Few people are sufficiently proud or righteous to refuse to assert themselves at others’ expense. For most people, fear is provocative. A typical man feels the urge to strike a weak person who doesn’t implore him for his help. Men assert themselves by domination, and push others as much as possible until they encounter (or expect to encounter) resistance. They eagerly accept the weaklings who plead for a master-vassal relationship. Such weaklings are provided benevolent protection. But Jews constitute a case of weaklings who remain staunchly different, and thus independent. Jews submit without being submissive. Jews never accept the strongman’s authority as absolute because they have their own ideas. Yet Jews are weak and fearful. The Jews’ fearfulness provokes anti-Semitism. All of us have seen a similar situation in school: the weakest children are despised and often kicked. Even their otherwise decent classmates sometimes cannot resist the urge to kick that weakling. They do so to assert themselves, but also as a means of punishment. Frightful weakness offends or at least irritates bystanders because it presumes them to be hostile and ill-wishing. Fearful weakness also arouses suspicion: people are used to situations in which others fear them for a reason—guilt and expectation of punishment. A fearful person is subconsciously seen as guilty, and deserving of punishment.

Many minorities are weak, but Jews are also fearful because they historically have lacked institutional protection. In most cases, Jews are institutionally oppressed rather than simply left unprotected. They have good reason to fear. But fear prompts oppression and builds on itself.

Rare nations, such as the proud populations of the Caucasus mountains, harbor no anti-Semitism. For most nations, Israeli weakness and willingness to sue for peace fits into the cognitive framework of fear and irresistibly provokes anti-Semitism.