I have been exposed to harmful antisemitic tropes like this. Now that I understand the tensions within the Truman administration, for example, I am much more equipped to answer skeptical or hostile challenges winsomely. Truman’s own anxiety to appease his electorate, coupled with pressure from the recently widowed Eleanor Roosevelt in the popular press, were singularly potent motivations for Truman’s decision to provisionally support Israel. This is a powerful objection to the common quibbles and slogans used to support the fiction of monolithic American support for Israel. Additionally, Israel’s need for French and Russian support where America’s was lacking is telling in that space. The course has given me the gift of a few pocketed answers to offer those who find themself convinced of a clandestine coercion or conspiracy.
This is a huge issue! It is so frustrating that we, despite having huge power, are no longer influential mostly because we are so disunited here at home. Countries don’t think that the American people can be consistent, especially when we are battling so many radical groups here at home. The growth of radicals has really hurt our country, it is the rot from within. We must stop the radicals from both the right and left, because they are hurting the country.
Yes, for majority of my life I have also been exposed to antisemitic tropes about Jewish control over finances and foreign policy. I can see that this possibly stems from the fact that there is a large population of Jewish leaders that are in positions of power in the White House, and many of them are naturally pro-Israel. It is sad, however, that America is so polarized that Americans are allowing radicals on both sides of the political spectrum to inform them through conspiracy theories about the intentions of these powerful Jews and the influence that they have on American politics. A lot of these theories are unfortunately antisemitic and they are hurting our country and our role in the diplomatic process more than anything.
Unfortunately, I have been exposed to antisemitic tropes about Jewish control over finances or foreign policy. I appreciated Professor Mead’s perspective that believing in antisemetic tropes signal that one doesn’t understand the political or economic systems. After taking this course, my response will be to ask the person questions about the systems they are referencing and bring them to their own realization about how harmfully oversimplified the political and economic systems we live in.
Yes, it’s true that the logic in our political economies are often oversimplified to the detriment of healthy conversation on ethnic and religious minorities, which has in turn resulted in great harm to Jews. This has been unfortunately the case throughout history and in a wide array of political systems. Our present context is not immune from this hate: in the US at the present moment we find antisemitism rising on both the right and left ends of the political spectrum.
At this point, I think everyone has been exposed, at some point or time, to the tropes of the secret Jewish conspiracy that controls finances and the media. It is crazy that even after an event like the Holocaust, people still push these crazy conspiracies. It actually goes to show you that there is, in my opinion, some supernatural hate for Jews that has spanned thousands of years. More proof God exists.
Anyway, the best way to dispute these claims is to point out the Jewish people are a far smaller group then the English, German, Irish, etc. If you want to look at different ethnic groups, Asian families are the most successful families in America. Also, I always remind people that the Jews have been hated for thousands of year, in whatever country they are in. When you point that out, most realize that they are not being rational when it comes to the amount of power one small group of people could have.
Yes, unfortunately like many people I have come across these tropes and have also spoken to people to push back on their faulty thought patterns. Strange because these ideas are not even internally consistent! If Jews really did control the world, why is antisemitism the religiously based hate crime with the greatest percentages in the United States, and also in numbers greatly disproportionate to the Jewish population? How could a systematic, long term catastrophe like the Holocaust have occurred? Why is the world’s only Jewish state the country with the most condemnations by the United Nations? In some situations, I have found people take statements they have heard as fact without thinking through it at all but when you push back, offering a different vantage point, they are forced to question their wrongful ideology – atleast initially to save face – but hopefully also on a more fundamental level. It is painful but important to also be there for your friends when they are confronted by these situations in real life to their face, which is also the case often these days.
Abigail, I am in the same mind as you, where I did not have much knowledge about what those stereotypes looked like. Now that I am aware, I can look back through my life and experiences and I see glimpses of them throughout unfortunately. I appreciate what you said about it now being easier to navigate the task of defending the Jewish people and combating antisemitism. Gaining a better understanding of the Near East will help to call out those beliefs going forward.
Not sure if you have had the chance to go yet, but if you do, definitely go to Yad Vashem and look at some of the antisemitic thing that have been put out about the Jews since before the time of the Shoah. It will really help in identifying such things in the future as well. I have been to Yad Vashem quite a few times and every time I go, I see something else that I notice in modern-day talks about the Jewish people and the state of Israel that I hadn’t before. Thanks for your post!
I appreciate your contribution Abigail. I like that you pointed out our responsibility to pay attention to the way the current media chooses to portray Israel’s actions. When I was musing to myself about how to formulate winsome responses, I kept picturing the conversation being one on one, but this is often not the case. Often times we have to respond to popular articles and news stories, which begs the question, how to we pay attention to the evolution of the situation while maintaining our ability to answer questions with evidence? It seems daunting if you find yourself on a campus like my alma mater, whose staunch support of Palestine is often confused with a staunch opposition to Israel. In any case I pray that we would be like Christ when we address these topics!
Thanks for the stimulating comment!
I envy you for that! I have been in dialogue with many people who believe in a secret Jewish control of finance and American foreign policy, and it has been very disheartening on occasion. I entirely agree that we must respond calmly with the truth, but it can be quite a challenge. I have been loudly and slowly informed that the Jewish control of media is ruining the world. It can be shocking to see open antisemitism up close. I just pray that we can be like Jesus if we face that sort opposition in the future!
So true Jordan. You just have to remain calm and point to facts. Most of the time, these types of people are just repeating what they hear. So if you can bring facts and show them, they may repeat you. While I wish more Americans were critical thinkers, they should atleast repeat the truth. We need more people to worry about the big issues, or at the very least have better politicians who actually deal with these issues rather then trying to build a personality cult for themselves.