As many of you know, my dissertation addresses some questions emerging from the long term impact of the Holocaust. Every few weeks, I raise my head from the archival documents, films, memoirs long enough to ask again, "why don't like they Jews?"
That question keeps coming up. No matter how much I research, the question still confounds me.
"Well because they were allegedly responsible for Jesus' death" people offer in response. But my friend, quite adept at ancient history, reminded me 'well, actually that was the Romans." And no one seems to really hate Italians or Romans. The world tends to like, or rather revere, Italians. We just skip over the fascism chapter.
There are a few books circulating that attempt to answer the question of why people hat the Jews...I haven't had the courage to read them all. Some say because the Jews keep to themselves; this made them suspect. But it's just so odd to me that an historically non-violent people that values family, education and quiet religious observance ought to be such a threat or be seen as the cause of bad luck anywhere they reside.
But it's really not that unusual I guess. In Ethiopia, there exists a traditional belief called mingi among the Karo and Hamar tribes. These peoples believe the disabled (adult or child) have impurities that bring evil, disease, and worse to the tribes. So they are murdered and their bodies dumped. And because you cannot easily prove they "don't" cause disease the ritual continues. This is why Karl Popper's work is so important. By discarding theories that are not falsifiable we can avoid generations of insanity.
But it wasn't mingi that helped me understand anti-semitism or the answers others have offered.
It was herpes.
A friend of mine recently explained her plight with oral herpes. She said it disappears for weeks or months, but when she's tired, stressed or run down it returns with a vengance. She has open sores all over her mouth; they can be quite painful.
Herpes is a virus, this means you cannot ever truly be rid of it. It just hangs out in your body like HPV and others, returning when you're off kilter or when things don't seem to be going your way. When you're stressed, scared or panicked.
Kind of like anti-semitism.
I think anti-semitism may just kind of exists on the planet like a virus. When people have a difficult time; famine, poverty, or lack of freedom it flares up like herpes. Anti-semitic graffiti and propaganda are the open sores oozing puss on the world. I don't know the cure for anti-semitism.
There is no known cure for herpes either. You are just a carrier forever, but apparently if you put the essential oil bergamot on the open sores as soon as they appear there is a good chance they will never return.
So, I guess that's what I'd like to find...the bergamot for anti-semitism. The gentle oil we can use on flare up, calming people and helping them redirect that precious energy to finding solutions to their very real and pressing problems.