Our 10 year old daughter asked me two nights ago why people hate Jews? I’ve thought about this a lot.
The explanations that I’ve come up with are: 1. Perhaps we Jews are just fundamentally evil? 2. People misunderstand, and fear Jews.
I’m clearly biased, being a Jewish Israeli. I don’t believe that we are fundamentally evil. I happen to know many Jews, and there are about as many wonderful, kind, and caring Jews as there are mean, and misguided Jews as you’d expect in any population group.
That brings me to door number 2. So I explained to our daughter that people have singled Jews out as the Bad People going back thousands of years (literally).
Why? Good question. My guesses are because we are different, have unfamiliar practices, and stubbornly don’t go extinct.
I also explained to our daughter that although we originally came from this land we now call Israel several thousand years ago, and were mostly exiled, starting with the Ancient Greeks and Romans, we have maintained a continuous presence of some kind for much of that time.
To add to that, Arabs did settle here while we were in exile, and have been in this land for centuries.
So it’s not surprising that our eventual return to this land in greater numbers starting around the late 1800s (if I understand correctly), and eventual formation of Israel
would be fraught with challenges, primarily conflict with the Arabs who identify as Palestinians, and who regarded us Jews as most unwelcome invaders.
That said, we have yearned to return to our home, the land we originally came from, for millennia.
I also explained to our daughter that she doesn’t need to feel ashamed to be a Jew. When I said this, she looked at me with a sadness I rarely see in her.
We Jews are not perfect. We do our best to be decent people, good parents, good neighbors, and productive citizens.
We also make mistakes. Everyone does.
We have also made many wonderful, positive contributions to this world in our history.
We are Jews, and have a culture and history that we can be proud of. We will always be hated, attacked, blamed. We are also no longer defenceless victims
Update (2021-05-19): I came across this tweet that I thought I’d add to this post: