After his son had been attacked by anti-Semites, Michael Douglas published a letter in the Los Angeles Times:
“Last summer our family went to Southern Europe on holiday. During our stay at a hotel, our son Dylan went to the swimming pool. A short time later he came running back to the room, upset. A man at the pool had started hurling insults at him.
“My first instinct was to ask, ‘Were you misbehaving?’
“’No,’ Dylan told me through his tears.
“I stared at him. And suddenly I had an awful realization of what might have caused the man’s outrage: Dylan was wearing a Star of David.
“After calming him down, I went to the pool and asked the attendants to point out the man who had yelled at him. We talked. It was not a pleasant discussion. Afterward, I sat down with my son and said: ‘Dylan, you just had your first taste of anti-Semitism.’ …
“My son is strong. He is fortunate to live in a country where anti-Semitism is rare. But now he too has learned of the dangers that he as a Jew must face. It’s a lesson that I wish I didn’t have to teach him, a lesson I hope he will never have to teach his children.”
My name is Michael Laitman. I am a Jew living in Israel. Your story about the experience your son had in Southern Europe touched me deeply. I admire your courage to expose what many fear to open, and your fame gives weight to a sensitive issue that requires scrutiny.
As a Jew who was born in Russia, I had my share of anti-Semitic experiences. Like you, they did not weaken me, but helped shape my Jewish identity, eventually leading to my emigration to Israel. You could say that anti-Semites forged my Zionism.
My many years of scientific research studying philosophy, Kabbalah, and ontology have shaped my worldview, which is based on Jewish roots closely interlocked with modern scientific thought. I have devoted a great deal of time studying and researching the reason for anti-Semitism in order to understand why this phenomenon doesn’t disappear but only resurfaces with new pretexts. In two articles recently published in The New York Times , “Who Are You the People of Israel?” and “What do We Jews Owe the World?,” I outlined my position that I would like to share with you today.
There is only one root to all the expressions of anti-Semitism. Neither the Jews nor those who don’t like them know the main reason for anti-Semitism. Just like subconscious impulses that force us to perform actions that cannot be explained, anti-Semitism doesn’t require any rational basis. With the first signs of social or financial crises anti-Semitism grows stronger and is revealed in the form of accusations and claims against the Jews.
The only way to eradicate anti-Semitism is to completely uproot it from society. The most amazing thing is that the victims of anti-Semitism hold the key to solving this problem in their own hands. All of us, every man, woman, and child, are born with a basic desire to live in peace, safety, and happiness.
Deeply rooted in the subconscious of every human being is the idea that this is possible only if all the people in the world learn to treat one another with sensitivity and care. Just like a family that cares about each of its members, humanity as a whole will be able to survive only if people will be able to relate to one another like family, not as enemies.
Many generations ago, before the destruction of the Temple and the exile from the land of Israel, the Jewish nation established a society in which such relations were cultivated. Deep within us lies this dormant attribute; we have to awaken this attribute so that we can reestablish the relationships of kinship and friendship across society. We have forgotten that we have this attribute, and the other peoples aren’t even aware of its existence.
Jews and people of other nationalities instinctively feel that the Jewish people are “holding back” something special that they don’t want to share with the other nations and that it is vital for the survival of humanity. So in tough times people point to the Jews and we invoke anger and resentment in them, which often leads to violence. The nations of the world instinctively, unconsciously feel this “something,”which is the model of a society already built by us in the past and our ability to sustain society on the basis of solidarity, mutual guarantee, and care for others.
The ancient Jewish society was based on the commandment “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” This precept must once again become mandatory in our hyper-egoistic society, but we have no idea how to implement it in life.
Many people hate the Jews, but no one can really explain the reason for their hatred, and certainly are not in a position to curtail it. Because we continue to carry the seed of mutual responsibility innately, we have to awaken it to life and to share this unique knowledge with the whole world. If we succeed not only will anti-Semitism disappear, but also all forms of hatred will cease to exist.
Most Jews are not aware of this dormant property and are not even aware that it exists. Imagine you are told that you have a real treasure in your pocket and you only need to take it out of your pocket to become the owner of the priceless gift. Would you question the need to find this gem?
We have a precious gift called “mutual guarantee.” It sleeps in our hearts and we refuse to acknowledge it. If we open our hearts just a little, we will discover it inside. We are obliged to immediately share this treasure with the whole world; this is the only reason it was given to us. It is a miraculous property “embedded” in us so that we will pass it on to the other nations rather than hoard it for ourselves.
Dear Michael, this is the only way to make the future of the Jewish people and all of mankind safer and brighter, and I very much hope you will join our mission.