The "Fourth Mutation of Anti-Semitism"
\r\nLord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks: Anti-Semitism is a virus that \r\nmutates. I begin, you know, with the Hellenistic Age where a lot of \r\npeople think anti-Semitism began. Actually I say although the Greeks \r\nand Romans didn’t all like the Jews, there was nothing personal. It’s \r\nexactly like the mafia say when they’re about to shoot you, nothing \r\npersonal, strictly business.
\r\nSo anti-Semitism stage one, really got personal with the birth of \r\nChristianity and the disappointment of Christians that Jews did not \r\naccept one of their own as the messiah. And that really was personal \r\nbecause that was a hatred of Jews not of people in general.
\r\nThe next mutation took place around 1096 with the massacre of Jewish \r\ncommunities in northern Europe during the First Crusade. And that’s \r\nwhen Jews became not just the people who rejected Christianity but a \r\ndemonic force. They became the infidel, the anti-Christ, the children \r\nof Satan who poisoned wells, desecrated the host and killed Christian \r\nchildren to use their blood to make matzo, the blood libel, that was \r\ndemonic antic-Judaism.
\r\nMutation three, we can date to 1879 with the birth of this new word, \r\nanti-Semitism. And that was not religious hostility to Judaism but \r\nracial hostility to Jews and that was serious, because in the end \r\nChristians could work for the conversion of Jews. You can change your \r\nreligion but you can’t change your race. And therefore all you could \r\ndo, was, to, God forbid, work for the extermination of the Jews so I’m \r\nafraid the Holocaust was already implicit in that word itself.
\r\nThe fourth mutation that we’re living through now is demonic \r\nanti-Zionism. It’s focused not on Jews as individuals but Jews as a \r\nnation in their own sovereign state and it accuses Israel of essentially\r\n all the ills that medieval Christians… you know, we don’t poison wells \r\nbut we do poison the world peace. We we’re responsible for every kind \r\nof distress in the universe. Seventy percent of Pakistan in the days \r\nfollowing 9/11 thought that it had been done by the Israelis. The \r\nIsraelis were blamed for the tsunami at the end of 2004. They’ve been \r\nblamed for more or less everything and since ipso facto, every Jew is a \r\nZionist, then every Jew is a legitimate cause for attack. And that is \r\nthe new anti-Semitism that’s been born in our time.
\r\nIt’s every bit as dangerous as the others but my argument is that Jews \r\nmust never fight anti-Semitism alone. The victim cannot cure the \r\ncrime. The hated cannot cure the hate. And so I’m glad to say Britain \r\nhas become the first country and surely won’t be the last, where the \r\nfight against anti-Semitism is led by non-Jews.
\r\nQuestion: Who is leading the fight in Britain against anti-Semitism?
\r\nLord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks: Well, it’s led by a parliamentary \r\ncommittee on anti-Semitism. People of all parties who monitor on a \r\nregular basis, all forms of anti-Semitism, that report is fed back into \r\ngovernment which assembles an inter-departmental committee, all the \r\ndepartments of government that have any bearing on it, education, \r\nhealth, home office and all that stuff, and all of those committees come\r\n together and interface with the Jewish organizations that deal with the\r\n symptoms of anti-Semitism. So it is basically a government led \r\nactivity. And in 2009, the British home office and foreign office \r\nconvened for the first time, an international conference of \r\nparliamentarians to fight against anti-Semitism. Almost all the \r\nparticipants were not Jewish. And this conference was held and hosted \r\nby the British government. The next government to do so has been the \r\nCanadian government which will be doing so this year. And so we’ve \r\ntaken this and refused to live by this maxim that we are the people who \r\ndwell alone. It is true that we have enemies but it is also true that \r\nwe have many very good friends.
Recorded on May 24, 2010
Interviewed by Jessica Liebman
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