Antisemitism is on the rise and Jews are being attacked hourly in various parts of the world, but everyone seems to deny it. Even when the danger is right in front of their eyes, Jews in Europe and the United States say, “It will not happen to me.” Leaders and governments promise, “We will not tolerate such extremists,” but nothing really changes for the better. And nothing will change until we treat the root cause of the disease.
In ancient Babylon, about four thousand years ago, people stopped understanding each other, as a consequence, confusion, fighting, and chaos ensued. A sage named Abraham emerged and taught them how to overcome narrow-minded selfishness – receiving only for your own benefit – the cause of all conflicts. If we learn how to do this, we will discover in the new relationships that arise between us a special power hidden in nature: the power of love and giving.
Those who became Abraham’s disciples learned the method of connecting with love above their ego and differences, and then the nation of Israel was formed. Throughout history, the mentors who came after Abraham continued to teach the method of acquiring a desire for unity and bestowal. But about two thousand years ago, people began to submit to their egoistic selfish desires. This caused the ruin of the Temple, as hatred between people took over. The spiritual connection that existed between us was destroyed, and our altruistic worldview was reduced to self-centered concern.
From then until today, the main thing that keeps Jews together is the hatred expressed towards us from other people. It reminds us that we belong to that same nation that descended from Abraham. Antisemites make us brothers in arms against the hatred we experience.
The hatred towards us has caused all sorts of phenomena. Firstly, throughout history there were Jews who tried to escape from antisemitism by giving up their Judaism, and in the process became great antisemites themselves. “The Conversos”, Jews who converted to Catholicism in 14th and 15th century Spain were great examples of this. Secondly, Jewish communities suffering from persecution looked for ways to escape the hatred by assimilating with the other cultures in order to negate the antisemitism.
They even paid to the authorities and assisted in everything they could in the hope that they would let them survive somehow. It was clear to the Jews that they were hated, but there was no point in talking about it. Third, the authorities for their part also played the game. In general, it was good for them to deny basic antisemitism, and to find up-to-date excuses for their hostile treatment of Jews.
Today, we see the same lady with a different outfit. You will not find a government that declares itself antisemitic. The UN will also oppose antisemitism in public, of course, but it is evident the outrageous biased treatment of this organization towards the only Jewish nation, Israel, denotes something else. Denying antisemitism publicly is often a smoke screen for either doing nothing about the problem or worse, actually committing those actions they seemingly denounce.
So, one may ask, is this the fate of the Jews? Will this bad movie never end? Everything is in our hands. If we understand that antisemitism is a natural phenomenon, ingrained in the nations of the world, then we can also find the cure for that hatred.
What Abraham tried to teach everyone in ancient Babylon is desperately needed in the world today. The human ego has reached enormous proportions; people are more hateful towards each other, at a time when the world is becoming more connected and interdependent. We are all in the same boat, highly dependent on each other and without a new way of life, we will not be able to survive the 21st century.
People feel that the Jews have some secret that they are hiding, some special power, and their accusations are correct. Although we ourselves are not aware of this, we inherited the wisdom of connection which we are not spreading to the world. King Solomon said “Hate stirs strife, and love covers all crimes (Proverbs 10:12). This teaches how to evoke into action the force of bestowal to cover the great ego with love. When we reveal this force between us, we will see how the hatred towards us is replaced by love from everyone.
View of Riverdale Jewish Center where glass doors and windows were smashed in New York on April 25, 2021. Police stand guard in front of the synagogue and NYPD’s Hate Crime Task Force is investigating the incidents. (Photo by Lev Radin/Sipa USA)