Dennis Prager

There are many ways to philosophically divide Americans. Liberal-conservative and religious-secular are two obvious ways. But there is another, no less significant, division: Those who are ashamed of America for being hated and those who wear this hatred as a badge of honor.

I am in the latter group.

I understand such hatred. I am a Jew, a member of the most consistently and deeply hated people in world history. As such, and as coauthor of "Why the Jews? The Reason for Antisemitism" (Simon & Schuster), I have devoted decades to thinking about Jew-hatred.

There are basically two possible ways to look at anti-Semitism. One is that anti-Semites are essentially decent folks and Jews have usually been so bad that they have merited anti-Semitic hatred. The second is that the Jews have generally been a decent people who antagonized many of the morally worst people of their time and place.

Anti-Semites would, of course, choose the first explanation. Others would acknowledge that those who have hated the Jews have usually been the vilest of their generation. Whether Roman torturers, Crusaders who massacred Jewish communities on their way to the Holy Land, Nazis or Communists -- they all hated Jews. The monsters of the 20th century, the Nazis, made Jew-hatred the centerpiece of their ideology. And the monsters of our young century, militant Muslims, have done the same.

Why have the Jews, always among the weakest and smallest of peoples, attracted the hatred of the most evil people? Because of what the Jews represented. The civility of the Jews' lives and the values the Jews brought into the world -- especially ethical monotheism, i.e., a standard of right and wrong based on a moral and judging God -- made them loathsome in the eyes of those who led particularly uncivil lives and who celebrated moral chaos and cruelty.

Turning to hatred of America, the same questions and answers apply.

Either America is evil and hatred of it is merited, or America is a decent country and the haters are evil.

The correct explanation is so obvious that only one who already hates America or who is simply morally confused would choose the first.

To assess the veracity of this, all one need do is compare America -- a country that has liberated more people from tyranny than any other, and which has been a place of refuge, tolerance and opportunity for more people from more backgrounds than any other in history -- with those who hate America.

Dennis Prager

Dennis Prager is a SRN radio show host, contributing columnist for and author of his newest book, “The Ten Commandments: Still the Best Moral Code.”

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