Jewish paranoia. The phrase is ridiculous.
Paranoia suggests delusion. But they have been hating, expelling, and murdering Jews for being Jews since there were Jews. Until 1965, the Catholic Church taught that the Jews were responsible for the death of Jesus. Anti-Jewish violence was common in both the Christian and Muslim worlds during the Middle Ages (although the Christians were generally worse). Martin Luther wanted to “set fire to their synagogues and schools,” making him an inspiration for German Jew-hatred. Marx, the child of Christianized Jews, saw them as exemplars of everything that was evil about capitalism. Jews in the pre-WWI Russian Empire from which my grandparents escaped were the target of countless pogroms (pogrom is a Russian word derived from a verb that can be translated as “to wreak havoc”). Jews joined the Revolution in the hopes that the new world they believed they were creating would finally be free of the oldest hatred, but it turned out after a few years that a zhid would always be a zhid.
Jews were the enemies of Christ, Christianity, Mohammed, and the working class. They were vicious exploitative capitalists and dangerous Bolshevik revolutionaries. Not allowed to own land or work at trades, they demonstrated their avarice by becoming moneylenders.
The Germans seem to have invented the racial form of Jew-hatred in the latter half of the 19th century, when the likes of Wilhelm Marr explained that the economic, sexual, and other depravity of Jews was not simply a matter of religion or occupation but something inherent in their genes. They didn’t know about DNA yet, but the new ideas of Darwin explained how even Jews that had assimilated and converted to Christianity could be as malevolent as ever. The Nazis later made good use of this idea.
After the war, even the Germans were abashed, although unrepentant Nazis fled to Egypt and Syria to help them develop chemical weapons, because once you start gassing Jews it’s hard to stop. Anyway, antisemitism took a breather in the West, although those Nazis continued teaching the Arabs in the Middle East things they hadn’t known about hating Jews before. The Palestinian Arabs didn’t benefit from German scientists as far as we know, but they had their own Nazi, Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Mufti of Jerusalem and wartime Arabic-language broadcaster from Berlin.
In 1967, the KGB wanted to amass influence in the Arab and Muslim world and stick it to the West, so they heated up the Israeli-Arab conflict. As part of their campaign against Israel, they created the myth of the Palestinian Arabs as a national liberation movement, just like the Viet Cong. The third world and Western virtue-signallers loved it. Later they promoted the idea that Zionism was racism, and got the UN to pass a resolution saying so in 1975. In 2001, the Durban Conference against racism focused almost entirely on the Jewish state. By then, although it still wasn’t cool in the West to admit that you thought Jews were creatures of the Devil, it became acceptable, even admirable, to “criticize Israel” in the extreme, irrational, and obsessive manner formerly reserved for Jews. The so-called “new antisemitism” came into being, in which Israel, the Jew Among Nations, took on the role of the Jewish people.
Israel was accused of every possible crime, especially those crimes that had been perpetrated by the Nazis against the Jews. By definition, Israel could do no right. If Israel was tolerant of homosexuals, then mentioning that fact was forbidden, because it was a trick (“pinkwashing”) to hide the genocide we perpetrated against the Palestinians (the fact that the population of Palestinians had more than tripled since 1970 was ignored).
After a while, people started saying, “if the Jewish state is so unutterably evil, maybe it’s because it’s full of evil Jews,” and old-fashioned Jew-hatred, began to trickle back into public discourse. One neat twist was black antisemitism, which was part of the ideology of the original Nation of Islam (NOI) that started in the US in the 1930s. During the 1960s the mainstream civil rights movement worked closely with Jews and Jewish groups, but the Black Power movement rejected Jewish help, with important personalities like Stokely Carmichael (later called Kwame Ture) turning toward the international Left, especially including the PLO. The NOI’s new leader, Louis Farrakhan, who has been consistently and viciously antisemitic for decades, is a hero for many in the black movement today.
Today the landscape of Jew-hatred in the US includes many on the Left who argue that the connection to Israel automatically taints Jews, unless they are prepared to repudiate the Jewish state and buy into the ideology of Palestinism – which implies the death or dispersal of Israel’s Jews. The ideology of Critical Race Theory that has swept American campuses, and which is more and more permeating the educational system, sees Jews as “white”; that is, as privileged oppressors whose privilege should be eliminated and whose excessive wealth should be distributed to the People of Color they oppress.
At the same time the extreme Right maintains conspiracy theories about Jewish control of the world’s economy and politics, claiming that the Rothschild family and George Soros – who, while of Jewish extraction, is probably the greatest individual non-state enemy of Israel – control everything, including the weather. The existence of social media bubbles has given life to large groups of people who believe more and more fantastic theories, and many of these theories place Jews at the center of conspiracies. This is the source of some of the most violent Jew-hatred, like that which moved Robert Bowers to enter a synagogue in Pittsburgh and murder nine harmless and mostly old Jews (the oldest was 97).
In Europe, while there are still some Nazis running around, most if not all recent murderous antisemitic incidents are the work of young Muslim immigrants who have absorbed the new hybrid of traditional Muslim Quranic Jew-hatred, Nazi conspiracy theories, rage at the “oppression” of Palestinians, and fury at the existence of a sovereign Jewish state on “Muslim land.” Nice combination. In France, the virulence of this condition is shown by the propensity of these young men to murder women and children.
In the UK the flap over Corbyn’s Labour Party, which didn’t end with his resounding loss in the election, continues to expose a combination of so-called “genteel” British antisemitism and more modern left-wing stuff centering on Israel (but clearly being about Jews). And of course there are young Muslims in Britain too.
Herzl and Jabotinsky believed that a Jewish state was absolutely necessary for the survival of the Jewish people, because they would never be granted a place in the non-Jewish world. Jabotinsky saw clearly the explosion of anti-Jewish violence in the future and warned against it. When the Holocaust happened, many people believed that Zionism had now been vindicated by history; and indeed, a Jewish state arose shortly afterwards.
But as we’ve seen, the taboo against Jew-hatred that followed the war only lasted a couple of generations, and it is creeping back in right, left, and religious guises. And the international institutions that were created after the war in order to ensure that the horrors of that period should never be repeated have proven to be weak, and many of them have ironically been turned directly against the very Jewish state that Herzl and Jabotinsky dreamed of but never saw.
It was not unreasonable to think that Jew-hatred would disappear after the war, just as it was not unreasonable to think that the Enlightenment would solve the Jewish problem in 19th century Europe. In both cases it was not to be. One of Herzl’s dreams was that the Jewish state would someday be a “normal” state, like France. This will not happen. Israel will always be the exception, it will always have enemies, it will always attract attention, much of it malign.
No, we aren’t paranoid. The conflict is real. That’s fine. It just makes us stronger.