The 7 Poisonous Fabrications of Antisemitism

Image: Thomas Klikauer +

A recent book detailing the seven most poisonous fabrications that make antisemitism possible starts by asking: “Why have the Jews been so despised and so brutalized throughout history?” Another book with potential answers is Why the Germans? Why the Jews?, which follows up on reasons such as envy, race hatred, and the prehistory of the Holocaust. After all, it was the Germans, and above all Germany’s Nazis, who drove antisemitism to the most obscene heights ever witnessed. Unsurprisingly, the word “antisemitism” dates back to a German, the antisemitic agitator Wilhelm Marr and the year 1879.

Before getting deeper into antisemitism’s seven toxic fabrications, one must clarify that the word “antisemitism” is commonly spelt “Anti-Semitism”. It is probably preferable to follow Lipstadt’s masterpiece Denying the Holocaust in spelling antisemitism with a small “a”, since spelling it with a capital “A” would only elevate antisemitic ideology, which is what Holocaust deniers want.

Among the diverse reasons for antisemitism is that the Jew, always a minority, is a convenient scapegoat. Another, and also a rather common explanation, is that antisemitism comes from jealousy for Jewish success. Jews are also hated because of how he or she is perceived to think and what s/he represents.

In the 1930s, German Nazism added race to antisemitism. After that, the Jew was the target of hate just for being a Jew and for being part of something that does not exist: the Jewish race. Countless victims of the Nazi terror probably didn’t understand the “race” aspect and thought: “I have done nothing wrong.” According to Nazi ideology, Jewish people did not need to do anything wrong, being Jewish was enough.

In its institutional form, Nazism might be gone, but antisemitism is not. Today, we know, as Truman and then Madelaine Albreit said: “It is easier to remove tyrants and destroy concentration camps than to kill the ideas that gave them birth and strength.”

Antisemitism lives on. It is not at all surprising to find that a 2020 US poll found three remarkable falsehoods:

1) A majority of Americans thought the number of Jews killed in the Holocaust was a third of the actual number;

2) nearly half were unable to name a single concentration or death camp;

3) one in ten believed the Jews had caused the Holocaust.

Perhaps even worse than what Americans believe are the 14,000 antisemitic messages sent to Jewish institutions in Germany in recent years.

Much of antisemitism dates back to mediaeval Europe where many – not too democratic – “laws” were enacted to isolate the Jews. In one example, in Basel in the year 1434, Jews were forbidden from getting academic degrees. Jewish people could not enter a mediaeval guild.

With the escalation of nationalistic ideologies and nation states, the Jews “became” a problem to be solved. Actually, Jewish people did not simply “become” a problem to be solved. Rather, they were made into a problem. Of course what eventually followed was the Holocaust – the final fulfilment of every antisemitic fantasy.

Today, the question, Why the Jews? remains no longer completely unresolved. A recent book by Alex Ryvchin made a valuable contribution to solving this question. In addition, there is Götz Aly’s book, which is not off the mark either.

When considered in earnest, it is very convincing that each of the 2700 antisemitic attacks, each synagogue shooting, can be attributed to one of the seven toxic fabrications of antisemitism:

1) The Blood Libel;
2) Christ-killers;
3) Global Domination;
4) the Chosen;
5) Money;
6) Dual Loyalties; and
7) Oppressed to Oppressors.

The hallucination of Blood Libel started on 23 March 1475 when a young boy named Simon Unferdoren disappeared. The mysterious disappearance, and the speculative hallucinations about it, led to the invention of one of the most bizarre, antisemitic, and dangerous legends ever created by sheer human imagination. This antisemitic fabrication even influenced one of the worst antisemites ever – Heinrich Himmler – when writing in 1943, “we should proceed to investigate ritual murder among the Jews”, which might have come from him reading about the Massena Blood Libel.

This was an instance of Blood Libel against Jews in which the Jews of Massena, New York, were falsely accused of the kidnapping and ritual murder of a Christian girl in September 1928. The girl was found in the woods later that afternoon roughly a mile from her home. She told authorities she had become lost during her walk and slept in the forest.

This insane – and yet politically useful – notion continues with people like Recep Tayyip Erdogan who, in 2021 said, “the Jews are murderers who kill children … sucking their blood.” The myth of Blood Libel is by no means just a feature of medieval Europe – it is present today.

A close runner-up, in second place, is the myth: Christ-killers. The Christ-killer libel also established the Jews as seeking the destruction of Christianity and Christians. Not surprisingly, super-antisemite Martin Luther once said: “If they could kill us all, they would gladly do so.” Wasn’t it the other way around? One is hard pressed to remember a pogrom of Jews against Christians. Interesting to know is that it was only in 1965 that the official rejection by the Church of the Christ-killer libel was announced. Yet the libel found renewed expression in Mel Gibson’s 2004 feature film The Passion of Christ.

Just like the Christ-killers, those organizing the so-called Jewish Global Domination also organize the secret meeting of Jewish elders. Of course, the mere 15 million Jews on earth will find it easy to dominate the world’s eight billion people! Alone in terms of numbers, the conspiratorial mirage of Jewish world domination is an utter impossibility, even if all fifteen million were to agree on such an undertaking. As an old proverb puts it: “two Jews, three opinions.”

Yet, the myth of the Jewish global conspiracy continues. Essential to this delusion is one of the most horrific fraudulent documents to ever express antisemitism: The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. The fall of Europe’s last absolute monarchy, in Russia in 1917, raised The Protocols to the level of prophecy. After numerous investigations, particularly by the Russian historian Vladimir Burtsev, it was definitively and conclusively revealed that The Protocols were forgeries compounded by officials of the Russian secret police out of the satire of Joly – a fantastic novel (Biarritz) by Hermann Goedsche, and other sources.

Despite their obvious fictional content, among Russian reactionaries The Protocols became part of the conspiracy theory of Judaeo-Bolshevism. Almost self-evidently, The Protocols also played a role in the Nazi’s Rassenkampf or race war, along with the Nazi admiration of Henry Ford, who facilitated the publication of The Protocols in his private newspaper, the Dearborn Independent,

This links to myth 4 – the Chosen. Antisemitic beliefs hold that Jews think they’re better than other people. Sigmund Freud suggested the Chosen concept was the very origin of antisemitism. According to standard antisemitism, the Chosen people also have money (myth 5). And, naturally, the Jew’s loyalty is not just to money but feeds into their so-called Dual Loyalties (myth 6). Myth 6 allows antisemitism to question the loyalty of the Jews, as the infamous Dreyfus Affair has shown so brilliantly. Even Tricky Dicky – aka Richard Nixon – questioned Kissinger’s loyalty, once saying “the Jews are born spies.”

This leads us to the final fable (7): Oppressed to Oppressors. One marked expression of the 7th myth of antisemitism appeared in May 2010 when the words Free Gaza and Palestine were graffitied on the wall of the Warsaw Ghetto. The perpetrators had deliberately chosen the site. Yet, what is happening in Gaza is very different from what Germans did in the Warsaw Ghetto, where cases of hunger cannibalism were recorded. Jews died during physical effort, such as searching for food, and sometimes even with a piece of bread in their hands. Eventually, Germany’s SS deported them to the Treblinka death camp, where virtually all were killed by poison gas.

Misinformation can worsen the situation, especially when people like Ken Livingston – a former mayor of London – claim that Hitler was supporting Zionism before he went mad and ended up killing six million Jews. Correcting the record, one needs to say, Hitler at no point supported an independent Jewish state. The notion is preposterous. His goal was Jewish destruction, not Jewish national liberation.

One conclusion is that antisemitism has hardened the Jewish people, bettered them, endowed them with the fortitude and purpose to endure in a savage world. Yet, antisemitism remains an inescapable part of being Jewish.

It is important to note: to believe the myths, to fear or hate or harm a person because of them is to suffer from defective reasoning, paranoia and a weak and wayward mind.

In a recently published and most exquisite book on antisemitism, the author – Alex Ryvchin – closes with: “My hope for this book is that by exposing the squalor of antisemitism, people will be less susceptible to it, less manipulated by it, and the tie that binds the hands of the Jewish people, and of all humanity, will be loosened.”

Thomas Klikauer is the author of German Conspiracy Fantasies – out now on Amazon! Danny Antonelli grew up in the USA, now lives in Hamburg, Germany and writes radio plays, stories and is a professional lyricist and librettist.