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The history of the Jewish people is replete with descriptions of Jews who hated themselves for being born Jewish and who therefore hated Judaism, other Jews and many times humankind generally. These self-haters were traditionally recognized in the Jewish world as being traitors and as a danger to Jewish survival. In the Bible we read of such people as Ravshakeh, the Jewish, Hebrew-speaking, spokesman for Sancheriv, the Assyrian king and besieger of Jerusalem. The Greeks found many willing collaborators amongst the Jews in their attempt to eradicate Judaism and install the more "enlightened" pagan culture of theirs in Israel. These Hellenist Jews hated their brethren and openly sided with the enemies of Israel who attempted to destroy the Jewish nation and faith. They hated themselves for being Jewish and even resorted to painful cosmetic surgery to remove any trace of being Jewish from their bodies. Pork was the meat of choice in their "progressive" diet. Naturally, the victory of the Maccabees over the Greeks was a great disappointment to them. The Romans also found Jews willing to help them in their destruction of Jewish sovereignty and the Temple. This self-hate had many causes but no real explanation. Therefore, traditional Jews simply viewed it as being a malady of the soul, a sickness of mind and spirit.

In the Christian era of the Middle Ages, Jewish self-haters easily converted into Christianity and volunteered their services to the Church's overall attempts to convert all Jews. Jewish scholars such as Rabbi Moshe ben Nachman (Ramban) and Rabbi Yosef Albo were forced to debate Jewish apostates whose hatred of Jews and Judaism was even more fanatical than that of their new Christian co-religionists. Followers of false messiahs in the Jewish world also turned into self-haters after their utopia failed to be realized. The Church eventually tired of using Jews to destroy Judaism and the Jews eventually tired of (though they did not entirely forsake even in our time) false messianism as well. But the greatest damage of the Jewish self-haters was reserved for modern times. From the beginning of the nineteenth century through our own very day, Jewish self-haters abound and are given great publicity and attention in both the Jewish and non-Jewish world. The greatest of all anti-Semites was probably Karl Marx. Walter Rathenau, a German Jew who rose to be the foreign minister of Germany in the Weimar Republic and who was later assassinated for being Jewish, wrote an essay called "Hear O Israel" in which he confirmed that all of the anti-Semitic canards against Jews were actually true. The Bolshevik, communist Jews were the greatest anti-Semites, hating all other Jews and determined to exterminate any vestige of Judaism or the "old Jew" from surviving. In reality, they all hated themselves and could not somehow forgive themselves or their ancestors for having been born Jewish.

The self-haters still exist amongst us today. There are political parties here in Israel whose sole platform is hatred of other Jews and of Judaism's laws and traditions. All of this is naturally cloaked in high-sounding words such as "humanistic values" and "individual freedoms", etc. but the end result is hatred of Jews and Judaism. Today, many of the self-haters have the luxury of being able to say that they are only anti-Israel or anti-Zionist. But the truth is that hate is hate and these enlightened intellectuals or fanatical pietists hate themselves as well and therefore in their minds have created the justification to hate the Jewish people and the Jewish state for somehow having the temerity not to adopt their world view and opinions. The nineteenth century wags in Vienna stated truthfully that anti-Semitism was going nowhere until the Jews themselves took up its cause. The present-day Europeans who so piously accuse us of every wrong imaginable in our attempt to avoid being blown up on a bus piously state that they are only repeating what visiting Israeli professors and much of the Israeli media itself are saying. I don't know the exact cause of Jewish self-hatred and therefore I have no magic bullet to cure this pathetic disease of Jewish self hatred and hatred of other Jews. But at least the disease should be recognized for the pathology it is. It is obvious that such recognition of the disease is necessary for us to be able to move on and have a more serene society.

Berel Wein

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