Hated, but also loved

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)

81 thoughts on “Hated, but also loved”

    1. Jenny, we’re really fine. Thank you. It’s just the news from all around the world that gets me down. These feel like very scary times, and I’m not usually one to make overly melodramatic statements 😦

      Yours,
      David

      1. I am glad you are all OK. I saw the news about Israel here in England. I have been worrying about you all. I am very glad you are OK. The news seems unreal at the moment. Sending you all our best wishes from the UK

  1. While everyone experiences hatred and prejudice to some degree, I do believe the Jewish people have suffered the most. Satan hates whatever God loves. While God loves us all, the Jewish people were the chosen race for the Messiah to come from. I feel that is why the Jewish people suffer the most. I wouldn’t be considered a minority, so I guess I’m a majority? Anyways, you can trust me on this, we are much hated too. It doesn’t make sense to hate someone for their DNA, but it abounds anyways.

  2. Good post, David. It was an interesting perspective I haven’t considered before. I’ve often wondered why anti-Semitism is the oldest hatred. I think your explanation makes as much sense as anyone I’ve heard: Simply because Jews are different. I guess that hatred usually doesn’t make sense.

    I’ve also been saddened by the spike in anti-Semitism, especially here in the States. However, I’m glad that the WP community has given you so much support. One thing blogging on WP has taught me is that we are a global community, like the quote says.

  3. David–I believe that their is a great spiritual battle going on–and the Jewish people have been targeted by the Evil One, because through them the Messiah would come. I believe that this is the source of all the hatred your people have endured. Daniel 7-9/ Revelations 12 & 13
    I for one am grateful to God for you and your people, and I am not the only one–there are many, many, many more. May our voices be heard over all the voices of hate.

  4. My daughter worked one summer for the ADL, and she said she was surprised at the amount of antisemitism in NY and NJ. Whenever a Jewish friend voiced their support for Trump because of Israel, I thought to myself, “You’re going to rethink that when all the hatred and discord he is stirring up gets pointed, as it inevitably will, at the Jewish people. Because they are always a convenient target.
    I admire your calm and always thoughtful comments on the complexity of learning to live peacefully with each other. What a mess we have made of it. (K)

    1. Because they are always a convenient target.

      *sigh*

      Thank you for your continued wise and kind comments, Kerfe. I write as I do because it keeps me sane – I need to consider the facets of these complicated issues, else I tend to get sucked into emotional spirals and can’t distinguish between related matters that people needlessly conflate…

  5. David, it takes courage to show vulnerability, especially publicly. Senseless hatred and prejudice toward others is a deeply troubling and impossible topic to comprehend; it takes courage to write about this topic. You are a brave person and poet. One of the things that initially interested me in your site was learning about your Jewish faith. Like I have said previously, I have learned a great deal from you and I appreciate that. Perhaps what I have learned from you I could have read in a book or in another format, but it is more meaningful to learn directly from someone walking and living in a particular faith, especially someone as engaging as you. I am grateful for the connection and education found here.

      1. Ahhhh, shucks. 😊 That is very sweet of you to say. πŸ™πŸ» I suppose the only way I can maintain my level of sweetness if by using real sugar – authentic and genuine. No fake sugar here! 😁 Thank you!

  6. It is clear that anti-Semitism has been around for a long time. I fear it is not going away. When I was traveling in the early 2000s I considered going to Israel. I wondered if I would be safe. Being a “cultural” Jew as I label myself groups. , I feared I would not be safe from any groups. I regret not taking a trip there while I was able to travel.

    I have always felt “different” from everyone else. My pride in my Jewish heritage has brought me face to face with haters. It makes no sense to me. I am sensitive to everyone’s feelings of being the outsider.

    My blind hope of “Let’s all get along,” keeps my heart open to possibilities.

    1. I don’t hope that we’ll “all get along” because I don’t think we ever will, but I do live by that and encourage it in others… I think hate will always be a force to be reckoned with, but the tide can be pushed back, at least to some extent.

      I’m sorry you had to face antisemitism yourself, Lauren 😦

      ❀
      David

  7. People deficient in self-esteem always put others down in order to elevate themselves. Many enlightened people everywhere love their fellow man and appreciate differences. It is the few loud haters who get noticed most.

    WordPress is made up of some very kind and supportive people. I appreciate you, always supportive and loving to others. David, know that you are appreciated and loved by your fellow bloggers! ❀

  8. Oh David,
    Thank. you for your honesty and sharing your feelings with us David. It breaks my heart for you and others to have to go through this. I am sooooo sorry truly for these despicable hate crimes and comments throught history. It is unfathomable to me.

    Your lines so true deeply saddens me:

    “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. β€˜Jewish’), apart from the majority of one’s society, makes one different.”

    The words that echo in my mind at the moment are “father forgive them for they know not what they do”. I am not particularly religious but those words scream out of me at the moment. No person should ever have to hide their identity and be subject to this horrible separation and hate.

    You are love and loved by all of us here in WP and I’m glad you feel loved and cared for by us. I respect you for standing up and speaking up no matter how hard it is. My biggest dream is that we can all come together in peace and harmony no matter who we are but this is planet earth …. a training ground until we get it right. I applaud you for standing in your faith and truth and so glad you had a great visit with your mom. πŸ’–πŸ’–β€οΈβ€οΈπŸ€—πŸ€—πŸŒˆπŸ™πŸ™πŸ™πŸ™

    1. father forgive them for they know not what they do…

      Cindy, I’m not such a believer myself, but I agree with this sentiment. Haters truly do not comprehend what they do, I think, and their lives are very small. I feel bad for them too.

      😦
      David

  9. The Trump presidency gave permission to the gullible to act out their basest emotions and give vent to previously unacceptable behavior. Now it is like trying to close Pandora’s box. You are so right that anti-Semitism has been around for eons. My ancestors escaped Russia and Europe and made a home in the US. Many assimilated and others kept their Jewish identity hidden (not passing their heritage to their children). So here I am – a Roman Catholic convert from a Protestant background. My cousin is an Orthodox Jew living in Israel. Funny how that works. Perhaps because of my background and the inclusivity of my upbringing, I have tried to accept and be kind to all. The kindness showered on others in the WP community is real. We all need to feel love in our lives – that is what makes us uniquely human.

  10. Regarding “a natural tendency to assimilate,” there was a Russian saying about Jews who managed to change the infamous fifth line (Nationality – Jewish) in their internal passports: ‘Π‘ΡŒΡŽΡ‚ Π½Π΅ ΠΏΠΎ паспорту, Π° ΠΏΠΎ ΠΌΠΎΡ€Π΄Π΅.’ The best I can translate it is ‘They don’t hit your passport, they hit your face.’ Perhaps you can do better.
    Antisemitism is like Lenin, “lived, lives, and will live,” until Mashiach comes and straightens everything out.
    Meanwhile, please be safe!
    Much love,
    D

      1. In addition to my college classes, I also teach the same course at a girls’ seminary (AKA The Teaching Institute of America) located at one of the local shuls. During the past two weeks, starting with Shavuot, someone has been depositing a Ziploc bag with feces on the porch. I suppose we have to be thankful it’s not a bomb, but what kind of a human being would do something that disgusting?
        Having survived life in Soviet regime, I personally feel safe everywhere, but antisemitism is definitely felt here more than before.
        Love,
        D

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