Hatred of Judaism and the Jews is an intellectual creation. Its foundations were laid in ancient times by historians, writers, poets, philosophers and artists long before Christianity added the theological dimension. Since then it has been the one permanent feature that has accompanied the Jews throughout their history.
Born in Hellenistic Egypt, intellectual anti-Semitism has two main features which go hand in hand; one is the invention of an alternative (or counter) history for the Jews; the other describing them as inferior human beings, filthy, bearers of disease and haters of humanity and of the gods.
Alternative history declares the historical records of its target people as false, and presents its own version as the truth. Since its creation by the anti-Semites in Egypt in the 3rd century BCE, the practice has continued to this day.
The denial of the Holocaust is the latest and most arrogant example of alternative history, the essence of anti-Semitism in modern times. The Holocaust deniers know the truth, for there is hardly a case in history that is more documented than the Holocaust. Nevertheless they are out to absolve the Nazis, and blame the victims, presenting the extermination of 6,000.000 Jews as a Jewish conspiracy. Mahmud Abbas (nom de guerre: “Abu Mazen”), the current Palestinian darling is one of them. In 1982 he received a PhD from Lumumba University in Moscow for his thesis on the “Secret Relations between the Nazis and Zionism,” which included all the elements of Holocaust denial.
The first known alternative history of the Jews was written in Alexandria by the Egyptian priest Manetho, who felt the need to supply his Greek readers with a reply to the Biblical story of the Exodus, with the explicit aim of denigrating the Jews. According to Manetho’s alternative history, the Jews were a group of 80,000 lepers who rebelled, took over Egypt and, ruling it for more than a decade, spread death and horror in the country. Their leader was Osarseph, a priest from Heliopolis. After thirteen years in exile the Egyptian King returned to Egypt, killed most of them and drove the rest out of the country, pursuing them to the borders of Syria.
Manetho’s story was designed to negate everything positive about the Jews. The Jews described Joseph as a wise governor who saved Egypt from disaster, and Menetho replied by making him an apostate Egyptian priest of Osiris (hence his name Osarseph) who ruined Egypt. The Jews regarded themselves as a people, and Manetho described them as a horrifying mob of lepers. The Jews claimed that God had brought them out of Egypt; Manetho asserted that they had been expelled.
Manetho’s “history” and the abundance of horror stories about the Jews, spread by his copiers and successors, are characterized by a mixture of hate and fear. Later, Moslem classical historians also created their own versions of Jewish alternative history. But unlike their predecessors, their attitude to the Jews was that of hate resulting from contempt rather than hate based on fear. However, once the Moslems became acquainted with European anti-Semitism, they embraced the Western description of the Jew as the embodiment of pure evil, and Judaism as a bloodthirsty religion whose followers planned to subdue the world with the help of Satan. Thus the hatred felt by the Moslems towards the Jews now comprised both fear and contempt.
The blood libel, the unholy, gruesome lie of Christian Europe against the Jews, assumed immediate prominence in Islamic anti-Semitic thought and practice.
The first blood libel case under Islamic rule in modern times was the “Damascus Affair.” In 1840, the Jews of Damascus were accused of the ritual murder of a Capuchin friar. Far from immediately opposing the false accusation, Ratti Menton, the French consul in Damascus, gave it credibility. Supported by the French government, he himself conducted the “investigation” of the case together with the Moslem Governor. The entire Jewish community was held to ransom, and its leaders were arrested, some tortured to death, before a general outcry in the world put an end to the affair.
But the Damascus Affair has never died. To this day it is presented as proof of ritual murder in the Jewish religion. Mustafa Tlas, the Syrian minister of war, wrote his PhD on the subject and published it in a book called The Unleavened Bread of Zion. In this popular book, which by 2002 had gone through eight editions, he described the Damascus Affair in great detail with a single aim–to prove its evidence of the Jewish practice of ritual murder. Ratti Menton is his proof for the truth of the information.