Why so much anti-Jewish hatred?
In the words of New York City Jewish leader Eric Dinowitz, “hate is on the rise—and the high-profile cases on the news are often the endpoint of hate.” He continued, “We see the assaults in Hell’s Kitchen and Times Square. We see mass murders at synagogues and supermarkets. And what this report card shows us are those seeds of hate are the precursors to physical violence.”
Dinowitz was responding to a new report from the Simon Wiesenthal Center on Digital Terrorism and Hate. And he was speaking in particular about hatred and violence against Jewish people.
According to JNS, “The report warns of increased antisemitic, racist, anti-LGBTQ messaging and calls for violence against black, immigrant and Jewish residents.”
What motivates such attitudes and actions? Why is it that, “Among all racial and religious groups, Jews remain the greatest hate crime target”? And why is it that Jews are targeted by both White Supremacists and Black Supremacists? (I began documenting this more than 30 years ago. It is even worse today.)
One group that received attention in the report was the Black Hebrew Israelites (or, just Hebrew Israelites as they call themselves today), whose views have been popularized by high-profile figures like Kanye West and Kyrie Irving.
Not only do they claim to be the true Israelites, even supplying a chart that purports to connect the 12 Tribes of Israel to various people groups in North and South America (seriously!). But they also deny that the Jewish people (which would include me) are true Jews.
In their eyes, we are the “synagogue of Satan” (based on a misinterpretation of Revelation 2:9 and 3:9) and “white Edomite devils.” (Yes, according to this cult, Jacob’s son Esau, also called Edom, was white, and White Jews today are actually his devilish descendants.)
On a regular basis, we receive comments like this on our YouTube channel: “Hitler is an Idumean [= Edomite] devil like yourself Dr. Brown. The holocaust never happened. So stop lying to the world.” And it was posted by – get this – “The Tribe of Levi”!
If that’s not enough, consider that, according to the Hebrew Israelite chart used by the Sicarii, which is the most militant sect among them, the people of Haiti today are the tribe of Levi. I bet you didn’t know that before!
I recently debated the leader of the Sicarii on the subject of “Who Are the Legitimate Children of Israel? Ashkenazi Jews or the 12 Tribe Chart?” (You can watch the debate here.)
And while we have interacted cordially since the debate, I did challenge him on his rhetoric, including lines like this from February 2022: “That's how this movie ends man all right. That's the future of this world. Black and Latino people ruling the world.
“[Jesus Christ] is a big angry black man, a black man who the whites of his eyes are red and he's ready to come and kill. He wants to stomp people’s brains out of their cranium. He wants to step on you people’s heads until your brains come out.
“Remember when 50 Cent [said], ‘and his brain come out the top like jack-in-the-box’? Remember? That’s one of my favorite lines, right? That's what Christ is coming back to do.”
You can be assured that “you people” includes those of us who are not people of color, especially White Jews.
Yet my quotation of these words at the end of the debate only brought a smile to his face, along with lots of affirmation from his followers in the large chat. (There were as many as 4,500 people watching at once on the host’s channel. And moments ago, when I went to the channel while writing this article, they were playing a clip from my recent YouTube video discussing the debate. A comment posted on the screen read: “Who is this pink devil?” So, I graduated from white to pink!)
In reality, though, this is nothing to joke about. It was reported one year ago that, “Antisemitic hate crimes were up 400% last month, according to new data released by the New York Police Department.”
Specifically, “Many of these incidents targeted Orthodox people dressed in distinctive clothing, like the Jewish man who was punched in Bed-Stuy on Feb. 7 while walking on Shabbat.”
And what is a typical, Hebrew Israelite response to such things, “This edomite [meaning me, when I referenced such crimes during the debate] showed himself to be a devil. He said *fake*Jews are being attacked by African Americans.”
The reality is that words have consequences, and attitudes of hatred will lead to acts of hatred. But the question still remains: Why? Why the Jews?
When I debunk the nonsense of the 12 Tribes Chart, I feel no animosity towards any of the peoples on the chart, including Mexicans (who are supposed to be the lost tribe of Issachar!) or the Seminole Indians (who are supposed to be the lost tribe of Reuben!) or African Americans (who are supposed to be the tribe of Judah!). And, based on the comments I see when I address these things, no one who agrees with me feels animosity as a result of these people being fake Israelites. (To be clear, there are Black and Hispanic Jews. No one is questioning that. What is being utterly rejected is the information on the chart.)
Yet when the Hebrew Israelites call Ashkenazi Jews (and other Jews) “fake Jews,” it triggers visceral hatred and anger towards us. Why?
I can only offer two suggestions. First, these Black Americans, who have historically suffered so greatly at the hands of White Americans in the past, have fastened their resentment and anger on White Americans today, in particular White Jews.
Second, antisemitism is demonic and needs no rational explanation. As Sigmund Freud commented in 1927, “With regard to anti-Semitism, I don’t really want to search for explanations; I feel a strong inclination to surrender my affects in this matter and find myself confirmed in my wholly nonscientific belief that mankind on the average and taken by and large are a wretched lot.”
What we can say with assurance is that we must confront these hateful attitudes and ideologies wherever we find them, since they will not go away on their own. And we must determine to overcome hatred with love and lies with truth. It’s a long battle, but it’s a winning strategy.
Dr. Michael Brown(www.askdrbrown.org) is the host of the nationally syndicated Line of Fire radio program. His latest book is Revival Or We Die: A Great Awakening Is Our Only Hope. Connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube.