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When discussing a religion that is as vast and ancient as Judaism, it is hard to pick just one aspect that is especially interesting. After searching through many articles about the religion, there was one thing that constantly caught my attention; the hatred of Jews by so many people. Christians, Muslims, and other people of different beliefs have shown there hate for the Jewish religion over thousands of years.
In Peter M. Marendy’s essay, "Anti-Semitism, Christianity, and the Catholic Church: Origins, Consequences, and Responses," one can learn how Christians have harbored a hateful relationship towards Jews for nearly two millennia. Marendy explains how Christian Gospels, mainly those of Matthew and John, when taken out of context can not only justify the hate and persecution of Jews, but also call for it. His essay explains how both Gospels blame all Jews for the death of Jesus, the key figure of Christianity, and how they also, according to the essay, even have Jesus himself cursing the Jews. In Peter’s essay he sights a passage from the Gospel of John were Jesus says of the Jews, "You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do"(Jn 8:44) pg. 3 Marendy
Peter Marendy also discusses in his essay, the hate for Jews by Christians throughout the middle-ages, this includes the eradication of Jews from Spain in 613 and ritual murder of Jews throughout Europe. He quotes many writings of Christian bishops and other prominent figures who take the views of the Gospels very literally. One such prominent person was Martin Luther in 1543, who calls for Germans to, “set fire to their synagogues or schools… their houses also be razed and destroyed…” pg.13. Marendy
Marendy goes on to discuss more persecution of Jews by Christians up to the Holocaust. Once he reaches this point in history he begins to explain how Christian views seem to change and even ask forgiveness from the Jewish community for the atrocities done to them over the centuries. One figure the essay focuses on is Pope John Paul II. Marendy describes the Pope’s efforts as, “trying to build a fundamentally new and enduring relationship between the Catholic Church and Jews” pg. 18. Marendy
Another Article that I found was very interesting because I had never even heard of the material. The article was, “Hitler’s Mufti,” by David G. Dalin. This article was about anti-Semitism among Muslims, but it primarily focused on the connection of a prominent Muslim leader and Nazi Germany before and ruing World War II.
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Dalin’s article explained how al-Husseini became close friends with Adolf Hitler during the 1930’s and he supported Hitler’s views on extreme anti-Semitism. He urged the Arab people to not only embrace Nazism, but also Hitler’s “Final Solution”. Al-Husseini even contacted Nazi Germany to ask for help in the eliminating Jewish settlements in Palestine, in exchange for a pan-Islamic alliance with Germany. The article also discussed how al-Husseini had visited the gas chambers at Auschwitz and had, “admonished the guards running the gas chambers to work more diligently” pg. 2 Dalin.
Later in the article, Dalin explains how al-Husseini made Yassar Arafat his protégé and brought a Nazi commando to Egypt to teach Arafat and others how to fight. After al-Husseini died, Arafat carried on the war against Jews in the 1960’s and 70’s. at the end of the article, Dalin explains how al-Husseini and his Hitler based idealism has become a hero for the Palestine Liberation Organization, the Palestine National Movement, and off radical Islamic leaders.
After reading these two articles on the history of anti-Semitism, I have to say that I am very happy that I chose this as my subject for this essay. I found both articles very intriguing and they have sparked enough interest within myself that I am going to try and continue researching the subject. This is not only because the material is interesting, but also because I fell like I must cross reference the facts that were given to me in these articles.
In both of the readings that I chose, there is little opinion given from the writer. What opinion is given, actually looks like facts by the way it is written. It is because of this that I feel I can’t say I agree or disagree with either writings, but most research them more to find out if the facts which are presented are true.
I do agree with the part of Marendy’s essay that talks about how Christian Gospel, taken out of context, may be one early cause of anti-Semitism. I myself am Christian and I have grown up listening to the Gospels in mass. One particular group of passages that stand out in my mind as easily being taken out of context, are those which talk about Jesus’ death sentence. I have always been taught that it was a group of Jewish Pharisees whom used a mob of Jews to persuade Pontius Pilate to allow the crucifixion of Jesus to take place. I have never thought that it was the Jewish people as a whole who were responsible for Jesus’ death, but rather, a mob of people who happened to be Jewish. It is also my personal belief that while the people who put Jesus to death were undoubtedly evil and were being used by the devil, they were completely needed to fulfill Jesus purpose for coming to Earth. If there was no one to put Jesus to death, then how was Jesus supposed to die for our sins?
Another aspect of Marendy’s essay that I agreed with, was the change of Christian’s views of Jews after the Holocaust. It almost seems to me that the Christians decided that after the death camps the Jews had simply “had enough” or maybe “learned their lesson”. I know this sounds completely horrible, but it truly astounds me that after almost two millennia of hatred for Jews, Christians pull a 180 and completely sympathize for them. I do believe this is a great thing because sympathy should always be better than persecution, but Christians do need to be careful because too much sympathy can be a bad thing.
As for the article by David G. Dalin, my eyes were opened to an aspect of World War II that I never considered. And that is of a Nazi-Arab alliance, along with Arabs not only siding with the Nazis but also, instilling their beliefs among themselves. It was also interesting that Hitler agreed to be in alliance with the Arab people, whom are definitely not part of his blonde hair, blue eyed, prized race. I believe he only befriended al-Husseini and the Muslims that followed him because of their hatred for Jews. I also believe that it was Hitler’s overall plan to turn on his Arab allies, much like he did to the Soviets during WWII. The only reason Hitler did not turn on them was because he had lost the war and had committed suicide before he was able to do so. I would really like to research more into this topic to find out how much is truly fact and also what else there is to know about the subject.