What accounts, then, for the stubborn resilience of what has been called “the longest hatred”? Why does it continue to appear even among those educated, liberal elites who pride themselves on their opposition to racism?
Julius reckons antisemitism endures because it has a “magnetic appeal” that can be hard to resist. By offering a conspiracy theory of power, rather than just the crude anti-immigrant stereotypes of other racisms, it provides, he says, “a compelling short cut to certainty. It allows the antisemite to claim they are in the know; it offers access to an occult world where everything makes sense, when the real world is, in fact, complex and difficult. ‘The Jews are responsible’ is a very appealing, very seductive explanation. It requires great self-discipline to resist its blandishments.”
This not only helps to explain anti-Semitism, but other sloppy thinking as well. If the lure of Jew hatred is that it’s a simple explanation for world events and problems, think of how many other simple explanations you’ve heard and, indeed, how tempting it is to buy into them.
In fact, things are hardly ever simple. They’re messy and difficult. Keep that in mind next time you’re tempted by a simplistic way of looking at a group of people, a political issue or anything else for that matter.