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OPINION

American Jews: Still Targets After all these Years

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AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez

Jews have been the targets of hate crimes for 2,000+ years. In present-day America, FBI data reveals that some 55% of all hate crimes are directed toward Jews, while they represent only 2% of the population. Thus, Jews are at least 27 times more likely to be the targets of hate crimes than their population numbers suggest. 

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It seems to many people as if Jews are more prominent and ubiquitous than 2% of the population: They are well-represented in the film industry, academia, and publishing. They have a disproportionately high number of attorneys, doctors, psychologists, and others in professional or healthcare services.

Enduring Targets

How can a group that has been virtually inculcated in all of American history and culture continue to be the target of misdeeds? A central continuing thesis is that because Jews tend to have higher incomes and higher education levels per capita than others in society, there are individuals who resent their success and social standing.

That said, over the years, here is what selected philosophers, authors, and politicians have had to say about Jews:

Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe: Energy is the basis of everything. Every Jew, no matter how insignificant, is engaged in some decisive and immediate pursuit of a goal... They are the most immortal people on earth...

John Adams: I will insist the Hebrews have [contributed] more to civilize men than any other nation. If I were an atheist and believed in blind eternal fate, I would still believe that fate had ordained the Jews be the most essential instrument for civilizing the nations... They are the most glorious nation that ever inhabited this Earth. The Romans and their empire were but a bubble in comparison to the Jews.

Leo Tolstoy: The Jew... is the symbol of eternity. He is the one who, for so long, had guarded the prophetic message and transmitted it to all mankind. A person such as this can never disappear. The Jew is eternal. He is the embodiment of eternity.

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Winston S. Churchill: Some people like the Jews, and some do not. But no thoughtful man can deny the fact that they are, beyond any question, the most formidable and most remarkable race which has appeared in the world.

Eric Hoffer: The Jews are a peculiar people: Things permitted to other nations are forbidden to the Jews. Other nations drive out thousands, even millions of people, and there is no refugee problem. Russia did it. Poland and Czechoslovakia did it. Turkey threw out a million Greeks and Algeria a million Frenchmen. Indonesia threw out heaven knows how many Chinese – and no one said a word about refugees. But in the case of Israel, the displaced Arabs have become eternal refugees. Everyone insists that Israel must take back every single Arab. Arnold Toynbee calls the displacement of the Arabs an atrocity more significant than any committed by the Nazis. Other nations, when victorious on the battlefield, dictate peace terms. But when Israel is victorious, it must sue for peace. Everyone expects the Jews to be the only real Christians in this world.

Mark Twain, Perhaps the Most Insightful

Mark Twain: If statistics are correct, the Jews constitute but one percent of the human race. It suggests a nebulous dim puff of stardust lost in the blaze of the Milky Way. Appropriately, the Jew ought hardly to be heard of, but he is heard of, and has always been heard of. He is as prominent on the planet as any other person, and his commercial importance is extravagantly out of proportion to the smallness of his bulk. His contributions to the world's list of great names in literature, science, art, music, finance, medicine, and abstruse learning are also way out of proportion to the weakness of his numbers. He has made a marvelous fight in this world, in all the ages, and had done it with his hands tied behind him. He could be vain of himself and be excused for it.

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The Egyptian, the Babylonian, and the Persian rose, filled the planet with sound and splendor, then faded to dream stuff and passed away; the Greek and the Roman followed and made a vast noise, and they are gone; other people have sprung up and held their torch high for a time, but it burned out, and they sit in twilight now, or have vanished. The Jew saw them all, beat them all, and is now what he always was, exhibiting no decadence, no infirmities of age, no weakening of his parts, no slowing of his energies, no dulling of his alert and aggressive mind. All things are mortal but the Jew; all other forces pass, but he remains. What is the secret of his immortality?

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