I wrote this “Epilogue” as final chapter to my book about a year ago as revue of the evidence for a next and final Final Solution to Christendom’s millennial Jewish Problem perhaps a year ago. And, as the next segment describes, I considered alternate temporary refuges should Diaspora Jewry en masse realize the danger and decide, and choose a Jewish solution over the obvious if not imminent Christian solution to its Jewish Problem. More recently I realized two things. One, as anti-Jewish prejudice seamlessly passed from religion-dominated to secularism, so today has antisemitism gone viral on the internet (See Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, The Devil that Never Dies, 2013). I won’t here enter into a discussion of schadenfreude, the joy of torturing the weak and defenseless. But that is one factor at play. As regards my own purpose in writing this book I no longer consider that even temporary refuge is secure outside Israel.
My second concern motivating my search for alternate sites of temporary refuge was Israel ability to absorb a mass immigration. With roughly six million Jews living in Israel, and an equal number in the Diaspora, how could a state smaller than Rhode Island absorb another six million Jews? But an even smaller Israel and far poorer and minus a modern technological infrastructure managed to reach out to Jewish communities facing threat and successfully absorb 700,000 Jews nearly doubling its population between 1948 and 1952!
With these consideration in mind I am entirely revising my Epilogue. And so a reminder that that which will appear over the next three weeks is, as the saying goes, “old news!”
This will be the final in the series begun some years ago towards my intended book, America the Exception? Jewish Denial in the Twenty-first Century. That project, much of which appeared in this last round of "blogs," is nearing completion and I have begun writing another "book," The Jewish Problem, from Christian Anti-Judaism to Secular Antisemitism. I am grateful to all who have followed and contributed to the development my thought in the past, and hope to profit from you in the future.
Three tasks were set for the book and two have been addressed. The first was to describe the origins, development and continuing search for a “solution” to Christianity’s Jewish Problem. Seventy years ago that religion-based problem took on a decidedly modern secular form in the thus far failed Final Solution.
The second was to discuss Jewish reluctance to accept that the Holocaust was a continuation of, rather than departure from, history. As outlined throughout these pages the evidence from Diaspora history spanning two-thousand years and counting is that Christianity’s efforts at solving its Jewish Problem have resulted in a long string of failures, only the most recently of which was the Holocaust. And clearly the recent Final Solution was not an aberration “perpetrated by a mad man” as many prefer, but rather the most recent attempt in a continuing historical process. The 20th century provides us a warning and description our future, our alternative to action.
And Israel, created by the Diaspora as refuge; not even Israel seems consistently or fully aware that our collective history, the history of the Jewish people, describes our collective future. Certainly the danger to Israel from immediate neighboring threats demands priority. But plans need also be in place for that for which the state was created, refuge for our Diaspora. Zionism was response to western antisemitism, to Christianity’s Jewish Problem. The need for Israel to serve as refuge today is far more obvious today anticipating Christendom’s next, and likely final, solution. That which all apparently prefer to deny.
The third objective for this book is to begin a dialogue of possible non-lethal alternatives, a “Jewish solution” to Christendom’s final solution to its Jewish Problem.
II. The Jewish Problem revisited
Christian anti-Judaism represents an eternal and lethal danger to Jews due to its origins in Christian scripture, its “inerrant Word of God.” Rosemary Ruether, the renowned Catholic theologian, clearly describes the Jewish Problem as “the left hand of Christology” in her book, Faith and Fratricide. Jewish survival in the post-messianic world represents a fundamental threat to Christianity. From its beginnings Christianity described itself the “new” Israel having replaced Judaism. By Judaism’s continuing survival as “living religion” in Christianity’s “post-messianic” world, its claim to having “replaced” Judaism in God’s favor is clearly disputed. Else why would God have provided the survival of those accused of murdering His son? Christianity’s Jewish Problem is the very existence of Jews and Judaism!
Anti-Judaism first chorological appearance is Paul’s epistles. The gospels, transcribed decades and more later, pick up the polemic and dramatically demonize “the Jews.” The “John" gospel repeatedly identifies “the Jews” as antichrist and “children of Satan.” John 8:44, as one example, has Jesus describe Jews as belonging, “to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father''s desires.”
The Late Middle Ages posed many challenges to Europe’s population. From disappointment over Jesus failed return as anticipated to harsh weather reducing harvests; from the challenge of an expanding Islam to the devastation of the Black Plague. Life and faith were under constant threat and beyond human control. And frightened and helpless people responded with supernatural and superstitious explanations. Witches and werewolves appear in the Middle Ages. And most importantly, Christ’s enemy Satan was a real force of malevolence in the world, and if Satan was never quite visible, his “children” were neighbors to Christians. And “the Jews” were always available as outlet for Christian anxiety.
In Matthew, 27:22-25 the gospel ironically portrays a Roman governor as almost “Christian.” Pontius Pilate is sitting in judgment over Jesus. Naïve and apparently clueless regarding Jesus’ crimes, in exasperation the Roman “washes his hands” of the trial and turns over responsibility for judgment and execution to “the Jews.” It is “the Jews” who, in all gospels, are portrayed as representing Roman judgment and Roman punishment. And as if the accusation of “deicide” alone were insufficient, “Matthew” has them demand, “His blood is on us and on our children!” condemning all generation and forever of collective guilt for the crime. The path to the Holocaust had be defined.
As early as the Second Century, Matthew 27:25s deicide charge would condemn and provide eternal justification for the punishment of Jews.
It is in the very foundational document of Christian faith that serve as the source of a historically-supported, deep-seated and unpredictably violent antipathy towards Jew and Judaism in Western civilization. It is a reality from which neither the Jewish People nor Christianity/Christendom has any possibility of escape. Chapter One allowed prominent Christian theologians from Catholic and Protestant streams to describe the consequences of the Jewish Problem theologically for Christianity, lethally for the Jewish people. All, Jew and Christian, agree that antisemitism must be addressed; and all seem to believe the only effective means to do so is through education. For several centuries Jews and our organizations have made much effort towards “educating” antisemitism away. It is fair to ask how effective those effort have been?
According to national and international surveys, education has some impact on short-term memory, but negligible impact long-term. In 1932 Germany elected the rabidly antisemitic National Socialists under Hitler and embarked on the continental bloodbath now know as “the Holocaust.” And polls taken in the decades before and following the Holocaust describe antisemitism among non-Jewish Americans as little different from that of Nazi Germany.
American antisemitism today is mostly “invisible-in-view.” During and after the First World War American Jews, including American Zionists, described the United States as “exceptional” compared to antisemitism elsewhere in the Diaspora. Since life was “secure” in America, the purpose and justification for an “American Zionism” was to build a homeland in Palestine for our needy co-religionists “over there.” Not long after Zionism arrived in America the U.S. Congress slammed the door to Jewish immigration. The 1921 racist Immigration Restriction Act was, on reflection, judged not sufficiently restrictive Congress invited a leading eugenicist to guide the revision for the 1924 Act which would later condemn European Jewry to its fate.
But in spite of obvious antisemitism surrounding them, America’s Jews still insisted America “exceptional.”
After the war eugenics identification as inspiration for Nazi race policy and racism in the United States lost favor as a national icon, is no longer an obvious threat to Jews and other minorities. But the Jewish Problem remains and antisemitism, as repeatedly demonstrated by Anti-Defamation League surveys of non-Jewish Americans, remains stable over the decades. By ADL’s estimates, in 2011 more than fifty-million Americans were “extremely antisemitic.” And Europe, actually site of the Holocaust, antisemitism has again resurfaced as a “legitimate” political issue, with racist political parties again represented in European legislatures.
Previous Chapters as Background to this Epilogue: