Commentary and Philosophy Non-Fiction posted April 18, 2023

This work has reached the exceptional level
Commentary On The Centuries-Old Cancer Of Antisemitism

American Kike

by Brett Matthew West

Here is a riddle for you. What has existed for hundreds of years and recently gained momentum again?

You know the answer is the same social ailment that butchered 6,000,000 victims in the Holocaust during World War Two - antisemitism.

Statistically speaking, those numbers resulted in approximately one out of every three Jews in the world of that day slaughtered by the Nazis. Had Germany won World War Two what other people would they have sought to eliminate? One can only ask. Therefore, it is important to keep the remembrances associated with the Holocaust alive lest they be forgotten.

Anne Frank is possibly one of the most remembered Jewish victims of the Holocaust. For a couple years before she was captured by the Germans, she hid with her family in an annex of an Amsterdam office building. At fifteen years old, Anne Frank perished from typhus fever in the Bergen-Belsen Nazi concentration camp in 1945, two weeks prior to it being liberated by American forces. The diary she maintained while hiding became a famous testimony to how her life was shortened by antisemitic hate.

City University of New York Holocaust Professor Helen Fein stated antisemitism to be, "A persisting latent structure of hostile beliefs towards Jews as a collective manifested in individuals as attitudes, and is cultural as myth, ideology, folklore and imagery, and in actions --- social or legal discrimination, political mobilization against the Jews, and collective or state violence --- which results in and/or is designed to distance, displace, or destroy Jews as Jews."

Coined on Ellis Island, the earliest recorded usage of the word "kike" dates to the 1880s, and was applied to Jews who migrated to the US in the early 20th Century. These Jews were illiterate and signed their entry forms with a circle as their signatures. The Yiddish word for "circle" is kikel, and for "little circle" kikeleh. Finally, immigration inspectors at Ellis Island called the Jews "kikes."

There remains a wide spectrum of Jews in America today. Some of them are extremely observant of their faith. They follow strict laws of diet, attire themselves in certain manners, and will not perform labor or drive an automobile from sundown on Fridays to sundown on Saturdays. On the other end of the scale are Jews who attend their synagogue once a year and still identify themselves as a Jew.

Appearing in such places as the government, the streets of the nation, and in the media, the hatred of Jews is a prejudice that contains conspiracy theories. These grate across ethnicities, ideologies, and nationalities. Some common antisemitism remarks include "Jews control the media, the banks, and the government" and "Jews are all privileged or all-powerful." These comments are often stated by Christians, Muslims, atheists, and other Jews alike. Worse still, antisemitism seems to be becoming increasingly a normal way of life.

One excuse often presented for antisemitism is that the characterization of people keeps things much simpler. Another is it is easier to assess new confrontations by implying connections between peoples' behaviors and certain groups of individuals.

A downfall with this train of thought is it can coagulate into problems when those consolidations between how people conduct themselves and divisions become adamant. When representatives of a country's citizenship are convinced all adherents of a particular group of personages will act in certain fashions trouble breeds.

In many instances of prejudice practitioners just look down on their intended targets. In the case of antisemitism, the double-edged sword simultaneously punches in both the upward, and the downward, momentums. Many who commit antisemitism glare down on Jews and tend to view them as somehow being lesser participants of the human persuasion. At the same time, these same antisemites glance upward and view Jews as more conniving and powerful, as well as a threat, to their prosperities.

Biases play a sizable role in antisemitism because stories, unsubstantiated by facts, often form the foundation of this form of prejudice. An experience with a dissimilar speciman from a certain association of society can tend to make some much more hostile against that individual's group. Predilections, with unadjusted thoughts on relative facts, can determine how an antisemite responds to the entire Jewish population.

Professor Dietz Bering, of the University of Cologne, wrote in his often cited book entitled 'The Stigma Of Names: Antisemitism In German Daily Life 1812-1933' that "To antisemites, Jews are not only partially but totally bad by nature, that is, their bad traits are incorrigible. Because of this bad nature Jews have to be seen not as individuals but as a collective. Jews remain essentially alien in the surrounding societies. Jews bring disaster on their "host societies" or on the whole world, they are doing it secretly, therefore the antisemites feel obligated to unmask the conspiratorial bad Jewish character."

Almost anywhere one cares to look the signs of antisemitism are prevalent and range from buildings and other structures with swastikas spray-painted on them to flyers strewn across lawns in major cities around the nation.

In another incident of AR-15 assisted mass murders, and one of the deadliest rampages against Jews in the history of the United States, worshippers were gunned down during the Shabbat morning service at the Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on October 27, 2018, simply because of their faith. The perpetrator, Robert D. Bowers, was charged with 29 Federal counts including a hate crime. He was also charged with 11 counts of murder at the State level.

Who can forget Kayne West's infamous post on social media that stated, "I'm going death con 3 on JEWISH PEOPLE!"

This rapper, singer, songwriter, record producer, fashion designer, and actor, who twice ran for President, while praising Adolph Hitler, is someone considered one of Hollywood's biggest celebrities? There is another title for people like him, but I shall refrain from employing the word here.

People categorize others almost from the moment they enter this world and begin to speak. They are taught differences exist between men and women, as well as the younger generations and us old fogies. They notice various shades of skin colors and an assortment of religions others display. Eventually, they start to apply these categories to their families, their friends, and complete strangers.

Several mistakes are often made where antisemitism is concerned. They begin with not taking the prejudice seriously. This can lead to failure on the part of not just the government, but also the country's society, to protect its citizens. This shortcoming can be just as easily applied to all ethnic, racial, and religious groups in that nation.

Many people view antisemitism, like other forms of prejudice, as a threat to democracy in the United States. Their position remains if Jews are stated to be in control of the media, the banks, the processes of elections, and other such matters, then the claimants of these conspiracy theories are implying they do not believe in democracy.

Group prejudice is a third error frequently made where antisemitism is concerned. When negatory remarks about specific ethnic groups are continuously repeated, additional people tend to wind up believing these accusations are true. Discrimination is the result of this action, and the entire Jewish population may be mistreated based on this group prejudice.

Current antisemitism in the United States does not differ much from past replications. One major means of disseminating antisemitism is the online delivery system of modern computers, and other electronic gadgets, that can spread these sentiments rapidly. Once something has been posted online there may be no controlling where it might travel. Current American antisemitism continues to employ the traditional stereotypes of Jews as well as the historically conventional accusations.

All locations on the political circle can be equally guilty of antisemitism. According to an Anti-Defamation League survey, twenty percent of all Americans possess at least six different antisemitism beliefs. Currently, white supremacist, white nationalist, and the extreme right-wing of these political tendencies appear to pose the strongest expressions of physical harm to Jews. You would be hard pressed to discover a Jewish synagogue today that does not have some form of guards in front of it to protect the synagogue from right-wing militias and Islamic terrorists.

Bernard Lewis, a Professor Emeritus of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University, who specialized in the history of Islam and its interactions with the West, defined antisemitism as "A special case of prejudice, hatred, or persecution directed against people who are in some way different from the rest. Antisemitism is marked by two distinct features {which are} Jews are judged according to a standard different from that applied to others and they are accused of "cosmic evil". It is perfectly possible to hate and even to persecute Jews without necessarily being antisemetic unless that hatred or persecution displays one of the two features specific to antisemitism."

Antisemitism is not the same as criticizing Israeli policy. It is when antisemitic traits are labeled on the Jewish state that prejudism can occur. Many question the right of Israel to even exist because the country eliminated the indigenous Palestinian peoples who occupied their territory when Israel proclaimed itself a nation at midnight on May 14, 1948.

A huge debate about that occurrence has been ongoing since. Examples of other countries who could be accused of the same unfortunate incidences are Canada and the First Nations, Australia and the Aboriginals, and, perhaps you may choose to toss the United States and the Native Americans into that same stewpot. This commentary is not intended to justify any of these events. Perhaps the question could be proposed if Israel does not have the right to exist because of this population elimination then what basis do these other countries have for their being?

In their 2005 Report on Global Antisemitism, the United States Department of State said, "While there is no universally accepted definition, there is a generally clear understanding of what the term encompasses--- hatred toward Jews --- individually and as a group that can be attributed to the Jewish religion and/or ethnicity."

Why, oh why, should anyone care about antisemitism and its terrible, lengthy, history? Could one answer be because this prejudice will not result in good things for the overall American society? Antisemitism breeds contempt, and injects hatred, into the fabric of society.

Should antisemitic speech be eliminated in the United States? Probably. But, because of the First Amendment of the US Constitution that would be an impossible feat to accomplish. However, antisemitism could be made unacceptable.

The wording of the First Amendment reads as follows "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Making antisemitism into a social derelict, and not rationalizing it, would be an excellent manner in which to combat the prejudism. People speaking out against the social issue, and making it clear antisemitism is not an acceptable practice, would be another. Remaining silent in regards to antisemitism is not the answer in how best to address the problem because those who stay quiet when they encounter the scourge may actually be siding with the perpetrator.

Empathy and humor may be two other good weapons in the antisemitism conflict. A third would be common sense. Should one find themself in a debate over antisemitism, asking questions may produce better results than stating facts, arguments, or figures. In the long run, questioning someone who displays an antisemitic nod may well lead them to start questioning their prejudice.

Because not only the Jewish community is harmed by antisemitism perhaps more people need to be further educated about Judaism to dispense with the "us" against "them" mentality some people hold.

Non-Fiction Writing Contest contest entry


woman at the synagogue, by supergold, selected to complement my commentary.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

Artwork by supergold at

Save to Bookcase Promote This Share or Bookmark
Print It View Reviews

You need to login or register to write reviews. It's quick! We only ask four questions to new members.

© Copyright 2024. Brett Matthew West All rights reserved.
Brett Matthew West has granted, its affiliates and its syndicates non-exclusive rights to display this work.