I've posted about this elsewhere, but more evidence keeps coming my way. What I'm talking about is anti-semitism here in the U.S, specifically within the so-called "blogosphere." I wonder how much of this hatred spills over into our overall society.


Anti-Jewish blogs--I don't know the exact number of them--now blame the Jews for our financial crisis of the past years. One particularly hate-filled blog,  claims that our great Jewish Patriot, Haym Saloman, created our "Jewish Supremacist: country by helping to finance--and help win-- the American Revolution.


Is history repeating itself?  Should we be paranoid? I'm not in a position to know.


Historically, Jews have been repeatedly expelled from what they thought were their homes: from Spain and Portuagal during the Inquisitions of the 1400s, from Britain in the 1700s and, of course, from the Middle East. Jews think they have a home only to be expelled, burnt at the stakes, shoveled into the fires of concentration camps. (That the same might apply to the Palestinians, for example, does not make it less true for the Jews.)


It's ever the same claim: Jews are held responsible for their role as "financiers." Historically, it's because of their role as "money lenders" the only livelihood available to them in countries which barred Jews from most professions. Christians and Muslims, whose own religions forbade money lending, turned to Jews to help finance their business ventures--and then resented them for their "help."


I love William Shakespeare, but his "Merchant of Venice," provides us with the prototype of the evil money lender: Shylock extends a loan to Antonio (via a third party). It's interest- free, but contains one proviso: if Antonio does not repay the loan, Shylock has the recourse of extracting a pound of flesh from him. As it turns out, poor Antonio can't repay the loan. Hence, a trial, a public outrage. And Shylock's heartfelt appeal: "If you prick me do I not bleed too?"


When economic times go sour, as they have during these past frightening years, Jews are a convenient, but misplaced, scapegoat. 


True, some of the investment houses were founded by Jews, but only a minority.  For every Goldman Sachs you've gone a Merrill Lynch, a bastion of Catholicism. I haven't done a complete survey, but consider think all the overseas banks, such as Allied Irish Bank, which participated in the same misconduct. Bernie Madoff, a psychopath, happened to be a Jew. His mostly Jewish clientele lost their life savings. But even Madoff, who's in prison for life, did not bring down the financial system.Think of Anthony Mazillo,  the driving force behind the sub-prime mortgage crisis.  Remember too: the financial sector of our economy is essential to business creation and jobs, whatever its recent antics. Bear in mind too, that the "wealthy" Jews are generous benefactors, not just to Jewish causes, but to museums and hospitals. 


Only a small portion of U.S. Jews obtain their livelihood from finance.  Jews dominate the sciences, not because they are "supremacists" but because of their devotion to hard work. A mere 1 percent of the world's population, Jews receive about 25 percent of all the Nobel prizes in the sciences each year. Perhaps because of our Talmudic roots, many Jews-- even those, like me, who are unobservant-- have been steeped in the work ethic and devotion to reading. Thus, many Jews are drawn towards scholarship and academic distinction. Some have become great novelists (Saul Bellow, Phillip Roth and others). Other become composers. All contribute generously to hospitals and museums.


To such statements about Jewish academic accomplishment,  the retort is inevitable. "But Jews 'own' those institutions." 


This rejoinder highlights the ignorance of this breed of anti-semite. Great universities, such as Harvard and Columbia, were originally WASP enclaves that did not accept Jewish students.  Hence, the wonderful City College group of the 1930s--the "Jewish Harvard"--that fostered the Jewish intellectuals of the 1930s and 1940s. Think, too, of FDR's cadre of Jewish intellectuals. During that intense period of worldwide anti-semitism. FDR, himself a product of the WASP conclave, saw the intelligence of such Jewish greats as Felix Frankfurter.  It is only in relatively recent times that Jews, including my parents, me,  my children--receive degrees from Harvard, Columbia, Stanford.


In my limited investigations (I don't really have the time for more that his right now), the current breed of anti-semites in the U.S. are "losers" (think Hitler) who prefer to scapegoat the Jews than embrace the complexities of present-day economics. Jews are not the cause of unemployment, decline in home values, etc. 


 In the blogging universe, I have found what I call  "loser anti-semites." At the risk of generalization--I know that anti-semitism crosses other lines--the "loser anti-semites" are themselves lazy, unmotivated, unable to hold a job. Certainly, most of the unemployed, including many Jews, are jobless through no fault of their own. But for this breed of anti-semite, it's easier to blame "the Jews."   Perhaps these bigoted folk should stop blogging about their hatred of Jews, and go out into the cruel world, find a job, start a business, do whatever it takes.



 

Am I  being a "Jewish Supremacist" in my own work?  I don't think so. I'm merely informing readers what most don't know: that Jews of colonial America, despite their small numbers, are the forgotten heroes of the American Revolution. At this, I work 12-hour days.


And, the stereotype of the Jew-as-money-worshipper aside, the success of my venture will not be judged in purely monetary terms.


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Comment by Esther Klein on May 2, 2011 at 7:10pm

Wow, I just don't see antisemitism being any worse.  I had to convert back to Judaism, because my family left it due to all the antisemitism in Austria-Hungary when my grandmother left.  I live in an area with a small Jewish population, the only antisemitism I have really experienced is a few unkind remarks from really uneducated people or maybe from some Arabic clients I have dealt with, but it has been miniscule compared to my grandmother's time.  For years we were not allowed to breath a word about our ethnicity.  So I guess in my own little world I am much more free to be who I am.

I have seen a few antisemitic websites while working on a family genealogy project and researching family names.  I just turn them in to the ADL.  Overall, I think the world is a better place.  Call me Ms. Optimistic, I guess.

I do agree that in these hard economic times people are looking for scapegoats and are more likely to listen to mad men like perhaps Donald Trump?

Comment by victor ben abraham on April 22, 2011 at 12:07am
Antisemitism is likely rising in the US. This is my view of the causes.
1. Jews have influence disproportionate to the number of us. Of course, it is due to intelligent hard work. But this by itself will not cause antisemitism.
2. The economy is in terrible shape, millions of people have no jobs, etc., and look for causes of ills. The causes must be powerful and somewhat misterious. The Jews are perceived as both. But this by itself is not enough for antisemitism.
3. People do not see much of traditional Jews and know less about what they stand for but see a lot secular leftist liberal Jews that often seem to be opposed to everything traditional in the US like traditional family, traditional sexual values, traditional institutions, industry and industry leaders and so on. We have the Chomskys, the Naomi Kleins, the Howard Sterns, the Hollywood producers bent on ridiculizing America in so many ways, etc. There are many hiper intelligent, hiper articulate Jews that are hiper critical of almost everything the US stands for. I have no doubt their aim is to make the US a better society by criticizing what they see is wrong. I believe usually they are wrong but they have succeeded in convincing many Americans, perhaps a majority, something is deeply wrong with the US at the core. It is an irrational conclusion as anyone can see America has been and still is one of the best places in the World by almost any common sense measure, but unfortunately the critics have succeeded. A countryis like a person, a family, a synagogue or any other human entity; if self criticism dominates the individual loses self confidence, the family wil split, the synagogue will collapse, etc. Of course, there also non-Jews who fall in the hiper negative group but the brighter more effective. Ones are secular Jews. Now, this is not enough for antisemitism to occur.

Right now in the US we have the three conditions and it scares me.
I believe non-secular Jews, and conservative secular Jews too, must work very hard to discredit the Jewish
and non-Jewish hipercritics to both rebuild the self-confidence of the American people as a nation, to esure Antisemitism does not become mainstream and to ensure the US remains strong to protect freedom and the right of people to choose and throw out their leaders around the World, to stand up to China (I shiver imagining a World with China as dominant power just thinking how the Chinese rulers treat their own people right now as I write. Finally, Israel needs a strong US and on Israel's side.

We can not rely on the influence in the Washington corridors of the Jewish leadership because its power has feet of clay; as soon as politicians sense supporting Israel loses votes they will listen less to the Jewish leadership. We must work until through our words and actions we are heard and seen to believe in America and all its traditional values that match traditional Judaism, including the Jewishness if the Christian Church and Islam. We must not underestimate that as a minority we can have influence but real power belongs to the non-Jewish masses, this is why all persecutions happened, this is why over and over lost the influence acquired through hard work and inteligence. To prevent antisemitis from rising again the key lies in that Jews can easily be portrayed as the enemy within, reminding people of all the persecutions of the 6 million wil not prevent antisemitism forever if traditional Jews are not better known and are not forcefully seen as having nothing to do with the hipercritical Jews. We must act now, for example forcefully conservative pro-America movements and even leading them. We owe it to the memory of the millions of murdered Jews and to prevent future such memories. Act now, do something so mainstream America knows of many brilliant traditional hiperproAmerican Jews! Write, speak, donate! BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE! I am fed up with the moral superiority of t the victims...!
Comment by Pamela R Winnick on April 11, 2011 at 4:39am

I am sorry, Mr. Avrahm, for all you've suffered. Because of my own non-Jewish appearance (red hair, classic features), I have been more apt to actually "hear" such remarks, made by those who don't know of my heritage. "Oh she's being so Jewish," someone once said to be of another woman, a Jew. This, and many others like it, occurred in New York CIty. 

 

Now that I've re-located to Pittsburgh, I feel very isolated too. Partly because I'm from New York, but also, because of my assertiveness, confidence and education, I am looked at askance. I can see it their eyes, feel it quivering in a room. How I long to return to NYC. 

 

Along those lines, I can only suggest that you live in the geographic area that will afford you the greatest comfort. You should not change your attire on account of the bigots!

Comment by Yerachmiel Avraham on April 11, 2011 at 1:22am

I have experienced great anti semitism in my lifetime, in the US. I am an orthodox jew and I found it difficult to carry on my religious traditions in my city (but I did). I am not a rich man, but I raised both of my sons, from their early childhood to university graduations alone, while being threatened by non jews, in my daily walk. 

There have been times that it was difficult to go to the market without being harassed, because of my dress.  I gave up a teaching career of 17 years, because I was ailenated by the faculty.  All in all, I taught my children to be proud of who they are, dispite of what happened around us.

My youngest son  wants me to either live with him in San francisco or change my dress. I live in an upper middle class area of Rialto and I've watched the area change over the past 14 years. All of the Jewish families I knew as neighbors have moved away and my new neighbors do not really speak. I have been beaten up four times in the past four years and had my bottom teeth knocked out. Now, I am extreemly careful. I have had trash cans emptied on my lawn. I have been called interesting names ans so I seldom go out at night, unless I am asked to perform ( I sing and Play the piano).

My oldest son is a Harvard graduate and is an attorney in Cambridge Ma. and my youngest son age thirty, is a doctor in San francisco. They to, have experienced anti semitism but live to persevere. The anti semitism that you speak about is not just in the media. Just last week a bomb was placed near a Chabad in Santa Monica, Ca. In towns and cities across America many people are faced with the same things I have gone through. It is getting worse not better. I am 69 years old and I see the changes this society is going through.  

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