According to a recent survey conducted by the Antidefamation League (ADL), disturbingly large numbers of Americans answered “yes” when asked if they believe Jews “go out of their way to hire other Jews” or “are more loyal to Israel than to America,” and to other similar questions. Kevin Williamson reflects on these results, and what they say about the persistence of this “strange prejudice.”
About 3 percent of Americans agreed that all of the anti-Semitic tropes in the ADL survey are “mostly or somewhat true,” suggesting that there are millions more anti-Semites in the United States than there are Jews. This is not entirely surprising, given the small size of the Jewish population.
Anti-black racism has of course been the most consequential prejudice in American history, but anti-Semitism remains strangely vital. Like its cousin, anti-Catholicism, anti-Semitism is more than a prejudice and more than a visceral hatred—it is, in its most extreme form, a kind of “theory of everything” in politics. Anti-black racism may exist with or without an attendant conspiracy theory, but anti-Semitism is almost without exception rooted in a conspiratorial view of the world. The fact that anti-Semitic incidents are on the rise on college campuses is entirely predictable in that campus culture is as much conspiracy-driven as talk-radio culture or Fox News culture, with different villains and a slightly more refined rhetoric: not “Jews” pulling the strings from the shadows, but “Zionists.”
Williamson also notes the confusion, and the bad faith arguments, that have emerged from the term “anti-Semitism.”
The Semitic languages famously include both Hebrew and Arabic, but also Amharic, Tigrinya, Tigre, Aramaic, and Maltese. But when T. S. Eliot wrote, “But this or such was Bleistein’s way:/ A saggy bending of the knees/ And elbows, with the palms turned out,/ Chicago Semite Viennese,” he wasn’t talking about the Catholics down in sunny Malta.
Read more on Dispatch: https://thedispatch.com/newsletter/wanderland/the-strangeness-of-psychotic-jew-hatred/