It's because Xenophobia is very common, and it always applies to Jews (or at least, it did before 1948) because they're essentially foreigners wherever they go.
I don't get it.
As long as I've lived, I've never understood it.
Are they insular? Well, not any more than any other community I've seen (and a lot less, to my reckoning, than the Chinese -- and I married the Chinese, so see how that works).
Maybe it has to do with the fact that the Jews I knew growing up were all middle class? A friend of mine once explained that it wasn't until college that he met rich Jews, and then, "The jokes were funny." I know the gals to whom he refers, and while they definitely fit the Princess stereotypes, they aren't any more so than any other rich kid I've ever known.
As for being a member of the power elite, a wildly disproportionate number of CEOs and Congress-critters were, as of the late 80's, Presbyterian. Something about all those damned committees and electing one's ministers may be behind that; it's not so much that Presbyterians are more likely to be powerful, as that powerful people are more likely to be attracted to Presbyterian churches, I reckon.
In fact, I'm sure that every explanation for the Jew-hate I've ever heard is as fallacious as the above.
'Bout the only thing one can say about Jews is that they don't believe Jesus is God or the Messiah. Well, whoop-de-do, but we're a lot more progressive now than we were a hundred years (or even 50) ago, so I'm thinking that a lot of anti-Semitism is just a hangover from those days, or people who aren't progressive yet who just hate any other religion.
But now I think of it, I used to be one of those guys, but even then I never had an issue with Jews. I figured we agreed on the basics, and just had a minor difference of opinion that we could talk about starting from our common belief in God.
So... I guess I still don't really get it.
Only explanation I can come up with is just, "because they're there." Somebody had to take the blame, and somehow they got it.
It's because Xenophobia is very common, and it always applies to Jews (or at least, it did before 1948) because they're essentially foreigners wherever they go.
I didn't even know what a Jewish person really was until I worked at a Jewish country club when I was teenager.
Every horrible stereotype was displayed by the members on a routine basis.
Aren't all country clubs full of assholes, especially from the perspective of the staff?Originally Posted by drewl
that... makes a ton of sense.Originally Posted by extarbags
Just like my friend's experience in college; it's not really any different from any other group of wealthy folks. It's more of a "privileged" stereotype than "jewish."Originally Posted by drewl
Maybe because they're the chosen people?
Exactly, as a kid you don't care if your friend is black, hispanic, oriental, hell I didn't even know kids I played with were jewish.
So either people learn or become racist from their parents, or friends as they grow older.
extar hit it, they insist on being insular and aloof where ever they go, so they are shunned. If they were helpless and quaint, they would be tolerated like the Amish, but instead they are usually successful and influential, so they are reviled. Nobody likes having a minority in charge, because we're all a bunch of herd animals that think the biggest group should always decide.
I don't really understand the whole anti-Semitism thing, I grew up where there were only white protestants, and you generally need exposure to something in order to hate it. (Scientology notwithstanding) I've always found city folk to be much more racist than we were in the country.
"As long as I've lived, I've never understood it."
and you never will. Don't bother trying to rationalize the irrational. Just be aware that it exists.
They reject bacon. In addition, the Askenazim are exceptionally overrepresented on the high end of most measures of intellect, and that tends to make people conspiracy-minded and envious. Also, they don't eat bacon.
No, the one my parents belonged to was full of fun people who drank and tipped.Originally Posted by Stroker Ace
I've had some small degree of experience in this area--my wife is Jewish. Both sides of her family are from Eastern Europe/Russia, and emigrated to the US in the early 20th Century.
The Anti-Semitism is a lot of things (and yes, all are nonsense). I suspect that a great deal of it can be traced back to the old "Christ-Killer" argument. Plus, as somebody mentioned, they underwent a Diaspora that left them as the "non-local" ethnic group nearly everywhere they established communities. Being Semitic, they tend to "look" different than the local population as well--at least throughout Western Europe and most of the US this is still somewhat true. For whatever reason, humans tend not to trust (or even to villify) those who look different than they do.
There are also economic factors involved, and much of it is kind of a vicious circle. Jewish religion does not forbid the collection of interest on loans, whereas Islam does. In the Middle East, this resulted in lots of Jews going into banking (such as it was at the time--moneylending, anyway), and into related fields such as jewelry making, trading in precious metals, that sort of thing. This of course resulted in the stereotype of the "rich Jew" who screwed people over--there's a root to the phrase "Jewed" after all. Just as there is for Jipped (Gyped, it should be spelled, since the implication is that a Gypsy ripped you off by shorting you on a deal). Of course, when they spread across the continent, they took those trades with them, and the associated stereotypes/criticisms.
Add in the fact that, as an ethnic group, Jews have traditionally placed a VERY heavy emphasis on education for their children, which leads to what I perceive as a much higher percentage of Jews (than the general population around them) being professionals who earn livings above the national average, and the fact that that some of them just happened to be the ones perspicatious enough to recognize the coming value of mass media and the entertainment industry, and you have an ethnic minority in the US that tends to be fairly affluent. And frankly, poor folks just resent those better off than they are, regardless of the circumstances that produced that situation.
There is something of a tendency to encourage marriage within their ethnic community (just as many ethnic communities do) which results in reification of that affluence rather than disbursement of it thoughout the broader society (gee, who'da thunk it? They want to preserve wealth to pass down to their decendants! What a crime!).
Another perceived difference? The matrilineal (hmm, did I spell that right?) nature of their ethnicity. Again, that somehow makes them "not like us (TM)!"
I'm sure there are other issues involved as well. But all of it just boils down to the problem of the "Other" compounded by a percieved foundational problem with Christianity (which I find ironic, given that the majority of Christianity's holiest text is in fact Jewish "history"). Oppressive rulers welcome scapegoats to focus their subjects anger and aggression, and the Jews have often served as a convenient one.
I was sorta with you until this part. If one of your sixth-generation descendants winds up being 1/64th jewish they're and another is wholly jewish they're still both your descendants. What you said only seems to make sense if you're aiming to preserve an affluent Real Jewish minority.Originally Posted by BennyProfane
Nah, I just wasn't clear on what I meant. It doesn't have anything to do with trying to "keep the money Jewish". I just meant that, as any parent, Jewish parents want to pass down their wealth to their kids. But because they tend to HAVE money, it can be perceived externally as some sort of conspiracy to control wealth. You can make the same argument about any rich and clannish group--say, the Kennedys. I doubt anyone would even take notice of it with Jews if all the other baggage wasn't there to begin with.
As for the "wholly Jewish versus 1/64 Jewish issue", that's a sticky wicket. It depends on whether you are talking ethnicity or religion, and that's part of what makes the whole Jewish thing a mess anyway. Sure, in terms of genetic material, a decendant is a decendant. But to an orthodox Jewish believer, your Jewishness is solely determined by your mother. If your mother is Jewish, you are Jewish. There's no such thing as being half-Jewish. At least that's my understanding of it.
You see a lot of prejudice against Chinese communities in the Far East for many of the same reasons (insularity, perceived dominance of local business).
You forget that Jews use the blood of a gentile child to make matzo with. And then there is the Protocols of the Elders of Zion wherein the Zionists are plotting their world takeover by controlling banking.
What's really scary, is that some people really believe this. Most western societies have since reconciled these beliefs in the past 100 years or so, but the belief still lingers, especially in the Arab world. Other than that, I have nothing more to add to BennyProfane's insightful posts.
The Chinese aren't insular. They adapt and integrate into every society they become a part of.
Nobody seems to remember what the gypsies have to go through. I wonder if it's because they're still persecuted.Originally Posted by Rimbo
No question, the Roma have had it pretty much just as bad as the Jews have over the ages. But I'm not married to one, so I don't know nearly as much about them, though I've always harbored this wild idea that maybe they are actually related ethnically somewhere way back when...
Personally I think the root cause of racism is fear. I think one of the reasons that racist Jewish stereotypes no longer make any sense, relative to such racist stereotypes as black criminals and arab terrorists, is that we no longer fear that stereotype. Democracy has made such ideas of Jewish manipulation seem ridiculous, and, as already noted, people have more obvious and worrying racist stereotypes to fear these days.
This was exactly the same for Christianity, until they decided a few centuries back to ignore this little inconvenience (shame they can't ignore other inconveniencies like Genesis and homosexuality, but hey). The Merchant of Venice is an excellent showcase of Christian attitudes towards Jewish money lending.There are also economic factors involved, and much of it is kind of a vicious circle. Jewish religion does not forbid the collection of interest on loans, whereas Islam does. In the Middle East, this resulted in lots of Jews going into banking (such as it was at the time--moneylending, anyway), and into related fields such as jewelry making, trading in precious metals, that sort of thing. This of course resulted in the stereotype of the "rich Jew" who screwed people over--there's a root to the phrase "Jewed" after all. Just as there is for Jipped (Gyped, it should be spelled, since the implication is that a Gypsy ripped you off by shorting you on a deal). Of course, when they spread across the continent, they took those trades with them, and the associated stereotypes/criticisms.
Not fear, but, irrational fear.Originally Posted by Tim Partlett
It definitely has a lot to do with the environment where you grow up. I grew up in an area with a ton of gay people and a ton of Jewish people. In high school, I was always slightly jealous that a good chunk of my classmatesdult, neither of these activities strike me as anything odd or bad or strange. got to take extra days off of school (Yom Kippur, Rosh Hashannah, etc.) but they were just ... you know, people to me. Same with gay people. So as an adult, neither of these activities strike me as anything odd or bad or strange.
The moral of the story I guess is that hate is learned.
Well, count me in the "I don't get it" camp. Most Jewish people I know I've met as individuals and I probably have many more Jewish friends and acquaintances I just don't know are Jewish. Religion is mostly a non-issue for me and most Jews seem just like any anglo to me. Stereotyped behaviors, sure, on occasion you see 'em but even I blurt out Yiddish expressions sometimes that I must have picked up from TV and I'm a Southern, German-Irish, Agnostic.
I suspect, as has been mentioned in this thread, this goes back to medieval superstitious animosities that have just been carried through and exaggerated over the centuries. Now, it just seems stupid and worse than that in light of the Holocaust. Though I'm getting a little peeved with degree to which that's used as a cudgel by neocons and others to accuse anyone who challenges their political agenda with anti-semitism.
Our experience with the Orthodox in New York has been almost uniformly bad. (We've had some really bad experiences, though, including a landlord who burnt down a building in our neighborhood when it wasn't zoned to his liking, destroying the artist studios inside.) So I don't particularly like the Orthodox religion and culture, but have no problem with the race. Maybe I'm racist.
Jewish chicks are hot.
What the fuck? Even in the US?Originally Posted by extarbags
They do? I don't know if there is a more friendly, easy-to-know group of people. At least, the younger generations are, I do admit there is a precipitous drop from generation to generation in terms of these things. I also give Jewish people, and the religion as a whole, props for teaching not to push their beliefs into your face like essentially every major Western religion ever. As for being "The Chosen People" - man, what monotheitic religion doesn't imply or outright state that?Originally Posted by Houngan
Anti-semitism in the US came about because Americans bought the Nazi propoganda being disseminated about them for the most part. The ones that emigrated here, many had suffered through a lot in Europe beforehand, and that expressed itself in ways that were misinterpreted as supporting those stereotypes, like being "money-grubbing" as opposed to frugal for survival's sake, "insular" as opposed to being careful not to reveal their heritage for fear of racism or essentially behaving the same way Catholics or Mormons or other religions behave towards those not in their own faith.
All of them?Originally Posted by Rimbo
And to be serious for a moment, I agree that it's in irrational fear. People are most comfortable with what they know. Anything that doesn't fit into that neat little category is oftentimes something to be feared or reviled. Or both, under the right circumstances.
The only explanation I've seen that makes any sense is supersessionism - as long as the Jews prosper, it's a source of serious cognitive dissonance from Christians. It's obviously nowhere near as bad as it used to be, but hey. Constantine's Sword is a good backgrounder, with lots of interesting details about how kings would let only the Jews collect significant rates of interest, then tax them extra for the privilege, then bash them for usury when it was advantageous.
Bill, I think antisemitism existed in the United States before Hitler showed up.
I would refine that statement. My friend Joe's dad sent me to college with this piece of wisdom. "Jewish girls have big tits." He was not wrong. There are exceptions, of course, but wow, I mean.Originally Posted by Bill Dungsroman
My friend Robert's Anglican minister dad sent me to Texas with this piece of wisdom: "Baptist girls will spread their legs for you in an instant." I never found out if he was wrong or not, because a Catholic girl got to me first.
Because (as has been obliquely referenced here), there are stereotypes that while not true for every individual member of a group, do tend to hold true for the group as a generality. For example, Asians in the U.S. would actually seem to be better educated on average, if their rejection from the affirmative action quota system at colleges has any basis in fact.
Likewise, as mentioned, to my understanding, Jews have also historically been denied property ownership in many countries (along with other rights) over the past 2,000 years or so. As was again obliquely referenced in this thread, one of the things they were permitted to do was bank. People who are not allowed to own land and who are permitted to lend money may end up with a lot of wealth in the form of gold, silver, jewelry, and other easily commodifiable property, compared to the average. Thus you get "stereotypes" about a culture that were likely actually true (Jews have "money," or are preoccupied with precious metals, etc.) as a generality. Their being true may be because of anti-semitic laws in their own right, but that does not change their applicability as a generality.
How does that lead to hatred? I don't know, possibly in the same way that a lot of blacks hate educated Koreans and other Asians who on average are more successful, have more money, and understand how to exploit other humans better than the average black person does. In their eyes, Asians come into their communities with overpriced grocery and convience stores and gouge the local population. There may be some fact behind this, but the "truth" is in the eye of the beholder (just as Jews would say the fact that they value education and giving their children an advantage more than other cultures/groups is the fault of those who don't have such values, Asians do not tend to believe it is their fault that they value education more highly than the community in Compton does).
Fair enough. Didn't help, though.Originally Posted by Jason McCullough