Anti-Semitism

Published: 2021-09-12 17:55:07
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Since the time of its creation, Judaism has been used countless times as a scapegoat for the actions of groups who don't want to deal with the consequences of their own actions. Anti-semitism throughout history has been the main reason behind the ruthless killing of millions of Jews, and in many cases, the murderers have taken more part in what they were accusing the Jews for then the Jews themselves. Many people today when asked about significant acts of anti-semitism in world history would immediately say the Holocaust, which is unfortunate considering the thousands of years and countless events before the Holocaust that took place. In fact, the crucifixion of Christ was one of the first major events to later be blamed on Jews although Roman Catholics had more to do with his murder then anyone. Even today, Jews continue to be unrighteous blamed in absurd and unrealistic theories such as the one addressed by the Anti-Defamation League in 2003, the belief that Jews played a role in the September Eleven attacks. Believers in this modern theory justified themselves by claiming that 9/11 was the Jews fulfilling the 19th century Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which itself was a conspiracy proposing the Jewish takeover of the world. Other conspiracy theorists, such as the outspoken anti-semite, Jeff Rense, claimed that, "Jews staged the 9/11 terrorist attacks for their own financial gain and to induce the American people to endorse wars of aggression and genocide on the nations of the Middle East and the theft of their resources for the benefit of Israel" (Anti-Defamation League, 2009). While this conspiracy theory isn't accepted as fact in the slightest, it serves as a reality check for those who believe that anti-semitism has died out since the Holocaust. The fact of the matter is that although Jews were persecuted at every possible opportunity throughout history, they played little role in the events they were accused of and often times the reason they were singled out was due to the anti-semitism of the older generations.
Although anti-semitism has been found within the writings and culture of the ancient Greeks and Romans (Daniels. J,L Pg.45 - 65), a major increase in anti-Semitic thought was shortly after the death of the christian messiah, Jesus. Jews were blamed by Christians for the death of their messiah, for the sole reason that Jewish authorities at the time had been planning on persecuting Jesus for making the claim that he was the King of the Jews, a blasphemous crime in both Roman and Jewish law which was punishable by death. However, one factor that greatly contradicts with these beliefs is that the act of crucifixion was, and still is completely banned in Judaism (Jacob Neusner 595-596) which would have made the crucifixion of Jesus completely illegal under Jewish law. Christians further based their belief on a passage in the Bible in which Matthew describes how on the day of Christ's crucifixion, a group of Jews within the vicinity of Pontius Pilate decided to save Barrabas, a proven murderer, from crucifixion while they openly demanded that Jesus be the one to be killed (Brustein 51-52). Coupled with the early Christian's inability to accept the fact that Judaism rejected Jesus, Jews were defiantly viewed as the responsible party for the death of the messiah for many years to come. In fact, the blame for Jewish involvement in the death of Jesus was officially dismissed in the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) and again in 1998 when a resolution was adopted by the Council of Evangelical Lutheran Church in America which blatantly stated that, "blame for the death of Jesus should not be attributed to Judaism or the Jewish people" (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America). One of the final pieces of evidence for the innocence of Jews is that through the history of Judaism and Christianity, there was an obvious competition for a following, and although Jesus himself was a Jew, Christians of this time saw Christianity as the religion that was going to replace Judaism. Writings of Augustine of Hippo from the 4th century helped anti-semitism based beliefs gain ground when he described early Christian fathers beginning to interpret the Old Testament in a way that categorized Jews into two groups. The good Hebrew Jews and the normal bad Jews. He goes on to say that Christians that interpreted the Old Testament this way forced the idea that Jesus' followers were descendants of the good, Hebrew Jews, and that because the Jews rejected Christ as the Messiah, they were looked down at by God and existed only to serve the believing Christians (Brustein 50-51). The idea that a faith similar and close to their own rejected the Messiah was enough to get the ball rolling for hundreds of years of religious anti-semitism. Jews continued to be the world scrape goat for many future events although in actuality Jews had very little to no involvement what so ever.
The Middle Ages brought on worse conditions and reduced acceptance of the Jews, even worse then the Jews before them. Beginning in the 12th century A.D, Jews began to be blamed for far more problems then just the death of the Christian messiah. After the initial outbreak of the Black Plague, scientists were baffled about the source of this terrible disease and were unclear about how it spread so quickly. Anti-semites quickly filled in with their own theory and jumped to the conclusion that the Black Plague was the fault of the Jews. The method for spreading The Plague was described

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