People understand some occupations far more easily than others. A farmer planting seeds or harvesting a crop is easily understood. A contractor building a house is easily understood. We easily understand a miner digging coal underground then bringing it up to the surface and a railway worker laying track, as we also understand a mechanic repairing a car. We get a doctor, a dentist and a factory worker. We even understand why the football hero or movie star make the big bucks. We know what all these people do in order to get paid. We understand the value they add.
In other words, we easily grasp Karl Marx’s labor theory of value. He insisted that anything involving labor is valuable and the value of a good or service is proportional to the labor involved. We might challenge Comrade Karl by pointing out that labor doesn’t seem to have much to do with it. The dentist who labored for only half an hour to end my dreadful toothache gets paid far more than the coal miner is paid for half an hour of his labor. But to give him credit, Marx would respond by explaining that the dentist labored long and hard in advance of my visit by acquiring the knowledge and skills to repair my tooth. Nonetheless, it isn’t hard to refute Marx’s views on value.
Almost everyone knows that the value of something is set exclusively by what other people (the market) are willing to pay for it. If two stores offer me two identical chairs, but one was built by a carpenter using only hand tools over the course of two weeks of labor while the other was built quickly and efficiently with power tools, Marx would have to say the first is worth more. In reality, we’d pay the same for each chair; we really aren’t interested in how much labor went into the job. Everyone knows that a new Ford truck loses much of its value as soon as its new owner drives it home. This is not decreed by some mysterious deity of Detroit. Rather it is the recognition that should the new owner wish to sell his truck, nobody will pay him anything close to what he just paid.
Still, in his day, Marx persuaded many people. His disciples, including one Joseph Stalin who was only five when his economics guru died, bought into what became known as Marxism. But there was a problem.
One of the occupations that completely contradicts Marxism is commerce. Even a child watching a blacksmith or a carpenter grasps what they are doing. Not so with commerce. The child watches a sales professional sitting at his desk making dozens of phone calls. Some are to his suppliers to inquire about product availability and prices while others are to possible customers who might be in need of those products. Then he calls the suppliers again to deliver orders and shipping instructions. Not surprisingly, the child is clueless about what the business professional was doing and why he gets paid.
Should the patient parents of this precocious progeny explain just what the sales professional was doing, the little person might reasonably ask, “Why can’t the customer bypass this trader and simply purchase whatever it was he wanted directly from the supplier?” Doing so would enable him to avoid the markup inevitably added on by the sales professional who manifestly added no labor at all to the product.
Not surprisingly, this was just how Joseph Stalin saw it and along with his noxious pal, Lenin, proceeded to starve, persecute, and murder all the small businesspeople in the Soviet Union during the 1930s. After all, these ‘vermin-like Kulaks’ did nothing but add cost to wheat, dairy products, and meat while adding no value at all. At least one million, probably many more perished miserably. As a result, without these crucial cogs in the machinery of daily living, the Soviet Union experienced many deadly famines. That really isn’t the right term because Soviet soil always produced food. It was just that nobody who knew how to bring it to towns and villages was still alive.
Seeing people engaged in commerce and trade as horrible human beings started long before Marx, Lenin, and Stalin. In fact, back in the 5th century, early Church theologian St. Augustine stated succinctly, “It is impossible for one to gain if another does not lose.” In other words, if there is someone between the farmer and your dining table and he is gaining, then you must be losing. Trade and commerce merely prey on hard-working people. Using this same thinking, rioters in American cities from back in 1968 up to the present, tend to destroy the small stores and businesses that bring goods and services into their neighborhoods. Since those storeowners are making a living, clearly their customers must be losing.
Martin Luther, in his book On the Jews and Their Lies recommended placing axes, shovels, and hoes into the hands of Jews and making them earn an honest living through their labor on farms like everyone else. Luther loathed trade and commerce. Going back many years earlier, even the ancient Greeks despised commerce. Plato saw the merchant as a loathsome person and argued that no citizen should ever engage in commerce. It was suitable only for second class people. Aristotle also saw anything to do with trade as vulgar and utterly lacking in virtue.
In the meantime, while Athens was demonizing the role of the business professional, Jerusalem was elevating it. Putting his own money at risk by purchasing wheat, meat, and cheese from various farmers and bringing it into the town market so housewives could buy all their household needs from one single local supplier, was taught to be a good deed. About a third of all the laws in the Torah, the Five Books of Moses, are predicated upon a market place and the services of a vast class of merchants and traders.
Throughout the Middle Ages, ecclesiastical authority kept Jews out of farming and out of most professions and crafts. This left them little alternative but to engage in banking and trade which their own religious culture venerated in any case. Not surprisingly, as merchants who made a profit, their gain was usually seen as everyone else’s loss. Hatred of Jews became intense and ubiquitous.
Only once a Judeo-Christian world-view developed, chiefly in Protestant countries and later in the United States, did economic vitality appear and was productivity and trade viewed favorably. It was no accident that friendliness towards and tolerance of Jews invariably went hand in hand with developing economies. Countries began to view Jewish business professionals as the economic assets they are. Tragically, in those cultural zones in which Biblical commitment has faded, such as universities and left-wing politics, we again see mistrust of the merchant, suspicion of free market capitalism and hatred of the Jew and his land, Israel. While this isn’t, perhaps, even one of the most important reasons Jews are hated, it is one of the least considered.
56 thoughts on “One Reason the World Hates the Jews”
I started my morning with a simple Google search ‘Why do people hate Jews’ … and I still don’t have an answer.
I am white, English, educated, professional (on the commercial side of the line), raised Christian CofEngland.
I do business in the Middle East (a lot), I know jewish people and I am considering working for an Israeli technology company (which, I suppose, is my sub-conscious reason for the search).
From a lot of the comments, on these thread and other pages, I see a lot of ‘victim self-blaming’ … oh, I am Jewish, ‘the chosen race’ … everyone hates me’ … sorry, man-up! Do you really believe you are any more persicuted than another (white/black/yellow/red/green, homeless, Muslim, gay or a goldfish (cat view)?
Holocaust was wrong – no brainer… never forget, never repeat. Though, since the war, many others have been persecuted (let’s not forget).
I don’t consider myself anti-seminite any more than ‘anti-idiot’ … my point being, I take people at face-value, without care for color, sex, religion or intelligence.
When I see people (of any religion) claiming to be from ‘the chosen race’ I genuinely want to take their ‘book’ and hit them over the head hard – in my opinion, this is what causes hatred, wars and segregation.
I don’t care for restrictions – maybe that goes against your belief- as I see progression and evolution as our purpose and obligation (from reproduction to technological advancements) … my conscience guides me (right/wrong), which might be a higher spirit or just values instilled from my up-bringing.
Please don’t take offense – my writing is not to offend – I just believe/feel that on one side people hate without understanding their cause or reason and on the other side people unknowingly create the perception, due to their indoctrination’s, that they are better than others for this reason or another, which might just stoke the fire.
Slightly left-field (which might be media-biased (or not)), the international (non-Jewish) view of Israel’s leader (his wife and most of the cabinet) is not good. This doesn’t help the perception of the Jewish people.
There are always two sides to any story, and I am not suggesting one is any more right than the other, but, if you genuinely want the world to hate the Jews less —- please, honestly from my heart, please influence Israel to engage in a meaningful, unconditional, progressive and honest dialogue to sort out the Palestinian situation … commerce depends on it 😉
The rest of the misconceptions of Jews (apart from the ‘chosen ones) would probably pale in significance. Because, let’s face it, everyone is jealous of anyone more successful than themselves – it’s a human defect.
Most of the jealous ones fail to see the blood, sweat and tears that went into creating that success. This is not a Jewish burden so don’t try to own it.
Again, please don’t be offended, it is not my intention.
Please do help me to understand the answer to my original search question though.
I think the reason is not so complicated. YHWH. As a worshiper of the only true God, I am hated too. In English, one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. A certain Jew, Jesus, said the world would hate us. Even to the point of killing us. Many so called Christians hate both of us, you and me, and deny YHWh. Enough said.
Why do Jewish people hate on whites but use the defense they are Jewish in return when they are being attacked for being white? Isn’t hating Whites causing more people to hate Jews?
That is really a strange question. Where exactly do you see Jewish people who ‘hate on whites’?
Very interesting article… There is one thing I don’t agree with. You make the assumption that we all understand why movie stars and sports stars make the insane amount of money they do. I dont understand this at all. I understand they are famous, and generate interest which generates money. But their pay is far far too bloated. It just doesn’t make sense that a man protecting our freedoms as a professional soldier, sacrificing his very life/existence, makes less than 1/100th of a sports star or movie star.
I totally empathize with your indignation about pay differences. The problem is that pay is either decided by government or else we live in freedom where we each choose. Why are teachers paid less than plumbers? Because many people choose to go into teaching making for a good supply of teachers. Why do so many choose that profession? Not that hard to enter, very good security and good pay for the time involved. You might disagree with my assessment but my words are proven by the fact that teachers training colleges are packed with waiting lists. Much harder to become a plumber; far fewer seeking entry into that profession making for a smaller supply and higher demand. And I bet that when you have a broken pipe you are happier to pay good money to a plumber than you are to pay the teacher who teaches your kid. When it comes to film stars and sports stars, again, it is simple. You and everyone else are willing to pay very high amounts for movie tickets and for stadium season tickets. Soldiers? Very low barrier to entry. No shortage of people wanting to enlist. Good people to be sure. Willing to sacrifice…yes, of course. But it is their own free choice. And as a lover of freedom, wouldn’t you prefer it that way? In general, the more people willing or able to do something, the lower that activity pays. Perfectly natural, perfectly normal. And better than the alternative of government determining pay. As it is, government determines its own pay which may well be far too high.
I have heard some colleagues complain that the business exists only to make a profit. I believe however that there is righteousness in making a profit and it is not commendable to run at a loss or even break even. Besides the complainers don’t hesitate to encase their paycheques! Thank you for your excellent teaching on this topic.
Thank you for that insightful post. We Truly cannot love what we despise. Neither can we be blessed by what we fail to honor.
Your words resonate with truth
A Jewish friend of mine told me the same thing as Rabbi Lapin. But I believe the descendants of Jacob have a divine mission, which is to bless the world with “ancient Jewish wisdom”, among other things. I believe there is an “adversary”, whose goal is to frustrate the plans of G-d, and does so by introducing lies and half-truths to deceive the people in an attempt to keep G-d from fulfilling His plans. Rabbi Lapin’s and my Jewish friend’s explanation would explain envy, but it doesn’t explain, at least doesn’t to my satisfaction, the intense hatred of the Jews to the point of some wishing or attempting their extermination. My belief, which also is my religion’s belief, does explain the target the descendants of Jacob have had on their backs for the last few millennia.
As I indicated, in this Thought Tool I was presenting a very important, very prevalent, and often overlooked reason for anti-Semitism but not, by any means, the only explanation.
Is the veneration of commerce in Judaism related to how work is a curse placed upon man by God?
Good point Karen-
Yes, work is a huge blessing in Judaism. For some that means farming, for others it means mining, and for many others it means commerce. Filling the needs and desires of God’s other children
Awesome article. Fun to read and well written but most importantly it was educational.
‘people hate jewish people ?’
That is a generalization. Therefor, the sentence is false.
Proof needed ? I – part of ‘people’ – love some jewish people – part of ‘Jews’.
I assume that I myself have been hated before, maybe/likely even now.
Thus, even though it is true that I am being hated, I do not publish this fact as remarkable nor as a claim related to my identity.
Why do you ?
Dear Mr. Diestel-
I didn’t say “people”, I said “the world” as a generalization that I think most people would recognize to be a generalization. Most people (another generalization) would also recognize that Jew-hatred is much more common and has been much more common throughout history than, shall we say, Hindu-hatred, or hatred of Sri Lankans. It even has earned its own name-anti-Semitism-right?
You conclude your remarks by asking “Why do you?”
Why do I do what?
Dear Rabbi Lapin,
frankly: the world is not a person and therefor cannot hate.
Hatred is at the root of mankind ( Cain slew Abel ); it is based, generally speaking, on the fact that your fellow man is different from you: does God favor the other more than me ? Hatred as such is the norm=normal. It matters how we respond to it.
While present in all, I do consider hatred to be an expression of an flexibe individual state of mind,
not a characteristic of a group. Groups have political motives.
Identity politics are based on group differences and can cause hatred and thus are potentially dangerous.
Allow me to refer to the Martyr’s Mirror, a book cherished by the Amish community. In it, all the Amish martyrs of the anabaptist movement during the persecutions are registered. Through this book the Amish define ‘what it means to be us’, they form their identity.
This identity is very sceptical towards, reluctant to welcome, the ‘English’, the non-Amish, those ‘who are not like us’.
This is not helpful.
How should you reasonably socialize with someone who believes in his heart that you do not have a recognized relationship with the Allmighty ? How much more could this someone demean you as a person ? – Not a bit.
Identity by the book ( Quran, Thora, NT, Martyrs Mirror, Mao, Marx, UN DHR, etc. etc. ) appears to carry perils.
I favor to look at people individually ( you and me ) as compared as to members of a group; my considerations do not to align with your arguments.
Distilled to such a succinct illustration, and adding what I have learned from you (though innately I know this to be true)…
If it weren’t for Jews…who for thousands of years, scattered to the 4 winds, still survive, virtually intact – same language, same customs, same people….There would be no civilization
God uses all things for His glory and our good
And a number of America’s founding fathers saw the Hebrew Scriptures as the basis for human civilization.
My uncle, a brilliant man speaking 5 languages and instigating a number of very successful business during his lifetime said, “Keep on spending, the money needs to go through 7 sets of hands before it returns to you, even in a small village.” Especially now when we don’t live in little villages, we can’t barter our eggs for some lace at the shop in town. Every banana I eat has travelled thousands of miles further than I ever will. We can’t even eat without commerce — open your eyes, folks. Money truly makes the world go around.
Your uncle sounds as if he was indeed not only successful but interesting. While true that ‘money makes the world go round’ that pithy slogan would allow the interpretation that while unfortunately necessary, money is still a necessary evil. That is simply not true. Money is evidence of having served another of God’s children. That is what brings money into existence. Minting money that has not been backed by a human serving another human produces the huge evil of inflation–almost always caused by dishonest and rapacious politicians.
We learned in one of my high school history classes that the House of Rothschild financed a large part of England’s war effort in WWII. How easily an quickly we forget.
Countries borrow money to fight wars; they always have. England borrowed far more money from the US to fight WWII than it ever borrowed from banks. America borrowed large sums of money to fight the War of Independence in the 18th century and the lender was a Jewish businessman named Hayim Solomon. One of the unsung heroes of American history.
I have read of a few Socialists and Marxists who were Jewish. Is that not counter to Jewish culture and tradition of commerce and trade?
I wish it weren’t so but I can list not a few but literally hundreds of socialists and marxists who were of Jewish ancestry, including the reprehensible and repugnant scoundrel, Comrade Karl himself. Some of them are in the United States Congress. Some are academics shaping the minds of young people on university campuses. Many are in media and entertainment. Sadly, there are many. As you say, these ideas of secular fundamentalism going under the banner of socialism could hardly be less compatible with Jewish values. Sadly, many Jews abandon the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and instead of being nothing, they embrace the values of socialism. It is not possible to believe in both the Torah and the values of marxism.
Amen for that reply. I am always pleased to see you never shy away from the loud voice of “leftist judaism” .
We aim to please, Bob,
Worthy Teacher- i believe that Billy Graham and Farrakhan have a commonality….and that they both made mistakes that will always be considered by all as anti-semitic…. That being said, I am proposing that neither mistakes were truly anti-semitic:
1- the infamous Billy Graham-Nixon conversation- had Billy Graham used the term “The liberal Jews” instead of “the Jews” it would have been more to our understanding and less as anti-semitic.
2- similarly withFarrakhan’s infamous quote:
“These false Jews promote the filth of Hollywood that is seeding the American people and the people of the world and bringing you down in moral strength. … It’s the wicked Jews, the false Jews, that are promoting lesbianism, homosexuality. It’s the wicked Jews, false Jews, that make it a crime for you to preach the word of God, then they call you homophobic!”
— Louis Farrakhan, Saviours’ Day speech, Feb. 26, 2006
I cant say i disagree with this statement as I understand Farrakhan, like Billy Graham, was pointing to “The Liberal Jews” = the ones who are everything else first, i,e,, atheistic, humanistic, progressive, rejecting Torah life and the Commandments, and Jewish last if really Jewish at all….
While I can’t say I completely disagree with Farrakhan’s poorly worded proclamation, I must say that I reject any letter, comment, or speech that places the great Billy Graham and the race huckster Louis Farrakhan in the same sentence. There is zero commonality between those two men. Regarding Nixon I am always more concerned with what men do than with what they say and without Richard Nixon, I do not think that the state of Israel would exist. Against almost all his cabinet, he alone supplied a dying Israel during the Yom Kippur war in 1973. Jews should be filled with eternal gratitude to the man.
I’ve known Jewish folks who worked hard w/ their hands to be a success.
They also provided jobs for Jew and non-Jew alike who were willing to work.
I can assure you that as a rabbi with callouses on his hands from sandpapering teak decks, I was not disparaging manual labor. Of course there are many Jews who work with their hands. But though I do not disparage work with hands, neither do I venerate it as early pioneers to Israel did in the early 20th century. They were socialists well steeped in Marxist views of labor. Fortunately they didn’t share the hatred for those who work with their heads as did other socialists like Mao Tse Tung or Fidel Castro or Pol Pot, all of whom persecuted and murdered people who did not work with their hands.
Sounds more like jealousy of Jews
It is true that the world hates the Jews because it hates free enterprise. Everybody hates someone he or she that they feel ‘got ahead’ easier than they did (note Cain’s ex brother). I think at its basic level (the ID) people equate the Jew with God. Moses was a Jew. Moses led the nation of Israel. Moses was the prophet of Israel. Moses came down the mountain with those flat rocks that had that carving on them. And what did the carving say? Three little words THOU SHALT NOT are what drove mankind nuts. Man hates God. He does it instinctively because he fears God who can destroy him body and soul. Man is sinful. Man is jealous. Man wants to be woman (nowadays anyhow 🙂 it seems). The Jews brought the world God. God said NO. Man hates NO so man hates God. God is the creator. These are HIS marbles (and HIS dirt we’re playing in) so HE GOT THE RIGHT to have his way. Deal with it. Nuff said.
In support of the Jewish people in Nazi Germany I told my German mother, who came out of Nazi Germany, that she could be as successful as those Jews were just by following the Bible because thats what they were following. Can not wait to recieve Thought Tools Vol.,2. Shalom alchem.
I think that the reason that Jews are hated is because they are blamed for the persecution and crucifixion and death of JESUS. This is written of in the new testament/covenant. Matthew Chapter 27 in the King James Version of 1769.
That may be part of the hatred fanned into flames by a church that should have known better because of Paul’s warning to gentile believers in Romans. But, It doesn’t explain the persecution of the Hebrews under Pharoah in Egypt, the enmity of the Amalekites against the Israelites even before they entered the Land, the enmity of Haman for the Jewish people in the time of Esther, and on and on and on.
Imho, Rabbi Daniel and Mark have the key pieces of the puzzle and they connect in the Sovereign Lord’s plan. For God’s original promise to Abraham in Genesis 12:3 was “I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you.” Other people groups, influenced by envy and spiritual forces opposed to the Most High, have been testing that promise ever since.
The only way anyone of us can know what is really happening is to pray to our Heavenly Father, with real intent to know truth.
I am sure you are right for some people. However, anti-Semitism is too widely spread for that to be the only reason. Many, many people who know nothing of Christian theology and care even less also hate Jews. For them it clearly has nothing to do with Jesus Christ whom they tend to hate just about as much as they hate Jews. There have to be other reasons for the hatred. And indeed there are. We presented one of these reasons.
Dear Rabbi Lapin,
I love your wisdom but I disagree with you as to “why the world hates the Jews”. Yes I agree that the world in general dislikes people who are productive and prosper, and so Marx and Stalin as well as Martin Luther cut off their noses to spite their face.
In my opinion there is a much more profound reason the word dislikes the Jews. The Jews are God’s chosen people. Not only does the world dislike those who are productive and prosper, it also dislikes a people who are favoured by God, and reflect His eternal covenant.
mark in Victoria BC
Your comment said what I was thinking only much better than I could compose.
That was meant as a reply to mark in Victoria BC
I didn’t claim that I was presenting the only reason the world hates the Jews but one of a number of reasons. Of course there are other reasons and the one you mention, the chosenness, is right up there. Their viewing of trade, business and commerce as such loathsome activities makes them view those who typically engage in those activities and equally loathsome. Now, why haven’t we met during my annual boating visits to Victoria’s beautiful Inner Harbor or when I anchor in the city’s northern suburbs near Brentwood Bay?
Dear Rabbi Lapin,
Thank you for sharing your broader thoughts on the subject. I am glad we are in agreement, thank you for your enlightening reply.
As to your yearly visit to Victoria. We live near Brentwood Bay and would love to meet you and your wife next time you are in our neighbourhood. Please let us know of your next visit.
Very best wishes,
As always, I am so grateful for your apt demonstration, like when you used the example of the pet gorilla, that money is a spiritual commodity. The simian pet will understand all basic human needs, but once he sees little gold things change hands, he simply won’t get it. My father was able to teach me the dignity of ALL human labor. He earnestly tried to teach me the value of money, yet he was not able to declare money as a spiritual commodity. That was the critical key for me. If I had known that, I would have been able to overturn that false and virulent dictum of ‘materialism,’ that ‘money is the root of all evil.’ My life early on would have been much different. Thank you, dear Rabbi!
You really made me laugh out loud in delight that you remember my pet gorilla and mentioned him. I know what you mean about wishing one knew certain things back when courses were being set. In fact my latest podcastd discusses exactly those things that can make a huge difference in life if boys between the ages of 13 and 23 knew them. Click here PODCAST
Many thanks, dear Rabbi! Actually I raised two little girls, who are now off procreating little offspring. Some of these are little boys, and for that reason YES, I do want to absorb your recent podcast, if only as Grandfather!
Fascinating. You have given me more understanding of the role of commerce in society in these few paragraphs than the professors of the two basic economics and political science classes I was required to take as an undergraduate. As an observer of the post-modern, post Judeo-Christian barbarism that has been let loose not only here but throughout Westernized democracies, I share your concern at where we are headed. Believers in the Sovereign Lord and Creator need to stand together against what wears the mask of economic and political rejection of what the left would call outmoded ideologies because the real issue is spiritual. Will you obey the Sovereign Lord and follow in his paths, including areas like commerce that benefit all society, or will you rebel?
Thanks for writing. It is quite unmistakable that those who hate the west, also hate commerce and free market capitalism, they hate Jews and Israel, and they hate the institutions on which civilization is based like the traditional family. It all goes together. But you’ve already seen this clearly.
I have a question I hope you can answer for me. Why was the merchant seen as someone who, if he/she made a profit through commerce then he/she must be taking away from someone else? I have read two of your books and I admit I grew up feeling the same way as described in my question and I am educating myself so that I change those feelings completely. I love your talks.
-Luis G. Ruiz
In your admirable quest to educate yourself to change your instinctive reaction to commerce you might want to look at my book Thou Shall Prosper in which I answer your question more fully than I could possibly do here. Part of the basic answer is that people can’t see why there needs to be a merchant between the producer and the consumer.
question: why are the majority of jews in the U.S. so far on the political left?
This is an important question and one which should not be dodged with reassuring platitudes. It is also a fairly complex question with a full and comprehensive answer which I explained in my book America’s Real War and also on my podcast a few months ago.
Great article! Very interesting.
Thank you. We thought that it was an aspect of anti-Semitism that many hadn’t considered.
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