Anti-Semitism doesn’t stem merely from Jewish difference. Chinese are very different from Westerners, economically successful, clannish, and arguably xenophobic, but not hated. Assimilated German Jews, Eastern European Jewish paupers, and cosmopolitan socialist Jews are all hated and murdered on occasion. Traits like visible wealth, exploitation, and misanthropy play a role in the development of hatred, but they are neither necessary nor sufficient. Poor, non-exploitative, and outgoing Gypsies are universally detested. Wealthy Swiss and swaggering French are universally respected. The difference in the treatment of Jews under pagan, Christian, and Muslim rule provides a clue as to the source of anti-Semitism.

Ancient Greek sources are somewhat respectful of Jews, while most Roman authors deride us. Both Greeks and Romans were religiously tolerant polytheists. Both staked their culture above others. Rome, unlike Greece, had an imperial ideology of totalitarian strength and cultural messianism. That mix, characteristic of Russia, now permeates the United States.

The major difference between Christian and Islamic attitudes toward Jews is the moderate institutional protection that exists in Islam (dhimmitude) versus the institutional condemnation in Christianity. Human societies are full of discontent and hatreds. People loathe to admit ethically censured feelings, and rationalize them instead. Whatever the idealistic pronouncements, no one is expected to love everyone; at most, we are expected to hate our neighbors only for a reason. Aliens enjoy little protection from ethical restrictions. In order to make the hatred socially permissible, its object has to be differentiated, made into an alien. Why is hatred of aliens morally admissible? Aliens are different, thus unpredictable; careful humans presume the unpredictable to be dangerous. Groups are cemented by common enemies and expect other groups to be cemented likewise. Artificial groups, such as the followers of mass religions, depend on hatred more than average neighborly groups. Members of artificial groups lack realistic common interests, and unite against adversaries. Christianity’s original enemy was hell; the religion drew the flock with the promise of simple and inexpensive salvation through faith in the event of resurrection. When Christianity became dominant, its attraction of simple salvation was devalued: no “more expensive” competitors remained. Pagan remnants, Jews, and Muslims provided the needed enemy. Unlike the Muslims, the Jews were always at hand; and friction intensified hatreds. Muslim armies were relatively dangerous; Jews were not. Jews made a perfect lightning-rod both for anti-societal (class, Marxists would say) and pro-societal (common enemy) hatreds. Most importantly, Christian authorities institutionally sanctioned that enemy. The effect of sanction cannot be overestimated. Soldiers and police routinely shoot at demonstrators, fellow citizens whose outlook they often share. People hate personal responsibility and gladly obey authorities, especially when the authorities are good to them. Rulers have quashed pogroms with the slightest show of force. Irrational hatred rarely overcomes rational barriers.

Muslim governments barbarically oppressed their citizens. There was no need to cement a society; societies were formed by totalitarian pressure. Discontent was not just suppressed, it was not even allowed to form; thus the reduced need for hated outsiders. Islamic empires experienced very little competition, unlike the fragmented Christian kingdoms, and did not needto reinforce their dominant ideology with Jewish enemies. Christian states addressed power disputes in religious terms; Islamic empires did not have to trumpet their religion.

It is odd that Jews sided with Christians against Muslims.