I accept that I’m hated
Antisemitism is all over the international news these days, but living in Israel, I don’t have to face any of it directly. Still, I am pained to my core at what I’ve been reading in the press; and I am distressed that the idea of my traveling anywhere abroad feels more threatening than usual. As a Jew, it’s impossible for me to not take Jew hatred personally.
On the other hand, depressing though this is, antisemitism is deeply baked into my Jewish identity; it never surprises me. I perceive it as an eternal phenomenon, and all that changes is the degree to which it gets expressed. It’s often noted that antisemitism is the oldest hatred; and this, I think, is the truth. Antisemitism was, is, and always will be.
It’s sad, but sometimes I wonder whether we Jews would still be around if wasn’t for antisemitism. If we hadn’t been so hated throughout our history, would we have retained our identities as Jews? As a proud Jew, would I rather that my people cease to exist as a distinct entity (due to the natural human inclination towards assimilation) but also cease to be hated? Or would I rather retain my connection to my millennia-old heritage and accept that somebody somewhere is bound to hate me and my family for merely existing? Given those alternatives, I proudly choose my national identity.
It’s not that I want to be hated; but I accept that it is inevitable. Jew hatred is a form of xenophobia, meaning fear of the unknown. Human beings naturally fear that which is different and unknown, and maintaining a distinct national identity (i.e. ‘Jewish’), apart from the majority of one’s society, makes one different.
But it also feels good to feel loved
Speaking personally, I think that being a member of a minority group that has been hated by so many people throughout the course of its history has made me a kinder and more empathetic person. Antisemitism saddens me, but not only as a distinct phenomenon faced by my people. More broadly, racism, misogyny, homophobia, and all other forms of baseless hate that are directed at human beings tie my stomach in knots. It’s hard for me to even write this paragraph because of the images and emotions it brings up for me.
In fact, the subject of hate isn’t even something that I want to be writing about in the first place.
With my mother visiting us now from the USA, we’ve had some political conversations and exchanged notes about what’s going on in our respective home countries. The subject of antisemitism, of course, has arisen.
In one of our conversations, upon reflection, I noted that I have been very encouraged by the support and love that I have received on WordPress from readers all over the world. I haven’t had to delete a single antisemitic or anti-Israeli comment. If anything, I’ve only received comments of kindness, concern, and sincere human empathy. This is hard for me to share publicly because it makes me feel vulnerable… but your support means a tremendous deal to me.
I would imagine that most members of all minority groups expect to be mindlessly hated by fearful, ignorant people, as I do, and that they, like I, accept xenophobia as par for the course…
But it also feels good to feel loved.
People need to spread love towards strangers. We all bleed the same blood and we are all part of a global community now.–Aloe Blacc (b. 1979)