By Levy, Richard S., Lindemann, Albert S. & Richard S. Levy
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Extra info for Antisemitism
Within Christianity comparable teachings have long existed, as is the case with Islam. All three have shown no little creativity in their interpretations of biblical stories, usually moving far beyond what is obvious from the bare text. Traditional Christian and Islamic readings have anachronistically been termed antisemitic, but modern racial antisemites, too, have often cited biblical texts to corroborate their hostility to Jews. An important element of modern Jewish consciousness is a belief that defenseless Jews have been unjustly persecuted or irrationally hated throughout history by the Other Nations.
We are proudly intolerant of child molesters and stock market criminals, to say nothing of murderers and rapists. Moral choice inevitably involves not tolerating—indeed taking action against—certain kinds of behavior. But precisely how do we determine which behaviors are tolerable and which are not? That is where consensus begins to come apart even in modern societies, at times explosively. Adherents of monotheistic religions, including Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, have historically believed in their own superior moral standards.
In a similarly mystical vein, a belief spread among Christians that Jews surreptitiously stole Eucharist wafers, tortured and defiled them, thus ritually reenacting the Crucifixion. Some of the most influential definitions of antisemitism, those offered by such distinguished modern historians as Saul Friedländer and Bernard Lewis, have in common a special attention to the fantastic and mystical, to the peculiar demonization of Jews in antisemitic belief. Friedländer uses the term “redemptive antisemitism” to emphasize how the Nazis claimed to be standing up for godliness, for justice and humanity, against the demonically destructive Jews.