For Jews, Success Breeds Jealousy

For Jews, Success Breeds Jealousy

© David Burton 2023


     For Jews, being competent and successful has proven to be a sure path to hatred, jealousy and ostracism.

     Perhaps the most notable example of this fact exists in the Five Books of Moses, the earliest written history of the Jewish people and starting with the narrative of Joseph, the Egyptians, Moses and the early Hebrews.

     The facts are that throughout the ages, success has brought jealousy and hatred while incompetence and failure bring sympathy and the need to place the blame for this incompotence and failure on some scapegoat - all too frequently, the Jews.

     Anti-Semitism is once again rearing its ugly head around the world. One can but wonder why hatred of Jews and Israel has been such a recurrent event throughout the recorded history of the world. This hatred of the Jews dates back to the earliest recorded biblical times. “One of the most ancient and unexplained phenomena in the world is anti-Semitism. For the thousands of years of its existence, the Jewish nation has experienced all sorts of maltreatment, decrees, abuse, and more, which all stemmed from anti-Semitic hatred.” (Ref. 1) This hatred of the ancient Hebrews and modern Jews has persisted in spite of the fact that Jews have historically done nothing that should result in such strong resentment. In truth, the opposite has been true. Jews have been positive factors in just about every society with which they have been involved.

     When the Jews were a demeaned and depressed minority trying to eke out a living - as in 19th century Russia and Poland - it was claimed that they did not contribute anything to society, but when Jews contributed to the welfare of a nation, as in modern America, it was - and even today, still is - claimed that they were controlling and manipulating national resources for their own benefit and to the detriment of the rest of society. nowhere,were these accusations substantiated. In communist Russia in the 20th century, Jews were accused of being capitalists, while in Nazi Germany, Jews were accused of being socialists and communists. Here in America, during the Red Scare of the McCarthy era, Jews were charged with being disloyal Communists.[1]

     The bible relates the following instances of what today we would call anti-Semitism inspired by jealousy of the success of early Hebrews. In Genesis, we read that Isaac dwelt in the land of the Philistines where he was hugely successful and grew wealthy. Because of his success, the Philistines envied him and filled up the wells with earth that Isaac’s father, Abraham, had dug. Think of it, because of their envy and jealousy of these early Jews, the Philistines filled in wells dug by Abraham’s servants which denied water not only to the Hebrews, but to themselves as well. Talk about cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face! But, such is the history of the eventual results of perpetrating anti-Semitic acts out of envy and jealousy. Still later in Genesis, we read that Abimelach, the king of the Philistines, orders Isaac to leave his kingdom because the early Hebrews had been successful, were prospering and had “become much stronger” than the Philistines. Note that the bible does not relate any incident of the Hebrews taking advantage of the Philistines, attacking them, or stealing from them. Their only crime was being successful which caused the king and his people to envy the Jews and become jealous of their success.

     Another example of anti-Semitism resulting from envy and jealousy occurs in the story of the early Hebrews in Egypt, leading to the Exodus story. Joseph saves the Egyptian nation from famine and starvation and Joseph and his family are rewarded by Pharaoh. In Genesis, we read that Pharaoh decrees that “Thou {Joseph} shalt be over my house, and according to thy word, shall all my people be ruled; only in the throne will I be greater than thou. . . . See. I have set thee over all the land of Egypt.” (Genesis 41:39-41)

     Later, Pharaoh welcomes the Hebrews to Egypt, saying to Joseph “Thy father and thy brethren are come unto thee; the land of Egypt is before thee; in the best of the land make thy father and thy brethren to dwell.” (Genesis 46:5-6) We then read that “And Israel dwelt in the land of Egypt, in the land of Goshen; and they got them possessions therein, and were fruitful, and multiplied exceedingly.” (Genesis 47:27)

     So, a Hebrew saves Egypt from starvation, after which, he and his family settle down in Egypt. They are successful, prosperous, and “were fruitful, and multiplied exceedingly.” They commit no recorded crimes against Egypt, are not reported to have staged any uprisings nor connived with the country’s enemies. Their apparent crime was that they were successful and had large families.

     The eventual reward for the Hebrews was slavery and the murder of their male children. Why?

     “Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who knew not Joseph. And he said unto his people: ‘Behold, the people of the children of Israel are too many and too mighty for us . . . Therefore they did set over them taskmasters to afflict them with their burdens. . . . And Pharaoh charged all his people, saying: ‘Every {Hebrew} son that is born ye shall cast into the river’. (Exodus1:8-22)

     Anti-Semitism in modern Egypt has left the country essentially bereft of Jews – it is quite doubtful that the country is better off as a result. While no exact census exists, the Jewish population of Egypt is estimated at less than 100 today, down from between 75,000 and 80,000 in 1922. After their expulsion from Spain, Jews began to emigrate to Egypt, and their numbers increased significantly with the growth of trading prospects after the opening of the Suez Canal. Ashkenazi Jews began to arrive in the aftermath of the waves of pogroms that hit Europe in the latter part of the 19th century.

     Jewish doctors were well known in Egypt. Abu al-Bayyan al-Mudawwar who had been physician to the last Fatimid, treated Saladin, as did Abu al-Ma'ali, brother-in-law of Maimonides, and Maimonides himself. The title Ra'is al-Umma or al-Millah (Head of the Nation or of the Faith), was bestowed upon Maimonides as a reward for his service to Egypt and Saladin. The success of these Jews, their contributions to Egypt and the contributions of thousands of other Jews were again examples of success leading to envy and jealousy and the eventual acts of anti-Semitism that resulted in the expulsion of essentially the entire Jewish community that had existed in Egypt for over two thousand years. When Jews first came to Egypt, Egypt was a dominant power in the western world – today, Egypt is just another country embroiled in civil turmoil.

     Once, Israel (then called Palestine) was a barren land of swamps and deserts. Today, it is a lush agricultural paradise that that produces enough top-quality fruits and vegetables to feed its growing population and still have enough to export. Israel is probably the world leader in agricultural technology.

     Once, Israel was “drying out.” Water was scarce, expensive and, in some cases, rationed. Today, Israel is considering exporting its surplus water. Israel is, by far, the world leader in waste water reclamation and among the world’s leaders in desalinization.

     Once, Israel had no natural non-renewable energy sources and had to import all it oil, gas and coal needs. Today, Israel has decided to export 40% of its newly discovered natural gas.

     Once, Israel (then known as Palestine) was a a technological backwater. Today, Israel is a world technology leader.

     Because of all these achievements, there are many people around the world that are jealous and envious of Israel and Jews. This envy and jealousy has morphed into vicious hatred and is expressed in a variety of ways – BDS (Boycott, Divest and Sanction), anti-Semitism, anti-Zionism, anti-Israel rhetoric and more. Some of this animosity is highly violent and has expanded to apply to anyone who might be considered supportive of Israel and Jews.

     As elsewhere throughout the world, anti-Semitic activity has been growing in modern Germany. A group tracking anti-Semitism in Germany said that it documented 2,480 incidents in the country in 2022 — just under seven incidents per day on average.
     In its annual report, Germany's Department for Research and Information on Anti-Semitism, or RIAS, said that while it registered a slight decrease in antisemitic incidents in 2022, compared to the year before, there were nine incidents of extreme violence — the highest number of such cases since nationwide record keeping began in 2017.
     Those extremely violent crimes included a shooting at a former rabbi’s house next to an old synagogue in the western city of Essen. Germany’s federal prosecutor was investigating the case along with two other violent antisemitic crimes on suspicion that they might have been carried out in cooperation with Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.
     While the vicious anti-Semite, Roger Waters, performed at Barclays Arena in Hamburg, Germany, on May 7, 2023, the US weighed in on Waters by once more charging him with a long history of denigrating Jews. At the same time. President Joe Biden spoke out against ‘antisemitic bile’ during the celebration of Jewish American Heritage Month in the East Room of the White House on May 16, 2023.
     These days, many anti-Semitic hate crimes include common tropes linked to Jews or conspiracy theories such as the coronavirus pandemic with its anti-Jewish narratives and the Middle East conflict with anti-Semitic criticism of Israel.
     Every fifth anti-Semitic incident in Germany has a conspiracy background, according to what RIAS documented. A right-wing extremist background was involved in 13% of all incidents, while 53% of the incidents could not be clearly linked to a specific political background.
     The German government’s commissioner to combat anti-Semitism, Felix Klein, pointed specifically to anti-Semitic incidents in Germany’s cultural sector, in which the head of a major art show in Germany, documenta fifteen, resigned last year after an exhibit featuring anti-Semitic elements prompted an outcry in the country. (documenta fifteen is the 15th edition of documenta, a contemporary art exhibition in Kassel, Germany that was held between June and September 2022.)
     “documenta fifteen was rightly the talk of the town,” Klein said. “But many anti-Semitic incidents also occur below the threshold of public attention in the cultural sector — as in other parts of social life, they are part of everyday life for Jews.”[2]

     In 2021, nearly one out of every four Jews here in the U.S. was the subject of anti-Semitism, a number that advocates for the Jewish community say should trouble all Americans. The data was published in a report released by the American Jewish Committee (AJC).
     Seventeen percent of respondents in the committee's survey said they had been the subject of an anti-Semitic remark in person, while 12% said they were the victim of an anti-Semitic remark online. Three percent of Jews who responded to the poll said they were the target of an anti-Semitic physical attack.
     Anti-Semitic posts on social media are rarely removed by the Social Media Companies where the posts are found. Out of fear of anti-Semitism, 39% of American Jews changed their behavior in 2021, such as by avoiding posting online content or wearing items that would identify them as Jewish. "Where is the outrage? Where is the recognition that anti-Semitism may begin with Jews but, ultimately, targets the fabric and fiber of any democratic society?" the head of the AJC said.
     Back in the spring of 2021, an outbreak in violence between Israel and Hamas terrorists saw an uptick in anti-Semitic hate crimes thousands of miles away in the U.S. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) said it received 193 reports of possible anti-Semitic violence in the week that the fighting began, a nearly 50% increase from the week prior. The report also highlighted a stark divide between the number of Jews who believe anti-Semitism is a problem in the U.S. versus the rest of the population. Some 90% of American Jews think anti-Semitism is a problem in the country, while just 60% of the general population said it was.[3]

     In 2022, in Utah, tech entrepreneur Dave Bateman resigned from the Entrata board of directors just hours after sending an anti-Semitic email to business leaders and government officials claiming that Jews were behind “a sadistic effort . . . to euthanize the American people.”
     In the email, Bateman claimed that “the pandemic and systematic extermination of billions of people” will pave the way for the Jews “to consolidate all the countries in the world under a single flag with totalitarian rule.” Interesting, the incontrovertible historical fact is that Jews have never controlled - or desired to control - any country in the world, except their own State of Israel!
     Although Bateman’s email sparked widespread outrage and condemnation, experts said that the incident was unsurprising. Despite the strides American Jews have made in recent decades, anti-Semitism is still deeply embedded in our culture, in general, and in the business sector, in particular, they said.
     In theory, American Jews - a group that once faced educational and professional restrictions and widespread prejudice - have come a long way. Jews now attend the nation’s top universities, including schools that once sought to restrict their admission; Harvard has even had a Jewish president. Additionally, there are about three dozen Jewish politicians in Congress.
     But, as the Bateman email suggests, anti-Semitism is still alive and well in America. There are certain sectors of American society that still seem particularly susceptible to stereotypes about Jews, among them the business world.
     One American Jewish historian affiliated with Indiana University Bloomington’s Borns Jewish Studies Program said that, “In many respects these accusations of Jewish dishonesty by leading business figures is nothing new. . . ” She pointed to the “long history that dates back at least to the 1840s” of business leaders considering Jews to be “shady and untrustworthy and participating in schemes to defraud their organizations.”
     “Antisemitism used to be quite open until after World War II,” said the director of the University of Tennessee’s Fern and Manfred Steinfeld Program in Judaic Studies. The allied liberation of the concentration camps was a “turning point,” she said, after which articulating anti-Jewish sentiments “becomes not OK because we are now on the side of the liberators and not the Germans.”
     Anti-Semitism can be expressed in less obvious ways than anti-Semitic violence, such as when someone refers to haggling as “Jewing” the other person down. And philosemitism - or a love of or admiration for Jews - can also be a form of anti-Semitism.
     “Philosemitism is predicated on stereotypes about Jews - it’s the other side of the same coin,” she said. Some seemingly positive stereotypes, like Jews being good with money, are “underpinned by an (antisemitic) idea about Jews controlling world finances and being greedy and stingy.”
     Even when the stereotype isn’t rooted in something bad, it’s still a way of delineating Jews as an “other,” said the Farber Family Chair in Holocaust Studies and European Jewish History at Michigan State University, who explained that, historically, in Europe, Jewish people were considered to be not just of a different religion but also of a different race - “the quintessential other.”
     Because being overtly anti-Semitic is no longer acceptable - as the reaction to Bateman’s email shows – anti-Semitism in America today has become largely coded, she said, adding that many of the conspiracies embraced by QAnon believers are based on older anti-Semitic tropes, even if they don’t overtly reference Jews. (QAnon is an American political conspiracy theory and political movement that originated in the American far-right political sphere in 2017. QAnon centers on fabricated claims made by an anonymous individual or individuals known as "Q". The core QAnon conspiracy theory is that a cabal of Satanic, cannibalistic child molesters are operating a global child sex trafficking ring which conspired against former U.S. President Donald Trump during his term in office - Wikipeida)

     When reading excerpts of Bateman’s email, the Farber Family Chair heard echoes of “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” a booklet penned by a non-Jew that pretends to “spell out the alleged secret plans of Jewish leaders seeking to attain world domination.” Like the “Protocols,” Bateman’s email revolves around a conspiracy theory that the Jews are out to take over the world.
     “If you have come to accept all these other ideas - the idea of the election being stolen, the idea that Trump was booted out of office because he was about to uncover this ring of child kidnapping that was being promoted by the Hollywood elite and George Soros - if you have accepted all these other ideas then the idea that Jews are promoting vaccines is not a leap,” she said.[4]

     Here in the United States in the year 2023, anti-Semitism has once again reared its ugly head, even in the halls of our own government. In mid-2023, one politician made a strident comment about Israel being a racist state, due to its unequal treatment of Jewish and non-Jewish citizens. In another case, a presidential candidate made a wholly baseless claim that the Covid-19 virus might have been engineered by a shadowy conspiracy to spare Ashkenazi Jewish (and Chinese) people and attack Caucasians and Black people. These attacks on Jews are all too reminiscent of the blood libel against Jews from medieval days.
     On the face of it, the second comment is far more problematic than the first. It echoes 1,000 years of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories that Jews are responsible for, yet somehow immune to, plagues and disease – beliefs that led to actual Jews being murdered by angry mobs. It is wildly inaccurate and it is profoundly dangerous, stoking the flames of anti-Semitic and anti-Asian hate.
     These comments weren’t made in isolation. The first was made by Democratic US Representative Pramila Jayapal. In the second case, the comment was made by presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
     Rep. Jayapal’s comments were good for Republicans. Many Democrats on the hard-left side of the party have been heavily critical of Israel, and that represents a massive political liability for the party as a whole. While Jayapal quickly apologized, and cited “the trauma of pogroms and persecution, the Holocaust, and continuing antisemitism and hate violence,” the damage was done. Democrats are anti-Israel, goes the messaging.
     Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. was widely criticized for alleging that COVID-19 was targeted to attack Caucasians and Black people and that Jewish and Chinese people are most immune. Kennedy Jr. has been characterized as the epitome of the ‘useful idiot.’ Heavily funded by right-wing donors, he was proving to be an early headache for President Joe Biden, who was being forced into a no-win decision between debating him and allowing his dangerous nonsense to go unchecked.
     Kennedy’s lies are the kinds of lies that kill. In late July 2023, the trial of the man who murdered 11 Jews at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh in October 2018 entered its final, penalty phase, as the jury considered imposing the death penalty. He was motivated, we now know, by an odious web of conspiracy theories involving shadowy elites who have infiltrated our government and who are bringing migrants to America to displace white people. RFK’s specific subject matter is different – the shadowy elites control the Center for Disease Control and the National Institute of Health rather than Homeland Security, the FBI, and the CIA – but the basic structure is the same: shadowy elites, i.e., Jews, control politics, and media, to the detriment of ‘real’ Americans.
     Sometimes those elites are explicitly Judaized, as in the Tree of Life murderer’s rants or the Right’s endless blaming of George Soros for all manner of social unrest. Other times, they are merely ‘cosmopolitan’ elites who manipulate media, politics, and finance. But eventually, these rootless, alien cosmopolitans end up being Jews. Really, it was only a matter of time before RFK Jr. stumbled into overt anti-Semitism. If you play the conspiracy-theory poker game long enough, eventually you’re going to draw a Jewish card.
     Many American Jews have remarked that this mainstreaming of anti-Semitism reminds them of 1930s Germany. There, too, Jews had been comfortable and prosperous for generations. Adolf Hitler was seen as a fringe nationalist, a bit of a joke. And yet, bit by bit, the unthinkable became acceptable and, eventually, all too real.
     There is no equivalence between a strident anti-Israel remark and the resurrection of age-old anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. The former is an unfortunate misstep. The latter is a step toward darkness.[5]

     In what should come as a surprise to absolutely no one, progressive House Democrats once again spent a weekend in mid-2023 spouting anti-Semitism to left-wing activists.
     At the Netroots Nation conference, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) compared Israel to authoritarian, expansionist Russia and declared that Palestinians “have now experienced occupation and displacement for 75 years.” Israel was founded in 1948, exactly 75 years ago, meaning that Omar views the entire country as illegitimate since its inception. In other words, she objects to the very existence of a Jewish state.
     None of this is a surprise, given Omar’s track record of anti-Semitism. Nor is it a surprise that she and Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) were boycotting the speech of Israeli President Isaac Herzog. Anti-Semitism was a feature of the collection of progressive House Democrats who called themselves “the Squad.” Omar’s calling the entire state of Israel illegitimate and comparing its attempts to defend itself from Palestinian terrorists to Russia’s attempt to conquer Ukraine is just more anti-Semitic, anti-Israel and anti-Zionist rhetoric. Coming from members of the U.S. House of Representatives, it is reprehensible.
     More notable were the comments from Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), the chairwoman of the House Progressive Caucus. As protesters disrupted a panel she was speaking on, Jayapal wanted to let them know that “we have been fighting to make it clear that Israel is a racist state.” The claims from left-wing activists that Israel is some apartheid state are clearly false to anyone who even briefly examines the rights of Israeli Arabs.
     Jayapal later issued a lengthy statement trying to claw back what she said, and the House Democratic leadership once again issued a weak statement that is normally reserved for Omar’s anti-Semitic outbursts to respond to Jayapal’s. Evidently, House Democrats have given up pretending they care about Omar’s comments. They don’t really care about Jayapal’s either, as evidenced by the fact that Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), a member of the leadership team, was onstage with Jayapal and didn’t object to her comments.
     This has been brewing for years, with Democrats watering down condemnations of Omar’s anti-Semitism while issuing the equivalent of strongly worded letters every time she or another “Squad” Democrat spouted off some anti-Semitism. Now the leader of the House Progressive Caucus let the mask slip while showing she holds Israel to a different standard than any other country. Anti-Semitism is only becoming more prevalent throughout the House Democratic Caucus, and another cookie-cutter statement isn’t going to stop the spread.[6]

     Lately, an old kind of hate has been very visible in America. High-profile entertainers and athletes have openly spouted anti-Semitic tropes. Former president Donald Trump dined with an outspoken Holocaust denier and there's been a steady rise in the number of hateful incidents directed at Jewish people over the past several years.
     The record-breaking number of anti-Semitic acts in the past few years is part of a consistent upswing in the number of anti-Semitic incidents. Hate crimes more broadly have also been on the rise over the past few years. Experts sometimes refer to anti-Semitism as a "canary in the coal mine" for hate generally. Whenever a minority group is blamed for some real or perceived harm, such narratives almost always find ways to also attack Jews, based on centuries-old myths about Jewish control and disloyalty.
     For those who are upset about Black people demonstrating against racism, or blame a pandemic on anyone who looks Asian, or are angry about the visibility of transgender people or queer culture, it's a short leap to conspiracist anti-Semitic thinking.
     "Jews are centered in a lot of conspiracy theories, especially around economy or power or greed or whatever. Those are core anti-Semitic tropes. So, when we start to see unrest, we tend to see anti-Semitic incidents climb," said an Anti-Defamation League (ADL) spokesperson.
     Trump's dinner with the musician Ye - who previously made a number of anti-Semitic remarks, and is a notorious Holocaust-denying internet streamer - was just one example of anti-Semitism's increasing visibility in American electoral politics.
     Lately, an old kind of hate has been very visible in America. High-profile entertainers and athletes have openly spouted anti-Semitic tropes. (Kanye West, now known as Ye, is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, record producer, and fashion designer. Ye was one of the world's best-selling music artists, His outspoken views received significant media coverage and he was a frequent source of controversy due to his conduct on social media and at awards shows and public settings, as well as his comments on the music and fashion industries, U.S. politics, race, and slavery. In 2022, he was widely condemned and lost many sponsors and partnerships - including his collaborations with Adidas, Gap, and Balenciaga - after making a series of anti-Semitic statements. Ye later publicly praised Adolf Hitler, denied the Holocaust, and identified as a Nazi. - Wikipedia).
     The ADL spokesperson said that whenever celebrities or politicians flirt publicly with anti-Semitic tropes, increased extremist and neo-Nazi harassment and recruiting tends to follow. These moments are opportunities for hateful highway banner drops, flyering and online radicalization.
     Nick Fuentes, a white nationalist internet streamer, attended the dinner with Ye and former president Trump. Trump was not the first Republican or official to spend time with Fuentes and the ex-president later claimed not to know about his very outspoken, anti-Semitic beliefs. Earlier in 2022, Georgia U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene was a speaker at a fundraising event hosted by Fuentes. Arizona U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar addressed that same event.
     In California, Democrats stripped Greene of her committee assignments based, in part, on her promotion of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. Among the most prominent examples was Greene's idiotic claim that California wildfires might have been caused by the Rothschilds, a prominent Jewish banking family and mainstay in anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.
     "That's old-school, classic modern antisemitism coming from the 1870s and eighties and nineties into the 20th century," said a Jewish Studies professor at the College of Charleston.
     "There's rhetoric that's accepted today that simply never would have possibly been accepted a generation ago, not since the 1930s, really," said the professor. "People call it [political correctness], but there's a benefit to saying it is unacceptable to be openly racist, to be openly antisemitic. And if you are, you will not win political office. But that has gone away."[7]

     This growing anti-Semitism in America, and throughout the world at all levels of government and society is simply intolerable and must be ended. The success of the Jewish people since the time of Moses deserves emulation rather than jealousy.

  1. Jealousy – The Reason For Anti-Semitism, Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, The Jewish Press, Page 76, 20 December 2013.
  2. Germany saw 2,480 antisemitic incidents in 2022, monitoring group says, Kirsten Grieshaber,,
    27 June 2023.
  3. 1 in 4 American Jews say they experienced antisemitism in the last year, Joe Hernandez,, 26 October 2021.
  4. The GOP’s hypocrisy on antisemitism, Jay Michaelson,, 19 July 2023.
  5. The House Democratic Caucus is only becoming more antisemitic, Zachary Faria, Washington Examiner, 19 July 2023.
  6. Antisemitism is on the rise, and it's not just about Ye, Lisa Hagen,, 1 December 2022.
  7. Why does antisemitism persist?, Mya Jaradat,, 14 January 2022.


  17 August 2023 {ARTICLE 588; ISRAEL_80}    
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