Antisemitism, a product of reactionary forces

The hatred against Jews is a product of reactionary forces. Christians, Muslims, Hindus and none-religious movements have hated the Jewish religion. The religion of Judea is almost 3500 years old, older then Christianity, older then Islam. It is the first of three Abrahamic religions. Judaism, Christianity and Islam are the religions of the Semitic people. If you call yourself anti-Semitic, you not only hate Jews, but also Christians and Muslims. Revolutionary socialists stand in opposition to antisemitism and we reject hatred of the Jews. As Vladimir Lenin said in his recorded speech in March 1919: ”It is not the Jews who are the enemies of the working people. The enemies of the workers are the capitalists of all countries. Among the Jews there are working people, and they form the majority. They are our brothers, who, like us, are oppressed by capital; they are our comrades in the struggle for socialism”

Jews were hated by many nations and empires. The Roman Empire tolerated them at first, like they did with many religious groups inside their empire. But there were also wars between the Romans and the population of Judea. In 63 BC, the Romans captured Jerusalem and turned Judea into a client kingdom of the Roman Republic. The Herodian Kingdom of Israel was the last Jewish state before the nation became the Province of Judea in 6 AD. In the year 135 AD, a Jewish revolt under Bar Kokhba ended in a genocide, 500.000 Jews were murdered. The Romans decided after the mass-killings to rename Judea, the province was renamed Syria-Palestine. Those who survived the massacre were forced to live in exile, until the State of Israel was founded almost 1813 years later!

The Roman Empire became Christian in 391 AD, when the old gods were banned. Christians are followers of Jesus Christ, a Jewish religious leader who was crucified according to their holy book; the Bible. Antisemitism was strong among Christians because they claimed the Jews betrayed Jesus Christ to the Romans. They also blame the Jews for supporting the Romans in hunting Christians. The Romans did prosecuted them for more then 300 years before they were able to dominate the Roman upper classes. Emperor Constantine was the first emperor to call himself a Christian. Because the Jews reject Jesus as the son of God, they were called heretics by the Roman Christians!

During the dark ages, the collapse of the Roman Empire did not end the hatred many Christians felt towards Jews. Antisemitism became stronger as more kingdoms and empires converted to Christianity. Although never a Christian dogma, antisemitism was very strong at the height of the medieval period ( around 1000 AD ). The Roman Catholic Church used to claim that the Jewish people were collectively responsible for killing Jesus, through the so-called blood curse of Pontius Pilate. It would take 948 years before the Catholic Church ended their antisemitism based on this blood curse dogma!

All Christian dominated nations in Europe were more of less antisemitic. The early Islamic Caliphates were not. Jews were regarded in the same way as Christians, inferior to Islam but still tolerated. Antisemitism in the Islamic world was never very strong, until the State of Israel was created in 1948 AD. Pure Hatred of Jews among Muslims was uncommon. Unlike Christian Europe the Islamic Middle East never prosecuted and murdered Jews the way Europeans did!

In 1543, famous German Reformation leader; Martin Luther wrote one of the first major antisemitic books. He wrote a 65,000-word antisemitic treatise called; ”On the Jews and their lies”. This book would be used for almost 400 years to justify antisemitism among protestant Christians. Martin Luther said that Christians had to carry out seven remedial actions against the Jews. Good protestant Christians were;

  1. to avoid Jewish synagogues and schools and warn people against them;

  2. to refuse to let Jews own houses among Christians;

  3. for Jewish religious writings to be taken away;

  4. for rabbis to be forbidden to preach;

  5. to not offer protection for Jews on highways;

  6. for usury to be prohibited, and for all silver and gold to be removed, put aside for safekeeping and given back to Jews who truly convert; and

  7. to give young, strong Jews flail, axe, spade, spindle, and let them earn their bread in the sweat of their noses.

This antisemitism was only denounced by many Lutheran Churches in Germany after 1968. Many radical protestant Christians would remained loyal to these seven remedial actions until the 1980’s. Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party were able to benefit from Martin Luther’s antisemitism. Hitler shared his believes with millions of Europeans. Catholics and protestants were united in their hatred of Jews and the Nazi Party used this to their advantage. But the Nazi’s were not the only German antisemitic political group!

Until the late 1920’s the leading conservative party in Germany was the main party of antisemitism. The German National People’s Party was founded in 1918 and very anticommunist. Communism for them was a Jewish plot to conquer the world. As Karl Marx was a Jew by birth, the national conservatives called his ideology a ”Jewish conspiracy”. After the Russian Revolution and the establishment of the Soviet-Union, many conservatives were strengthen in their hatred of Jews. Soviet Russia under Lenin rejected antisemitism and denounced the Russian Orthodox Church!

Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party were able to play on anticommunist fear and antisemitism. In 1933, he won 43% of the votes and joined up with the German National People’s Party to form a cabinet. Soon Hitler outmaneuvered his national conservative allies and forced them to join his Nazi Party or end up in a concentration camp. Many national conservatives joined the Nazi Party after 1933!

On the night of 8 to 9 November 1938, the Nazi’s started a massive operation against synagogues and Jewish Germans. Members of the S.A ( Sturmabteilung ) destroyed 7.000 businesses. 30.000 Jews were arrested and send to concentration camps. During the night, the S.A also killed 91 Jews. This became known as Reichskristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass. The S.A was supported by many German civilians, who’s hatred of Jews was fueled by five years of Nazi rule. Many Hiter Youth boys participated in the vandalism and painted Nazi symbols on Jewish houses, stores and synagogues!

At first the Nazi’s tried to expel the Jews to Palestine. This was an idea of the SS led by Heinrich Himmler. But in 1939, Hitler started with the second world war and Palestine was under British colonial rule since 1922. So Himmler came up with the idea to murder all Jews in Europe. This was called the; Final Solution to the Jewish Problem. German officers were told what the plan was during the Wannsee Conference in November 1942. By now many Jews were in camps and although they were dying of torture, bad hygiene or forced labor, no extermination camp was build until after the Wannsee Conference . It was decided to build special camps of mass murder, the most famous of them was Auschwitz-Birkenau. This camp was build in 1940 and expended after 1942 to include gas-chambers, to murder thousands in just hours!

After the allies liberated Europe, it became clear that thanks to European antisemitism, more then 6 million Jews were murdered. Guilty were not only the Germans. Hungarians, Ukrainians and many others joined the Nazi’s in hunting and arresting Jews. There were many Dutch Jew Hunters, who were paid 40 Gulden ( 335 U.S dollars, in today currency ) for every Jew they delivered to the Germans. Pure hatred was the motivation of these Dutch men, who like many others were indoctrinated by their catholic or protestant church to hate the Jews. Antisemitic Ukrainians participated in the murder of 1,3 million Soviet workers and farmers. 80.000 Ukrainians joined the Waffen SS and aided the Germans in fighting the Soviets!

The State of Israel was founded because of the Holocaust and many Europeans supported it. Yet the Arabs who lived in Palestine were not happy. They rejected the Jewish state and fought many wars with Israel. Still thanks to weapons and superior fire power, the State of Israel was able to dominate every conflict. In 1967, they went on the offensive and captured the Gaza Strip and the West-Bank from Egypt and Jordan. Arab Palestinians were told they were now part of Judea, the Palestinian flag was banned, Arabs became second class citizens. Not all Jews supported the actions of Israel, many Orthodox Jews are deeply anti-Zionist. There are also many Israeli leftists of Jewish origin who rejected Zionism, the ideology of the State of Israel. Unfortunate more then 93% of all Israeli’s supported the terror bombing of Gaza in 2014, that killed over 1.900 Palestinians!

Because of the Palestine-Israeli conflict, antisemitism started to expand in the Middle East. Arab leaders called for the destruction of the Jewish state and aided the Palestinians with weapons to fight Israel. The PLO of Yasser Arafat was the biggest Palestinian resistance movement, until the Islamic Resistance ( Hamas ) was created. Arafat led the Palestinian National Liberation Movement or Fatah, until his death in 2004. Today the Palestinian movement is split between Hamas who rules the Gaza Strip and Fatah who rules parts of the West-Bank. Hamas is more popular because they refuse to bow to Israeli terrorism, while Fatah has grown corrupt and has agreed to govern parts of Palestine under Israeli occupation!

Because there is so many hatred of Judaism in the Arab world, the State of Israel has become paranoid and very right-wing nationalist. Anybody who stands in solidarity with the oppressed Palestinian people is called an antisemitic person. Left-wing Israelis who call for a independent Palestinian state are denounced as ”traitors” by the Zionist establishment. Only 7% of all Israelis stood in opposition to the 2014 bombings of Gaza, which killed almost 1.900 Palestinians. Israel claims that the Islamic Resistance or Hamas wants to destroy Israel. They are partly right as Hamas is deeply antisemitic, but this antisemitism is also fueled by the ongoing occupation!

Revolutionary socialists oppose the actions of Israel, but we also reject the violent antisemitic rhetoric of Hamas and other Arab groups. The newly founded Islamic State in parts of Syria and Iraq, is also very much in favor of murdering Jews and destroying all of Israel. Revolutionary socialists reject this hate. We stand for unity between Palestinian workers and Israeli workers. Both working classes must unite in order to overthrow those reactionary forces. In Israel these reactionary forces are deeply anti-Arab and racist. They call for the murder of more Palestinians until the Gaza Strip and the West-Bank are purged from Arabs. Workers must overcome the hatred that their ruling classes create. Antisemitism and hatred of Arabs is a tool used to divide us!

Antisemitism is growing in Europe in 2014. Many young Muslims are brainwashed with old lies spread by reactionary Imams and Arab news-channels. Although the Israeli-Palestinian conflict fuels antisemitism among young Muslims, the main reasons for their hatred lies in the fact that they don’t know Jews. They only know Jews from stories told by their Islamic parents, leaders and communities. Some Jews and Muslims try to fight antisemitism, but very few Muslims are eager to stand up for the Jews. Revolutionary socialists know that the State of Israel is acting criminal, but you cannot generalize all Jews with Zionists. Some Jews will be very anger when you call them a supporter of Israel. So not all Jews are in favor of Zionism. Still there is antisemitism among Islamic youth in Europe, which is a fundamental problem!

These youth are also jealous of many Jews, who they think were all wealthy and rich while they are poor. Poverty among Islamic families is a problem in many EU nations. Because of racial discrimination on the labor market and increasing hatred of Muslims by many Europeans, young Muslims feel like outsiders. They are not Arabic, since most speak European languages, but because of their religion they are also not seen as part of the western culture. Trapped between the secular western world and the Arab world, many young boys are drawn to Islamism to find an identity. Radical Islamic leaders abuse these boys and turn them into Jihad fighters with a deep hatred of secularism, democracy, socialism and the Jews. Revolutionary socialists say that hatred of Muslims must end in Europe, at the same time we also denounce antisemitism among young Muslims.

Vladimir Lenin knew back in 1919 how wrong antisemitism was. He was the first world leader who stood up to European hatred of Jews. In one of his recorded speeches, Lenin spoke about Russian antisemitism in the old Russian Empire under czarism. He denounced it as a product of reactionary forces. During the Russian Civil War, more then 150.000 Jews were murdered by antisemitic and anticommunist forces!

It is not the Jews who are the enemies of the working people. The enemies of the workers are the capitalists of all countries. Among the Jews there are working people, and they form the majority. They are our brothers, who, like us, are oppressed by capital; they are our comrades in the struggle for socialism – Lenin 1919!