In this short video, Rabbi Jonathan Sacks explains the essence of anti-semitism.
Following is an outline of what he said.
Perhaps the original anti-semite is Haman, found in the book of Esther.
“Then Haman said to King Xerxes, “There is a certain people dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of your kingdom who keep themselves separate. Their customs are different from those of all other people, and they do not obey the king’s laws; it is not in the king’s best interest to tolerate them.” (Esther 3:8 NIV)
Anti-semitism is the dislike of the unlike.
The Jews are the only people who have insisted on the right to be different. The only nation in history who have refused to assimilate to the dominant culture.
Anti-semitism is the paradigm case of hatred in world history— the hatred of difference. Anti-semitism begins with Jews, but it never ends with Jews because anti-Semitism is the hatred of difference.
Difference is what makes us human. Each of us is unique, therefore irreplaceable therefore sacred. A nation that has no room for Jews has no room for humanity.
That is why we must stand together in the fight against anti-semitism— not just Jews, but everyone who cares for the sanctity of human life, the non-negotiable principles of freedom and dignity.