The world has no shortage of Neo-Nazis and white supremacists, and as you might know, the internet has become the ideal vessel for these ideologies to be spread. Platforms like 4chan, Reddit, and even Tiktok are currently being used to cultivate hate. When so much of a movement exists via a medium that limits them to mostly text, seemingly normal things begin to be used as dog whistles. One such dog whistle that I want to talk about is the use of the number “109”. The number is intended to represent the number of countries that the Jewish people have been expelled from throughout history. The thought process goes that the Jews are like a bad girlfriend: “a girl breaks up with 109 guys and determines that they are all the problem and that she is doing everything right.” While that metaphor includes its own misogynistic nightmares, the question still stands, “Have the Jews been kicked out of 109 countries?” Well, I am here to tell you that the Neo-Nazis are lying, the Jews have been kicked out of way more than 109 countries… but here’s why.
Since the destruction of the second temple and what most call the beginning of the
diaspora period for the Jewish people many Jews fled to Europe and began the 2000 year-long tale of the suffering of the Ashkenazi Jew. The church, having been in charge of most facets of life at the time in many places, barred Jews from owning land or participating in things that were considered noble professions. So the Jews did what we are famous for and made lemonade. Most Jews during the Middle Ages went into financial trades and acted as the red blood cells of many European economies. This led royals and nobility to be very close to their Jewish communities. Many synagogues were built on the royal property and with royal money like the Izaak synagogue in Krakow, which I had the pleasure of davening at this past summer.
So how did these strong relationships turn sour? Well, economies do what they have done for centuries- they rise, and then they crash. A 16th-century king is suddenly in debt, and surprise-surprise, who owns that debt? The Jews! So how do we solve our economic problems? We kick them out. After all, Avram can’t exactly send out a Venmo request from Siberia.
I would like to take a moment here and address the fact that this is a very Ashkenazi-centric portrayal of historic antisemitism and is in no way intended to minimize the experiences and hardships of Sephardi and Mizrachi Jews.
The next story in this saga is that of Christian libel. Through the ages, the Catholic Church made every possible effort to make the Jew appear subhuman. From the lies about killing Jesus to the tale of the bloodthirsty Jew, it was ingrained in European culture that the Jew was less than. It was these conspiracies that lead to the pogroms of eastern Europe and incidents like the Dreyfuss trial, where innocent men were put on trial simply for their genetic ties to the nation of Israel. I think of publications like the Protocols of The Elders of Zion as related to the Christian libel because they all paint the same fairytale. The Jew is at the same time subhuman and the puppeteer of all global misfortune. Jews have been kicked out of 109 countries and counting because these ideas run so deep in Western culture that they appear in all facets of human interaction. These same ideas drove Hitler to power and crowds of people to chant “Jews will not replace us” in Charlottesville.
The final installation of historic expulsion for the Jews begins with the modern state of Israel, as millions of people are told to pack up and leave (often in a matter of hours) in 1948. An estimated two hundred and sixty thousand Jews from Arab countries immigrated to Israel between 1948 and 1951. A once flourishing Jewish community in Kabul, Afghanistan now officially has just one Jewish resident.
So in summary, no, the Jewish people are not the world’s crazy ex-girlfriend, and we are not at fault for our historic scapegoating and oppression. I hope that this post will give you the necessary knowledge to fight these dog whistles and to stand up to hate in your community. It’s a scientifically proven fact that hate and lies spread faster on the internet than the truth, so the best I can hope for is to be an oasis of truth.
I tried my best to fact check everything I said here, but the chance for inconsistencies still exists so if you feel I got something wrong feel free to leave me a comment. If you want to learn more about the history of antisemitism I encourage you to check out the center for Israel education (https://israeled.org/) where they have a ton of information and resources. Since my last post, we have gained 20 followers bringing our count up to 30! The new tradition is to give one shout out to one new follower each post so this one goes out to my boy Levi Rose from St. Louis, Missouri. Hi Levi!
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