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The Origin of Anti-Semitism

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Date: Monday, 16 October 2023

The Origin of Anti-Semitism

Eric Zuesse (blogs at

Every religion and even atheists have some racist, bigoted individuals, and certainly Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, do, but the leader of “The Jewish State” (as-if there should be ANY nation that’s any sort of a theocracy, from any faith) is a particular case, because Israel’s long-time leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, not only is a bigoted racist against Shiite Muslims and any Palestinians, but he even goes so far as to blame the Holocaust on the Palestinians instead of on Christians — many of whom actually did it. And now, he wants to do it to the Palestinians who are in Gaza — as-if they had done, or might do, it. (None of them did it, but haters such as Netanyahu are inspiring them to maybe want to.)

On 14 July 2017, I headlined “Netanyahu’s Pro-Nazi Lie: ‘Hitler Wanted To Expel The Jews’”, and documented the fraudulence of his charges that Hitler’s meeting with the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem on 28 November 1941 inspired him to commit the Holocaust, which had already actually started before that meeting (and began in the planning stages ever since Hitler first entered politics in 1919), is not only false but viciously so. Netanyahu gets cover for this from Christians because the idea that Muslims instead of Christians invented anti-Semitism shoves the blame for the Holocaust away from their own faith.

According to the CIA-edited and written Wikipedia, which blacklists (blocks from linking to) sites that aren’t CIA-approved, in their article “Pogrom”, that phenomenon — organized genocidal attacks against Jews — started in Russia under the czars and then went to Hitler’s Germany; but, then, under that article's section “Historical Background” is a very brief mention of what they allege to have been “pogroms” prior to that: “The first recorded anti-Jewish riots took place in Alexandria in the year 38 CE, followed by the more known riot of 66 CE. Other notable events took place in Europe during the Middle Ages. Jewish communities were targeted in 1189-90 in England, during the Crusades.” So, they jump from pre-Christian political “riots” to “Massacres at London and York (1189–1190)”. They don’t mention that in the ancient Roman ‘pogrom’, the Jews were being attacked for refusing to worship The Emperor — which was obviously a rebellion against the state and thus based upon political beliefs (as-if mere political “riots” are pogroms) — whereas, in the 1189-1190 actual pogrom, it was instead one of many Christian Crusades, which, as the CIA’s organ acknowledges, “were a series of religious wars initiated, supported, and sometimes directed by the Christian Latin Church in the medieval period. The best known of these military expeditions are those to the Holy Land in the period between 1095 and 1291 that were intended to conquer Jerusalem and its surrounding area from Muslim rule.” But the Crusades weren’t against only Muslims — they also targeted Jews. And that article ignores also that the Roman Catholic Church’s Popes’ Crusades included Roman Catholic Church edicts specifically against Jews, such as, in 1179 CE, the Third Lateran Council decreed that Jews and Christians should live separately; and, so, the ghettoization of Jews started as being official Governmental policy throughout Christendom.

The 1979 masterpiece by Paul E. Grosser & Edwin G Halperin, Anti-Semitism: Causes & Effects of a Prejudice, provides a year-by-year, chronological, account of pogroms, and it shows that, whereas before the spread of Christianity (and the very first of those, according to Wikipedia, was “the Alexandrian riots (38 CE)”, before there even were any Christians), they weren’t pogroms, and they weren’t basically different from the types of political conflicts and sometimes riots that have occurred to almost all groups in almost all countries throughout history; or, as the book says on its page 6: “Although some pagan hostility toward Jews does, in a loose sense, conform to our definition of anti-Semitism, it was not responsible for the inception and growth of anti-Semitism in the Christian West. It was not central or unique to Jewish misfortunes and history.” So: Where does what we know as anti-Semitism actually come from?:

The Bible, or ‘Word of God,' that we have, was canonized by the Roman Catholic Church at its Synod in the year 397, at the moment when, as Wikipedia correctly summarizes, “The Council of Carthage, called the third by Denzinger,[5] met on 28 August 397. It reaffirmed the canons of Hippo from 393, and issued its own. One of these gives a canon of the Bible.” What they canonized as being the New Testament part of The Word of God, and added to prior Jewish writings, is the collection of Pauline and Paul-following manuscripts that have constituted The Bible ever since then (though some Protestants don't include some of the Old Testament documents that the Roman Catholic Church included. The New Testament or “NT” nonetheless includes the same documents — only Paulist documents — in all Christian faiths, and those documents were selected by the Roman Catholic Church (Paul’s followers), in accord with that church’s claim to being “catholic” or universal). All Christians worship from the same Catholic NT and (in most of its sects) from the same OT or Old Testament. Everything else is merely translational issues that separate one Christian sect from another.

Amongst scholars of Christianity, Paul’s letter to the Galatians is the gold standard of authenticity among all of the NT’s books, it's recognized by virtually all scholars as having been written before not just the canonical, but all (including non-canonical), accounts of Jesus’s life. Furthermore, Galatians is entirely a first-person account, not based at all upon hearsay but instead providing authentic witness testimony of his own personal experiences. All scientifically committed scholars of the early history of the Christian faith accept it as by far the highest-quality (most trustworthy as being authentic) of all the documents that the Roman Catholic Church canonized. It was written prior to all of the Gospel accounts of Jesus (all of which were written by Paul’s followers — and they didn’t get to see and hear even the dead Jesus, as Paul claimed to have done).

Until the Holocaust, which was by-far the biggest and most-organized pogrom or series of pogroms in history, Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians was likewise considered to be either the earliest or else the second-earliest of Paul’s surviving letters.

Paul, the author of Galatians, Romans, and other books in the New Testament, is considered by numerous scholars to be the most influential founder of the Christian church, because of the vast impact of his writings upon Christian theology, and because his writings predated all of the four Gospels. Yet his importance in shaping Christianity is actually far greater than recognized. 

When Paul entered the Jewish sect that had been founded by Jesus, Jesus was already dead, and the sect was led by his brother James, whom Jesus had appointed as His successor prior to being crucified by the Romans for sedition as a challenger to the rule and authority of the Roman-appointed King of the Jews, King Herod. The Jews were one of the many peoples who had been conquered by the Romans, and Jesus had not been the only Jew who claimed to be the authentic King of the Jews; all such claimants were routinely crucified by the Romans, to serve as a warning against others who might be tempted to assert the same claim. 

Paul very early determined that the sect’s future lay not with converting yet more Jews, but rather with converting large numbers of non-Jews, called “Gentiles” or “pagans,” most especially the ones who held Imperial power, the Romans themselves. Since the ministry to convert Gentiles was headed by Peter, who like James himself had actually known Jesus personally during his lifetime, Peter became Paul’s own model and Paul’s chief link to the actual historical Jesus. Paul measured his success as a missionary to the Gentiles by the number of converts he was able to win, and especially by the number of wealthy and powerful ones, especially Roman rulers themselves. Paul’s original name, in fact, had been Saul, and he changed it to Paul shortly after winning his first powerful convert, Sergius Paulus, the Roman-appointed ruler of Crete. 

At some point in time not long after the beginning of his mission, Paul made two fateful decisions, which shaped and even transformed the future of what was still not yet called “Christianity,” but which these two decisions were subsequently to make into no longer a Jewish sect, but the entirely new religion, Christianity: 

First, Paul concluded that the Romans had to be exonerated of Jesus’ crucifixion, because they would not worship someone whom they had themselves declared a seditious criminal and executed as such. Rather, the Jews, whom Jesus had claimed to lead and had sought to help, must instead be charged with having crucified Him. (This would also help to marginalize the Jews, whom Paul hated additionally on account of their denying that Jesus was their Messiah as Paul asserted Him to be.) 

Second, Paul, going far beyond his model Peter who had favored simply the relaxation of the Jewish circumcision-requirement for adult male Gentile converts, decided to terminate this commandment of God (Genesis 17:14: “Any male who has not been circumcised will no longer be considered one of my people, because he has not kept the Covenant with me”) entirely. In that era, before the advent of either anesthesia or antibiotics, this medical operation was both frightening and dangerous to the adult Gentile males that Paul was devoting his life to converting; it was the greatest barrier to the success of his mission. And as Paul admitted in Galatians 2:2, he had come to the conclusion that he must simply abolish the requirement, “for fear that the race that I have been running in life has been run in vain,” or in other words (as another translation puts it), “I did not want my work in the past or in the present to be a failure.” In order to justify abandoning this command of God’s (as all Jews believed it to be), Paul declared that all of the behavioral commands of God, which is to say everything but the First Commandment itself — the command to have faith in God — were terminated by the advent of Jesus. He did not say that all those commands were terminated by Jesus — Paul did not rely upon the authority of Jesus for this termination, essentially, of the entire Jewish Covenant except for the First Commandment. The reason is that the memory of Jesus was still sufficiently fresh then among Jesus’s Jewish sect so that if Paul had said that to them, then Paul would have been widely recognized as a liar; all of Jesus’ disciples knew Jesus to have been a devout Jew. This is why Paul relied instead upon Hebrew Scripture itself, twisting and contorting some passages into their exact opposite, as authority for what was, in fact, nothing less than the termination of Judaism itself, and its replacement by Paul’s new “Christian” covenant of salvation by faith and grace alone. Jesus’ brother James, still a devout Jew (as Jesus had been), gently remonstrated for Paul to stop, but Paul would not. Demanding that his congregations’ men subject themselves to cutting their penis when neither antiseptics nor anesthetics existed, would have lost them and collapsed his own life’s work. 

Jews recognized this replacement of their covenant as a declaration of war by Paul against Judaism, and rioted against him. That confirmed Paul yet more in his, essentially, hijacking Jesus’ Jewish sect so as to serve Roman ends and thereby win Roman and other Gentile converts. Paul’s followers reflected this by their writing the four Gospels in line with Paul’s general program. This entailed not only the replacement of the Jewish initiation-rite of circumcision with the safe and painless one favored by Paul: baptism. And it entailed not only the replacement of Jesus’ own designated successor, his brother James, by Peter, the disciple least hostile to Paul and Paul’s own predecessor in the mission to the Gentiles — essentially a re-write of the history of Christianity’s post-Jesus succession. Above all, it entailed their writing their Gospels as the textbook of anti-Semitism that ultimately inspired Hitler to perpetrate the Holocaust, etc. For example: Matthew 23:31-38, and John 8:44, both have placed into Jesus’s mouth the assertion that Jews are the descendants not of Adam & Eve in Genesis 3 but instead descendants of the snake (Satan) in Genesis 3, and Hitler, who unquestioningly up until 1937 believed 100% in, as his private notes referred to it, “The Bible — Monumental History of Mankind” was therefore determined to exterminate Satan’s people. Paul laid the foundationstone for that, and his followers built the house that he designed.

Acts 21:21 forward portrays Paul as the subject of Jewish riots against him over Paul’s preachments and policies regarding circumcision and the Covenant. This general thrust of Acts can probably be believed; these were highly public — even mass — events, so that if they had not occurred, then Acts’ pure invention of them would have been widely recognized even in Luke’s era. Furthermore, given that Paul had been preaching that the Jewish Covenant had been terminated by God, so that the religion these people believed in and practiced was now mere “garbage” (or “refuse,” or “excrement,” according to Philippians 3:8), it is certainly understandable that Paul would elicit riots from Jews. And what Acts describes here is nothing less than a state of war between Paul and the Jews — not just the Christian sect of Jews; all Jews. Paul was fortunate enough to survive these riots and escape; but his hatred of Jews and of Judaism — both Jesus-followers and not (e.g., 1 Thessalonians 2:15-6, Galatians 6:12, 2 Corinthians 11:13-23, and Philippians 3:2&8) — can only have been increased thereby. And this hatred also freed him to go all-out to win the Romans and thus ultimately the entire Empire, by absolving the Roman regime of the crucifixion and pinning the Deicide upon Paul’s own enemies, “the Jews.” The only high-wire routine he had to worry about from now on was (as in Romans 9-11) keeping the few Jews who were in his congregations. But the anti-Semitic die was cast. 

According to many scholars, 1 Thessalonians was the earliest written of all Paul’s epistles, and the earliest of all the books of the New Testament. (I believe that 1 Corinthians contains parts of a letter that Paul probably wrote even earlier.) 1 Thessalonians was quite possibly written shortly after the event that is described in Galatians 2:11-6 — the creation of the “Christian” faith, which itself occurred immediately after Paul had defended his practices to the Jesus-sect elders at the council in Jerusalem. It thus is quite understandable that 1 Thessalonians might contain Paul’s first rabidly anti-Semitic outburst — which it did, in 2:15-6, referring to “the Jews,” saying that they were the ones “who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and persecuted us. How displeasing they are to God! They are the enemies of all Mankind! They even tried to stop us from preaching to the Gentiles the message that would bring them salvation. All this time they have been filling their guilt to the fullest, and now God’s retribution has at last come down upon them!” In Paul’s view, the delegation to Antioch headed by Peter and sent by James, ordering that all of Paul’s adult male Gentile converts must be circumcised, was a clear demonstration that “They even tried to stop us from preaching to the Gentiles the message that would bring them salvation” — i.e., that circumcision is not required. And, in keeping with Paul’s repeatedly expressed belief (e.g., Romans 13:1-4) that political rulers are God’s agents on Earth carrying out God’s divine justice, it seems that Paul is here probably interpreting as an example of precisely such divine justice, the expulsion of the Jews from Rome at around 49 A.D. by the Emperor Claudius that is recounted both in Acts 18:2 and in the 25th chapter of Suetonius’ biography of that ruler. Suetonius says that Claudius carried out this expulsion out of fear of commotions that were caused specifically by the Jewish followers of “Chrestus.” At that time, the common term for “Christ” was “Chrest,” and his followers were known as “Chrestians”; “Chrestus” was almost surely Christ. Thus, it would appear that Paul’s gloating at the misfortunes of Jews, expressed in 1 Thessalonians 2:16, “and now God’s retribution has at last come down upon them,” probably referred to this Jewish expulsion from the imperial capital, and was probably heightened by Paul’s knowledge that all Jews in Rome were suffering on account of only the Jesus-sect Jews, whom Paul especially hated. 

And that is how it came to be that Christianity emerged as the religion that we know today — a religion for example, in which its great saints, at around 400 A.D., set the following ideal of what it means to be a “model Christian,” as recounted on pages 78-80 of Grosser and Halperin’s 1976 Anti-Semitism: 

St. John Chrysostom: “God always hated the Jews. It is obligatory for all Christians to hate the Jews.” 

St. Ambrose: “I hereby declare that I set fire to the synagogue.” 

St. Augustine: “The true image of the Hebrew is Judas, who sells the Lord for silver. The Jew will forever bear the guilt for the death of Jesus.”

St. Jerome: “Jews are congenital liars.” 

In fact, within even less than a single century from Paul’s own time, there appeared the following from St. Justin (or Justin Martyr), addressing his enemy in Ch. 16 of his Dialogue with Trypho the Jew: 

For the circumcision according to the flesh, which is from Abraham, was given in order to mark you, to separate you from other people, and from us; so that you may be made to suffer that which you now justly suffer, that your land may be made desolate and your cities set aflame, while strangers eat your fruit before your own eyes. ... These things have happened to you in fairness and justice, for you have slain the Lord

All of these writers were followers of the tradition started by Paul, even those (such as Justin) who (just as Paul himself had done) attempted (as in 1 Cor. 9:22-25 & 10:33) to “become all things to all men,” and so to be accepting of any Jew who capitulated to Paul’s new covenant and became a Christian; but that was the condition: only followers of Paulianity were “God’s people.” In fact, by Justin’s time, this had been so institutionalized that it was no longer even necessary to mention Paul’s name as authority for it; Paul’s doctrines had become the doctrines of “Jesus” Himself; “Christianity” itself was anti-Semitic; Paul’s war was now the war of “Jesus Christ.” All these saints of “Christianity” were actually saints of Paulianity. 

And, thus, by official status beatified upon them by “Christianity,” the men who wrote these hateful things were not sinners (bigotry of any kind, in fact, is not even listed among the traditional “7 Sins”; and that’s because, according to ‘God’s Laws’ in The Torah, the first five books of the Bible, Jews were commanded to exterminate — for example: “According to Deuteronomy 7:1-2, 7:16 and 20:15 -18, have ‘God’ say that when the Israelites enter the promised land they are to wipe out the Canaanites, Hittites, Girgishites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites, living there); these Christians were merely a different religion’s “saints,” canonized by the Church as models of virtue, and venerated as such by believers in the faith. Yet these “saints” libeled and provoked the destruction of Jesus’ own people. 

There has been scholarly debate about whether the charge that was made in 1 Thessalonians 2:14-5 and elsewhere in the New Testament accusing “the Jews” and not “the Romans” of the Deicide was true. However, no one has explored the more-basic question of why the Roman involvement in the crucifixion — which is accepted even by the Gospels  — was not so much as in a single instance in the New Testament broadened or generalized into a condemnation or damnation of all of “the Roman people” as was done there to “the Jews.” Nowhere in the New Testament were they called such things as “snakes and sons of snakes” (Mat. 23:33) and “children of the devil” (John 8:44). To the contrary, passages such as Romans 13:1-7 pay homage to the Roman authorities as an agency of God Himself. That is an astounding anomaly. Yet scholars have been quiet about it. Even the fact that in Mat. 27:25 “the whole people” of “the Jews” willingly accept the hereditary nature of their own presumed guilt in the Deicide, while there is not so much as a hint anywhere in the New Testament of a comparable hereditary damnation of “the Romans,” has been essentially ignored. But scholars have gone even further: in order to protect the New Testament from the charge of anti-Semitism, they have tried to push as late a date as possible for the inception of the Deicide accusation in the New Testament. With no evidence whatsoever, many scholars have chosen to assume that 1 Thessalonians 2:14-6 was a later insertion, not by Paul himself, and that the punishment of “the Jews” that it gloats over in 2:16 is Rome’s sacking of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. (and therefore after Paul’s death), instead of the expulsion of all Jews from Rome in 49 A.D. (and therefore an event that occurred shortly prior to the writing of 1 Thessalonians). The absurdity of that position is blatant not only because no evidence has ever been presented to support it, but also because 1 Thessalonians 2:14-6 itself is an integral part of the personal story and personal justification of himself and of his own actions that Paul presents in the broader passage, 1 Thes. 2:1-16. Indeed, 2:14-16 is the culmination of that passage. That fraud/cover-up passes as scholarship. Its real function is a crucial PR-one for the Christian faith itself: to pretend that so evil a thing as anti-Semitism does not go all the way back to this faith’s founding, but was rather a later distortion, and thus not intrinsic to Paul’s “Christianity.” In fact, this passage is threatening to the scholars’ cover-up also because of the direct evidence it supplies about the reason behind Paul’s anti-Semitism and behind his founding “Christianity” as an anti-Semitic religion: 2:16 blurts out, “They [the Jews] even tried to stop us from preaching to the Gentiles the message that would bring them salvation.” It was not just the Jesus-following Jews that were rioting against Paul in Acts 21:21 forward; all Jews were outraged at Paul’s preachments that God had renounced the Covenant and replaced it with a new one, superseding their religion and themselves as ‘God’s Chosen People’. Thus, with the exception of the small number of former Jews who remained in Paul’s congregations and whom Paul tried to pacify with statements such as Romans 9-11, all Jews and not only the Jesus-following ones “tried to stop us from preaching to the Gentiles the message that would bring them salvation,” as Paul put it. The scholars thus cannot accept the plain meaning of 1 Thes. 2:14-6 for two reasons: first, that it introduces the anti-Semitic Deicide-charge too early in the new faith’s founding to suit their liking, inasmuch as the falsity of that charge is now blatant even to most of them; and second, that it blurts out the real reason behind that anti-Semitism, and thus exposes also the real reason behind the founding of the world’s largest religion. And, of course, one way that scholars have tried to deal with these problems is to declare 2:14-16 to have been a later insertion. So this is done not actually to protect Paulianity, but rather to protect the credibility of religion itself. 

The chief pre-Holocaust scholar to question the passage’s authenticity was F.C. Baur, who said in his 1845 Paul, that 2:14-16 is “quite out of place for him to speak of these persecutions in Judaea; for he himself was the person principally concerned in the only persecution to which our passage can refer.” However, Baur’s view of this passage was not influential until after the Holocaust. In order to make less blatant the anti-anti-Semitic motivation for challenging the passage’s authenticity, scholars now said that 2:13-16 is the interpolation or editorially added passage, not just 2:14-16. They also used contorted “hapax” arguments in order to assert the view. They simply don’t want to acknowledge that even the earliest-written of all canonized Christian documents included such rabid anti-Semitism as inspired the young Hitler — that it didn’t originate merely in Paul's followers. 

Scholars disagree among themselves. But in order for them, as a professional sub-culture, to hold fast to Paul’s fraud that the religion he was preaching was founded by Jesus of Nazareth rather than by himself as perpetrator of a coup d’état against the religious organization that had been established by Jesus, all scholars have selected to promote and endorse one or more of the following falsehoods: 

1: 1 Thessalonians 2:14-6 was a later insertion, not by Paul. 

2: Galatians 2:2 is not referring to the conflict over circumcision. 

3: Circumcision was an issue because the Covenant was an issue. 

4: The “garbage” that Paul discarded in Philippians 3:8 was not Judaism. 

5: Paul’s opponents were not Jews. 

6: Jesus’ followers when Paul joined the faith were not Jews. 

7: Jesus was crucified under Jewish Law, not Roman Law. 

8: Circumcision was no big problem for Paul’s “converts.” 

9: Paul’s “gospel” was that of Jesus, not created by Paul himself. 

10: Jesus passed leadership to Peter, not to James. 

11: Paul’s “gospel” was not intended to supersede the Jewish Covenant. 

12: Galatians 2:12 does not represent the birth of Paul’s “Christianity.” 

13: The four Gospel writers were followers of Jesus, not of Paul. 

14: The doctrine of the Virgin-Birth is not anti-Semitic. 

15: The choice of the Crucifix as the faith’s symbol was not anti-Semitic. 

16: The wine as Christ’s blood at Mass was also not anti-Semitically intended. 

17: Galatians 6:12 does not refer to what 1 Thessalonians 2:15 does: Deicide-guilt. 

However, perhaps the biggest problem that those scholars have is explaining how it could be that they consider themselves to be followers of Jesus even though three of the four Christian-canonical Gospel accounts upon which their ‘history’ of the start of Christianity are based referred to him as being a rabbi — a teacher not of Christianity but of Judaism (the very faith-group that Paul and his followers demonized):

Matthew 23:7, 23:8, 26:25, 26:49; Mark 9:5, 11:21, 14:45; and John 1:38, 1:49, 3:2, 3:26, 4:31, 6:25, 9:2, and 11:8.

What this shows is that, even after Jesus’s death in the year 30, and even after Paul wrote Galatians in the year 49 or 50, and even after Paul’s followers wrote their Gospel accounts of Jesus, years and decades after that, the Jesus sect of Jews knew Jesus as not merely a “master,” but as a master “teacher” of Judaism (The Torah), or as what was called a “rabbi.” Paul’s mythologists couldn’t deny that this was the case, because everyone who knew the living Jesus knew that it was so, and those Gospel accounts of ‘Jesus’ would then publicly have been contradicted by the real followers of Jesus, who soon died out. 

Jesus was teaching Judaism (which Paul was damning); so, why aren’t today’s teachers of ‘Christianity’, who call themselves followers of Jesus, Jews, since that is what he taught? Could it be because they are (intentionally or not) propagandists, instead of actual historians?

That’s the difference between historians being in the humanities (including seminaries), versus their being in the social sciences.


Among the books by investigative historian Eric Zuesse, are WHY the Holocaust Happened (out-of-print), and Christ’s Ventriloquists. His latest book is a critique of the current social ‘sciences’.

Dr. Fikrejesus Amahazion at the XXIX International Rosa Luxemburg Conference in Berlin on January

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