Jews.

    I just don’t understand the visceral hatred so many people have for Jews.

    I have some friends who don’t seem too prejudiced to me, they’re fairly ignorant about the world in general, but…
    We were talking and the subject of Jews using non-Jews’ blood for pastries came up (I think I was using that as an example of a ridiculous statement) and they actually thought that used to happen. I questioned them about some other of that stuff and they seemed to think that it was true, it’s just that the Jews no longer did it. Or maybe just most Jews no longer did it. Who knows?

    That truly scared me. I’m not Jewish and have never been, but that still scares me.

    I’ll never understand why the Jews are so hated and vilified and how people can believe the most horrible things about them. I mean, I know there’s fear of the “other” but geez. That’s just creepy.

    When people start talking about how Israel shouldn’t keep its Jewishness, I just think about how the many, many pogroms and various ways the world has tried to rid itself of Jews and think, “Thank goodness there is an Israel.”

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  4. Andy says:

    Meryl, your link on German immigration slowdown goes to a blank page now; here’s a working link.

  5. Tatterdemalian says:

    Israel was not founded so that the world wouldn’t seek to annihilate the Jews; it was founded so that they couldn’t, or at least would suffer massive amounts of death and destruction if they did.

    Never give up your right to self-defense. Ever.

  6. Alex Bensky says:

    There’s one place in the world, Meryl, where despite some antisemitism people seem to be OK with Jews–that’s the United States. It’s one of the many reasons why Europe’s disdain for America does not cause me great distress.

  7. Doug Purdie says:

    I love the Jews!

  8. Jack Rich says:

    The post is true. I wish it wasn’t so, but wishing doesn’t work.

    As for the “why” of anti-Semitism, I suggest it all boils down to embarrassment on the part of anti-Semites.

    We Jews, whether observant or not, are the bearers of the God gene for humanity. Torah, our prophets, our writings, our Talmud, all serve to remind humanity of what they should be doing. But, mostly, fall short of. Myself very much included.

    No one likes to be reminded about their shortcomings, and Jews have borne the brunt of this.

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  10. Thanks Andy, fixed the link.

    Alex, that’s why I wrote an addendum on America.

  11. Tatterdemalian says:

    “There’s one place in the world, Meryl, where despite some antisemitism people seem to be OK with Jews–that’s the United States.”

    That’s because the right to self-defense is written into the Second Amendment in our Constitution. Jews are allowed to do more to defend themselves against the oldest hatred here than in any other nation, save Israel.

    In the long run, sadly, it may not be enough. Especially with the left and right wings in the US joining forces against the moderates. Hitler parleyed the communists and fascists of Germany into the National Socialist Party; I hope we don’t see an equally brilliant fiend do the same here.

  12. the population is now at 200,000, close to what it was before the Holocaust. That, however, appears to be the limit of Germany’s patience for Jewish immigration. They don’t want any more Jews in Germany.


    the motive isn’t Anti-Semitism. There has been no resentment by the German at Jewish immigration.

    Point is, Israel was never happy about the openborders for Eastern European and Russian Jews, as it says in the article.

    From the article:

    new Jewish immigrants will have to score at least 50 points in a ranking system to be administered by a federal agency

    This point system is supposed to evaluate if the immigrants really are Jewish. The German Central Jewish Council has proposed to only let Jews immigrate who were born by a Jewish woman or were converted to Judaism by an Orthodox Rabbi (sorry, I don’t have an English-language article on this).

    Liberal and progressive Jews are understandably criticising this idea, and it might be wrong-headed, but like I wrote above, the motive for the measure isn’t Anti-Semitism.

  13. Ralf, that’s good to know.

  14. scottage says:

    An incredibly moving post….thank you for reposting this, Meryl!

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