Discrimination – 3

Persecution of Christians

Christians living in the UK are often not aware of the persecution of Christians around the world.  Most persecution happens in Muslim countries where Islam affects everything from the government to families and everything in-between.  For Christians, the issue is about who they serve, yet they are required to submit to their government so long as it does not impose regulations which are not permitted by God.  Islam and other religions claim that their religion is right, but Christians are different in that they believe in there being only one God who can only be known through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ – He is the only way to God.  Even though God is a jealous God, in that He will not condone the worship of any other god, but Him, He does not condone violence, only seeks to love people.  So, there is conflict as to who is right.  Whereas genuine Christians seek to bring all peoples into the Kingdom of God, they do not need violence or any other form of aggression to bring others to faith.  That is because it is God, through the Holy Spirit, who does the converting – we are called to share the Good News of the Kingdom of God and persuade in a loving way and in prayer, for others to repent,  believe and accept Jesus as their Saviour and Lord (over every aspect of their lifes).  Where the persecution begins is when there is a fear of Christians undermining their religious structures of control and power, and the only way they can react is through discrimination, harassment and violence, even death.  Instead of peaceably trying to persuade others of the merits of their belief system, they turn to persecution, which in reality they are saying that their religion is weak and do not believe their deities have any power, so they have to do it for them.

In the UK, there is a growing, but subtle, discrimination against Christians practicing their faith.  This shows itself in

  • the disciplining of a nurse who simply asked a patient if she would like her to pray for the patient
  • a registrar sacked for not willing to marry same-sex couples
  • midwives sacked for not willing to carry out abortions
  • the calling of some UK Government ministers and Judges for people to sign up to a declaration of British values if someone wishes to hold public office – these values include a belief in LGBT rights and not to preach from the King James Version
  • the Home Office barring Protestant and Orthodox bishops from entering the UK, yet allowing Muslim clerics who preach violence to enter
  • in the media, one tends to only get negative characters, especially in the ‘soaps’, and in the newspapers and television, where they cannot distinguish between Bible-believing Christians and the liberal Christians who disregard the Scriptures and follow the morals of society.

There is a confrontation going on within the Government with the Prime Minister stating the important of Christianity in society and some of her ministers wish to get rid of any Christian influence.

Christians need to be aware of the subtle changes like teaching about same-sex relationships in primary schools, clamping down on open-air preaching if it criticises gays or muslims, despite the UK signing up to International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.  Yet on the other hand, we need to be aware that is a spiritual battle, with satan trying to get rid of christians.  We must be prepared to stand up and declare that we are servants of Jesus and we will not be silent in proclaiming the Gospel and challenging Government and others.

One area that is being undermined is the right to conscientious objection to not taking part in medical procedures which involve the ending of life.  Even though this right is enshrined in abortion legislation, a judge recently said it did not apply to midwives.  So, there is a petition asking the Government to put this right into a proper footing so that it is quite clear that all medical staff have a right to conscientious objection.

Please sign the attached petition – http://www.freeconscience.org.uk/#problem-solution-section!loading

Below is the international rights that relate to religion to which all countries have signed at least the first one, if not the second.  There are very few countries where it is completely followed.  Even in the USA, the so called bastion of freedom, it is difficult to be heard as a pro-lifer or an opponent to the death penalty.  Also below is an article on the state of persecution around the world todayand the difficulties Christian asylum seekers have in entering the UK.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Article 18.

Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

Article 19.

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

Article 18

1. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right shall include freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice, and freedom, either individually or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching.

2. No one shall be subject to coercion which would impair his freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice.

3. Freedom to manifest one’s religion or beliefs may be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary to protect public safety, order, health, or morals or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others.

4. The States Parties to the present Covenant undertake to have respect for the liberty of parents and, when applicable, legal guardians to ensure the religious and moral education of their children in conformity with their own convictions.

Article 19

1. Everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference.

2. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice.

3. The exercise of the rights provided for in paragraph 2 of this article carries with it special duties and responsibilities. It may therefore be subject to certain restrictions, but these shall only be such as are provided by law and are necessary:

(a) For respect of the rights or reputations of others;

(b) For the protection of national security or of public order (ordre public), or of public health or morals.

 

‘Worst Year Yet’: The Top 50 Countries Where It’s Hardest to Be a Christian

For the third year in a row, the modern persecution of Christians worldwide has hit another record high.But the primary cause, Islamic extremism, now has a rival: ethnic nationalism.

Thus, Asia increasingly merits concern alongside the Middle East, according to the 2017 World Watch List (WWL) released today by Open Doors.

This being the list’s 25th anniversary, Open Doors also released an analysis of persecution trends over the past quarter-century.

The annual list examines the pressures faced by Christians in five spheres of life (private, family, community, national, and church), plus levels of religiously motivated violence, in order to rank the top 50 countries where “Christians face the most persecution.” [Full list below.]

CT’s coverage of recent WWL rankings noted how North Korea was getting competition, as well as how the annual list aims for effective anger and shows persecuted believers that they are not forgotten.

In 25 years of “chronicling and ranking” the political and societal restrictions on religious freedom experienced by Christians worldwide, Open Doors researchers identified 2016 as the “worst year yet.”

“Persecution rose globally again for the third year in a row, indicating how volatile the situation has become,” stated Open Doors. “Countries in South and Southeast Asia rapidly rose to unprecedented levels and now rank among such violent areas as the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa.”

The findings and trends noted by Open Doors are stark:

  • Approximately 215 million Christians experience high, very high, or extreme persecution.
  • North Korea remains the most dangerous place to be a Christian (for 14 straight years).
  • Islamic extremism remains the global dominant driver of persecution, responsible for initiating oppression and conflict in 35 out of the 50 countries on the 2017 list.
  • Ethnic nationalism is fast becoming a major driver of persecution. “While this took an anti-establishment form in the West, in Asia it took an anti-minorities form, fueled by dramatic religious nationalism and government insecurity. It is common—and easy—for tottering governments to gain quick support by scapegoating Christians.”
  • The total number of persecution incidents in the top 50 most dangerous countries increased, revealing the persecution of Christians worldwide as a rising trend.
  • The most violent: Pakistan, which rose to No. 4 on the list for a level of violence “exceeding even northern Nigeria.”
  • The killings of Christians in Nigeria saw an increase of more than 62 percent.
  • The killings of Christians were more geographically dispersed than in most time periods studied. “Hitting closer to home, 23 Christian leaders in Mexico and four in Colombia were killed specifically for their faith,” said Open Doors of the “rare” event.
  • The worst increase: Mali, which moved up the most places on the list from No. 44 to No. 32.
  • Asia is a new center of concern, with persecution rising sharply in Bangladesh, Laos, and Bhutan, and Sri Lanka joining the list for the first time.​

Open Doors noted that India rose to its highest rank ever, No. 15, amid the continued rise of Hindu nationalism. “An average of 40 incidents were reported per month, including pastors beaten, churches burned and Christians harassed,” stated Open Doors. “Of the 64 million Christians in India, approximately 39 million experience direct persecution.”

In Central Asia, persecution spread due to both Islamic extremism and government attempts to restrict it. “In many countries, governmental raids of suspected Christian households increased, certain Christian books have been banned,” stated Open Doors, “and the membership requirement to remain a legal church doubled, resulting in many churches to be deemed illegal overnight.”

The top 10 nations where it is most dangerous and difficult to practice the Christian faith are:

  1. North Korea

  2. Somalia

  3. Afghanistan

  4. Pakistan

  5. Sudan

  6. Syria

  7. Iraq

  8. Iran

  9. Yemen

  10. Eritrea

Yemen was the only new country in the top 10, replacing Libya.

Over the past 25 years, only three countries have topped the list: North Korea (2002 – 2017), Saudi Arabia (1993 – 1995; 1998 – 2001), and Somalia (1996 – 1997).

The top 10 nations over the 25-year span are:

  1. North Korea

  2. Saudi Arabia

  3. Iran

  4. Somalia

  5. Afghanistan

  6. Maldives

  7. Yemen

  8. Sudan

  9. Vietnam

  10. China

Six countries appear on both lists—a sign of the concerning stability of persecution, noted Open Doors.

View Larger

The WWL data is compiled from reports spanning November 1, 2015, to October 31, 2016. The annual list is audited by the International Institute for Religious Freedom.

Open Doors defines persecution as “any hostility experienced as a result of identification with Christ.” “Christians remain one of the most persecuted religious groups in the world,” it stated. “Christians throughout the world continue to risk imprisonment, loss of home and assets, torture, beheadings, rape and even death as a result of their faith.”

“The Open Doors World Watch List is the most accurate, thorough and intensive research available on the persecution of Christians,” said David Curry, president and CEO of Open Doors USA. “It calculates not only deaths reported in the news, but also persecution at a grassroots level, where family-to-family persecution is tracked. The 25-year research shows where the most unstable areas for Christians have historically been and, in many countries, remain.”

Persecution in the UK

“The Church has a duty to protect the free practice of all faiths in this country.”

Her Majesty The Queen, Lambeth Palace, February 2012

Refugees Seeking U.K. Asylum May Be Thwarted By Religious Bias 

Roughly 77 percent of the world’s population lives under conditions of strict religious restrictions and hostilities, according to Pew Forum. But as waves of refugees leave their home countries in search of freedom, those seeking asylum in the U.K. on religious grounds may face daunting challenges riddled with religious bias.

Some Home Office officials conducting interviews for asylum on grounds of religious persecution have taken to quizzing applicants on “Bible trivia,” hiring unqualified interpreters and allowing their own religious biases to shade decisions, according to a new report by a nonpartisan group of U.K. parliamentarians.

The country received 41,563 asylum applications for the year ended in March, largely from nationals of Iran, Pakistan and Iraq, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. The Home Office doesn’t tally the number of applications that specifically cite religious persecution.

The report, “Fleeing Persecution: Asylum Claims in the UK on Religious Freedom Grounds,” was published Tuesday by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for International Freedom of Religion or Belief, a nonpartisan group of members U.K. Parliament members, along with the Asylum Advocacy Group, a coalition of mostly religious organizations.

Based on evidence from the U.N. and various advocacy and religious groups, the report concludes that U.K. officials conducting asylum interviews lack essential religious literacy needed to understand the complexity of religious-based applications.

The findings “signal a lack of understanding and misperceptions of religion and belief among decision-makers working within the U.K. asylum system,” the report says.

Asylum seekers applying for refugee status in the U.K. face steps that include an interview with a Home Office representative. Caseworkers assess the credibility of the applicant’s claim, which can be compromised if the applicant delivers inaccurate or inconsistent information.

But the line between truth and falsehood often gets blurred by the complexity of religious issues. Not all Christians or Christian converts can recite the Ten Commandments or the Lord’s Prayer, for instance. But according to the report, some applicants have been asked to do so during interviews.

The report also found that interviewers asked asylum seekers to answer questions about the biblical story of Adam and Eve, name the apostles, give the meaning of Lent, and say whether Easter is celebrated on the same date each year.

“One question they asked me was very strange — what color was the cover of the Bible,” Mohammed, an Iranian Christian convert whose initial application for asylum was rejected, told the BBC. “I knew there were different colors. The one I had was red.”

Issues of religious literacy arise in cases of asylum seekers from Muslim, atheist and other faith backgrounds. But in the cases of Christians — and particularly Christian converts — the Home Office takes special care.

Being Christian theoretically should neither help nor hinder a person’s application, said Stephen Rand, a press representative for the parliamentary group. But there’s growing concern that migrants may fake conversion to Christianity, thinking it will improve their chances at being granted asylum.

“I think there is a perception in the Home Office both that individuals will pretend to be from a persecuted minority — which is usually Christian because of the country they are fleeing from — to get asylum, and that individuals will pretend to be a Christian because they think the U.K. will be more sympathetic to Christians,” Rand said. “The Prime Minister is always saying that the U.K. is a Christian country.”

Asylum seekers must submit evidence to back up certain claims in their application. In the case of religious conversion, that might include letters from clergy and proof of church attendance.

Rand said the Home Office might be more inclined to believe a claim backed by physical violence or social ostracism in their country of origin than a claim of conversion after arriving in the U.K.

Reports of mass conversions in European churches have led some to challenge the legitimacy of refugees’ conversion to Christianity.

This may help explain why U.K. officials quiz applicants on details from the Christian gospel. But the report says such questioning is “too simplistic a way to judge if an individual is, for example, a genuine convert. Furthermore, anecdotal evidence has shown that some people are learning as much as they can so they can be prepared for the Home Office interview.”

“Questions must be carefully prepared and decision-makers should not expect an unrealistic level of specialist knowledge,” the report continues.

The Home Office sidestepped accusations in the report, saying in an email to The Huffington Post: “In all asylum claims, including those based on religious beliefs, caseworkers carefully assess protection needs against the background of published country information … and a wide range of other reputable and publicly available sources.”

“While it is reasonable to expect the claimant to demonstrate some understanding of the faith, caseworkers are trained to ask questions tailored to the individual case,” said a Home Office press representative. “Guidance on the interviewing and consideration of religious claims is regularly reviewed and takes into consideration the views of religious groups and other stakeholders.”

The report acknowledges that the Home Office has provided training for staff in recent months that includes dealing with religious cases. But even these guidelines fail to capture the complexities of applications citing religious persecution, the report says.

“In practice, there remain gaps which compromise applicants seeking asylum on grounds of religious persecution being given fair and effective credibility assessments,” the report says.

Fair assessments, it continues, would include checking with interpreters before interviews to ensure that they have an understanding of religious terminology and can accurately translate questions and responses. Caseworkers should also take into account that some asylum seekers may fear their interpreter belongs to a religious or ethnic group that persecuted them in their home country — another issue that arose in several instances cited by the report.

The vast majority of asylum seekers have genuinely experienced atrocities in their countries of origin, said Mohammad Eghtedarian, a refugee from Iran who converted to Christianity. He now serves as a curate at Liverpool Cathedral and has helped other refugees in their conversion and in applying for asylum.

Eghtedarian has seen the desperation in refugees’ faces, he told The Guardian, and he acknowledged that some will lie to improve their chances. But as a clergyman, Eghtedarian said it isn’t his job to verify a person’s faith.

“There are many people abusing the system – I’m not ashamed of saying that. But is it the person’s fault or the system’s fault? And who are they deceiving? The Home Office, me as a pastor, or God?” Eghtedarian asked.

This perception of the deceitful migrant is emblematic of the refugee phobia that has taken hold in many developed countries, particularly those in the European Union that have accepted tens of thousands of refugees fleeing war and religious turmoil. But fears of migrant invasion are disproportionate with reality.

The number of asylum applications the U.K. receives is considerably fewer than in many other countries in the European Union. The U.K. also hosts fewer refugees than many developing countries around the world.

“The perceived population of refugees in the U.K. is often sensationalized by the media, however out of an estimated 60 million, or more, refugees in the world as of mid-2015, the vast majority remain within the region of their countries, with 86 percent hosted by developing countries,” the report says.

Still, the number of refugees fleeing religious persecution and seeking asylum in the U.K. and elsewhere is likely to increase in the coming years, the report acknowledges. Greater religious literacy and sensitivity is key.

“Whatever your nationality,” Rand said, “assessing the truth of someone’s religious convictions is not easy.”

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Discrimination – 2

Definition


In human social affairs, discrimination is treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which the person or thing is perceived to belong rather than on individual attributes. This includes treatment of an individual or group, based on their actual or perceived membership in a certain group or social category, “in a way that is worse than the way people are usually treated”.[1] It involves the group’s initial reaction or interaction going on to influence the individual’s actual behavior towards the group leader or the group, restricting members of one group from opportunities or privileges that are available to another group, leading to the exclusion of the individual or entities based on logical or irrational decision making.[2] Wikipedia

Types


Class, race, caste, age, sex, disability, language, nationality, culture and religion.

Why do we discriminate?


Difference – for some reason, we find it difficult to treat others who are not the same as us.  Sometimes, it is out of a non-existence fear that they threaten us in some way.  Or, because we feel ‘superior’ to others just because ‘we are’ or because we are ‘more developed’ eg Blacks, Aborigines, Gypsies.

Power – we like to be in control and therefore others become ‘scapegoats’ for all the ills that befall us eg the Jews.  It can also be because we have always been in control, having ‘conquered’ a people over the centuries and we wish to keep that power eg Burundi, Rwanda, USA, UK, Australia, South Africa, etc.

Economic – we do not wish to get our hands dirty, so we employ those from other countries to do the work, whilst we enjoy the ‘spoils’ eg Indians working in the Middle East.

Religion – we cannot do with people changing their religion or having another belief system – some of this is to do with power eg Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism.  Even in Christianity this can happen eg when a nominal Orthodox becomes an ‘evangelical’ Christian eg in Greece and Russia.

Virtually all the countries of the world have signed the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, yet none fully complies with it!

The Way Forward


God created each one of us as a unique individual and we are all equal before Him.  So who are we to say anyone is worse than us?

We need to learn about each other in a non-judgmental way, seeking to

  • understand their culture, beliefs and needs;
  • know how we can help them flourish as individuals and groups within and as part of the wider human race;
  • identify common areas that help us to work together;
  • seeking to make sure they are not discriminated against

Unless this happens, a lot more wars will occur, the poor will get poorer and the rich richer, our planet will die and everyone will suffer in the long run.

Hence the importance of

  • teaching this from a young age in schools and in the home;
  •  the media in not stigmatising any group through the news, dramas, the arts, music and other forms;
  • religious leaders and Government officials working together to find ways of overcoming discrimination eg undoing misunderstandings of history and perceptions;
  • each of us making a determined effort to get to know people who are ‘different’ from you.

It would be good to hear of stories of people who have helped alleviate discrimination in any of the areas above.

Discrimination – 1

The Jews

One of the most common forms of racism is anti-Semitism ie hatred of the Jews.  What follows is a fairly objective overview of why there is such a deep prejudice against the Jews.  Please note, it is not talking about Israel.

http://www.aish.com/sem/wtj/82875402.html?s=mpw

Prejudice, it seems, is a standard fare of life. In his folksong entitled “National Brotherhood Week,” Tom Lehrer sings:

Oh the Protestants hate the Catholics,
and the Catholics hate the Protestants,
and the Hindus hate the Muslims
and everybody hates the Jews.

In this song, Lehrer expresses the truism that hatred for the Jew is uniquely commonplace. The Crusades, Spanish Inquisition, blood libels, pogroms, countless expulsions and the systematic murder of 6 million.

The question is: Why? What lies behind these millennium of hatred? Why has the undercurrent of anti-Semitism bubbled and boiled and exploded against Jews everywhere, time and again throughout history?

In this 8-part seminar, we will examine the root reason for the world’s longest hatred.

Causes versus Excuses – How Can We Tell the Difference?

When we study any theory, it is important to distinguish between a “cause” and an “excuse.” The difference is not difficult to recognize:

When one thing causes another, if we remove the cause, the effect should vanish. If, on the other hand, one thing is an excuse for another, then even after taking away the excuse, the effect will remain.

A child who is chronically late to school may say in his defense, “But I don’t have a watch. How do you expect me to get to school in time if I don’t have a watch?”

If his parents would buy him a watch and he would still be late for school, then it is clear that the lack of a watch was just an excuse for his lateness, not its cause.

Concerning anti-Semitism, if we succeed in identifying the reason for anti-Semitism, then eliminating that should put an end to hatred for the Jews. However, if we can eliminate it and the hatred remains, then we know that what we thought was a cause is actually an excuse.

The Six Common Reasons for anti-Semitism

Keep this distinction in mind as we explore the six most frequently offered reasons for anti-Semitism. As we touch upon each of these explanations, we will try to ascertain whether it is the cause of the hatred, or merely an excuse.

Historians and sociologists have come up with numerous theories to explain anti-Semitism. We will examine these one by one, and discuss the validity of each.

  • Economic: Jews are hated because they possess too much wealth and power.
  • Chosen People: Jews are hated because they arrogantly claim they are the chosen people.
  • Scapegoat: Jews are a convenient group to single out and blame for all the troubles.
  • Deicide: Jews are hated because they killed Jesus.
  • Outsiders: Jews are hated because they are different than the rest of society.
  • Racial Theory: Jews are hated because they are an inferior race.

Let us examine these six frequently-given reasons and determine if they are truly causes or excuses.

The Economic Theory of Anti-Semitism

The Economic Theory of Anti-Semitism postulates that Jewish wealth and power arouses the envy of other groups, and this in turn leads to great resentment.

This theory has surfaced in different guises throughout history. One of the ways it became popularized was through The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the minutes of fictional “secret meetings” in which Jewish leaders conspire to rule the world. Protocols is a viciously anti-Semitic book created by the Russian secret police.

This fictional account has provided an excellent excuse for campaigns of persecution against Jews, influenced the masses to believe the myth that Jews control governments. It is the second most widely published book in history.

Do people today still believe that Jews have some mysterious financial and organizational advantage over the rest of humanity?

Ancient Chinese Secret

A True Story:

A Jewish physicist who works for Exxon Corporation spent many months working on a project in coordination with a world-renowned scientist from China. The two men developed a good working relationship and became friendly with one another.

One day the Chinese scientist commented to the Jew, “You know, ever since we first met I’ve been meaning to ask you a question: Why did you become a physicist? Why didn’t you just go into business?”

“What kind of question is that?” \ the Jewish scientist replied. “I became a physicist because I wanted to be a physicist!”

“But aren’t you Jewish?” the Chinese man persisted.

“So what difference does that make?”

“Well,” the Chinese scientist patiently explained, “there would be countless risks involved if I would go into business, but for you it’s risk-free!”

“Forgive me, but I’m not following you,” said the Jew. “What sort of business is risk-free?”

“For you – any business! Come on,” he said with a conspirational wink, “we all know you have the Organization behind you.”

“Huh? What ‘organization’ are you talking about?”

“Come on, everybody knows that all Jewish men get money from the Organization when they get married. That’s how all the Jews get started in business. There’s no risk involved, because if the business fails, the Organization buys out the debt and then funnels more start-up money to the Jew. This goes on until the fellow hits upon a business that prospers!”

No such fantastically endowed international organization exists. Yet the assumption of this world-class scientist demonstrates that the myth of Jewish access to unlimited wealth is alive and well today.

Applying the Litmus Test

Does this attitude explain anti-Semitism? Is the Economic Theory a cause or an excuse for anti-Semitism?

First, consider universal attitudes toward the rich. We don’t see any sustained historical persecution against wealthy non-Jews. Thus, if the haters decide to single out wealthy Jews and ignore wealthy non-Jews, economics cannot be regarded as the cause for hatred.

Second, if we remove the element of wealth and power from the Jews, does the anti-Semitism vanish?

The Jews who lived in the shtetels of Poland and Russia during the 17th-20th centuries were poor and powerless, utterly lacking any form of influence whatsoever. Yet they were hated. Often they were persecuted and subjected to unspeakable torments. On many occasions entire villages were ransacked and their Jewish inhabitants massacred in cold blood. Under those circumstances, anti-Semitism did not distinguish between rich and poor, between strong and weak, between powerful and powerless.

Likewise, anti-Semites in the Middle Ages initiated countless pogroms against Jews (without first investigating their bank accounts or investment portfolios).

When the Nazis liquidated the Warsaw Ghetto, there were no Jewish businesses to destroy. In fact, the impoverished conditions there were appalling. The Jews in the ghetto could not have been thought of as “rich” by anyone’s standards, and yet the Nazis felt they had to be eliminated.

Poor Jews have always been hated equally as rich Jews. When a Jew meets with financial success, it may set the anti-Semite’s teeth on edge, but the Jew’s success is clearly not what created the anti-Semite. Money therefore cannot be the cause of anti-Semitism.

The Fugu Plan

How about power? Can it be the cause of anti-Semitism?

If someone who is rich and powerful comes to you for a favor, would you persecute him? No, you help him – having such a person indebted to you is a great insurance policy. Case in point is the Arab oil-producing countries who are widely appeased, despite their standards that often fly in the face of Western values.

There was one nation that did treat the Jews as if they were powerful and rich. The Japanese never had much exposure to Jews, and knew very little about them. In 1919 Japan fought alongside the anti-Semitic White Russians against the Communists. At that time the White Russians introduced the Japanese to the book, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

The Japanese studied the book and, according to all accounts, naively believed its propaganda. Their reaction was immediate and forceful – they formulated a plan to encourage Jewish settlement and investment into Manchuria. The Japanese decided that these wealthy and powerful Jews are precisely the people with whom they want to do business!

The Japanese called their plan for Jewish settlement “The Fugu Plan.” The “fugu” is a highly poisonous blowfish. After the toxin-containing organs are painstakingly removed, it is used as a food in Japan, and is considered an exquisite delicacy. If it is not prepared carefully, however, its poison can be deadly.

The Japanese saw the Jews as a nation with highly valuable potential, but, as with the fugu, in order to take advantage of that potential, they had to be extremely careful. Otherwise, the Japanese thought, the plan would backfire and the Jews would annihilate Japan with their awesome power.

Duuring World War II, the Japanese were allies of the Nazis, yet they allowed thousands of European refugees – including the entire Mir Yeshivah – to enter Shanghai and Kobe during the war. They welcomed these Jews into their country, not because they bore any great love for the Jews, but because they believed that Jews had access to enormous resources and power which could greatly benefit Japan. (This is all detailed in the book, The Fugu Plan, by Marvin Tokayer.)

If anti-Semites truly believe that Jews rule the world, then why don’t they relate to the Jews like the Japanese did?

The fact that Jews are generally treated as outcasts proves that people do not really believe that Jews are as wealthy or powerful as claimed. In other words, the anti-Semites do not take their own propaganda seriously.

Whatever Happened to Jewish Power?

If there is any truth to the notion that Jews control governments, why couldn’t those powerful Jews convince any country to accept the refugees who were struggling to escape the European inferno during the Holocaust? If “World Jewry” is so powerful and wields such political influence, surely at least one government would have agreed to take them in as refugees and allowed them to stay until the end of the war…

The film Voyage of the Damned dramatically demonstrates how government buried its head in the sand while the wholesale slaughter of Jews went unchecked. As such, the claim that Jews control governments rings painfully absurd.

Jews as Moneylenders

In this same vein, many people say that anti-Semitism has been caused by the fact that Jews were money-lenders in many societies and supposedly extracted their “pound of flesh” from their non-Jewish compatriots.

In fact, just the opposite is true. Jews were forced to become moneylenders precisely because of the severe employment limitations which anti-Semitic trends imposed on them. Anti-Semitic laws made it impossible for Jews to own land, to attend universities or to enter any common occupations. Money was the only commodity in which they were allowed to deal, so lacking any other option, they became money-lenders.

Hence, we see that Jews were not hated because they were money-lenders; rather, they were money-lenders because they were hated.

Powerful Jews or weak Jews, rich Jews or poor Jews – they’ve all been hated equally.

Obviously, the economic reason for anti-Semitism is really an excuse.

The Chosen People Theory

Knowledge of Jewish “choseness” is undeniably widespread. Several years ago, the University of California conducted a study of anti-Semitism. Non-Jewish Americans were presented with 18 unfavorable statements about Jews, and asked whether they believed any of them. By far the most widely-held belief among those surveyed (59%) was that “Jews consider themselves to be G-d’s chosen people.”

Let’s test whether this belief is indeed a legitimate cause of anti-Semitism – or whether it is merely another excuse. If Jewish “choseness” is in fact the cause of anti-Semitism, then hatred against the Jews should disappear when Jews drop the claim that they are chosen.

Late in the 19th century, the Jews living in Germany and Austria collectively rejected their “choseness” and were assimilated by their host nation. In fact, they believed that the non-Jews among whom they lived were the true chosen people. “Berlin is our Jerusalem!” they loudly proclaimed. Gentile society was their social environment of choice, and Germany their beloved motherland.

Did anti-Semitism disappear? We all know the tragic answer to that question. The Jews in Germany and Austria experienced the most vicious outpouring of anti-Semitic hatred in history. Precisely when Jews rejected their claim to “chosenness,” they suffered the most virulent forms of anti-Semitism.

Clearly, the Chosen People Theory does not pass this litmus test.

Other “Chosen” Peoples

Another test of the Chosen People Theory is to see how humanity responds to other peoples who claim to be “chosen.” If the claim that Jews are chosen gives rise to anti-Semitism, then all groups who make similar claims of having been “chosen” should also become targets of persecution and hatred.

Christianity and Islam represent two other major religious groups that claim to have been chosen. Christian theology accepts that G-d gave the Bible to the Jews and made the Jews His special messengers. However, it is the Christian belief that once the Jews rejected Jesus, the Christians became G-d’s new chosen people.

Muslims likewise believe that the Jewish Bible is the word of G-d. However, Muslim theology claims that when Mohammad appeared on the scene, G-d made the Muslims His chosen people.

If Christians and Muslims both claim that they are chosen, then why hasn’t this historically generated hatred against them?

Indeed, nearly every nation on earth has at one time or another claimed to be chosen. Americans claimed Manifest Destiny – that their actions were divinely willed – when they annexed Texas and Alaska, against the wishes of the inhabitants of those areas. The Chinese chose to name their country China because the word means “center of the universe.” The name Japan means “source of the sun.” For Native Americans, the same word means both “human being” and “Indian” – implying that every non-Indian belongs to some subspecies.

These nations are not hated for having claimed superiority. A claim that one is chosen does not in and of itself cause hatred. If it did, then so many other nations would be the targets of the intense, universal hatred that is in fact unique to the Jews.

The Scapegoat Theory

The Scapegoat Theory is cited frequently as a cause of anti-Semitism. Some historians use it to account for the emergence of German anti-Semitism in the late 1930s.

Their reasoning is as follows:

Hitler, like many totalitarian dictators before him, needed to divert blame for his nation’s problems by ascribing them to an innocent victim. He randomly selected the Jews as his scapegoat and launched a massive defamatory campaign to alienate them from mainstream German society. He succeeded in his efforts, and as a result, the overwhelming majority of Germans came to hate Jews.

The Scapegoat Theory gives rise to a time-worn question: Which came first, the chicken or the egg? In other words, does a group become hated as a consequence of being singled out as a scapegoat, or is it selected as a scapegoat because it is hated?

The first prerequisite for a prospective scapegoat is someone that the citizens of the country are willing to hate from the start. If we would attempt to divert attention from our own shortcomings by blaming a group that is not already hated by society, the people would not accept it. A fair portion of the population will demand to see evidence of the group’s guilt and refuse to let us off the hook.

Imagine what would have happened if Adolf Hitler would have stood before one of those huge crowds in Nuremberg National Coliseum and declared:

My fellow Germans, there is a group among us that is the scourge of humanity! They are dominating the German people and destroying our motherland! If Germany is to regain its esteemed status, these people must be persecuted and ultimately eliminated. Who are these people? They are the midgets among us!

Because there is no preexisting hatred against midgets, people with freckles, or bicycle-riders, governments don’t try to scapegoat them.

The Jews are chosen consistently as scapegoats because it is so easy to rile hatred against them. Jews are a people that everyone is more than happy to persecute.

Therefore, the Scapegoat Theory is not the cause of anti-Semitism. Rather, anti-Semitism is what makes the Jews a convenient scapegoat target. If anything, the Scapegoat Theory is simply a barometer indicating the level of hatred that already exists against Jews in any given society. It reveals how much anti-Semitism is already present, waiting to be stirred up.

The Scapegoat is obviously an excuse, not a reason.

Deicide: The Killers-of-Jesus Theory

Christians have long claimed that the Jews killed Jesus, and that is why they hate Jews.

Is this the real cause for hatred? If it is, why were Christians not angry at Jews 2,000 years ago, at the time the Jews supposedly killed Jesus?

Christian anti-Semitism did not begin until long after the death of Jesus. It was not until several centuries later that the Church fathers decided that Jews as a group should be persecuted because they “killed Jesus.” Bernard Blumenkranz, author of Jews and Christians in the Western World, documents that the intense and ongoing Christian persecution of the Jews did not truly begin until the advent of the Crusades – over 1,000 years after Jesus’ death!

Furthermore, once Christian hatred for Jews got under way, it became worse with the passage of time. Logically, time should have eased the strong feelings, as all of us can attest to the fact that anger gradually decreases with time. Time has a way of healing all wounds.

For example, in 1866, following the Civil War in America, a Northerner would have felt much tension if he had visited the South. Today, a visit to the Southern United States arouses no such emotions. Have you ever heard of a resident of New York feeling apprehensive about vacationing in Florida?

The farther away one is from an event, the less rage one feels – provided the event is the actual cause of the rage!

Therefore, if Christians hate Jews because they killed Jesus, that rage should have climaxed following Jesus’ death, and petered out during the two millennia since then. History indicates the very opposite pattern – there were no recorded incidents of anti-Semitism immediately after Jesus’ death, yet there were thousands of such incidents many centuries later. From this we see that Jesus’ death is not the cause of Christian anti-Semitism.

Who Killed Jesus?

According to the New Testament, it was only the Romans who killed Jesus. While Jews are mentioned as accomplices, the Gospels of Matthew, John and Mark all specifically state that the Romans killed Jesus.

If the killing of Jesus is the cause of Christian hatred, why have only the Jewish accomplices been categorically persecuted? Christians should hate Romans at least as much as they hate Jews!

Obviously, Jesus’ death is an excuse, not the reason for anti-Semitism.

Jews are Different?

Maybe Jews are hated simply because they are different. Traditionally, Jews were characterized by different dress, different laws and sometimes, even a different language. Certainly this discrimination is what the Chinese experienced in early America, and what the Frenchman experienced in England. Sociologists refer to this phenomenon as “the dislike of the unlike.”

This theory sounds like a sensible cause for anti-Semitism: Jews have been hated because they were different. Throughout history, Jews kept to themselves. Their ethical, cultural and social systems were different from those of their neighbors. Most pointedly, the Jews’ fondest dream was always their return to Zion. They were law-abiding citizens who contributed to their host nations and even took to the battlefield to defend it, but their hearts always pointed in the direction of the Promised Land. It is undeniably true that throughout history, Jews were the ultimate “outsiders.”

But what happens when Jews shed their cultural differences and become genuine “insiders”? If the Outsider Theory is correct, then the solution to anti-Semitism should be assimilation. Anti-Semitism should decrease in ratio to the Jews’ ability to integrate into their host societies. Is this really what happens?

In the 18th century, the Enlightenment reached Europe, giving equal rights to all people, regardless of religion.

In December 1789, during a discussion in the French National Assembly in which French Jews were granted equal rights, Count Stanislas de Clermont-Tonnere declared: “To the Jews as individuals, everything. To the Jews as a nation, nothing.”

The Jews of Europe jumped at the opportunity to attain equality, hoping at long last to rid themselves of the “dislike of the unlike” phenomenon. They shed their foreign dress, shaved off their beards, and attended universities and theaters. They adopted the language, culture and styles of their non-Jewish neighbors, and intermarried with them. They purged their prayers of any mention of the return to Zion. In short, they became more French than the French.

Napoleon was quick to capitalize on this development of Jews adapting to French culture. In 1807, he convened a kangaroo court to pressure the Jews to shed any lingering commitment to Jewish nationhood, forcing the Jews to declare their exclusive loyalty to France.

Jewish acceptance of this attitude widened. In Germany, Reform Jews declared, “Berlin is our Jerusalem; Germany is our Fatherland.” Having endured centuries of hatred, the Jews of Europe anticipated a warm welcome from their gentile neighbors.

But they were sorely disappointed. The Dreyfuss affair, in which falsified charges of treason were brought against a Jewish French officer, was contrived to show that Jews could never be loyal citizens of their host countries.

Shortly thereafter, Hitler’s rise to power once again pulled the rug out from under the Jews’ sense of security in their assimilationist approach. Nazism sent a strong message to Jews: We hate you, not because you’re different, but because you’re trying to become like us! We cannot allow you to infect the Aryan race with your inferior genes.

So long as Jews remained outsiders, the Outsider Theory reflected some degree of logic. Once the Jews attempted to become insiders, the Outsider Theory was dashed to pieces ― because it never had been the real cause of the hatred.

The Racial Theory

This gave rise to a new excuse: the inferiority of the Jewish race. You can shed the external trappings of your life, shave your beard, get rid of your yarmulke, even change your religion. But you can never change your race.

The overriding problem with this theory is that it is self-contradictory: Jews are not a race. Anyone can become a Jew ― and members of every race, creed and color in the world have done so at one time or another.

There is no distinguishing racial physical feature common only to Jews. Even the idea of a “Jewish nose” is a myth. Anti-Semites don’t hate only those Jews who have distinctively Jewish physical features; they hate all Jews. They hate Eastern European Jews; they hate Israeli, Russian and Yemenite Jews; they hate blond, blue-eyed Dutch Jews, as well as dark-skinned, Mediterranean Jews. Any Jew will do.

Anti-Semitism cannot be explained as racism for the very simple reason that Jews are a nation, not a race.

Unique Hatred

We have touched on the six most common explanations for the phenomenon of anti-Semitism. None of these standard reasons holds up as the core reason for anti-Semitism. Under scrutiny, they prove to be mere excuses. We must look afresh at this hatred to find a true root cause.

Of all discriminatory forms for hatred, anti-Semitism is unique in four ways:

1) Longevity ― anti-Semitism has been going on for an exceptionally long time. One of the most authoritative books on anti-Semitism is The Anguish of the Jews: A History of Anti-Semitism, authored by a Catholic priest Edward Flannery. He writes:

As a historian of anti-Semitism looks back over the millennia of horrors he has recorded, an inescapable conclusion emerges. Anti-Semitism is different because of its longevity and consistency.

2) Universality ― anti-Semitism is found worldwide. Throughout history, in every region where Jews have lived, they have been hated. No matter where they settle, no matter whom their host, anti-Semitism eventually rears its ugly head.

Between the years 250 C.E. and 1948 ― a period of 1,700 years ― Jews in Europe experienced an average of one expulsion every 21 years. Jews were expelled from England, France, Austria, Germany, Lithuania, Spain, Portugal, Bohemia, Moravia and 71 other countries.

3) Intensity ― hatred against the Jews is vented in a particularly virulent way. A group that is hated usually becomes the butt of ethnic jokes, and is subject to discrimination. Jews, on the other hand, are subject to attempts at genocide. The Chmelnicki pogroms, the Holocaust, and Iran’s nuclear threats are attempts to exterminate a people that represent just a tiny minority of the world’s population.

4) Confusion ― there is surprisingly little agreement on exactly what anti-Semites hate! When one group hates another, that hatred can be traced to a few simple, well-defined reasons. In Bosnia, people are persecuted over territory and religion; in Ireland, it’s national independence and religion. Blacks are hated by some for racial reasons. But no one has yet offered a single, universally-accepted reason to explain why people hate the Jews.

If you will ask an anti-Semite to state his reasons, those reasons are often self-contradictory. Consider this paradox:

• Jews are hated for being a lazy and inferior race ― but also for dominating the economy and taking over the world.• Jews are hated for stubbornly maintaining their separateness ― and, when they do assimilate ― for posing a threat to racial purity through intermarriages.

• Jews are seen as pacifists and as warmongers; as capitalist exploiters and as revolutionary communists; possessed of a Chosen-People mentality, as well as of an inferiority complex.

Too Many Reasons Mean No Real Reason

The “Six Reasons” don’t hold water ― they are excuses!

Hatred for Jews over the past 2,000 years has been continuous, universal and vicious, but the explanation for that hatred constantly changes. This fact alone alerts us to the need to look for what lies at the core of those explanations.

Picture yourself at a job interview. The interviewer tells you outright that you cannot be considered for the job because you lack computer skills. You enroll in a computer course, and in a month you have gained the necessary skills.

You return to the company, and the interviewer says he tells you he still cannot hire you, because you lack training in finance and management. You study diligently, and within a short time you have mastered the subject.

When you return to the company a third time, you are told that the real reason they cannot hire you is your hairstyle; you simply do not reflect the image the company wishes to represent to the public.

This fiasco sends you a very clear message: The reasons the company had been feeding you all along were nothing but excuses. The interviewer only used excuses to cover up some deeper reason for his refusal to hire you.

This situation is much like the common explanations for anti-Semitism: Even when the reasons are no longer applicable, the anti-Semitism remains.

This does not mean we should totally discount these reasons. Even though they may be excuses and not the source of the hatred, they do influence the masses to hate Jews. They may exacerbate the hatred, but they certainly don’t explain it.

The problem is that each of the explanations focuses on issues external to the Jew. They have nothing to do with the essence of the Jew.

What then is The Reason?

Removing the Jewish Element from Anti-Semitism

Almost without exception, the reasons for anti-Semitism offered by different scholars have nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that Jews are Jewish (e.g. Jews are rich or they’re different).

These reasons effectively “de-Judaize” anti-Semitism by equating it with any other common type of hatred. According to this attitude, the Holocaust ― the most systematic attempt to exterminate a people in the history of humanity ― had nothing to do with “Jewish” reasons. Jews simply happened to have been in the wrong place at the wrong time.

In his book Why the Jews?, Dennis Prager cites a glaring example of an attempt to sell the public on the idea that there is nothing Jewish about anti-Semitism. On April 11, 1944, demonstrating an uncanny wisdom that far surpassed her age, Anne Frank wrote in her diary:

Who has made us Jews different from all other people? Who has allowed us to suffer so terribly until now? It is God Who has made us as we are, but it will be God, too, Who will raise us up again.Who knows ― it might even be our religion from which the world and all peoples learn good, and for that reason and that reason alone do we now suffer. We can never become just Netherlanders, or just English, or representatives of any other country for that matter. We will always remain Jews.

Anne Frank made a point of stressing that Jews have something of special value to give to the world, and that is precisely what the world has resented in persecuting the Jews. Anne Frank identified anti-Semitism as a hatred of Jewishness, a loathing altogether different from the bigotry or racism that other peoples experience.

Amazingly, when Anne Frank’s story was reconstructed by Lillian Hellman into a Broadway play, her words were completely changed. “Why are Jews hated?” asks Anne. “Well, one day it’s one group, and the next day another…”

On Broadway, audiences were made to believe that Jews have been hated just as any other people has been hated. In other words, there is nothing Jewish about anti-Semitism.

But what do anti-Semites themselves say about this topic?

Hitler’s Straightforward Approach

Scholars have made consistent attempts to prove that there is nothing uniquely Jewish that engenders Anti-Semitism. Let us see if comments from known Jew-haters reveal what they find so objectionable.

One individual who had no use for the multitude of whitewashed explanations offered by scholars was Adolf Hitler, the man responsible for the most devastating scourge of anti-Semitism in the history of mankind.

Hitler openly acknowledged the uniqueness of the Jews as a people. Hitler realized that Jews can never be successfully integrated with the rest of humanity, and he made it his objective to ensure that they never would be.

Hitler’s form of anti-Semitism was not a means to an end; it was a goal in and of itself. The Nuremberg Laws, established in 1935, effectively disenfranchised and dismantled the Jewish community of Germany ― but this was not enough to satisfy Hitler.

In the late 1930s, Germany was rebuilt and its morale restored, but Hitler’s eye remained trained on the Jews. Seven years after the Nuremberg Laws mangled and mutilated the Jews in body and spirit, the Final Solution was launched in the Wansee Conference of 1942. Hitler saw the Jews as something far more menacing than mere scapegoats; the Jewish nation was his mortal enemy, and so became his target for absolute destruction.

Hitler viewed National Socialism as a new world order, a way to create mankind anew.

How is this renewal of mankind to take place? Hitler declared:

The struggle for world domination will be fought entirely between us ― between Germans and Jews. All else is facade and illusion. Behind England stands Israel, and behind France, and behind the United States. Even when we have driven the Jew out of Germany, he remains our world enemy.

Why Did Hitler Target the Jews?

Eliminating the Jews was the key to Hitler’s utopia. His driving ambition was to free the world from the shackles of conscience and morality; to turn the world away from monotheism. He fashioned his own brand of religion out of a philosophy based on indulging all of man’s basest desires. The “Hitler Youth” sang this song:

We have no need for Christian virtue.
Our leader is our savior.
The pope and rabbi shall be gone.
We shall be pagans once again.

Hitler’s picture of the perfect world was a return to a state of jungle-type existence, where “might makes right.” He said:

In a natural order, the classes are peoples superimposed on one another in strata, instead of living as neighbors. To this order we shall return as soon as the after-effects of liberalism have been removed.

The only serious obstacle standing in Hitler’s way was the Jews. Hitler knew that it was the Jews who carried the message of one God ― of all men created equal; of love your neighbor; of helping the poor and the infirm.

Hitler hated the message of the Jews because it was diametrically opposed his vision of what the world should be. He said:

They refer to me as an uneducated barbarian,” Hitler said. “Yes we are barbarians. We want to be barbarians; it is an honored title to us. We shall rejuvenate the world. This world is near its end.

Hitler told his people:

Providence has ordained that I should be the greatest liberator of humanity. I am freeing man from the restraints of an intelligence that has taken charge, from the dirty and degrading self-mortifications of a false vision known as conscience and morality, and from the demands of a freedom and personal independence which only a very few can bear.

In Every Jew’s Soul

Hitler’s only real target was the Jews, because they were all that stood between him and success. So long as the Jews survived, Hitler could never triumph. The Jewishly-rooted concepts of God and morality had taken hold in the world, and Hitler knew that either his own ideologies or those of the Jews would prevail. The world would not abide both.

Hitler said:

The Ten Commandments have lost their vitality. Conscience is a Jewish invention; it is a blemish, like circumcision.

Furthermore, Hitler knew that the Jewish threat to his ideals is embodied in every single Jew. He said:

If only one country, for whatever reason, tolerates a Jewish family in it, that family will become the germ center for fresh sedition. If one little Jewish boy survives without any Jewish education, with no synagogue and no Hebrew school, it [Judaism] is in his soul.

The Jewish spirit, Hitler explained, is the product of the Jewish person. Destroying their holy places alone would not be enough. In Hitler’s words:

Even had there never existed a synagogue or a Jewish school or the Old Testament, the Jewish spirit would still exist and would exert its influence. It has been there from the beginning, and there is no Jew ― not a single one ― who does not personify it.

The evil of Hitler lay not in his understanding of who the Jewish people are. His evil grew from his reactions to that understanding. Ironically, Hitler had a clearer understanding of who the Jewish people are, and what they have accomplished, than many Jews have today.