The longtime stereotype of the greedy Jew has resurfaced with a vengeance during the economic crisis and rekindled anti-Semitism, says Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). The resurgence of the slur propelled Foxman to pen his new book, “Jews and Money: The Story of a Stereotype.”
“That stereotype about Jews, that Jews lust for money, that you can’t depend on them for anything because they’ll sell you out, has been out there for 2,000 years,” he tells Newsmax.TV in an exclusive interview.
The typecast image goes back to Judas, who sold out Jesus not for philosophy, or theology or ideology, but money, says Foxman, who contends that the stereotype is a pillar of Western anti-Semitism.
Similarly, Hitler did not begin his campaign against Jews with the theory of the master race but for allegedly selling out Germany after World War I, says Foxman, whose Polish Catholic nanny rescued him from the Holocaust. The Nuremberg laws were designed to remove Jews from the economic life of the country, to bar them from owning businesses, or stores, or from studying for a profession, he says.
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The economic crisis that began in 2008, with failed banks and home foreclosures, dusted off the old insults, Foxman says.
“What we began to see on the Internet and beyond is this stereotype, this classic stereotype of blaming Jews coming to the fore,” he says. “Actually, we took a poll in Europe and we found almost 1 out of 3 — 31 percent of Europeans — blamed Jews, Jewish control, Jewish influence on the economic crisis and here in this country, almost 1 out of 5 Americans blamed Jews for the current economic crisis situation.”
Bernie Madoff made matters worse with the $50 billion Ponzi scheme that earned him a sentence of 150 years in prison, Foxman said. Some people attribute his scam to his Jewish heritage, the ADL leader says.
Some anti-Semitism is rooted in Christianity, Foxman says. “For a long, long time, till recent times, the way the history of Christianity was taught is that it was the Jews who rejected Jesus, the Jews who led him to his crucifixion. Certainly [this] was the rationale, the basis, the legitimacy, for a lot of anti-Semitism.”
The attitude of Christian churches began to change 50 years ago, and now Christians embrace Jews as brothers and sisters.
However, anti-Semitism has the ability to morph, Foxman says, noting that anti-Semitism in the Arab world is mostly political.
The most dangerous element of anti-Semitism is radical Islam, particularly in Iran and its leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who denies the Holocaust and believes Israel should be removed from the earth.
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