By Levy, Richard S., Lindemann, Albert S. & Richard S. Levy
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Extra resources for Antisemitism
Contrasting but also revealing examples of the disconnect between action and pre-existing ideas could be cited in regard to people of liberal sentiments who had previously shown friendship toward Jews but who then turned against them, ostensibly prompted by opportunism, greed, fear, or cowardice. Perhaps even better known than Schindler today is another Nazi Party member, Adolf Eichmann. ” Arendt observed that before he had joined the Nazi movement, Eichmann had not been notably hostile to Jews; he even seemed to have had substantial reasons to be friendly to them.
It seems only natural that his life story would offer us valuable insights about how antisemitic convictions are formed. Was he criminally inclined at birth, or were unfortunate life experiences crucial to his perverse adult personality? Can he be considered a great thinker, in the way that Karl Marx or John Stuart Mill are usually considered to be? The very notion of an ideology that is essentially “anti,” based on hatred, suggests that the antisemitic personality, with Hitler as a prime example, is driven by narrow resentment, fear, and envy, without a broader or more positive vision.
Yet the bare text of Exodus leaves open, to say the least, many other interpretive directions. For example, Exodus’s opening verses emphasize Pharaoh’s legitimate concern about the Israelites’ growing numbers and unstoppable, potentially dangerous power. “The Jews are stronger than we are,” Pharaoh warned. It was therefore necessary to “outsmart them,” to take measures to prevent looming disaster should the Israelites side with Egypt’s enemies. Jews were thus put under strict control and set to burdensome tasks.
Antisemitism by Levy, Richard S., Lindemann, Albert S. & Richard S. Levy