The Times of Israel published my new article “Why Is Anti-Semitism More Conspicuous Today?”
“Jews are more loyal to Israel than to America,” and “Jews have too much power in the business world,” are some of the anti-Semitic tropes backed by 61 percent of Americans, according to a recent poll conducted by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). The study also shows that although anti-Semites have not multiplied in number, they are more likely to commit overtly anti-Semitic actions, thus the rise in attacks against Jews we see today.
What is causing this new pattern? What does it mean for the future of the Jewish people?
Of the respondents who harbor anti-Jewish views, if we zoom-in on those with extreme anti-Semitic attitudes, we reveal that the portion of Americans with such radical anti-Semitic mindsets has fluctuated between 11 and 14 percent over the past 25 years. That is the equivalent of 28 million people, a number that has remained more or less unchanged over the last few decades. Therefore, the survey concludes, the recent rise in anti-Semitic attacks is not fueled by an increase in the number of anti-Semites. Instead, this anti-Semitic group feels emboldened to express its hatred more openly and violently.
The World Evolves and So Does Anti-Semitism
In order to understand what is behind anti-Semitism’s recent intensification, we need to look at the process and purpose of human development. Humanity’s history is one long continuum in the development of human desires to receive pleasure. Every succeeding generation that enters this world does so with a greater desire to receive, i.e., a bigger ego, a desire to exploit all levels of nature—inanimate, vegetative, animate and human—for self-benefit.
In our times, the world has reached heights of development in science, technology, culture and other areas, all of which were supposed to bring about plentitude. However, instead of everyone living the good life, we find ourselves increasingly disappointed and struggling. We have reached a state where it seems as if there is nothing in this world capable of fulfilling humanity’s insatiable desires. We are unable to envision an optimal path that would lead to a better and happier life for everybody.
Why? It is because a new demand from nature has started pressuring us according to our current level of development: a demand to rise above our exploitative relations and positively connect. If we meet this demand, then we will experience a major transformation, nothing short of a harmonious existence for all people.
This is where we Jews enter the picture.
Humanity instinctively feels that the Jewish people hold the key to a better world. As the world endures escalating divisions and conflicts, there is a subconscious expectation upon the Jews to unify and be a conduit for unity to spread among humanity.
Such an expectation on the Jews emerges from the origins of the Jewish people around 3,800 years ago. It was a time when Abraham guided the unification of a certain group people in ancient Babylon, people who gathered around Abraham due to feeling the problem of rampant social division of the time, and who agreed to follow Abraham’s path toward loving one’s neighbor as oneself. Their attainment of the sublime unified state granted them the name, “Israel,” from “Yashar El” (“straight to the upper force”), i.e., a people unified by a common intention to love, give and connect above the innate egoistic divisive drives.
We have since completely lost awareness of our Jewish unity, and in its place, frictions and separation prevail. Increasing division among the Jewish people is felt as increasing social division around the world, and the more people feel problems and crises stemming from the divisiveness in human society, the more they instinctively feel that Jews are to blame.
Anti-Semitism thus surfaces as a natural phenomenon among the nations of the world in order to pressure the Jewish people to revitalize the unifying process for positive global change.
Humanity’s Dependence on the Jews
In his essay, “The Arvut “(Mutual Guarantee), foremost Kabbalist Rav Yehuda Ashlag wrote about the important role of the Jewish people: “The Israeli nation was established as a conduit to the extent that they purify themselves [from egoism], they pass on their power to the rest of the nations.”
Today’s world is like a broken-down machine in which all of its pieces are out of sync. Until we connect them properly, nothing will work right. Every person on earth—rich and poor, intellectual and uneducated, anti-Semites and philo-Semites—depends on the Jews to fix the wreckage, due to the Jews having what it takes to do the job: the method of connection that they originally received from Abraham.
The sense of dependence and demand for unity from the nations of the world will not calm down until we Jews begin to unite and pass on the positive force in nature that is vital to the restoration of the correct functioning of the global system. The world will then stop blaming us for its misfortunes because it will then receive what it ultimately needs: happiness, peace and harmony through positive human connections.