The word Anti-semitism has been far too often overused. Coined by a German Jewhater it has long since lost its meaning and become a cliche, a punch line. To accuse someone of Anti-semitism today is to be laughed at.
The larger problem though is not that Anti-semitism is so prevalent that it has become a cliche, but that the very notion has at its heart a fundamental error. Both Jews and non-Jews treat the hatred of Jews as an expression of bigotry, as if it was racism directed at blacks or asians. Yet it is nothing of the kind. Hatred of Jews is not racial because indeed it is found at least as prevalent among Jews as non-Jews.
When Jews experience it from another Jew, their response is to call it self-hatred; but such a description which accurate enough in many ways as we shall see, it also woefully inadequate. The false distinction made between Anti-semitism by non-Jews which we describe as a kind of racial hatred and hatred of Jews by Jews which we describe as self-hatred is no distinction at all. They both hate the very same thing. It is only when we understand this that we can move towards an accurate understanding of the problem. In an era when our enemies are as likely to have the name Finkelstein or Chomsky as Duke or Farrakhan, denying the pervasiveness and vigor of Jewish Anti-semitism is delusional and dangerous.
The Jewish physician Dr. Leon Pinsker preferred the term, 'Judeophobia' to the word Anti-Semitism coined by German nationalist and professional Jewhater, Wilhelm Marr. The term 'Judeophobia' is far more accurate descriptive of the phenomenon than Anti-semitism for two reasons.
First of all, Judeophobia covers both hatred of Jews by Jews and non-Jews.
Secondly Judeophobia most accurately describes the nature of the hatred of Jews. It is not a prejudice so much as it is a mental illness.
Judeophobes historically tend to fall apart into utter inconsistent ravings when attacking Jews. The Communists have accused the Jews of being in the pay of the Capitalists. The Capitalists accused the Jews of being Communists. The Catholic Church spent endless centuries demanding that Jews convert to Christianity and when they did in Spain, spent the next century persecuting them even more harshly.
Judeophobes frequently demonstrate the symptoms of a phobia and a mental illness when dealing with the Jews. The composer Richard Wagner, who would help to inspire Hitler and Nazism, demanded that a Jewish composer not be allowed to conduct his opera except wearing gloves. Truman's Secretary of Defense James Forrestal began claiming there were Israeli agents behind every rock and finally committed suicide. The insane mathematician John Nash, subject of A Beautiful Mind too quickly created paranoid fantasies involving the Jews. Beginning with the mad syphilitic at the top, Nazi Germany was a conduit for utterly lunatic ravings about the Jews that were yet more symptoms of their insanity.
And Jews are far from immune from such demented behavior. Today Norman Finkelstein has made a career of sneering at the Holocaust. Israel Shamir and Gilad Atzomni pen demented screeds accusing Jews of actual blood libels. The spokesman for Reform Judaism, Rabbi Eric Joffe writes letters to Bush demanding that he pressure Israel. Karl Marx who innovated Marxism accompanied his plans for a new and better world with the usual Anti-semitic rants about the Jews, though he was Jewish himself. From Torquemada chief of the Spanish Inquisition to the Soviet Union's Yevsektsia to the Klan leader who turned out to have been Bar Mitzvah'd, to the ranks of Al Awda and Women in Black; Jews have been in the forefront of hating and persecuting Jews.
Lest anyone think these are extreme examples, consider this. Much of the world agrees on little else except that Israel is the cause of the world's crises. Take together the two major religions of the world in all their various forms and the one thing they agree on is the evils of the Jews. At a time in America when liberals, conservatives, neo-conservatives and even radical Communists could agree on nothing; the one thing they could agree on is that the world would be a better place without Israel and the Jews. How else can we describe this except as Judeophobia, as delusional beliefs given great force in the psyche.
Dr. Pinsker viewed the term Judeophobia as emerging from Demonophobia, or the fear of demons. As most of the world once believed in demons, most of the world believes in the Jewish threat. Unlike other prejudices, location means nothing. Japan is filled with bestsellers about the economic war of the Jews on Japan. Poland which has a bare 3000 Jews left is filled with Anti-Semitic literature. All 1 Billion Muslims who have successfully driven all but a tiny handful of Jews from their lands can think of nothing more, day or night, than a tiny strip of land in which those Jews still remain. What else can this be but madness?
It is time to abandon discussions of Anti-semitism as if it was a racial prejudice that could be resolved with a little communication and exposure and acknowledge and begin to treat Judeophobia for what it is; a mental illness suffered by both Jews and non-Jews.