Anti-Semitism, which is most clearly defined as hatred or opposition towards Jews, has been present in human civilization ever since the time of the Roman Empire, having come to its peak with the beginning of Christianity and the crucifixion of Jesus. Wars were fought in the name of anti-Semitism (WWII) and wars are being fought at this moment to prevent it (The Israel-Palestine conflict). If we stop and consider the world that we are living in today, where everyone is boasting of how civilized we have become, conflicts and hatred based on different races and religions should be a part of the past. But is that so? As Melissa Eddy of The New York Times (2014) writes, Anti-Semitism is on the rise in Europe with the recent increase of number of attacks on synagogues and individuals. She continues to claim that more and more Jews are leaving their home countries because of the increasing hatred towards them. A question remains floating in the air – What are the reasons behind it? More obvious, practical ones, like money, economy and job scarcity? The everlasting ideology of the preservation of the purity and perfection of the white, Christian man? Or is it emotional corruption caused by crooked moral values, the poisonous influence of the surrounding and the prejudices instilled deep into human culture? It is certainly not something that is black and white, but take for an example the movie The Believer – A Jewish student, called Daniel Balint, develops anti-Semitic beliefs led by the inability to identify himself with the core values of Judaism and the general depiction of Jews. Soon, he becomes a man torn between his hatred towards Jews on one side and his heritage on the other, which he has not been able to free himself from completely. The Believer has certainly scratched the surface of the problem, inspected it from different angles and standpoints and, if nothing else, incited a thought in its viewers’ minds, which is a beginning. Israel Palestina konflikten
“People hate Jews… The very word makes their skin crawl… It’s like the way you feel when a rat runs across the floor… And you do not even know why, it is like a physical reaction and everyone feels it,” claims the main protagonist of The Believer, Daniel Balint, whose character is based upon a real person, Daniel Burros, who was a Jew and a member of a Neo-Nazi organization. While, to a regular person, the possibility that words like these could be uttered by a human being probably seems exaggerated and actually makes their skin crawl, it is, unfortunately, not hard to come to a conclusion that this is not altogether a part of over dramatization. According to an article from The Wall Street Journal, written in August, 2014, a Belgian doctor refused to treat an elderly Jewish woman with a fractured rib, giving her son advice to “Send her to Gaza for a few hours and she’ll get rid of the pain,” and afterwards justifying his decision by saying that he had had an “emotional reaction.” Incidents like these are ever-present and one of the reasons that incite them is the fear of losing national identity, whose one force of cohesion is religion. This insecurity has been further ignited by the various exemptions concerning travelling and possibilities to work abroad, which has allowed people from all around the world to mingle together. At the very beginning of the movie, we can hear a radio spokesperson who says that, “It will no longer be possible to say that the country has a unified set of core beliefs. At that point we will cease to be a nation in the traditional sense, and will become instead a confederation of specific interest groups.” Dr. Milton Bennett, in his Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity (DMIS), describes this phenomenon as Defense. Which is one of the stages of the DMIS scale, which argues that people who are in this stage believe that their own culture is the only viable one and that it is the most evolved form of civilization. Basically, their world is organized into “us and them.” So, they despise minorities because they are afraid for their national heritage, for their tradition and they are petrified of assimilation. Daniel gives his opinion on this by saying that “the Jew is a wanderer, he is a nomad, and he has no soil of his own.” Daniel feels as if the Jews are trespassing into his country, on his property and, as he says, “They undermine traditional life and deracinate society.” This claim is further backed up by Curtis, one of the founders of the Neo-Nazi organization, who recalls his memories from the past when all the people from his quart knew each other and could rely on each other, but now it is different. No one knows anyone anymore, no one trusts anyone, and there is no sense of community. The society has turned from collectivism towards Individualism. According to Daniel, this is the guilt of the Jews, who keep to themselves and don’t belong anywhere. He believes that they are a sickness and that the modern world is their disease.