Do you remember the commercials that the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) used to run on television? Well, the behavior they deplored has been going on around the world for millennia.
ADL Commercials of old
Cities in Germany that were active in blaming the Jews for causing the Plague (and killing them indiscriminately) in the 14th century are the same communities that still have an intense, illogical hate towards Jews today. Why? Because these beliefs are taught by parents to their children, who teach it to their children, ad inifitum. And, other people move to these communities, because they find those prevailing beliefs compatible with their own prejudices. These are some of the findings of Voightlander and Voth in their paper (click on SSRN to download the whole paper).
These prejudices are exactly those exploited by Hitler in his escapades to destroy all the Jews. The Nazis scored 1.5 X the votes in cities that blamed the Jews for the Black Death some 600 years earlier. Jews were 6 X as likely to be targeted by attacks in those same cities, under the Hitler regime. Cities that had large inward migration did not follow that pattern; the newcomers obviously changed the behavior.
Guy Milliere explains that there is a new force for this renewed anti-Semitism in Europe; the mass migration of Muslim immigrants. This has only been the impetus (inward migration feeding on the already innate anti-Semitism within communities) to burning of synagogues in Greece, France, and other locations in Europe. This is also escalating the prevailing attitude of hatred toward Israel. A survey was effected in Germany, France, Italy, and Poland asking attitudes towards Jews and Israel- negative images ranged from 72% in Poland (0.6% of the population is now Jewish, down from 15% before Hitler) to a low (?) of 32% in France. In another article, Soeren Kern reports that about 1/2 of Spain is anti-Semitic, yet has only 0.08% Jews among them. (The Inquisition is still alive and well in Spain, as I found during my two trips there.)
Before one feels smug that this is not true for their communities, consider this. Why is it that the Aryan terrorist groups thrive in Idaho and the Southern states in the US? Or that Virginia persisted in “massive resistance” and prejudice towards blacks as late as the 1970s, as I found the Commonwealth, where I have now resided for nigh 35 years?
As Spencer Tracy stated in “Inherit the Wind”: Fanaticism and Ignorance are forever busy.
And a more modern quote, from Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young: Teach your children well… and feed them on your dreams.
Please make sure they are dreams and not nightmares!